Nov 10, 2020
Sep 15, 2020
The Georgia Straight
Sep 14, 2020
The Georgia Straight
Vancouver is Awesome
Aug 10, 2020
The Georgia Straight
July 29, 2020
2020 vision for 2022: Vancouver office vacancy rate to rise with shift to homework
It’s 2022, and in Vancouver’s central business district, there are far fewer people milling around than there had been before the COVID-19 pandemic descended in March 2020. Many employees are working at home by choice, as employers have embraced the shift to remote workforces. Productivity has tended to remain constant and some businesses have been keen to reap savings by having smaller office footprints. This summer, meanwhile, real estate services giant NAI Commercial estimates that between 5% and 20% of workers at downtown Vancouver office towers are regularly at their offices. Employees are expected to return to offices in subsequent quarters, but employers leasing less space could raise vacancy rates in those buildings. “In 2022, we have new inventory that will be available, and downtown [Vancouver] will have an inventory of around 27,800,000 square feet, versus the current 26,250,000 square feet,” said Rob DesBrisay, NAI Commercial’s managing partner in leasing and investment sales.
Bank Of Canada Pumping Billions Into Mortgage Liquidity To Prop Up Real Estate
Canada’s central bank is desperately trying to prop up real estate markets with liquidity. Bank of Canada (BoC) has been injecting billions into Canada Mortgage Bonds (CMBs). The central bank began purchasing a few million worth of bonds during last year’s real estate slow down. As the pandemic hit, the BoC began buying hundreds of millions worth of CMBs per week. The flood of liquidity has a limited impact on preserving prices, but creates a massive withdrawal risk. Canada mortgage bonds (CMBs) are debt securities guaranteed by the Government of Canada. Basically, lenders originate mortgages, and then group them into a pool. The pool is then sold to the government as a mortgage backed security (MBS). In order to buy MBSs, the government sells CMBs to investors to generate the funds. The cash flow from the MBS is then used to make payments to investors holding CMBs. Long story short, the CMBs are a state secured vehicle for mortgage financing.
RioCan swings to $350.8-million loss in Q2 amid rent deferrals caused by COVID-19
TORONTO - RioCan REIT swung to a large loss in its latest quarter amid rent deferrals resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns. RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust says it collected about 73 per cent of rent due in April, May and June, calling the period “the most challenging quarter ever” for many tenants. “The orderly reconfiguration of certain declining retail concepts has literally been shown the door,” chief executive Edward Sonshine wrote in a letter to shareholders. RioCan — which owns, manages and develops properties and counts major retailers among its tenants — said in a statement it expects rent collection to improve as businesses reopen, and that it collected 85 per cent of rent in July. The company posted a net loss of $350.8 million or $1.10 per diluted unit for the three-month period that June 30, down from a net income of $253 million or 83 cents per unit a year earlier. Funds from operations were slightly softer than analyst expectations. Per unit, funds from operations hit 35 cents per diluted unit, compared with 48 cents per diluted unit a year ago and 38 cents per unit expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Massive Moody Centre redevelopment a step closer
The transformation of Port Moody’s downtown is moving a step closer to reality. A consortium of nine property owners has formally submitted its application to amend the official community plan for the 20-acre neighbourhood adjacent to the Moody Centre SkyTrain station. The project would change the area from a hodgepodge of commercial and light industrial buildings to a mixed-use neighbourhood with up to 4,135 new homes as well as commercial and office components that could create jobs for about 2,000 people.The application comes after 10 months of consultation with various community groups, public open houses and roundtable discussions with stakeholders. The consortium, which is comprised of developers like Anthem, Beedie Living, Woodbridge Homes and PCI Developments, along with TransLink and several families, said the project will generate up to $140 million in amenities for the city.
July 2, 2020
B.C. Housing explains why it paid millions above assessed value for Paul’s Motor Inn
B.C. Housing paid about $15 million — several million above the assessed value — when it bought Paul’s Motor Inn to provide shelter and support for people without homes. The provincial agency says that before going ahead with the purchase in June, it had its own evaluation done that placed a higher value on the 75-room hotel and its 1.3-acre site at 1900 Douglas St. “B.C. Housing received an independent appraisal, which was higher than the price paid for the site,” spokeswoman Laura Matthews said in a statement. “The assessed value was based on the existing operation, while the appraisal looked at the value of future redevelopment, as that is our intent for purchasing.” B.C. Housing tackled two immediate crises, the COVID-19 epidemic and opioid overdoses, when it bought Paul’s. The purchase took place as the province was moving quickly to find housing for campers in Victoria and Vancouver. Several properties were bought or rented in the two cities.
