By Ben Tatterton, Manager, Data Solutions & Erika Siegert, Senior Analyst, National Research Insights | March 10, 2021

The cumulative impact of the global pandemic and local economic hardships took a toll on the Calgary commercial real estate market throughout the past year. In total, 2020 saw 364 transactions worth $1.9 billion, a decrease of 32% compared to the previous year. This is the lowest annual sales volume for the Calgary market since 2010, and the third consecutive year of annual declines. Activity in the fourth quarter was tempered by the reintroduction of strict pandemic curbing measures including the mandatory closure of some non-essential businesses. Overall, Q4 2020 recorded 87 transactions, reaching a total of $410 million.

Calgary property transactions - all sectors by year Q4 2020

Apart from the multi-family sector, the market experienced annual decreases across the board for the remaining asset classes in 2020. Annual apartment activity in Calgary amounted to 36 transactions, totaling $238 million, a marginal increase in volume from the previous year. Sustained activity among the multi-family sector reflects a broader trend of demand for this asset class across the country. The most significant drop in transaction activity occurred in the retail sector due to its higher sensitivity to COVID-19 related restrictions. The sector recorded 48 transactions worth $157 million, a 48% decrease from activity in 2019. Comparably, investments in the Calgary office sector only dropped 26% from 2019, reaching a total of $252 million despite also being hit hard with pandemic-related challenges. The industrial sector continued to show relative strength, recording 99 transactions, but transaction volumes totaled only $559 million marking a 40% decrease from 2019.

According to results from Altus Group’s Investment Trends Survey for Q4 2020, Calgary continued along a negative direction in the buy/sell momentum ratio of preferred markets for investors. Calgary cap rates remained stable across asset classes except for Downtown Class AA Office which increased quarter-over-quarter. Toronto and Vancouver have remained as the preferred markets through 2020, a year that has required buyers to adjust to new risks and uncertainties.

Calgary overall capitalization rates - Q4 2020

Notable Q4 2020 transactions: 

Hays Farm Apartments, Calgary – Apartment
A four-building townhome complex containing 228 units, this property was acquired by Avenue Living, a private multi-family buyer that continues to grow their presence in Western Canada. The purchase price was $36,000,000, which amounts to a price per unit of $157,894. Amenities for the property include a central courtyard, pool and tennis courts.

5300 86th Avenue SE, Calgary – Industrial
This 165,347 square foot data centre was sold from Bell to Equinix REIT for a price of $30,296,740, representing a per square foot price of $183. This is part of a larger portfolio that includes 13 Bell data centres acquired by Equinix across the country. The buyer specializes in data centre infrastructure worldwide, and this acquisition significantly expands their presence in Canada.

261185 & 261177 Wagon Wheel Way, Balzac – Industrial
Purchased by Nexus REIT, this multi-tenant industrial warehouse contains 95,180 square feet. The purchase price was $13,750,000, representing a price per square foot of $144. The property was constructed in 2008 in Wagon Wheel Business Park, a developing industrial park located in the growing Balzac area north of Calgary.

Deerfoot Atria (6715 & 6815 8th Street NE), Calgary – Office
Deerfoot Atria contains two four-storey multi-tenant office buildings with 324,063 square feet located in Calgary’s Deerfoot Business Centre. The purchaser was Simplex Corporation, a private buyer located in Edmonton and the acquisition price amounted to $27 million.

Calgary property transactions by asset class 2019 vs 2020

Even with the promise of a vaccine rollout on the horizon, the impact of potential pandemic relief on Calgary commercial real estate remains to be seen as the greater provincial economic situation remains precarious. Investors have continued to show preference to the industrial and apartment sectors across the nation, and while Calgary has not attracted as much institutional capital as other markets, buyers may soon take advantage of record low interest rates and downward pressure on prices.


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Data Solutions connects the Canadian real estate industry through the delivery of data with unparalleled breadth, integrity and relevance.  We cover new homes, investment transactions and commercial market inventory in key markets, and also provide intelligence on the national housing market and consumer home buying and borrowing patterns.

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Elizabeth Lambe
Manager, Communications
Altus Group
(416) 641 – 9787

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