Vacancy rates for the total industrial market in Central Pennsylvania are the lowest they have been since third quarter 2012 at 7.7 percent. This is a 0.6 percent drop from last quarter’s vacancy rate of 8.3 percent. The Central Pennsylvania flex market finished the year with a 9.7 percent vacancy rate and the warehouse market at 7.6 percent.
This decline in vacancy rates reflects a combination of expected continued economic growth and positive fundamentals driving the U.S. industrial sector. Lower gas and electric costs in the U.S. compared to developing economies is leading to manufacturing being “on-shored.” Also, an uptick in e-commerce is increasing the amount of goods stored in warehouses as opposed to bricks-and-mortar retail stores.
As a result, these declining vacancy rates have stirred up a lot of real estate action in the fourth quarter. Currently, 424,000 square feet of industrial property are under construction. YTD Net Absorption for Central Pennsylvania is 1,852,412 square feet with YTD Deliveries at 720,000 square feet.
First Logistics Center @ I-83 was listed number one of the top eight YTD Deliveries in the Philadelphia Industrial Market. This site is a 708,000 square-foot state-of-the art distribution/warehouse facility located in York, Pennsylvania that delivered in fourth quarter 2013.
This quarter’s list of Top Under Construction Properties included a site at 600 Independence Avenue, Mechanicsburg, PA. This project is set to be completed in second quarter 2014 and will have an RBA of 24,000 square feet.
Just down the road, at 500 Independence Avenue, is the location of one of this quarter’s Select Top Sales. This 342,498 square foot industrial space sold to Duke Realty Corporation for $22,567,200 in August of 2013. But the largest sale to take place in the Central Pennsylvania market was Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Distribution in York which sold for $31,671,000 in March 2013.
In total, 4 of the 9 Select Top Sales between October 2012 and December 2013 took place in the Harrisburg submarket, specifically York and Mechanicsburg, totaling $101,246,771 in property. Additionally, 7 of the top 10 Industrial Leases, based on leased square footage for deals signed in 2013, also took place in the Harrisburg East or Harrisburg West submarkets.
After having reached their lowest rate since 2011 during second quarter 2013, Quoted Rental Rates continue to rise slightly to $3.89 per square foot per year.
Fourth quarter 2013 closed on an active real estate market for the industrial sector with decreasing vacancy rates and increasing construction. One possible catalyst for this trend is the devastating Japanese tsunami and Thai floods that highlighted the dangers of thinly stretched supply chains. Entire plants had to be shut down because of inadequate inventory. As a result, companies are moving away from the “just in time” supply chain management, where companies keep only enough inventory on hand to meet immediate needs and are instead actively expanding their industrial and warehouse spaces.
The information in this report is based on CoStar’s Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report.