The Arizona economy has marked some improvement and is much better than the public perceives, according to the Third Quarter 2010 Economic Outlook released by the Forecasting Project at the University of Arizona.
However, the report also states that will it will take some time for many Arizonans to recognize the improvement in the state’s economy and to repair the damage done by the recession. Estimates are that it will be 2013 or early 2014 before all the damage that occurred during the recession is repaired. The long-term forecast is for nation-leading growth to return to Arizona.
There was also some positive news in the CB Richard Ellis Third Quarter 2010 Analysis of Metro Phoenix Office, Industrial and Retail Markets. Highlights included:
Office: After 12 consecutive quarterly increases, the office market vacancy rate remained unchanged from the second quarter, at 25.9 percent. While the full service average asking lease rate for office space has leveled off in 2010, it has fallen 12.5 percent in the past two years, from $25.44 per square foot in third quarter 2008 to $22.25 per square foot today.
Absorption for the year is 147,610 square feet, with gross activity of 4.3 million square feet. This compares with negative absorption of 897,916 square feet and gross activity of 2.9 million square feet at the same time last year. An increasing supply of office sublease space continues to impact the absorption of direct space. There was 2.2 million square feet of available sublease space at the end of the third quarter compared to 2 million square feet one year ago.
Industrial: Through the first three quarters of 2010, the Metro Phoenix industrial market had positive absorption of 2.6 million square feet. Leading the way was the Southwest submarket, with more than 3.4 million square feet of positive absorption year-to-date. The industrial market vacancy rate decreased for the second consecutive quarter, dropping from 16.4 percent at the end of the first quarter to 15.3 percent today. One year ago the vacancy rate was 15.8 percent.
The net direct average asking lease rate for existing industrial product remained relatively unchanged during the past three months, ending the third quarter at $0.54 per square foot. However, in the last year the rate has dropped 5.3 percent. While there is 619,800 square feet of industrial product under construction, it consists entirely of build-to-suit projects. No speculative developments broke ground in the third quarter. This trend is expected to continue due to the challenging financial market and the glut of space.
Retail: The retail market experienced positive absorption in the third quarter, posting 83,491 square feet. This was the first time in seven consecutive quarters that the metro area reported more retail space was gained than lost. Vacancy increased slightly in the third quarter, from 12.2 percent to 12.3 percent. In comparison, the retail vacancy rate one year ago was 10.9 percent.
The average net asking lease rate for existing retail centers has declined 9.4 percent since the end of 2009, dropping from $17.33 per square foot to $15.71 per square foot at the end of the third quarter. The large supply of available big box space continues to weigh heavily on the Phoenix area retail market. Currently there are 303 spaces greater than 10,000 square feet, totaling 8.2 million square feet. The majority, 34 percent, can be found in the Mesa/Chandler/Gilbert submarket, with 2.8 million square feet of space.