Retail vacancies fall to end 2012

Retail vacancies fell during the fourth quarter.

The level of retail vacancies dropped during the final three months of 2012, which may signal positive conditions for property management companies entering this year.

Overall retail vacancies fell to 8.6 percent during the fourth quarter, a slight drop from the 8.7 percent during the third quarter, according to a report from Reis. The latest figure was also a drop from the same three-month period in 2011, the level was 8.9 percent. The last time mall vacancies were at a high point during the cycle was during the third quarter of 2011, when it was 9.4 percent.

New construction slowed significantly during the final quarter of 2012. There was only 915,000 square feet of space completed in that period, Commercial Property Executive noted, citing the report. This was down significantly from the same point in 2011, when the figure was nearly 3 million square feet. It was, however, improved from the 723,000 square feet delivered during the previous quarter.

Part of the development issue during the fourth quarter may have been due to the slowdown in construction spending. Private, nonresidential construction fell 0.7 percent in November, according to the Department of Commerce. This brought the rate for that month to $294.5 billion.

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