Commercial real estate forecast predicts Houston retail market returning to pre-pandemic levels

A report predicts that in 2022 the Houston retail market would return to pre-pandemic levels in terms of occupancy, but new construction would remain low. (Courtesy of Fotolia)

A report from Dallas-based real estate company Weitzman predicted that the Houston commercial real estate market would return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Weitzman came to his conclusion after reviewing Houston’s 163.1 million square feet of inventory in multi-tenant retail projects of 25,000 square feet or more.

According to the report, retailer leasing in existing space was one of the factors that led to the market resurgence.

The report also cites high demand for space from restaurants and uses examples such as Willie’s Ice House and The Halal Guys in Pearland.

According to data from the Greater Houston Partnership, restaurants in Texas saw nearly 100% operating capacity through 2021 and through 2022, despite spikes in COVID-19 from the Delta and Omicron variants.

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New retail construction should remain low

Weitzman reported that new build in the Houston metropolitan area is expected to remain at all-time lows, although larger projects arrive in 2022.

In 2021, Weitzman hit a record low of 535,000 square feet of retail development in new or expanded projects of 25,000 square feet or more. This broke the previous low of 690,000 square feet set in 2020.

Notable new openings in 2021 included Weitzman Pearlands Rooms To Go and Post Houston.

Major projects the report names include the Magnolia Village in Magnolia, the Main Event in Tomball, and the HEB-anchored market at the Willis Mall in Willis.