A report released by the Dallas-based real estate group Weitzman predicted Houston’s commercial real estate market would return to pre-pandemic levels of occupancy in 2022.

Weitzman reached its conclusion after reviewing Houston’s inventory of 163.1 million square feet in multitenant retail projects with 25,000 square feet or more.

Retailers leasing in existing space was one of the factors leading to the market’s resurgence, according to the report.

The report cited the high demand for space from restaurants as another factor, using examples such as Willie’s Ice House and The Halal Guys in Pearland.

According to data from the Greater Houston Partnership, restaurants in Texas saw operating capacity returning close to 100% throughout 2021 and into 2022, despite COVID-19 surges from the delta and omicron variants.

New retail construction projected to stay low

Weitzman reported new construction in the Houston metro area is projected to remain at historic lows, despite larger-scale projects arriving in 2022.

In 2021, Weitzman recorded a record low 535,000 square feet of retail development in new or expanded projects of 25,000 square feet or more. This total broke the previous low of 690,000 square feet set in 2020.

Among its notable openings in 2021, Weitzman included Pearland’s Rooms To Go as well as Post Houston.

The larger-scale projects the report named include Magnolia Village in Magnolia, Main Event in Tomball, and the H-E-B-anchored Market at Willis shopping center in Willis.