Strip Mall Vacancies Hit Four-Year High

Via Real Estate Journal.

Vacancies at strip malls in the second quarter hit their highest point in nearly four years as retailers opened fewer stores.

The vacancy rate edged up to 7.3% in the second quarter from 7.2% in the first quarter and 6.9% a year ago, according to a new survey of the top 76 U.S. shopping-center markets by Reis Inc., a New York real-estate research firm. Nevertheless, rents are still rising at a solid clip. They were up 0.8% in the second quarter to $17.42 a square foot from $17.28 in the first quarter.

"Our view right now is that potential retail lessors have some concern about the moderating of consumer spending growth," says Sam Chandan, chief economist at Reis.

Net absorption -- the change in the amount of occupied space -- was the weakest since the third quarter of 2003, at three million square feet, down from an average five million square feet over the last several quarters.

Shopping-mall vacancy was flat at 5.6% in the second quarter with rents up 0.9% to $40.27 a square foot from $39.93 in the previous quarter.

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