How many “For Lease” Signs Are In Your Neighborhood?

How many?  Have you looked?  It used to be that “for lease sings were fairly rare, and didn’t stay out very long.  That’s changed though. Since late 2008 I’ve noticed that there are a lot more than I’m used to.  A LOT more. this blog post touches on it, but it’s a problem that’s actually older than the current administration.

Quite frankly there is something wrong with the economy.  There has been for a long time.  One symptom of this is that everybody is in deep debt for the most part.  Or out of a job, or both.  Frankly the middle class has been cratered for some time. Low retail earnings are an effect, not a cause of something going bad.

Economists can go on the TV or, like Paul Krugman, pontificate in their newspaper columns about how people need to spend more.  What they don’t seem to understand is that people don’t have money to spend.  Ask your friends if they are buying a new car if they don’t have to.  Or making an addition to their house.  Or buying new furniture.  They aren’t doing any of those things? What the Keynesians can’t seem to understand is that there is an upper limit to how much the average person can stand.  They never seem to consider the total consequences of the rampant high taxes and spending that they advocate.  Too say nothing of the carrying burden of the huge administrative state.

The problem is that a new healthcare plan, jobs program or other such scheme competes with money that people might have used to make their lives better.  All that stuff competes with businesses too.  To say nothing of making it harder for people to save for the future and in the end even make ends meet.  Which is where we are now. The American consumer simply has no money to spend.

You can see the consequences of this on Main St.  Or in my case Main Ave.  Lets take a short walk up and down the street.

This is in Wilton CT, on CT Rte 7.  Now Wilton is not a poor town.  By and large it is a NYC bedroom community with offices for various financial and financial services companies.  typical Fairfield County CT.  Here’s the wiki:,_Connecticut

The typical household income is $300,000.  So there should be people spending and retail space should rented to a high percentage.  Yet, lets look down the street.


This is the shopping center at the corner of Main Ave. and West Rocks Rd in Norwalk just south of the Wilton line.  This mall is fully rented, but it looks like something is going out of business.



This is small strip mall at the front of a condominium development.  It looks like furniture store has gone out of business.



Bank with offices upstairs.  which lately seem to have lot of churn.


Strip mall.  Right now it’s 75% rented. That’s been typical since 2008.


Retail space.  Been empty since at least 2005.


Shops and offices.  Lot’s of turnover.


New bank.  Well it was. So lets cross the street.


This used to be a hardware store.  Long gone, since about 2005.  Has been empty ever since.


The office building next door.  Yet another sign.  Now moving back down the street.


Building 75% empty.  The sexy lingerie store is downstairs, in the back.  There was an oriental rug store, but that’s gone. The covered over windows hide the fact that the building  is nearly empty.


Another store for lease.


The oriental rug store that moved to the building that is now the sexy lingerie store.  This store has been empty since 2005 or so.


Yet another store for lease.



Last, but not least is the old Perkin Elmer headquarters that had been converted to high quality office space and, except for the fitness club, has been nearly empty since 2008 or so.

If this is what a street in a town full of 1%ers looks like, I shudder to think what the rest of the country looks like.  This short stretch of road is not atypical of Fairfield County.  I could have done the same walk in Westport, New Canaan or Darien.  If it’s this bad here, what does the rest of the country look like?


  1. ThomasW · April 12, 2015

    I see a lot of for lease signs (Colorado Denver area), however part of that is companies want to build a new building, not move into an existing facility. So there are for lease signs next to new construction.


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