ORLANDO-According to a recent study by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co., there is bad news, good news and a bevy of uncertainties for Orlando’s retail property market in the coming year. The firm says tourism and in-migration will play a large part in determining how the Central Florida area fares in the near future.

Despite a high demand for luxury retail complexes in the recent past, retail construction starts are expected slow slightly from last year’s numbers. Last year, the area saw four million sf break ground. On a more positive note, average sales values are expected to increase 3% in the next year. But what Marcus & Millichap cannot predict is how tourism–particularly in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks–will affect the market.

Retail vacancy currently is riding at about 9%. “Central Florida has the luxury of continued population growth without relying completely on job creation,” Steven Ekovich, Marcus & Millichap’s regional manager, said in a press release. “While the tourism industry has experienced some difficult times, the population shifts that have tilted the country to the south will continue to fuel the region’s economy.

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