Montreal Poised for Best Quarter of Office Building Sales Since Pre-Pandemic
November 10, 2021
Q3 office investment volumes projected to hit $614 million, signaling renewed market momentum
Investors were not waiting for the Province of Quebec to lift COVID restrictions on office work. As exemplified by last week’s sale of Tour KPMG, a 33-storey, Class-AA building in downtown Montreal, they have been snapping up office properties in anticipation of a strong return to the office, and Montreal is on track to have its best quarter for office building sales since before the pandemic.
CBRE projects third quarter investment volumes in office product to exceed $614 million, compared with $136 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The last time office building investment volumes were this high was in the first quarter of 2020, when they hit a near-record $760 million.
The momentum in the Montreal office investment market – with third quarter trading volumes exceeding those of both the industrial and retail sectors – reflects the high demand for quality office product among domestic and international investors, and it underscores the attractiveness of Montreal office assets as the city emerges from the pandemic.
“While all eyes remain on the planned sale of RBC Plaza in Toronto, Montreal office transactions offer early indications of a resurgence in the office real estate sector,” said Scott Speirs, Executive Vice President and Montreal lead for CBRE’s National Investment Team.
Recent transactions produced some of the most robust pricing in years. The Montreal office sector is contributing to what is shaping up to be an unprecedented year for Canadian commercial real estate transactions, with the full-year investment total forecast at $50 billion across all asset classes, including office. This would be the largest annual investment total ever, surpassing the record set in 2018.
Recent office investment transactions in Montreal brokered by CBRE include:
- The just-closed sale of Tour KPMG, one of Montreal’s premiere CBD office towers, with an outstanding roster of tenants and transit connectivity; sold on behalf of BentallGreenOak to Petra and Group Mach.
- Allied Properties REIT’s July 2021 purchase of the office component of Jesta Group’s million-square-foot Place Gare Viger redevelopment in Montreal. The $250 million deal includes the 123-year-old Gare Viger and a new office tower to be anchored by pharmaceutical group Novartis, as well as adjacent developable land.
- LaSalle Canada Property Fund’s September 2021 acquisition of a 50% stake in the Ivanhoé Cambridge – Maison Manuvie office tower. The buyer said the deal was aimed at increasing LaSalle’s exposure to Canada’s second-largest market via Montreal’s marquee office asset.
- Technopark Office Portfolio. Two Class A suburban office buildings across from the new LRT in St-Laurent; sold on behalf of Broccolini to BTB REIT.
- CBRE is also currently working on the sale of 3 separate downtown office buildings that are projected to close by year end and Q1 2022.
“The resurgence of office investment activity is underpinned by long-term conviction in the asset class, along with surging demand from investors to place capital in real estate and specifically to increase their allocations to the Montreal market.” said Speirs. “It’s going to be a great finish to the year, and we are eagerly anticipating what lies ahead in 2022 as commercial real estate in Quebec continues to gain momentum.”
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