Mall Vacancy Rate Best its Been in 28 years, Report Says

by Joan Verdon

Construction of malls and new retail space screeched to a halt during the recession, and now, as a result of that, along with an improving economy, U.S. malls and shopping centers are enjoying their lowest vacancy rates in years, according to a report released Monday. The report, by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF), found that the mall occupancy rate was 94.2 percent at the end of 2014, the best level since the fourth quarter of 1987. Shopping centers – a category that includes all non-mall properties – ended 2014 with a 92.7 percent occupancy rate, the highest rate since the second quarter of 2008. Westfield Garden State Plaza, the state’s largest mall, had an occupancy rate at the end of 2014 that was better than the national average. As reported by its parent company, Westfield Corp., The Plaza was 97.1 percent leased at the end of 2014. Its 2014 sales per square foot, at $776, were 63 percent higher than the national average of $475.

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