This article has been featured by the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) and can be also viewed on their website.
According to the PA Manufacturers Association, manufacturing and its affiliated businesses contribute $11 Billion to the economy in south-central Pennsylvania alone, providing our community with an estimated 110,000 jobs. This industry is a huge part of our local economy and its growth impacts the growth of many other businesses.
It should come as good news that the demand for manufacturing space is on the rise. Central PA is considered one of the premier “Big Box” industrial and multi-tenant logistics markets because of the area’s affordable cost of living, raw land and non-union labor. Additionally, the governmental approvals required for warehousing and distribution are comparatively easy and straightforward compared to other states or regions
As for location, this area is a central hub where products, after being manufactured, can be easily distributed throughout the northeast United States (via I-81, I-83, and I-78). Central PA also offers easy access to Port of Baltimore, MD and Port of Elizabeth, NJ and is within a one-day drive to 40% of the nation’s population.
For businesses who need to manufacture and distribute their goods far and wide, Central Pennsylvania is an obvious choice for setting up shop. No matter your particular business or industry, this growth matters to you too! It’s important to understand these trends and the various ways they will likely impact your business. Let’s take a look.
Current Market Trends Worth Noting:
Six more manufacturing buildings entered the market in the last quarter alone, giving us the highest RBA we have seen in more than two years at 62,988,707 square feet. Among this space, 60,527,229 square feet are currently occupied which showcases the high demand for manufacturing space in Central Pennsylvania.
Net absorption has also shown tremendous improvement since the 2013. Just two short years ago, net absorption was in the red by hundreds of thousands of square feet. The lowest point occurred in 2013 Q2 when net absorption was negative 403,861 square feet. The very next quarter, net absorption shot up to a positive 598,898 square feet. Though there has been some fluctuation in the market since, we have remained mostly in the black and currently have a net absorption of 30,468 square feet.
Additionally, Central Pennsylvania’s vacancy rate for manufacturing space has shown significant improvement from the 5.6% we saw in 2013 Q3. A steady decrease has brought this rate down nearly two whole percentage points to the 3.9% we see today.
Finally, the average rental rate has declined approximately $.20/SF since 2013, but has stabilized at approximately $3.50/SF in 2014 and 2015.
What this means to the Central Pennsylvania region:
To the many businesses that are directly and indirectly impacted by the manufacturing industry, the current real estate market is a positive indicator that other markets will follow this favorable trend. Growing manufacturing companies produce more jobs which spur growth in almost every other aspect of the economy from office and residential space to restaurants and shopping centers.
To the 110,000+ people who are employed by the Central Pennsylvania manufacturing industry, the market shows positive signs that these businesses continue to grow and also offers the potential of even more manufacturing businesses being drawn to the area.
Overall, Central Pennsylvania maintains its reputation for being a hub for manufacturing and distribution. The industrial real estate market, specifically for manufacturing space, reflects the strong and steady growth would we expect to see in this region.