Central Florida’s retail sector continued to recover after some negative impacts from the pandemic. The overall vacancy rate dropped to a pre-pandemic level of 5.4%, during the quarter, down 70 basis points over last year’s increased rate of 6.1%. Although many businesses were affected by the national shutdown, causing negative absorption throughout 2020, the market bounced back with more than 772,000 square feet of positive absorption year-to-date, of which 66% completed during the third quarter, showed signs of confidence in the long-term outlook for the market. Asking rental rates continued to rise, up 3.1% year-over-year throughout the metro area, and were 8.3% higher than the third quarter of 2019. The increased rates, along with staffing shortage, supply chain issues, forced many of the market’s weaker tenants out of business. As retail space rental rates climb alongside escalating construction and labor costs, the deal cycle has lengthened to complete lease transactions; this trend is expected to continue throughout the year and into 2022.