The Suburban Alternative

In various Canadian markets, companies continue to move downtown to attract and retain talent. However, will rising rental rates or limited vacancy be the impetus for some companies to look at the suburbs? This varies from city to city and depends on specific market considerations.

 

Consideration for Space Occupiers

In Q1 Toronto and Vancouver office vacancy rates were at or near record lows. 1.8% In downtown Toronto and 3.2% in downtown Vancouver.

Office space is less expensive in the suburbs. In Downtown Toronto average gross rental rates are $45-$65 PSF compared to $25 - $35 PSF in the suburbs.

 

Suburban Development

Suburban cities and developers are actively planning and promoting master plan communities that promote mixed services and amenities.

Development plans are in the works for the GTA, and the Solar Uniquartier in Montreal’s South Shore, Burnaby’s Metrotown and Brentwood outside of Vancouver.

 

Workforce Migration

The Montreal market has seen an increasing number of the workforce move to the suburbs in 2018.

In Toronto the residential vacancy rate is less than 1%, causing housing options to be more plentiful in the suburbs.

Housing is considerably less expensive in the suburbs in the  Toronto and Montreal markets. However, in Vancouver a house in the suburbs can cost 3-5 times more than a downtown condo.

Urban areas have a significant strain on daycare and schools. Particularly in Vancouver, parents travel to the suburbs to drop children to their daycare and schools.

 

Are the suburbs more desirable?

In Montreal, construction of the new REM is accelerating development in areas close to new stations. In the GTA, landlords and developers are acquiring building sites in Etobicoke along the airport strip, an area that had previously fallen out of favour.

Some suburbs are now beginning to offer a mix of residential, office and retail spaces in a centralized, pedestrian-friendly area.

Mini-downtowns that offer the same range of restaurants, services and cultural offerings as a typical inner-city downtown core are taking shape.

 

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