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Q3 2021 Austin Industrial Report

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The third quarter brought with it a continuation of Austin’s record industrial tightness.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Tenant demand remained robust while vacancy levels remained historically low
  • Rents increased across the board, with a notable increase in market escalations to keep pace with rising inflation
  • Development interest in the Austin MSA continues to grow, with many new developers hunting for developable land
 

The Boots On The Ground

Our “Boots on the Ground” viewpoint is the voice of our experts, who have broken down the market data and compared it to what they are seeing for themselves. This is their take on what the numbers actually mean for the Austin industrial market.

The third quarter brought with it a continuation of Austin’s record industrial tightness. Tenant demand remained high amongst users of all sizes, while supply remained extremely tight as the market awaits a slew of new deliveries in mid- to late-2022. Given tenants’ growing appetites for space, coupled with sustained increases in construction costs, the market of 2nd generation spaces available throughout the Austin MSA was again in short supply this quarter, as many groups sought to avoid the high costs of constructing tenant improvements from shell condition.

Market Indicators

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Historic Comparison

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Unemployment Rate

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The Market at a Glance

Rents increased again over the quarter in response to the tight supply, but perhaps more notably, we witnessed a significant increase in market rent escalations. Whereas annual rent escalations had been hovering around the 3.0% mark for the trailing 12 months, the third quarter introduced some landlords pushing asking rent escalations to 3.5%-4.0%.

From the landlord perspective, this is all just an effort to keep up with inflation. With many long-term in-place rents significantly below-market, coupled with an expectation of a sustained inflationary period, we forecast that the trend of higher rent escalations will likely continue through the end of this year and into next. As market demand showed no signs of slowing, developers remained hungry for developable sites, though rising land costs and a lack of infill land opportunities continued to push the geographic boundaries of the market. The Georgetown, Hays County and northeast/far northeast submarkets remained under the microscope of developers, especially those with an interest in developing bigger-box buildings.

All this lands against the backdrop of significant corporate relocations to the Austin area and continued population growth. In addition to Tesla – which has been a significant driver of industrial activity over the last 12 months – rumors are now swirling of a Samsung fabrication operation that appears to be homing in on Taylor, TX, about 30 miles northeast of downtown Austin. Should these rumors prove to be true, it could be a major boon to all the development groups working on projects anywhere on the outskirts of the north and northeast reaches of the market.

Future Forecast

Appetite for industrial space – both amongst users and landlords – shows no signs of slowing, and it likely won’t be until the larger deliveries in 2022 come online that there is any kind of temperance on the market’s industrial economics.

Absorption, Supply & Demand

Demand for space remained extremely high across size ranges, while available space continued to dwindle. Despite a sizable development pipeline
that is set to begin delivering in earnest in the 2nd half of 2022, the lack of space in Q3 led to a notable uptick in rents and market escalations across size ranges. Q3 continued the fervent pace of absorption we’ve seen in the previous two quarters of 2021, which we estimate will set a new record for absorption at the year’s end.  

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Speculative Development Pipeline

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Q3 2021 Austin Industrial Report

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Related Experts

Travis Hicks

Senior Vice President

Austin

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

Vice President

Austin

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

Director of Market Research

Houston

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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