Demand for commercial properties soars nationwide amidst economic expansion and stock market volatility, according to RE/MAX® Canada Brokers – Canada NewsWire

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Investors flock to ‘bricks and mortar’ as hedge against inflation in Q1 2022

TORONTO, May 26, 2022 /CNW/ — With North American stock markets dangerously close to correction, bricks and mortar properties continue to resonate with institutional and private investors, particularly those who are personally vested, across almost every commercial asset class in major Canadian centres, according to RE/MAX brokers.

The RE/MAX Canada 2022 Commercial Real Estate Report found demand for industrial, multi-unit residential – particularly purpose-built rentals – and farmland was unprecedented in the first quarter of 2022, with values hitting record levels, while retail and office are starting to show signs of growth in multiple markets. Highlights from the report, which examined 12 major Canadian centres from Metro Vancouver to St. John’s, include the following:

  • 92 per cent of markets surveyed (11/12) reported extremely tight market conditions for industrial product in the first quarter of 2022. NewfoundlandLabrador was the only outlier.
  • 67 per cent of markets surveyed (8/12) found challenges leasing industrial space. Included in the mix were Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, HamiltonBurlington-Niagara and London. Some realtors are recommending tenants start their search for new premises at least 18 months before their current leases come up for renegotiation.
  • While demand for overall office space in the core remains relatively soft in 92 per cent of markets (11/12) across the country, Metro Vancouver continues to buck the trend.
  • Suburban office space continues to prove exceptionally resilient in 67 per cent of markets surveyed (8/12). Those markets include Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, HamiltonBurlington-Niagara, Ottawa, HalifaxDartmouth and NewfoundlandLabrador.
  • Development land remained sought after (industrial/residential) in 67 per cent of markets surveyed (8/12) including Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area and HalifaxDartmouth.
  • End users are encountering challenges in terms of expanding their businesses due to land constraints/shortages, with specific mentions of this noted in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Regina.
  • Retail is on the rebound in 75 per cent of major Canadian markets (9/12), with strong emphasis on prime locations in neighbourhood microcosms. The trend has been identified in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, HamiltonBurlington-Niagara, Toronto and Ottawa.

Download the full report with detailed regional market insights HERE.

“The overall strength of the Canadian economy continues to propel massive expansion in commercial markets across the country in 2022,” says Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada. “What began as heightened demand for industrial space to accommodate a growing ecommerce platform during the pandemic has blossomed into a full-blown distribution and logistics network that encompasses millions of square feet in markets across the country. Recent volatility in the stock markets has also prompted a shift to greater investment in the commercial segment as investors look to real estate as a hedge against inflation.”

Given the current shortage of land/space, developers and end users looking to build, have become increasingly creative in 58 per cent of markets surveyed (7/12), including Metro Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, and the Greater Toronto Area. The supply/demand crunch has proven the adage, ‘necessity is the mother of ingenuity’, as new solutions emerge in the marketplace. In Metro Vancouver, Oxford Properties introduced the first industrial multi-storey industrial/commercial space in 2019 and a second stratified multi-storey facility—Framework by Alliance Partners—is planned for False Creek Flats. The first building is nearing completion and leased to Amazon while the first and second phase of the False Creek development is sold out and a third phase is currently selling at $725 per square foot.

In the future, municipalities may also consider industrial land reserves, registered areas dedicated to industrial in municipalities that are experiencing land constraints, given overwhelming demand.

“Land development is pushing city boundaries in major centres and municipalities are scrambling to accommodate residential and industrial intensification,” says Alexander. “At present the process is painfully slow in most centres, even where land is already serviced. Given the on-going likelihood of demand, policy that helps availability or fast-tracking of approvals would certainly be a boon to the market.” 

The RE/MAX Canada 2022 Commercial Real Estate Report also identified a growing trend in infill land assembly that targets retail storefront/strip retail malls in mature areas for mixed-use developments by institutional and private investors. These new developments almost always have a residential housing component on top, often purpose-built rentals or condominiums, given the shortage and need for greater densification. Smaller investors and end users are largely shut out of this market and tenants are having difficulties securing long-term leases in these key areas. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is offering an exceptionally attractive financing package for multi-unit, purpose-built residential construction, with a 50-year-amortization rate, low loan-to-value ratios, and favourable interest rates.

Institutional and private investors remain exceptionally active in the commercial market across the country, spurring demand for industrial/office/retail product on a large-scale basis. Extensive portfolios are a primary target, especially those containing 10 or more properties. Spillover from activity in major centres is also serving to bolster smaller, secondary markets, where affordable price points, in relative terms, prove attractive, especially as savvy investors anticipate future needs and potential, given urban sprawl, density, population growth, pricing and inventory trends. 

While retail is making a comeback in prime neighbourhoods, the return of foot traffic should have a positive impact on the market moving forward. Revitalization of older retail spaces and malls is underway to enhance the shopper experience and influence the return to in-person shopping. This, in turn, is attracting tenants. The sector is expected to continue to strengthen as markets move past former pandemic constraints and more favourable conditions emerge to support retail growth.

