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Fairfield County

The 35,800-unit Fairfield County apartment market, long extremely tight and expensive due to suburban zoning that kept out multifamily housing, has undergone a stunning reversal. With more new units completing construction in 2015 than Reis has ever recorded here, the vacancy rate soared 190 basis points to 7.5%. It was up 80 basis points in the fourth quarter. The vacancy rate reached 7.9% in January 2016. Rents actually fell 0.3% by both measures in the fourth quarter. For all of 2015, the average asking rent was up 2.6% to $1,998 per month, and the average effective rent increased 2.7% to $1,946 per month. Overall rents increased 0.1% by both measures in January 2016.
The 41-million-square-foot general purpose, multi-tenant Fairfield County office market had a terrible year, with negative net absorption for each of the final three quarters and a total of minus 128,000 square feet for 2015. The overall vacancy rate was 22.3% at year-end 2015, according to Reis, and 22.2% in January 2016. With development limited, Reis expects the vacancy rate will trend down, but only slightly. Rents edged up in 2015, with both the average asking rent and the average effective rent up 1.4% for the year and 0.2% in the fourth quarter. The overall asking average ended the year at $35.42 psf, with the effective average at $29.54 psf. Rents were essentially flat in January.
The completion of the 15,400-square-foot Madison Village neighborhood center in Trumbull in October counts as big news in Fairfield County’s small 8.9-million-square-foot community-neighborhood shopping center market. The vacancy rate edged up 10 basis points during the fourth quarter of 2015 to 5.5%. It was up 110 for 2015 on 84,000 square feet of negative net absorption, and up another 20 basis points in January 2016. The average asking rent increased 3.4% in 2015 to $29.46 psf, with the average effective rent up 3.3% to $26.69 psf. The fourth quarter gain was 1.1% by both measures, with each up an additional penny in January.

Source: Data provided by Reis, inc.

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