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DETROIT-Detroit dropped six spots in the rankings of the recently released itsNational Retail Index, because, according to Marcus & Millichap RealEstate Investment Brokerage Co., the Motor City retail showed only marginalimprovement in market fundamentals compared to the other markets surveyed.

The index is a snapshot analysis that ranks 38 retail markets based on aseries of 12-month forward-looking supply and demand indicators.Detroit ranked No. 36 in the NRI standings, down six places from theprevious year. Although the Detroit retail market is near the bottom of thesurvey, the area’s vacancy rate is one of the lowest among major Midwesternmarkets, keeping investor interest high and elevating sales prices.

The Washington, D.C., market topped the NRI for the second year in a row.The top-ranked markets are typically characterized by low vacancies,prospects for rental growth, limited new development, and solid employmentand household growth.

High vacancy rates and a lackluster economic outlook contributed toCleveland’s ranking (No. 38) at the bottom of the index.

Detroit’s poor retail showing rank was because of a number of reasons, saidMarcus & Millichap officials, including higher unemployment, a vacancyincrease to 8.4% and rent increasing 1% to $15.55 per sf. However, the company said investor demand for Detroit retailproperties remains strong, driving prices up and pushing cap rates toall-time lows.

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