Q2 Industrial Market Report for Detroit

Industrial Market Report

Q2 Industrial Market Report for Detroit

While Detroit’s surge in logistics leasing and construction might not compare to what’s happening in the Inland Empire or Dallas, it’s nothing to sneeze at. With a market vacancy rate of 4.5% and leasing just below the all-time high, which was set in Q3 2021, conditions continue to look favorable for landlords. At 615 million SF, Detroit has the 8th largest industrial inventory in the US, and even though new construction is picking up, current projects represent only 1.6% of the total inventory, so it doesn’t look like the pendulum will be swinging in favor of tenants any time soon. Rent growth surpassed its 5-year average to close Q2 2022 at 10.7%, and continued growth is expected around Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International Airport, Detroit’s east side, Pontiac/Auburn Hills, a and the Central I-96 Corridor, particularly near Novi and Wixom.

Q2 Office Report


Due to Detroit’s large share of owner-occupied manufacturing plants and limited developer interest relative to markets with more appealing qualities, the City’s industrial market has been operating at near capacity for over a decade. In the past year, leasing reached a 5-year quarterly high, suggesting that tenant demand is increasing. Growth is most robust among Detroit’s suburban outskirts, near critical transportation routes. Driven by the needs of logistics providers like FedEx and Amazon, new deliveries with high-quality, state-of-the-art facilities that can accommodate robotic and automated systems are the most sought-after.


Among Detroit’s 4 major property types, industrial properties lead rent growth, averaging 6.4% annual growth in asking rents over the past 5 years. This rate has accelerated to 10.7% over the past 12 months. Moreover, new deliveries aren’t expected to catch up with demand until at least halfway through 2022, so vacancies will most likely remain at historic lows through 2023. For logistics properties that are 50k SF or larger and have been built since 2015, the average advertised triple net asking rent is $7.29/SF, while for industrial properties of similar size that were built in the 1970s or 1980s, it’s $6.79/SF.


As of the end of Q2 2022, approximately 9.8 million SF are under construction in the Detroit metro area, representing only 1.6% of total inventory, compared to the 3.6% average for the US. Of this space, 5.3 million SF is distribution and warehouse space, and of the manufacturing space currently underway, only 27% remains available for leasing.

Here are the top submarkets in Detroit for the second quarter:

  1. Airport
  2. W of Van Dyke/Macomb
  3. Detroit West
  4. Central I-96 Corridor
  5. Southern I-275

Under Construction Properties

There is a great deal of development activity along the western edge of the metro area, particularly along I-96 and I-275 from Novi in the north down to Romulus in the south. This area is well situated to distribute goods from Chicago and the West Coast into Detroit. Moreover, proximity to the airport has kept residential development at bay, so there’s more available space for industrial construction.

Here are the 7 largest properties that are, or were, under construction in the second quarter:

  1. Building 6, 42060 Ecorse Rd.
  2. 1030 Featherstone St.
  3. 2, 18000 Vernier Rd.
  4. Canton Business Park, 48620-48626 Michigan Ave.
  5. 13751 Hamilton Ave.
  6. 12601 Southfield Fwy.
  7. Building 3, 48610 Michigan Ave.


Earlier this year, annual sales volume reached an all-time record high of $1.3 billion, and it has slowed only slightly in Q2 2022 to $1.1 billion, remaining well above the 10-year average of $699 million. While transactions were dispersed across the Detroit metro area, 26% of total volume was situated in the Airport District, and areas branching out from the Airport District were also quite popular with investors. Moreover, the average sale price for industrial properties of at least 100,000 SF that were built before 1980 was $37/SF, and properties built since 2015 are largely being sold as part of portfolio deals.


Responding to what has been identified as a generational downturn resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, including a catastrophic unemployment high of 22.7%, Michigan’s Safe Start Plan took a phased approach to reopening and renewing the economy. In Detroit, increased vaccination rates and eased restrictions enabled a lot of people to go back to work, bringing the year-over-year job growth rate to 8.6%, above the national average of 5.8%.

The nature of work has changed considerably. For instance, one of the largest employers in the state, General Motors, has transitioned to what it calls a “work appropriately” plan, which allows employees to work wherever they work most efficiently and productively. The two largest segments after office work, industrial at 19% and healthcare at 13%, are still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.

Healthcare facilities remain critical to combatting the pandemic, and although they have eased some restrictions, they continue to operate under Covid-19 workplace safety rules that have been dropped by most other sectors. Moreover, while back on the job, the industrial workforce continues to face logistical challenges, supply chain issues, and raw material shortages as a result of the pandemic. These are expected to improve as supply bottlenecks are cleared when consumer spending shifts from goods to services.

Finally, Michigan has ranked #1 in the US in foreign direct investment-related job growth for the past 5 years, and a significant amount of that growth is in the manufacturing sector in the Detroit metro area. This is expected to expand in coming months with new facilities adding a total of approximately 10,000 new jobs.

This is a summarized version of an office market report that was originally created by CoStar. The full report can be found here https://www.compass-commercial.com/industrial-real-estate-reports/

About the Author

Lynn Drake’s status is well known in the industry: She’s the commercial realtor focused on maintaining “true north” for her corporate clients. It’s a reputation built on 35 years of commercial real estate experience. Lynn became a commercial realtor in 2001 after 15 years in corporate real estate. Thus far in her career, Lynn has successfully completed over 1,500 real estate transactions ranging from small business tenant leases to the sale and purchase of industrial complexes.