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Reis: US retail vacancy rate remains flat in Q1 amid low construction

The neighborhood and community shopping center vacancy rate in the U.S. remained flat at 9.9% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to both the corresponding year-ago period and the previous quarter, despite reported store closures among major brands, Reis reported.

The flat vacancy rate was attributed to very low construction activity, with the first quarter seeing only 796,000 square feet of new space added, the lowest level since 2011. The fourth quarter of 2016 saw the delivery of roughly 2.6 million square feet of new space.

Net absorption during the period came in at roughly 1.25 million square feet, down from about 3.48 million square feet in the previous quarter.

Retail asking rents inched up 0.3% from the fourth quarter of 2016 and rose 1.6% from year-ago levels. Effective rents grew 0.4% quarter on quarter and 1.7% year over year.

Reis said the full impact of the store closures is yet to be felt as a number of the marked stores are still open, adding that the "the demise of retail real estate has been somewhat overstated."