San Diego places second in a new nationwide ranking of life sciences markets based on business activity, compiled by commercial real estate brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle. The report gauged a combination of factors impacting real estate demand, including job growth, academic and government support, research productivity and development opportunities within the sector.

JLL researchers said the local region rose from seventh in last year’s ranking, leading the nation for the proportion of its workforce employed in life sciences (4.8 percent) and surpassing San Francisco and Los Angeles in the overall listing. The local region had $13.8 billion in merger and acquisition activity in the past 18 months.

That consolidation could potentially leave empty space on the market, researchers noted, but middle-market companies have driven a steadily increasing demand for facilities, keeping space occupied and rents stable.

Local landlords continue to modernize antiquated space, and have recently seen sharp rent increases in submarkets including Torrey Pines and Sorrento Valley.

The Greater Boston market held its position as the nation’s top life sciences hub in the JLL report, followed by San Diego, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Philadelphia.

— SDBJ Staff Report