Trends in Commercial Real Estate During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While record-breaking home sales have made headlines for more than a year—what’s happening in the commercial real estate marketplace?

Earlier this year, CREA Global had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Ted L.  Davis, Principal, Managing Director – Toronto West and Southwestern Ontario of Avison Young who shared insights and trends in the commercial real estate market in his region (however, Davis notes the story is similar in many of the major markets across the country).

*Video is only available in English*

The presentation was part of CREA Global’s webinar series. CREA Global makes it easy for thousands of REALTORS® in Canada and international real estate professionals to network, exchange referral opportunities and compete in international markets.

“The big thing right now that we’re seeing a lot of, and it turned quite quickly as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in, is that retail and office were the most affected,” said Davis noting the Greater Toronto Area’s sublet space increased significantly while the occupancy costs dropped. “When we’re looking at the industrial market though, it’s done the exact opposite. So, we’ve seen an increase in growth year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter for occupancy costs. Rents that had stayed stagnant, literally for decades, have now started to grow.”

Industry experts are at odds as to why this occurred. Some argue it came down to the pandemic, and others feel it was simply Canada playing catch up to other markets across North America. Either way, Davis says the cost of rent per square foot has increased significantly.

Commercial building

Investment market

Davis noted the investment market is also interesting to watch as we emerge from the global pandemic.

Multi-residential and industrial markets saw most of this investment activity, as evidenced by developers picking up land in speculation of the building to come.

Davis also shared some of the bigger market influencers from deglobalization, green infrastructure, digital infrastructure and more. In addition, he shared insights into existing opportunities for private investors, such as tertiary markets and “Baby Boomers” transferring generational wealth. 

Tune into Davis’ next presentation on February 23, 2022. To view a full list of CREA Global events, REALTORS® in Canada can visit and Global Affiliates can check

Upcoming Global webinars

Market Portfolio and Networking – September 29, 2021

This month Amy Kong, 2021 President of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) will share findings from their latest survey; CREA Global will share results from the 2020 Profile of International Activity in Canadian Real Estate Survey and insights from our International Activity in Canadian Real Estate Report; and Alain Forget, Head of Sales and Business Development for RBC Bank will provide an update on Canadian real estate buying activity in the United States.

Grow your Connections with CREA Global’s MOU Partners – October 27, 2021

Join CREA’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) partner associations and hear what’s happening in their markets and network. This is a great way to meet contacts before you start travelling again. Markets include California, Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Market Portfolio and Networking – November 24, 2021

Hear what’s happening in markets around the globe and join in some great networking! Build your cross-border connections. Each market portfolio features three market presentations and time to connect.  Email if you are interested to present your market!

To register, REALTORS® in Canada can visit and Global Affiliates can check

Sharon von Schoenberg, our Product Manager – Global Services contributes to and implements CREA’s international strategy to increase global opportunities for REALTOR® members. Her initiatives include the Global Affiliate Program, building relationships with international associations and trade-related organizations, developing educational opportunities for members and increasing the relevancy of for global visitors. Prior to joining CREA Sharon was a Canadian residential appraiser and held marketing and client management positions in the private and non-profit sector. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa, is a certified association executive and a CIPS designee. As a mother of two teenagers, Sharon stays rooted by practicing yoga.

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