Office vacancy rates rising during pandemic: brokers

EDMONTON — Edmonton’s commercial real estate market is feeling the effects of COVID-19.

Vacancy rates have increased to more than 17 per cent over the past three months as more people are forced to work from home during the pandemic.

Brokers tell CTV News businesses don’t want to sign traditional five-year leases as the coronavirus continues to cause uncertainty.

As a result, landlords are getting creative and signing customers to shorter deals.

“Now we’re working on 12-month or 18-month extensions, depending on the size of the firm,” said Shane Asbell with Cushman & Wakefield. “A lot of groups are trying to kick the can down the road a little bit to buy that time to figure out what the new normal will be.”

With no end in sight, realtors are predicting further increases to vacancy rates, which typically hover around 12 per cent in Edmonton.

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