If you’d have asked me a few years ago about the long-term fate of the independent commercial real estate broker, I would have honestly expressed some uncertainty (you may be thinking, “but Barry, you are an independent commercial real estate broker… that means you would have been questioning your own survival!).
Most of that
uncertainty arose from questioning the independent broker’s ability to keep
pace with potential investment required in metadata.
at the current differences between a national and an independent regional
commercial real estate broker.
Earlier this week, I forwarded a client some historical data on Saskatoon commercial real estate capitalization rates. He came back to me with the comment, “Would be interesting how it (cap rate information) trends with interest rates.”
Sophisticated investors absorb data to make informed investment decisions. I asked our Market Analyst to gather the information. Here’s my observations because of that research.
From time to time we will receive a floor call from an individual asking one question: how do we charge brokerage fees to lease space.
I explain that our typical fee would be calculated based on five percent of the total net rental amount over first five years of the lease term and, if applicable, three percent on the balance (plus taxes).
We found ourselves in the middle of a difficult situation this week.
Unfortunately, we have encountered problems similar to this in the past.
My Business Manager received a call from an individual who is purchasing a multi-tenant commercial property. We are the Listing Broker and this Buyer is represented by an Agent from another brokerage firm.
The Buyer was very frustrated with their Agent and wanted to know how they could proceed without him.
A profitable business enterprise relies upon the successful sale of a product and/or service. How that transaction takes place is changing in many corporations. There are instances where it’s becoming increasingly easier to complete the necessary research, shop for the most favorable price and terms, and make the purchase on-line.
There will however always be a place in complex transactions for a professional salesperson.
I enjoy capturing a positive Saskatoon commercial real estate story when they surface. Our recently released 3Q17 retail survey provides me that opportunity. After two quarters of negative absorption, retail vacancy has decreased by 20 basis points to 4.1 per cent.
Due to continued population growth and expansion of new neighborhoods, we see a healthy amount of new retail development for the Saskatoon metropolitan area in coming years.
I had the pleasure of moderating the office panel at the Saskatchewan Real Estate forum in April.
One of the topics that seemed to “gather legs” during our discussion was Regina’s current office development policy as it relates to Saskatoon’s proposed office development bylaw.
I discussed some of the issues surrounding this topic in an earlier post a year ago: Regina’s policy, implemented in July 2012 does not permit major office developments more than 43,000 square feet of floor space outside of the core area (except in limited and specific contexts; e.g. accessory to an institution).
It’s not hard to find opposing opinions on the philosophy of disengaging from technology, nor is it possible for me to say what’s right for you. My wife and I have experimented for a month now with “technology free Sundays.”
Our definition of “technology free Sunday” is that our cell phones and computers are shut down from the time we retire Saturday night until Monday morning. The experiment has been positive for both of us.
I had a client ask yesterday what I believe to be the long term risk associated with investing in retail commercial real estate. Let’s ponder that question as it relates to the four major asset classes.
In an earlier post, “Time to Sell Functionally Obsolescent CRE?” the discussion focussed on what could be considered owner occupant type assets. For the purpose of this overview, we’ll assume that the real estate is current and relevant.
My grandmother and I recently discussed the future of Sears Canada. Outside of heavy news coverage of the US Sears hardships, she identified something that dropped from all our radars: the absence of a Spring/Summer 2017 catalogue.
Amid no apparent fanfare, Sears Canada appears to have quietly shut down their catalogue service.
Retail continues to play a stabilizing role in Regina and Saskatoon commercial real estate. The office vacancy has hovered in the double digits for the last 3 – 4 years while the industrial sector witnessed a 3% increase in vacancy in 2015 in both cities.
Here’s a synopsis of the presentation by one of ICR’s partners, Linely Schaefer made as Moderator on the retail panel last week at the Saskatchewan Real Estate Forum.
Despite a rough patch for oil in 2016 activity actually increased in one of Saskatchewan’s growing secondary markets.
The town of Kindersley has a total population of 5,628 people but trades as a hub for more than 40,000 surrounding residents. Their history in oil and gas goes back many decades and they are certainly not tapped out yet.
Some holes are surfacing in the climate change stance as stated in this recent article. You may or may not believe the world is entering an irreversible period of global warming.
There is no question that air pollution within our world’s mega cities and the waste being deposited into our oceans are a result of increasing population density and our enormous human footprint. Can a business case be built for constructing and refurbishing buildings with environmentally friendly specifications that goes beyond supporting the global warming cause?
Most businesspeople make it common practice to hire a broker to list their space for sale and/or lease.
