Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reis: Mall Vacancy Rate increased in Q2 2017

by Bill McBride on 6/28/2017 12:11:00 PM

Reis reported that the vacancy rate for regional malls was 8.1% in Q2 2017, up from 7.9% in Q1, and up from 7.9% in Q2 2016. This is down from a cycle peak of 9.4% in Q3 2011.

For Neighborhood and Community malls (strip malls), the vacancy rate was 10.0% in Q2, up from 9.9% in Q1, and up from 9.8% in Q2 2016. For strip malls, the vacancy rate peaked at 11.1% in Q3 2011.

Comments from Reis Economist Barbara Byrne Denham:

The Retail Vacancy Rate increased 0.1% in the second quarter to 10.0%. Asking rents increased 0.4% in the quarter that saw new stores opening on par with the number that closed. The Mall Vacancy Rate increased 0.2% to 8.1%. Mall Rents also increased 0.4%.

Defying the doom and gloom aired in media reports, the retail real estate market posted positive net absorption in the second quarter. The vacancy rate increased a bit due to new construction that was only partially absorbed by new leasing. Still, the vacancy rate increase from 9.9% to 10.0% was smaller than most expected.

The increase in the Mall vacancy rate was due to confirmed closings of Macy’s stores.
emphasis added
Mall Vacancy Rate Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the strip mall vacancy rate starting in 1980 (prior to 2000 the data is annual). The regional mall data starts in 2000. Back in the '80s, there was overbuilding in the mall sector even as the vacancy rate was rising. This was due to the very loose commercial lending that led to the S&L crisis.

In the mid-'00s, mall investment picked up as mall builders followed the "roof tops" of the residential boom (more loose lending). This led to the vacancy rate moving higher even before the recession started. Then there was a sharp increase in the vacancy rate during the recession and financial crisis.

Recently both the strip mall and regional mall vacancy rates have increased slightly from an already elevated level.

Mall vacancy data courtesy of Reis.