What are current vacancy rates for existing apartment complexes?

According to a variety of sources, both public and private, apartment vacancy rates in Orange County are 4%-5%.  According to the U.S. Census, the vacancy rate for Laguna Hills in 2017 was 7.7 percent.  The City has 1,685 apartment units (excluding group quarters such as assisted living facilities – 396 units) which is 15 percent of the City’s housing stock (11,197 units).  As a means of comparison, the vacancy factor for owner occupied units is estimated to be less than one percent.  Owner occupied units include 3,200 condominiums and 6,312 single-family homes (9,512 units total), not including accessory dwelling units located on single-family properties.  It should be noted that U.S. Census information may show different housing unit totals since it likely excludes the 289 units at Oakbrook Village built after the 2010 Census.  In addition, Census “districts” that apply to the City do not follow City boundaries.


City of Laguna Hills Geographic Information System 

2013-2021 City of Laguna Hills Housing Element:  https://www.lagunahillsca/ DocumentCenter/View/131/Housing-Element

U.S. Census Bureau. “Laguna Hills” https://factfinder.census.gov. Accessed 24 October 2019.  

O.C. Register: https://www.ocregister.com/2019/04/15/feel-bad-for-southern- californias-renters-as-vacancy-tightens-and-rates-climb/

March 2021 Update: The information above was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic City staff continued to monitor multi-family trends in Orange County. Multiple real estate trade publications identified the Orange County multi-family housing market stayed strong through the pandemic. The February 2021 edition of Western Real Estate Business cited an occupancy rate of over 96 percent for multi-family housing units in Orange County. Marcus & Millichap, a leading real estate services company, recently issued its Orange County Multifamily Market Report for Q1 2021 describing strong demand for rental housing. The report can be accessed at: https://www.marcusmillichap.com/research/market-report/orange-county/orange-county-multifamily-market-report.

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1. Explain the current zoning, conditional use permits, and land use for the 68-acre property [the former Laguna Hills Mall] and adjacent developments. What can/can’t the City Council control?
2. What is the status of the plan MGP showed the community at their April 2019 Community Forum? How does it compare to the approved 2016 plan?
3. How much housing does the City’s Zoning Code allow on the property?
4. Does the City consider traffic in evaluating development proposals in the UVSP?
5. In 2016, the City approved over 926,000 sq. feet of retail and office building area and 988 dwelling units. If MGP is an established developer, why has Five Lagunas taken so long to get started?
6. What does the City Council see as a viable solution for the development of the site? When considering a new development, does and can the City Council factor in the greater good of the community?
7. How do the new and future proposed/approved Oakbrook apartments factor into any decision making?
8. What are current vacancy rates for existing apartment complexes?
9. Why doesn’t the City insist MGP provide more retail space and less office and housing space?
10. What creates the most value for the city and community: High-density multifamily housing, retail, or commercial office?
11. What kind of retail space can residents expect to see since the outlook for traditional storefronts is so negative?
12. How much revenue has the City lost from the mall closing?
13. How has the City responded to this loss of revenue?
14. How will property taxes benefit the city and how much will the city actually receive?
15. How does more development on the site, especially more residential development, impact community infrastructure such as police services, fire and paramedic services, traffic, water, schools, etc.?
16. What were the projected traffic levels for the originally approved Five Lagunas Project? What is the difference between retail development and apartment development with respect to traffic?
17. How will high-density apartments/multifamily housing benefit residents? Did the 09 General Plan call for 300 apartments w/ options to add more in future phases? Are the approved 988 units mandated
18. What if residents do not want to see more housing developed beyond the 988 units approved in 2016 in a future project?
19. Why doesn’t the City simply ignore State housing element law?
20. What is the City’s obligation to help address the Statewide/federal affordable housing shortage, including low-income and homeless shelters?
21. What exactly is the Housing Crisis Act (SB 330) and how does it impact the new project submitted by MGP?
22. What are the key steps involved in the entitlement process?
23. How long will it take for the project to reach the public hearing?