Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday search challenge (2/6/13): How many empty buildings?

A common measure of how well things are going is the number of empty commercial buildings there are in an industrial zone.  I live in Silicon Valley, and while the bubbles come and the bubbles go, I often don't have hard data about how well things are going in the Valley.  Can you figure out a good way to measure this?  

Today's search challenge is simple, although perhaps challenging: 
Where and how can I get data about how many commercial buildings in an area are currently vacant?  (That is, unsold, unrented, unleased to companies that are actively using them.)  Is there any good way to get this data for Silicon Valley?  Can you find it just for Mountain View and San Jose?  To make it a concrete question:  What's the current commercial vacancy rate in Mountain View?   

Search on! 


  1. Good Day, Dr. Daniel Russell

    [commercial buildings vacants online tool silicon Valley] To find:

    [commercial buildings vacants silicon valley ~database] To find:

    [Silicon Valley office market] To find:

    [california deparment of finance] To Find: I couldn´t find more data here.

    Where and how can I get data about how many commercial buildings in an area are currently vacant? Can you find it just for Mountain View and San Jose?

    A: Silicon Valley Vacancy Rate: 12.6%
    Mountain View: 6% San Jose West 7.2% San Jose Airport 20.3% North San Jose 18.5. South San Jose 20.8% and Down Town San José 21.4%

  2. The commercial vacancy rate in Mountain View is essentially zero.
    I researched this using the viewpoint of a business thinking of moving to MV so I checked the City of MV, MV Voice newspaper, a technology journal and the Silicon Valley Business Journal amongst others. These have in my opinion good credibilty. My Drive notes follow: There’s No More Room In Silicon Valley
    The reality is that the market is red hot and there is simply no vacancy at the Silicon Valley inn

    The downtown Palo Alto and Mountain View vacancy rates are effectively zero,” says Brian Rieben, a Vice President at Cassidy Turley, who represents some massive Valley tech companies.
    San Francisco Vs. Silicon Valley: Where Should You Build Your Business?
    he average vacancy is tiny
    Mountain View Voice Feb 4 2013
    vacancy rate for offices downtown near zero.
    has zero listings for office space for rent or lease
    Silicon Valley Business Journal Startups leave few vacancies in downtown Mountain View
    “It’s pretty extraordinary,” he said. “This is as close to a zero vacancy situation that you’re going to see.”
    Cobb noted in a report that the vacancy rate is far and away the lowest in recent memory, and marks the tightest the downtown Mountain View market has seen since the dot-com boom.

    This took about 20 minutes

  3. I'll attempt an answer.

    Queries ["mountain view" "commercial vacancy rate" OR "commercial vacancy rates"] and ["mountain view" "vacancy rate" OR "vacancy rates"] yield the following:

    Commercial vacancy rates, Mountain View Q3 2012:
    Office 4.50%
    R&D 8.87%
    Industrial 3.07%
    Warehouse 2.10%
    Source: Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank

    The data is divided into categories (e.g. Q3, R&D) that can be used to guide subsequent searches. [Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank] leads to (Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank is one of the largest independent real estate service firms in the world...), suggesting that real estate firms are a major data source. ["mountain view" 8.87 vacancy] leads to ('Market Summary, Third Quarter, 2012 •Silicon Valley / South Bay'). Note the different domain. PDF contains matching statistics and additional data. However, [cornish carey "mountain view" q3 2012] produces ('Market Summary, Third Quarter 2012 • South Peninsula Office and R&D'), which contains slightly different statistics:

    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q3 2012
    Office 4.74%
    R&D 10.24%

    Metadata suggests the latter report is more recent (10-30-2012 vs. 10-10-2012).

    ["mountain view" q4 OR "fourth quarter" 2012 OR] returns ('Market Summary, Fourth Quarter 2012 • South Peninsula Office and R&D', created 1-10-2013):

    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q4 2012
    Office 3.98%
    R&D 9.12%

    The Cornish & Carey documents are proprietary and do not reveal sources or detailed methodology. However, they all contain the following: "PARAMETERS : Available space in office buildings 5,000 gross rentable squa re feet or larger..." If this is a standard definition, then other sources may use similar keywords. ["mountain view" "vacancy rate" or "vacancy rates" "5000" OR "five thousand" "square feet"] identifies a number of similar reports. Briefly:
    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q3 2012
    Office 3.5%
    Industrial 3.2%
    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q3 2012
    R&D 7.35%
    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q4 2012
    R&D 5.8%
    Mountain View vacancy rates, Q3 2012
    Office 6.7%
    R&D 3.5%
    Industrial 3.1%

    Given the proprietary nature of the data and longitudinal differences, from these sources it is only possibly to arrive at a range with any confidence.

  4. I am just getting to this challenge. I wanted to respond in part to show what I went through doing this search. Perhaps others did the same and while I didn't learn much more than Dan has already pointed out. I setup queries to look at .org's & .com's that I thought would have the data. I checked the local chamber of commerce, Dun and Bradstreet, local, state and federal .gov, the town hall, local commercial real .org's, commercial lenders, commercial R.E. offices and agents, blogs and facebook links. I found no more than what others above found. I think it comes down to the fact that this info is for sale. I would expect you could get this info at the Chamber of Commerce,library if that exists. I would in real case scenario be visiting or at least begin hitting the phone. I did expect that economic indicators would be widely available.