Saskatoon’s commercial real estate markets demonstrate resiliency

We’ve just released our 2Q21 market surveys and all three sectors are reporting a reduction in vacancy.

Remarkable statistics considering the economic storm we’ve been passing through!

It appears that our resource rich economy is only going to continue to improve with the recent upcycle in commodity markets.

International demand for food, fertilizer and fuel have turned the corner after a slow 2020.

Let’s take a look at each sector individually.

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Vacancy does not equate to desperation

It’s easy to get skeptical about leasing commercial real estate with all the media reporting business doom and gloom during the pandemic.

Well I’m here to tell you, not only is their rising hope on the horizon but things aren’t near as dicey as some think.

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Surprisingly little correlation between interest rates and cap cates

Any discussion on cap rates needs to be prefaced with a cautionary note. 

That is, there are many factors that determine capitalization rates on a commercial real estate investment. 

Those factors include but aren’t limited to age and condition of improvements, covenant of tenants, term of leases, location, asset class and the tenant mix.

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Saskatoon sees lowest quarterly drop for industrial vacancy in over a decade

While we saw quarter over quarter decreases throughout 2020, the drop in Saskatoon’s industrial vacancy for the last three months has exceeded my prediction for the entire current year.

The industrial sector has seen a net absorption of almost 150,000 square feet (SF).

In January, I forecasted we would be at 4.8 per cent by year end.

Our recently released Industrial Market Report recorded that rate had already dropped to 4.71 per cent. That represents over a 60-basis points reduction within one quarter.

My review of the market stats would indicate that is the largest quarterly drop we have seen in over 10 years.

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Density can’t come at the expense of massive property devaluation

Cities are becoming increasingly aware of the need to densify.

The infrastructure costs of suburban sprawl are not recoverable.

No one is prepared to pay the real costs that are imposed upon most city services because of continued expansion of suburbia.

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My predictions were wrong (but cut me a little slack!)

I promised you that I’d hold myself accountable in my Jan 2020 post and report back to you. 

So, how did I do? At that time, I predicted a decline in the overall Saskatoon industrial vacancy rate from 5.65 per cent per cent in 2019 to 4.8 per cent.

That’s after a significant 2 per cent decline in 2018 and a 0.9 per cent decline to 6.8 per cent in 2019.

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Ho, Ho, Holding out hope for next year

The past year has been a roller coaster for the commercial real estate industry.

Just when it looked like were gaining traction it seemed the world had another thing in store for us.

But I’m hopeful for 2021 and therefore I choose to focus on what’s in store for us.

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Industrial sales close in the blink of an eye

This may sound counterintuitive as we navigate the economic impact of a pandemic.

But I’ve recently reported that our Saskatoon industrial vacancy rate actually dropped in 3Q20 demonstrating the economic resilience of this asset class.

Two industrial properties I recently brought to the market sold within one week. 

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Don’t discount retail discounters

Price slashing. Mark downs. Lower prices. Discounted goods.

The word discount conjures up a variety of value for many consumers.

Discount is a deduction from the usual cost of something.

The irony of that rationale is by who’s standard is the cost of something?

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Investors should be parking cash in industrial CRE

In spite of the negative economic impact of COVID-19, the sale and lease activity within our existing industrial market continues.

The vacancy rate has risen marginally by 0.12 per cent to 5.86 per cent, according to our recent Q2 market report.

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