There are also many compelling reasons to seek formal representation when looking for a new home for your business although this may not be the best solution in all circumstances. Don’t sign a contract unless you believe you will benefit from representation and save money.
Let’s explore the advantages of contracting one commercial real estate company to partner with to meet your goals and ensure the most favorable outcome.
Let’s assume you or the listing broker representing you has properly qualified the purchaser who has your commercial real estate under contract.
Let’s also assume you provided that purchaser a very comfortable six week conditional period to complete their due diligence and arrange financing so they don’t have to come back to you with a request for an extension.
I just experienced this exact situation as a listing broker working with a buyer’s agent from another brokerage.
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) held their annual Canadian Convention in Toronto from September 19-21. The event allows brokers, owners, developers, and retailers to meet up and form relationships at one central location.
With over 150 booths of various disciplines, attendees were able to mingle and cook deals in person. ICR sent a large contingency of brokers as usual and they came back with encouraging news.
Leases are created by landlords to protect their investments. They identify the rights and responsibilities for both parties during the term of the relationship.
Because in most cases the lease comes from the Landlord, he or she is going to be more aware of the clauses and ultimate implications. No one is trying to pull the wool over a tenant’s eyes, but there are items that are important to understand prior to entering into an agreement.
With a civic election around the corner there is much discussion surrounding our current administration’s property tax track record.
We have seen annual property tax increases average 5.43 per cent over the current council’s four-year term. During this same period the consumer price index indicates inflation has risen by an annual average of 1.9 per cent.
Anyone seeking civic office who is riding on the representation that they’ll keep increases under the rate of inflation without revealing a road map simply lacks credibility.
There is lots to talk about surrounding this issue.
Accountability is defined as the fact or condition of being accountable; therefore, responsible. I think it’s a word that is thrown around without much consideration for the consequence of the potential expectation created.
A few weeks ago, I was searching for a photo to accompany an earlier blog post. It didn’t surprise me, but it was a little disheartening to find that images of female real estate agents were hard to come by.
In an earlier, January 2015 blog post I discussed the Employee Purchase of ICR. Nineteen months have passed since that announcement; let’s try and take an objective look at the pros and cons of this method of selling a business.
I believe in both our personal and work lives, where change is involved, it is beneficial to stop and take note of what worked, and what kind of challenges we encountered along the way.
We field a number of questions regarding the type of sale or lease product that moves the quickest in our market. It’s hard to generalize because every commercial real estate property is different however there are certainly those that stand out from the rest.
We are always searching for new product to bring to our clients, so pay attention to our wish list:
With an abundance of industrial and office inventory, the story in Saskatoon’s commercial real estate market has not necessarily improved since the beginning of 2016 but it could be stated that things may be stabilizing.
I had a conversation with a small contractor this week whose view of the commercial real estate market was a little off to me. He indicated that landlords should be bowing to tenants and taking whatever offers they can, given our current vacancy.
I won’t disagree that we have a fair amount of inventory within our Saskatoon industrial and office markets. While deals and incentives are being offered I don’t think it’s a dire situation.
There is no definitive start to when a generation begins, but millennials are loosely described as the next demographic following Generation X. They are defined as people born from the early 1980s up to around the year 2000.
Their needs and wants should be important to employers, because as a generality this group of workers will not necessarily just follow the money; they want a workplace that offers a lot more.
Not only the office set up but location and amenities will play huge roles in companies’ ability to attract millennial employees. We see examples of this already impacting our commercial real estate market.
Many people I speak with are surprised to learn that we have such a high demand for investment product in this province. I am quite often asked the question (possibly due to the high vacancy rate in the industrial and office sectors) whether we believe prices have “bottomed out.”
I will first need to qualify my definition of “quality,” however in the last number of years there has been absolutely no downward movement in the price of these assets. As a matter of fact there has been some minor cap rate compression in the past year.
A common question asked in conversation is: “how’s the market?” It’s difficult to provide a one sentence response to that question!
We’ve already reported the rather dull current status of the Saskatoon office and industrial leasing markets. We do have a strong demand for good quality Saskatchewan commercial real estate investment property however our supply is limited.
Where the story gets better, where we have a good balance between supply and demand and where we are still seeing new construction on spec is… retail!
There are three important due diligence items that should be on your to-do list when purchasing commercial real estate in any asset class. I have just resolved that when applicable, my Business Manager and I will do everything reasonably possible to ensure Buyers that we represent will be provided these documents prior to removal of their purchase agreement conditions. Let me explain why!
