Vacancy continues to edge down in the 14.5-million-square-foot Hartford MSA community- neighborhood shopping center market, with limited new supply trumped by modest demand. In the second quarter of 2012 17,000 square feet of positive net absorption pushed the vacancy rate down 10 basis points to 10.4% in a duplicate of the first quarter performance. There was no additional change by August. No new space of this type completed in 2011 or in the eight months of 2012. The average asking rent inched up 0.5% to $17.22 psf in the second quarter, with the average effective rent up 0.4% to $15.01 psf. The year-over-year gains were 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively. Rents had slipped a cent or two by August.
The 29,500-square-foot Dorset Crossing in Simsbury, due in October, is the only community-neighborhood center project under construction within established submarkets. Reis expects the vacancy rate to edge down to 10.2% at year-end 2012 and 10.0% at year-end 2015. Rents are expected to rise 1.2% asking and 1.3% effective for all of 2013, with only slightly larger increases in the subsequent two years.
The power center vacancy rate is 7.8% according to Reis, down 80 basis points from the prior quarter and 130 from a year earlier. The average asking rent for power centers is $22.83 psf, up 3.2% for the quarter and 0.4% year-over-year. Accordingly this type of space has seen some recent strength. The 800,000-square-foot Liberty Crossing power center in Stonington, on the eastern Connecticut coast far from Hartford and outside Reis submarkets for that metro, is expected to break ground in November. Other retail activity is centered in Litchfield County in far northwestern Connecticut, a second home location for affluent people from New York City.