After a lackluster 2013 that recorded only 641,000 square feet of completed lease transactions – a 93 percent decrease from the average over the prior two years – activity during the first half of 2014 has been extremely robust. The San Diego life sciences cluster (Torrey Pines, UTC, Sorrento Mesa and Sorrento Valley) secured a total of 35 completed lease transactions by the end of the second quarter that produced 791,640 square feet of total leasing activity and 463,370 of net growth by San Diego biotech companies. This represents a 179 percent increase in the total square feet leased from the same period in 2013. Demand drivers during 2014 have been a hot IPO market that has seen 12 San Diego companies go public since May 2013. Together, these companies have produced 30 percent net growth in the real estate they occupy; a healthy venture capital market that saw $303 million invested into 22 biotech companies during the first half of 2014. Total availability (direct + sublease) for lab space ended the second quarter at 11.6 percent, down by 330 basis points from the end of 2013. Direct availability stands at only 8.5 percent and is expected to continue to trend down as tenant demand is forecasted to remain strong during the second half of 2014.
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