“Western Canada is the economic engine of Canada. This is why I choose to invest in real estate located there, as it will provide the necessary current cash flow and growth opportunities to ensure my investments remain on a solid foundation,” said Richard Crenian. The Western Canada native and president of Redev Properties Ltd isn’t alone in that opinion.
The Huffington Post recently stated that Western Canadian cities are leading economic growth. Vancouver may be the most well known but Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, and Saskatoon are also providing growth. The most economic growth is in Saskatoon. Their economy grew by 4.1 percent in 2012 and 5.2 percent in 2013. In comparison, Eastern cities Ottawa and Toronto grew by roughly 1 percent in these years.
Canadian commercial real estate growth has become concentrated among four cities: Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg made up 76.6 percent of the nation’s growth. There is a simple explanation for this. While most of the country is growing slightly or remaining level, these four cities have been prime expansion targets for oil and gas companies.
Calgary, much like Houston in the United States, has been synonymous with oil and gas, but oil and gas companies have identified area for growth there and in the entire region.
Commercial investment returns are high in these cities. Winnipeg commercial property returns are well above the national average. Retail property investments yield an annual return of 18.5 percent. Calgary is a close second at 17.2 percent. “This rate of return should interest even the casual investor and continue to propel Western Canada’s growth,” said Crenian.
U.S. retailers, including Target and more, are also looking to expand more in these economies. To meet demand, construction activity is on the rise.
“Calgary and Winnipeg, especially, are building at a rapid rate. Right now they are still not meeting demand but that could change. It will be important for each city to keep creating more demand in the region,” said Crenian. “That said, over the past three years commercial investment in Western Canada has proven to be one of the best investments going.”
Oil and Gas Magazine said it is “a safe haven for growth.”
Calgary is expected to add 1.7 million square feet of office space within the city limits. They are the hub and headquarters for many oil and gas companies in Canada.
New transportation projects in Edmonton are likely to increase real estate demand in Edmonton. A route that links Alberta with Fort McMurray will make Edmonton a prime location. Two large energy firms, ATCO and Enbridge, are already looking for downtown space.
Regina has allowed 48 percent more building permits in an effort to keep up with demand. Natural resources are abundant here and office space continues to be valued in Saskatchewan.
“The numbers show consistent growth. Both government and the business community are supporting large projects in the region. For at least the next two years, investors will be wise to consider Western Canada,” said Crenian.