Lease-to-own office trend expected to gain momentum

From the South Florida Web site:
In boom years, office condos took the South Florida commercial real estate market by storm, just like every other innovation in a bubbling market. In 2007, interest came to a screeching halt. Now the concept — in which businesses own units of a larger building and pay for common area upkeep — is reemerging with a twist: lease-to-own. The office condo market stalled because many industry watchers expected 2007’s all-time high office rental rates to nosedive in 2008, making purchasing a lose-lose proposition in the face of tighter credit and higher down payments. But rental rates didn’t decline at most properties. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s fourth-quarter Miami office report, the market notched an overall rental rate average of $30.87 per square foot in 2008, up 6 percent from 2007. From a logical perspective, companies looking to lease should entertain a lease-to-purchase option in the current economy, said Alan Kleber, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield’s Miami office.

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