San Diego Business Journal

Apartments Seen Leading Construction Recovery in 2014

Monday, November 18, 2013

Construction in San Diego County and elsewhere in Southern California should continue to see recovery in 2014, led by coastal development of new apartments, according to a forecast by locally based consulting firm Xpera Group.

“The major national apartment builders only recently discovered the California market and are trying to make up for lost time,” said Alan Nevin, the company’s director of economic and market research.

On the for-sale side, Nevin said Canadian condominium builders “have no fear” and will start new construction projects in markets including San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, timed to meet expected demand for high-end high-rise residential product when completed in late 2016 or 2017.

Nevin noted that San Diego County ran out of developable residential lots in 2006-07, and the next wave of coastal land for development of moderately priced homes won’t be available until 2015. Most of the current new-home product being delivered is in North County, with homes typically selling for more than $750,000, as overall housing production in the county continues to lag far behind demand.

New commercial construction is expected to remain sparse in 2014, with low enthusiasm for new office, industrial and retail projects. However, the economist said there will be “substantial funds allocated” in the private sector for renovation or redevelopment of existing projects in “classy locations.”

Jobs in California and San Diego will continue to increase at a steady pace, Nevin said, with particular strength in tourism, high-technology, biotechnology, import/export trade and professional services. California is expected to add more than 300,000 jobs in 2014, with unemployment dipping to 7.5 percent.

— Lou Hirsh