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Avison Young Montreal | 2008 Review and 2009 Forecast |

 

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2008 In Review

 

At the start of 2008, a strong Canadian dollar negatively impacted the province’s export industry. However, Montreal still posted positive economic growth of 1.7% for the year.2008 was a challenging year for the Montreal economy. The combination of a strong Canadian dollar for most of the year and the recent financial crisis in the United States negatively impacted the province’s export industry. Quebec’s economy is positioned in industrial sectors that are lagging or in a slump, such as the clothing, forestry, furniture and manufacturing industries. However, despite all this, Montreal still posted positive economic growth of 1.7% in 2008. Employment grew by 1.3% in the year and is anticipated to increase by another 1.5% in 2009. Consumer spending remained high and has contributed tremendously to economic growth.

 

Office

Engineering firms, many of whom are expanding to support major infrastructure projects in the province, spurred demand for office space. Downtown office vacancy closed the year at 5.4%, a significant drop from 6.2% at the end of 2007 and 9% at the end of 2006. The decrease in vacancyrates in the downtown market was accompanied by only a slight increase in rental rates. The suburban office vacancy rate has remained stable over the past four years, and closed the year at 13.1%. In 2008, 400,000 square feet (sq. ft.) of space was absorbed in the market, significantly lower than the 2007 absorption of 1.37 million sq. ft. Absorption of office space has been modest due to lack of quality space. Certainly, what is left of quality office space in downtown Montreal is quickly being absorbed, and options for tenants are becoming increasingly limited.

 

Industrial

Montreal’s manufacturing sector has been strongly affected by the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar. As a result, the industrial market has moved away from manufacturing to logistics and distribution type industries that drove demand for industrial space in Montreal. These types of companies require smaller spaces with greater clear heights. Consequently, vacancy rates increased for large spaces of 100,000 sq. ft. and more, whereas spaces between 15,000 and 25,000 sq. ft. became increasingly more difficult to find. Buildings with clear heights of 24 feet are in great demand and have an extremely low vacancy rate of approximately 1%. The rental rates for these buildings have therefore increased. Limited availability of appropriate space motivated tenants to construct built–to-suit projects that provide the amenities they require. Many of the older, more obsolete buildings are being demolished or completely renovated by developers.

 

Retail

Substantial consumer demand in Montreal created an active retail market in 2008, and retail sales rose by 5.5% in the year. In the downtown core’s central area, rental rates have quadrupled and vacancies are nonexistent. Rental rates closed the year at between $200 to $215 psf at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Peel Streets. Newcomers to Ste-Catherine Street include Apple Computer’s first Montreal retail location at 1321 Ste-Catherine Street West and H&M at the corner of Peel Street, with 20,000 sq. ft.

 

Investment

The financial crisis in the United States has softened the investment market in Montreal. Assets offered for sale require a longer exposure period. Investors using financial leverage as the basis for investment are having trouble completing acquisitions, thus diminishing the occurrence of successful

transactions. As a result capitalization rates increased by approximately 25 basis points this year. Despite this, many successful transactions were completed earlier in 2008. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. invested approximately $100 million to acquire a 50% interest in 1981 McGill College, together with a major financial partner that acquired the remaining 50%. Cominar REIT acquired 2001 McGill College for $165 million. Canderel and Proment sold the first Phase of the Bell Campus for $185 million to a German real estate investment fund.

 

 

2009 Forecast

 

Office

Montreal is the only city in Canada with no significant downtown office construction projects. Until recently, large tenants have been able to find suitable alternatives that were much less expensive than proposed new projects. However, as vacancy rates continue to plunge, the availability of quality space will become even more limited. Tenants will soon have no choice but to consider one of the new construction projects. Expect to see the beginning of one or two office construction projects in 2009. Potential office developments include Canderel’s development of 1201-1215 Phillips Square, Hines’ development of 900 de Maisonneuve, Magil Laurentienne’s office or mixed-use building at 701 University and Westcliff’s development of Phase 2 of Place de la Cité Internationale. Quebec’s 2008 budget aimed to stimulate business investment by eliminating tax on capital for manufacturers and by offering a tax credit for the purchase of manufacturing equipment and a tax credit for new information technology companies. Accordingly, the Province of Quebec agreed to provide investment banking giant Morgan Stanley with $60 million in tax credits for opening a new global technical support centre in Montreal. Morgan Stanley is currently searching for office space in anticipation of bringing staff levels to 500 or more. Phase 1 of the new Bell campus on Nun’s Island was officially opened in August of this year. Phase 2 is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in February 2009. It will comprise 235,000 sq. ft. of office space and amenities, bringing the total to 840,000 sq. ft. A third phase is also planned, thus bringing the campus total to approximately 1.4 million sq. ft. The downtown core office market has absorbed a large percentage of the space formerly occupied by Bell.

