Established in 1981, the Great-West Life Real Estate Fund is one of Canada’s largest real estate segregated funds. The Great-West Life Real Estate Fund (also known as the Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund No. 1 (or CREIF)) invests in a portfolio of high-quality, income-producing properties diversified by type and location. The objective is to provide investors with strong income returns and the opportunity for long-term capital appreciation.
65 Lillian (vivere), Toronto, ON
Watermark Tower, Calgary, AB
Laval Industrial, Laval, QC
Creekside Crossing, Airdrie, AB
as of June 30, 2019
in real estate assets
in total assets
Source of Return
Compound rates of return
(gross of investment management fees)
Three Month - Q2
Diversification by property type
By property type (millions)
Diversification by region
By region (millions)
Q2 2019 CREIF Bulletin
The Great-West Life Real Estate Fund continued its strong performance through the second quarter of 2019, posting a
quarterly gross return of 2.3%, bringing the year-to-date total return to 4.1%. Performance at mid-year signifies a recent
highwater mark for the Fund, a threshold unsurpassed since 2013. The capital component of return (190 bps YTD) continues
to be led by the Toronto multi-residential and industrial sectors due to a favorable combination of robust investor appetite
and regional supply/demand constraints which are propelling rental rates north. The income story (220 bps YTD) through
the second quarter was highlighted by a decrease in the overall portfolio vacancy rate by 71 bps, ending the quarter at
6.1% and representing the lowest figure since 2008. A snapshot of second quarter activity for the Fund follows:
Vancouver Centre II, Vancouver, BC
5999 Monkland Ave, Montreal, QC
1350-1360 Rene-Levesque, Montreal, QC
Q2 marked a couple of noteworthy milestones for the Fund’s Vancouver Centre II development. Excavation of the site is now complete and the first below grade levels of concrete are being poured. The tower will now begin to rise at 733 Seymour, which puts it on track for completion in 2021. From a leasing perspective, B2Gold has signed on to occupy three floors of VCII’s premiere space, including an exclusive portion of the building’s Skyline Rooftop Deck. The transaction brings total pre-leasing activity to approximately 40%. In an extremely tight downtown office market, VCII will benefit from being the first new tower completed in the current cycle of development.
Acquired in 2017, 5999 Monkland is a 165-unit multi-residential building located in the heart of Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district. In June, the Fund secured replacement financing for the asset. The $28M dollar mortgage is CMHC insured and features an attractive interest rate of 2.76% over the 10-year term. The Fund will to continue to look for opportunities to leverage its significant allocation to the multi-residential asset class by capitalizing on the achievable interest rate delta on CMHC insured financing relative to conventional mortgage debt.
Awards and Recognition
1350-1360 René-Lévesque West, a AAA class, 960,000 square foot complex in the heart of downtown Montreal, has won the "Building of the Year” Award at the BOMA Québec Awards Gala. The "Building of the Year Award” rewards commercial real estate companies that have shown notable management practices, provide quality infrastructure, and have demonstrated ecological consciousness. Further to this, management was presented with two awards at HOOPP’s annual LEAP (Leadership in Environmental Advancement Program) conference for initiatives at Vancouver Centre II and 840 Howe Street. The LEAP Awards honour outstanding sustainability achievements and leadership of management teams.
As equity markets have recovered from a slump at the end of 2018, trade tensions, growth prospects, and geopolitical risk remain items of potential concern. With a bleak investor sentiment on growth specifically, noted by recent inversions of the yield curve, the US Federal Reserve may move to reduce rates in the short to mid-term while the Bank of Canada continues to message a patient stance. Uncertainly abounds, though the Fund, with its inherent inflationary hedging properties, limited correlation to equity markets and predictable income performance, should continue to play a key role in a diversified investment portfolio.