Market Intelligence

Goodbye to the last quarter of the decade

2009 – 2019 has been a decade to remember. It started with one of the worst economic downturns in North American history which eventually impacted Vancouver’s commercial real estate industry. Luckily, British Columbia’s resilient commercial market was only affected negatively for a brief period. What happened next, nobody could have predicted.

Commercial real estate rebounded into one of the best booms ever! We saw huge gains in commercial property values in all asset classes right up to mid-2017. Increased appetite from high net worth investors, prominent Vancouver families, institutional capital funds, foreign individuals and foreign institutions all drove up demand.

Some of the most talked about and memorable events we saw were:

  • Multi-family buildings sold as low as 1.8% cap in Greater Vancouver;
  • Developers paid eye-popping prices for high-density residential land;
  • Vancouver had (by far) the highest combined per-buildable-square-foot costs and construction prices in Canada, per Altus Group.
  • Industrial building owners saw their property values increase substantially due to short supply and high demand: price per square foot climbed to $250 … $300 … even $350 … and beyond – previously unheard of in our market;
  • Environmental site-testing standards and regulations became more stringent, acknowledging the health risks to humans and other organisms when exposed to man-made chemicals;
  • Interest rates reached historic lows: 1.9% at one point;
  • Foreign Buyers’ Tax climbed to 20% for Greater Vancouver properties;
  • The provincial Strata Property Act changed notably in 2016: 80% of strata owners are now required to carry a vote for dissolution vs. the previous 100%.

No one can predict for sure if the 2020s will be better or worse than the last decade. One thing we do know, there will be sellers, buyers and DEAL MAKING. Here’s to you and the next 10 years!