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December 11, 2023
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OC Office Market Sees Cautious Optimism


This update provided by real estate services firm JLL

• Negative net absorption continued to accelerate across all submarket clusters except the Airport Area
• Sublease availability kept increasing as a few tech tenants started to readjust their footprints
• Notable large leases were inked in creative office products, including Spectrum Terrace and The Flight
• Orange County’s nonfarm employment has fully recovered to the pre-pandemic level since October

In the ending quarter of 2022, Orange County leasing volume recorded a positive 2% change quarter-over-quarter. Countywide overall vacancy was still on the rise and has now reached its highest level since Q4 2021. Negative net absorption across the county continued to increase during the quarter. Only the Airport Area’s absorption remained positive as a few large spaces leased in the cluster earlier this year were officially occupied before the end of the year.

Total sublease availability kept increasing in Q4 but at a much slower pace compared to the prior two quarters, 3.4% up quarter-over-quarter. More than half of the additional sublease space came from tech tenants this time around, which is a shift from Q2 and Q3 when financial and mortgage companies contributed to most of the subleases.

Creative office space in Orange County has recorded continuous decline in vacancy in the past three years. The largest lease of Q4 was inked in one of the newly delivered Spectrum Terrace Phase 3 buildings by a FAANG tenant, followed by over 100k sf in The Flight, leased by tenants in retail and professional and business services during the quarter. Another iconic creative office product in Orange County, the Innovation Office Park Phase 1, which was constructed and delivered during COVID, has reached 80% occupancy by the end of 2022. Tenants’ preference for creative office space in Orange County indicates the demand is still strong, especially for quality and flexible space that encourages collaboration.


Since Q4, more companies started to require consistent office attendance, which might help stabilize demand. Moreover, Orange County’s job market has fully recovered to the pre-pandemic level since October. 20,200 payrolls have been added in office-using industries in October and November. These should help counter additional market headwinds in 2023.

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