US Vacancy Rates ''Flat or Declining''

The vacancy rates across all classes of US properties either remained stable or fell slightly during the first quarter of 2012...

The vacancy rates across all classes of US properties either remained stable or fell slightly during the first quarter of 2012. New research published by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) revealed take up of industrial space increased during the three months from January to March, with the availability rate falling to 13.4 per cent nationwide. The organisation noted economic growth is driving the demand for industrial premises, with vacancy rates in Seattle recording the biggest drop of 100 basis points (bps). Edison and Fort Worth were not far behind, both posting declines of 80 bps.

In the retail sector, occupancy levels were flat or increased slightly, with CBRE highlighting Birmingham, Austin, Miami, Kansas City and Indianapolis as the stand-out performers in the first quarter of the year, with each of these markets seeing take up rise by at least 50 bps, compared to the previous three-month period. Meanwhile, the office sector has the highest vacancy rate - at 16 per cent - although managing director of CBRE Econometric Advisors Jon Southard is confident the situation will improve as the year progresses. "The job market will need to approach its pre-recession form before more rapid improvement in the office market can take hold. We continue to anticipate more robust hiring during the second half of 2012, which will move us closer to that goal," he asserted.

Earlier this month, Jones Lang LaSalle warned the recovery in US office markets slowed in the first three months of this year, pointing out just under 1 million sq ft of space was absorbed in this period - well below the average of 8.6 million sq ft recorded over the previous six quarters. The firm also predicted markets where there is a strong presence of technology companies or a growing energy sector will perform the best over the course of this year, highlighting locations such as Houston and Denver, both of which are benefiting from expansion within the energy industry.

- Monday 16 April 2012

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