While building inventory in the industrial sector may be high, demand for industrial zoned lots continues. According to the ICR first quarter report for 2016, the industrial market is stabilizing but vacant inventory has risen slightly since the final months of 2015.
I’m not much of a gambler, but I’m game to make a few wagers on the immediate future of commercial real estate in Saskatoon. I still thinking putting money in our market is a safe bet but there are some important items to consider.
Like so many material things in the world, the value of commercial real estate can often be in the eye of the beholder. There are two sides to this story; the hard truth is, the value to an owner user can outweigh what the market may be prepared to pay.
There are a number of items we look at when valuing a piece of commercial real estate. Here are just a few to consider.
When developers and investors are considering commercial real estate purchases, their broker is often called upon to render an opinion on site feasibility. As Barry and I would both tell you, we are not engineers or architects but we do have a pretty good idea of what is most commonly requested in our market.
Sharing some of our market insight can be important to the development of a site when it comes to tenants’ current expectations and achieving an expedient lease process on the property. Continue Reading →
Traditionally the general economic activity affecting Saskatchewan’s commercial real estate industry is impacted by three main outputs: agriculture, energy and potash. The Conference Board of Canada’s forecast of 2% GDP growth in 2016 is based on a resumption of typical agricultural production and somewhat lessening declines in the energy sector.
I’m not sure that I agree with the assumption that we will see recovery in the energy sector next year. Certainly however a lower loonie contributes to a stronger export market with the U.S., by far our largest customer. We believe 2016 will see some growth; two percent may be a bit optimistic.
The Royal Bank of Canada forecasts 3.2% retail growth for this province. An achievable number if we continue to grow our population.
With all the economic doom and gloom, it’s time someone looked at what’s going right in Saskatoon. National tenants continue to look at our market and there are brave developers out there with the belief that if they build it, they will come.
It is a simple fact the commercial real estate rental space will take longer on average to lease than a residential suite. After a commercial rental unit (cru) has been on the market for a period of time a discussion should take place between the Broker and Vendor exploring potential reasons.
There are many factors that can contribute to a lack of success in locating a suitable Tenant. Has the space been properly marketed, does it require updating, refreshing (You only get one chance to make a first impression) or demolition of obsolescent improvements, would rental incentives such as free rent or a Tenant improvement allowance be appropriate, etc. One of the questions that needs to be a part of that discussion: is a price adjustment required? There isn’t necessarily a simple answer to that question however we’ll explore how that discussion might look.
I came across an article entitled “Real estate value tied to human behavior” which takes an interesting view on the future values of commercial real estate properties, office in particular, when it comes to the psychology of the upcoming millennial workforce.
In commercial real estate the asset value is often attributed to lease rates. But it’s a unique concept to think employee wants and needs could be a contributing factor in achieving value to a space as well.
ICR Commercial Real Estate has released their third quarter musings regarding the office, industrial and retail markets in Saskatoon. Oversupply and slow absorption lowered expectations over the previous quarter, but where does that leave us?
With technological advancements facilitating consumer’s ability to shop, the emergence of e-commerce continues to gain momentum. Many experts once believed that the future of retail would lie primarily within the e-commerce marketplace as online retailers were expected to overtake traditional brick-and-mortar chains. As a younger generation of shoppers becomes the main consumer within our marketplace, will e-commerce continue to dominate?
Saskatoon core neighbourhood residents are up in arms regarding the recent announcement of a City Park grocery store closure. The media picked up the story quickly soliciting the shocked reactions of people living nearby the Loblaw-owned Shop Easy Foods on 7th Ave.
The impact to people who utilized and depended on the retailer is significant.
The University of Saskatchewan is the largest urban land owner in Saskatoon outside of the City of Saskatoon with almost 1,000 acres of land ready for development. And they are ready to start maximizing their investment.
The U of S set forth a plan in 2009 to start considering the re-use of their expansive land inventory to capitalize on its potential going forward. This plan was recently addressed in the news as it starts to take shape. The U of S has purchased land in Clavet to begin moving some of the agriculture programs out of the City limits.
Barry and I have both discussed the topic of tenant improvements within earlier blog posts. But what are the big ticket items that can make or break a deal? Let’s explore the things to look for when scouting out a place for your business.
Over my seven years with ICR I’ve had a few deals that stick out in my mind. Much like a snowflake, every deal is unique but there are a few noteworthy examples of what I’d classify as the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
Most commercial real estate agents would agree that our tenants and buyers are less likely to show warm, fuzzy feelings about properties like a homebuyer might. Often functionality and cost win out as the primary decisions behind choosing a commercial space.
