Ottawa real estate investment market expected to hit five-year high

Constitution Square

Following the strongest quarter for commercial real estate investments in a decade, local market watchers say they expect 2017 to be a banner year for the industry.

More than $1.6 billion worth of commercial assets have already changed hands this year, including $967.3 million in the third quarter alone, according to CBRE Ottawa, which added that investment levels are poised to reach the highest level in five years.

In 2012, sales reached $2.2 billion.

September’s purchase of the Constitution Square downtown office complex by Greystone, Canstone and Canderel for a “staggering” $480.6 million – the single-largest real estate transaction in Ottawa's history by dollar value – was a big part of the third-quarter story, but CBRE said there are other factors at play.

“The overall pace of the (commercial real estate) market has changed dramatically over the past year, considering the number of core assets that have traded recently, the amount of product currently on the market and the continued compression of cap rates that has pushed asset prices to new highs,” the firm said in its third-quarter market report.

In addition to Constitution Square, other notable third-quarter sales include Crestpoint's acquisition of two new design-builds completed for the expansion of Ciena Canada's new headquarters as well as the $1.7-billion national portfolio sale by Dream Office REIT to KingSett Capital. That included four downtown Ottawa office properties valued at $122.2 million, according to CBRE: 219 Laurier Ave. W., 400 Cumberland St., 360 Laurier Ave. W. and 130 Slater St.