New condo sales, starts plummet in Metro Vancouver
A pandemic panic may be settling into Metro Vancouver’s once robust condominium market, at least for the short-term. Presales of new condo units are down 50 per cent and new product launches had plunged 75 per cent as of mid-May, industry reports say. Some buyers of pre-sale condos are now trying to unload their investment on Craigslist before the building opens. According to the latest results from Altus Group’s Condominium Apartment Monitor, between the beginning of April and the middle of May, only two new condominium apartment projects launched in Metro Vancouver, with a total of just over 200 new units, down by almost 75 per cent from the same period in 2019. Year-to-date new supply is down about 15 per cent, with 3,000 new units brought to market since the beginning of the year – the majority of which launched prior to mid-March when a global pandemic was declared. Sales volumes typically follow the new supply and, with the drop-off in project launches, pre-sales were down during this period by just over 50 per cent, Altus Group reports.
June 30. 2020
The Georgia Straight
With $400,000 budget or less, New Westminster offers more affordable housing options to Vancouver
Eight homes were sold in New Westminster over the last two weeks. For people looking for more affordable options to Vancouver, one thing stands out from the property deals made between June 15 and June 30 in Western Canada’s oldest city. It’s that one can have a choice of homes in the Royal City with a budget of $500,000 or less. Two of the recently purchased homes were in fact acquired for less than $400,000. That’s according to data by fisherly.com, a website that tracks market activity. One is 308-815 Fourth Avenue, a two-bedroom suite. Listed by RE/MAX Masters Realty, it sold for $341,000. The Norfolk House unit was on the market for seven days. The top-floor unit has a new wrap-around balcony, and spacious living room. The three-story building includes an indoor pool, and common room. It was listed on June 10 for $324,900, meaning the seller got more than the original asking price.
The Globe and Mail
Institutional investors and developer partnerships increasing in Vancouver’s tight property market
Vancouver has become a draw for major institutional investors seeking to invest in the city’s real estate market, and increasingly, the way in is to partner with local developers, say industry experts. Institutional investors are companies that invest money on behalf of clients, such as hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, insurers, or real estate investment trusts (REITs) and typically seek real estate holdings in robust urban markets. With its growing job market, low vacancy rate with high rents and resilient real estate market, Vancouver is becoming increasingly attractive to big investment. “The bigger institutions all want to own more in Vancouver,” says Jason Kiselbach, senior vice-president and managing director for brokerage company CBRE Vancouver. “If you can find willing owners of properties here, there is no shortage of capital partners.”
Canadian Homeowners Pull Back On Home Equity Borrowing, Pay Down Debts
Canadians have suddenly stopped borrowing their home equity, and are lowering exposure. At least a little, when it comes to personal loans. Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) filings show the balance of loans secured by residential real estate fell in April. The dip was one of the largest single-month drops over the past eight years of data. Loans secured by real estate is when home equity used to secure credit. The majority of the balance is home equity lines of credit (HELOC), which are a type of revolving credit. Homeowners can continue to tap their equity, pay it off, and tap it again. A small segment of the debt in this segment is home equity loans, where a one-time lump sum payment is given. Once these are paid off, the borrower would need to re-apply for debt.
Award-winning B.C. hotel sells for $5.6M under a court-ordered sale
A North Vancouver real estate company buying Sooke Harbour House for $5.6 million under a court-ordered sale expects to reopen in 2021 after upgrading the property. “The hotel needs some love,” Alex Watson, chief operating officer with IAG Enterprises Ltd., said Saturday. “As a family, we look for unique assets, things that you can’t easily replicate. It fits that bill completely. You’re not going to get many other chances to buy property with that kind of heritage, with that kind of waterfront, with that kind of infrastructure that’s already there, and the goodwill that comes with it.” A B.C. Supreme Court order approved the sale of the 2.5-acre waterfront site for $5.632 million after foreclosure actions had been launched. The hotel is currently closed.
May 16, 2020
The Georgia Straight
Canadian home sales dropped 40 percent last month, marking lowest number for May since 1996
On a month-over-month basis, Canadian home sales and listings looked good in May 2020. But when compared to the same month in a quarter of a century, the numbers in May were far from impressive. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, sales in May 2020 dropped 39.8 percent compared to the same month in 2019. The CREA observed that last month’s transactions were the lowest for the month of May since 1996. Year-over-year declines in the larger markets were clustered in the 40 percent to 50 percent range, CREA stated in a report released Monday (June 15). As for prices, the value of a typical home was “still up” 5.3 percent in May compared to the same month in 2019.
