Canadian Pension Funds Diversifying Real Estate Investments

Canadian Pension Funds Diversifying Real Estate Investments
April 9, 2024

The commercial real estate sector has faced significant challenges in recent years, leading Canadian pension funds to explore diversification opportunities in both domestic and foreign markets (Benefits Canada, 2023). This shift in investment strategy reflects a growing uncertainty about the future of office spaces, particularly in light of the hybrid work model's rising popularity.

A Shift from the Traditional Path

A recent transaction involving the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Oxford Properties Group, the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System (OMERS), exemplifies this trend. The two organizations sold two Vancouver office buildings for roughly $300 million, prompting speculation about a potential large-scale retreat from the office sector (Benefits Canada, 2024).

Emerging Investment Avenues

The proceeds from these sales are being directed towards alternative real estate assets with higher growth potential. These include:

  • Apartment development: Driven by strong demand in major urban centers, multi-family residential properties are a compelling investment option for pension funds (Avison Young, 2024).
  • Laboratory and data center spaces: The increasing importance of technology sectors is fueling the demand for specialized commercial properties (Colliers International Group Inc., 2023).

Global Expansion for Diversification

While not abandoning office assets entirely, Canadian pension funds are seeking a more balanced portfolio by diversifying geographically. Investment dollars are increasingly flowing into markets like Germany, Denmark, the United States, Singapore, and Australia (Colliers International Group Inc., 2023).

The Future of Office Space

The long-term viability of office buildings remains uncertain. Colliers International Group Inc. predicts a national office vacancy rate to peak at 15% by the second quarter of 2025, followed by a gradual recovery (Colliers International Group Inc., 2023). Some experts even suggest repurposing underutilized office spaces into residential units (Benefits Canada, 2024).

Coldwell Banker Can Help!

As Canada's real estate landscape undergoes significant changes, Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty Kelowna remains your trusted advisor. Our experienced team possesses a deep understanding of the local market and can guide you through the complexities of buying, selling, or investing in real estate. Whether you're interested in traditional or alternative investment opportunities, we have the expertise to help you achieve your financial goals.


  • Benefits Canada. (2024). Canadian pension funds seeking diversification in real estate at home, abroad: Experts.
  • Avison Young. (2024). Report on investment sales in Q4 2023
  • Colliers International Group Inc. (2023). Study on office real estate in Canada

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