For the first time in almost two years, vacancy rates for Ventura County office space increased during the first three months of the year, officials with CB Commercial reported.
Increasing interest rates and a sagging real estate industry forced many mortgage companies and related industries to close shop, pushing the county's vacancy rate to 16% during the first quarter of this year, said CB's Michael Slater, an office market specialist.
"Everything but financial institutes are growing," Slater said. The office vacancy rate stood at 15.7% for the last three months of 1994. But the rate was still lower when 19.2% of office space was vacant during the first three months of last year.
"I think this was just a quick uptick because of the mortgage companies," Slater said. He predicted that the rate will continue to decline this year.
Retail space, too, posted a slightly higher vacancy rates through the first three months of 1995. Retail expert Lawrence K. Tanji attributed the upswing to businesses closing after the holiday season.
"You almost invariably see an increase in the first quarter," he said. "It is something that almost always happen."
He said businesses on the verge of closing stick out the Christmas shopping season because it is generally the busiest time of the year. The 7.3% retail vacancy rate was up 0.5% over the previous three months. The rate this time last year was 7.5%.
Meanwhile, the availability of industrial space showed a 1.8% decline from the preceding quarter. The 9.6% vacancy rate in industrial buildings was also down from 10.3% from the same three months in 1994.