Types of Real Estate

Five images represent the various types of real estate

Some people may think of real estate only in terms of what they are looking to purchase – most of the time, that’s a single-family home or a cozy condo. Real estate extends much deeper, however, comprising a variety of buildings, businesses and industries.

It’s important to understand each type of real estate, particularly when it comes to investing. Knowing what constitutes each facet helps you better know what to expect when investing, including where money may come in from and who you’re competing with when looking to buy and sell.

Types of real estate

Real estate can be divided and subdivided a bunch of different ways, but it can generally fall under the umbrella of the five following categories.


This is what most people think of when they think of real estate. Single-family homes, apartment units and anywhere you lay your head at night in your hometown are part of residential real estate.

Some crowdfunding and investment platforms offer opportunities to invest in residential real estate, but that could pose a problem to the average person seeking out a home. In the current market, with high prices, lively bidding wars and a scarcity of supply, a Canadian family seeking out their forever home likely doesn’t have the resources to go up against an investment company when it comes to buying.


Commercial real estate comprises a wide swath of buildings and properties. Referred to in the industry as CRE, these properties often involved places where people work, including business parks, low rise offices and retail plazas or centres. They may be a big box store or a single business – like a Starbucks – but they also include hotels and motels in the hospitality industry.

Here’s where commercial real estate can get a little confusing: they do include some residential buildings. However, these aren’t single-family homes, but instead large apartment complexes, purpose-built rentals, suburban development and other residential communities that are built by a developer and maintained by a property manager.

addy solely invests in institutional grade commercial real estate. These are properties that come with huge price tags, often in the tens of millions of dollars. Investments in our portfolio include an office park in Calgary, a boutique hotel in Montreal and an affordable housing building in Hamilton.


Though on the surface it may seem like there are some similarities with CRE, industrial real estate focuses on properties designed in a specific way as part of a certain business, mainly manufacturing and distribution.

Main uses include manufacturing, distribution, development and research that deal with various goods, services and products. Examples of industrial real estate are warehouses, factories, cold storage facilities and wet labs.


This category is fairly straightforward. At its most basic, when you buy real estate, you are buying land. We went over some of the characteristics of real estate previously, and most of them relate to the fact that you are buying a specific point on this planet. Sometimes that plot already has a building on it, but sometimes it’s empty.

Land real estate may simply include a piece of property that is undeveloped in a neighborhood. It also may be a piece of agricultural land, such as those used for farms, orchards or ranches.

Special purpose

Lastly, this category focuses on public real estate used for specific purposes. Big cities and small towns alike boast specific purpose real estate. That includes public institutions like government buildings and libraries as well as locations of spiritual or religious importance like cemeteries or places of worship. Green spaces like public parks or gardens also fall under the umbrella of special purpose real estate.

Real estate for everyone

By focusing on expensive CRE properties, addy makes available previously inaccessible investment opportunities. The average Canadian doesn’t have the funds to invest solely in such a pricey property, but with online crowdfunding, they can own a part of that property in an amount they are comfortable with.

addy seeks out properties across Canada, and already early investors are seeing returns with numerous Owners’ Days. Commercial real estate properties present a potentially lucrative asset class that’s now unlocked to investors, regardless of financial history or investing acumen. We can invest together and make real estate for all.

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