Southern New Hampshire Industrial Overview
With a statewide unemployment rate of 2.7 percent, New Hampshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and is well below the national unemployment rate of 4.4 percent. The New Hampshire labor market has continued to tighten, with unemployment having dropped 0.2 percentage points since third quarter of last year. Employment gains have not been seen in two traditionally industrial sectors: trade, transportation & utilities or manufacturing. Employment in these sectors has remained relatively flat year-over-year, at -0.4 percent and 0.6 percent growth respectively.
Year-to-date industrial absorption was pushed up to 623,485 square feet by continued positive absorption in the third quarter. The three largest submarkets — Nashua, Manchester, and Portsmouth —made up the majority of that absorption, while two of the smaller submarkets — Concord and Bedford — are the only ones experiencing negative year-to-date absorption.
The largest new lease of the fourth quarter of 2017 was Bensonwood Woodworking’s lease of more than 100,000 square feet of space at 25 Production Avenue in Keene. The space will be used mainly for manufacturing purposes.
On the capital markets front, the largest transaction of the quarter was the purchase of 55 and 85 Mechanic Street, a 119,000-square-foot multi-tenant mill building in Lebanon, by Rivermill Commercial Center for $8.2 million. Other sales of note include 472 Amherst Street in Nashua, a 98,595-square-foot single-story, multi-tenant flex building that sold to Pinnacle Properties, a Massachusetts investor, for $6.6 million; and 37 Executive Drive, a 34,244-square-foot single-story industrial building that sold to a user, Granite State Plastics, for $3.2 million.
The outlook for the Southern New Hampshire industrial market remains positive. As last-mile warehousing becomes increasingly significant for e-commerce companies we expect to see Southern New Hampshire become a competitive location for companies looking to access Boston and the surrounding area, but without the costs associated with being south of the state border. Combined with a strong economy and real estate fundamentals, Southern New Hampshire industrial should continue to strengthen.
— By Travis Crocker, research analyst, Cushman & Wakefield. This article first appeared in the December 2017 issue of Northeast Real Estate Business magazine.