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This article was published 2/2/2015 (1881 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a record-smashing year for sales of investment properties in Winnipeg in 2014.
Preliminary year-end numbers compiled by Colliers International show nearly $1 billion worth of properties — $972 million to be exact — changed hands last year in the city.
That's nearly a quarter of a billion dollars more than the previous record of $762 million set in 2007.
"There's lots of people, there's lots of money, and there are lots of deals going on," Don White, executive vice-president of national investment services for Colliers' Winnipeg office, told a recent Real Estate Institute of Manitoba's forecast luncheon. The 140 properties that were snapped up included office, retail, industrial and apartment buildings.
"We also saw a lot of land trading last year, as people jockeyed for development opportunities for the coming year," White added.
He said the buyers included real estate investment trusts, pension funds and private-equity investors from here and other parts of Canada.
"The capital is coming from everywhere."
He said out-of-province investors have taken an added interest in the Winnipeg market in the wake of the Manitoba economy's strong performance during the 2008-09 global recession and the string of high-profile real estate developments that have occurred here over the past decade — such things as the new airport terminal, the new stadium and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
"So the real estate fundamentals and the economic fundamentals have been largely positive," he added. "It's true to what Winnipeg is. We have moderate expectations, and with moderate expectations comes balance. While to some people that might sound boring, if you're an investor, that's good."
White said the biggest frustration for investors is the demand for quality investment properties far outweighs the available supply.
"There is a stubborn part of the market right now, and that stubborn part is people who own things and say they won't sell for two reasons," he said. "One, they fear paying tax. And two, they don't know what they'd do with the money."
He warned that strategy could backfire if frustrated investors who can't find existing buildings to buy opt to build new ones instead. He noted there's already some of that happening with some of the new apartment blocks being built in the city in the last few years.
But while it's still a healthy, well-balanced market, it won't be if there's a sudden onslaught of new office, retail, industrial and multi-family residential development, White said. That could lead to an oversupply of investment properties, which could drive down property values.
"So that stubborn market... had better be aware of the construction that's here because it's real," he added, "and I think it's going to come at a pretty good clip in the coming years."
The two most active investment sectors in 2014 were office and retail, which accounted for about $640 million of last year's sales total.
A prime example was the sale of the 33-storey office tower at 201 Portage Ave., along with an adjoining parkade and a vacant lot at 416 Main St., for more than $150 million.
Others were the sale of the Kildonan Place shopping centre for $138.5 million and the sale of the Cargill Building — an eight-storey office/retail complex on Graham Avenue — for more than $40 million.
A FINANCING shortfall is threatening to scuttle a proposed artist market under construction in a long-vacant building on Main Street.
Ryan Poworoznik, a local graphic designer/artist/photographer, had hoped to have his Compendium Artist Market completed by now.
The project involves gutting the interior of a 2,400-square-foot building at 5641/2 Main St. and turning it into a mixed-use facility featuring an art gallery, a craft market, a photography studio and an organic coffee/juice bar.
But due to some unforeseen issues with his banker and ongoing problems with the project's plumbing-and-heating contractor, the project is far from completed and Poworoznik doesn't have the funds to finish it.
He said after failing to reach a settlement with his bank, he's now awaiting the outcome of an appeal.
"I'm hoping that things will turn out in my favour and that the bank will be advised to provide enough compensation (to) allow me to get back on track. But I won't know for another month or so," he explained in a recent email.
"If that fails, that will be it, unless I find investor(s) or a partner to continue on with. However, my attempts to find either have come up empty thus far."
Poworoznik said he's hoping someone will read about his predicament and offer to help.
"If I'm not able to get the money... it'll be a waste of several years and the hundreds of thousands of dollars it took to get to this point," he added. "It'll likely be a debt that I'll never be able to pay off and will leave me (and my family who have invested in the project) with quite an uncertain future."
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.