Moody’s: American Malls Post Record 11.4 Percent Vacancy in First Quarter

NEW YORK CITY — U.S. regional and superregional malls posted a record vacancy rate of 11.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up 90 basis points from 10.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a new report from New York City-based Moody’s Analytics.

The total U.S. retail vacancy rate registered 10.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up 40 basis points from 10.2 percent during the same period a year ago, according to Moody’s Analytics. On a nationwide basis, retail vacancy was relatively unchanged between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

In formulating the report, Moody’s Analytics sourced data from 77 U.S. metros, finding that 40 of those markets experienced declines in effective rent growth. However, the report noted that this data actually reflects improvement; of the 77 metros surveyed in the fourth quarter of last year, 60 reported declining rental rates.

The average effective rent in the U.S. retail sector clocked in at $18.58 per square foot in the first quarter of 2021, down from $18.87 per square foot on a year-over-year basis.



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