During the recent 2008-2010 downturn, office vacancy climbed to 18%, which is not far from previous highs in 1992 and 2002. Given the unprecedented level of job losses in the Great Recession, 2.3 million office-using jobs and 8.4 million total jobs, the office vacancy rate should have risen far more. The more moderate downturn was due to two important factors. One, going-in vacancy rates that were relatively low, especially compared to the late 1980s (12.3% as of YE 2007 vs. 18.9% as of YE 1989) and two, going-in construction that was also significantly less (55 to 60 million square feet in 2006-2007 vs. 120-13 million square feet in 2000-2001 and 130-140 million square feet in 1988-89).  

Although it may not quite feel like it yet, the relatively low vacancy rates and significantly less construction prior to the downturn should hasten office recovery, creating strong investment opportunities.

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