Steve Ladurantaye, The Globe and Mail | February 14, 2011
The commercial real estate market saw an unprecedented recovery last year, with investment growing 48 percent as the economy improved and investors returned to the market.

Canadian commercial real estate volume reached $18.9 billion in 2010, according to CB Richard Ellis, from $12.7 billion in 2009. That’s close to the pre-recession peak of $19.8 billion in 2005.

“Once we were a few weeks into 2010, we could feel momentum picking up so that by the year-end, we were about where we expected it to be,” said John O’Bryan, CBRE’s vice-chairman. “It was really a coast-to-coast recovery – something we haven’t seen before.”  The only market that didn’t see an increase in volume was London, Ont. Toronto finished the year with $7.4 billion in trades, up from $3.8 billion in 2009 as volume grew by 93 percent.

“Virtually every asset class in the country showed strong performance,” O’Bryan said, “although operating businesses, such as hotels, manufacturing plants, and retirement homes were somewhat slower to recover.”

There were some large deals last year that helped boost the numbers, including ING Groep NV’s sale of its Canadian portfolio for $2.2 billion. “This year we can expect strong transaction volumes, but the size of individual deals will likely be somewhat smaller,” O’Bryan said.