Houston Office Outlook Brightens

The Houston metro office market strengthened in the fourth quarter of 2010 because of job growth in several economic sectors, according to Delta Associates, the research affiliate of Houston-based Transwestern, a commercial real estate firm.

Net absorption of office space rose in the fourth quarter, to 618,000 sq. ft. from 491,000 sq. ft. in the third quarter as companies leased more space. For the year, net absorption totaled 715,000 sq. ft. compared with negative 586,000 sq. ft. in 2009.

The overall office vacancy rate, including sublet space, in the Houston metro market dropped to 12.6% at year-end 2010 from 12.9% in the third quarter and 13.5% one year earlier, according to Delta Associates, which is based in Alexandria, Va.

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