Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacancies in US malls rise to 13-y high

another evidence CMBS mkt and consumer spending is going down. Vacancies at U.S. neighborhood andcommunity shopping centers rose in the second quarter to a 13-year high, while vacancies at larger, regional malls were attheir highest level since 2002, research firm Reis Inc. said. The average vacancy rate at neighborhood and community malls rose to 8.2 percent, up from 7.3 percent a year earlierand the highest level since 1995, the New York-based real-estateresearcher said. At regional and super-regional malls, vacanciesincreased to 6.3 percent, up from 5.6 percent a year earlier andthe highest since the first quarter of 2002, Reis said. Retail sales and demand for shopping-center space are beinghurt by rising unemployment, increasing food and gasoline costs,and declining home values. U.S. employers cut jobs in June for asixth straight month, and the jobless rate remained at 5.5percent after jumping in May by the most in two decades, theLabor Department said last week. The amount of retail space being abandoned, ``consistentwith store closures, is at its highest level in almost 28 years. Neighborhood shopping centers typically have 30,000 to150,000 square feet (2,800 to 14,000 square meters) of retailspace and are anchored by a supermarket, according to theInternational Council of Shopping Centers. Community centersusually have 100,000 to 350,000 square feet of space, are open-air, and are anchored by two or more discount department, drug,grocery, or home-improvement stores. Regional malls typically have 400,000 to 800,000 squarefeet of space with two or more anchors, usually departmentstores. Super-regional malls have at least 800,000 square feetof space and usually have three or more anchors.

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