Companies eyeing additional warehouse space might want to act now. Demand for industrial property picked up sharply in the fourth quarter, resulting in net absorption of 28.6 million square feet of space, according to a report from real estate brokerage Colliers International, and that leasing activity should eventually lead to an increase in rents.

"If I was a CFO, I think I would start preparing for, over the next two or three years, significantly higher rents," says Ross Moore, chief economist in the U.S. for Colliers. "The supply side is dead and it takes quite a long time to ramp construction up."

The market for industrial property reflects overall manufacturing activity, exports and imports, and consumer demand, Moore says. "If you look at the forecasts, many economists have GDP at 4% for 2011," he says. "If that is the case, we should see industrial take off."

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