A positive outlook on industrial development is not just apparent in the Southeast submarket, but can be seen throughout the entirety of the Houston Metro. The staggering amount of products being built is likely due to several trends, both at the market and national levels. Despite oil being down over the past year, Houston added the third most jobs of a major MSA in 2018, signifying overall market health is not as dependent on the energy sector as prior years. Intuitively, job growth is a causal factor of the population growth Houston experienced last year.
The increased population, compounded with the prevalence of e-commerce, creates the need for more final-mile logistics facilities. The population growth is also positively correlated with land prices. While land is getting more expensive, and interest rates are remaining relatively low, developers are choosing to build now in anticipation of Houston’s projected growth.
The Industrial vacancy rate in the Houston market area increased to 5.8% at the end of the first quarter 2019. The vacancy rate was 5.6% at the end of the fourth quarter 2018, 5.6% at the end of the third quarter 2018, and 5.4% at the end of the second quarter 2018.
Flex projects reported a vacancy rate of 9.7% at the end of the first quarter 2019, 9.2% at the end of the fourth quarter 2018, 8.9% at the end of the third quarter 2018, and 9.1% at the end of the second quarter 2018.
Warehouse projects reported a vacancy rate of 5.5% at the end of the first quarter 2019, 5.3% at the end of fourth quarter 2018, 5.3% at the end of the third quarter 2018, and 5.1% at the end of the second quarter 2018.
According to CoStar, the average quoted asking rental rate for available Industrial space was $7.44 per square foot per year at the end of the first quarter 2019 in the Houston market area. This represented a 1% increase in quoted rental rates from the end of the fourth quarter 2018, when rents were reported at $7.39 per square foot. At the end of the first quarter 2019, Flex rates were $10.04 per square foot, while Warehouse rates stood at $7.05.
Net absorption for the overall Houston Industrial market was positive with 2,000,490 square feet in the first quarter 2019 but down from positive 2,416,742 square feet in the fourth quarter 2018. Third quarter 2018 was positive 2,972,855 square feet, and positive 957,709 square feet in the second quarter 2018.
Tenants moving into large blocks of space in 2019 include: Home Depot moving into 770,640 square feet in the Grand National Business Park. Plantgistix moved into 337,040 square feet at 5623 Ameriport Parkway in Baytown and Norlyn Enterprises moved into 134,900 square feet at 9800 Derrington Road.
Positive net absorption was most prominent in the North, Inner Loop, South and Southwest Corridors. New inventory was delivered in the Northwest Corridor which resulted in a negative net absorption.
The flex building market recorded net absorption of negative 120,275 square feet in the first quarter 2019, compared to negative 136,144 square feet in fourth quarter 2018. Third quarter 2018 was positive 198,2015 while second quarter 2018 was negative 129,603 square feet.
The warehouse building market recorded net absorption of positive 2,120,765 square feet in the first quarter 2019 compared to positive 2,552,886 square feet in the fourth quarter 2018, positive 2,774,650 in the third quarter 2018, and positive 1,087,312 in the second quarter 2018.
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