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HOUSTON-A recently published Revac’s Shopping Center Market Survey paints a relatively bright picture of the region’s retail market. It’s definitely not all gloom and doom, Bill Forrest, Revac president, tells GlobeSt.com.

From January through June, the area overall absorbed about three million sf. According to the report, twelve out of 17 submarkets actually had positive absorption through the midyear point. The strongest submarket was the northwest, with a little more than 1.1 million sf. Second in line was the inner west, with 607,966 sf.

Five submarkets posted negative absorption, with the inner southeast leading the pack. It had a negative absorption of 105,041 sf. Second was the northeast, down 62,775 sf.

“It is important to note that when calculating absorption it is not merely a matter of finding the difference in the amount of square feet vacant from one reporting time to another,” Forrest explains. He admits he is seeing a vacancy increase, which “could indicate negative absorption at work. However, when large amounts of new space are added on the market, as was the case by midyear of 2001 (about 3.4 million sf since the 2000 close), the vacant space in those new centers cannot be counted against the absorption rate.”

According to Revac’s tallies, Harris County’s overall retail vacancy rate is 6.19 %. The number is weighted between the CBD, which has a retail vacancy rate of 1.35% and the suburban vacancy rate of 6.24%.

The Revac survey comes on the heels of one by Houston’s O’Conner & Associates that showed nearly a negative 1.2 million-sf absorption in the third quarter.

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