May 20, 2013

Retail Real Estate Continues to Gather Momentum



With many major chains opening new stores and investors showing strong
interest in retail properties, the retail real estate sector is set to
continue its recovery in the second half of 2013.

That’s the take of Hartman Simons, which represents tenants and landlords in retail
leases as well as investors in retail properties. The firm provided its
analysis as the 2013 ICSC RECon convention got underway in Las Vegas.
The retail real estate convention runs from May 19 through May 22.

Retail investment sales “have been blistering,” said Bob Simons, a
partner with the firm. “Leasing has been picking up too. Our work in
those areas is up significantly over last year and dramatically from
2009 and 2010.”

“We are very optimistic about the rest of this year,” Simons added. “I
think investment sales could become even more competitive.”

REITs and institutional investors are in hot pursuit of core assets,
such as grocery-anchored shopping centers, in major urban markets, and
the capitalization rates for the sales of those properties have
compressed to 2007 levels, Simons said. Meanwhile, individual and
pension-fund investors, in search of higher yields than the miniscule
returns offered by Treasury bonds, have been gobbling up single-tenant,
net-lease retail properties, such as drug stores and banks, across the
country, he said.

The sector is experiencing the expansion of several major retailers,
Simons said. Sporting-good chains and specialty grocers are among those
expanding aggressively, Simons said.

Unfortunately, financing can still be difficult to obtain for smaller
retailers. “Mom-and-pop tenants and local retailers are still struggling
for access to capital,” Simons said.

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