Small-box industrial properties dominate owner-user deals in San Diego. According to research from JLL, more than 90% of owner-user deals in the market are for properties under 30,000 square feet. Of those deals, more than 75% were for buildings under 10,000 square feet. The 10,000-square-foot size range is the most popular for owner-users. Chris Baumgart and Steven Field of JLL have just sold a 22,000 square foot building to Sun Harvest LLC for $199 per square foot, illustrating the pricing trends for these properties.

“Owner-user building purchases are primarily dominated by manufacturing, construction, consumer products and e-commerce companies within the North County San Diego market,” Baumgart tells “While the investment market saw a significant increase in 1031 exchange requirements in 2019, primarily private capital investors.  Many of the 1031 exchange requirements were from out of the market investors looking for higher returns compared to markets in Los Angeles and Orange County.”

The trend may be shifting, however. In 2019, demand for larger buildings started to increase, and Baumgart expects the trend to carry through 2020. “One trend we saw in 2019, that will carry into 2020 is the increased demand from buyers looking for buildings 30,000 square feet and greater,” he says. “Many of these buyers we have seen in the market already own but are looking for larger facilities to help accommodate business growth.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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