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It’s been a stellar year thus far in the Denver-area retail market, where rising rental rates appear to be the only downside to the economic surge.

In the first six months, the market has absorbed just over 1.2 million sf while the vacancy rate has dropped to 5.51% in comparison to 5.84% a year ago, according to a report by the Frederick Ross Co., a Denver-based commercial real estate firm. Slightly more than 1 million sf has been constructed, with only 79,000 sf remaining to be leased.

Large strip centers are the main catalyst behind the strength of the market, according to the report. Strip centers have absorbed more than 1 million sf in a sector, of which 900,000 sf was new space. Property sales made a strong showing, with most carrying a capitalization rate of 10% or lower. Through the end of June, 10 transactions of $1 million or more each, mostly single-tenant buildings and small strip centers, have been completed. Despite the hardiness, rentals have remained flat because new sf supplies are stabilizing the rates, according to Ross.

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