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A 'Banner Year' For Foreign Investment In Canadian CRE

CBRE Canada Capital Markets president Peter Senst.

Foreign investment in Canadian commercial real estate totalled $5.6B last year, accounting for 27% of all deals over $10M, according to a new report from CBRE. “Canada is about as safe a bet as there is on a global scale,” said CBRE Canada Capital Markets president Peter Senst, and CRE assets here provide investors near-record high spreads over government bonds. This is driving insatiable demand for top-quality Canadian assets, and record transactions in number and prices achieved. Iconic assets have been changing hands, notably Vancouver’s Bentall Centre (below), acquired by Anbang Insurance.

Bentall Centre in Vancouver

Senst said 2016 was a banner year for foreign investment in Canada, with Chinese capital behind a number of blockbuster deals, including the sale of 215 Lake Shore Blvd. E to Greenland Group. China and Hong Kong emerged as big players, representing 71% of foreign investment nationally. Bluesky Hotels, backed by Hong Kong capital, bought InnVest REIT and its portfolio of 109 hotels nationwide. Vancouver attracted the most foreign capital ($2.3B in acquisitions of assets over $10M), besting Toronto ($1.3B) by a wide margin. Both are emerging as gateway cities for global investors, “and we expect this demand to continue into 2017,” Senst said.