The vacancy rate of U.S. malls in the third quarter declined to 8.2% from 8.3% in the second quarter, according to new statistics released by Reis Inc., REIS +0.31% a real-estate data firm. Mall vacancy was 8.7% in the third quarter of 2012, said Reis, which tracks the top 77 markets in the U.S.
But the improvement hasn’t been as strong with shopping centers—typically open-air retail strips that face parking lots. The average national vacancy rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers held steady in the third quarter at 10.5% from the previous quarter, down from 10.8% in the third quarter of last year.
The national average asking rent at shopping centers was $19.25 per square foot, up just 1.5% from the recession low of $18.97 in 2011. The average asking rent for malls in the largest 77 U.S. markets rose to $39.77 per square foot in the third quarter, up 1.4% from the same quarter last year, according to Reis Inc.
Malls are recovering faster because people go to them for high-end retail, entertainment and dining. People are more likely to go to shopping centers, on the other hand, for basic consumer needs that they can also satisfy online, real-estate economists and executives say.