Less Means More to Those Paying for Scant Office Space

Daryl Strickland covers real estate for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5670, and at daryl.strickland@latimes.com

Orange County's office vacancy rate has fallen to 9%, the lowest level since the mid-1980s--bad news if you're looking for office space.

Grubb & Ellis' mid-year forecast found that with demand strong throughout the region, prospective tenants can expect to see rents rise as much as 25% or more over the next 18 months.

Contributing to the run-up is a dearth of new office projects. A year ago, the county's office-vacancy rate was 14%.

The real estate brokerage's survey found that, through the first quarter, rental rates per square foot rose to $25.08, from $18.36.

Premier buildings with ocean views are asking for prices that rival midtown Manhattan, costing $40.57.

The biggest gainer could be in Central County where space is cheaper than around John Wayne Airport.

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