Metro’s Q1 commercial real estate sales hit $2.7 billion

Multi-family sales led the pace, but the $103 million dollar sale of MEC’s former headquarters also kept Vancouver the No. 1 investment market in Canada

Former MEC headquarters in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats sold for $103 million | Photo: Crestpoint Real Estate Investments

Metro Vancouver commercial real estate sales through 2021’s first three months hit $2.7 billion, the highest level since 2018’s fourth quarter, reports the Altus Group.

The pace was led by a record total for apartment rental properties, but it was the $103 million sale of the former Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) head office that marked the high-water price for a single building.

According to Altus Group’s Investment Trends Survey for Q1 2021, Metro Vancouver remained the No. 1 investor-preferred market in Canada, ahead of Greater Toronto.

A record total of $738 million was invested in rental apartment assets in Q1 2021. That represents a 73% increase from Q1 2020 and is the highest performing quarter of multi-family investment in the Vancouver market area since Altus Group started tracking transaction data in 1999.

Approximately 40% of this overall number can be attributed to a single portfolio transaction, a total of 614 units across 15 buildings, which sold for a reported $292.5 million.

The portfolio was acquired by an InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust and Crestpoint Investments joint venture.

The MEC sale was Q1 2021’s largest Vancouver office transaction and accounted for 43% of first-quarter office property sales. The vacant 120,000-square-foot building is located at 1077 Great Northern Way in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats. It was bought by a joint venture between Low Tide Properties and PCI Group through a share sale transaction.

The industrial sector also continued its momentum into Q1 2021, as investors and owner/users contributed a total of $649 million, representing a 12% increase from Q1 2020.