The rapid delivery of goods ordered online is highly dependent on the “last mile” of the supply chain. Last-mile fulfillment is essentially the final leg of delivery rather than a literal measurement of distance. But just how close to major population centers are these last-mile facilities? CBRE Research analyzed the 15 largest metro areas in the U.S. and found that distances range from six miles in the San Francisco Bay Area to nine miles in the Inland Empire. Generally, highly urbanized and dense population centers were closer to last-mile facilities, while more suburban and geographically larger areas were farther from last-mile facilities.
Figure 1: Average Last-Mile Measurement for 15 Largest Metro Areas by Population
How is last mile impacting industrial real estate?
As consumer preferences have evolved and the need for faster service has grown, demand for last-mile real estate has spiked. These properties, which are mainly smaller, Class B infill facilities, have experienced rapid rent growth driven by the combination of massive user demand and a lack of new development. This supply/demand imbalance is especially acute in the West, where light-industrial rents (a good proxy for last mile) have grown by more than 10% annually in the past two years.
Figure 2: West Region Last-Mile Rents Outperforming
Source: CBRE Econometric Advisors, Q1 2018.