By Kruti Desai, National Research Insights Manager | May 28, 2020

Calgary commercial real estate investment market remained stable through Q1 prior to COVID-19 global crisis

As the threat of the global pandemic loomed in early Q1, commercial real estate activity in Calgary remained relatively stable, with an 8% decrease in year-over-year activity. The disruption and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 crisis has led the market to temporarily pause activity; the ramifications of which are only just beginning to be realized. With transaction activity typically negotiated months prior to closing, the first significant impacts due to the crisis will likely be seen in the second quarter of this year.

The Alberta market is facing an additional challenge that is compounded by the pandemic, the drastic drop in global oil prices. Energy sector curtailments will have a significant impact on Calgary’s economy and the spur-off effect will create a difficult environment for commercial real estate investment. According to Altus Group’s Investment Trends Survey, sentiment towards Calgary in Q1 showed a downward momentum towards sell. Due to some of the risks and challenges that property owners and tenants have encountered from the pandemic, we’ve seen Calgary’s overall capitalization rates also trend slightly upwards in the first quarter, with the exception of the multi-residential rates – the lowest of all sectors.

 

Calgary property transactions by year - 2010 to Q1 2020

(Calgary property transactions – all sectors by year)

The stability seen in the Q1 results offers some insight into the direction of the market prior to the crisis. Total investment activity for Q1 totaled just over $764 million, and several significant transactions in the office and industrial sectors were observed. Office activity was negligible through most of 2019 until the fourth quarter recorded $182 million worth of transactions. Office activity in Q1 roughly matched this activity recording 9 transactions, worth $175 million. Pre-pandemic, the industrial sector was considerably active at the end of 2019 in the fourth quarter with 31 transactions worth almost $480 million in investment volume. The sector remained as the top performing asset into the first quarter of 2020 registering 28 transactions worth $187 million. The industrial sector looks to remain active in the short term and Calgary’s strategic location to distribute goods for Western Canada will create some opportunities as e-commerce is expected to accelerate and as some companies seek storage options to stockpile goods as a result of supply chain challenges.

Calgary overall capitalization rates Q1 2005 - Q1 2020

(Calgary market area cap rates – Q1 2005 to Q1 2020)

Notable Calgary investment transactions:

TransAlta Place – Office
One of the two office properties sold by Artis REIT and acquired by Crestpoint in Q1. Located in the Beltline, TransAlta Place is the corporate head office of the electrical utility provider and consists of a three-building campus with a total of 336,041 square feet. It was acquired for $50 million, representing a price per square foot of $149.

Stampede Station – Office
The second office property acquired from Artis REIT by Crestpoint in Q1, Stampede Station is a ten-storey office tower containing 161,672 square feet, including ground floor retail. It was constructed in 2008 and is LEED Gold certified. The acquisition price of $35,185,000 represents a price per square foot of $218.

Icon Business Park – Industrial
The property at 10 Smed Lane SE is a strategically-located logistics hub on the eastern edge of the city. The 752,804 square foot warehouse, manufacturing and distribution centre sits on a 45-acre site with nearby access to Calgary’s ring road. It was developed by Hungerford Properties and was acquired by Northam Realty Advisors for $88 million.

The Carrington – Apartment
The Carrington is located at 1017 11th Avenue SW in the Beltline. It was sold by Canadian Urban Limited to CAPREIT for a price of $19,500,000, representing a per unit price of $246,835. The property is a five-storey, 79-unit, multi-family complex that was constructed circa 1999.

Calgary property transactions by asset class Q1 2019 vs Q1 2020

(Calgary property transactions by asset class – Q1 2019 vs Q1 2020)

“The market in Calgary is facing two serious threats, the shutdown resulting from containment measures to deal with the spread of COVID-19, and the global oil price shock. The first signs of serious impact will be coming in Q2 and will certainly reverberate beyond that. Hopefully the relative strength of Q1 can give us a glimpse at what recovery strength can and will look like for Calgary once we have overcome this crisis,” noted Ben Tatterton, Manager, Data Solutions at Altus Group.

 

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ABOUT DATA SOLUTIONS

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.

Our solutions are used by real estate industry stakeholders to gain market intelligence, identify and validate opportunities, benchmark, strategically plan, manage risk and more.

Data Solutions is part of Altus Analytics, the software and data solutions business of Altus Group, where our focus is to empower real estate clients and partners to work collaboratively to enhance decision making, drive performance and optimize transactional efficiency. Our solutions enable firms to better organize and manage data and connect with the right information and analytics to help them gain a complete picture of real estate assets, portfolios and transactions.

For more information on Data Solutions, please visit www.altusgroup.com/data.

 

ABOUT ALTUS GROUP LIMITED

Altus Group Limited is a leading provider of independent advisory services, software and data solutions to the global commercial real estate industry. Our businesses, Altus Analytics and Altus Expert Services, reflect decades of experience, a range of expertise, and technology-enabled capabilities. Our solutions empower clients to analyze, gain insight and recognize value on their real estate investments. Headquartered in Canada, we have approximately 2,500 employees around the world, with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Our clients include some of the world’s largest real estate industry participants across a variety of sectors.  Altus Group pays a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share and our shares are traded on the TSX under the symbol AIF.

For more information on Altus Group, please visit: www.altusgroup.com.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Elizabeth Lambe
Manager, Communications
Altus Group
(416) 641 – 9787
elizabeth.lambe@altusgroup.com

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