ALSO READIIFL plans to raise cash from offshore investors Right time for NRIs to buy residential or commercial property in India Real estate to be one of fastest growing sectors in India: Pirojsha Godrej Real estate firms will contribute towards Housing for All by 2022: Gangwar Disney is about to become the 'Walmart of Hollywood'
Developers such as RioCan REIT,
The rental market is just as tight. Toronto has a 1 per cent rental vacancy rate, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. That was despite the highest level of rental construction in 25 years in the third quarter, according to Urbanation Inc.
Home prices have surged more than 60 per cent in Vancouver and 40 per cent in Toronto in the last three years. Even pullbacks in these markets this year following policies to dampen price gains appear to be reversing on continued demand and limited supply.
"The population is growing and there's no real land left in Canada's biggest cities, said RioCan Chief Executive Ed Sonshine. "Demand for retail space isn't growing... it makes perfect sense on so many levels."
The 466 rental apartments will add the first of 10,000 residential units the shopping centre developer plans to own by 2025 across 50 properties.
Buyers are responding.
All the condos at ePlace, expected to be completed by early 2019, have already been sold.
Even owners of thriving malls are joining in.
But owner Oxford Properties, the real estate unit of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, is seeking to add as many as 1,496 residential units, offices and hotel space under a planned revamp.
MORE MALL VACANCIES
Rising retail vacancies, exacerbated by the demise of Sears Canada and Target Corp's
And, if a concentration of retailers around transport nodes is weighing on businesses despite their location, changing some to residential could reduce that burden, Smith said.
It's not simply about plopping a few apartments on or adjacent to existing malls, however. Owners like Cadillac Fairview (CF), a unit of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, have concluded that the traditional mall, anchored by department stores with chain stores and fast-food restaurants in between, may no longer be as profitable.
CF plans to spend about C$2 billion to add residential units at four of its malls, in addition to one under construction in Toronto, said Finley McEwen, its senior vice president for development.
Many of the redevelopments include "turning the malls inside out," putting specialty stores, sit-down restaurants and other non-traditional mall occupants facing outward, which, combined with the residential units, create a space that's more alive, McEwen said.
"Mixing uses creates a vibrancy after hours, they create safer streets ... And they become naturally more attractive," he said.
($1 = 1.2861 Canadian dollars)