Office vacancy rates in the Washington area are among the lowest in 17 metropolitan centers recently surveyed by The Office Network Inc., a Houston-based corporate affiliation of leading real estate firms in major markets. The report was released locally by The Braedon Companies, the Washington affiliate of Office Network.

"Central business district office space is virtually nonexistent here and in two other cities, Denver and San Francisco," said Braedon president James L. Eichberg. He added that most of the current D.C. construction projects have a 1982 completion date, and about half of the space has been preleased. He predicts that all the new space will be leased by completion.

Washington has more than 9.3 million square feet of office space under construction, with 3.8 million square feet in the central business district. Boston, Miami, Pittsburgh and San Francisco also have overall vacancy rates of less than 3 percent. The District's vacancy rate in present central business district buildings stands at 0.2 percent. In the suburbs the vacancy rate is 2.3 percent, and overall it is 1.2 percent.

Rent in present Washington central-area buildings averages $24 per square foot and ranges from $18.50 to $29.50 per square foot. Suburban rates range from $11.75 to $15 per square foot. Total operating costs in D.C., which include taxes and utilities, are $5 per square foot in the city and $4.60 per square foot in the suburban areas.

* ADW-ADVO, the nation's largest direct-mail firm, has leased the 186,000-square-foot Guilford South Building in Columbia, Md. Approximately 250 ADVO employes will begin work at the facility this month. The new tenants assumed the last four years of a lease held by Imperial Packaging. Negotiations were handled by Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services.

* Coldwell Banker has been appointed exclusive leasing agent for Western Development Corp.'s new office project at 1331 H St. NW. Western Development will renovate the 12-story, 14-year-old building at a cost of $2 million. Rental rates ranging from $18 to $24 per square foot are being offered, with occupancy scheduled to begin this month.

* The new main headquarters building for John Hanson Savings & Loan is nearing completion in the Calverton Office Park off I-95 in Beltsville. The six-story, 100,000-square-foot building will contain John Hanson's 22nd branch office and is scheduled for occupancy this fall. Glenn Construction Co. performed the construction work.