Three Things to Know About Florida Retail
Miami-Dade's getting a lot of investor attention when it comes to retail, and the rest of the state offers investors some pretty sweet properties. (It's a scientific fact that shopping increases sunlight.)
1) Occupancy Rates Are Up Statewide
The lack of new retail development in most major Florida markets coupled with an increased demand has resulted in absorption of most vacant anchor boxes. (So if you thought vacant anchor boxes were a good place to hide your things, pick them up fast.) Fully leased properties are in high demand. For example, in a deal recently brokered by the Shopping Center Group, Orlando Commercial Center was 100% leased at the time of its sale--the first time the property had been fully leased since its construction in 2008. With occupancy rates up, a renewed sense of optimism has infused the retail market, says Shopping Center Group investment sales director Anthony Blanco, based in Miami. He's snapped with his family this summer in Italy.
2) Appetite is Back
Retail investors are back to the market and hungry for yield. Not only that, the investor pool has grown substantially compared with the last cycle, with offshore investors pursuing and acquiring listings in most major markets. (Sounds like an influx of possible Marlins fans, and boy do they need 'em.) In fact, the Starbucks-anchored Orlando Commercial Center was acquired by a private investor all the way from Argentina.
3) Rents Are Right
Unlike the previous real estate cycle that saw escalating rental rates beyond any level of sustainability, Anthony says, current rents are generally level with new market rents and, just as important, seem to align with retail sales volumes. In another deal brokered by his company, the Publix-anchored Banana River Square, average rents were about $14/SF at the time of sale, which aligns with retail rents in the Cocoa Beach-Melbourne market, he explains. (We're caught up on the idea of what a banana river would look like.)