Commercial real estate sees boost

Unemployment slows growth in US markets

January 19, 2011
by MM&D staff

TORONTO: Commercial real estate markets across Canada saw a moderate-to-strong recovery in 2010, with some performing better than expected, according to a report from commercial real estate company Avison Young.

The report, released by the commercial real estate company on January 18, covers the office, retail, industrial and investment markets in 17 regions: Vancouver; Calgary; Edmonton; Lethbridge; Regina; Winnipeg; Mississauga; Toronto; Ottawa; Montreal; Quebec City; Halifax; Chicago; Washington DC; Atlanta; Houston; and Boston.

“The Canadian picture remains positive,” said Mark Rose, chair and CEO of Avison Young. “But the bottom line is this: without improved confidence and growth in employment, consumer spending, industrial production and gross domestic product, the North American commercial real estate market as a whole will have a difficult time recovering. Having said that, we expect to see the broader US market start to clear in the year ahead.”

Still, there was some increase in confidence in the economy, which benefited every sector, strengthened tenant demand for office, retail and industrial space, and revived a waning investment market, according to the report. Spending on infrastructure by the government also supported recovery in Canada.

“The outlook for Canada in 2011 is positive, with confidence and stability continuing to replace the uncertainty and fluctuations witnessed in most markets since late 2008,” said Bill Argeropoulos, vice-president and director of research (Canada) for Avison Young.

US commercial real estate conditions improved last year as compared with 2009, according to the report. But persistent unemployment could continue to slow the sector’s recovery in 2011. As a result, commercial real estate recovery is expected to be inconsistent between markets and property segments in 2011.