Barely half into the first quarter of 2019, one of the priciest commercial property deals in Canada so far this year has already closed in Richmond, B.C.
Fiera Properties, a Montreal-based property management firm that has an asset portfolio worth around $139.4 billion, has announced earlier this week the purchase of Richmond’s 13-building Airport Executive Park from Sun Life Financial.
The transaction involving the 707,809-square-foot property was valued at $208 million.
Other interested parties were major domestic and international buyers, according to CBRE’s Tony Quattrin. CBRE brokered the deal.
“There has been a good job of attracting tenants to that market, it’s close to the city,” Quattrin told CoStar News. “People do tell you, we would like to be in Vancouver but can’t find a way.”
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The transaction seems to be the first salvo in a major trend predicted by Avison Young Canada Inc., which stated last month that scarce supply and a 4-decade low in unemployment will continue inflaming demand for Canada commercial properties for much of 2019.
The phenomenon would be particularly apparent in the industrial real estate market, which had its nationwide vacancies decline to a record low of 2.9% near the end of 2018. Vacancy levels in the leading markets of Toronto (1.3%) and Vancouver (1.5%) were actually found to be the lowest in North America.
“We continue to feel very positive about opportunities in the real estate environment for the year ahead,” Avison Young Canada CEO Mark Rose said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
“More capital is available to move into real estate debt and equity than at any other time. The next wave of investment is not a matter of if or when -- it’s just a matter of price.”