But presentation does matter to these clients and there is typically only one opportunity to wow them so why not make it count.
Saskatoon has a reputation, literally within North America, of raising up creative leaders with a strong work ethic. We have a healthy arts community. There have been a number of recent examples of innovative new and infill residential developments however the number of innovative commercial examples are few. Why do you think we are lacking in this area?
We are often tasked with researching space for tenants using a monthly budget. But when we use a price per square foot as an industry to compare properties against each other there are a few steps required.
Thinking like a tenant, ICR’s Research Analyst Alvaro Campos put the question to our office this week: how much does $5,000 a month get you in Saskatoon’s office, retail and industrial?
There are a number of media sources reporting double digit vacancy rates in the Saskatoon office sector but it’s important to identify the qualifying factors that go into this data. Here is a brief analysis of how our Market Analyst Alvaro Campos is dissecting the information for ICR.
Advances in technology have forced many industries to change their selling tactics and commercial real estate is no different. A throwback Thursday video tweet about the introduction of cell phones in Saskatoon made me pause and contemplate how far we’ve come. But where are we going?
It’s not possible to accurately predict where the commercial real estate market is going this year. In order to understand the factors that generate changes in the market, these causes must be first be identified and evaluated.
A general market gap analysis, evaluating the difference between demand and supply of space involves four major market categories: investment, office, industrial and retail. Even though a region’s economic prosperity tends to move in one direction, it is not uncommon to see these different sectors trending in opposite directions.
I think it’s fair to say that uncertainty in oil and other resources revenue streams do play a role in the work of decision makers in commercial real estate; their motivation to buy, sell and lease in the Saskatoon market. Given recent events, I’d like to explore the current mood in all sectors of our commercial real estate market.
This is a great day for ICR, its employees and agents. It’s also a great day for Saskatchewan and the owners and tenants in the real estate industry. We are pleased to announce a new partnership. ICR developed over its 22 year history a unique operating model for a Commercial Real estate company. The company operates in a world of multi-nationals and competes at the top level in the Real Estate Arena.
We said hello to many new restaurants and retailers in 2014 but we also had to say goodbye to a few in Saskatoon. A recent article about Toronto landmark real estate that has been closed or demolished, inspired me to think of the properties or businesses that gave way to growth and change taking place in our Saskatoon market in 2014.
You may have sometime in the past chosen a new path believing that your life experience would be a great asset in your new endeavor? Well that was certainly my thinking 18 years ago!
Previous to that, between the years 1978 and 2006 I sold new and then resale residential real estate. My last four years during that period I was a non-competing Branch Manager.
When the company I had been working for was sold I made a decision to make a move into the world of commercial real estate.
I knew the business would be different but was not prepared for just how different it was. I brokered a few transactions but mostly floundered for about six months, believing I would find my way by approaching the business using my old residential tools.
It was about the seventh month when I finally came out of denial, realized I had to throw everything I knew out the window, and start asking a lot more questions. So why are the two sectors of the business so different? Here are three of many reasons:
Laws governing commercial real estate tenancies vary from province to province. In Saskatchewan, once a tenant has been determined to be in default (by definition of their lease agreement) there are several remedies available to the landlord.
Some of the information presented here is from an article prepared by the local firm of Robertson Stromberg. This should not be taken as legal advice, rather a discussion on some of the consequences that can be imposed on delinquent tenancies. Each tenancy must be dealt with on a case by case basis.
In an earlier blog post: “Have Saskatchewan commercial real estate values peaked?” I discussed the future of commercial real estate values in this province. Here we look more specifically at what I will refer to as the functionally obsolescent asset class.
For the past eight years, Saskatoon’s retail vacancy rate has stayed under three per cent leaving tenancies with little choice or few options to locate here. Recent construction surges have started to create more opportunities in the commercial real estate market for retailers looking to get their foothold into Saskatoon.
We have clients requesting commercial real estate advice on a daily basis. It is also necessary to make personal investment decisions to achieve our own long term financial goals. Here are three examples that come to mind where I was found to be “off the mark!”
Saskatchewan’s largest urban centres are Regina and Saskatoon but did you know there are a dozen secondary markets attracting retailers and developers?
The Secondary Market Retail Outlook for 2014 was just recently released by ICR Commercial Real Estate. In house Research Analyst Alvaro Campos has been hard at work collecting information on these communities, which we’d like to summarize:
In days gone by, when a new national retail merchant came searching for a spot for their first Saskatoon store we found they usually wanted to locate within the 8th Street, Broadway or Downtown retail corridors. Obviously there were many other available options however the majority of interest centered on those areas.