Investing in commercial real estate for sale in Canada can offer significant financial benefits, including diversification of one’s investment portfolio, passive income generation, and potential for substantial returns. However, purchasing commercial properties often requires considerable capital, making it crucial for investors to explore various financing options. This article will discuss the top financing options available for purchasing commercial real estate in Canada, helping investors make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Traditional Bank Loans

Traditional bank loans are a common financing option for purchasing commercial real estate in Canada. Banks and other financial institutions offer commercial loans with varying terms and interest rates, depending on factors such as the investor’s creditworthiness, the property’s location and condition, and the overall market environment. Some advantages of traditional bank loans include relatively lower interest rates and the potential for longer repayment terms.

To qualify for a traditional bank loan, investors typically need to demonstrate a strong credit history, a stable income, and a sound business plan for the property. Additionally, banks often require a substantial down payment, typically between 20% and 35% of the property’s purchase price.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Loans

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a federal agency that offers mortgage loan insurance for commercial real estate financing. CMHC-insured loans can provide investors with more favorable terms, such as lower interest rates, higher loan-to-value ratios (up to 85%), and longer amortization periods (up to 40 years).

To qualify for a CMHC-insured loan, borrowers must meet specific eligibility criteria, including demonstrating a strong credit history, having sufficient cash flow to support loan repayment, and providing adequate collateral. Additionally, the property being financed must meet CMHC’s standards for property condition and environmental risk.

Credit Unions and Co-operative Banks

Credit unions and co-operative banks are member-owned financial institutions that can offer financing options for commercial real estate purchases. These institutions often provide competitive interest rates and more personalized customer service compared to traditional banks. In some cases, credit unions and co-operative banks may also have more flexible lending criteria, making them an attractive option for investors who may not qualify for traditional bank loans.

To qualify for a loan from a credit union or co-operative bank, borrowers typically need to become a member of the institution and meet their specific lending criteria.

Private Lenders and Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs)

Private lenders and Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs) provide alternative financing options for investors who may not qualify for traditional bank loans or require faster funding. Private lenders and MICs offer short-term, asset-based loans that are primarily underwritten based on the property’s value and potential income, rather than the borrower’s credit history or income.

While private lender and MIC loans often come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms compared to traditional bank loans, they can provide investors with quick access to capital for commercial property acquisitions or time-sensitive projects.

Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) Loans

Although less common in Canada than in the United States, Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) loans can also provide financing options for commercial real estate purchases. CMBS loans involve pooling commercial mortgages and converting them into securities that are sold to investors. This type of financing can offer advantages, such as lower interest rates, non-recourse provisions (meaning the borrower is not personally liable for the loan), and the potential for more flexible underwriting criteria.

However, CMBS loans can also come with certain drawbacks, such as higher closing costs, prepayment penalties, and more rigid loan terms. Investors considering CMBS financing should carefully weigh the pros and cons to determine if this option aligns with their financial objectives and risk tolerance.

Joint Ventures and Partnerships

Another financing option for purchasing commercial real estate in Canada is entering into a joint venture or partnership with other investors or businesses. By pooling resources and sharing risks, joint ventures and partnerships can enable investors to access larger properties or more complex projects that might otherwise be beyond their individual financial capabilities.

Joint ventures and partnerships can take various forms, such as equal ownership among partners, limited partnerships with one or more general partners managing the property, or equity partnerships where investors contribute capital in exchange for a share of the property’s income and appreciation. When considering a joint venture or partnership, it is essential to carefully assess the financial strength, experience, and goals of all parties involved and to establish clear agreements regarding ownership structure, responsibilities, and profit-sharing.

Seller Financing

In some cases, the property seller may be willing to offer financing to the buyer, known as seller financing or vendor take-back mortgages. With seller financing, the buyer makes a down payment and agrees to pay the seller the remaining balance, including interest, over a specified term. This financing option can be attractive for investors who may not qualify for traditional bank loans or prefer more flexible repayment terms.

However, seller financing can also come with risks, such as higher interest rates, balloon payments, or the possibility of the seller foreclosing on the property if the buyer defaults on payments. It is crucial for investors to carefully review and negotiate the terms of seller financing agreements to ensure they align with their financial goals and risk tolerance.


When purchasing commercial real estate in Canada, investors have several financing options to consider. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks, and it is crucial for investors to carefully assess their financial situation, investment goals, and risk tolerance before deciding on the best financing option. By exploring various financing alternatives and seeking professional advice, investors can make informed decisions that enable them to capitalize on the potential rewards of commercial real estate investment while managing the associated risks.