William Wright Commercial operates offices in five of BC’s top commercial real estate markets and with two more offices set to open in the coming months, who better to get a Province wide view on the markets than WWC’s Business Development Manager, Matt Everitt.
This week Matt joins Cory and Melissa to take a look at what markets within BC are the ones to watch in 2023. Matt walks us through the expansion of WWC into both Kamloops and the Central Island and why the time is now for investors to jump into these areas before the market starts to move up quickly.
A great chat with WWC’s Business Development Manager will get you excited for what 2023 might bring to BC’s desirable commercial real estate markets. Enjoy.
Vancouver Real Estate News, Market Updates, Insider Tips, Stats, & Analysis
Take a trip around the province with William Wright Commercial’s Business Development Manager as he shares up and coming commercial markets
Can you buy a commercial property and live in it?
Yes and no. Yes, you can live in a commercial property if it’s a live/work property. Every city has their own rules but generally speaking a live/work property would be a place where you live and also operate your business. However, you would not be able to rent it out to other people in most cases; it needs to be the same person living there and owning the business.
But no, most commercially zoned properties do not allow you to have a residential dwelling in the same space. So for the most part, you cannot live in a commercial property. If you do so and get caught, you may be told politely to pack up and move out or you may be fined. So buyer beware!
Who is Matt Everitt?
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I have a history of working in restaurants and finance. At 23, I found a real estate job on Craigslist with a brokerage opening in Yaletown under some guy named Cory Wright. Now, ten years later, we’re opening our seventh William Wright Commercial office across BC. I oversee expansion of the company and hire new talent for our offices.
After getting my real estate licence, I was attracted by how commercial real estate can change the feel of a neighbourhood. I was into LEGO growing up, which reminds me of how commercial real estate allows you to put together neighbourhoods all over the province.
Where are William Wright Commercial offices in BC?
We have offices in:
- New Westminster
- Kamloops (opening soon)
- Nanaimo (opening soon)
In 2023, what BC commercial real estate market are you most excited about?
A few years ago, Victoria was the big hitter for commercial real estate. If you bought in Victoria in the last five years, you’ve done well for yourself. Watching how that market has progressed, especially in the industrial and retail sectors, has been very interesting.
But now it’s Central Island! Nanaimo is going to be very interesting in the next 3-5 years. People are starting to look at other areas on Vancouver Island outside of Victoria. During the pandemic, people got to explore more of what the Island has to offer. Nanaimo passes the test as a beautiful space with a lot of growth happening. It feels like Victoria did in 2017/2018.
There are so many submarkets around Nanaimo like Parksville and Campbell River that offer lots of opportunities too.
“Nanaimo is very interesting in the next 3-5 years. You have a lot of people who moved over to the Island and Victoria was their first stop. Now a lot of those people are looking at other areas of the Island.”
What has impacted the growth in Victoria?
There are so many factors to Victoria’s success and growth, tourism being a big one that is making a comeback. Victoria also has government jobs, construction, and the university; it’s one of the fastest growing cities in BC with people moving over from Ontario and Alberta. Victoria is as solid as ever. Many industries survived the pandemic and tourism is now coming back stronger than ever.
There are so many submarkets in Victoria with a lot of opportunities. Retail is making a massive comeback. Industrial out in Langford has the highest price per square foot in Canada with one of the lowest vacancy rates. The communities around Victoria have some very exciting plans in the next five years.
Who is moving to Victoria, BC? What kind of demographic is contributing to population growth in Victoria?
We know that Amazon is going to have over 1 million square feet of office space in downtown Vancouver. So that brings employees who are younger, who want to live near their workplace and who have disposable cash. At the same time, we have so many tech companies moving from Vancouver to Victoria because of the prime office rates. The city is trying to catch up and find places for these young professionals to live.
If you drive around Victoria and go for a beer, it feels like a young city. We now have a lot of people going to the University of Victoria and staying on the island after graduation. The demographic is shifting to more young professionals. I lived in Victoria for a few years and really felt that change.
What is happening with the Nanaimo to Vancouver fast ferry? How will that change the liveability of Nanaimo?
