Chart of the Month May: Retail vacancy rates in German cities

Chart of the Month
02.05.2022 Autor/en: Dr. Joseph Frechen

How are retail vacancies developing? We have looked at the established retail locations in the metropolises of Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne. We regularly survey the retail stock there and thus also the vacancy rate. The analysis shows: Vacancy rates are increasing most significantly in the top retail locations.

We survey the stock in inner-city A-locations and in the shopping centres of these cities at identical times every year. The vacancy rates determined refer to the shop unit as the basic population, not to the area in square metres.

It is not difficult to see that vacancy rates have risen over the years in all three location areas studied - i.e. high streets, shopping centres in city centre locations and district centres. However, there has been a different degree of vacancy increase in the locations. While the vacancy rate in the shopping centres has almost doubled, it sounds more dramatic in the high-street locations with a fivefold increase. However, at 7.4 % of shops there, the rate is still well below that of the district centres and shopping centres. In the shopping centres, the welcome news is that the vacancy rate has not increased in 2021 compared to 2020; in the high-street locations, the increase has slowed down.

On the shopping centres: The data is based on the total of all shopping centres in the five A-cities surveyed. The range of qualities of the shopping centres is considerable. There are still shopping centres that operate with vacancy rates of no more than 5% of the retail space, while in others the upper floors often appear almost unrented, which leads to correspondingly high vacancy rates. It can also be seen that in the shopping centres - compared to the high streets - the vacancy rate is higher on average even in "good times". Recently, it has fallen again minimally in the selected cities.

Contact: Dr. Joseph Frechen, Head of Retail Division and Branch Manager Hamburg,

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