Home sales rebound from record lows; B.C. sees several ‘signs of recovery’
Sales of residential properties in Canada last month climbed from a record low in April, but remained nearly 40 per cent lower than the same month in 2019. The real-estate sector is in recovery mode, with some bright spots in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The big picture is things are moving in the right direction but still have a long way to go,” Shaun Cathcart, senior economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association, said in a statement Monday. Sales and new listings declined, then both moved up again. As overall supply is falling, “prices appear to be holding firm at this point,” Cathcart said.
B.C.s condo insurance market is 'unhealthy', says new government agency report
This province’s condo insurance market is unhealthy and has saddled owners with sudden increases of an estimated 50 per cent in Metro Vancouver, according to a three-month investigation by the B.C. Financial Services Authority. “Our interim findings released today present a picture of an ‘unhealthy’ strata insurance market in British Columbia. That is, a market that fails to meet the goals of sustainability, affordability and availability,” Blair Morrison, chief executive officer of the FSA, said in a press release.
Canada's real estate market may bounceback faster says RE/MAX
There is concern that Canada’s housing market will remain damaged by the pandemic, maybe until 2022, but many Canadians are more optimistic. A new report from RE/MAX Canada suggests that activity will return with 56% of survey respondents who are planning to engage in the real estate market expecting to do so within less than a year. Asked when they believe the real estate market will return to pre-pandemic levels, 44% said “by 2021” with 29% expecting it to do so by the end of 2020. RE/MAX says that its analysis of housing markets that are similar to Canada’s – such as parts of Europe – found that, in some cases, demand for homes was higher than pre-lockdown and increased from a year ago.
May 15, 2020
Vancouver homes sales fall 44% in May, but prices are high as ever
VANCOUVER - Home sales in the Greater Vancouver area continued their steep year-over-year drop last month amid confinement measures and physical distancing requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Tuesday home sales totalled 1,485 in May, a nearly 44 per cent decrease from May 2019 and 54 per cent below the 10-year average for the month. However, the figures marked a notable increase from 1,109 home sales in April, the lowest total for the month since 1982. Board chairwoman Colette Gerber said buyers and sellers are becoming more comfortable navigating physical distancing hurdles, with virtual interactions more prominent than ever. “Home sale and listing activity is down compared to typical, long-term levels and up compared to the activity we saw in April 2020,” Gerber said in a statement. “Home buyers and sellers are adapting today, becoming more comfortable operating with the physical distancing requirements that are in place in the market.” Home prices in the Greater Vancouver area have remained steady despite the recession triggered by the pandemic.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Toronto landlords over-leveraged and at high risk – RE/MAX
Toronto’s rental property owners are gradually losing hope as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, according to a new market analysis by RE/MAX. A significant contributor to the gloom is the almost-overnight collapse of Airbnb, which suffered much-reduced bookings once the coronavirus took hold of the global economy. The online lodging service has lowered its internal valuation from $31 billion to $26 billion, Business Insider reported in early April. RE/MAX said that these developments have left Toronto’s landlords over-leveraged and susceptible to market volatility – a far cry from the pre-outbreak vacancy level of less than 2% and a monthly rent rate of $2,213. “Many real estate investors were reaping the benefits of Airbnb-style short-term rentals, where the profit margin was so much greater than a traditional lease,” RE/MAX said. “With the closing of the US/Canada border and the imposed stay at home measures, the demand for short-term rentals disappeared overnight, and now some investors are left scrambling to find tenants for their vacant spaces.”
Bank of Canada holds rate steady, saying COVID-19 economic impact 'appears to have peaked'
The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday and said it thinks the economic impact of COVID-19 on the world's economy "appears to have peaked." Canada's central bank has dropped its rate dramatically since the pandemic began, cutting its rate from 1.75 per cent in late February to 0.25 per cent barely a month later. The bank's rate influences the rates that Canadian borrowers and savers get from their banks on things like mortgages and bank accounts. The central bank cut its rate in an attempt to encourage borrowing and investing to stimulate the economy, but those rate cuts weren't the only thing it did to try to buttress the economy from the unprecedented hit of COVID-19. The bank also started a number of bond and debt-buying programs in order to make sure there is enough cash in the system. It announced on Wednesday it will tinker with two of them because things are starting to look up, but it is still buying up government bonds at a record-setting pace in order to make sure banks have enough cash on hand to lend to credit worthy borrowers.
