U.S. regional mall occupancies climbed to the highest level in more than four years, led by properties owned by real estate investment trusts, as smaller retail centers recover at a slower pace.

The vacancy rate at malls, which typically include department stores and are larger than neighborhood and community shopping centers, fell to 8.2 percent in the third quarter from 8.7 percent a year earlier, Reis Inc. said in a report. Asking rents rose to an average of $39.77 a square foot from $39.24, the New York-based research firm said.

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