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TAMPA, FL-Single-tenant, net-lease retail investors are cautiously waiting on the sidelines to see in which direction property sales prices in their industry will flow this year, according to a new industry analysis by the local office of Marcus & Millichap.

“Perhaps the reasonable bet, going forward, is that prices will rise and volume will pick up, given the desire of investors for assets with stable cash flows,” says Steven M. Ekovich, the firm’s regional manager in Central Florida. “As the first quarter ended, single-tenant, net-lease investors were uncertain whether 2005 will resemble last year or 2003.”

More than $211 million in single-tenant assets traded in 2003 with the median price rising to $172 per sf. However, in 2004, dollar volume “was about the same but prices remained flat due to lower quality assets trading,” Ekovich says.

He expects drugstore pricing should lead an overall increase in single-tenant asset pricing in the near term. But last year, the median price for drugstore properties fell 2.6% to $289 per sf as few premium assets came to market. This year, however, median prices could be on the rise again, Ekovich notes. For example, a CVS pharmacy in a fast-growing affluent area of Tampa was recently listed for $361 per sf or a 6.5% cap rate.

In the overall Tampa retail market, a 3.3% increase in retail sales to about $41 billion is expected this year, Ekovich says. New construction completions will increase 6.7% this year to 1.6 million sf with most of the new supply being single-tenant properties. Metro area retail vacancy is expected to fall 10 basis points in 2005 to 6.9%. Asking rents will rise 2.2% to $16.57 per sf while effective rents (less concessions) will gain 2% to $15.05 per sf.

Multi-tenant dollar volume sales are on track to surpass $400 million for the second year in a row “as investors find solid values and good asset appreciation prospects in the Tampa metro area,” Ekovich says.

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