Thursday, June 21, 2012

Greater Hartford, CT KeyPoint Report Preview

The KeyPoint Report on retail real estate in Greater Hartford, Connecticut will be available soon at KeyPointPartners.com. Below are highlights from the findings in this year’s report:

Total retail space in Greater Hartford included 37.4 million square feet at the end of the 2012 study period, a nominal decrease from the 37.5 million square feet reported last year. Some spaces converted to non-retail uses, contributing to the negligible decline in inventory this year. The most salient point regarding total inventory in the region is that there was virtually no net change. New retail construction moved at a snail’s pace as developers remained on the sideline. Existing conditions in the market may be playing a large part in their decision.

Following an increasing trend in vacancy rates, Greater Hartford experienced a turnaround in 2011 when the rate dropped from 13.1% to 11.8%. But that turnaround was short-lived: 2012 saw a minor bump to 12.0%, signaling that the region isn’t out of the woods yet.

Much of the increase in vacancy stems from mom-and-pop closings in the City of Hartford, which experienced a spike in unoccupied space during the study period of more than 100,000 square feet, more than twice that of any other submarket in the Greater Hartford region. As a result, the vacancy rate in the City increased from 15.0% to 18.5%. This follows a year when the city lowered its vacancy rate from 19.3% to 15.0%, which reflected the most improvement in the region. Of the 96 new vacancies in the City, only eight are more than 5,000 square feet, emphasizing the fact that smaller independent retailers are struggling to maintain viability, particularly in urban markets where unemployment runs high and discretionary dollars are at a premium.

To further underscore the fact that small stores are the greatest concern within Greater Hartford, the vacancy rates increased in only three store size categories, the ones under 10,000 square feet. The highest vacancy rate,18.9%, was recorded by the smallest tenants, those under 2,500 square feet, up from 17.0% the prior year. Tenants in the under 2,500 category represent nearly one-fifth of the retail inventory in Greater Hartford, the largest segment within the region. The other small store categories experiencing vacancy rate increases were the 2,500-4,999 square foot segment, increasing from 12.8% to 14.5%, and the 5,000-9,999 square foot category, increasing from 14.2% to 14.9%.

The full report contains much more detailed information on these categories and more. Stay tuned!
Bob Sheehan, Vice President of Research
BSheehan@KeyPointPartners.com

The KeyPoint Report examining the retail real estate marketplace for Greater Hartford, Connecticut, with a focus on changes between June 1, 2010 and June 1, 2011, a 12-month span. This report provides an analysis of changes in the region's retail activity and examines supply, vacancy and absorption, retailer activity, and market composition by store size and retail categories. The Greater Hartford market includes 26 cities and towns and represents more than 835 square miles and approximately 801,500 persons, equating to 22.2% of the Connecticut total population. The KeyPoint Report for Eastern Massachusetts/Greater Boston has been released. The KeyPoint Report for Southern New Hampshire will be released this month.

In today's retail real estate community, unlocking value means providing the best possible information. Reliable market information is the essence of shopping center success and retail profitability. KeyPoint Partners provides customized research ranging from preliminary desktop assessments to comprehensive evaluations which integrate field investigation and quantitative analysis for a variety of retail location and store types. The heart of our research superiority is GRIID™, which tracks supply, vacancy and occupancy, population shifts, demographics, and marketplace trends for close to 260 million square feet of retail properties and nearly 60,000 retailers and tenants in key markets in our territory. We use this information in mapping and comparative analysis applications.

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