Looking at the overall market, commercial vacancy rates appear to be approaching a plateau, according to NAR’s latest COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE OUTLOOK. The NAR forecast for four major commercial sectors follows:
With an elevated level of sublease space available, vacancy rates in the office sector are projected to increase from 16.9 percent in the first quarter of this year to 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011, but should ease later next year.
Annual office rent is likely to fall 2.3 percent this year and decline another 2.1 percent in 2011. In 57 markets tracked, net absorption of office space, which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is forecast to be a negative 24.6 million square feet this year and then a positive 25.5 million in 2011.
Leasing activity in the industrial sector is below historical levels with higher vacancies, more tenant concessions from landlords and a steeper decline in rental rates. In addition, obsolete structures remain on the market. Industrial vacancy rates are expected to rise from 14.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 14.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, then decline modestly as the year progresses.
Annual industrial rent will probably drop 6.3 percent this year, and decline another 1.5 percent in 2011. Net absorption of industrial space in 58 markets tracked is seen at a negative 90.0 million square feet this year and a positive 135.6 million in 2011.
Retail vacancy rates should rise modestly from 12.6 percent in the first quarter of this year to 12.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, and should hold at that level for most of next year.
Average retail rent is projected to decline 1.5 percent in 2010, then edge up by 0.4 percent next year. Net absorption of retail space in 53 tracked markets is likely to be a negative 3.7 million square feet this year and then a positive 8.9 million in 2011.
The apartment rental market – multifamily housing – is expected to benefit from an improving economy and job market. Multifamily vacancy rates are forecast to decline from 7.3 percent in the first quarter of this year to 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
With recent additions to supply, average rent is likely to slip 1.5 percent this year, and then rise 1.2 percent in 2011. Multifamily net absorption should be 145,700 units in 59 tracked metro areas this year, and another 214,500 in 2011.