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Rexford Industrial Has Grown Into A Major Player In A Tight Market

The Volt Campus in Orange, which Rexford bought with the intent of turning into an industrial property.

A Los Angeles-based industrial REIT uniquely focused on infill properties in Southern California has been amassing a hefty portfolio, spending more on the region than big-name national players, and reaping the benefits of its investments at a time of unprecedented demand from investors and occupiers for industrial space both in the region and across the country. 

Rexford Industrial Realty has spent more than Blackstone, Brookfield, Prologis and Duke Realty combined in the greater LA area, CoStar found. Rexford Industrial Realty spent $1.9B on Southern California acquisitions — mainly off-market deals — in 2021 and has already spent more than $457M through the end of March on snapping up more industrial assets, CoStar reports. It has purchased sites that aren’t necessarily for sale and bought industrially zoned office properties in anticipation of redeveloping the sites for industrial uses when tenants’ leases expire. 

The company, founded in 2001, has flourished over the last five years, a period during which its stock rose more than 200% and posted returns more than double the S&P 500 index’s, CoStar reported.

These enviable results are understandable given the recent success story of industrial real estate, which was sharply boosted by side effects of the pandemic’s effects on e-commerce shopping plus supply chain issues that shifted the stockpiles retailers amassed. In top industrial markets across the country, industrial rents have risen to new heights and demand for warehouse space has pushed developers to build on spec in new areas.

In Southern California markets, where Rexford focuses, these conditions have translated to never-before-seen lows for vacancy. Vacancy in the Inland Empire is at a record low of 1.3%, NAI Capital said in a recent report, with almost all new development being leased rapidly and occupied quickly after completion. The construction pipeline is expanding. There is 22.2% more industrial space under construction in the Inland Empire now versus a quarter ago, and 39.4% more than last year. The greater Los Angeles area is holding strong at 0.5% vacancy, a Q1 2022 CBRE report found.