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Market Report

Charleston Retail Market Report

2024 Investment Forecast

Retailer Demand Tested this Year as Charleston Leads
All Major Markets for Inventory Expansion

Rapid economic growth ushers in unprecedented supply wave. Charleston led all major markets in job growth last year, expanding at a 5.9 percent clip. With apartment construction keeping pace at roughly 7,700 rentals, retail builders have rushed to position projects in areas with strong household growth. Summerville-Northwest Charleston especially reflects this trend, as over 400,000 square feet is expected to be completed here this year to complement the coinciding delivery of 1,600 apartments. While this new retail stock will likely lift local vacancy beyond 2.0 percent, multifamily lease-ups should elevate retailer demand in the area over the long-term. Facing less supply pressure, Downtown Charleston is one of only two submarkets anticipating under 100,000 square feet of new supply in 2024. This limited pipeline suggests local vacancy will remain on the decline, after it fell to a half-decade low of 3.1 percent last year. Charleston’s hotel bookings were also 6.0 percent higher in 2023 than in 2019. If heightened tourism continues in 2024, elevated demand for core retail spaces may result.
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