Office property demand tumbles

As expected, dwindling demand led sales of office property to fall in metro Atlanta in the first quarter of 2009. Sales tumbled 89 percent, to $33 million from $294 million during the same period a year ago.

But even as transaction volume tumbled, the value of properties appeared to be holding up in this recession, if not increasing.

The price paid per square foot for office space for the last 12 months actually increased slightly, to $186 per square foot compared with $169 a year ago.

Numbers released this week by LoopNet, an online commercial real estate listings service, show that the volume of office transactions dropped 49 percent compared with the previous 12-month period.

For the 12-months ending March 30, metro Atlanta office property sales totaled $1.73 billion, compared with $3.42 billion for the same period in 2008. The largest transaction in the first quarter was $27 million paid for 55 Witcher St. in Marietta, according to LoopNet.

Sales of multi-family units in metro Atlanta were off 89 percent in the first quarter, compared with the first quarter of 2008.

The volume of retail deals dropped as well, to $81 million in first quarter 2009, from $239 million for the same year ago period.

Industrial sales tanked, too, to $21 million in the first quarter from $225 million a year ago