Occupancy in the national office market has reached levels not seen since the fourth quarter of 2000, according to Colliers International, a Boston-based commercial real estate manager.The national vacancy rate stood at 15.2% in the first quarter, down from 15.4% at the end of 2004 and 16.2% a year earlier, Colliers said. "Although office-using employment slowed in the first quarter, the office market itself maintained a healthy tempo," said Ross Moore, vice president and director of research at Colliers. "We anticipate further growth in the second quarter and for the balance of 2005. Just a few office markets project a slowdown, with the vast majority forecasting demand to meet or surpass first-quarter levels." (Office-using employment refers to employment related to information, financial, professional, and business services.) Absorption totaled 18.5 million square feet, up from 10.1 million square feet in the first quarter of 2004, Colliers said. The company can be found online at http://www.colliers.com.

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