Dollar General and other discounters plan to open more than 1,200 stores in 2014.

CALABASAS, CA—Getting more from the same or smaller space is a top priority for retailers in the net lease space this year, although how they achieve that objective varies from company to company. Some are looking at scaled-down floor plans, some are making moves that lead to store closings and a few others, notably in the dollar-store segment, have their eye on expansion. What’s true across the board is that best-in-class assets are much sought-after by investors, says a report from Marcus & Millichap‘s National Retail Group.

“Quality net-leased listings will remain in high demand throughout the year, while rising interest rates could begin to dull investors’ appetite at the bottom of the market,” according to the report. The perceived safety of many net-leased assets has encouraged retiring Baby Boomers “to exchange out of management-intensive apartment properties and into net-leased assets secured under long-term leases.”

Accordingly, cap rates for the best of the best in net lease have moved very little in the past several months. On the other hand, the report notes, “Properties with less-creditworthy tenants, meanwhile, could have fewer buyers as rising interest rates expand options for investors seeking elevated returns and the cost of SBA loans increases.”

Even with the specter of higher rates, though, certainly the capital is far easier to come by. “The availability of debt expanded last year and should rise in 2014,” writes William Hughes, SVP with Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp. “For institutional-grade assets, CMBS remains a viable option for investors. Last year, CMBS ac