The Ventura County commercial real estate market is ripe for investment, speakers said at the 21st annual CBRE Ventura County and Conejo Valley Commercial Real Estate Symposium and Economic Forecast at the Four Seasons Resort in Westlake Village on Feb. 10.
There was $855 million in CRE sales in the Ventura County market in 2016 led by $450 million in retail, $265 million in office and $140 million in industrial, Mark Perry of CBRE said. Private investors will continue to play a significant role in the Conejo Valley while institutional lenders move out of the secondary and tertiary markets as the economic expansion cycle wanes, he said.
“The commercial mortgage-backed security debt maturities coming due in 2017 are going to create opportunities,” said Perry, adding that he closed three deals just last weekend.
Investment opportunities exist given Ventura County’s cheaper land values and available space compared to surrounding regions, speakers said.
Chinese investors have been aggressive in moving into the Conejo Valley, but that may drop off since the Chinese government has issued a 3 percent premium for moving more than $5 million out of the Chinese market, Perry said.
The retail sector is recovering from sizable vacancies left by Haggen, Sports Chalet and Sports Authority, said David Rush of CBRE. There was a record number of shopping center sales in 2015 and that momentum has continued through 2016, he said.
The Simi Valley office sector saw vacancy rise to 30 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 15.8 percent the year prior, in large part due to Farmers Insurance relocating to Woodland Hills, said Tom Dwyer of CBRE. Ventura County still has high vacancy rates across the board compared to its tri-county neighbors and Southern California markets.
San Fernando Valley businesses have migrated into the Ventura County industrial market as space dwindled, said Paul Farry of CBRE. He expects occupancy, lease rates and sale prices to improve in 2017, he said.
The speakers expect minimal construction in 2017.
Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast, ended the program with a discussion on how President Donald Trump’s policies will impact the area economy, similar to his Feb. 2 forecast at the Hyatt Regency in Westlake. Consumer confidence has been high since the election and Trump’s proposed tax cuts are poised to boost the economy, he said.
In order to improve Ventura County’s lagging economy, it needs more housing of all types, companies to expand and relocate to the area, a commercial airport, more lanes on highways 101 and 23, and new ideas to navigate around the development restrictions that the Save Our Open Space and Agricultural Resources ordinances pose, Schniepp said.
“Housing affordability is something that we need to watch closely,” he said.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]