Pandemic-induced trends emerge in the commercial real estate market in the third quarter of 2020

January 22, 2021

In a period where the COVID-19 pandemic constrained economic activity and caused businesses to limit in-person operations, the Lower Mainland’s commercial real estate market saw overall declines in demand.

There were 387 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, an 8.9 per cent decrease over the 425 sales in Q3 2019, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The total dollar value of commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland was $2.628 billion in Q3 2020, a 31.7 per cent increase from $1.995 billion in Q3 2019.

“Businesses across all sectors have been adapting their operations during this pandemic. With the intensive move to a remote workforce, demand for commercial space declined in the third quarter of 2020,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “To understand COVID-19’s lasting impact on the commercial real estate market, we’ll need more time and data. Pandemic aside, we continue to have a diverse economy with broad needs for industrial, retail, office, multi-family and other properties to support business activity and job growth in the region.”

Land: There were 93 commercial land sales in Q3 2020, which is a 20.5 per cent decrease from the 117 land sales in Q3 2019. The dollar value of land sales was $1.732 billion in Q3 2020, a 106.6 per cent increase from $838 million in Q3 2019.

Office and Retail: There were 165 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2020, which is down 1.8 per cent from the 168 sales in Q3 2019. The dollar value of office and retail sales was $342 million in Q3 2020, a 26.1 per cent decrease from $463 million in Q3 2019.

Industrial: There were 108 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2020, which is a 12.2 per cent decrease from the 123 sales in Q3 2019. The dollar value of industrial sales was $257 million in Q3 2020, a 37.6 per cent decrease from $412 million in Q3 2019.

Multi-Family: There were 21 multi-family land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2020, which is up 23.5 per cent from 17 sales in Q3 2019. The dollar value of multi-family sales was $296 million in Q3 2020, a 4.9 per cent increase from $282 million in Q3 2019.

Download the Q3 2020 Commercial Stats Package.