Sunnyvale, CA Economic Overview
Located in Santa Clara County, Sunnyvale is one of the major cities comprising Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Sunnyvale has a population of 148,178 and is a part of California’s rapidly expanding high-tech scene. It is home to some of the nation’s most successful business and industrial leaders, including AMD, Network Appliance, and Yahoo!. Many distinguished educational institutions, such as Stanford University, San Jose State University, and the University of California, are located just an hour’s drive away. Less than an hour from the Pacific Ocean and close to California’s famous redwood forests, Sunnyvale is home to widespread variety and geographic luster with more than 49 neighborhoods and regional centers, including a thriving downtown core, Murphy Avenue, and a unique and historic business district.
Initially an area of vast open space and fertile soil, Sunnyvale’s economy has sprouted from that of fruit orchards and canneries to one of strategic importance for defense-related industry. Sunnyvale has been a high-tech haven since the 1950s, when Lockheed Missiles & Space Company first moved its headquarters to the sunny Californian town. It’s become Sunnyvale’s largest employer among other tech firms such as Apple, Yahoo!, Juniper, Google, and Linkedin. The defense era has given way to the current high-tech era after the microprocessor was introduced in the 1970s, transforming Sunnyvale into a nexus of research, development and manufacturing that now plays a key role in Silicon Valley. Sunnyvale now boasts 9,000 businesses and a resident labor force 86,900 workers. The median household income of the area is the highest in the region at $105,401, compared with rest of Santa Clara County at $96,310.
Sunnyvale, CA Commercial Real Estate Market
The Sunnyvale office market is largely driven by high-tech activity that occurs in surrounding Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley’s own market is thriving, despite many anticipating a slowdown to come. During the first quarter of 2017, Silicon Valley start-ups raised more than $2.7 billion from venture capital (VC) investment across 113 deals. Healthcare takes claim as a recent leader in the highest percentage of investments in the region. Overall, there is more than 10.3 million square feet of commercial space under construction in Silicon Valley and 4.6 million square feet of improved space came onto market during the first quarter of 2017. Total available space has increased 14.9% year-over-year. Sunnyvale makes up a significant submarket in the Silicon Valley area, offering a total of 12.6 million square feet in total office space, coming in third to San Jose and Santa Clara, which offer 27.8 million square feet and 13.3 million square feet, respectively.
Downtown Sunnyvale is home to Sunnyvale Town Center mall, a two-level shopping mall, as well as a range of mix-use buildings and projects currently under development. This includes adding retail, office and restaurants use buildings, a multi-screen movie theatre, hotels, 292 residential units, parking garages, and a central plaza to its existing Macy’s and Target stores and existing Downtown Sunnyvale office market and buildings.
Sunnyvale, CA Office Rental Rates ($/SF/year)
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF.
Sunnyvale, CA Office Sales
Data provided by Yardi Matrix, for properties larger than 50K SF, which sold at over $5M.
Sunnyvale, CA Commercial Inventory Breakdown
Total: 32,124,057 SF
By square footage range:
- 50k to 100k SF: 5,879,704 SF / 18.3% of total office
- 100k to 500k SF: 23,710,040 SF / 73.81% of total office
- 500k to 1M SF: 2,534,313 SF / 7.89% of total office
- Class A+: 882,857 SF / 2.75% of total office
- Class A: 17,191,838 SF / 53.52% of total office
- Class B: 7,983,964 SF / 24.85% of total office
- Class C: 428,351 SF / 1.33% of total office
Total: 1,238,581 SF
By square footage range:
- 100k to 500k SF: 1,238,581 SF / 100% of total industrial
- Class B: 1,238,581 SF / 100% of total industrial
Employment in Sunnyvale, CA
Employment in the Sunnyvale area has been growing at a yearly rate of 3.53% from 74,222 employees in 2014 to 76,841 employees in 2015. Unemployment in the area is also substantially low, at 3.0%, well below the national average. Driven by high-tech sector dominance, the most common job groups by number of Sunnyvale residents are Management, Business, Science, Arts, Sales and Office, and Service. The Sunnyvale City Council adopted an ordinance to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2018, and it is currently at $13/hour.
According to the BLS, the industries in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA area with the highest employment numbers include:
- Professional and business services — currently employs 225,800, growing at 1.1%/year;
- Education and health services — currently employs 167,100, growing at 2.1%/year;
- Manufacturing — currently employs 164,500, growing at 0.6%/year.
Education in Sunnyvale, CA
Locally, Sunnyvale is home to three main higher educational institutions: The Art Institute of California-Argosy University-Silicon Valley, Cogswell College, and the University of East-West medicine. In 2015, the institutions with the largest number of graduating students was the Art Institute, with 123 graduates. The most common concentration for Bachelor’s Degrees was in Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects.
Sunnyvale is also located within a one hour drive to prestigious Standford University, as well as San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and University of California. Foothill, De Anza, West Velley, and Mission Community Colleges are only a minute away, offering high quality community college classes and programs.
Most of the elementary and middle schools throughout the area are administered by the Sunnyvale School District, with some part in the Cupertino or Santa Clara districts. High schools are mostly administered by the Fremont Union High School District.
Commuting Time in Sunnyvale, CA
Employees in Sunnyvale have a shorter average commute time than the national 24.8 minute-average. Additionally, 1.88% of the workforce in Sunnyvale have "super-commutes" in excess of 90 minutes, which is lower than the national average of 2.62%.
There are several major roads and freeways that provide access to Sunnyvale from surrounding Silicon Valley suburbs, including the Central Expressway, Lawrence Expressway, State Route 85, U.S. Route 101, and I-280. State Route 82 runs through the center of the city, following the historic El Camino Real.
Sunnyvale is served by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority for light retail and buses and by the Caltrain commuter rail. Sunnyvale has also been listed as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the bronze level, having multiple on-street and off-street bike lanes, bicycle-activated traffic signals, and bicycle accommodations on VTA and Caltrain.
- Total Population151,565
- Male Population(51.4 %) 77,912
- Female Population(48.6 %) 73,653
- Median Age35.60
- Average Household Income$151,042
- Median Household Income$118,314
- Median Income Under 25$62,165
- Median Income 25-44$142,134
- Median Income 45-64$118,970
- Median Income Over 65$59,878
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