Vancouver’s commercial sector had robust Q1 showing

by Neil Sharma on 21 Jul 2021

Commercial real estate in the Vancouver area increased by 15% year-over-year in the first quarter of the year, and at $2.7 billion, it also marked the highest total since the fourth quarter of 2018, with gains this time led by apartment sales, says a new report from Altus Group.

There was $738 million invested in the multifamily sector alone, marking a 73% year-over-year increase in Q1, but it was also the highest total quarterly investment since Altus Group began tracking transactions 22 years ago. Forty percent of multifamily investment came from a single portfolio transaction, which comprised 614 doors across 15 buildings worth $292.5 million.

Vancouver’s industrial sector performed very well in the first quarter of 2021, with lease availabilities hitting record lows in the area. Investors and owner/users invested $649 million in the sector, a 12% increase over the first quarter of last year, says Altus. The city’s retail sector also had a good showing in the first quarter with investment increasing by 79% over the same quarter in 2020, and 40% over the previous quarter, as investment totalled $386 million. The majority of retail transactions, at least what Altus referred to as the most significant, were multi-tenanted properties that had stable holding income and, in some cases, long-term development potential. Although availability rates for retail space are increasing in the Vancouver area, investment activity is also rising.

In terms of transaction volume, Vancouver’s office sector had a difficult first quarter of the year, however, investment rose by 86% year-over-year with $243 million invested. One transaction comprised 43% of total volume—it was Low Tide Properties and PCI Group’s joint venture purchase of 1077 Great Northern Way—and according to Altus, owners of office space are disinclined to sell their properties, likely because of how patient they have been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic which appears to be reaching a conclusion.

The residential land sector in Vancouver had a difficult Q1-2021, with investment declining by 43% year-over-year to $271 million, which marked 11 straight quarters of annual declines.

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