Canada's mortgage insurer tightens rules as it forecasts home-price drop of up to 18%
TORONTO — The government-backed Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on Thursday it would tighten rules for offering mortgage insurance from July 1, after forecasting declines of between 9 per cent and 18 per cent in home prices over the next 12 months. The move would make it harder for riskier borrowers, who offer down payments of less than 20 per cent, to access CMHC’s default mortgage insurance. CMHC is establishing a minimum credit score of 680 instead of the current 600, the group said in an emailed statement. It will also limit total gross debt servicing ratios to its standard requirement of 35 per cent of annual income, compared with a threshold as high as 39 per cent currently, and total debt servicing to 42 per cent versus as much as 44 per cent now. The measures will help curtail “excessive demand and unsustainable house price growth,” CMHC Chief Executive Evan Siddall said in the statement. He said COVID-19 has exposed longstanding financial-market vulnerabilities, and “we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians.” Some 35 per cent of Canadian banks’ mortgages are insured, their financial statements show. CMHC is the top mortgage insurer, while Genworth MI Canada and other private companies also provide similar products.
May 15, 2020
Challenges remain, but optimism reigns in apartment sector
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada, apartment owners hunkered down, worried about their ability to collect rents from millions of workers facing layoffs and business shutdowns. Amid what’s currently a mood of cautious optimism, these owners continue to work with their residents, but look forward to kick-starting new growth. “We’ve seen what has happened out there with other assets. We are in wonderful shape with apartments,” CAPREIT (CAR-UN-T) CEO Mark Kenney said during a recent Real Estate Forums webinar discussing the effects of the pandemic on the multifamily sector. Government programs are helping most renters hit hardest by the pandemic, so through April and May most apartment owners have collected as much as 95, 97 or even 100 per cent of normal rents and have arranged deferrals or other alternatives for most of the balance. “Overall, the revenue picture for apartments is extremely strong,” Kenney said. That was echoed on another webinar, hosted by SVN Rock Advisors CEO Derek Lobo. “Apartments are doing well. For April 1 rents, everyone thought this was going to be a real problem. It wasn’t. April was way better than everyone thought,” Lobo said. “May has been considerably better than April.”
Canadian home sales had their worst April in 36 years, but prices holding steady for now
Canada's residential real estate market plunged dramatically last month, as the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 pushed buyers and sellers to the sidelines. Home sales fell by more than 56 per cent from the previous month's level, which makes the month the worst April for home sales since 1984, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday. Canada's housing market is highly seasonal, as sales are generally low through the start of the year because of cold weather before heating up in the spring and through the summer. It then slows down again through the rest of the year before beginning the cycle again. But the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown those trends out the window, as lockdowns and physical distancing measures have put a chill on home buying right as the market normally tends to heat up. "Like so many other parts of normal daily life, a lot of buying and selling activity in housing markets across Canada has been put on pause," the CREA's chief economist Shaun Cathcart said. The CREA said it saw the trend begin in March, which started out strong before sales plunged in the latter half of the month. All in all, March sales were down by 15 per cent from February's level. Now, April is almost 60 per cent below that record low. "The housing market has, in unprecedented fashion, effectively shut down and closed for business," Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic said of the numbers.
Some companies are killing the office for good — and it could transform the way we live
Thousands of employees who have been working from home since mid-March are now facing a new possibility: they might never see the inside of their companies’ offices again. On Tuesday, Twitter Inc., became the latest to raise the possibility of a permanent shift in workplace policy when it reportedly told employees that it would keep remote-working protocols necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic in place indefinitely. The move follows late April’s decision by Waterloo, Ont., headquartered OpenText to close 50 per cent of its office locations around the world, leaving 20 per cent of its workforce without a fixed office. OpenText chief executive Mark Barrenechea said the shift wasn’t primarily about saving money, but about taking a fresh look at how his organization is shaped. “From a cost perspective, it’s probably neutral, getting to maybe a slight benefit,” Barrenechea told the Financial Post in a recent interview, noting that any benefit would be reinvested in the workforce. “It also is going to allow us to go after talent that we weren’t able to go after before, because our talent has always been tied to a physical space.” OpenText made its decision earlier than most, but experts in the world of commercial real estate say that companies all across North America are rethinking their real estate footprints, and the long-term effects could transform the way we live.
