In its latest quarter report, Hayes Commercial Group said the overall vacancy rate now exceeds 5 percent in South County. That number stacks up favorably when compared to national rates, but is up 25 percent since the beginning of the year.
The report showed that the number of lease transactions is up on an annualized basis, but that the total value of those leases was down 18 percent as a result of the market’s lower rates and shorter terms. Santa Barbara retail vacancy is up 47 percent year-over-year to 2.5 percent, and there is currently 33,000 square feet of space available in the 700 to 900 blocks of State Street.
Meanwhile, commercial property sales have hit a wall. Through June, commercial sales on the South Coast totaled only $20 million, compared to $97.2 million over the same period in 2008. There is hope, though! Three properties totaling $35 million are in escrow and set to close in the third quarter. Owner-users, rather than investors, have purchased eight of the nine commercial sales closed so far in 2009.