Carlsbad, CA Economic Overview
Located in San Diego County, Carlsbad is the fifth-richest city in California and ranks among the 20 th -wealthiest communities in the nation. With a population of nearly 111,000, this affluent seaside resort lies along seven miles of Pacific Coastline and is just 87 miles south of Los Angeles and 35 miles north of San Diego. Referred to as 'The Village by the Sea', neighboring cities include Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Encinitas. The commercial real estate market in Carlsbad is driven by a variety of factors, including tourism & recreation, clean technology, and life sciences.
Carlsbad has received recognition from around the country and the world as one of the best places to live and to do business. Carlsbad was named as one of 'The Best Places to Live 2016' by Men's Journal, one of the 'Hottest Zip Codes in America' by Realtor.com, the 'Digital Capital of California' by Google, the '#1 Best Place to Launch a Startup' by Forbes, and '#4 of the Top Ten Zip Codes for Venture Capital Investment in San Diego' by Atlantic Cities. With accolades like these it's no wonder the economy of Carlsbad continues to fire on all cylinders.
With a median household income of nearly $91,000 and an unemployment rate of just 4.6%, the economy in Carlsbad is growing by leaps and bounds. Last year alone, the median household income in Carlsbad increased by over 3.5% and the employment base increased by over 4% with nearly 52,000 people employed in the city.
Carlsbad, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
The commercial real estate market in Carlsbad is driven by both old and new tech, recreation, tourism, and traditional business. The core industries in Carlsbad are:
- Action Sports – with Carlsbad having over 50% of the action sports jobs in San Diego County, this industry cluster grown significantly in Carlsbad over the past few years, with over 1,000 patents issued to companies in the city since 2008. With 42 action sports businesses in Carlsbad and over 2,600 jobs, some of the most notable action sports companies in Carlsbad include Callaway Golf, GoPro, TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, and Upper Deck.
- Life Sciences – the city is home to just under 200 life sciences companies offering nearly 7,400 jobs. With its proximity to San Diego, Carlsbad is at the center of the life sciences, biomedical, and genetics research development companies in the country. Notable life science companies in Carlsbad include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Zimmer Biomet, Providien, and Abbott Labs.
- Technology companies in Carlsbad are a main player in the commercial real estate market, with Google having named the city the digital capital of California. The ICT industry cluster includes cyber security, electronic device development, and robotics. The technology industry cluster in Carlsbad has more than 242 companies that employ more than 10,000 workers. Companies such as Sierra Wireless, Walmart Labs E-Commerce, Proficio, and Aethercomm call Carlsbad home.
- Cleantech and renewable energy businesses in Carlsbad are also significant users of commercial office and industrial space in Carlsbad. With 74 businesses in the city creating 5,000 jobs, notable cleantech companies in Carlsbad include Poseidon Water, Verdezyne, Enviance, and Stellar Solar.
Other significant industries in Carlsbad include medical device manufacturing and R&D, robotics, and hospitality & tourism - in fact, Carlsbad is often also called the 'Titanium Valley' because it is home to golf manufacturing companies such as Callaway Golf Company, TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company, Cobra Golf, and Titleist.
Commercial real estate trends in Carlsbad are proof of the dynamic market. Over the past year alone, multifamily prices have gained nearly 20%, asking prices for office space in Carlsbad have increased by over 4%, and industrial property in Carlsbad has risen by nearly 11%. Across all asset classes, rental rates, vacancy, and net absorption continue to move in the right direction.
Carlsbad, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Carlsbad, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Carlsbad, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 6,913,797 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 3,708,579 SF / 53.64% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 3,205,218 SF / 46.36% of total office
- Class A: 3,023,987 SF / 43.74% of total office
- Class B: 3,619,810 SF / 52.36% of total office
Total: 4,382,784 SF
By square footage range:
- 100k to 500k SF: 4,382,784 SF / 100% of total industrial
- Class A: 3,092,334 SF / 70.56% of total industrial
- Class B: 1,187,510 SF / 27.09% of total industrial
Employment in Carlsbad, CA
Job growth in Carlsbad has increased by over 4% this past year, with a current labor force in the city at nearly 52,000. Over 50% of the workforce is employed in the areas of management, administration, sales, and business & financial operations.
Top employers in Carlsbad are ViaSat communications, Thermo Fisher Scientific biotechnology, LEGOLAND California family theme park, Carlsbad Unified School District, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, TaylorMade-Adidas golf equipment, SGN Nutrition, Gemological Institute of America laboratory, City of Carlsbad, OptumRx biotechnology, Genoptix biotechnology, and the Park Hyatt Aviara resort.
Education in Carlsbad, CA
Public schools in Carlsbad are operated by four school districts, including the Carlsbad Unified School District and the Encinitas Union School District. Together these districts manage the 15 elementary schools, three middle schools, and three public high schools in Carlsbad. Private schools in Carlsbad include the military prep Army and Navy Academy, Pacific Ridge School, Palisades Point Christian Academy, and St. Patrick School.
Colleges and universities serving Carlsbad include MiraCosta and Palomar community colleges, California State University San Marcos, San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, Alliant International University, Point Loma Nazarene, and the Thomas Jefferson Law School.
Commuting Time in Carlsbad, CA
The average commuting time in Carlsbad is just over 25 minutes, with nearly 4% of the workforce having a super commute of 90 minutes or more each day. In addition, 11% of the work-week labor force does not commute, choosing to work from home instead, while over 7% carpool to and from work each day.
- Interstate 5 runs along the western edge of Carlsbad, while State Route 78 is just north of the city.
- Bus service and local train service in Carlsbad is provided by the North County Transit District, while Amtrak provides longer distance commuter rail service.
- The Port of San Diego, the fourth largest in the State, is near Carlsbad.
- McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad provides commercial and corporate service, while San Diego International Airport is less than one hour away.
- Total Population113,147
- Male Population(48.8 %) 55,192
- Female Population(51.2 %) 57,955
- Median Age42.60
- Average Household Income$134,602
- Median Household Income$102,722
- Median Income Under 25$49,063
- Median Income 25-44$115,561
- Median Income 45-64$118,164
- Median Income Over 65$70,487
Residential Rents in Carlsbad, CA
Nearly 38% of the residents in Carlsbad rent where they live, a percentage that has remained stable over the past year. Residential rents in Carlsbad have remained relatively stable year-over- year.
The average rent for a studio apartment in the city is $1,590 per month, while a three- bedroom apartment rents for $2,815 a month, on average. While rents from neighborhood to neighborhood in Carlsbad to not vary significantly, the relatively more expensive areas to rent in Carlsbad are South Beach, City Centre, and Barrio, while the Olde, Terramar, and Village neighborhoods are slightly less expensive.
Carlsbad, CA Average Rental Price, September 2019
- $ 2,176/mo
- Studio: $ 1,610
- 1 Bedroom: $ 2,012
- 2 Bedrooms: $ 2,220
Carlsbad, CA Rent Trends
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