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Industrial Leasing Deflates As Air Leaks Out Of E-Commerce Boom


After a run-up that will go down in the commercial real estate history books, industrial properties in the U.S. might be finally coming to the end of their heyday, according to Cushman & Wakefield data reflecting market activity at the end of 2022.

End users leased 132M SF of industrial space nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2022, Cushman's report said, a drop of 28.2% from Q3.

Industrial leasing totaled 756.8M SF for the entire year, a drop of 18% compared with 2021. But on the heels of the hottest industrial market in memory, these slowdowns aren't cause for alarm, according to the firm.

“There’s just a natural kind of cooling right now,” Carolyn Salzer, Americas head of logistics and industrial research for Cushman & Wakefield, told The Wall Street Journal.

She also called the fact that 682.6M SF of industrial space is currently under construction “a concern,” especially in northeastern and western U.S. markets, where leasing has slowed the most. The pace of industrial development, however, did slow down in the fourth quarter compared with the third, according to Cushman.

The drop in industrial leasing comes after a pandemic-inspired boom, when e-commerce drove a spike in demand for warehouse and distribution space. Now that e-commerce growth has tapered off, so has that demand.

Major industrial space users are also putting space back on the market in the form of subleases.

Since the start of 2022, total available industrial sublease space has grown nearly 46%, with spaces larger than 200K SF being a major part of that trend, according to a recent report by Colliers.

Related Topics: Colliers, Cushman & Wakefield