Led by land sales and the multi-family rental sector, the total dollar value of commercial real estate transactions in the Lower Mainland soared to $2.15 billion in the first three months of 2020, a 37.2 per cent increase from the $1.57 billion recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019.
Sales and dollar values increased across most property types, but land and multi-family rental buildings combined accounted for more than half of the dollar volume.
There were 375 commercial real estate sales in Q1 2020, a 10.9 per cent increase from the 338 sales in Q1 2019, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
"The first quarter of 2020 came to a close just a few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic," said Colette Gerber, REBGV chair. "While sales and values increased in the first three months of the year, it's too early to assess how the commercial market has been affected by physical distancing rules and other changes that have been implemented due to COVID-19. We'll monitor this through the second quarter of the year."
Q1 2020 activity by category:
Land: There were 105 commercial land sales in Q1 2020, which is an 11.7 per cent increase from the 94 land sales in Q1 2019. The dollar value of land sales was $853 million in Q1 2020, a 15.8 per cent increase from $737 million in Q1 2019.
Multi-Family: There were 15 multi-family land sales in Q1 2020, which is up 87.5 per cent from eight sales in Q1 2019. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $626 million in Q1 2020, a startling 903.8 per cent increase from $62 million in the same period a year earlier.
Office and retail: There were 135 office and retail sales in Q1 2020, which is down 3.6 per cent from the 140 sales in Q1 2019. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $318 million in Q1 2020, a 14.9 per cent decrease from $373 million in Q1 2019.
Industrial: There were 120 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q1 2020, which is a 25 per cent increase from the 96 sales in Q1 2019. The dollar value of industrial sales was $359 million in Q1 2020, a 10.1 per cent decrease from $399 million in Q1 2019.
REBGV Commercial Edge real estate sales data is drawn from transactions in the Lower Mainland region of BC that have been registered with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia.