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June 24, 2024
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Ventura County Multifamily and Industrial Markets Enjoying Strong Demand While Office and Retail Markets are Struggling


This report was provided by NAI Capital

A year into the pandemic, Ventura County commercial real estate markets continued to diverge. Vacant multifamily housing units and industrial space declined by double digits over the past year as office and retail space, struggling to reopen from the Covid-19 shutdown, endured growing vacancy in Q1 2021.

Vacant multifamily units decreased 47.2% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, dropping the vacancy rate to a historic low. Demand for multifamily rentals, tight supply, and a lack of affordability for single-family homes continued to drive the market. The median price of a house sold in Ventura County reached the second highest level on record at $770,750 in March 2021 – up 9.3% from March of last year.

Industrial vacant space decreased 36% in Q1 2021, dropping back well below pre-pandemic levels. Despite a huge boost in demand for warehouse and distribution space that came from the acceleration of online shopping and ecommerce growth during the pandemic, Ventura County’s industrial market hasn’t added any new inventory to the industrial base since Q1 2020.

Motivated office landlords, as demand plummeted, decreased rents to compete for tenants and maintain occupancy. Landlords responded by dropping asking rent on average 2.0% from last year, as the office market continued to slog through the ongoing challenges of re-opening from the Covid-19 shutdown, and a 25.2% increase in vacant office space from Q1 2020.

The retail market vacancy rate registered 5.5% in Q1 2021, and the average asking rent dropped by 3.4% from Q1 2020. During the Great Recession the vacancy rate hit a high of 6.0% in Q4 2010 and the average asking rent then declined 7.5% from Q4 2009. The shutdown has altered the financial outlook and long-term direction of retail by property type.

Ventura County’s industrial market supply/demand imbalance produced strong rent growth, up 21.2% from Q1 2020.

Multifamily’s shortage of affordable housing swiftly pushed the average rent in Q1 2021, up 7.9% from last year. The market absorbed 1,568 units between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, compared to a significantly lower amount of 424 newly completed units added to the market over the same time.

Industrial and multifamily markets received strong demand and rising rent, while office and retail experienced the impacts of the pandemic with significant growing vacancy and declining rent.

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