Charleston Retail Market Report
2023 Investment Forecast
Market’s Absorption Stands Out Nationally;
Buyers Drawn to Demographic Hotspots
Residential surge entices retailers, especially in outlying counties. Vendors’ bullishness on Charleston is evidenced by its net absorption-to-inventory ratio, which was the third strongest among NRI-ranked markets during 2022. Retailer demand is being catalyzed by ongoing population growth, which in turn is stoking tailwinds for local consumption of goods and services. The metro has averaged nearly 10,000 new residents per year through the past decade, encouraging suburban sprawl. Single-family permits rose to a 17-year high in September 2022, marking a 33 percent increase over the same frame in 2021. As transplants move into homes, they are often in need of necessities and furnishings. Thus, areas hosting the construction of large subdivisions — primarily Outlying Berkeley County and Dorchester County — are seeing the strongest competition from vendors, with both areas recording sub-2 percent vacancy amid elevated construction at the tail-end of 2022. The metro is not without challenges, however, as 50 percent of the space slated for completion this year is currently unaccounted for. Many of these projects are likely to remain vacant in the near term as the local job market undergoes some flux.