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Riverside Top Market in US for Population Growth

By Kelsi Maree Borland |

Riverside County is among the fastest growing counties in the country. Last year, the county added 33,000 residents, a population increase of 1.1%, according to research from JLL. The growth landed the market as the fifth fastest growing county in the country. The population growth is largely due to migration out of Los Angeles as Californians search for more affordable housing.

“While Riverside County made headlines for its relatively strong population growth in 2018, Los Angeles County ranked fourth in terms of the nation’s most populous counties losing people in 2018,” John Sheaffer, senior analyst at JLL, tells “Riverside continues to gain residents as the housing crisis in coastal housing markets intensifies. The housing market in LA County is both expensive and severely undersupplied, specifically on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. And renters living in Riverside County pay roughly $1,000 less per month than those in LA County, on average. Additionally, the logistics industry in the Inland Empire has exploded since the recession, with the rise of e-commerce. Major retailers are expanding their distribution networks, adding large fulfillment centers and bringing thousands of new jobs to the area in the process. The job growth has fueled both population growth and the need for additional housing.”

The Inland Empire in general has seen strong population growth as a result of the exodus from Los Angeles. Neighboring San Bernardino County also saw healthy population growth last year. “Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties experienced gains in 2018, which doubled the State’s annual population growth rate. Riverside County—with more available, developable land than in San Bernardino County—will likely draw the bulk of residents migrating out of Los Angeles County in the near future,” says Sheaffer.

The larger population has, of course, created new demand for multifamily housing. Institutional capital has targeted the market and developers are bringing new high-end supply to meet the demand. “The Inland Empire continues to attract attention from high-profile, institutional investors. Riverside County offers landlords and investors the opportunity to expand their supply-chains and portfolios with highly competitive buildings, unavailable in those older, land constrained Southern California markets,” explains Sheaffer. “New supply will be kept in check as development sites continue to dwindle. While available land in Riverside exists, much of it is tied up in the entitlement process. These sites will likely be held up in the planning process for the next 12-24 months, so demand will continue to outpace supply for the foreseeable future.”

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