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by Sandy Paul

Washington, DC – The Washington metropolitan area has the lowest shopping center vacancy rate among large markets. Overall vacancy for all types of shopping centers was 4.9 percent in the region at the end of the first three months of 2013, down from 5.8 percent one year earlier. This compares favorably to the national rate of 8.9 percent at March 2013.

The communities within the region’s core, including the District, Arlington and Alexandria, held a 3.8 percent vacancy rate for all types of shopping centers at the end of the first quarter. The core holds a lower vacancy rate compared to submarkets located within the inner and outer suburbs. Although the outer suburbs collectively hold the highest vacancy rate of the three sectors, at 6.2 percent at March, this area experienced the steepest decline in vacancy over the past year. Although tenants continue to show preference for retail space located closer to the center of this metropolitan area, demand remains steady for well-located space in the outer suburbs. Of note, the decline in vacancy within the core was in large part because of a series of smaller leases.

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