2023 could be turning point for office-to-housing conversions: Colliers

via yahoo!finance By Michelle Zadikian

Converting underused offices into housing could help bring more vibrancy to communities

Steam rises from buildings in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. A major player in Calgary's depressed office real estate industry is putting 56 office buildings under court protection from creditors while it tries to find buyers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Office vacancies remain elevated across the country after the pandemic-fuelled shift to remote work. Meanwhile, the rental market has a severe shortage of units, partly as Canada’s population booms. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

This year could be pivotal for Canada’s office market as developers increasingly eye empty and underused office buildings to help solve the country’s worsening housing shortage, according to Colliers Canada. And one recent conversion in downtown Calgary could serve as a successful playbook.

“2023 could mark a shift in how excess office towers are to be treated,” real estate consulting firm Colliers said in a report.

“Several markets have either announced or have already begun converting certain office towers into residential spaces. This may have a ripple effect on the office construction pipeline if projects are