Great-West Life Real Estate Fund

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.

Fund Performance

as of September 30, 2019


in real estate assets


in total assets



Source of Return

Income 5.7%5.7%5.2%4.7%4.8%4.5%4.5%4.5%4.3%3.2%
Capital (0.9)%10.9%14.5%6.1%2.6%0.1%0.9%1.8%2.7%3.2%
Total 4.8%16.6%19.7%10.8%7.4%4.7%5.4%6.3%7.1%6.4%

Compound rates of return

(gross of investment management fees)
Three Month - Q3 2.27%
Year-to-date 6.43%
One Year 8.04%
Three Year 7.13%
Five Year 6.49%
Ten Year 8.80%

Diversification by property type

By property type (millions)

Retail 10.6% $ 620
Office 41.7% $ 2,432
Industrial 17.3% $ 1,009
Residential 26.7% $ 1,559
Other 3.7% $ 216

Diversification by region

By region (millions)

British Columbia 13.6% $ 795
Alberta 14.4% $ 840
Prairies 1.7% $ 102
Ontario 61.5% $ 3,585
Quebec 7.3% $ 427
Atlantic 1.0% $ 60
U.S. 0.5% $ 27

Quarterly Highlights

Q3 2019 CREIF Bulletin

Through three quarters of 2019, the Great-West Life Real Estate Fund has delivered investors a total gross return of 6.4% and a trailing twelve-month tally of 8.0%.  Year to date returns have been generated by equal parts income and capital, derived from limited portfolio vacancy, escalating rents and a healthy investment climate.  Performance has improved each quarter throughout the year, with Q3 producing 230 bps of incremental return.  Third quarter activity was highlighted by the completion of several financing mandates; details follow:

33 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON
Superior Business Park, Mississauga, ON
Winston Business Park, Oakville, ON
Country Club Centre, Nanaimo, BC
Financing Initiatives

The strategic though conservative utilization of debt forms a key part of the Fund’s core investment thesis.  Unencumbered assets are identified by their ability to generate financing proceeds at the best overall market terms, with execution timed to ensure that appropriate levels of overall liquidity are maintained.  The Fund’s overall leverage position has increased by 120 bps over the course of 2019, in large part due to the $180M of financing activity that was completed in the third quarter. 

Financing Activity

33 Yonge Street:

33 Yonge is a 520,000 square foot Class ‘A’ office complex set in Toronto’s financial core.  The building sits on a 1.5-acre parcel of land that encompasses a full city block and is the headquarters of GWL Realty Advisors, the Fund manager.  In September, a new seven-year mortgage was placed on the previously unencumbered asset.  The $103M deal is of an interest only structure for the full term and carries an attractive coupon of 2.85%.

Superior and Winston Business Parks:

Winston and Superior Business Parks are respectively located in Oakville and Mississauga and comprise over 1.5M square feet of premium industrial space.  In August, management refinanced the assets, with proceeds exceeding $45M for an additional 10-year term, at a favorable interest rate of 2.96%. 

Country Club Centre:

Country Club is a 290,000 square foot grocery anchored retail centre situated in Nanaimo, BC.  The asset was refinanced in August with a new lender on a 10-year basis with the first 12 months being interest only in nature.  The $35M loan facility was finalized at an interest rate of 3.30%. 


GWLRA continues to be recognized as an international leader in sustainability by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), improving its score and earning a Green Star ranking for the fifth consecutive year and its third consecutive GRESB ‘5 star’ rating.  The Fund made its second distinct GRESB submission in 2019 and placed among the top four percent in the Global Diversified category.  GRESB is the global environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmark for real assets. In 2019 a record 964 property companies and funds participated in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment.

Forward Outlook

Over 80% of the Fund’s assets are located in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, with the overwhelming majority based in each of the province’s primary cities.  These are the markets in Canada that offer the most economically diversified bases and create the best environments for core real estate investment.  Real Estate fundamentals in these markets continue to be very strong and the Fund’s position therein should help deliver compelling performance through to the end of 2019 and beyond.


Latest annual report

Latest bulletin

Past Performance Reports

Quarterly Bulletins

Q3 2019 Bulletin PDF (1 MB)
Q2 2019 Bulletin PDF (1 MB)
Q1 2019 Bulletin PDF (1 MB)
Q4 2018 Bulletin PDF (1 MB)

Annual Reports

Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund - Annual Report 2018 PDF (2 MB)
Canadian Real Estate Investment Fund – Annual Report 2017 PDF (4 MB)

Want to Invest?

Contact a Great-West Life advisor to invest in the Great-West Life Real Estate Fund.