Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President at Simon Property Group
I'm pleased to report our first quarter results. First quarter funds from operations were $1.046 billion or $2.78 per share prior to a noncash unrealized loss of $0.08 from a mark-to-market in fair value of publicly held securities. Our domestic operations had an excellent quarter. Our international operations posted strong results in the quarter despite being negatively impacted from the surging U.S. dollar. We are also very pleased with the results from our other platform investments.
We generated $1 billion in free cash flow in the quarter, an increase of 10% compared to the prior year period. Domestic property NOI increased 7.5% year-over-year for the quarter. And our international properties, as I mentioned, performed well, driving portfolio NOI growth to 8.8%. Occupancy at the end of the first quarter was 93.3%, an increase of 250 basis points compared to the prior year and a decrease of only 10 basis points compared to our seasonally high fourth quarter year-end of 2021. The number of tenant terminations in the first quarter was the lowest recorded in the last 5 years, and our TRG portfolio occupancy was 93.2%. At quarter end, average base minimum rent increased compared to the fourth quarter and was $54.14. Leasing momentum continued across the portfolio. We signed more than 900 leases for more than 3 million square feet in the quarter and had a significant number of leases in our pipeline. In fact, at our recent leasing deal committee, we approved the most deals since 2016. And overall, we recently have approved approximately 500 new deals representing 2 million square feet.
Demand is very strong. And interesting, with the volatility of the world, our portfolio in the U.S. is in great demand from worldwide brands, restaurants and entertainment operators as most retailers and tenants view the U.S. as the place to be.
Sales momentum continued for our retailers. Mall sales volume for the first quarter were up 19% year-over-year. We reported retail sales per square foot reached another record in the first quarter at $734 per square foot for the mall and outlet, combined 43% increase. And $669 per square foot for the mills, which was a 50% increase. TRG reported $1,038 per square foot, which was a 52% year-over-year increase. Our occupancy cost is the lowest that we've had in 7 years.
We are pleased with the results of our other platform investments in the first quarter, including SPARC Group and J.C. Penney. J.C. Penney's liquidity position is strong at $1.3 billion, and it has no borrowings on its line of credit and performed better than planned. I can say the same for SPARC, which also performed better than planned in the quarter. SPARC also completed the U.S. Reebok transaction, and we anticipate great things from this iconic brand. Remember, we expect Reebok to incur operating losses for SPARC in 2022 due to the integration aspects of the transaction. SPARC financial position, like Penney, is strong with the recent refinancing of its ABL. And it is, in fact, a net cash positive position.
During the quarter, however, our investments in Soho House and Life Time Holdings, which both became public companies at the end of last year, were impacted by overall market volatility, driving an $0.08 unrealized noncash mark-to-market. These are high-quality businesses that fit with our flywheel of unique companies, and we believe these investments will generate value above our bases as they fully reopen and reengage with their customers.
On the balance sheet front, we completed very timely a dual tranche U.S. senior notes offering that totaled $1.2 billion, including a 10-year fixed-rate offering at 2.65% early in the year. We used the net proceeds to pay off amounts outstanding on our credit facility. We also refinanced 7 mortgages for a total of $1.1 billion at an average interest rate of 2.92%, and our liquidity stands at $8 billion.
Now today, we announced our dividend of $1.70 per share for the second quarter, a year-over-year increase of 21%. The dividend will be payable on June 30. Including our dividends declared today, we paid more than $37 billion in dividends over our years as a public company, $37 billion. We also announced today that our Board of Directors has authorized a new common stock repurchase program for up to $2 billion that will become effective on May 16.
When we look at the valuation of our stock today at an FFO multiple of approximately 10x relative to the historical valuations closer to 15x and an implied cap rate of around 7% for our real estate assets, we see substantial value in our stock, particularly given our belief and conviction in our future growth opportunities.
Our balance sheet is strong, continues to be a significant advantage for us while our cash flow generation provides us with the flexibility to adapt as conditions warrant. And as we have proved countless times, we will be thoughtful and opportunistic on the buyback. And keep in mind, this is in addition to the more than 20% increase in our dividend we announced today.
Now given our outlook for the remainder of the year, we are increasing our full year 2022 comparable FFO guidance from $11.50 to $11.70 per share to $11.60 to $11.75 per share, which compares to our comparable number of $11.44 last year. This is an increase of $0.10 at the bottom end of the range and $0.05 at the top, or an 8% increase at the midpoint. This does not include the previously mentioned unrealized loss or gain that may occur the rest of the year on our fair value of investments that I mentioned. And please keep in mind that this guidance increase comes in the face of a strong U.S. dollar and rising interest rates.
Now just to conclude, I'm pleased with our first quarter results. Tenant demand is excellent, and our real estate is a great hedge in inflationary times. Hopefully, our operating results and our announced stock buyback authorization today reinforces that we are primarily focused internally and growing our existing platforms organically. And I think that will conclude my comments. We're ready for questions.