Calgary leads rebound in office market, led by jobs: CBRE

The overall national office vacancy rate was down for a fifth consecutive quarter to 8.6% from 9.3% last quarter and 10.1% a year ago.

"Although there continues to be uncertainty globally, we have seen steady improvement in most markets in Canada, with employment rates and GDP numbers improving," said CBRE Vice Chairman John O'Bryan. "More and more, it is hiring intentions that are driving the demand for office space, which highlights the confidence that companies have in the Canadian economy."

The most impressive recovery has been in Calgary, which has seen its vacancy rate slashed to 9.4% from 15.7% a year ago. O'Bryan said that such an improvement is "absolutely staggering," and the fastest recovery pace ever.

But the improvement is being seen elsewhere and in other sectors.

  • In Vancouver, the office vacancy rate dropped from 10.1% a year ago to 8.7% in the second quarter of this year.
  • Montreal dropped from 10.8% to 8.9% over that same period,
  • and Toronto was down from 9.6% to 8.2%.

There were some exceptions, however, such as

  • Ottawa, which was up from 5.3% to 6.8%,
  • and from 5.2% to 7.3% in Waterloo.

But the overall national picture shows a lot of confidence, and the results are just starting to show.

"The healthy performance of the real estate market in the first half of 2011 is reflective of the growing optimism across the country," O'Bryan said. "Confidence is building and more and more landlords, who are being emboldened by the strengthening market fundamentals, are expected to push development plans forward as the year progresses, making for an interesting second half of 2011."

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