GlobalHotelNetwork.com: Where do you see the best opportunities for hotel investment or development?
Carrie Russell: Canada’s RevPAR has been record-setting in recent years and is continuing an, albeit more modest, path of growth this year.
The strongest markets with double-digit growth were in BC – Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler, and the Mountain Parks – Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, with other regions around Toronto also posting large gains.
This healthy operating performance has resulted in pent up demand for acquisitions in the major markets of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Given the strong fundamentals in these cities current owners are hesitant to part with cash-flowing assets and the lack of available product has sustained the downward pressure on cap rates.
The contrary is the case in the battered resource based markets of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. Higher yield acquisitions are available in these regions, but the investment requires confidence in the outlook on oil and gas markets in Canada. The country’s generally conservative banking sector has held new supply in check over the course of this cycle, with the five-year average for supply increases at 0.8%. Development activity is increasing and shifting eastward with strong growth in the development pipeline in Ontario and Quebec. Many suburban and tertiary markets are ripe for development to refresh the hotel supply in these communities.
Carrie Russell, Senior Managing Partner, HVS Canada is a graduate of the University of Victoria, obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction. After graduation and some time spent gaining valuable hands-on experience in the hotel industry, Carrie joined HVS as an associate over 20 years ago. During this time, Carrie has been influential in establishing HVS’s presence in Canada as the leading hospitality consulting and valuation firm. Carrie has attained designation in both Canada and the United States, having completed the requirements to obtain the AACI designation from the Appraisal Institute of Canada and the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute in the United States. As well, Carrie is a member of International Society of Hotel Consultants (ISHC), the Real Estate Institute of BC (RIBC) and the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA).