Riverside, CA Economic Overview
Riverside is part of the Inland Empire commercial real estate market, which also includes San Bernardino and Ontario. Though 60 miles outside of L.A., Riverside is considered part of the Greater Los Angeles area. Historically built on citrus farming, it has now become a diversified economy driven by both manufacturing and non-manufacturing businesses. With access to several highways that connect Riverside to its larger neighbors to the East and Southeast—the Riverside commercial real estate market is bustling with opportunity.
More recently driven by both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries, Riverside has developed into a diversified economy, from one centered on agriculture. Access to major industrial spaces, a world-class university, and transportation that connects to major urban centers like Los Angeles and San Diego, have greatly contributed to the diversification of Riverside’s economy. Manufacturing in Riverside is driven by numerous businesses that create products like aircraft parts, car parts, electronic equipment, and medical devices. For residents, however, manufacturing is not the primary employer, but rather the county government, Riverside’s School District, and the University of California at Riverside are the primary employers. Finally, the entertainment industry maintains a foothold in the area due to its proximity to Los Angeles and the architecture of the city that many film-makers are drawn to for scenery.
Riverside, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
The Inland Empire commercial real estate market is booming. Major corporations continue to expand, and businesses are opening up in the region, due largely to favorable economic conditions and local governmental legislation favoring business (primarily in the form of low taxes and granting of development funds). Moreover, Riverside is home to over 7 million square feet of industrial space currently in construction. Finally, the commercial market’s prices are rising due to an influx of restaurants in the region and, surprisingly, doctors relocating from the San Diego area.
The Downtown Riverside commercial real estate market accommodates the finance, legal and governmental sectors, as well as retail shopping centers. Though a bustling downtown, it is ranked as one of the most walkable, with dozens of paths and parks. Downtown Riverside’s almost natural live-work-play environment, along with city incentives and development funds maintain strong business attractivity.
University/Eastside is home to the University of California at Riverside. As such, it contains a wide range of commercial retail and office real estate and numerous high-tech labs owned by the University, which contribute yearly to the local, state, and national economy. On top of the university and the businesses around the area, this neighborhood is also home to Hunter Industrial Park, a mixed-use hub for the city’s tech industry.
Sycamore Canyon-Canyon Springs is currently being developed as an industrial park. Sycamore Canyon Business Park sprawls over 920 acres and includes several existing mixed use industrial and office business, as well as projects currently in construction. The Sycamore Canyon development project has been in operation since the late 1980s.
Riverside, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Riverside, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Riverside, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 4,489,936 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 2,267,220 SF / 50.5% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 2,222,716 SF / 49.5% of total office
- Class A: 1,264,027 SF / 28.15% of total office
- Class B: 2,064,647 SF / 45.98% of total office
- Class C: 611,262 SF / 13.61% of total office
Total: 30,999,470 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 5,051,230 SF / 16.29% of total industrial
- 100k to 500k SF: 18,337,849 SF / 59.16% of total industrial
- 500k to 1M SF: 3,359,225 SF / 10.84% of total industrial
- > 1M SF: 4,251,166 SF / 13.71% of total industrial
- Class A: 18,619,479 SF / 60.06% of total industrial
- Class B: 11,140,123 SF / 35.94% of total industrial
- Class C: 545,668 SF / 1.76% of total industrial
Office Spaces with Retail
Total: 6,425,129 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 1,951,734 SF / 30.38% of total office with retail
- 100k to 500k SF: 4,473,395 SF / 69.62% of total office with retail
Employment in Riverside, CA
Though Riverside’s unemployment rate has remained higher than the national average, at 6.4%, recent job growth as grown much more quickly than the national average, with a 3.4% growth over the past year. Moreover, it is projected to grow by 40% in the future, as more employers relocate to the area. As of mid-2017, the primary employer of Riverside residents is the County of Riverside, employing over 11,000 individuals. Riverside’s school district is also a large employer, with 5,580 employees.
Area hospitals maintain a large percentage of local employees. As in the other cities of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Kaiser Permanente has a strong presence in Riverside, employing over 4,500 residents. Riverside Community Hospital is also a large employer, with close to 2,000 employees. Finally, Parkview Community Hospital has close to 1,400 employees.
Finally, the area’s institutions of higher learning employ a substantial number of locals. The University of California at Riverside has close to 5,500 employees working with the 23,000 enrolled students, many of whom hold jobs on campus and in neighboring businesses. Riverside’s Community College District is also a large employer, employing over 2,000 individuals.
Education in Riverside, CA
Riverside’s educational institutions are, in a word, expansive. The city itself has two school districts, with Riverside Unified School District serving the east side and the Alvord Unified School District serving the west side. Riverside Unified School District is larger than Alvord, operating fifty-two elementary, middle, high, and alternative schools in the area. Alvord operates 23 elementary, middle, high, and continuation schools in the area.
For many, however, it is Riverside’s institutions of higher learning that draw attention, due both to the high number of world class universities, and because the community has proven especially efficient at retaining students to work and contribute to the local economy, following graduation. The largest university in the area is UC Riverside, but the city is also home to Riverside City College, La Sierra University, Brightwood College (previously known as Kaplan College), and California Southern Law School.
Commuting Time in Riverside, CA
Riverside’s traffic is nowhere nearly as bad as Los Angeles and, compared to other cities in Southern California, is quite good. Served by three major highways, traffic through the city can be light, aided by the high walkability of many of Riverside’s neighborhoods–many residents choose to walk rather than drive. The city is also served by a well-funded bus service.
- Total Population323,935
- Male Population(49.3 %) 159,826
- Female Population(50.7 %) 164,109
- Median Age31.40
- Average Household Income$81,959
- Median Household Income$65,313
- Median Income Under 25$25,294
- Median Income 25-44$65,568
- Median Income 45-64$79,509
- Median Income Over 65$48,335
Winners and Losers in the Labor Market – US States and Metros with the Highest Income Inequality
August 21, 2018
Ever since Gordon Gekko uttered his now infamous credo, “greed is good,” many economists have been concerned with the long-term effects of the growing income inequality in the U.S. While free-market enthusiasts see things differently, inequality has become a recurring topic within our news cyc...
E-Commerce Drives 2018 California Industrial Pipeline
December 04, 2017
Commercial real estate construction in the Golden State has been booming since 2011. However, the latest Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson forecast survey found that industrial development in California is entering a cooling-off period. Given the growing impact of the e-commerce sector on the region...
Looking to Relocate Your Business? Phoenix is Your Best Bet
November 01, 2017
Amazon’s search for a new home has stirred up city officials and developers across the country, and 238 applicants across North America have expressed interest in housing the company’s next headquarters. Of course, the retail giant has a few requirements: the chosen metropolitan area should idea...