Job and economic growth should remain steady in 2013 but won’t have quite the impact that the current “big recovery year” has had, according to economic experts.
More than 200 business professionals, elected officials and other invited guests let the mostly optimistic news sink in Thursday morning during the Fifth Annual Radius Real Estate & Economic Forecast at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.
The event, presented by Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments and a host of other sponsors, featured nationally known real estate and investment expert speakers.
“We’re doing better,” said James Goldberg, CFA, president of Los Angeles-based Goldberg Investment Advisors.
Goldberg offered a cautiously optimistic approach to 2013, focusing on “bracing for impact” in case predictions turn out to be wrong.
Economic success depends on the national job rate, Goldberg said, which means workers cannot continue to drop out of the labor force because they’re discouraged. He also talked about the impact of faltering European nations, including Greece and Spain.
“We’ll make it,” Goldberg said.
Radius representatives talked about a mostly positive picture for South Coast real estate, noting that some retail and industrial companies are still trying to find the space to move into the area.
Many attendees took notes throughout the presentation, which emphasized an overall need for rental housing.
Steve Golis, Radius principal and co-founder, said vacancy rates throughout Santa Barbara and western Ventura counties fell this past year. He said lower interest rates and more rental lending also also contributed to the trend.
“We have an incredibly strong rental business,” Golis said. “More people are turning to renting.”
California Economic Forecast director Mark Schniepp said that while the Santa Barbara County population and the number of new jobs have increased, they still won’t offset the recession. He added that about 6,000 jobs were created in the past two years.
Schniepp predicted that 3,000 more jobs will be added in 2013, average incomes will go up and unemployment will continue to decline.
Population growth should accelerate, Schniepp said, if more rental housing is created.
“We’re not creating the apartment stock that we need,” he said. “We’re not building structures. We’re going to need some housing to accommodate them. Momentum is clearly picking up.”