The national office market "took a bit of a breather" in the first quarter, although the upward trend remains intact, according to Colliers International, a Boston-based commercial real estate manager.Absorption totaled 12.8 million square feet, down from 25.9 msf in the fourth quarter and 22.2 msf a year earlier, Colliers said. But rents continued to rise, with downtown rents increasing 5.2% to a record high of $43.22 per square foot. The national vacancy rate stood at 12.55%, unchanged from that of the previous quarter but down from 13.25% a year earlier, Colliers said. "Don't be fooled by a somewhat disappointing first quarter," said Ross Moore, senior vice president and director of market and economic research at Colliers. "While absorption was well below levels experienced over the past couple of years, nearly all markets continue to clock steady demand. Absorption is almost certain to bounce back -- if not during Q2, then in the latter half of 2007." The company can be found online at http://www.colliers.com.

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