The Georgia Straight
No rush to resume open houses: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver chair Colette Gerber
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is maintaining its advice for realtors to avoid conducting open houses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Board chair Colette Gerber said that the REBGV doesn’t want to see realtors and clients put in harm’s way with in-person home showings. "We’re not going to rush into saying, ‘Yes, go ahead with open houses’,” Gerber told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Thursday (May 14). “We want to be very cautious," she continued. Gerber noted that “business can continue” with the use of digital technology, like videos and livestreaming. If there’s a need for an in-person interaction, realtors are to strictly observe physical distancing requirements and other safety procedures, according to Gerber, who assumed the post of REBGV chair on May 8 this year. “It’s really going to depend on the information we get from the various authorities as the province rolls out its reopening plan,” Gerber said when asked when the REBGV is likely to reconsider its advice regarding open houses.
May 5, 2020
Property Watch: COVID-19 has clobbered real estate sales in B.C., but will it push prices lower?
Because housing markets move slowly, it could take months for homes to start getting cheaper
After getting off to a hot start for 2020, the Vancouver housing market took it on the nose from the COVID-19 pandemic. This black swan event derailed optimism for what should have been a brisk spring. Suddenly, sales ground to a halt and new listings evaporated as worried sellers pulled their homes off the market for safety reasons. The big question everyone is asking about housing in B.C.: What happens next? The short answer is that we don’t know for sure, but there are some glaring problems staring us in the face. Economists and market participants are forecasting a deep recession, with some even suggesting a depression-type downturn. I hope that doesn’t happen, but the early numbers look troubling.
As pandemic raises risk, cap rates ‘will start to go up’: Colliers
The severity of COVID-19’s impact on the Canadian commercial real estate market is not yet known as the situation continues to unfold and forecasts are adjusted. As an industry benchmark, one of the most pressing questions is what the pandemic will mean for cap rates. Scott Bowden, the managing director of valuation and advisory services for Colliers International, told RENX people are looking for as much information as possible to help them make decisions. So, when firms such as Colliers release reports such as the Canada Cap Rate Report for Q1 2020, there is heightened interest. “We’ve been hosting more webinars where, man, we’ve had attendance that would rival any real estate forum in terms of people listening to what we have to say,” Bowden told RENX. “They just want to gather as much information as they can and try and apply it to themselves.”
COVID-19 slowed down Vancouver real estate sales, but not its prices
Vancouver real estate had its quietest April in nearly four decades as coronavirus put the typically busy spring market into slow motion. But that doesn’t mean opportunist buyers got discounts in Canada’s highest-priced city. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) says 1,109 properties changed hands in April 2020 — a 39.4 per cent decrease from April 2019. It’s also 62.7 per cent below the 10-year April sales average and the lowest total for the month since 1982. The 56 per cent drop compared to March of 2020, when 2,524 homes were sold, is even more dramatic. Steve Saretsky, realtor and author of real estate blog Vancity Condo says the plunge in sales only tells one part of the story. “Obviously that was somewhat balanced out with a huge plunge in new listings. But overall, months of inventory for sale nearly doubled,” Saretsky told Yahoo Finance Canada.
'Too big to fail': COVID-19 and Canadian real estate
Could the "wealth-conjuring machine" that is Canadian real estate grind to a halt after the COVID-19 crisis exposed its worst weaknesses? That's the concern many who watch a sector that makes up a bigger part of the Canadian economy than oil and gas. Today on Front Burner, Bloomberg News' Vancouver bureau chief Natalie Obiko Pearson returns to explain how real estate became such a significant part of the Canadian economy, how Canadians went deeply into debt, and why now, the housing market in Canada could be "too big to fail."
April 15, 2020
The London Free Press
Once seen as safer than gold, Canadian real estate braces for the 'Great Reckoning'
Canadian housing once seemed so infallible that the head of the world’s biggest asset manager in 2015 described Vancouver condos as a better store of wealth than gold. The coronavirus is putting that theory to the test. While lockdowns, job losses and uncertainty are roiling property markets from the U.K. to Australia to Hong Kong, Canada’s situation is more precarious than most. As its oil sector shrivelled in recent years, Canada’s economy became ever more driven by real estate, an industry now in a state of paralysis. Nearly one in three workers have applied for income support. What’s more, its households are among the world’s most indebted, poorly placed to weather the storm. “I think it is the Great Reckoning,” says Douglas Hoyes, a bankruptcy trustee in Kitchener, Ontario. “We’ve been in a period for so long where it didn’t matter what property you bought or how highly leveraged you were. Well, guess what? Now it matters.”
