Richmond Hill Industrial Market: An In-Depth Look
June 24th, 2022
Demand for industrial product has become a runaway train. Both from a leasing and acquisition perspective, there isn’t a week that goes by where an investor, developer, or occupier makes its known that they have a requirement for hundreds of thousands of square feet of space or dozens of acres of industrial land.
At the same time, these very same investors and developers are redlining their operations in trying to bring onboard more inventory. Even with the constraints of labour and material shortages, the GTA is seeing over 16.8M SF of space under construction; a massive accomplishment by the community. That said, even with the torrid pace of land acquisition and development, values and rents continue to rise exponentially.
Whereas, just a few years ago, an industrial user could select from multiple sites and secure their facility for $5-7 PSF net, each opportunity now means dealing with heavy competition for fewer options and forking over as much as $18-20 PSF net.
This appreciation is due, in part, to the inflated cost of purchasing and building facilities. It is a simple exercise of underwriting or creating a pro forma to hit the necessary returns, which then trickle down in the form of higher rents. Then, as new benchmarks are set, the community is able to establish higher valuations for the transactions that follow.
Looking forward, as interest rates continue to rise, what will happen is still unclear. On one hand, developing will become more expensive. On the other, asset prices tend to cool as the Buyer pool thins out. Furthermore, some Occupiers may simply walk if and when asking rents are no longer feasible for their business plan.
As a result, the Investors and Occupiers remaining at the table will be those with economies of scale and deep pockets, who can absorb these costs, secure better financing terms, or go in all cash. The landscape and dynamics within the market may certainly shift, however, thinking that values will suddenly go down is unrealistic, barring any significant economic crash. At that point, however, all bets are off, and it would be impossible to predict how things unfold. In any event, industrial space remains scarce, highly-sought-after, and incredibly valuable to an economy seeking to develop independence in its manufacturing and supply chains.
With this context set, that is why, in the coming weeks, we will continue our submarket analysis, with a focus on the GTA North markets. We will aim to provide some deep insight into each, as well as provide some detail on potential opportunities that may fit in with your real estate or investment strategy.
For this week’s newsletter, we’ll feature the City of Richmond Hill and examine the state of its industrial market, including trends, transactions, and developments.
Richmond Hill Industrial Market Snapshot – Q1 2022
Source: Cushman & Wakefield Research.
Looking at the current inventory numbers, we have over 803M SF of industrial space across the GTA; yet Richmond Hill’s share is just over 13.7M SF (about 1.7%). In Q1 2022, however, Richmond Hill had -34,004 SF of absorption and no new supply; the total being net positive.
The availability rate in Richmond Hill sits at 1.0% and should further tighten with the broader market, especially given only 40,364 SF of industrial space is under construction. Furthermore, industrial rents in Richmond Hill are relatively high at an average of $14.02 PSF net, and these should continue to increase closer to $18-20 PSF net over the coming months.
Three Interesting Facts about Richmond Hill’s Industrial Market
Over the past few years, Richmond Hill has seen new development within a few key business parks. Below, we are featuring two industrial properties proposed or under construction, as well as outlining the business parks in question.
41 Performance Drive. Source: CBRE.
A 40,364 SF industrial property is under construction at 41 Performance Drive. The facility is comprised of two 20,182 SF units each with 2 truck-level and 1 drive-in doors, 28’6” clear height, and a two-level office finish. Located within the Barker Business Park, and close to Highways 404 and 407, this would be a great opportunity for users looking to be in the northern suburbs and with access to major transportation routes and the labour pool. Currently, CBRE is marketing Unit 2 with Summer 2022 occupancy.
2. Richmond Hill Industrial Inventory Clustered in Key Business Parks
Richmond Hill Key Industrial Business Parks. Source: City of Richmond Hill.
0 Vogell Road. Source: Google.
Orlando Corporation has submitted a request for a site plan approval at 0 Vogell Road to construct a 224,668 SF industrial facility on approximately 24.86 acres. The site sits adjacent to Highway 404 just north of 16th Avenue and will reportedly be home to Amazon’s newest delivery station, with construction expected to be completed in early 2023.
The project will bring over 400 jobs to the region, with over 200 full-time positions. According to the release by York Region, “Amazon Canada joins the growing number of multinational companies investing in Richmond Hill, including BMW, Staples, Olympus, Compugen and Tesla Hibar.”
If we keep at our current pace, it’s conceivable that we may get to a 0% availability across the GTA, aside from brief periods between Tenants, design-build projects, or speculative construction (which are themselves often pre-leased well in advance). For those businesses looking to purchase or lease existing space, things will only become more challenging and competitive.
These points underscore the tremendous value of land. While land is becoming increasingly expensive, municipalities such as Richmond Hill present opportunities for greenfield development, infill redevelopment, or intensification of use. With great access to major transportation routes and the suburban labour pool, Richmond Hill makes a great location for industrial occupiers, however, very little space is available. With rents continuing to escalate at a rapid pace, we may see more owner-occupiers building or redeveloping sites for their own use; giving them back some control in their cost forecasts and general occupancy.
In the coming weeks, we will continue our examination of various submarkets with the aim of uncovering potential opportunities and strategies for industrial Owners and Occupiers. In the meantime, if you are an owner of industrial land or property with redevelopment potential, there are plenty of institutional and private buyers who would be willing to pay a premium to take it off your hands.
For a confidential consultation or a complimentary opinion of value of your property please give us a call.
Until next week…
Goran Brelih and his team have been servicing Investors and Occupiers of Industrial properties in Toronto Central and Toronto North markets for the past 30 years.
Goran Brelih is a Senior Vice President for Cushman & Wakefield ULC in the Greater Toronto Area.
Over the past 30 years, he has been involved in the lease or sale of approximately 25.7 million square feet of industrial space, valued in excess of $1.6 billion dollars while averaging between 40 and 50 transactions per year and achieving the highest level of sales, from the President’s Round Table to Top Ten in GTA and the National Top Ten.
Goran is a Past President of the SIOR ‐ Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, Central Canadian Chapter.
Industrial Real Estate Sales and Leasing, Investment Sales, Design-Build and Land Development
About Cushman & Wakefield ULC.
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 53,000 employees in 400 offices and 60 countries.
In 2020, the firm had revenue of $7.8 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com.
For more information on GTA Industrial Real Estate Market or to discuss how they can assist you with your real estate needs please contact Goran at 416-756-5456, email at email@example.com, or visit www.goranbrelih.com.
Connect with Me Here! – Goran Brelih’s Linkedin Profile: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/goranbrelih
Goran Brelih, SIOR
Senior Vice President, Broker
Cushman & Wakefield ULC, Brokerage.