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Canadian Commercial Real Estate

Mar 1

Most Stable Form of Commercial Real Estate

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Commercial Real Estate - Most Stable Industries

Commercial real estate covers varied sectors such as apartment buildings, offices, industrial spaces, and retail outlets. Certain areas perform better than others in an economic downturn. Which commercial sector will be the most stable during a recession?


Health-care real estate will do better than other commercial sectors because the field involves a necessity. Health-care will attract consumers - regardless of the economy. An individual might wait to make a large purchase or take a trip until the economy improves but people will not put off health care until after a  recession.

Unfortunately though, the sad reality is that people have delayed a trip to the doctor because they do not have the proper insurance. The Obama overhaul of health care, however, is expanding the availability of health insurance. As a general rule though, consumers have (and will continue to) seek immediate help for serious health issues.


A similar necessity drives office real estate more than the hospitality industry in economic turmoil. Business owners might cut back on corporate trips during a recession but, most likely, entrepreneurs will hold on to their offices. Hotel REITs might not perform as well as other categories. Yet health-care REITs can move upward during poor economic times. Jeff Theiler, an analyst at Green Street Advisors, a REIT research firm based in Newport Beach, California, said that health-care REITs made the most acquisitions in the industry last year.

Health-Care Acquisitions

Ventas Inc., the largest U.S. owner of senior housing and assisted-living facilities, has agreed to acquire its rival, Nationwide Health Properties Inc., for $5.8 billion – the latest and largest biggest deal in a string of acquisitions by publicly traded health-care, real-estate companies in recent times. After this acquisition closes in the third period, Ventas Inc. will own 1,311 properties in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces. Their property breaks down into the following categories – senior housing (643), skilled nursing (379), medical facilities (234), hospitals (47), and other (8).


Consumers might wonder where Nationwide Health Properties Inc. made its mistake. After all, if health-care real estate is viable, why didn't this company survive the commercial crisis? Theiler believes that Nationwide did mot market as aggressively as other health-care companies. For example, Ventas has been active in the market. In October, 2010, Ventas acquired the assets of Atria Senior Living. In December, the company made a $6 billion HCP purchase.

Rising Demand

With more people accessing health insurance, the evolving trend towards outpatient facilities, and an aging population, there will be a growing demand for medical-office space.

Other Players

Of course, Ventas Inc. is not the only entity interested in health-care acquisitions. During 2010, health-care companies acquired $11.7 billion in medical-office and senior-living facilities. Following the February 28 announcement by Ventas, Health Care REIT Inc. agreed to acquire almost all of the real-estate assets of Genesis HealthCare, a privately held company based in Kennett Square, Pa., for $2.4 billion. Health-care REITs are not standing on the sidelines because they recognize the market potential of health-care real estate.

Demand for Senior Care Spurs Deals

Do You Expect A Continued High Demand For Health-Care Real Estate?

Image courtesy of hamiltonhospital.org

Real Estate Predictions

Most likely, the majority of real estate predictions fall somewhere in the middle - based on more than a crystal ball and less than empirical research. Maybe there might be one or two people who put predictions out there without any thought. Yet most real estate predictions are the result of studying trends and statistics.

Accurate Predictions

Apparently, a few of these predictions can have a high accuracy rate. For example, the Globe and Mail has tallied the score for predictions made by Neil Downey, RBC Dominion Securities analyst. Downey offered five predictions for 2011. Before the end of January, three predictions have become reality.

The Globe and Mail's story is titled – "The real-estate crystal ball." Probably, careful observations are responsible for these impressive results. No crystal ball here; maybe though a little luck, too!

Which Correct Predictions Did The Analyst Make About Canadian Real Estate?

  • Richard Baker, the New York investor who bought Hudson's Bay Company, is ready to close a $2-billion deal bringing Target Corp. into Canada.
  • RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is looking for funding of its acquisition plan as well as refinancing for outstanding debt. Recently, REIT hit the market with rate reset preferred shares and senior unsecured debt.
  • Canada's commercial mortgage-backed securities market is making a rebound. Two major real estate companies are tapping the market for $206 million – the first deal of this type since 2007. 

