Los Angeles, CA Economic Overview
Set between the beach and the mountain, the City of Los Angeles is the rich middle that has something for everyone. With a population estimated at a little over four million, it’s the second most populous city in the U.S.A. In addition, L.A. draws over 25 million tourists a year. At this rate, “busy" is an understatement. With so much to show off and opportunity at every step, the Los Angeles commercial real estate market is always bustling.
The region’s economy is mostly driven by international trade, entertainment in all its forms, technology, aerospace, fashion and tourism. With two seaports, three international and two domestic service airports, as well as access to transcontinental rail, Los Angeles is one of the busiest international trade hubs in the world. The city is well connected, open to any productive opportunities and, given its varied and educated workforce, there’s a niche for every business.
Los Angeles, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
L.A. is not only the largest retail market in the country, but also the biggest manufacturing center in the Western USA. The sprawling metropolis covers several valleys and offers 470 square miles of dry space in which any business can find a comfortable operational spot. There’s over 130M SF of commercial space, in properties of over 50k SF that are either office, office with retail or industrial.
Downtown Los Angeles office market includes finance, business, professional and legal services. Growing industries are entertainment, technology, architecture and other creative disciplines. Downtown L.A.’s retail and hospitality enterprises are on the rise due to population growth, ample tourism, renowned education facilities and excellent access to transport. Per Avison Young, the private sector has invested $16 billion in Downtown L.A., "one of the most dynamic urban cores in the world".
West Los Angeles is home to educational institutions like UCLA and Pepperdine University and is now recognized as an epicenter of creative office, also named "Silicon Beach". It is home to a great variety of successful industries: entertainment, media, technology, legal and financial services, engineering, architecture, real estate and much more. The area offers a wide array of amenities to those who choose to live, work and play here. West L.A. office market accounts for 28% of the Los Angeles County office market. The retail scene is famous for the high rents commanded by desirable corridors such as Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica’s 3rd Street promenade and West Hollywood's Melrose District.
North Los Angeles is “Creative Central". Home ground of anything Hollywood, the entertainment business sector takes up a great portion of the North LA office market and is joined by real estate, finance and insurance companies. Avison Young research indicates that the retail vacancy rates have remained below 5% here due to favorable long-term lease conditions, which also drew company headquarters and flagship store openings to the area.
Los Angeles – Santa Monica is integrated in the “Silicon Beach" corridor that has bred hundreds of technology startups. The area has become progressively populated with media, tech and entertainment office users. This increase in demand has, in turn, attracted developers into the business of transforming old properties into creative office and collaborative workspaces. The Santa Monica Pier is a famous retail location that caters to the over 7 million visitors that descend on Santa Monica each year.
Los Angeles, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Los Angeles, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Los Angeles, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 209,492,854 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 33,595,450 SF / 16.04% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 116,426,438 SF / 55.58% of total office
- 500k to 1M SF: 31,228,824 SF / 14.91% of total office
- > 1M SF: 28,242,142 SF / 13.48% of total office
- Class A+: 16,741,057 SF / 7.99% of total office
- Class A: 102,838,155 SF / 49.09% of total office
- Class B: 65,228,892 SF / 31.14% of total office
- Class C: 2,434,687 SF / 1.16% of total office
Total: 91,273,624 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 34,108,348 SF / 37.37% of total industrial
- 100k to 500k SF: 48,466,645 SF / 53.1% of total industrial
- 500k to 1M SF: 5,702,206 SF / 6.25% of total industrial
- > 1M SF: 2,996,425 SF / 3.28% of total industrial
- Class A: 18,814,133 SF / 20.61% of total industrial
- Class B: 58,334,403 SF / 63.91% of total industrial
- Class C: 13,640,088 SF / 14.94% of total industrial
Office Spaces with Retail
Total: 55,307,530 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 15,755,919 SF / 28.49% of total office with retail
- 100k to 500k SF: 28,903,737 SF / 52.26% of total office with retail
- 500k to 1M SF: 6,700,128 SF / 12.11% of total office with retail
- > 1M SF: 3,947,746 SF / 7.14% of total office with retail
Employment in Los Angeles, CA
Historically, local administration, healthcare and higher education offices have been among the largest employment sectors in Los Angeles County. With regard to statistics about L.A.'s people, it's not easy to draw a line between City and County - a 2014 L.A. Times study showed that more than two-thirds of City employees live outside of it, mostly due to the continuous growth in residential rents.
With that in mind, the most recent official numbers put City, County and Federal agencies at the top of the list of biggest employers in the county.
- Administration/Public sector The City of L.A., County of L.A., LAUSD and State offices employ over 290,000 people in the area;
- Healthcare is next on the list, employing some 85,000 Angelenos. The top 3 healthcare employers are Kaiser Permanente, Providence and Cedar Sinai;
- Retail Los Angeles has the largest retail market in the country and this sector ranks 3rd as employment sector in the area. Among the top 10 biggest retail employers in L.A. are Target Corp., Kroger Co., Home Depot and American Apparel.
- Other top-ranking sectors are:
- Entertainment world-renowned and locally present in all its complexity, this industry generates over $120 billion annually in output, according to the LAEDC, and is one of the largest in terms of economic impact and jobs;
- Higher education UCLA, USC and CalTECH employ over 65,000 combined;
- Aerospace and Defense led by Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Overall, office-using employment in Los Angeles is strong and spread across various industries, from banking and finance, telecommunications, services and utilities to biotech and almost any other industry.
Education in Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest in the country. In addition, there are over 120 institutions of higher education in the county, among which are anchors like CalTECH, UCLA, USC, the California Institute of the Arts and Pepperdine University. This region is a major center for higher education, home to a wide array of specialized learning institutions.
Commuting Time in Los Angeles, CA
The traffic in L.A. is notoriously congested. Official stats calculate the average commute time at around 30 minutes but, by local’s estimates, that does not do it justice. The City has launched several initiatives that help residents get around more easily, whatever their choice of transport:
Over 500 miles of bikeways – see how you can join the over 19k people who bike to work by visiting http://bike.lacity.org/. All Metro Rail lines run regularly between 5am and midnight, seven days a week. See L.A. Metro’s routes and schedule here: https://www.metro.net/
Los Angeles Demographics
- Total Population3,966,936
- Male Population(49.5 %) 1,964,984
- Female Population(50.5 %) 2,001,952
- Median Age35.60
- Average Household Income$96,420
- Median Household Income$62,142
- Median Income Under 25$34,604
- Median Income 25-44$66,871
- Median Income 45-64$69,958
- Median Income Over 65$44,497
Top 50 Office Sales of the Last 2 Decades
February 01, 2021
The years between 2000 and 2020 have proven to be quite eventful for the U.S. office market. The first decade started on the tail end of the dot-com bubble, which resulted in the boom and bust of an unprecedented real estate bubble. Then, the 2010s were marked by growth and consolidation, only t...
Following the great financial crisis of 2008, the U.S. has been experiencing one of the longest economic expansions in history. Production and consumption continue to climb higher and, as a result, industrial property construction continues to increase, as well. In particular, industrial propert...
Decade in Review: Office Building Sales Total $873 Billion Since 2010
February 04, 2020
A decade is a long time, and so much has occurred in our country and around the world in the last 10 years. In particular, rising real estate prices have been one of the prevailing themes throughout the 2010s. Coming off the heels of the Great Financial Crisis, the U.S. economy has trended upwar...