Mall Malaise Drags Real Estate Index to First Drop Since 2013

Real estate investors can point the finger at America’s much-maligned malls for the first decline in a measure of commercial-property prices in more than four years. 

An index that tracks values for U.S. office buildings, apartments, hotels and shopping malls fell 1 percent in October, marking the biggest monthly drop since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to Green Street Advisors LLC. A 5.5 percent slump in mall values was enough to drag down the entire group, leading to one of only two broad declines for the index in the past seven years. The other was a 0.6 percent decrease in July 2013.

Retail landlords have been squeezed by the rise of e-commerce, leading to a surge of store closures. Property owners have spent $8 billion in the past three years in an effort to update centers with a focus on entertainment and other types of experiences that can’t be found online, according to brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

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