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Are multi-family properties recession-proof?

by Jennifer Paterson | Canadian Real Estate Wealth | March 11, 2015

A new report showed that rental vacancy rates for the Canadian multi-family market remained stable in 2014 while the same is expected through 2015, and that sale price per door has increased five per cent nationally.

“We call multi-family, to a certain extent, recession proof,” said Oliver Tighe, Ottawa-based director at Colliers International, which published the report yesterday.

The 2014 Multi-Family Real Estate Report found that average vacancy rates have remained relatively stable year-over-year, with a difference of less than one per cent. There was an upswing in most markets in 2014, including Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Halifax.

“That’s reflective of more investors and more national owners wanting to purchase multi-family buildings because of the attractiveness and stability of the asset class,” added Tighe.

Toronto and Vancouver, of course, continue to have the highest demand. “Vancouver and Toronto have the highest sale price per door, while Montreal and Winnipeg have the lowest,” said Tighe.

“Not surprisingly, Vancouver and Toronto also have the highest average rental rates for 2014 with the average one-bedroom rental in Vancouver at $1,198 and Toronto at $1,168.”

The report also found that cap rates for multi-family properties continue to hold at the lowest level of all commercial real estate asset classes due to significant demand for well-located buildings.