Commercial Property Investing in British Columbia Real Estate

As the westernmost province, British Columbia serves as Canada’s “Gateway to the Pacific Rim”, with Vancouver as the country’s biggest and busiest port.

Recent forecasts show Vancouver as the hottest Canadian market to watch in 2020. Both the Office and Industrial sectors are experiencing extremely low vacancy rates and robust development.  The housing sector has had recent softness, but that is largely due to a previously red-hot market, and expectations are growing again there as well.

Many people from outside of British Columbia are investing in BC. However, the complicated structure of the system can be frustrating. There are several listing systems for residential and several for commercial throughout BC.  On top of this, the vast majority of Commercial Properties are listed exclusively with individual commercial companies and don’t appear on any Multiple Listing System. At Maude, MacKay & Co., we can cut through the confusion to best serve our client’s needs and find the right investment property BC.

The province has a wealth of natural resources, ranging from timber, to minerals, to fish and agricultural products. It is also a major producer of Hydroelectricity, resulting in low power costs. The port is a funnel for goods from the Canadian hinterland and from a range of Pacific Rim economies.

Hemmed in by mountains to the north and east, the US border to the south, and the ocean to the west, Greater Vancouver is constrained in land supply. This results in higher than average land costs and occupancy rates. The metropolitan area of Vancouver has a population of 2.5 million and a diversified economy reflecting a diversified population. Recent years have shown strong growth in the tourism, high tech, and service industries, reflecting a balanced economy when combined with the traditional resource sector. Its stable economy and political environment rate it near the top for many analyses of safe places in the world to invest.

Commercial Properties Outlook for the Greater Vancouver are:

Major infrastructure projects and other development trends are keeping unemployment levels below 5%, with vacancy rates in commercial and industrial properties at record lows.  The office/tech sector has been booming with thousands of jobs moving into the region annually.  Major technology firms have been moving in or expanding in the Downtown and Broadway corridor, bringing the region’s office vacancy rate to under 3%, with downtown at 2% and the suburbs at 3.7%.

Since multi-family residential has continued to grow, pressure has been applied to industrial land conversion. This has resulted in an industrial property vacancy rate of under 2%, with pure industrial lands at under 1%.  The result has been industrial rental rates soaring at 10% year-over-year.  These trends are expected to continue in this sector as alternatives are few and demand is consistent.

Elsewhere in North America, retail has been greatly impacted by e-commerce. in the Vancouver region, the relative scarcity of malls has meant more stability. Combine this with a redevelopment strategy of adding residential to mall parking lots has meant customers in close proximity. This has meant vacancy rates ranging from 1-2% region wide across various retail sectors. Retail rental rates are expected to continue their climb.

Our key property areas are:

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