Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CRE: More on the Mall Glut

by Calculated Risk on 9/09/2008 11:38:00 PM

The WSJ has some updated statistics on malls in this article: Mall Glut to Clog Market for Years

Developers have built one billion square feet of retail space in the 54 largest U.S. markets since the start of 2000, 25% more than what they built during the same period of the 1990s, according to Property & Portfolio Research Inc. of Boston. U.S. retail space now amounts to 38 square feet for every person in those 54 markets, up from 29 square feet in 1983, the firm says.
David Simon, chairman and chief executive of Simon Property Group Inc., the largest U.S. mall owner with 323 malls, sees "a decade of little new development" and a shakeout. "There were a lot of projects that shouldn't have been built" in recent years, he said.
Update: The NY Times has a mall article too: A Squeeze on Retailers Leaves Holes at Malls
Some 6,500 chain stores are expected to close this year, the largest number since 2001, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group.
Not only are there too many new projects being built, but vacancy rates are rising. Reuters reported for Q2: US retail property 2nd-qtr worst in 30 yrs - report
Strip malls ... saw average vacancies spike 0.5 percentage points to 8.2 percent, a level unseen since 1995 ...
U.S. Real House Prices vs. Real Consumer Spending Click on image for larger graph in new window.

This graph shows the strip mall vacancy rate since Q2 2007. Note that the graph doesn't start at zero to better show the change.

Too many new projects and rising vacancies rates suggests new mall construction will decline sharply. This is one of the three areas of new construction of Commercial Real Estate (CRE) were I expect a significant decline in investment over the next several quarters; there are investment in Malls, Hotels, and Office space.