Top Takeaways: ICSC Las Vegas 2023
Thousands of retail dealmakers and industry experts came together this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the annual ICSC Las Vegas Conference. Slatt Capital team members were among the 20,000+ attendees digesting insights from dozens of insightful panels spread across the 3-day event. The following is a selection of our key takeaways from the premier event.
- Attendance was robust and many attendees opted for extended stays prior to and after the main show events. Smaller showing from tenants, though all the large, established nationals were all present in force.
- Retail is very strong – year-over-year occupancy continues to be strong combined with rent levels at historical highs. There is some downward pressure on rents in certain markets, but overall the high cost to construct new properties will keep rents near these levels for the foreseeable future.
- Strong demand from quality tenants in discount clothing (TJX, Five Below, Ross, and DDs), automotive (O’Reilly and AutoZone), and QSR/Food/Beverage (Dutch Bros, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Raising Canes, and Chick Fil A) all looking to expand in 2023-2024. Additionally, look for tremendous growth in EV space with Tesla continuing to deliver several units nationally.
- Interest rates continue to have a negative impact on transaction volume, but the beginning of an upward movement in cap rates in conjunction with higher interest rates does seem to be becoming a reality—a slow-moving reality.
- There are plenty of tenants needing space, vacancy is low. Developers want to do deals but math doesn’t work. Pencils down for maybe 6 months, then reprice builder estimates, hope lease rates increase and overhead down. Stabilizing the debt market is important. Many want to believe pricing will come down later this year.
- Price discovery was my main takeaway and investors don’t want to believe the reality of the capital markets. Loan maturities will likely break the stalemate.
- Regional bank and credit union debt is creeping up in addition to seeking meaningful deposits.
- Investment transaction volume is down 30-50% YTD depending on the source but the last 60 days have become busier, and everyone expects an uptick this summer and end of year. Most likened volume to 2018/2019 numbers.
- Developers are actively pursuing new development deals with general sentiment that suitable retail land is hard to come by in many markets. Still, construction financing availability is challenged due to interruptions with regional banks.
- Many of the non-headline regional banks have been the net beneficiaries of deposit inflows and therefore have excess dry powder for lending. That said, most want to be cautious about maintaining liquidity and have a very high cost of capital due to the high Fed Funds discount rate and market expectations, particularly in money-market savings accounts. As a result, regional lending volume is way down and sponsors and investment sales brokers are actively seeking non-bank lending options such as life insurance companies to fill the gap.
- Private REITs, real estate private equity firms, and family office investors remain active and are seeking opportunities as they arise.
- Bid-ask spread issues may be alleviating slowly with cap rates slowly rising and sellers seeing less volatility as interest rate rises have slowed and a pause is expected imminently.
- Several investment sales brokers commented that sale-leaseback transactions remain very popular with tenants and anything of quality is quickly absorbed by the market.
- Cities desire retail development to serve the growing population in high-density areas, while they are fulfilling their housing targets.
- Strong activities from Colorado, Texas, and Florida (greater quantity of attendees from these areas).
- People are seeing a price gap between grocery-anchored shopping centers and non-grocery big-box anchored centers.
Michael Kaplan | President | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cody Charfauros | Principal / Managing Director – San Diego | email@example.com
Adam Aluise | Managing Director – Denver | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Wang | Assistant Vice President | email@example.com