The Island is getting closer and closer to Vancouver every year. The Nanaimo to Vancouver fast ferry is going to be so convenient; it is supposed to carry 300 passengers, connecting downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver. The plan is to have it ready by summer 2023. The convenience of that ferry is very exciting for Nanaimo.
What other BC commercial real estate markets are you excited about for 2023?
The Interior is very interesting. We saw that the growth that happened in Victoria trickled down all the way to Nanaimo. And we’re seeing a similar thing in Kelowna. Kamloops is the Nanaimo of the Interior, getting that trickle down growth from Kelowna. I think Kamloops is going to be one to watch in the next five years.
“Kamloops is that version of what we saw on the Island with Nanaimo. I think there’s a lot happening in Kamloops and the growth of that city in the next five years.”
As real estate prices go up in Kelowna, are people looking at Kamloops?
Buying a house in Kamloops right now is very attainable for young families, which is a huge push for population growth. Working in commercial real estate, we’re always keeping an eye on what’s happening in the residential market. We saw a trend in Victoria with people moving to Nanaimo for affordability and now we’re seeing that in Kelowna with people moving to Kamloops.
What commercial real estate markets in the Lower Mainland are you watching in 2023?
We always say how excited we are about the Interior and the Island but Metro Vancouver is still one of the greatest commercial real estate markets in the world.
The Fraser Valley is a very interesting commercial real estate market with a lot of opportunities in industrial and retail. We’re seeing very interesting investments in retail in Chilliwack and Langley. The office market in Vancouver is also one to watch.
What are your predictions for the 2023 Vancouver commercial real estate market?
We saw a lot of people get pushed out of Vancouver in the last few years but there’s still a lot to be excited about in Vancouver commercial real estate in 2023.
The tech companies coming into Vancouver are very exciting. Amazon is going to be an anchor in the downtown core. With those companies opening up, that’s going to drive the office and retail market. There’s more competition but there are still really good opportunities.
What Alberta commercial real estate markets are you looking at in 2023?
I have reservations about Edmonton as I find that market more stale. Calgary is an interesting commercial real estate market. It can be a roller coaster but it’s on its way to stabilizing. I’ve been looking at different asset classes and I think there’s some exciting things happening in Calgary.
What are the opportunities for commercial real estate in Merritt?
When we look at expanding our offices, we look at what the driving economic forces of a market are and its population size. The smallest market we’d look to go into would be about 100,000 people, like in Kamloops or Nanaimo. But through those markets we can service smaller markets. For example, our Kamloops market could serve Merritt.
There have been some very successful industrial projects sold in Merritt. In Kamloops, there are not many owner-occupier opportunities. But in Merritt, you have the opportunity to get a smaller parcel where you can buy and build. If you’re on the highway, you can easily service the Lower Mainland and Kamloops. Something like that could have a lot of success in Merritt.
Because Vancouver is an international city, when a tenant moves out there’s a ton of demand. That keeps vacancy rates low. In smaller markets, there’s not that same backfill, so vacancy rates are a bit higher.
In Vancouver, we can sell off of floor plans. But in other markets, buyers want to see something built that they can touch before they make an offer. So in a more isolated market like Merritt, a vacancy issue could take a long time to fill.
Get to know William Wright Commercial’s Business Development Manager, Matt Everitt
What is your favourite restaurant or bar?
What would your last meal on death row be?
There’s a medium rare burger at this restaurant in LA that is served on a donut, instead of a bun. And instead of fries, you get deep-fried Snickers bars. It’s about 5,000 calories! But I’d probably go with spaghetti and meatballs after a religious experience I just had eating in Italy.
I have to go with Coldplay. They’re still my guys.
What are you binge watching these days?
I’m actually rewatching True Detective. I’m a big True Detective fan!
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
You don’t want to hear me sing! But I’ll go with “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.
What is your favourite vacation spot?
It’s a toss up between Italy and Greece. I’ll give Italy the edge due to their unbelievable food – best in the world!
- William Wright Commercial is looking for brokers in our new Nanaimo office (opening end of 2022) and Kamloops office (opening Feb 2023). Get in touch with Matt Everitt at 604-603-3277 to learn more.