PALO ALTO — A recent deal for a downtown Palo Alto office building hints at an unwelcome post-coronavirus slump in property values in what’s normally a hotbed for Silicon Valley commercial real estate.

A Bay Area investment group has bought an office building at 379 Lytton Ave., according to property documents filed on Feb. 18 with the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office.

Walnut Hill Capital, acting through an affiliate, paid $53.9 million for the office building, the county public records show.

The affiliate, 379 Lytton Avenue, also obtained $44.3 million in financing from Acore Capital Mortgage at the time of the purchase, according to the public documents.

The building totals 34,600 square feet and was being marketed for sale by CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, according to property listing services.

The building didn’t languish on the sales block. A CBRE team of brokers began the selling efforts sometime last summer.

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Still, the price per square foot points to a softer market for office buildings in downtown Palo Alto than was the case before the coronavirus erupted and unleashed wide-ranging economic ailments and uncertainties worldwide, including in the Bay Area.

One possible explanation for the softening of values: The normally sturdy office market in all of Palo Alto has turned wobbly.

The office vacancy rate in Palo Alto is greater than the vacancy rate for all of Silicon Valley, according to a recent report by Colliers, a commercial real estate firm. During the final three months of 2021, the average office vacancy rate for Palo Alto was 12.1% compared with 10.8% in all of Silicon Valley, Colliers reported.

In 2018, a year that produced several high-profile purchases of downtown Palo Alto office buildings, prices typically were comfortably above $2,000 a square foot — sky-high purchase prices for Bay Area offices.

But the most recent deal represents a price that’s more than 20% below the peak values seen in 2018.

Here’s how pre-COVID transactions involving office buildings in downtown Palo Alto stacked up,  including the price per square foot:

— 192 Lytton Ave, $23.1 million, $2,551 a square foot.

— 530 Lytton Ave., $117.5 million, $2,156 a square foot.

— 150 Forest Ave., $26 million, $2,153 a square foot.

— 385 Sherman Ave., $138 million,  $2,030 a square foot.

In the most recent office building deal, the purchase value of $1,556 a square foot was 39% below the most expensive transaction surveyed from 2018, on a per-square-foot basis, and 23% below the least expensive downtown Palo Alto office deal.