As well, Downey predicted more TSX-listed REITs at the end of 2011 than the beginning and less equity raising activity. The Globe and Mail is waiting to see if these two predictions will come to light.

Core Predictions

Real estate predictions are a serious business. The real estate industry is at the core of an economy. Home buyers account for a huge percentage of economic activity. Commercial real estate involves three main categories - retail (stores, malls), industrial (factories, warehouses), and commercial (offices, multi-dwelling buildings).

Real estate transactions are handled by brokers and agents. Certain agents offer property management services to businesses. When entrepreneurs are doing well, real estate transactions experience an increase. In a poor economy, realtors help businesses to find the best location and affordable facilities.

Empirical Research

Empirical research (such as Plotkin 2002) has been conducted about the role of real estate in an economy. The "first major empirical nonfinancial ratio business success versus failure prediction model" was applied to the real estate industry in New England. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a nonfinancial model that would predict real estate business success or failure using the Lussier (1995) prediction model.

'Lussier' was selected for the study because it had been published in more journals than any other model. The study suggested that similar methodology be used to conduct studies in other parts of the US as well as in other countries. Real science here – far more than a crystal ball!

A Success Versus Failure Prediction Model for the Real Estate Industry

How Have You Arrived At Your Real Estate Predictions?

Image courtesy of adrworks.com



Jan 1

Real Estate Levels 2011

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real estate value predictions for 2011

Home buyers and sellers, as well as investors, are trying to figure out the future of real estate in the coming year. Depending on their position, interested parties are exploring different areas of real estate. Individuals and organizations focus on everything from property value levels to interest rates to REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) debt levels.

Commercial Real Estate

Real-estate fund managers have expressed confidence in the future of commercial real estate. According to portfolio managers, recovery is underway in the current market. The improvement is spurred on by low interest rates, favorable cash flows, and increased demand.

This group analyzes national and regional trends. Using this data, they decide on the most promising property sections and regions. Sectors such as apartments with short leases suffered in the economic downturn but they are expected to rebound in this recovery stage. As corporate travelers return to the road, hotels are attracting the attention of investors.

REIT Debt Level

With regards to REITs, industry experts pay attention to debt level compared to their earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation, and amortization.

Up, Up And Away

UK Business Property

In 2011, UK business property is also expected to be supported by low interest rates. Industry leaders believe that the Bank of England will not change the base rate until later in the year. On December 9th, the Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain current levels.

Business property boosted by low interest rates in 2011?

Residential Property Value Levels

During 2011, home owners (and potential buyers) will be keeping an eye to property value levels. Within the past week, home owners in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, were told about a slight increase in their property value assessments. During 2010, B.C. Assessment had frozen property values at 2007/2008 levels.

Of course, home owners are concerned about higher taxes associated with increased assessments. According to Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, the increase in property values, however, may not result in a significant tax increase. Muir points out the positive aspect of higher property value assessments in a region.

"The increase would reflect stronger economic conditions and a healthier real estate market," said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, representing 12 real estate boards and almost 18,000 Realtors.

Residential housing sales in British Columbia should rise slightly in 2011. The province's economy is showing improvement with more employment and a larger population. Metro Vancouver is one popular area where home buyers can find affordable houses. Most likely, property prices will continue to rise in the coming year. Yet Metro Vancouver is still expected to be popular with home buyers especially with first-timers.

Greater Victoria property values buoyed by economic recovery

Will The Real Estate Market Level Out In 2011?

If people have an interest in real estate on any level, they should track market statistics. At present, the industry is experiencing a recovery. Yet there will be continued speculation about whether the market will level out or climb to new heights. Real estate predictions – even on a local scale - are not an exact science. A regional market can be affected by varied factors including external influences.

What Are Your Predictions For The Real Estate Market In 2011?

Image courtesy of agentgenius.com

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