Lake Forest, CA Economic Overview
Lake Forest is located in Orange County, Calif., the most populated county in the state after Los Angeles and San Diego. Prior to its incorporation in 1991, the area was known as El Toro, and in 2000 was expanded to include the master-planned communities of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. This small 16.6-square-mile city is home to over 80,000 residents and is bordered by the cities of Mission Viejo, Irvine, and Laguna Hills. The commercial real estate market in Lake Forest is sustained by its location and driven by the diversity of business and industry it harbors.
The economy of Lake Forest is flourishing, due to its abundance of quality business parks, job growth programs, which help business owners retain and expand their workforce, a variety of housing options, and the diversity of key industries that make up the economy in Lake Forest.
With a median household income of over $91,000 and an unemployment rate of just 3.1% the local economy remains strong, with growth from both new residents and world-class enterprises like Apria Healthcare and Oakley.
Lake Forest, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
Some of the better known businesses headquartered in Lake Forest include eye ware manufacturer Oakley, metals company Kaiser Aluminum, in-flight entertainment provider Panasonic Avionics, UAV aircraft company Karem Aircraft, telecommunications software developer Greenlight Wireless Corp., barbecue retailer Barbeques Galore, restaurant chains Johnny Rockets and Del Taco, medical equipment maker Apria Healthcare, and skateboarding company Sole Technology.
Global icons, industry innovators, corporate leaders, and entrepreneurs all call Lake Forest home. Key industries in the city include globally recognized apparel, major healthcare & medical manufacturing, business marketing and communications and printing, high quality industrial manufacturing, and robotic, aviation and information technologies.
Some of the more recognizable apparel companies located in Lake Forest are 3D Industries, Oakley, Sole Technology, and Wet Seal, Inc. Oakley employs over 2,000 people at its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, while Sole Technology manufactures sports footwear and apparel sold in over 70 countries.
Lake Forest's exceptional location relative to some of California's leading medical research universities have helped the city attract several major healthcare companies to its industrial parks and well-educated workforce. Healthcare companies in Lake Forest, such as ACTA Laboratories, Alcon, Applied Medical, Apria Healthcare, Ossur, R&D Medical Products, and Skilled Healthcare research, manufacture and distribute a wide range of medical products through their facilities in Lake Forest.
The office and industrial parks in Lake Forest are mainly located in the north-central part of the city, bisected by State Route 241, and are home to companies such as Image Options, Impact Marketing Specialists, PM Group, and Westamerica Communications. A combination of both service and manufacturing businesses, some specialize in large format printing, production, and installation while others provide print management and marketing solutions for business around the globe.
Global manufacturing leaders such as Ellison, Global Power Technologies Group, Kaiser Aluminum, and Spectrum Brands Hardware & Home Improvement all are attracted by some of the most affordable lease rates in Orange County that the high quality industrial parks in Lake Forest have to offer.
The industrial, office and manufacturing parks in Lake Forest are also home to some of the world's leading companies in robotics, aviation, biometric, and information technologies companies. FANUC America Corporation's industrial robots and automation solutions provide applications to the automotive, consumer goods, metal fabrication, and solar panel industries.
Fujitsu America specializes in front-end technologies and biometric products, Insulectro is the leading supplier of materials used to manufacture printed circuit boards and electronics, Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world's leader in in-flight entertainment and communications, and TH2 Technologies focuses on providing the highest quality cutting edge technologies to businesses around the world.
Lake Forest, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Lake Forest, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Lake Forest, Orange County, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 2,613,494 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 1,169,137 SF / 44.73% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 1,444,357 SF / 55.27% of total office
- Class A: 674,586 SF / 25.81% of total office
- Class B: 1,938,908 SF / 74.19% of total office
Total: 4,953,427 SF
By square footage range:
- 100k to 500k SF: 4,953,427 SF / 100% of total industrial
- Class A: 4,953,427 SF / 100% of total industrial
Employment in Lake Forest, CA
Job growth in Lake Forest has increased by nearly 2% over the past year, with a labor force of well over 43,000 in the city. Over 28% of the labor force in Lake Forest works in management, business and financial operations, computers and mathematics, and architecture and engineering.
Top employers in Lake Forest include:
- Oakley with over 2,400 employees;
- Panasonic Avionics Corporation with nearly 2,400;
- Loan Depot with nearly 700;
- Invensys with nearly 600 employees;
- Apria Healthcare with nearly 400;
- Spectrum Brands with nearly 400;
- The Home Depot and Walmart, each with over 300 workers;
- Wet Seal with nearly 300 employees
- the Saddleback Valley Unified School District with over 200 people.
Education in Lake Forest, CA
Public schools in Lake Forest are operated by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Residents of the city benefit from its excellent educational system of 24 elementary schools, five middle schools, four high schools, and a continuation high school along with an independent high school.
Students in Lake Forest have access to some of the best colleges and universities in Orange County, including Irvine Valley College, Concordia University, University of California at Irvine, Saddleback College, Chapman University, and California State University at Fullerton.
Commuting Time in Lake Forest, CA
The average commuting time in Lake Forest is just 24 minutes, which is below the national average. In addition, nearly 2% of the workforce has a super commute of 90 minutes or more, while over 7% carpool to work each day and nearly 6% have the option of working at home.
Due to its location in Orange County both business and residents alike have a variety of transportation options:
- State Route 241 passes through the northeastern part of Lake Forest while I-5 runs along the city's southwestern border.
- Bus service in Lake Forest is provided by the Orange County Transportation Authority.
- Rail service in the city is provided by Metrolink and Amtrak.
- The international shipping Port of Long Beach is 25 miles from the city, while the international shipping Port of Los Angeles is 45 miles.
John Wayne Airport is 11 miles from Lake Forest, Long Beach Airport is 25 miles, while Ontario International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport are both within 50 miles of the city.
Lake Forest Demographics
- Total Population81,812
- Male Population(49.4 %) 40,450
- Female Population(50.6 %) 41,362
- Median Age39.00
- Average Household Income$118,550
- Median Household Income$96,963
- Median Income Under 25$67,917
- Median Income 25-44$98,444
- Median Income 45-64$115,992
- Median Income Over 65$61,309