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Foreign buyers, city see potential in commercial strata

By Frank O'Brien for Business in Vancouver

The surge in Vancouver commercial strata – where space is sold rather than leased – has attracted both foreign buyers and higher city fees for community amenity contributions (CACs), according to a Vancouver appraiser.

“The foreign-entity tax [FET] recently increased to a 20% tax while the B.C. speculation tax steps to 2% annually in 2019 for foreign investors and satellite families. Strata office is exempt from both the FET and the speculation tax, and groups who historically invested in the residential market have shifted their focus to commercial assets to avoid these taxes,” said Brady Fleguel, a principal with Burgess Cawley Sullivan & Associates Ltd.

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Bosa Development set an office-strata price record in downtown Vancouver with the pre-sale of half an office tower at 620 Granville at more than $2,000 per square foot this year.

“These prices are record-breaking, even record-shattering,” noted Aaron Ulinder, a senior partner in CBRE commercial real estate.

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