Office Vacancy Rates Down In Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton

Saint John. Image: iStock.

SAINT JOHN— Office vacancy rates are down in New Brunswick’s three major cities, according to the survey released by real estate firm Turner Drake.

Fredericton vacancy rate was 6.70 percent, down slightly from 6.77 percent a year ago. The New Brunswick capital has a Class A vacancy rate of 4.42 percent, down from 5.75 percent in 2018. In Moncton, the overall vacancy rate sits at 7.93 percent, down from 8.02 percent a year ago. The Hub city leads in terms of Class A vacancy, with 3.57 percent vacant, versus 4.16 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, Saint John saw the largest drop in vacancy year over year, falling over five percentage points from 19.10 percent in 2018 to 14.07 percent in 2019, though its Class A market ticked up slightly to 16.97 percent vacant from 16.46 percent a year ago.

Halifax was the only Atlantic Canadian city to see an increase in vacancy as of the end of the year: overall, its vacancy rate climbed from 13.90 percent to 14.65 percent, while Class A jumped from 13.39 percent to 18.01 percent.

Charlottetown’s had a 7.11 percent vacancy rate at the end of 2019, versus 7.57 percent the same time last year. St. John’s, Newfoundland now has Atlantic Canada’s highest vacancy rate, 15.35 percent, down from 16.79 percent a year ago. Its Class A vacancy rate ticked down slightly from 20.16 percent in 2018 to 20.07 percent in 2019.

In terms of rental rates, St. John’s also has the highest at $18.63/ft², despite dropping 2.3 percent from $19.07/ft² a year ago. Class A net rents on average fell from $23.19/ft² to 22.39/ft² over the same period. Class A rents in Halifax dropped from $17.31/ft² to $17.08/ft², though the overall average net rental rate inched up from $14.04/ft² to $14.07/ft².

In New Brunswick, Fredericton’s overall average net rental rate fell to $13.78/ft² from $14.10/ft², while Class A settled at $15.27/ft² versus $15.50/ft² a year ago; Moncton’s overall net rent moved from $12.93/ft² to $12.84/ft², and Class A from $14.12/ft² to $14.04/ft²; and Saint John fell 1.7 per cent overall from $13.03/ft² to $12.81/ft², with Class A dropping from $15.83/ft² to $15.17/ft².

The survey also included industrial space. The current vacancy rates for rental warehouse space by city are: Moncton 10.68 percent; Saint John 9.92 percent; Fredericton 8.87 percent; Halifax 9.05 percent; St. John’s 12.70 percent and Charlottetown 6.23 er cent. Average net rental rates per square foot are: Moncton $6.76; Saint John $8.05; Fredericton $6.82; Halifax $8.02; St. John’s $11.40 and Charlottetown $9.45.

Turner Drake’s surveys are considered to be the most comprehensive ever conducted in Atlantic Canada. It involves a team of trained researchers collecting rental, operating expense and vacancy data for 826 office and industrial buildings, some as small as 5,000 ft.², with an aggregate rentable area of over 40 million ft.².