Under the radar

Industrial real estate market hopes to maintain momentum in 2018

When it comes to the Calgary commercial real estate market, downtown office space grabs all the headlines.
Just like in sports, where star players occupy the limelight and grinders are often overlooked, the struggles of the downtown office market continue to dominate discussions of commercial real estate, while the industrial sector has quietly weathered the economic storm over the past three years.

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Poised for growth

Calgary’s industrial market shows signs of turning the corner

While Calgary’s downtown office sector and its plunging vacancy rates overshadowed all commercial real estate activity in 2016, the city’s industrial market has better weathered the storm and is poised to grow in 2017, say experts.

According to Barclay Street Real Estate, vacancy for the industrial real estate sector finished 2016 at 7.76 per cent. It had peaked at 7.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year. In 2015, it was 6.57 per cent.

“Absorption was a negative 127,373 square feet for Q3. This was the only quarter of negative absorption we have had since the ’90s,” said Jon Mook, executive vice-president of Barclay Street Real Estate’s industrial division.

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New normal

Calgary’s industrial sector showing signs of strain

Calgary’s industrial market continues to hiccup along in a weakened economy as vacancy rates have risen over each of the last four quarters and are likely heading toward the bottom of the cycle, said a second-quarter market report by Cushman & Wakefield.

“One positive is that the amount of space under construction has been cut substantially; helping to prevent future jumps in the vacancy rate,” read the report.

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Brunt of the ‘turn

Commercial vacancy rates near all-time highs, according to reports

A new report is summarizing Calgary’s downtown office market in one word: scary.

CBRE Ltd. first-quarter results released earlier this month show that the vacancy rate in Calgary’s core ballooned to 20.2 per cent during the first quarter of 2016. That’s up from 11.8 per cent the same time last year, and 17.6 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2015.

Greg Kwong, who heads up the commercial real estate firm CBRE Ltd’s office in the heart of the oilpatch, expects the worse is still to come for Calgary’s office market as the local economy sputters in response to depressed oil prices.

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Cautious commercial

Calgary’s core office market could see vacancy increases that endure even after a recovery in oil prices

According to a new report from commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, the negative effects of the drop in oil prices could remain for up to a year after a rebound.

“Although the brunt of the declining oil price was felt in Q1 2015, it is expected that negative absorption will continue throughout 2015,” said the report.

“Net rates will drop in the CBD (central business district), while the suburbs will be impacted to a lesser extent. History would suggest that we can expect tenants to begin taking back space once oil prices strengthen and the market regains confidence.” (more…)

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