Tony D'Ambrosio discusses Atlanta's transition to a retail investment gateway market in the October 2019 edition of Southeast Real Estate Business
As we enter the last quarter of 2019, well into the longest economic expansion in history, the Atlanta retail real estate market is healthy and active, with multi-year retail rent and occupancy growth. The city’s retail investment sales volume totaled $2.2 billion in 2018, making it the eighth most active retail investment market in the country.
Not a gateway market, yet
In my career, Atlanta has always been a “non-institutional” market, and has stayed largely off the radar of deep pools of institutional capital aimed at New York, Boston, San Francisco and other gateway cities with deeper economies, higher rents, lower cap rates and higher values. Nevertheless Atlanta’s population, GDP and growth make it the undisputed capital of the Southeast by a country mile. The metro’s shopping centers have benefitted from this paradox: it has the biggest economy in the South and is among the top metros in the nation for employment and population growth. However, its average rents are lower and its average retail cap rates are higher than almost every one of its peers in the Southeast and the United States at large. Despite the overblown narrative of the retail apocalypse and despite how or when the current expansion cycle changes, Atlanta will continue to be one of the top metros in the nation for growth, and its retail real estate has the capacity to get more expensive relative to other competing metros... read more.