Metro Atlanta Retail and Office Vacancies

The total square footage of vacant retail and office space in Metro Atlanta has been increasing for the past few years. Because of the current pandemic and subsequent lock-downs, those numbers are only continuing to increase.

Below are graphs depicting the changes in vacancies in retail and office space over the last 20 years. I have included the total vacant square feet as well as vacancy rates (in percentages) to help give a full picture.

Data from CoStar Group

Though both sectors were seeing increases in vacancies for a few years before the pandemic hit, it is important to note that the vacancies continued to increase in the first three quarters of 2020, sometimes at even steeper slopes than previously. It will be interesting to see how these numbers are affected in the coming years. It is likely that retailers may not have had enough capital to survive the mandatory closures or reduced capacity, therefore having to close some of their stores. It is also likely that firms will decide to implement more remote working and reduce their rented office space. All of this is speculation, however, as we are still in the midst of this national pandemic. It will be important to keep an eye on these numbers in the future to see how the pandemic ultimately affects office and retail vacancies.

Photo of an undetermined Georgia Tech home game during the 1918 college football season. That's when the sport was hit by the Spanish flu and the end of World War I.

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