10 Facts You Should Know About SoCal's Inland Empire Economy

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Southern California Chapter of ACRE (Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives) in Ontario last week.  Below is a summary of the information I presented about all the recent positive economic data on SoCal’s Inland Empire.

  1. 13th Largest MSA in the US – Out of over 380 MSA’s in the US, the Inland Empire is the 13th largest with a population of over 4.5M people and the region is growing by 50,000 to 100,000 per year. The region is bigger than the MSA’s of Seattle/Tacoma, Minnesota/St. Paul and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
  1. Majority of Population is Hispanic – The year 2017 is when Hispanics became the majority in the Inland Empire with 50.5 percent of the population being Hispanic. The region is the 5th largest MSA based upon Hispanic population behind New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. What do all of these economies have in common – they are growing and dynamic thanks to the combination of entrepreneurial efforts and hard work that helps to energize these regions.
  1. Job Growth 3.4% in 2017 – The Inland Empire had the fastest job growth rate compared to ANY other region in California in 2017. The unemployment rate is 4.1% and leading job producing industries include education, logistics, healthcare, hospitality and construction.
  1. Strong Amazon Impact – There are currently over 16,000 Amazon employees in the Inland Empire working at 10 ecommerce centers with 2 more under construction. Looking back less than 8 years ago, there were ZERO people employed by Amazon in this market.
  1. Housing Starts UP Last Year – There were 15,000 housing starts in 2017 which is 46% higher than in 2016, but way below the 23,000 housing starts per year that is the region’s historical average.
  1. Median Homes Prices Up Double Digits – The median home price in Riverside County was $370,000 (up 12.1% in 2017) and $312,500 in San Bernardino County (up 10.8% in 2017). The Inland Empire continues to be the most affordable region of SoCal but due to a shortage of inventory and high demand prices continue to increase.
  1. Ontario International Airport is Growing – Since the City of Ontario took back local control of the airport it has been all good news. In 2017 passenger traffic increased 7% to over 4.5M and cargo shipments were up 15% over 2016. The big news is that China Airlines starts daily non-stop trips from Ontario to Taiwan this month! 头条新闻:中国航空本月起将提供每日从美国安大略到台湾的行程
  1. Almost 21M SF of Industrial Space Under Construction – There has been over 100M square feet of industrial space built in the Inland Empire over the past 5 years and there is currently another 21M square feet of space under construction! That represents a huge number of construction jobs plus the new jobs created to work in these buildings to operate for all the machinery, automation, and transportation that serves the 600M total square feet of industrial in the region.
  1. Retail Vacancy is Down to 7.4% Overall – There is 14.5M square feet of vacant retail space but if you remove  spaces that are 20,000 square feet and larger the vacancy rate drops to 4.6%. This is because 43% of the overall vacancy is in only 1.3% of the buildings!
  1. Retail Sales Exceed 71B in 2017 UP from 46B in 2009 – Taxable retail sales are up almost 55% since 2009! Need I say more?

Suffice it to say it’s a great time for retailers and investors to be doing business in the Inland Empire. AND with the positive momentum I expect the economy will continue to be strong for the foreseeable future.

Our team at Progressive Real Estate Partners specializes in the sale and leasing of retail properties in the Inland Empire.  If you’re an investor looking to buy or sale a retail property OR a retailer looking for space to lease feel free to reach out to me at 909.230.4500 or brad@progressiverep.com