This post originally appeared on tBL member Michael Kushner's blog Omni Realty Group and is republished with permission. Find out how to syndicate your content with theBrokerList.

Net absorption falls by 3.5 million square-feet with more space to come!

In the first quarter of 2017, the Central Pennsylvania industrial real estate market* gained more than two million square-feet of new space. Now into the second quarter, the rate at which we’re adding new space has slowed, but the market is still trying to absorb what was dumped into it earlier this year. As a result, net absorption fell into the negatives, decreasing by more than 3.5 million square-feet from last quarter. The vacancy rate also rose by more than a whole percentage point. Most interestingly, the quoted rental rate actually rose by a penny, placing it back near the recent record high we saw at the end of 2016.

How does this all tie together and what does it mean for the future of Central Pennsylvania’s industrial real estate market? Take a look!

SELECT YEAR-TO-DATE DELIVERIES

As far as new deliveries, Q2 slowed considerably from what we experienced in Q1. Within the first quarter of 2017, Central Pennsylvania received five new industrial properties, totaling a combined 2,244,371 square-feet of space. Now in the second quarter, just three new buildings were completed and added a total of 1349,697 square-feet to the market. Two of these buildings ranked among CoStar’s top 15 select-year-to-date deliveries. Goodman Logistics Center, Building 2 in Carlisle was completed this quarter, adding 938,828 square-feet of unleased space to the market. The other building, located at 53 Commerce Drive in Mechanicsburg, delivered 340,869 square-feet of space, which is 40% occupied.

SELECT TOP UNDER CONSTRUCTION PROPERTIES

Looking forward, Central Pennsylvania stands to gain a considerable amount of new industrial space in the coming year. Five properties are under construction and are set to be delivered later this year and into 2018. The largest is located at 100 Fry Drive in Mechanicsburg with 1.1 million square-feet of fully preleased space that will be completed next quarter. The second largest is Orchard Business Park II, Building A, in York with 780,000 square-feet of unleased space that will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017. Additionally, the former Quaker Oats manufacturing and distribution facility, located at 485 St. Johns Church Road in Hampden Township, is being renovated into a smaller, modern warehouse facility. The renovation and expansion work will be done by April 2018, and the new warehouse section will be done by next July.

SELECT TOP SALES

Within the last two months, three buildings in Carlisle have sold, totaling an exchange of 2,222,121 square-feet of industrial space. The largest is the Ames True Temper Building with 1,226,525 square-feet which sold for $90,150,000 to Clarion Partners. Located at 1 Ames Drive in Carlisle is 595,000 square-feet of industrial space that sold to UPS for $55 million. Finally, at 100 Louis Parkway, 400,596 square-feet of space sold to Industrial Property Trust for $28,850,000.

ABSORPTION

Net absorption fell significantly this quarter, plummeting to a negative 1,1446,892 square-feet. This is a large drop from the positive net absorption of 2,402,682 square-feet we saw just last quarter. This is the lowest net absorption has been since prior to 2013. With five buildings delivered last quarter, three delivered this quarter, and five more under construction, the rise or fall of future net absorption will be mostly determined by the ability to lease out all of this new space.

VACANCY & RENTAL RATES

As you might expect, based upon other trends, Central Pennsylvania’s vacancy rate for industrial space rose from 4.7% last quarter to 5.8% this quarter. Vacant space also rose by more than 3 million square-feet. Even with negative net absorption and an increase in vacancy rate, the quoted rental rate rose ever so slightly. It is now $4.34, nearly back to the recent record high we experienced at the end of 2016 when it reached $4.36. It will be interesting to watch how the market reacts to the recent influx of new space, further impacting the vacancy and rental rates for Q3 and beyond.

What trend from the second quarter did you find most interesting or impactful to Central Pennsylvania industrial space? Share your insights by leaving a comment below.

*For the purposes of this article, the Central Pennsylvania market is defined as Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties.

Learn more from past market reports:

Central Pennsylvania Industrial Real Estate Report for Q1 2017

Amidst Massive Retail Closings, Central PA Commercial Real Estate Continues to Grow

Central PA’s Office Real Estate Market Hangs on to Low Vacancy, Slows Down on Net Absorption

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