As of Q3 2017, office vacancies in downtown Edmonton have experienced a minor rise since last year (up to 17.7%), while the suburbs saw a slight decrease (down to also 17.7%) in the same time frame.
Together, these developments pointed at overall positive prospects for the local economy, according to Colliers International director of Canadian market intelligence Craig Hennigar.
“I think it’s probably pretty good news,” Hennigar said, as quoted by the Edmonton Journal. “Really, there isn’t much change downtown, but my takeaway is we’re past the majority of any hiccups caused by the oil price decline … It’s hard to see you have been through the valley until you look back and see you’re starting to rise again.”
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Hennigar emphasized that more work space is a boon for companies looking to expand. This is especially pertinent to Edmonton, which has been predicted by the Conference Board of Canada to add up to 17,600 office jobs by 2021, the strongest performance among the six major Canadian cities studied.
“Having a bit of vacancy isn’t a bad thing. It allows companies … a bit of flexibility in planning for growth,” Hennigar stated.
Moreover, the commercial and industrial segments will benefit from Vancouver’s plans to expand its capacity to handle container ships, which would boost business at the inland ports in Edmonton and Calgary, Hennigar explained.
“There’s all these stories in Alberta that things are bad. I think at this point most of the bad is behind us and we’re into growth.”
Edmonton’s market fared far better than Calgary’s, where downtown vacancies rose to 27% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter. Net rents dropped to $12 per square foot, compared to $18.10 in Alberta’s capital.
Commercial activity in major markets mostly positive
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