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LAS VEGAS-A quartet of reports on the industrial market here don’t agree on a current average vacancy rate or net absorption but the forecast is largely the same, with increasing sublease availabilities and declining asking rates expected to persist throughout the rest of the year despite little new development.

As for the current state of things, it depends on who you ask. Vacancy could have ended the quarter below 10% or above 14%. Net absorption could have been positive by a quarter of a million square feet or negative to the tune of nearly 2 million square feet. The differences are typically due to the type and size of space tracked, when a space is considered vacant and whether or not subleases are included in calculations.

Restrepo Consulting Group LLC, which tracks 106 million square feet, estimates current vacancy at 14.2%, up from 13.2% at the end of the second quarter thanks to 1.8 million square feet of negative net absorption. “Who would have thought back in the first quarter of 2007, when we had an industrial vacancy rate of 4.3% that we would be at 14.2% today,” says principal John Restrepo. “It’s quite extraordinary how quickly and deeply our once vaunted industrial market has been impacted by the recession.”

In contrast, Grubb & Ellis, which tracks 98.5 million square feet, says overall vacancy remained fairly flat at 12.8% thanks to 234,870 square feet of positive net absorption. “Fueled by decreasing lease rates and aggressive landlords, many tenants found better deals in other submarkets and chose to relocate and/or downsize at a rate they could afford,” states the G&E report. “Short-term leases with dramatically low lease rates remain popular with tenants who continue to have the upper hand when negotiating with vulnerable landlords.”

CB Richard Ellis, which tracks about 98 million square feet, pegged vacancy at just 9.1%, up from 8.31% last quarter, and reported 621,679 square feet of negative net absorption. Like G&E it also is reporting more short-term lease deals but adds that landlords are in favor of them as well because “they don’t want to lock in long-term leases at today’s bargain prices.”

Voit Real Estate Services, which tracks 103 million square feet and develops its report with Applied Analysis, a locally based business research and advisory firm, is reporting numbers in line with Grubb & Ellis–12.4% vacancy rate, up 40 basis points on 239,000 square feet of negative net absorption.

Voit says the amount of square footage under construction [462,000 square feet] is down 71.6% from the same year-earlier period, that planned construction [125,000 square feet] is down 94.3% and that vacancy is up 38.2%. Its forecast calls for rental pricing to continue to deteriorate in the near-term due to a gap between tenant and landlord expectations.

“A return to normalized business activity will ultimately emerge,” it predicts, “yet the definition of ‘normal’ may change.”

G&E pegs the current asking rent for Warehouse/Distribution and R&D/Flex space at $0.51 per square foot and $0.95 per square foot, per month, respectively, with the overall average rent at $0.69 per square foot. CBRE pegs the overall average at 0.65 per square foot. Restrepo pegs the overall average at $0.58 per square foot, down 26% from one year ago.

“Landlords are competing with a growing amount of discounted sublease space,” Restrepo says. “To attract and retain tenants, landlords have to offer increasingly generous incentives almost to the point of being predatory. Property owners of newly constructed projects face the added challenge of bringing in tenants at profitable rents amid a deteriorating economy. Until some form of stability is evident in the local job market we can expect to see rents soften and vacancy rise further.”

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