The Georgia Straight
Summer revival of pandemic-ravaged Canadian real estate seen by RBC economist Robert Hogue
An RBC economist expects a possible summer resurgence of the real estate market in Canada. In a housing update, Robert Hogue of RBC Economics described the ravages being done by the COVID-19 pandemic on the residential property market as a “temporary shock”. “We expect stronger activity to resume once social distancing orders are relaxed though there’s great uncertainty as to when this will happen,” Hogue wrote. “Our baseline assumption is sometime in June,” Hogue continued in his April 15, 2020 market update. According to Hogue, “exceptionally low interest rates will help spur the recovery”. The Bank of Canada’s trendsetting interest rate currently sits at 0.25 per cent, described as the lowest in a decade.
How coronavirus crisis could impact Metro Vancouver real estate
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With bad news about the economy due to the COVID-19 crisis coming out on an almost-daily basis, many are wondering what this all means for the real estate values in Metro Vancouver. The economic numbers coming in seem to get worse every time an update is provided, but given the low supply of homes on the market in the region, an industry expert expects prices won’t move much, despite sales slowing down to a trickle and the economy taking a big hit. “There’s so much unpredictability here, but we just see the housing market in Vancouver not being as negatively affected,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President of RE/MAX for Western Canada. “I don’t think it’s likely at all that we’re going to see prices increase…but we also don’t think that they’re going to decrease a great deal, either.”
Hutcheson, Morassutti look at path to COVID-19 recovery
Financial turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic is a “health crisis with economic implications, it’s not an economic crisis in itself,” says the incoming CEO of OMERS, one of the country’s largest commercial real estate investors. Blake Hutcheson, the former head of Oxford Properties, was speaking during a Canadian market outlook webinar this week hosted by CBRE. The CRE services firm and brokerage called it CBRE’s first-ever virtual market outlook for Canada. Discussing both the impact so far and prospects for climbing out of the deep economic hole the pandemic is creating, Hutcheson said he foresees the worst of Canada’s lockdown-type restrictions lasting a few months. He’s hopeful it doesn’t stretch any longer, so the steps to recovery can begin.
Marh 24. 2020
CMHC warns on 'jamming up phone lines' for needless mortgage relief
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation CEO Evan Siddall wants to reassure homeowners and landlords about the safety net being put in place for anyone who needs help paying their mortgage during the COVID-19 outbreak. But he’s also warning Canadians who might attempt to abuse the system. “Anybody who needs help should be eligible. If you can tell your bank the reasons why you need help, it’s as simple as that, you will get help,” Siddall said in an interview Monday. “What we don’t need right now are people, who are going to be okay, jamming up phone lines to banks because they’re crowding other people that are in true need.”
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Real estate in the time of COVID-19
When CREW was putting together its most recent Property Forecast issue last fall, every economist we spoke to hinted at the potential for a recession in 2020. Trump-fuelled trade uncertainty would be the most likely culprit and the effects, while uncomfortable, would be minimal. Now, not even three full months into 2020, the world is confronting a black swan event that has wrapped its wings around the entire planet, suffocating the global economy. Real estate, as reliant as it is on human interaction, has been hit hard by COVID-19. Rather than simply speculate on how prices and sales will respond to the lack of activity, CREW instead reached out to some of our most trusted realtor friends to get a sense of what has happened to homebuying in various Canadian markets in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
SmartCentres offers 1M sq. ft. for COVID-19 relief facilities
As the impact of the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, SmartCentres REIT (SRU-UN-T) announced it is offering Canadian governments and health authorities up to a million square feet of rent-free space in its 200 shopping centres across the country. The offer was made public Monday afternoon and includes land, parking lots and signage in addition to space within the buildings. It is the latest move by Canadian real estate entities to support those working on the front lines to contain the spread of the virus and to treat those who are affected. “We have been in contact with leadership in all provinces,” said Mitchell Goldhar, the executive chairman of SmartCentres, in a release.
Prices continue to soar in Toronto real estate market — despite COVID-19 crisis
After 27 years, Mike and Andrée Sullivan expect to list their four-bedroom century home in Weston on Thursday — just as they had planned before a pandemic rolled right into the real estate’s sector’s busy spring season. It’s a bold move, but not a crazy one. To many people’s surprise, Toronto’s real estate market is showing few signs of slowing down, despite the mounting crisis. In fact, house prices are continuing to trend up — 14.5 per cent year over year so far this month, according to John Pasalis, the statistic-tracking president of the Realosophy brokerage in Leslieville.
Marh 16. 2020
Perfect timing for Bonnis’ downtown Vancouver strata office
One of the rare strata office developments in downtown Vancouver is benefitting from the combination of a newly adjusted low interest rate, the region’s low vacancy rate and all-time-high leasing costs. Premarketing is underway for 13-storey The Seymour, a 56,000-square-foot luxury strata office project by long-time family developer Bonnis Group. The Seymour – at 600 Robson St. – will be the third new strata office project in Vancouver’s downtown and is due for occupancy by 2022. The developer has hired Avison Young to market the strata project’s 12 floors of office space, with the ground level reserved for Bonnis to hold and lease out as luxury retail space.
