Canada’s Q1 downtown office vacancy rate rises to 14.3 per cent, 4th straight gain

Published April 6, 2021 at 9:30 pm

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CBRE says Canada’s downtown office vacancy rate increased for the fourth consecutive quarter to reach 14.3 per cent as more properties became available in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal in recent months.

The commercial real estate firm says the first-quarter downtown office vacancy rate was up from the 9.3 per cent seen in the same quarter of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic caused employers to issue work from home orders.

CBRE says Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver’s downtown office vacancy rates hit 10.6, 9.1 and 6.2 per cent respectively in the latest quarter, up from 6.4, 2 and 2.2 at the same time last year.

Edmonton and Halifax’s downtown office vacancy rates sat at roughly 19 per cent in the quarter, which was almost the same as the year prior.

While office vacancy continues to rise, CBRE says the trend is moderating and there are now fewer large blocks of sublet space available because businesses are beginning to envision a return to workplaces as Canada’s vaccine rollout continues.

CBRE says there was a net of 167,000 square metres (1.8 million sq. ft.) office space made available for sublease in the first quarter, down 44 per cent from the 306,000 square metres (3.3 million sq. ft.) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the 213 square metres (2.3 million sq. ft.) in the third quarter.

The Canadian Press

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