Forget all those images of abandoned malls filled with snow. As the shopping center industry consolidates from weaker properties shuttering their doors, rents, occupancy rates and productivity are all on the rise.
According to data released Monday by the International Council of Shopping Centers, an industry trade group, occupancy rates ended 2014 at 92.7 percent, the highest since the throes of the recession in second-quarter 2008.
For the often-dragged-through-the-mud mall segment, occupancy rates reached a level not seen since fourth-quarter 1987, of 94.2 percent.
Base rents at shopping centers increased 6.5 percent on the year, their third-straight year of gains. Base rents at malls grew 17.2 percent, representing the strongest annual gain since ICSC and the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries began tracking the data in 2000.
Net operating income at shopping centers and malls also saw the highest annual growth rate since the organizations began compiling data.
"The 2014 data paints a very strong picture of the shopping center industry for the year ahead, and is especially promising in the mall segment," ICSC spokesperson Jesse Tron said in a news release.