Metro Vancouver Industrial Market Report - Q2 2020

At first glance second quarter statistics suggest Vancouver’s industrial market escaped the ravages of COVID-19. Occupied space increased by a very robust 1.8 million square feet (MSF), the vacancy rate increased by just 10 basis points to 1.7% and there was no appreciable change in rents (just thirty-seven cents per square foot to the downside), so on the surface no discernible change relative to pre-COVID-19 conditions. Much of the absorption, however, was the result of a record amount of new supply added during the quarter, based on leases signed well before the pandemic arrived. Furthermore, like office, there has been a noticeable uptick in sublease space, increasing to 1.54 MSF, up from 1.39 MSF in the prior quarter, and just 645,000 square feet in the year ago period. Leasing markets act with a lag, and Vancouver’s industrial market is no different. Third quarter data will be far more instructive.