 

Retail

In 2009, Canadians will likely be faced with weakening job prospects, tighter credit conditions and economic uncertainty, thus leading to moderated consumer spending. Retail sales are expected to grow by only 3.5% in 2009, as opposed to the 5.5% growth seen in 2008. Demand for space on Ste-Catherine Street will slow dramatically in 2009. As a result, retail vacancy rates are anticipated to increase and if retail sales continue to lag, we expect to see some retailers walking away from stores that do not perform. This will give tenants the upper hand in lease negotiations.

 

Industrial

The diminishing strength of the Canadian dollar will benefit the export industry in 2009. Demand for industrial space will likely come from the logistics, distribution and aerospace industries. We anticipate the overall vacancy rate to increase, as more space comes to market and older buildings that lack required ceiling heights remain empty. However, the vacancy rate for smaller buildings with adequate clear heights will remain low. Rental rates for the older, more obsolete buildings will decrease and rates for newer, smaller spaces with adequate ceiling heights will remain flat. Industrial construction activity will continue to slow in 2009 as a result of financing difficulties coupled with high land and construction costs. However, industrial growth will continue off the island of Montreal due to lower land costs and higher availability.

 

Investment

Banks have tightened credit significantly and consequently, financing is more difficult to obtain. Borrowers that lack liquidity will likely have difficulty acquiring assets. This, however, will leave the door open for REITs and international investors with capital at their disposal. In 2009, we anticipate a general slowdown in the investment market. The majority of investment sales deals in 2009 will be concentrated on a few portfolio deals; mostly smaller transactions involving retail and warehouse properties. Prices for commercial real estate product will likely decrease and cap rates will increase by 50 to 100 basis points.

 

http://www.avisonyoung.com/library/pdf/National/forecast2009.pdf

 

Également présent dans la section "Ressources".

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Ce sera pas une première apparemment:

- Aldred building: construction 1929-1931 pendant la grande dépression

- Complexe Desjardins: construction 1973-76 pendant la crise du pétrole des années 70

- 1501 McGill College, tour IBM et 1000 de la Gauchetière : construction 1991-92 pendant la récession des années 90

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Ce que je retiens de cet article...

 

1-

Montreal is the only city in Canada with no significant downtown office construction projects.

 

2-

Until recently, large tenants have been able to find suitable alternatives that were much less expensive than proposed new projects. However, as vacancy rates continue to plunge, the availability of quality space will become even more limited. Tenants will soon have no choice but to consider one of the new construction projects. Expect to see the beginning of one or two office construction projects in 2009.

 

Bonne nouvelle, mais ils prennent pour acquis que le marché va continuer a se resserrer...ce qui n'est pas garantit! En tout cas, je le souhaite de voir une ou deux tour monter dans le skyline!

 

3-

The downtown core office market has absorbed a large percentage of the space formerly occupied by Bell.

 

des 800,000p² que Bell a laissé et va laisser bientôt au centre-ville, une bonne partie de ces espaces ont déjà été sous loués ou loué a de nouveaux locataires...ce sont des bonnes nouvelles!

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De plus :

 

According to this week Les Affaires, Desjardins is pondering the idea of regrouping some or all of its Montreal's workforce (4,600 employees at Complexe and 2.400 in six other buildings) into one building. Depending how extensive the operation will be, space needs will be between 110,000 to 1,000,000 sq. ft.

 

Il ne faut pas oublier que nous allons avoir des nouvelles sous peu sûr la consolidation d`espace prévue chez Desjardins.

 

Comme ils sont partenaire dans le 701 University, je fonde de l`espoir qu`ils puissent faire démarrer eux-même le projet.

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