Friday, April 8, 2011

The Evolution Of The Canadian Mall & What It Means For Investors

Our shopping habits may have changed a lot in some ways since the construction of the first covered Canadian shopping mall in 1950. Though in many ways they have stayed the same, and so has the way people enjoy shopping.

While the first monster sized shopping mall, Park Royal in West Vancouver, has certainly had its successes, not everyone wants to have to go to a large mall every time they need something. More and more shopping centres are being converted, or are developing plans to be converted, into large, mixed use, luxurious malls, though many Canadians say they love their local shopping centres just the way they are. People still prefer buying from faces they recognize and who know their names, and perhaps more importantly, don’t want to have to take 15 minutes to park and then walk equally as long to get to a single store they want to visit. They like the small local shopping centre feel. Some citizens are even very actively protesting against this new breed of mall.

Likes and dislikes are one thing, and no matter what you do, and how well you do it, there will always be critics. But the real question is, what does this trend means for investors? Of course brand new super malls demand higher rents and can accommodate more tenants, however this doesn’t always mean higher profits, and certainly means waiting longer for significant returns. For those investing in shopping malls, major renovations can mean having to pay out big figures to tenants and extended periods without income. Plus those projects that include residential units don’t always provide the best possible use of the available square footage.

For those looking into commercial real estate investment through shopping centres and who are seeking immediate income along with larger lump sum profits down the road, it is often best to put your money into existing small and medium shopping malls that already offer established tenants and rents. Should you really desire to do some type of renovation to boost your equity you will often find that the best returns are to be had from simple extensions to parking, improved signage and basic cosmetic updates to the fascia.

What about those who say that ‘malls are dead’, and that the Internet is the future of shopping? Studies show that while consumers are certainly doing a lot of research and window shopping online they are still choosing to head to the local shopping centre to execute their purchases for the most part. So there is no need for the Internet to mean doom for smaller retailers or franchises. In fact they are often best served by sticking with affordable rents in smaller shopping malls and focusing a good portion of their marketing budget on Internet and mobile marketing that drives traffic in their physical doors.

Want to learn more about how commercial real estate, or get information on some of the great deals that are available? Contact Howard Manley of Redev Properties today by phone at 1-866-668-7344 or via email at

Thank you for reading,

Richard Crenian

Canada Ranks 7th In Global Commercial Real Estate Investment Study

The recently released report, the ‘International Investment Atlas Summary 2010’ from Cushman & Wakefield places Canada seventh in global investment in commercial real estate. Even better, this report shows that commercial real estate investment volume is up 150% over the previous year!

The other leaders in this study included:

1. China

2. USA

3. UK

4. Germany

5. Japan

6. Hong Kong

While China is certainly huge and attracted about $200 billion in commercial investment, it obviously has it’s own complexities when it comes to investing for the average individual. Plus, government manipulation of the market and the threat of sweeping changes at any moment are always scary. Obviously the US made it on the list from sheer size, not because of performance which continues to weaken. While similarly the UK, especially London, an old favourite, finds its way on the list due to the incredibly high prices, even though it is also still battling the credit crunch in a big way. Germany may have seen impressive economic growth recently, but it is not the easiest of countries for foreign investors to try to invest in, and definitely presents a number of challenges including the high cost of entry. Then there is Japan which is going to be a seriously scary place for anyone to put their money for a long time due to the recent tsunami.

The report further praised Canada for having one of the most stable banking sectors in the world, and pointed out the improvements in employment figures and the stabilization of commercial rents. In fact they did not go far enough to recognize that cities like Calgary are currently sitting on an almost zero vacancy rate in the retail sector.

What does this all mean for Canadians who are looking for the best place to invest their money? Clearly for many reasons Canadians are much better off keeping their money at home these days, and will also see their investments further boosted by outside attention from foreigners looking to capitalize on the country’s strength and growth.

Commercial real estate investment is a fantastic choice for those looking for an income investment and equity growth in a vehicle that provides great security and solid returns. While every commercial property and area is slightly different, recent official reports have put the average returns for commercial real estate investors as high at 11-15.7% in places like Vancouver and Calgary.

The retail sector in the Western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan in particular, offer many great opportunities for the individual investor looking for a safe and secure place to put their money to work for them, while realizing above average returns. This has led many of the most savvy investors to start picking up more and more retail properties, such as local shopping malls and plazas.

Want to learn more about how commercial real estate, or get information on some of the great deals that are available? Contact Howard Manley of Redev Properties today by phone at 1-866-668-7344 or via email at

Thank you for reading,

Richard Crenian

Best Canadian Cities For Commercial Real Estate Investment


Calgary is perhaps the most buoyant and brightest commercial real estate market in the country with retail sales already seeing the second highest growth rate in Canada, and predicted to soon become number one. This is a pole position expected to be held until at least 2015 with many retailers choosing Calgary as the location for their first and second Canadian store openings. In fact this jewel in Alberta’s commercial real estate crown already boasts a vacancy rate of just 2.4% with some areas as low as 1.7 percent!


Commercial real estate investment in Vancouver has rebounded at an amazing rate. British Columbia saw a 58% surge in dollar volume last year alone, with Vancouver making up a good portion of that figure. While aggressive growth is expected to continue during the next 5 years, investment returns are also staying high. At second place for the entire country average commercial investment, returns here averaged an appetizing 13.7%. Each of the 4 major sectors of the commercial property market performed well, but retail remained in the lead for a 2nd year running, with returns at an incredible rate of 15.6%.


While perhaps not in the headlines as often as some of the bigger metropolitan cities, Edmonton is still a thriving location with excellent business opportunities and a great place to live. In comparison to Calgary, you will find commercial real estate prices more affordable, yet still providing healthy returns. The city’s appealing lifestyle will continue to attract more residents and businesses during the coming years, providing excellent growth for investors. What to invest in? As the home to Canada’s 1st mall, the Westmount Centre, and the largest mall in North America, the West Edmonton Mall, you can be sure shopping is big business here: and retail outlets offers many opportunities.


Nicknamed the ‘Sunniest Capital City in Canada’, Regina, in the western province of Saskatchewan, is an important economic hub and a highly desired location for both business and Canadians looking for a sunnier place to live. Real estate here is known for being very affordable, and as the country rebounds, it is certain there will be plenty of profits to be had, especially for those investing in shopping malls, and those who benefit greatly from the big tourist influx.


Victoria felt much less of the effects of the global economic crises than other cities in BC, and has always been considered to be more stable. This commercial property market has continued to see a great upward trend since the second half of 2009, with retailers exceeding expectations, which has led many local businesses to launch plans for expansion including a number of car dealers announcing multimillion dollar construction projects.

Want to learn more about how commercial real estate, or get information on some of the great deals that are available? Contact Howard Manley of Redev Properties today by phone at 1-866-668-7344 or via email at

Thank you for reading,

Richard Crenian