RE/MAX Canada has found that cannabis outlets are largely over-represented in most major Canadian centres. As the industry amalgamates, there could be an influx of retail inventory returned to the market over the next 12 to 18 months.

Other trends noted in the commercial market by RE/MAX Brokers include novel ways to expand exposure and streamline the selling process. As inventory of farmland dwindles and price per acre has risen, realtors have turned to auctions with great success in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, for example, which typically has about 300 listings for grain farms for sale at this time of the year, has seen available properties drop to under 90. Realtors have turned to auctions as a more effective way to increase exposure to a wider audience, generating offers from across the country, as well as the US. The trend is another sign of a heated marketplace where buyers are willing to compete for the right product in the right location in a transparent process.

“The soaring price of commodities has bolstered Western Canadian markets, with resource-rich provinces such as Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba experiencing unprecedented growth as industries emerge from their slumber,” says Elton Ash, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Canada. “Saskatchewan, in particular, is reinvigorated, with the economic engine just heating up in agriculture, mining, forestry, and potash.”

Continued strength is forecast in commercial markets, supported by population growth and further economic expansion. According to the RBC Economics, Provincial Outlook published in March, GDP growth is expected to climb to 4.3 per cent in Canada, led by BC, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in 2022. An unquenchable demand for product in the industrial, multi-unit residential and farmland sectors will persist as intentions remain strong, despite a serious scarcity of inventory. Buyers, large and small, will continue to seek opportunity as investors increasingly favour tangible assets. Dollar volume is up across the country in almost every market as the principals of supply and demand impact values. Lease rates are also edging upward. With the pandemic fading quickly from memory, the return to the workplace – either full-time or in a blended/hybrid format – is expected to spark the next wave of growth, revitalizing downtown office buildings, and breathing new life into the core.

About the RE/MAX Network
As one of the leading global real estate franchisors, RE/MAX, LLC is a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings (NYSE: RMAX) with more than 140,000 agents in almost 9,000 offices with a presence in more than 110 countries and territories. RE/MAX Canada refers to RE/MAX of Western Canada (1998), LLC and RE/MAX OntarioAtlantic Canada, Inc., and RE/MAX Promotions, Inc., each of which are affiliates of RE/MAX, LLC. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, as measured by residential transaction sides.

RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, with an innovative, entrepreneurial culture affording its agents and franchisees the flexibility to operate their businesses with great independence. RE/MAX agents have lived, worked and served in their local communities for decades, raising millions of dollars every year for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® and other charities. To learn more about RE/MAX, to search home listings or find an agent in your community, please visit remax.ca. For the latest news from RE/MAX Canada, please visit blog.remax.ca.

Contributing RE/MAX Brokers and Agents:

Metro Vancouver

Saskatoon

Greater Toronto Area

Steve Da Cruz

Brent Haas

Michael Davidson

RE/MAX Commercial Advantage

RE/MAX Bridge City Realty

RE/MAX Realtron

604.889.9293

306.641.6929

Realty Inc.



416.831.7108




Edmonton

Winnipeg


Scott Hughes

Mark Theissen

Ottawa

RE/MAX Commercial Capital

RE/MAX Professionals

James Palmer

780.915.7895

204.794.5700

RE/MAX Hallmark



613.698.5356

Calgary

London


Darryl Terrio

Eavan Travers & Gary Robinson

Halifax-Dartmouth

RE/MAX Complete Realty

RE/MAX Advantage

Craig Snow

403.930.8555

519.649.6000

RE/MAX Nova



902-499-7886




Regina

Hamilton-Burlington-Niagara


Mack Macdonald

Conrad Zurini

Newfoundland & Labrador

RE/MAX Crown Real Estate

RE/MAX Escarpment

Jim Burton

306.539.6806

905.573.1188

RE/MAX Infinity



709.682.8663

Forward looking statements
This report includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbour” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “believe,” “intend,” “expect,” “estimate,” “plan,” “outlook,” “project,” and other similar words and expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends that are not statements of historical matters. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding housing market conditions and the Company’s results of operations, performance and growth. Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include (1) the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the Company and continues to pose significant and widespread risks to the Company’s business, the Company’s ability to successfully close the anticipated reacquisition and to integrate the reacquired regions into its business, (3) changes in the real estate market or interest rates and availability of financing, (4) changes in business and economic activity in general, (5) the Company’s ability to attract and retain quality franchisees, (6) the Company’s franchisees’ ability to recruit and retain real estate agents and mortgage loan originators, (7) changes in laws and regulations, (8) the Company’s ability to enhance, market, and protect the RE/MAX and Motto Mortgage brands, (9) the Company’s ability to implement its technology initiatives, and (10) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and those risks and uncertainties described in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and similar disclosures in subsequent periodic and current reports filed with the SEC, which are available on the investor relations page of the Company’s website at www.remax.com and on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Except as required by law, the Company does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances.

SOURCE RE/MAX Canada

For further information: Danielle Scott, APEX PR, [email protected], 416-909-5185; Lydia McNutt, RE/MAX Canada, [email protected], 905-301-5980; Eva Blay-Silverberg, Point Blank Communications: [email protected], 416.505.0627

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