As the specter of Black Friday and now Cyber Monday kick off the formal 2011 holiday shopping season, a new report suggests that retail real estate has a fairly bright future in the months and years ahead.

In fact, the U.S. retail real estate sector’s availability rate is expected to drop to 12.7% by the end of 2011, according to new analysis from CBRE Econometric Advisors (CBRE-EA).

CBRE-EA forecasts that the ongoing pick-up in retail sales combined with limited supply will slowly decrease the national availability rate for neighborhood and community centers.

(NOTE: Availability is space that is actively being marketed and available for tenant build-out within 12 months.)

According to CBRE-EA's upcoming Annual Trends 2011 report, retail demand for space in 2011 will be positive for the first time since 2007. However, the increase is expected to be modest and high availability will keep pressure on rents until 2012, when retail center owners should finally have enough momentum to increase rents.

However, historic rent growth figures (above 3%) will not return until 2013. As of third-quarter 2010, retail availability was 13.0%.

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