Owners of small businesses in Ontario say they are less optimistic of growth than they were last year and cite the real estate market as one of their main concerns.

A survey by Leger for credit union and mortgage lender Meridian reveals that 67 per cent expect growth for 2016, down 11 per cent from 2015 with cash flow and currency fluctuations high on the list of concerns.

Real estate is also a concern with the current market conditions deemed unsustainable by 57 per cent of small business owners. That said, just 12 per cent believe that the real estate market is a negative impact on their business while 20 per cent said it was a positive influence.

On their commercial real estate intentions, 24 per cent said that would delay making a purchase due to uncertainty about the economy and 35 per cent said that leasing would be a less expensive option than buying.

“The real estate market is definitely influencing the way small businesses operate,” says Geordan Robertson, Director of Small Business for Meridian.

“We’re seeing some of our Members either race to purchase real estate, or liquidate some or all of their real estate holdings and turn to leasing instead.  And as the results indicate, many are adopting virtual environments to cut down on capital costs,” he added.

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