After a long stretch of empty office spaces and overall gloom and doom in Calgary’s downtown office space, it looks like the tide is finally turning.
“It’s really been quite a dreary time for Calgary’s downtown office space in recent years,” says John Savard, owner of Bedrock Realty Advisors. “We’ve seen a lot of factors, both pre-and post-pandemic which led to high vacancy rates for the last few years.”
Taking a walk downtown is all you need to see to understand just how empty Calgary’s downtown has become since the 2014 oil and gas bust, followed closely by a pandemic which aggravated an already slow market. This resulted in the city hitting a new vacancy milestone, with one-third of Calgary office space vacant and negative absorption since 2017.
But as of Q4 of 2021, we’re starting to see a turn in the market.
“In Q4 we actually hit the first positive absorption since 2017,” says Savard. “It wasn’t huge at just under 18,000 sq. ft., but it gives us some optimism that the tide is turning.”
CBRE, Avison Young and other real estate and investment groups seem to agree. As the Covid pandemic restrictions ease, return-to-work policies come back into place and industries like tech and oil and gas start to burgeon, the future is starting to look bright in Calgary’s downtown office space again.
“We’re starting to see the growth of the tech industry bringing in a lot of new leases,” says Savard. “And oil and gas commodity prices are really bringing a vitality back to the market, pushing economic activity and bringing new tenants back to the downtown as they look to re-hire and repopulate their operations.”
Savard says this has been a mix of new tenants and tenants looking to relocate from the suburbs, a market that may have previously been unavailable or out of their price range. “There is a lot of great space out there, high quality space is still abundant and well-priced, but we do expect that to change.”
Forecasters see slow but steady growth coming back to Calgary’s office space market, meaning moderate price increases and decreasing vacancy rate. “This will first come to the higher quality spaces, which are already seeing lower vacancy rates,” says Savard. “But it will eventually cascade to all the other classes of office space as well.”
For people who are looking for downtown office space, Savard says now is the time to make your move.
“If you’re looking for office space in Calgary’s downtown, especially higher quality space, it’s time to take advantage and lock in those affordable lease rates. There is still a lot of choices available, but you’ll want to get in while the market is still relatively soft.”
If you want to look for space online, you can do it right from this website. Check out our Commercial Lease Search Engine – this easy tool will allow you to quickly find the downtown office space that suits your needs. Just enter your criteria and we’ll send you a report with your results.
If you have any questions about Bedrock Realty Advisors, contact us.