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VENTURA COUNTY REPORT / JACK SEARLES

Office Vacancies, Still High, Decline Slightly

April 13, 1993|JACK SEARLES

Office vacancy rates in the county remain among the highest in the nation, according to a CB Commercial Real Estate Group quarterly report. Still, a small decrease from the previous three months could indicate that the market is finally strengthening, CB says.

At the end of March, 24% of the office space in the county was unoccupied. This compared with 24.8% in the fourth quarter of 1992.

The office market in the eastern county is stronger than that in the west, says Jerry Pelton, manager of CB's Ventura office.

"Oxnard is the county's largest office market and it also has the county's highest vacancy rate."

Nearly 30% of Oxnard's 1.2 million square feet of office space is vacant, Pelton reported.

"Almost a third of that is located in the Chevron building. If that building were leased or purchased, the city's vacancy level would fall to less than 20%."

Pelton said a possible tenant is negotiating to lease the Chevron structure. The building adjoining Rice Avenue was built but never occupied by the oil company.

Industrial plant vacancies were virtually unchanged in the first quarter, rising to 14.4% from 14.3% in the previous three months. Retail vacancies were static, falling to 8.6% from 8.7%.

In the residential market, the Conejo Valley Assn. of Realtors reports that its members sold 112 single-family houses in February, down from 176 in January and also fewer than the 125 sold in February, 1992.

The median sales price for houses in the area, which includes Thousand Oaks, was $238,094 in February, off 16.9% from $286,666 in February, 1992.

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