Region's real estate markets carrying momentum in '12

Nashville-area office tenants signed on for more than 730,000 square feet of extra space in 2011, according to the fourth-quarter report by brokerage Cassidy Turley. That number — with the lion's share being split by the Central Business District, Brentwood and Cool Springs — was down a bit from 2010 but enough to push the region's vacancy rate to its lowest point in three years. (See the graph below.)

Cassidy Turley's prediction: Look for rents to rise in 2012, albeit rather slowly, and for developers to break ground on a number of projects.

There are some noteworthy positives on the industrial side of things as well:

• Companies absorbed more than 3.9 million square feet of space, the most since 2006. "This comes off the heels of a bleak 2009 and 2010, when the market took a nosedive and posted a combined total of negative 6.5 million SF."

• The upward leasing trend should continue in 2012, driven in part by the resurgent automotive sector. The Cassidy Turley pros say asking rents and landlord concessions should begin to stabilize — warehouse rents are down almost 8 percent since mid-year while vacancy rates haven't budged.