Orange, CA Economic Overview
Located in the heart of Orange County, the City of Orange spans over 24 square miles and lies approximately 32 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and just 3 miles north of Santa Ana. The City has a unique history of farming, with many of its earliest farmers planting grape vines and, later, the numerous orange groves that now cover the landscape. The city’s geography is predominantly flat, but is surrounded by hills to the north and east. The City is bounded by the Santa Ana River to the west, and Santiago Creek crosses the city northeast to southeast. The City of Orange has blossomed into its natural surroundings, boasting a thriving community which enjoys parks, lakes, a small zoo, a university, and a wildlife sanctuary. Orange is unique in the region, in that it possesses the second-largest concentration of historic buildings. The city is known for its preservation of spaces and architecture, and Orange commercial real estate is distinguished by its character buildings, particularly those found in its Old Town District. Orange is also home to an affluent community, with a median household income of $58,994 and of just over 141,000 residents.
Orange’s economy experienced its first “boom” during the last decade of the 19th century, thanks to an ever-increasing demand for California-grown citrus fruits—what some refer to as the “Orange Era.” Like most cities in the area, agriculture once formed the backbone of the local economy, but now boasts a diverse economic base, including a full range of retail, office, and industrial uses, as well as major medical centers and educational institutions. Its broad range of business activity attracts local, national, and international influences to its strategically located center of commercial activity, in the heart of Orange County. The city is home to one of the strongest retail and automotive markets in the southland, accessible by four major freeways and the Metrolink commuter rail system. Orange steadily produces a higher sales per capita rate than the rest of Orange County and California, itself. Transportation and Logistics Services are the leading sales tax producing business groups in Orange, followed by Consumer Goods and Business and Industry. The largest employers in the area include University of California-Irvine Medical Center, Sisters of St. Joseph Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
Orange, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
Orange hosts a vibrant commercial scene, with premium retail and office space throughout the area. The Outlets at Orange, a large, outdoor shopping and entertainment center, is located on the western edge of the city. The plaza is well-known for its wide variety of antique shops and has become a favourite destination amongst antiques collectors. The most well-known neighborhoods in Orange include Old Towne, the Presidential Tracts, El Modena, the Alphabet Streets, and the Eichler Tracts. Demand for space within the area is currently rising steadily, as well as rates—in the last 3 months, the median rates went up $2 per square foot, marking a 7% increase in rent.
The Orange County office market continues its strong performance with healthy fundamental indicators in 2017. Overall vacancy rates stand at 11.1% and prices remain stable, slightly lower than the nearby Los Angeles County rent prices. The Orange County commercial real estate market encompasses 87.8 million square feet of office space.
Old Towne is a one square-mile, vibrant commercial district, containing Orange County’s oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain. The Orange Old Towne office market is uniquely placed, with a variety of locally owned antique shops, galleries, and specialty shops, attracting crowds of visitors on a daily basis.
Orange, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Orange, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Orange, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 5,882,160 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 1,193,911 SF / 20.3% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 4,688,249 SF / 79.7% of total office
- Class A: 3,919,657 SF / 66.64% of total office
- Class B: 1,962,503 SF / 33.36% of total office
Total: 2,706,601 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 281,368 SF / 10.4% of total industrial
- 100k to 500k SF: 2,425,233 SF / 89.6% of total industrial
- Class A: 686,886 SF / 25.38% of total industrial
- Class B: 2,019,715 SF / 74.62% of total industrial
Office Spaces with Retail
Total: 327,456 SF
By square footage range:
- 100k to 500k SF: 327,456 SF / 100% of total office with retail
Employment in Orange, CA
Orange County is a major manufacturing and technology center, with several clusters of activity in nearby Irvine and an emphasis on computer software, semiconductors and bio-med applications, and is host to a labor force of 1.6 million. Orange County enjoys a low unemployment rate of 3.8%, down from 4.3% in 2016 and well-below the U.S. average of 4.8%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries in the Orange County, CA area with the highest employment numbers include:
- Professional and Business Services—currently employs 300,900, growing at 2.8%/year
- Trade, Transport, and Utilities—currently employs 258,500, growing at 0.4%/year
- Leisure and Hospitalist– currently employs 218,600, growing at 1.5%/year
Education in Orange, CA
Orange is home to a well-educated population, with over 24% of its residents holding a bachelor’s degree. The City is served by the Orange Unified School District, as well as a number of private and charter schools.
Orange is home to Chapman University, a top private university in California, and Santiago Canyon College, a community college.
Commuting Time in Orange, CA
Orange is a prime location that offers direct access to five major freeways, two railroad systems, two regional malls and ample public transportation. It is conveniently located near half a dozen major freeways, airports, ports, and harbors, which include:
- Interstate 5, also known as the Santa Ana Freeway. The junction of “the 5” with two state highways, commonly called the “Orange Crush”, is one of the busiest interchanges in Orange County, located on the southwestern edge of the city.
- Rail connections to Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and Northern San Diego County are provided by the Metrolink regional commuter rail network. The Orange Metrolink station's platform is situated adjacent to the former Santa Fe depot in the downtown Historic District, which is also home to an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus station.
- John Wayne Airport (SNA) in nearby Santa Ana, California, provides daily scheduled airline service for the area.
- Total Population145,633
- Male Population(49.9 %) 72,649
- Female Population(50.1 %) 72,984
- Median Age34.30
- Average Household Income$63,421
- Median Household Income$87,388
- Median Income Under 25$27,313
- Median Income 25-44$91,025
- Median Income 45-64$104,449
- Median Income Over 65$61,719
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