July 10, 2019
Weitzman recently released its mid-year metrics for retail throughout Texas. The sector continues positive in Austin; Matt Epple, senior vice president and director of brokerage with Weitzman’s Austin office, provided more color to the numbers.
Q. What is the Austin retail market like today?
A. Austin is a market that has experienced closings from Toy “R” Us, Sears and others and still reports excellent occupancy of 95.4%. We continue to see vacancies find new tenancies, because in a market as tight as ours, a vacancy to retailers represents an opportunity. Conservative construction remains firmly in line, with demand with new projects offering a mix of food, fun, fitness and services, often in walkable mixed-use environments, all of which are Internet-resistant.
Q. So, how does the current market seem, compared to a decade ago?
A. Much, much stronger. In 2009, the market’s occupancy was approximately 91%, and new construction was adding 1.4 million square feet. Today, occupancy is several percentage points higher, with construction down by more than half. Plus, we offer retailers an economy with strong job and population growth, so the demand is much higher than a decade ago, when we were dealing with a national recession.
Q. How does the remainder of 2019 look?
A. We expect the market to end on a high point, and even to see a bump in occupancy as some of the available boxes get absorbed. We’re in a market with extremely low unemployment rate (2.2% as of May 2019), strong single-and multifamily housing market, and great investor interest. We’ve also got an incredibly active restaurant market, and that’s adding excitement to our centers throughout the metro area.
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