A Positive First Quarter; Market Pause Expected Ahead Due to COVID-19

Wayne, PA (04/16/2020)

12:29 PM

Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) released its first quarter 2020 industrial market reports for Greater Philadelphia and the I-81/78 Corridor. First quarter statistics are reflective of activity prior to the economic disruption stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce that both industrial markets were on strong footing going into the crisis. Current market indicators suggest that repercussions related to COVID-19 are likely to be less severe for the industrial sector than for other property types, yet this market pause will likely affect leasing volume throughout the balance of the year, causing an uptick in vacancy and potentially a slight softening in rents.

Activity in the I-81/78 Corridor industrial market was robust in the first quarter, with 3.3 million square feet of net absorption tallied, numerous significant new leases signed and average asking rents growing 1.3 percent quarter-over-quarter. Multiple million-square-foot or larger occupancies occurred throughout the market. True Value and NFI occupied 1.0-million-square-foot build-to-suits in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Smuckers moved into a 1.1-million-square-foot warehouse in Central Pennsylvania and in the Lehigh Valley, Qurate Retail Group took occupancy of its newly expanded 1.7-million-square-foot fulfillment facility.