Report: U.S. centers gain in occupied space in Q4; asking rents average $38.92 per square foot

New York City -- Shopping centers in the United States had their first net gain in occupied space in four years amid a rise in consumer confidence and job growth, according real estate research firm Reis Inc., Bloomberg reported.

Neighborhood and community shopping shoppers saw a net increase of 3.18 million sq. ft. in the fourth quarter, the most since 10.1 million sq. ft. in the last three months of 2007.

“While this represents welcome news, we remain wary about pronouncing a turnaround until we observe a few more quarters of improvement,” Victor Calanog, head of research, Reis, said in the report.

The fourth quarter tends to be the strongest period of the year for retail leasing.

Vacancies at shopping centers averaged 11% in the fourth quarter, consistent with the previous three months and up from 10.9% in the year-ago period, the report said.

At regional and super-regional malls, asking rents rose to an average of $38.92 per sq. ft. from $38.81 in the third quarter and $38.79 a year earlier, according to Reis, Bloomberg reported.

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