Tampa-St. Petersburg Retail Market Report
Employment Gains and the Return of Tourism Drive Space Demand;
Investors Take Notice
Retail sector showed resiliency. Fundamentals in the market remained relatively steady over the past year as foot traffic at shops improved after Florida’s brief shutdown in spring 2020. Limited restrictions during the health crisis allowed the metro’s employment base to recover quickly. As of August, nearly all of the 44,600 jobs lost last year had been restored. Employment gains coupled with greater levels of tourism supported a 24 percent rise in retail sales since mid 2020, increasing the demand for retail space. Leasing activity picked up beginning in the fourth quarter of last year, which held vacancy steady for the past three quarters and increased asking rents by more than 4 percent over that span. Strong demand for space coupled with tight availability and robust population growth projections should sustain momentum into next year.