While REITs were active buyers in the Vancouver market 5 to 10 years ago, they have been fairly quiet over the past several years as a result of yield compression and few attractive opportunities relative to other markets. Canadian REITs showed strong returns of over 15% in 2012 (more than double that of the TSX), primarily through operating gains throughout their portfolio, but in terms of acquisitions, most have been challenged to find deals in Vancouver.
Here we take a look at 10 of the larger REITs that own assets in Vancouver (in no particular order):
1. RioCan (TSX: REI.UN)
Riocan is Canada’s largest REIT, focusing solely on retail. They own two properties outright in Metro Vancouver including the Best Buy/Canadian Tire building on Cambie Street (acquired in 2004), and Impact Plaza in Surrey (acquired in 2006). They also have a 50% ownership interest in a handful of shopping centres in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford Power Centre, Grandview Corners in South Surrey and Riocan Langley Centre. They have been pretty quiet here, and recently announced that they are “toning-down” acquisitions Canada-wide in the near term.
2. Boardwalk REIT (TSX: BEI.UN)
Boardwalk is an open-ended REIT that is active in Canada’s major markets in Multifamily apartments. Boardwalk’s B.C. portfolio reported occupancy at 98.23% in 2012. They own several large scale apartment complexes including Horizon Towers in Burnaby and Surrey Village in Surrey.
3. KEY REIT (TSX: KRE.UN)
KEY REIT is a small-box retail property owner that specializes in niche business model, leases, quality properties and a focus on a handful of name brand tenants (primarily KFC/Taco Bell and Shoppers Drug Mart). Among their few B.C. assets are an A&W at 4605 East Hastings in Burnaby, and two KFC’s on Kingsway and East Broadway in Vancouver.
4. Calloway REIT (TSX: CWT.UN)
Calloway is a well-known retail REIT with focus on larger name brand centres. While they have a strong presence in Western Canada, their ownership in Metro Vancouver is limited to two centres: Langley SmartCentre (acquired in 2004) and New Westminster Smartcentre (bought in 2005).
5. Artis REIT (TSX: AX.UN)
Artis REIT is a diversified REIT that is active in several markets in retail, office and industrial. They have been one of the more active buyers in Vancouver in recent years. They own several sizeable office assets in Metro Vancouver including: 1045 Howe Street in Downtown Vancouver, as well as the Kincaid Building, Willingdon Green, and Production Court in Burnaby. They also own retail assets such as King Edward Centre and Delta Shoppers Mall.
6. CAP REIT (TSX: CAR.UN)
CAPREIT is a multifamily focused investment trust that owns interest in 36,683 apartment units across Canada. The REIT owns 15 apartment properties in Metro Vancouver including highrises such as: International Plaza in North Vancouver, Georgian Towers Downtown and Ocean Park Place in the West End. They also own larger scale apartment complexes in Coquitlam, New Westminster and Richmond.
7. Dundee REIT (TSX: D.UN)
Dundee REIT’s focus is on central and suburban office assets in Canada’s major markets. In Vancouver their ownership covers ten buildings in suburban markets such as Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond and New Westminster. One of their larger assets is Station Tower, one of Surrey’s few ‘A’ class highrise office buildings.
8. Allied Properties REIT (TSX: AP.UN)
Allied REIT was incorporated in 2003, but is relatively new on the scene in Vancouver. Allied owns and manages what they refer to as ‘Class I’ office properties in urban markets. Their target acquisitions are older office buildings in established areas. In just the past 18 months in Vancouver, Allied has acquired: 1040 Hamiltion, The Sun Tower, 1286 Homer Street, 840 Cambie Street and 948 Homer Street, for a total portfolio of 244,704 SF. Their focus continues to be on the Gastown and Yaletown areas.
9. Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (CREIT) (TSX: REF.UN)
CREIT is a diversified REIT focusing on quality retail, industrial and office properties throughout Canada. In Vancouver their largest interests are in core office assets at 1185 West Georgia, and 1508 West Broadway (the Chapters Building). They also have assets in Maple Ridge, and a total portfolio interest of over 1 Million SF in B.C.
10. Pure Industrial REIT (PIRET) (TSX: AAR.UN)
Pure Industrial REIT invests in and manages income producing industrial properties in primary Canadian markets, including Vancouver. They have been active in the Vancouver market recently with the acquisition of several properties and they now have a portfolio of 13 properties in the Lower Mainland, including Burnaby, Delta, Richmond and Surrey. Just last week they announced the acquisition of 16111 Blundell Road in Richmond, a 280,000 SF facility for $32,300,000. PIRET is one of the few REITs that is finding opportunities in Vancouver currently.
Other REITs with significant holdings in Vancouver include: Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT, Loblaws (which is spinning its real estate into a REIT, owns several properties in Metro Vancouver.