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

A report predicted Houston’s retail market would return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 in terms of occupancy, but new construction would remain weak. (Courtesy of Fotolia)

A report by Dallas-based real estate group Weitzman predicted that Houston’s commercial real estate market will return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels in 2022.

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

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

The report cites the high demand for space from restaurants as another factor, using 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 their operating capacity return to nearly 100% throughout 2021 and into 2022, despite COVID-19 surges of the delta and omicron variants.

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New retail construction expected to remain weak

Weitzman reported that new construction in the Houston metro area is expected to remain at historically low levels, despite the arrival of larger-scale projects in 2022.

In 2021, Weitzman recorded a record 535,000 square feet of commercial development in new or expanded projects of 25,000 square feet or more. That total beat the previous low of 690,000 square feet set in 2020.

Among its notable openings in 2021, Weitzman included Pearland’s Rooms To Go as well as Post Houston.

Larger-scale projects named by the report include Magnolia Village in Magnolia, Main Event in Tomball, and the anchored market at HEB at Willis Mall in Willis.