Report: Vaccines fueling stability, growth in central Arkansas commercial real estate market

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 751 views 

With more COVID-19 vaccines available, an Arkansas commercial real estate firm says more retailers are re-opening and expanding their spaces in central Arkansas’ commercial real estate market.

A new report out Wednesday (April 28) by Little Rock-based firm Colliers International Arkansas said lease rates in central Arkansas hadn’t changed much and even decreased in most submarkets.

“Though many smaller businesses are staying the same, we still see growth in national retail tenants,” the report said. “With vaccination numbers continuing to rise daily, the re-opening and expanding of retail has started to increase.”

Vacancy rates decreased or stayed the same across the board from the fourth quarter of 2020 to 2021. In the past 12 months, most average lease rates have increased in the industrial and office submarkets. However, half of the retail submarkets have seen decreased average lease rates.

Office vacancy rates have been on a downward trend the past two quarters, the report said. There have been fewer long-term lease renewals, but landlords have still been able to sign leases.

“Corporations seem to be retaining office space while employees begin to return to the office,” Collier said. “Until the COVID/vaccine situation stabilizes, expect continued short-term lease renewals and some volatility in the overall Little Rock office market.”

In the industrial sector, Colliers officials say owners are becoming more confident.

“Speculative buildings are breaking ground this quarter, and Amazon’s new facility at the Galloway exit in North Little Rock is well on its way to completion,” the report said. “These buildings are adding more available space to a market that has been lacking and enabling owners to add to their portfolios.”

Colliers, which also has an office in Rogers, said 2020 had the second-highest multifamily sales volume in the past decade in central Arkansas. There are plenty of new units under construction that will be available this year.

“The demand is strong for industrial, multifamily, banking and senior living projects,” Colliers said. “But material pricing has gone up and has caused either delays or developers to switch materials to meet deadlines. We’re hoping the material prices level out before the end of the year.

For a more detailed analysis of each submarket in central Arkansas’ commercial real estate market, click here for a PDF.