The Ventura County office of CB Richard Ellis hosted its 13th annual Commercial Real Estate Symposium on Jan. 30, where speakers reported that the county’s commercial real estate vacancy rates skyrocketed during the fourth quarter.
Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast Project, joined a panel of three CB Richard Ellis brokers to present an analysis of the downward trends and challenges facing California’s commercial real estate industry.
Schniepp spoke first, recapping 2008’s economic woes and reiterating what he told a smaller audience at a Jan. 22 community brokers meeting in Goleta: vacancies are up.
He added that the median home price has fallen 46 percent in the past 15 months but pointed to a decrease in foreclosure rates as a good omen, predicting a modest recovery by the third or fourth quarter of 2009.
“We know it’s severe,” Schniepp said. “We are likely past the halfway point, but we believe the worst is still yet to come.”
Paul Farry, CB Richard Ellis’ senior vice president of industrial properties, seemed more optimistic than Schniepp, despite the fact that Ventura County industrial space vacancy rose to 8.9 percent from 6.3 percent.
“Ventura County industrial land sales have been kind of paltry in the last few years,” Farry said. “Business failures have put some more spaces on the market.”