APARTMENT MARKETS BUCKING THE TREND

In select markets, rapidly rising prices of single-family homes and development constraints are helping keep renters in their apartments and vacancies below 5%. Philadelphia leads the pack with a nearly rock-bottom 2.6% apartment vacancy rate forecast for 2003, compared with a national vacancy rate of 7%.

INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH

Although the national industrial vacancy rate jumped from 9.5% at year-end 2002 to 10.1% in the first quarter of 2003, several markets bucked the trend. At 3.5%, Los Angeles boasts by far the lowest industrial vacancy rate in the U.S. due to owner-user purchases of small buildings in the 10,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. range, reports Grubb & Ellis.

NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL MARKET VACANCY RATE
Market 1Q 2003
Los Angeles 3.4%
Kansas City 7.5%
Fresno, Calif. 7.8%
Philadelphia 7.9%
Riverside-San Bernardino 8.0%
United States 10.1%
Source: Grubb & Ellis


RETAIL INVESTORS READY FOR RISK

Food and drug centers — considered one of the “safer” investments in the retail sector — remain extremely popular, but an improving economy in the second half of 2003 will encourage investors to purchase riskier assets, predicts Marcus & Millichap.

Retail Investment Sales Trends
Share of Total Dollar Volume for Year Ending 1Q 2003
Power Center 4%
Regional Center 16%
Strip Center 20%
Single-Tenant 25%
Neighborhood/Community Center 35%
Source: Marcus & Millichap


SOAKING UP OFFICE SPACE

For office absorption, the West Coast tops the charts. Orange County, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz., were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in CoStar's ranking of U.S. office market absorption. Baltimore was a distant third at just over 500,000 sq. ft. of absorption.

IN SEARCH OF A BARGAIN

Bargain-hunters are flocking to value-oriented retail destinations. Since 1999, the percentage of households that made at least one annual purchase at a supercenter or dollar store has risen significantly. Meanwhile, traditional mass merchandisers and convenience stores have been losing customers.

Percent of U.S. Households That Purchased Any Items at the Following Shopping Venues:
Venues 1999 2002
Grocery Store 100% 100%
Mass Merchandiser 95% 92%
Drugstore 87% 86%
Supercenter 52% 63%
Dollar Store 52% 62%
Warehouse Store 50% 52%
Convenience Store/Gas Station 50% 46%
Source: ACNielsen