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SEATTLE, WA-As previously reported by GlobeSt.com, prior to September 11 retail properties had been faring well despite a slumping economy. With a caveat from Colliers International retail specialist Erin Conger that recent events are likely not fully factored here, the overall retail vacancy rate dropped to 2.7% — a drop of 2.7 percentage points from the 5.4% rate measured last fall.

This, says Colliers, “shows the strongest overall vacancy numbers in three years.” The good news is heightened by the fact that under-performing shopping centers (with more than 10% vacancies) plummeted during the period from 11% to 2% while the number of fully-leased centers spiked sharply from 32% last fall to a current 57%.

Other noteworthy points in the report include 2.9 percentage-point drop in anchor-space vacancies to a 1% — and shop-space vacancies falling from 8.2% in the previous survey to 5%.

Capping the good news was the $0.66 per sf average increase in asking rental rates, with tenant charges rising $0.18 per sf. Over the course of a year, Colliers says total rentals increased $0.84 per sf to an annual rate of $23.70 per sf, representing a 3.5% increase.

Puget Sound now holds its breath in anticipation of the holiday season, which will determine the true strength of its retail real estate market.

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