GTA Industrial Is Sizzling. Will It Stay Hot?
The sign says it all. Cushman & Wakefield's national research director Stuart Barron is bullish on industrial. He notes 9.1M SF of industrial space was absorbed in the GTA last year, the most robust leasing seen since before the financial crisis (nationwide, 17.8M SF of industrial was absorbed in 2015, up from 10.6M SF in 2014). “There’s really been a dramatic acceleration in industrial activity,” Stuart tells us, noting much of it's being driven by demand for e-commerce-related warehouse and distribution space amid “expansionary” economic momentum in the US.
Amazon, which already had a 1.5M SF industrial footprint in the GTA, leased 868k SF of distribution space at 8050 Heritage Rd in Brampton. And IKEA Canada, building up its e-commerce operations, opened a 400k SF distribution facility at 3275 Argentia Rd, above. Stuart says growth of third-party logistics organizations has been altering the industrial landscape, highlighted by Exel Logistics taking 420k SF at 100 Ironside Dr in Brampton (below) and Sherway Logistics' deal for 394k SF at 6757 Northwest Dr in Mississauga.
Last year's 9.1M SF of absorption was a big deal for GTA industrial, says Stuart, noting for the five years ending December 2014 the region averaged just 2.8M SF. But 2015 was not a record year—historically, a hot GTA industrial market would be in the 12M to 14M SF range. That said, the GTA recorded 3.1M SF of absorption in Q1 2016 alone, so technically it's on pace for a 12M SF year. “But it really can’t continue,” Stuart says, noting a lack of industrial product in the GTA, where Q1 vacancy plunged to 3.5%, the lowest level in 30-plus years. “You can’t lease what’s not available.”