HOUSTON (Colliers International) – Houston’s office market has undergone significant changes in the past 12 months, benefiting from positive absorption, falling vacancy and rising rental rates, according to the year-end market report from Colliers International.

Increased leasing activity has been key to the year-end positive net absorption of 2.6 million sf citywide, the report said. It attributed the increased business activity to the city’s healthy economic climate. The Houston metropolitan area has gained about 77,000 jobs through November 2011, representing a 3 percent growth rate.

Overall vacancy levels decreased by 50 basis points to 15.5 percent from 16 percent, which was also the citywide overall vacancy rate one year ago. The average suburban vacancy rate decreased by 30 basis points to 15.3 percent from 15.6 percent, while the CBD vacancy rate decreased by 100 basis points to 16.6 percent from 17.6 percent.

On a year-over-year basis the citywide average rental rate increased by $0.12 per sf to $23.20. The citywide average rental rate also rose slightly to $23.20 from $22.93 per sf.