Is the Vancouver real estate market outpacing BC’s economy?

Institutions want in. Private capital still wants in. So does foreign flight capital.

By Robert Frank

“Everyone seems to want a piece of real estate in Vancouver,” remarked Premise Properties president Avtar Bains. “Tremendous demand is keeping prices aggressive.”

“People want more real estate where the next generation of economic growth will happen,” he explained. “We still trade at some of the lowest yields in the country. Plus, the worse things get outside Canada, the more attractive we become as a safe haven for capital.”

“Every asset class is thriving,” Bains continued. “There’s hot demand for all key asset classes: Industrial. Retail, if you can find the product. Office space downtown and along transit lines. In multi-family, there are far more buyers for apartment buildings than there is supply.

He added that even the hotel sector is witnessing a strong comeback, after more than a decade of doldrums.

“There’s more liquidity in hotels than we’ve seen since the events of 2001 in the United States,” Bains observed.

The runaway success of Vancouver’s Skytrain means that transit-oriented developments will command top returns, he predicted.

“No question about it,” Bains declared unequivocally. “They definitely have a leg up on developments that are not located close to transit.”

“If you have an office, residential retail or even an entertainment building that’s associated with Vancouver’s excellent rapid transit system, it will typically enjoy less vacancy as well as higher rents and employee retention,” he said. “It’s clean, bright, modern, efficient and really inviting.”

“I was arrogant about taking public transit,” Bains confessed. “I would drive everywhere. Now, I almost always take the Skytrain to the airport. If you can get people like me on board, it’s fantastic! No one in Canada comes close to Vancouver’s commute.”

“Everyone takes it,” he concluded, “whether you live here or are just visiting.”

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Note: This report appeared on page 54 of the Spring 2014 issue of Canadian Real Estate Magazine.

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