This Is Exactly How Much Money It Takes To Buy A Metro Vancouver Home In 2020
Vancouver is home to giant mountains, giant trees, and giant price tags in the housing market. Despite the city's real estate reputation, however, Vancouver housing prices are actually getting lower. But although costs are down since 2018, you might still have to save for a while to buy that apartment. We've all heard how crazy Vancouver's housing situation is, with some of its humblest homes available for no less than a million. Now, the online brokerage Zoocasa found exactly how much money it takes for a down payment across metro Vancouver. Don't get freaked out by all the digits, by the way; you only need to pay a fraction of the full price, also called a "down payment," to secure a house. The rest you pay over time with a mortgage loan.
Will COVID-19 affect the spring real estate market?
Unlike the stock market, COVID-19 hasn't affected the Lower Mainland real estate market — at least, not in a negative way. A friend of mine just closed on an apartment for $500,000 where she had to deal with a bidding war and ended up paying over asking. Open houses are still well-attended and quality properties are being snapped up quickly. Even detached homes at higher price points are starting to move. Low supply and high demand have pushed up prices — particularly in the case of condos which are selling at all-time highs.
Canadian homes sales jump 27% year-over-year in February, prices up 15%
The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in February were up sharply compared with February 2019 when sales hit a decade-low for the month. The association says sales for the month were up 26.9 per cent compared with the same month last year. On a month-over-month basis, sales in February were up 5.9 per cent, boosted by a 15 per cent jump in the Greater Toronto Area. The number of newly listed homes rose 7.3 per cent in February compared with January. The increase in the number of sales came as the national average price for homes sold last month rose 15.2 per cent compared with a year ago to $540,000.
Marh 6. 2020
Virus-driven interest rate cut could add kerosene to Canada's already hot housing market
Canada’s housing market is poised for a hot spring — with lower mortgage rates likely to offset any major drag from the coronavirus. While a reduced travel from China may crimp sales in Vancouver, and the potential for a recession could set the market back, the possibility of interest rate cuts from the Bank of Canada is likely to fuel further declines in mortgage rates and draw buyers into the market. “People are not concerned about coronavirus, people are not concerned about recession,” John Pasalis, president of Toronto property brokerage Realosophy Realty, said Monday by phone. “The only things they’re worried about is buying a home — and if they don’t buy now they might spend more in the future.”
This Week’s Top Stories: Canadians Are Back To Pumping Massive Amounts Into Real Estate, While Incomes Stall
Canada’s FIRE industry is growing much faster than the general economy. GDP reached $1.98 trillion in Q4 at annual rates, up 1.6% from the previous quarter. Finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) reached $386.73 billion in Q4, up 2.9% from a year before. FIRE is now 19.53% of GDP, blowing past the previous high in Q2 2016, and is now at the highest rate in at least a few decades. Canadians are jumping back into real estate, and new mortgage lending is booming again. Borrowers took out $37.94 billion in mortgage debt in November, up 20.79% from last year. The dollar amount is the highest for the month in at least 7 years of data. It’s also twice the amount borrowed just five years ago.
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
What you need to know about strata insurance rate increases
Strata owners in BC are facing insurance rate increases of between 50 and 300 per cent this year, according to the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC. Deductibles to cover claims are also rising. In some cases, we’ve heard of deductibles increasing as much as $500,000. Remember that insurance doesn’t cover claims under the deductible amount. So, for example, if a plumbing incident were to cause $75,000 in water damage to a strata owner’s unit, and the strata’s deductible was $100,000, then insurance wouldn’t cover the claim. In such a scenario, the owner could have to pay for the damages out of pocket, depending on the strata’s bylaws.
Feb 24. 2020
South China Morning Post
Move over Toronto and Vancouver - why rich Chinese are buying up Montreal real estate over other Canadian cities
While it remains a perennially popular destination for investment from China, shifting dynamics in Canada's real estate market, brought about by economic and political forces, are seeing investors broaden their horizons. For many years, the story of Chinese real estate investment in Canada was a tale of two cities, specifically Vancouver and Toronto. The glistening gem on Canada's Pacific Coast, Vancouver, is the closest major urban Canadian centre to Asia, and remains a top desitnation for Chinese overseas investment. And for good reason: besides its proximity, Vancouver boasts a mild climate, stunning scenery, high quallity of life, diverse educational opportunities and, perhaps most importantly, real estate values that have consistently appreciated over time.
