Every year ICSC RECon: The Global Retail Real Estate Convention draws thousands of retail owners, tenants, developers and other affiliated companies to the trade show floor while serving as a platform for the major CRE brokers to make deals and discuss national and regional market trends in retail. With our current retail property listings in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, the ICSC RECon events in Las Vegas and regionally provide access to the collective wisdom of major market players like CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones LaSalle, Cassidy Turley, Colliers and others.  This blog will look at trends in the three regions that we cover: New Haven/Fairfield Counties in Connecticut; New York Metro; and Greater Boston. Connecticut In lower Fairfield County, we are currently marketing several un-anchored multi-tenant retail properties in Post Road (US1) locations at 6.5% – 7.5% cap rates. Connecticut’s New Haven and Fairfield Counties will enjoy higher than average employment gains this year.  Strong competition for limited retail space will enable operators to lift rents, and vacancy will dive below 5% this year as expanding merchants move to fill existing space.  Buyers will be drawn to multi-tenant retail centers and unanchored strip centers as anchored retail and single-tenant properties continue to trade at compressed cap rates.  The majority of new space coming online in the submarket will be new mixed-use development, including a large retail component in downtown Norwalk. New York In the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, we are currently marketing a pharmacy-anchored multi-tenant retail property at 6.5% cap pricing, with strong competition among qualified buyers. New York is holding the attention of retailers and developers as the strengthening economy in the country’s largest metro area is underpinned by record tourism levels and a strengthening job market in the city’s growing technology, financial services, professional and business services sectors.  This increase in jobs and rising incomes are attracting new residents to the city, yielding elevated retail spending.  This in turn is escalating restaurant, apparel and convenience store merchants to look to expand their operations, further escalating development activity.  This intense investor interest is exceeding the supply of available listings in the New York City retail market. Buyers looking to stay in front of future rises in interest rates are generating multiple offers on the scarce available listings.  In particular, properties close to the city’s numerous large-scale developments that are underway are attracting heightened attention from investors seeking long-term gains.  Rising prices and a limited selection of value-add plays are pushing opportunistic investors into the outer Boroughs and lower Westchester. Boston In Abington, MA, south of the 128, we are currently marketing an unanchored multi-tenant retail property at 6.75% cap pricing, with the prospect of immediate rent growth as existing leases come to term. The Boston retail market will advance this year, supported by healthy job gains, household formation and relatively limited construction of retail property.  Employment growth in high-paying sectors is fueling household formation and offering potential growth opportunities for retailers.  Still, overall retail construction is well below pre-recession levels, making it a challenge for retailers to find available space as the area maintains a vacancy rate that is less than 5%, and operators will be encouraged to lift rents this year. Strong demographics and steadily improving operations are attracting capital and sustaining local interest in Boston’s retail assets.  The number of properties sold rose over the past year, but with buyers outnumbering sellers, property values are rising and cap rates are compressing.  Opportunistic buyers are venturing outside the Route 128 loop in search of small strip centers with initial yields beyond the 6% range typically found closer in to the Boston Metro. With offices in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, our investment sales teams are well positioned to support commercial real estate investors looking at opportunities in the retail market across the region.  If you’re a property owner or an investor in the mid-market segment and want to discuss this blog or your investment goals and how we can help you achieve them, please give us a call. Read more