The Paramus-based real estate brokerage firm Goldstein Group attributes the continuing decline of retail vacancy rates in New Jersey to the state’s strong demographics in its latest survey of the retail landscape.
According to the report, retail vacancy has dropped from 8.12 percent in January to 8.06 percent at the beginning of September. Of the more than 96 million square feet of space in the 22 primary retail markets, 7.7 million square feet are vacant.
“Compared to other regions of the country, New Jersey is doing better than expected, with other states continuing to report retail vacancy rates from 10 (percent) to 15 percent,” said Chuck Lanyard, president of the Goldstein Group, in an announcement of the survey results.
The dense population of the state, as well as its ranking as the second-wealthiest state in per-household income, makes New Jersey attractive to retailers that have never entered the Garden State market before.
The Goldstein Group reports increased activity in both small and large square footage leases, ranging from independent stores to big-box corporations.
While retail vacancies are unlikely to return to a pre-recession low of 5.21 percent soon, the increased activity in New Jersey has stabilized the market.
“Things have improved somewhat over the last year, (though) the historic recession will impact New Jersey’s retail vacancies for many years to come,” Lanyard said. “Many landlords are struggling to fill their spaces, but compared to the very slow periods of 2009 and 2010, we are seeing spaces gradually filling up.”
Spaces surrounding Route 17, in Mahwah and Ramsey; Route 3, in Clifton; and Route 23, in Wayne and Butler, showed the lowest rates of vacancy in the state.
“Although retailers will continue to move forward cautiously in opening new stores, it is indeed happening,” Lanyard said.