The growth of e-commerce, evolving distribution and retail strategies, and increasing immigrant population to Canada have propelled rents to new heights while pummeling availability rates on supply chain assets to record lows in the MTV (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) markets. Industrial REITs offer investors an opportunity to capitalize on this shift. Using Pelion’s property mapping feature, we have identified three Canadian, industrial REITs that stand to benefit from the increasing demand for logistics assets.

According to CBRE, 1.25 million square feet of additional warehouse space is needed for every $1 billion in e-commerce sales. With online spending by Canadians forecast to reach $92.7 billion by 2025, it is estimated that e-commerce-related demand is expected to exceed 40 million square feet over the next 5 years. This is greater than all of the leasable space in Canada’s three largest industrial markets combined.

Below are three Canadian, industrial REITs that stand to benefit from the increasing demand for warehouse and logistics real estate.

Nexus REIT (NXR.UN)

Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, Nexus is a TSX-listed, small-cap ($400M), diversified commercial REIT with 91 properties across Canada spanning 7.2M sq. ft. in GLA, as of Q3 2021. The company’s assets are composed of industrial, office, and retail properties, albeit roughly 80% of its NOI is soon expected to come from industrial, as Nexus accelerates its transition toward becoming a pure-play industrial REIT. The company has acquired $640 million of industrial assets thus far in 2021.

Looking at Nexus’ property map above, we see that the assets are primarily located surrounding primary markets like the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Montreal Area. According to Q3 2021 earnings call, Nexus plans to continue making acquisitions in these markets. In Ontario, for instance, the REIT will focus on opportunities in Southwestern Ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo Region, and Hamilton. We view this as a sound strategy, particularly as we begin to see demand spill over into secondary markets, given tight supply in Tier 1 regions.

Summit Industrial REIT (SMU.UN)

Summit is a pure-play light industrial REIT focused on industrial markets in Toronto, Montreal, and Alberta. Summit’s properties are primarily one- or two-stories properties designed to support activities such as warehousing, light assembly, and call centers. As of Q3 2021, Summit owns interests in 154 properties spanning 20.1 million square feet. Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta account for 51.1%, 22.8%, and 26% of the REIT’s total gross leasable area (GLA), respectively.

According to Q3 2021 earnings call, Summit saw monthly rents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Quebec increase 67.5% and 40.6%, respectively, making for an overall increase of 28.9%. Management expects rental rates to continue to grow in the GTA and Montreal markets, where close to 80% of the REIT’s portfolio is located.

Dream Industrial REIT (DIR.UN)

Dream Industrial REIT owns 326 industrial properties spanning 39.8 million square feet across Canada (45.2% of GLA), Europe (35.5% of GLA), and the U.S. (19.3% of GLA). The REIT’s assets are primarily distribution warehouses and urban logistics centers located near major population centers and transportation corridors.

During Q3 2021 earnings call, Dream’s management noted that it has been exclusively focused on the GTA, GMA, and Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario. The REIT has acquired over $550 million of assets in these markets over the past 2 years at below replacement cost and with in-place rents about 20% below market. Most recently, the REIT closed on an $18 million distribution facility near Amazon’s Ajax facility. Management reiterated the low availability, lagging supply, and rising demand in the GTA and GMA. Overall, Dream expects to add 1.3 million square feet of projects in 2022.

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