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Top 10 US Industrial Cities
MSA Rank2008 Rank2007 07-08Change
Los Angeles 1 1 0
Houston 2 8 +6
Seattle 3 2 -1
Miami 4 6 +2
Portland 5 11 +6
Oakland 6 15 +9
Orange County 7 3 -4
NYC-Northern NJ 8 5 -3
Dallas/Fort Worth 9 7 -2
San Francisco 10 18 +8
Source: Marcus & Millichap

Buoyed by healthy activity at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Los Angeles held on to the top of Marcus & Millichap’s midyear National Industrial Index. Despite an increase in completions, Los Angeles is expected to remain among the nation’s tightest markets, driving forecasts for the strongest rent growth in the second half of the year. Supported by the largest vacancy decline in this year’s ranking and some of the nation’s most robust job growth, second-place Houston gained six spots in the ranking.

The index provides a snapshot analysis that ranks the nation’s top 24 industrial markets based on expected employment growth, vacancy level, construction activity and rent growth. Taking into account both the forecast level and degree of change over the forecast period, it is designed to indicate relative supply and demand conditions in individual markets.

Seattle claimed the third position as its healthy high-tech and aerospace industries continue to generate demand for local warehouse and flex space, while the region’s elevated development costs provide insulation against overbuilding. Miami climbed two spots to number four due to its low vacancy rate and above-average rent growth. Portland rose six places to number five, as infrastructure improvements at its port and spillover from other West Coast ports bolstered warehouse demand. Oakland’s nine-spot jump to number six represents the largest move in the ranking, a leap based on record-breaking port activity.

Fallout from the housing downturn weakened employment growth in Orange County, causing it to slip four places to number seven, while New York City-Northern New Jersey dropped three places to number eight due to increased construction and decelerating job growth. Despite a high level of construction, Dallas/Fort Worth comes in at number nine due to a forecast of some of the nation’s strongest employment gains, absorption and rent growth. San Francisco rounds out the top 10 this year, as healthy hiring, particularly by technology firms, supports demand for flex space in this supply-constrained market.

Oversupply concerns dominate the bottom half of the list. Even with the economy cooling, industrial builders are expected to increase deliveries in Riverside-San Bernardino to more than 23 million sf this year, and while completions are slowing in Phoenix, Chicago and Atlanta following recent building booms, new supply is still expected to outpace absorption in these markets. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Cleveland made it into the top 24 for the first time. Though population growth in both markets will be weak, completions will be minimal, leaving the two markets in good stead.

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