Survey: Job growth driving demand for office and industrial real estate in Southern California

Annual USC Lusk Center for Real Estate forecast reveals signs of slow market recovery.

December 19, 2011 |

The University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate’s annual analysis of industrial and office real estate in Los Angeles County, Orange County and the Inland Empire shows signs of a slow market recovery.

The 10th Annual Casden Southern California Industrial and Office Forecast reveals that all three areas experienced job growth and increased demand for both property types in 2011. An analysis of each area’s submarkets found lower vacancy rates in 11 of 17 office submarkets and 11 of 14 industrial submarkets. On the rent side, four office submarkets and eight industrial submarkets experienced increases. Overall, declines were smaller than in the previous two years. 

“Although Southern California is a long way from pre-crisis levels of economic health, the improved employment picture and profound turnaround in the industrial market are signs of a slow recovery,” said study author Tracey Seslen. “The office market is only slightly improved over last year and vacancy rates may continue to fall for many months before we see rents stabilize.”  

 As a result, while office demand is expected to grow over the next two years, office rents were down for the third straight year and will continue to decline. On the industrial side, all three markets are expected to see ongoing declines in vacancies and increases in rents over the next two years.

In particular, the Inland Empire’s industrial market – the top performer in 2011 with a 6.4% increase in rents and nearly 17 million square feet of net absorption – is expected to see more growth in the next two years, but the magnitude will depend on rail and port activity.

“Sovereign risk in Europe, geopolitical turmoil and the growing U.S. debt crisis are undermining consumer confidence. Port and rail traffic, particularly activity at the Port of Long Beach, is down and could hinder the positive outlook for industrial rents,” Seslen said. BD+C

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