June 28, 2024

ICSC for Dealmakers: The Experts’ Key Takeaways from ICSC Las Vegas 2024

Authors: Carolina Retail Experts

This year’s ICSC Las Vegas has once again brought together industry leaders to discuss the latest trends and challenges in the retail real estate sector. This year’s conference highlighted several critical insights that are shaping the market dynamics. Here’s our #expert recap:

1. Slow Investment Sales for QSR Free Standing Properties

Investment sales for Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) free-standing properties are moving slowly unless they come with 15-year lease terms. Investors are cautious, seeking long-term stability in their investments, which these extended lease terms provide.

2. Aggressive Tenant Expansion

Tenants are still in expansion mode, with some taking a more aggressive approach than others. This indicates a positive outlook for growth and an ongoing demand for retail space.

3. High Occupancies and Competition for Space

Occupancy rates are high, and the competition for available space is fierce. Retailers are vying for prime locations, leading to increased pressure on landlords to provide quality spaces that meet the evolving needs of tenants.

4. High Development Costs Hindering New Projects

The cost of development remains high, making it challenging to start new projects. Equity requirements are stringent, and developers are finding it tough to justify new developments financially. This scenario is causing a slowdown in the introduction of new retail spaces into the market.

5. Anticipated Decline in Land Prices

Experts are predicting a decrease in land prices over the next 6-8 months. This expected reduction could potentially ease some of the financial burdens on developers and investors, making new projects more feasible in the near future.

6. Institutional Capital: Available but Cautious

Institutional capital remains accessible, but many investors are sitting on the sidelines. The anticipated fall in interest rates has not materialized as quickly as hoped, leading to a cautious approach. This hesitancy may become the “new normal,” prompting questions about whether return on investments will return to previous levels. Buyers and sellers need to adjust their expectations and strategies to navigate this evolving landscape.

7. A Landlord’s Market: Tenants Paying Premiums for Prime Locations

Currently, it is a landlord’s market. Tenants are willing to pay higher rents for A+ locations due to the shortage of suitable inventory. Publicly traded tenants are under pressure to meet their store count targets, often paying top dollar to secure premium spots. However, this increase in rent is not matched by a corresponding increase in sales volumes. Tenants face rising costs in taxes, insurance, and rent, which are cutting into their profit margins.

8. Strong Retail Sector with Cross-Sector Capital Deployment

The retail sector remains robust, with expectations of capital flowing into retail from other commercial property sectors. This indicates confidence in the retail market’s stability and growth potential, despite the challenges posed by high costs and competitive pressures.

Conclusion

The ICSC conference underscored the resilience and dynamism of the retail real estate sector. While challenges such as high development costs, cautious institutional capital, and rising tenant expenses exist, the overall outlook remains positive. Stakeholders must adapt to the “new normal,” where strategic planning and adaptability will be key to thriving in a competitive and evolving market.

Stay tuned for more updates and analyses as the Experts continue to monitor the developments in the retail commercial real estate landscape.