Q4 2014 Static Finish to the Year
The fourth quarter of 2014 finished without the anticipated flourish that it was trending toward. Vacancy actually crept up three basis points from 7.2% to 7.5% while absorption for the quarter experienced a negative 591,656 square feet. This is the largest negative quarter since 2009 and all others, with the exception of the second quarter of 2014, were positive. Even with the market giving back close to 600,000 square feet in the fourth quarter and 300,000 square feet in the second quarter, the year end absorption number was still a rosy 675,000 square feet.
At least a portion of the negative absorption in the fourth quarter of 2014 can be attributed to American Eagle officially bringing their 440,000 square foot distribution facility in Thorn Hill Industrial Park to market. It would be remiss not to credit a portion of the slow down to the sudden and unexpected drop in oil prices with prices under $60.00 per barrel, and for a brief time under $50.00, suddenly uncertainty spread into the previously teflon-coated energy sector. While this is anticipated to be a minor blip on the radar, it is fully expected to bleed into the first quarter of 2015, negatively impacting deal volume although not necessarily slowing advancement of projects by larger players in the sector.
Deals of significance in the fourth quarter include the sale of 367 Morganza Road, a Colliers International | Pittsburgh listing, in Washington County to National Rubber. The 65,700 square foot building traded at $52.00 per square foot. Edward Marc Brands leased 50,000 square feet in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh and R&N Steel Manufacturing leased 70,000 square feet at 3401 Grand Avenue on Neville Island. Evidence of the trend noted on the back page of this report, 6500 Hamilton Avenue a 60,000 square foot multistory building in the red hot east side sold for $14.00 per square foot. The new owner plans to convert the former warehouse building to a higher and better use.
Evidence of the trend noted on the back page of this report, 6500 Hamilton Avenue a
60,000 square foot multistory building in the red hot east side sold for $14.00 per square
foot. The new owner plans to convert the former warehouse building to a higher and
Click here to see the full Q4 2014 Pittsburgh Industrial Market Report.
Q3 2014 Trending Upward
As expected the third quarter was an active quarter for lease executions. Net absorption for the quarter was 950,000 SF putting year to date absorption at just under 1,500,000 square feet. This already exceeds 2013’s total absorption of 1,150,000 square feet. With the current activity in the market there is no reason to think the trend will not continue into the fourth quarter. All indications are that 2014 will have a year end positive absorption that hasn’t been witnessed since 2008.
The only down side to this activity is we are still not seeing the market react with corresponding speculative development. Users (whether they be tenants or buyers) seeking quality space over 100,000 square feet now have only three options in the entire Southwest Pennsylvania market. We do see some light on the horizon with several hundred thousand square feet of speculative building in the pipeline, but this is just not enough to satiate the market’s appetite.
Q2 2014 Pittsburgh Still Positive
Although deal volume in the second quarter was not as robust as the first, activity remained brisk. The expectation is that the third quarter will bring more transactions from the tenants and buyers currently scouring the market. Scouring is the appropriate term given the only potential impediment to increased activity is the lack of quality options for users to move on.
The stats point to a marginal decrease in absorption of 233,000 square feet yet for the calendar year, we are still 600,000 square feet positive. The expectation is that the third quarter will be back on the right side of the ledger, particularly with the early quarter announcement by Amazon that they are leasing the 200,000 square feet of remaining space in 2250 Roswell Drive. This leaves only two quality availabilities in excess of 100,000 square feet remaining in the Greater Pittsburgh market.
The fourth quarter of 2013 finished in much the same way it began and maintained throughout the year; solid if unspectacular growth. The vacancy rate fell from 7.9 percent in the third quarter to 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter and dropped three basis points in total over the course of the year. The lack of quality Class A warehouse continues to be a factor with vacancy levels dropping to an astounding 2.97 percent.
The region’s confidence continues to spiral upward with fourth quarter projections from numerous economists that the manufacturing sector will continue to rebound. Optimism is the word heading into 2014. Pittsburgh should be especially bullish given the multitude of story lines that should positively impact the industrial market. These include CSX announcing that they will construct a $50,000,000 multi modal facility in McKees Rocks; the continued expansion of the Southwest Pennsylvania energy sector, and the much needed passage of the state transportation bill. Any of these alone are significant, but taken in total, insure that the region will continue to advance forward.