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Tight Austin market spurs double-digit rent growth at Cousins


Austin has become a landlord's market, with property owners eager to take advantage of high occupancy levels by pushing up rental rates, according to executives active in the market.


Cousins Properties says its portfolio of properties in Austin is 96% leased, allowing its rents to post double-digit growth year on year. About 375,000 square feet of net absorption was expected in Austin in the fourth quarter, according to CBRE.


"The overall market finished the year at 9% vacancy and the CBD fell to a 6% vacancy creating a very friendly environment for landlords to push rental rates," said Cousins COO Colin Connoly, on the firm's fourth-quarter earnings call. 


Connoly said his firm raised the rent 35 percent at its 816 Congress property for an expanding tenant whose original lease was only two years old.


"We are monitoring the construction pipeline in the Austin CBD, which currently totals approximately 1 million square feet," he said. "While the pipeline at 77% pre-leased, we are always mindful of the competitive landscape and we continue to reinvest in our portfolio to ensure our assets will remain attractive to our customers."

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