After Years Of Strong Expansion, Houston Retail Market Leveling Off

Retail occupancy is going down slightly.

Houston has experienced strong growth in retail real estate over the past several years.

Since the Great Recession in 2008, strong population growth has led to lots of new retail openings in Houston, even through the oil downturn.

At its peak last year, retail occupancy was over 95 percent.

It’s now just over 94 percent, with the trend moving downward.

Those numbers were compiled by commercial real estate services firm NAI Partners.

Its senior vice president for retail, Jason Gaines, said some of the leveling off can be attributed to national retailers.

“It’s the Sears and the JC Pennys and the retailers that are struggling out there that are taking back spaces,” he said.

But it’s positive for Houston that occupancy is going down slightly, Gaines said, because too high a vacancy level could deter potential new retailers.

“They come down, they tour the market with their broker and they say, you know what? I don’t see 20 stores that we would want to do here, I only see five,” Gaines said. “And you know what, let’s put Houston on the backburner for the next 18 months.”

He expects the current occupancy levels to stay about the same through the rest of the year.


Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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