HOUSTON – Houston’s retail center market occupancy is at its highest point ever and it’s filling up fast, according to the CBRE Group.
Occupancy hit 93.4 percent at the end of the year and many prime retail centers in Houston are running 100 percent occupancy, according to a CBRE Texas Marketflash report issued this week.
Leasing is strong and a considerable amount of shopping center space was filled last year. Some 2.1 million square feet of retail space was absorbed in 2014, the highest since 2003, CBRE reported.
With 2015 population growth projected at 125,000, positive job growth and healthy single-family construction, the Houston shopping center market will remain tight this year, CBRE said.
“Frankly, I think we have a shortage of retail space,” said Eric Lestin, senior vice president of retail properties at CBRE Houston.
Houston has some 2.7 million square feet of retail space under construction, but that is not a large number considering the Houston market has 212 million square feet of space, said Lestin, a 30-year veteran in the industry.
Lestin said he considers the Houston market to be “almost fully leased” currently.
A number of grocery-anchored centers are under construction in Houston, including a Whole Foods in The Woodlands. Several mixed-use projects are under development including the River Oaks District, LaCenterra in Katy and Creekside Park Village in Spring.
Strong home sales continue to support the retail market. Revised numbers from the Houston Association of Realtors, report 4,874 single-family homes were sold in January, up 2.6 percent from the 4,752 homes sold in January 2013.