HOUSTON (CB Richard Ellis) – H-Town’s office market finished 2011 with more than three million sf of positive net absorption, reports CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) in its latest market analysis. The firm credits area job growth, increasing shale exploration activity and stronger oil prices for the surge in leasing. According to the report, predictions for the city’s 2010 employment gains of 13,700 were later revised to reflect the addition of around 40,000 more new jobs than anticipated. The Greater Houston Partnership’s figures show the city gained 170,700 jobs since economic recovery began. That’s 111.7 percent of the 152,800 jobs lost because of the recession. In addition, CBRE said employment forecasters expect 84,000 jobs to be added this year. Office space absorption in the early part of 2011 was the result of several large transactions that had been shelved during the recession. Fourth quarter absorption, on the other hand, was from many small to medium-sized deals. Class-A vacancy dropped 150 basis points from 12.14 in fourth quarter 2010 to 10.6 percent a year later. With the decreasing vacancy rate and shrinking Class-A available space, proposed developments and new construction are on the rise in the suburban markets.