Edmonton Commercial Real Estate Rebound

EDMONTON — Realtors sold 161 Edmonton commercial properties worth $754 million in the first half of the year, says the mid-2010 national investment report released Monday by CB Richard Ellis.

That’s up from 120 deals worth $547 million in the first half of 2009, the real estate company says. CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) says sales in both Edmonton and Calgary rebounded from “sluggish activity” in 2009.  Calgary’s first-half sales totalled more than $680 million in 188 transactions, up from $471 million in 149 transactions for the period in 2009.

But both Alberta cities are below the highs of the first half of 2007, when Edmonton had 167 sales worth $870 million and $2.9 billion in Calgary properties changed hands through 269 transactions. Local private investors account for the majority of transactions so far this year; foreign investors had only a minor share, CBRE says.

Nationally, improving debt markets and lower interest rates helped drive up commercial-property transactions in Canada in the first six months of this year, CBRE says.

Transactions were worth $7.8 billion, a 60.2-per-cent gain over the $4.9 billion for the same period a year earlier, the company says. There were 2,243 transactions, up from 1,565 a year earlier. CBRE notes that the national increases appear large partly because mid-2009 numbers were well below normal due to the recession. But even when compared with the first half of 2005, a more typical year, volume was up 22.8 per cent, the agency says.

Sales activity and prices for the year to date in Canada are “more normal and sustainable” than last year’s levels, vice-chairman John O’Bryan says.

“There is indication in the numbers that the market has rebounded from the recession,” O’Bryan said. “As the second half of the year typically shows stronger activity than the first, the commercial real estate market is poised to finish on strong and stable footing.” Toronto led in commercial activity with 563 deals worth $2.9 billion. Vancouver had 632 deals worth $1.6 billion. “Unique to this year is the fact that market activity is consistently up across all major cities — a trend that does not happen often,” O’Bryan says.

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