Boosting home inventory and retail space in San Diego

It's no secret that the available homes inventory in San Diego has been at low levels and is quickly decreasing. Yet, historically low mortgage rates make it an ideal time for people looking at homes for sale in San Diego and those individuals who are considering entering the real estate market.

Depleting retail space in San Diego county
According to a recent report in San Diego news source the North County Times, along with a diminishing inventory of residential properties, retail space is fast depleting. The source revealed that the vacancy rate for San Diego's 12,781 retail buildings was only five percent in the third quarter of 2012. The total amount of space that the retail buildings in San Diego make up is 134.4 million square feet.

The national vacancy rate for retail space is at 6.9 percent and many major metros have vacancy rates that enter double-digit percentages.

"I think we do have one of the lowest vacancy rates of most major cities, especially in the West," said Joe Yetter, a retail broker at Cassidy Turley. "Maybe San Francisco is lower than us."

How can San Diego get more homes on the market?
Real estate journalist for the San Diego Union-Tribune Lily Leung recently took on the issue of the diminishing home inventory. Leung consulted a team of 10 real estate experts, asking them what the most effective way to increase home inventory in San Diego County other than through construction.

One local real estate expert, Paul Barnes, suggested adopting an "adaptive reuse" strategy, which is explained as "the taking of a structure whose use is obsolete and converting it to a residential use." Barnes noted that there are many cases where these conversions don't happen because of zoning restrictions and a creative way to solve the housing shortages is to work through rezoning and reusing initiatives.

"This may involve adaption of the lines between employment lands and residential uses - to do what makes sense for our future," Barnes explained. "We either reuse, go up or go out. There are no other alternatives for our region."

Another industry expert, Murtaza Baxamusa, focused on the addition of affordable housing for San Diego as a solution. Baxamusa maintains that the area is in need up an additional 64,000 housing units for low income households by 2020, and he suggested partnerships between public agencies and affordable housing developers, financial institutions and private investors to rework vacant properties and get them back on the market.