Downtown Ottawa office vacancy rate sinks to five-year low

Downtown Ottawa

The availability rate of office space in the city’s central business district has dipped below eight per cent for the first time since 2013 as both government and private-sector tenants look to snap up more space in the core, Colliers International says.

The real estate services firm recently reported that Ottawa’s downtown availability rate dropped to 7.7 per cent at the end of the second quarter, down from 8.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Colliers says space in class-A and class-B buildings is being leased at “rapid rates.”

“Ottawa’s availability has seen a steady decrease ... and shows no signs of slowing as the city anticipates the completion of the Confederation Line light rail transit system,” the firm says in its latest market report.

As the market tightens, some private-sector tenants are exploring workspace inside buildings traditionally occupied by the federal government, Colliers says.

Outside the core, leasing activity in Kanata remains “healthy” thanks to the ongoing strength of the local high-tech sector, although landlords brought several large blocks of space to the market that pushed the availability rate up to 14 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

One submarket to watch in the coming quarters is Ottawa’s south end, where Colliers says several of the construction consortiums looking to bid of the city’s light-rail expansion are seeking space.