Washington metro area scores big in retail

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The Washington, D. C., area has the strongest retail economy of any major urban market in the nation, according to a report released today. Other key findings show that the market bottomed out in 2009 and is now headed for recovery, according to Alexandria-based research firm Delta Associates.

While vacancy among retail properties rose by 1.1 percent over the past year, Washington area shopping centers had an overall vacancy rate of 5.7 percent at the end of the first quarter. That was 380 basis points lower than the national average of 9.5 percent and the lowest rate of any major metropolitan area.

The Delta report credits such a solid performance to the region’s steady population growth, high incomes and low unemployment rates.  The Delta report was released as part of the first annual overview and forecast of the Washington metro area retail real estate market.  More than 400 retail real estate professionals turned out for the event sponsored by McLean-based The Rappaport cos. To see an electronic copy of the report, go to

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