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. *
* Effective June 26, 2020, the valuation of the properties in the Fund resumed. The current conditions continue to give rise to significant valuation uncertainty. In the interests of protecting the Fund and its investors, the suspension of any contributions, redemptions or transfers from the Fund remains in place.
65 Lillian (vivere), Toronto, ON
Watermark Tower, Calgary, AB
Laval Industrial, Laval, Quebec
Creekside Crossing, Airdrie, AB
as of September 30, 2020 *
in real estate assets *
in total assets *
Source of Return
Compound rates of return
(gross of investment management fees)
Three Month - Q3 *
Diversification by property type
By property type (millions)
Diversification by region
By region (millions)
Q2 2020 Great-West Life Real Estate Fund Bulletin
Property valuations resumed in June, as encouraging signals within the marketplace, such as the gradual lifting of emergency orders and increased visibility on the cashflow implications for real estate, including rent collection levels, and government rent relief programs provided increased visibility on the impact. Commencing in June, the Fund increased the frequency of external valuations, moving from annually to quarterly, while continuing to complete monthly internal valuations for the balance of the portfolio. This shift to quarterly external valuations provides enhanced valuation independence and aligns with best-in-class standards. While visibility has materially improved, there continues to remain a lack of transaction activity to provide comparable data points. As well, the appraisal community continues to qualify their valuations as having “significant valuation uncertainty”. In the intertest of protecting the Fund and its investors, trading activity remains suspended.
9500 Glenlyon Pkwy, Burnaby, BC
Crestwood Corporate Centre, Richmond, BC
Goreway Business Park, Brampton, ON
As part of the Fund’s discipline, management reviews the strategic positioning of each asset annually. While the majority of holdings in the Fund are categorized as core, long term positions, there are instances whereby management looks to divest of assets to recycle capital in an effort to strategically reshape the portfolio. In 2019, two suburban office assets were identified as disposition targets and transactions were initiated. The Fund was able to successfully divest of these assets in the second quarter, realizing better than 98% of previously appraised value and resulting in over $200M in net proceeds. Crestwood Corporate Centre and Commerce Court, a 906,852 square foot portfolio located in Richmond, BC, was sold in May for $156M at the Fund’s 70% interest. Similarly, the Fund divested of its 70% interest in 9500 Glen Lyon Parkway, located in Burnaby, BC, a 164,580 square foot suburban office building for $52.5M.
Leasing and Occupancy Update
Activity for the quarter was highlighted by the completion of a significant leasing transaction at Goreway Business Park in Brampton, ON. In June, management executed a new 10-year, 453,297 square foot lease with one of the world’s largest online retailers, utilizing the space as a fulfillment centre. The deal stabilizes the asset from an occupancy perspective and provides the Fund with predictable, long term cashflow from a strong covenant tenant.
Overall portfolio occupancy at the end of the quarter remains strong at 93.2%, down slightly from 93.8% relative to Q1. All else equal, the aforementioned Goreway Business Park transaction should lead to improvement upon commencement in August.
CECRA Participation and Collection Levels
Impacts on businesses due to COVID-19 have been widespread and management has been working closely with those tenants who have been most affected to partner in a solution that results in the long-term viability of the relationship. In that regard, the Fund has committed to participation in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program which is designed to help qualifying small business tenants access this important government aid as simply and quickly as possible.
For the second quarter, the Fund averaged a promising 92% collection level across the portfolio (94%, 93% and 89% in April, May and June respectively). Collection levels remain strongest in the office, residential and industrial sectors, while retail continues to be challenged. The Fund’s significant underweighting to retail mitigates the Fund’s overall collection exposure. With the majority of the country entering advanced phases of their economic re-opening programs, there is reason to be optimistic looking ahead.