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Demand Is Strong for Multitenant Distribution Warehousing

July 21, 2016
Multitenant distribution warehousing is the dominant industrial property trend in the U.S., constituting 40% of the total 13.5 billion-square-foot industrial inventory.

The trend of multitenant distribution warehouse properties  outperformed the broader commercial property market,  will continue according to a special report,” Multitenant Distribution Warehouse Segment in the U.S. Outlook 2016,” recently released by Cushman & Wakefield.

“Healthy demand and tight supply has made multitenant distribution warehouse among the best performing of all commercial real estate segments,” says Jason Tolliver, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of Industrial Research, Americas. “The historic and forecasted demographic and economic demand drivers indicate continued out-performance over both the short and long term.”

Multitenant distribution warehouse properties are assets with smaller footprints – typically 200,000 square feet or less – often with column spacing of 40 feet by 40 feet and clear height of 24 feet or lower. Tenants in these facilities tend to be local and regional distributors seeking to operate in key industrial submarkets.

Multitenant distribution warehouse is the dominant industrial property type in the U.S., constituting 40% of the total 13.5 billion-square-foot industrial inventory. Of the 8.7 billion- square-foot investment-grade universe of industrial properties, multitenant distribution warehouse accounts for 61.5%.

In addition to making up the largest share of U.S. industrial inventory, it comprises an even greater share of U.S. industrial investment-grade inventory.

The report outlines the drivers for continued growth, which include population trends and economic performance. It examines how the segment is benefiting from the continued consumer migration to e-commerce, and the rise in investor interest as a result of improved fundamentals.

Highlights include:

  • In 2015, multitenant distribution warehouse boasted the highest year-over-year rent growth of any property type at 6.5%. Over the past decade, national rent growth for multitenant distribution warehouse has averaged 1.9% per year while the average for bulk distribution warehouse was 1.2% per year.
  • Demand for multitenant distribution warehouse product in markets proximate to growing populations will be strong and sustainable.
  •  While most e-commerce tenants have requirements for bulk distribution warehouse, the growth of this shopping fulfillment channel is giving rise to a net new user who requires multitenant distribution warehouse buildings to fulfill the “last mile gap” and support tighter delivery commitments.
  • Values for this segment today are about 20% higher than the broader warehouse market and pricing continues to increase. In 2015, multitenant distribution warehouse achieved a 5.3% income return and a 9.3% appreciation return for a total return of 14.6%, well ahead of the overall industrial market return of 12.7%.

“The segment will continue to see stronger long-term leasing demand and higher returns relative to other industrial types, primarily because warehousing plays such a pivotal role in the property markets and economy,” says Caroline Rooney, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of Capital Markets Research, Americas. “With the continued growth of e-commerce and the structural importance of multitenant distribution warehouse product to ‘last-mile’ distribution, we expect that values will continue to rise in concert with stronger investor demand.”

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