Now that we have entered into a new year, most private businesses and corporate tenants have already begun assessing their space needs according to the business’ growth plans.
A number of the key questions they may be asking themselves is where can they find the best warehousing and logistics facilities available for lease, what the timing will look like, and whether they will be forced to pre-lease or develop.
Well, just as demand for industrial properties has skyrocketed over the past two years, the general consensus is that the market will continue its trajectory in 2022 and beyond. Significant uncertainty clouds the horizon of office and retail, while e-commerce volumes eat up a greater share of total retail sales. And with each additional billion dollars in online transactions, the demand for warehousing, distribution, cold-storage, and transportation assets to service customers grows further.
That said, availabilities continue to decline, while the delivery of new product struggles to keep pace with demand. As a result, competition for space will only place added upward pressure on industrial rents; pushing many corporate users to consider pre-leasing and development options.
Therefore, in order to make quick and effective decisions in the coming year, we believe that establishing a baseline by taking stock of the previous 12 months is a great first step.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Greater Toronto Logistics Facilities Leasing in 2021
Looking at Figure 1 below, we see the rents and square footage of logistics-focused facilities leased in the Greater Toronto Area in 2021.
For our methodology, we limited our search parameters to the Greater Toronto Area and excluded leases of contiguous space under 50,000 SF.
For context, e-commerce and logistics occupiers have, historically, leased larger, ‘Big Box’ space within the periphery to establish regional distribution centers. Looking forward, we expect this strategy to expand to include more urban, infill sites for last-mile facilities given that timely availability is a top priority.
We expect this dynamic to be further emphasized because real-estate-related costs tend to make up a smaller share of operating costs relative to line items such as transportation and labour.
According to our data, leasing transactions ranged from $6.50 per SF net to $14.00 per SF net, and from 50,949 SF to 1,500,000 SF in size. Viewing the chart from a high-level, we observe the linear trendlines increasing significantly. This pattern confirms our observations of industrial rents moving towards the $12 to $14 PSF-net-range, depending on the location and quality of the asset. It also shows the preference towards larger facilities to accommodate growing logistics space needs.
Figure 1: 2021 Leasing of GTA Logistics Facilities Over 50k SF. Source: CoStar.
Select Top 2021 GTA Logistics Facility Leasing
Below in Figure 2, we see a select list of the largest leasing transactions of logistics facilities over 50,000 SF in the Greater Toronto Area in 2021.
Looking at our complete dataset of 96 observations, the average recorded leasing rate was $9.44 PSF net, with an average of 170,915 SF leased.
Figure 2: Select Top 2021 Leasing of GTA Logistics Facilities Over 50k SF. Source: CoStar.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon topped the list of space leased by tenant – by a wide margin – and is joined in the top 10 by other retailers, transportation, and third-party logistics firms.
Figure 3: Logistics Space Leased by Tenant in 2021 – GTA Logistics Facilities over 50k SF. Source: CoStar.
Finally, when overlaid on a map of the Greater Toronto Area, we notice the transactions spread out across the major submarkets, with obvious clusters forming in Caledon, Brampton, North Mississauga, Oshawa, Markham, and Vaughan.
Figure 4: Map of Select Top 2021 Logistics Facility Leasing. Source: CoStar.
The GTA industrial logistics market is red-hot, with all-time-low availabilities and supply challenges. This environment will see rents further increasing, with new construction providing little relief until at least 2023.
As the e-commerce and logistics industry experiences greater growth in 2022, meeting your space needs may require additional planning and foresight, as well as being willing to pay a premium for quality space.
Your best strategy will be to open a dialogue with a commercial real estate broker at the earliest indication that space will be needed.
On that note, if you would like our team to assist with your next lease, or for more market intel or off-market opportunities, please contact us directly.
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Lee & Associates Logistics and E-Commerce - Our logistics and e-commerce real estate specialists are at the leading edge of this transformation and they understand your unique challenges with integration along with revised facility and property site requirements.
We will help you find the right location that optimizes your industry needs, market positioning, revenue growth, stability and profitability for decades to come. We focus on reducing your company’s operating costs and the carbon footprint.
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