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ATLANTA-With steady employment, rising rents and decreasing vacancies, investors remain interested in Atlanta properties, according to industry insiders.

“The Atlanta investment market will continue to garner the interest of institutional and private investors, who are attracted to the stability of the local economy and long-term prospects for firming of operating fundamentals, says Marcus & Millichap regional manager of the Atlanta office John Leonard.

The report states that office properties traded for a median price of $150 per sf during 2007, a 15% increase from a year ago. Asking rents were projected to increase 3.2% to $21.01 per sf during 2007, while effective rents were forecast to climb 4.2% to $17.24 per sf.

According to a Grubb & Ellis Q3 office market report for Atlanta, the market posted a 17.6% vacancy rate at the end of the quarter, reflecting a 60 basis point drop from the previous quarter. Net absorption rose to over one million sf for the quarter, with the most corporate movement occurring in the Central Perimeter, Cumberland/Galleria and Downtown submarkets. Given the tightening market vacancy along with more than 4.6 million sf under construction, average quoted rental rates for the overall market subsequently rose from $21.81 to $22.02 per sf, full service.

Although rents are on the rise, they are still lower than in other metropolitan markets. According to the location consultant Boyd Co., Atlanta is the second least expensive city to operate a corporate headquarters amongst 30 cities with populations over two million that are home to regional concentrations of Fortune 500 companies. According to the US Census Bureau, the city’s population is expected to grow to over seven million by 2020, an increase of 40% from 2000. This is the largest projected population growth across the nation, according to the Census Bureau.

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