12 secondary market hot spots in Saskatchewan

Business Manager, Stuart Commercial Inc., Sales Associate, ICR Commercial Real Estate
  • Nov. 8, 2014

Kelly MacsymicSaskatchewan’s largest urban centres are Regina and Saskatoon but did you know there are a dozen secondary markets attracting retailers and developers?

ICR Commercial Real Estate recently released Small Market Report 2014. In-house research analyst Alvaro Campos has been hard at work collecting information on these communities, which we’d like to summarize:

1. Prince Albert – Population of 44,437

As the third-largest city in the province, the Prince Albert trading area draws more than 150,000 people. With an average household income of $91,725 there is plenty of people to keep the estimated 1.2 million square feet of retail inventory healthy. The average vacancy rate for retail property in this community is 3.96 per cent. Prince Albert serves as not only a regional hub but as a gateway to the north. Development has been brisk within the city averaging an investment of $78 million a year in building permits over the past five years.

2. Moose Jaw – Population 36,003

Drawing from a trading area of 60,000 people, the city of Moose Jaw is home to many new retailers including Original Joe’s, Brown’s Social House and Rock Creek. Alberta Venture magazine has shortlisted Moose Jaw as one of the best 25 communities outside of Alberta in which to do business, crediting the new $4.25 billion K+S Potash mine and the city’s aggressive tax policies in luring business. Construction is currently underway for 70,000 square feet of commercial space in the $27-million Civic Centre Plaza. Many national retailers already call Moose Jaw home including Walmart, Superstore, Staples and Mark’s Work Warehouse.

3. Lloydminster – Population 33,566

The Border City has benefited from the oil and gas industry for several decades. With a trading area of 160,000 people, the city of Lloydminster continues to expand and welcome new business. The majority of the retail inventory is located on 44th St., also known as the TransCanada Highway. It runs through the community fully east to west, connecting the Saskatchewan and Alberta sides.

4. Yorkton – Population 19,038

Yorkton covers a trading area of 1,400 square miles serving more than 150,000 people. There are three major shopping malls and big-box tenancies such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, Staples and the Brick. A diversified community, more than 1,000 businesses call Yorkton home. Industry includes manufacturing, food processing, construction, cultural, professional, scientific and technical, retail, education, healthcare and administrative sectors.

5. North Battleford – Population 16,621

North Battleford sits at a desirable four per cent vacancy rate for retail property with new and existing retailers such Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza, Staples and Walmart investing in the community. The city is well-situated along the Yellowhead Highway to experience further growth in their trading are of 62,000 people. As one of the fastest-growing centres in the province, North Battleford should experience strong job opportunities with a number of key projects occurring in the area.

6. Swift Current – Population 17,681

Like many of the secondary markets, Swift Current enjoys a low retail vacancy rate, making it attractive to developers. Retailers such as Canadian Tire, Walmart and Pharmasave have already set up established stores alongside other retail users within a tight four per cent vacancy rate. Significant oil activity stretches out in all directions from Swift Current, which draws from a trading area of 55,000 people. The last population counts saw Swift Current experience a 5.2 per cent increase over a three-year term; that averages 1.73 per cent a year, whereas the national average was 1.1 per cent.

7. Estevan – Population 13,115

Estevan boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the province. As a regional centre, the community services a trading area of 30,000 people. The average family income is a staggering 114 per cent higher than the national average, at $143,460 a year. Projected retails sales in the city are estimated to reach $396 million in 2014.

8. Martensville – Population 8,805

One of Saskatoon’s nearby bedroom communities, Martensville is standing strong on its own with a trading area of 30,000 people to draw upon. The city is strategically located minutes away from the province’s largest airport in Saskatoon. The community is experiencing approximately 6-10 per cent growth annually which is drawing in retailers like Tim Hortons, Pharmasave, Canadian Tire, and Dairy Queen. Martensville is also home to the province’s first RV mall in developing Northlands Business Park.

9. Warman – Population 12,339

Neighbouring Warman is the second of Saskatoon’s most successful bedroom communities. Warman is just 31 years old but services approximately 30,000 people within its trading area. Local development has been brisk with a new facility that includes: a 1,400 seat arena, multi-purpose fields, fitness centre, sports medicine facility, childcare services, food services, community theatre and integrated library. Warman’s 30-acre shopping complex, StoneGate, starts construction in 2015.

10. Weyburn – Population 6,804

More than $175 million is planned in capital projects over the next 15 years in Weyburn. As a choice centre for regional head office, the community supports a trading area of 30,000 people. National retailers such as Boston Pizza and Tim Hortons have long since set up in Weyburn. The City of Weyburn has plans in motion to double its population over the next 20 years. The resource development enjoyed by nearby Estevan does reach up to Weyburn along with advances in the agriculture industry.

11. Humboldt – Population 6,800

Boasting all the amenities of a large centre within a small-town atmosphere, Humboldt is one of Saskatchewan’s most progressive and prosperous communities with strong agriculture and resource-based industries. A trading area of 30,000 people encompasses Humboldt. The mining sector has certainly benefited Humboldt and area with the Lanigan Potash Corp mine and BHP Billiton’s investment in the nearby Jansen mine. A strong market with five per cent vacancy rates has made Humboldt a great home for retailers like Boston Pizza, Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire.

12. Kindersley – Population 5,349

Kindersley is the urban centre of the west central portion of Saskatchewan, acting as a hub for a trading area of 28,000 people. Longstanding oil, gas and agricultural industries have kept Kindersley buzzing economically for decades. Hotel capacity has doubled within the past two years. This is in addition to the development of 115 acres of mixed residential use and commercial development which will accommodate additional growth of up to 3,000 residents.

ICR is Saskatchewan’s largest privately owned real estate company with offices in Saskatoon and Regina; as well the company services Saskatchewan’s secondary markets. ICR specializes in the sales and leasing of commercial property and is known for its expertise in commercial development and re-purposing of existing buildings.

To discuss this or any other commercial real estate topic, please contact me at kelly.macsymic@icrcommercial.com. I am also interested in your feedback and suggestions for future articles.


I am a gal of all trades and wear a few hats at my current job though nothing quite as esteemed as my 1996 Unity Western Days Rodeo Queen crowned…

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I am a gal of all trades and wear a few hats at my current job though nothing quite as esteemed as my 1996 Unity Western Days Rodeo Queen crowned…

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