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How long will California’s commercial construction boom last?

Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast survey has largely positive outlook but identifies possible concerns

Santa Monica construction
Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast

Construction in Santa Monica

California’s commercial real estate boom is continuing, but as U.S. economic growth slows, there are signs that the boom may be topping out.

The latest edition (PDF) of a biannual survey conducted by the UCLA Anderson Forecast and the California-based law firm Allen Matkins “provides the first indication of a topping out in office and retail markets,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, adjunct professor of economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

In the two other markets surveyed, industrial and multi-family housing, the optimism of the past few years continued through the June survey period.

For each of the six markets surveyed — San Francisco, the East Bay, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego — office developer sentiment has declined since its peak in 2014, as developers have become more pessimistic about the growth of real rental rates and vacancy rates. In Southern California in particular, the survey indicates that markets will remain the same three years from now.

“One can say that the panels are still optimistic, but clearly that is abating,” Nicklesberg said. 

Read the full news release.

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