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Southern California office rents a bargain compared with other world business centers

November 10, 2010 | 12:45 pm

London's West End held on to its crown as the world's most expensive office market in a semiannual survey, while comparatively cheap Southern California failed to crack the top 50.

Renting an office in the West End will set you back $194 a square foot per year, more than six times the cost of downtown Los Angeles, where the average price is $29, according to the survey by real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis Inc.

Bigben Hong Kong’s central business district -- where the average rent jumped 34% from a year ago -- was a close second at $184 a square foot. Tokyo’s inner-central office district was third at $158. Rounding out the top 10 were Mumbai, India; Moscow; Tokyo’s outer-central neighborhood; central London; Paris; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Rio de Janeiro.

Hong Kong, London and Brazil saw the biggest increases in rents, while the biggest price drops were in Edmonton, Canada, at 19.4% and Orlando, Fla., at 18%.

New York’s Midtown was the most expensive market in the U.S. at $67 a square foot. Rents in North American markets, for the most part, have not begun to recover yet, CB Richard Ellis said. Fewer than one-third of North American office markets saw increases over the past year.

Latin America, however, is holding up better than the rest of the world and continues to post rent gains for landlords.

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: London's Big Ben. Credit: Getty Images