REALTOR® Commercial Sales Rise 10.7 Percent in Third Quarter, Despite Headwinds

With lackluster employment growth, third quarter fundamentals in REALTOR® commercial markets maintained a positive trajectory. However, the specter of government shutdown and the budget debate added headwinds to the market performance. The results of the October Commercial Real Estate Market Survey indicated modestly rising absorption and new construction, accompanied by changing vacancies.

Leasing activity increased 2.0 percent higher over the previous quarter. On the supply side, new construction maintained momentum, increasing 5.0 percent over the second quarter. Vacancies declined for industrial and hotel properties. Office vacancies inched up 9 basis points, to 17.8 percent, while retail availability rose 110 basis points, to 15.7 percent. Multifamily vacancy reached 7.3 percent, as new supply entered the market and the residential rental market added competition.

With sliding vacancies, landlords found fewer reasons to offer rent concessions. In addition, rental rates rose 2.0 percent during the second quarter. In terms of space requirements, tenant demand remained strongest in the 5,000 square feet and below, accounting for 70.0 percent of leased properties. Lease terms remained steady, with 36-month and 60-month leases capturing the bulk of the market.

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George Ratiu, Director, Quantitative and Commercial Research

George Ratiu, Research Economist, writes regular economic columns and conducts research in the areas of commercial real estate, international investments, mortgage performance and foreclosures. He produces NAR’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook and manages quantitative surveys, including the Commercial Real Estate Quarterly Market Survey.

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