The Weitzman Group recently presented its 22nd annual Shopping Center Survey & Forecast. Here are a few highlights from our research report, which covers the 183.5-million-square-foot Dallas-Fort Worth retail market.
• Occupancy is improving, but slowly. At year-end 2011, market-wide occupancy rate reached 87.4 percent, compared to 87.3 percent at year-end 2010. The gain is slight, but things are heading in the right direction.
• We’re leasing space. During 2011, absorption—the net increase or decrease in occupied space—totaled 1.8 million square feet. This is down a bit from 2010, but way above the recent absorption low point for our market, just 460,000 square feet during 2009.
• Construction is down. On a per-capita basis, it has never been lower. During 2011, we added just about 1.6 million square feet of new space—a blip in a market as large as ours. On a per-capita basis, that was just .2 square feet of new construction. That beats the previous low of .3 in 1990, at the bottom of the real estate crash.
Thanks low construction, steady leasing, a growing population and an economy that ranks as the No. 2 job generator in the nation, we’re predicting that our market-wide occupancy will reach 90 percent by year-end 2012.
Because it will be the first time North Texas hits that number since 2005, I’m looking forward to announcing it a year from now. That would be a very good thing.
Herbert D. Weitzman is chairman and CEO of The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.