MoneyNews is reporting Retail Property, Vacancies Q2 Worst in 30 Years.

U.S. store closings and cutbacks turned the second quarter into the worst for strip mall owners in 30 years, as budget-conscious consumers flocked to low-cost warehouse-style grocery centers, according to a report by real estate research firm Reis.

Strip malls, which are usually anchored by grocery or drug stores, saw average vacancies spike 0.5 percentage points to 8.2 percent, a level unseen since 1995, according to the report released on Monday.

Vacancies at regional malls rose 0.4 percentage points to 6.3 percent, the highest level since the first quarter of 2002, according to the preliminary results.

For the first time since 1980, more space became available to rent at strip malls than was rented out — about 3.2 million square feet more. Part of the available space came in the form of 5.7 million square feet of new development that came on the market during the quarter.

Lehman At Risk

Lehman is still holding $29 billion in commercial real estate having written off only $3.5 billion. For more on Lehman, please see Credibility Issues Haunt Lehman.

General Growth Properties Ups Dividend

Here’s a trend that may not last to much longer. General Growth Properties Increases Dividend.

General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP) today declared a dividend of $0.50 per share, payable July 31, 2008, to common stockholders of record as of July 17, 2008. The current dividend represents an increase of 11 percent over the comparable period one year ago. Since going public in 1993, General Growth Properties has increased the regular dividend by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%, which is more than that of any other retail, commercial, or residential REIT greater than $1 billion in market capitalization and more than 400 basis points greater than the NAREIT average over the same period.

The Company is one of the largest U.S.-based publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts based upon total market capitalization. The Company currently has an ownership interest in or management responsibility for a portfolio of more than 200 regional shopping malls in 44 states, as well as ownership in master planned community developments and commercial office buildings. The Company portfolio totals approximately 200 million square feet of retail space and includes over 24,000 retail stores nationwide.

GGP – General Growth Properties

click on chart for sharper image.

The market does not seem to care much for the news on GGP and neither do I. The Shopping Center Economic Model Is History just as more shopping space is coming online. Vacancies are poised to soar, lease rates poised to drop, and more writeoffs can be expected at Lehman.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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