We've heard plenty about the housing slowdown. And the data is starting to become real in the form of layoffs and plant idling. But that's not all that is slowing down in the construction biz.
Retail space demand is being hit by a triple whammy.
And supply is up. This decade's building frenzy produced a bumper crop of new retail space—from McStrip malls built near new McMansions to hip new boutiques in the ground floors of hip new Miami condo buildings. But the occupants for new retail space haven't materialized. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the national retail-vacancy rate rose for the 11th straight quarter to 7.5 percent, the highest level since 1996, according to research firm Reis Inc. With new projects coming online—34 million square feet of retail space will be completed in 2008—the rate is expected to climb further to 8 percent. In the parlance of the trade, many chains are simply over-stored. [More]Now add in the relentless expansion of on-line retailing, and consumer spending jitters, and I think we have a decade or so breather from 1031 money flowing our from shopping malls into our farmland market.
Farmers may take this opportunity to increase their market share of farmland ownership. I hope so. It is farmowners who decide who gets to farm - not farmers.