Retail is the heavy hitter in Vancouver’s commercial property market, with net absorption from July 2018 to July 2019 at 2.1 million square feet, according to CoStar Group Canada.
By the end of that period, vacancy in the Lower Mainland’s retail market also dropped to a historic nadir of 1.3%.
“That is extremely low,” CoStar senior market analyst (Vancouver) Jamil Jamani said. “If you look at any of the major malls — Oakridge, Metropolis at Metrotown, Pacific Centre — they are all fully occupied.”
Demand has particularly intensified among luxury retailers. Jamani noted that the region has often served as a proving ground for these brands before they market themselves to the rest of North America.
“Robson Street is facing increased interest, as well as Alberni Street,” he told the Vancouver Sun in an interview. “You’re starting to see luxury retailers scatter not only in malls, but around downtown Vancouver.”
CoStar cited the region’s economic growth, which is predicted to outstrip the national level this year, as a major driver of this trend.
Similar forces were at work in Vancouver’s office segment, according to Avison Young’s report covering the first half of 2019.
A combination of growing demand from global tech giants and lengthy development times has led to a record-low 4.3% office vacancy level in Metro Vancouver. The previous regional record low of 4.7% was achieved way back at the end of 2007.