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Commercial property sales stay robust

January 7, 2014

By: Spencer Anderson, Nanaimo Daily News

Commercial property sales and leases for Nanaimo and the rest of the region held strong in 2013.

According to data compiled from Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, sales and leases for the region reached about $60 million last year.

Bob Moss, president and managing broker for sales and investing firm DTZ Nanaimo, said $30 million in transactions took place through VIREB, where typically about 50 per cent of commercial sales or leases are done. The other half of the market is usually conducted privately outside the realm of VIREB and is more difficult to assess.

Moss, also the vice-chairman for the commercial division of VIREB, said the total number of transactions in 2013 is down from 2012, but said there were "larger dollar amounts" being spent on projects.

Moss said the comparison between the two years is similar as long as a small number of high-value purchases made in 2012 are not factored into the equation.

In 2012, commercial property sales catapulted to nearly $340 million thanks to 11 large property purchases, including the sale of a large portion of the Nanaimo North Town Centre and the Metral Station shopping centre.

Moss said those sales were due to a unique set of conditions rather than the typical Nanaimo-area market.

"Overall, the market was pretty sturdy throughout (2013) and that was reflected through investor and local business belief in the market, " he said.

Moss said there are also promising signs that the market will continue to stay solid, including a number of new projects that are under construction or close to completion, including the Port Place mall expansion project and the new Millstone Medical Centre.

He also said there is increased demand for small retail rental space in the city.