TORONTO, April 7th, 2015 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that TREB Commercial Network Members reported 5,776,322 square feet of leased industrial, commercial/retail and office space during the first quarter of 2015. This result represented a substantial 28.2 per cent year-over-year increase in space leased, which was driven by a 33.4 per cent increase in leased industrial space. The industrial segment accounted for 78 per cent of total space leased.
The average first quarter industrial lease rate for properties leased on a per square foot net basis with pricing disclosed was $5.39. This result was up by 4.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2014. The average commercial/retail lease rate was down over the same period by 4.9 per cent to $19.46. The average office lease rate was up by 2.8 per cent to $12.64.
“The economic situation in Canada remained uncertain through the first quarter of 2015, but the consensus view is that economic growth during the past three months was subdued. However, against this backdrop, the industrial leasing news for the Greater Toronto Area was certainly a positive. The fact that industrial firms were taking on more space adds credence to the argument that Ontario, including the GTA, may be one of the key beneficiaries of the lower Canadian dollar. Many of these firms may have experienced an actual increase in sales or are anticipating increases moving forward,” said Mr. Etherington.
Total sales in the first quarter were down by 28.9 per cent year-over-year to 187 from 263 transactions reported in 2014. Declines in the number of deals were noted across all three major market segments. While the number of transactions was down, average selling prices on a per square foot basis (where pricing was disclosed) were up for industrial and office properties, and down for commercial/retail properties.
“As we move through the spring, we should have a better indication of how Canadian economic conditions will unfold and ultimately effect commercial real estate markets in the GTA. It is quite possible that we will see some period-to-period volatility in leasing and sales figures, but it would appear that the GTA economy and commercial real estate market is comparatively well-positioned within Canada,” continued Mr. Etherington.