Photo: James Bombales
It was quite the second quarter for Canada’s commercial real estate market, with a record $16.5 billion worth of investment, sitting a whopping 105 per cent above the five-year quarterly average.
Toronto and Vancouver continue to be the primary destinations for commercial investment, according to the latest data release from CBRE Canada.
“Toronto accounted for over a third of all transactions in Q2 with $5.7 billion,” reads the report. “This is the highest quarterly investment volume on record for Toronto, and 20 per cent more than the previous record of $4.7 billion in Q2 2013.”
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Vancouver also posted an impressed $3.2 billion worth of transactions, sitting 91 per cent above the 5-year average.
The strong numbers are built on a globally competitive set of economic fundamentals, according to CBRE Canada executive managing director Paul Morassutti.
“On a macro-level, Canada has had some of the best GDP performance in the G7 over the last decade, our economy is relatively stable, and we have strong immigration flows,” he tells Livabl. “It’s a very strong backdrop that supports the kind of investment we’re seeing.”
On a micro-level, Morassutti says that both Toronto and Vancouver have some of the lowest commercial vacancy rates in North America, which attracts investors looking to make high returns.
One property type performing particularly well? Multi-family rental buildings, which investors are becoming increasingly interested in, as rents continue to climb in Toronto and Vancouver.
“Multi-family has always been attractive to investors as a relatively safe bet,” says Morassutti. “What’s changing now is that, as rents continue to grow in cities like Vancouver, it’s also become a really strong growth sector.”
There was $1.9 billion worth of investment in multi-family rental buildings across Canada in Q2, a 39.5 per cent year-over-year increase.
As to whether Canada will be able to maintain this level of investment, Morassutti says that it’s unlikely Q3 will post similarly strong numbers, but that solid fundamentals should keep the market globally competitive in the months to come.
“Just looking solely at the overall conditions in Canada that exist today, we would expect continued strong investment activity in the second half of the year,” he says.