Vancouver, Toronto Ranked North America’s Top Markets to Watch

Canadian cities beat out top-ranked US market Seattle for real estate investment and development potential 
Joannah Connolly
October 31, 2017

If you think that Vancouver and Toronto’s real estate markets have hit their peak and are on the decline, the latest study from global land-use research group the Urban Land Institute (ULI) begs to differ.

In its 2018 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, released this month, the ULI published the results of a North America-wide survey of hundreds of local real estate experts on the market prospects of major cities.

In the survey’s US rankings, Seattle came out on top of 78 cities, with a score of 3.74 in both the real estate investment and development categories, for a total of 7.48.

But Vancouver and Toronto, ranked separately in the Canadian section of the report, both beat Seattle’s score. Vancouver was ranked as scoring 3.82 for real estate investment potential and 3.93 for real estate development, for a total score of 7.75 when compared with the US rankings. Toronto scored 3.78 for investment and 3.8 for development – 7.58 in total.

The Canadian scoring system also included a housing category, in which Toronto scored 4.28 and Vancouver 3.8, giving Toronto the edge over Vancouver in the overall Canadian rankings.

On Vancouver, the report authors wrote, “According to the survey, investor demand and redevelopment opportunities in Vancouver are the highest in Canada... But regional developers and investors anticipate that they’ll be more conservative in 2018 due to the impact of policy changes and interest rate hikes… Interviewees were bullish on industrial and commercial property, since those types ‘require less management than residential,’ as well as mixed-use and residential in ‘second-core’ areas.”

Discussing Toronto’s result, the authors said, “Prospective homeowners may disagree, but industry players don’t feel Toronto [real estate] is too expensive – certainly not in comparison with current world-class markets, including Vancouver. Most foresee continued immigration and investment, foreign and domestic, contributing to upward pressure on prices overall.”

For more details and city-by-city analyses, check out the full ULI report.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.