Vancouver: The New Commercial Real Estate Capital of Canada

For the first time ever, Vancouver has surpassed Toronto in investment activity by more than $1 billion. In a recent article by The Western Investor, our city had a record-setting $7.8 billion in commercial real estate investments, making up 41% of the national market compared to just 34% in Toronto.

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While Vancouver is no stranger to real estate demand, it’s largely made its name for the residential side of the market. However, it’s clear that we’re starting to become a new epicentre for economic activity.

Here are a few reasons why business is booming on the west coast:

Big Transactions

This year saw some of the largest sales the city has seen to date. Most notably (as reported by The Western Investor), the sale of the Cadillac Fairview office portfolio for $1.25 billion. In addition, Oakridge Centre shopping mall by Ivanhoe Cambridge sold to QuadReal Property Group for more than $961 million. 

Tech’s Coming To Town

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Vancouver’s growing tech industry has garnered international attention, as we’ve covered in recent blog posts. Kraig Docherty, Director of Talent Programs & Hub Operations at BC Tech, shared that B.C. currently employs more than 150,000, and brings in $126 billion a year. In just four years, this is expected to increase to 196,000 jobs, with many more roles that will need to be filled.

President Trump

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As reported in Politico Magazine this past month, the Trump administration has moved to cut legal immigration by half over the next decade. He’s also suggested limiting startup visas for high-tech entrepreneurs entering the United States, and cutting funding for scientific research.

These initiatives would enhance Canadian talent and economic growth, as we grant work permits at a much faster rate than our US counterparts. In particular, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is said to be “welcoming skilled, ambitious talent that drives innovation and economic growth, including top thinker and workers in technology and industry.”

Affordability

It may seem ironic that one of the most expensive cities in the world could be attracting business for its affordability, but relative to other corners of the globe, our price per square foot is considered a steal.

Kevin Nelson, Senior Vice President of The High Technology Facilities Group at CBRE, shared that in Silicon Valley, tenants are paying more than $90 per square foot. In Vancouver, similar spaces are $45 per square foot. That, coupled with the higher American dollar, has caused many companies to head north.

Lifestyle

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Very few cities in the world can compete with oceanfront properties, mountain views, and lush green surroundings all within a few kilometres of one another. Known for its laidback lifestyle, Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, a young population, and a leading culinary scene. These factors, among many others, are attractive features for those recruiting international talent.

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