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Austin retail fundamentals strong. Austin has maintained an occupancy rate in the retail market at or above 95.0% since Q1 2015, registering at 95.7% nearing the end of February 2019. Of the 95,000 sq. ft. delivered to the market year-to-date, the availability rate stands at 41.3%, and of the 978,000 sq. ft. currently under construction about 35.4% has already been spoken for. Year-to-date net absorption is slightly negative, while there has been 177,000 sq. ft. of leasing activity. The average asking rate of renting retail space is $21.68 per sq. ft. on a triple net basis, down $0.23 from this time last year at $21.91 per sq. ft.
Coming and going. Coming next year to the Co-Op District in Hutto is Top Notch Hamburgers’ second location in the 35-acre mixed-use project in the Williamson County suburb. Top Notch, founded in 1971, has been selling burgers and fried chicken for nearly four decades from its location on Burnet Road. Going—after more than 20 years in business and 18 years on South Congress Avenue—is Blackmail Boutique, closing in March. Opened in 1997, it was one of the first local businesses that helped spur the economic recovery of that section of South Congress Avenue.
Strong Austin economy. The Austin economy expanded at a healthy pace in December. Austin’s December unemployment rate of 2.9% was well below Texas’ rate of 3.7% and the U.S. rate of 3.9%. Job growth by sector was mixed, led by health and education services, which grew at an annualized rate of 9.2%, or 2,800 jobs, in the three months ending in December. The trade, transportation and utilities (5.7%) and manufacturing (4.7%) sectors also experienced healthy gains. Government payrolls declined 3.3% and shed approximately 1,400 jobs during the same period.
Director of Research
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