Ottawa real estate sales up 155%

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Local commercial real estate investment transactions increased by 155 per cent in the first half of 2012 compared with last year, according to numbers released Tuesday by CBRE Group Inc.

Ottawa had 128 deals in 2012 worth $995 million compared with 80 deals in 2011 worth $389 million.

The capital's sales volume positions it in the upper tier of Canadian cities tracked by the commercial real estate services firm. Only Waterloo surpassed Ottawa's relative jump, at 254 per cent. Close behind was Calgary, at 123 per cent.

Across Canada, the commercial real estate market had transactions of $13.9 billion, up more than 23 per cent over the first half of 2011.

"We have active investors, active lenders and very solid leasing fundamentals that have gone on to produce one of the strongest markets I've ever seen in my career," stated John O’Bryan, vice-chair of CBRE Ltd.

"Equally impressive is the depth and breadth of market activity in every region of the country and is highlighted by every investor type eager to buy if they can."

While CBRE said investors are concerned about the ongoing difficult financial situation in Europe, the firm stated they are happy to invest in Canadian real estate for the time being.

The closing of Manulife Financial's $165.4-million purchase of the new Export Development Canada headquarters at 150 Slater St. was the eighth-largest transaction tracked across the country in the first half of 2012. Leading the list was the sale of Scotia Plaza in Toronto for $1.28 billion.