Charlotte office vacancy rate inches up

Charlotte's supply of office space grew faster than demand in the second quarter, causing the vacancy rate to rise to 11.5 percent from 11 percent in the first quarter.

But, says Karnes Research Co., that's still below the year earlier rate of 12.6 percent for multi-tenant office buildings countywide.

Developers are on track to complete 2 million square feet of new offices in Charlotte this year, the most since 2.1 million square feet in 2001, Karnes said.

That will put pressure on landlords, the research firm said, to pre-lease buildings to fill space and prevent rental rates from falling.

The countywide average annual rental lease was $21.29 a square foot in the second quarter, up from $21.04 in the first quarter.

So far commercial property is holding its value, and Charlotte likely will remain a landlord's market through 2008, real estate analysts say.

Uptown is the tightest market in the city with a second quarter vacancy rate of 2.1 percent, down from 2.3 percent in the first quarter.

Karnes said that's the lowest vacancy rate in the center city since it began tracking the local market in 1987.

Still, uptown will face a challenge over the next few years, Karnes said, as more than 3 million square of new office space is completed.