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Q1 2020 Austin Industrial Report

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Austin’s industrial absorption takes a hit with the arrival of COVID-19

Austin’s industrial market posted 288,393 square feet of negative net absorption in the first quarter of 2020, with 186,904 coming to the market at NorthTech Business Center (4616 West Howard Lane). Leasing activity remained high as a large number of sizeable tenants occupied significant blocks of space over the quarter, including Amazon leasing Park 35 (2956 Main Street). The building consists of 305,768 square feet and is located in the Southeast submarket.

Austin’s citywide average rental rates increased over the quarter, moving up to $10.72 per square foot in Q1 2020 from $10.13 per square foot in Q4 2019. The average citywide Flex/R&D rental also increased, moving up to $14.54 per square foot from $13.33. The average Warehouse/Distribution rental rate increased moderately over the quarter from $9.14 per square foot to $9.34 per square foot.

In all, 1,067,465 square feet of industrial supply is under construction consisting of eleven projects. 830,765 square feet of projects in the development pipeline are scheduled to deliver in the second quarter and 133,346 square feet of that inventory is preleased.


Vacancy & Availability

Austin’s citywide average vacancy rate increased from 8.0% to 8.6% over the quarter. The most significant increase in vacancy over the quarter occurred in the Central submarket, where the vacancy rate increased from 4.3% to 8.6%. The entire 23,666 SF building at 622 Morrow Street in the Central submarket is now vacant and available for sublease. The Far Northeast, Far Northwest, Hays County, North, Round Rock and Southeast submarkets also recorded an increase in vacancy in the first quarter.

The largest quarterly decrease in vacancy occurred in the Southwest submarket, falling from 9.6% to 2.8%. As the smallest industrial submarket, all it took to reduce the vacancy rate so much was a 2,500 SF space being leased. Other submarkets reporting a decrease in vacancy include the East, Northeast, Northwest and South submarkets.


Absorption & Demand

Austin’s industrial market had twelve tenants move into approximately 247,814 SF of industrial space during the first quarter of 2020. One of the larger tenants to occupy new space in Q1 was Flitch. They moved into their new 36,610 SF space at 1045 Reinli Street in February.

The Northeast submarket posted the largest amount of positive net absorption with 144,806 square feet. The Northwest submarket had the second greatest absorption with 58,719 square feet of net absorption. The other submarkets that posted positive absorption include East, South and Southwest.

The submarkets that posted negative net absorption were Central, Far Northeast, Far Northwest, Hays County, North, Round Rock and Southeast. The Southeast submarket had the highest negative absorption with 205,733 square feet of negative net absorption in the first quarter. This can be attributed to 458,645 square feet of space that came to the market, including 126,364 SF at Southpark Commerce Center Phase III - Building 3 (4801 Freidrich Lane).

Rental Rates

According to CoStar, our data service provider, the citywide average rental rate increased over the quarter from $10.13 per square foot in Q4 2019 to $10.72 per square foot in Q1 2020. Annually, the citywide average rental rate has increased 3.5% from $10.35 in Q1 2019.

The highest average rental rate at the end of Q1 was in the Northwest submarket at $17.48 per square foot annually. The submarket with the lowest average rental rate in Q1 2020 was the Hays County submarket at $5.49 per square foot.

Leasing Activity

Austin’s industrial leasing activity included 1,405,329 square feet of space in Q1 2020. The bulk of the leases signed in the first quarter were in the Southeast submarket, totaling 527,275 square feet. The largest new lease was signed by Amazon for 305,768 square feet at Park 35 (2956 Main Street) in the Southeast Industrial submarket. Colliers International represented the landlord in that transaction.

Q1 2020 Austin Industrial Highlights



Q1 2020 Austin Industrial Report

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Related Experts

Travis Hicks

Senior Vice President


Travis joined Colliers in 2014 as Vice President and specializes in Tenant and Landlord representation services for Industrial users.  Travis has more than fifteen years of commercial real estate experience including more than 400 transactions totaling 4.5M SF.  His comprehensive understanding of the Austin industrial market and his experience navigating complex transactions for both Tenants and Landlords enables him to provide the highest level of service to his clients. 

​Prior to joining Colliers, Travis was a Leasing Director for PS Business Parks, Inc., a national REIT, where he was responsible for executing the marketing and leasing strategy for a portfolio of 900,000 SF consisting of 16 industrial, flex, value office and retail buildings in three Austin submarkets.  He started his commercial real estate career in 2006 with UGL Equis (now DTZ) where he provided tenant representation services for office and industrial clients. 

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Chase Clancy

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Chase Clancy joined Colliers International as an industrial leasing specialist in 2018.  Utilizing a deep knowledge of the industrial market, Chase prides himself on building relationships and working with integrity to achieve his clients' long-term goals.

Prior to joining Colliers, Chase worked as a commercial agent for Don Quick & Associates, earning invaluable experience as an industrial and office landlord representative.  Chase uses his understanding of both sides of the transaction to help maximize value for his clients.

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Chase grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Seattle University.  In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, golf, hunting, photography, exploring new restaurants and traveling with his wife, Amy, and two sons, Ace and Gus.

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Lisa Bridges

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Lisa joined Colliers in 2010 as Director of Market Research and has 37 years of commercial real estate experience. Lisa initiates proactive market research projects to further the business goals of the company. She writes and prepares 29 market reports annually, including quarterly reports on Houston's retail, office, industrial and healthcare properties.  Further, she prepares statistical ownership reports for various clients as well as an annual Houston Economic Overview. Lisa also creates PowerPoint market presentations, trade journal articles, and other marketing materials supporting the company's business endeavors. She works with senior management in planning the company's marketing strategy and public relations support for local and national conferences, luncheon meetings, recruitment programs, and special events.  Lisa works closely with the company's brokers to develop effective custom market research material specific to existing and potential clients.

Lisa serves on the Colliers Editorial Board, the Colliers U.S. Research Council, and is a recipient of the Colliers Researcher of the Year Award.

Lisa earned the Commercial Property Research Certification (CPRC) from Colliers University.  CPRC is the first and only accreditation for commercial real estate research professionals. It offers a professional development path to increase strategic and tactical expertise in marketing/research, knowledge of the industry and capabilities with commercial real estate tools.

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