Duplexes in single-family neighbourhoods 'a success' after first year, city says
After the first full year of duplexes being legalized across 99 per cent of Vancouver’s low-density residential neighbourhoods, city staff have reported a “modest level of uptake” in the building type but strong public support. A new staff report responds to council’s request in late 2018 for a report on duplex zoning after the 2019 trial period, recommends no further changes so the duplex regulations remain in place. The duplex zoning was approved by Vancouver’s previous Vision-majority council in September 2018, near the end of their last term in office, and it drew considerable backlash from some corners at that time. A guest op-ed in The Vancouver Sun described the duplex zoning as part of a “Chainsaw Massacre,” warning of the inflated land values that would accompany such a rezoning.
Former President of Luxury Condo Developer Alleges Company Has “Cash Crisis”
Cresford Developments, one of Toronto’s leading luxury condo developers, is currently the focus of a wrongful dismissal suit launched by its former president. On January 21, Maria Athanasoulis filed a 33-page wrongful dismissal claim that alleges Cresford Developments has a “crash crisis” and is failing to pay its contractors and real estate brokers, as first reported by The Globe and Mail. Cresford Developments is currently building four condominium projects in the city, including The Clover on Yonge (593 Yonge Street), Halo Residences (480 Yonge Street), 33 Yorkville Residences, and YSL Residences (383 Yonge Street). In her claim, Athanasoulis alleges Cresford needs close to $150-million to finish these projects.
Remove racist language from Vancouver land titles: councillor
Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung has put forward a motion to council asking that the city systematically explore options available to address the issue of racist language in Vancouver land title covenants. Exclusionary covenants on land titles based on race and nationality are common throughout the Lower Mainland and B.C. Under Section 222 of the Land Title Act, which was introduced in 1978, discriminatory covenants are void and unenforceable, but the words that remain on the documents are a painful reminder of the city’s racist history. In her motion, Kirby-Yung cites covenants such as this, from a Kitchener Street address on Vancouver’s east side, placed on the land in 1931 “That no Oriental shall be allowed to purchase the within described property.”nope
Feb 5. 2020
CF proposes The Crystal, new Vancouver office tower
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Could Canadians gain access to longer-term mortgages?
'Action-packed' housing market expected if banks follow TD rate cut
Revamped design for controversial Waterfront Station tower just released
Jan 29, 2020
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Montreal poised to hit new sales record
Montreal's housing market will continue to witness "dynamic" growth this year, with sales reaching a new record high, according to the latest projections by the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). The Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) posted 51,329 residential sales in 2019, equivalent to a 10% yearly increase. The region clocked its fifth consecutive annual increase of more than 5% last year, with the annualised average hitting 6.9% since 2015.
U.S. new home sales fall to five-month low, missing forecasts
Sales of new U.S. homes cooled for a third month in December, signalling a potential pullback after purchases climbed to some of the best levels in more than a decade amid lower borrowing costs and a solid labour market. Single-family home sales fell 0.4 per cent to a 694,000 annualized pace, the weakest since July and below all economist estimates in Bloomberg's survey, while the November figure was revised down to 697,000, government data showed Monday. The median sales price edged up 0.5 per cent from a year earlier to US$331,400.
Two 14-storey rental buildings approved for East Hastings Street
City council approved two 14-storey buildings on East Hastings in the northwest corner of Vancouver that will produce 212 rental apartments, 43 of which will be for moderate income households, after a pair of public hearings that concluded Jan. 28. It’s just the latest in a series of approvals for the first handful projects under the city’s Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP), which allows for 20 projects. Four other developments were given the OK in recent months, bringing the total to six. The two 14-storey buildings will be constructed at 3600 and 3680 East Hastings between Kootenay Street and Boundary Road.
Developers paint bleak picture of Metro Vancouver’s future under status quo
Metro Vancouver is at a crucial fork in the road — does it become a global city, embracing change and growth, or does it continue down its current path and become a “museum city”? At least, that was the perspective offered by a panel of real estate development leaders, speaking at a sold-out January 23 forecast event organized by the Urban Development Institute. The key message from the panel was that the current status quo — characterized by demand-side policies, lack of collaboration between governments and the development industry, and continued demonization of housing and commercial development — would result in stunted growth and further supply and affordability problems.
Jan 28, 2020
Shopify announces plans to hire 1,000 employees for downtown Vancouver office
Shopify's new office, set to open later this year, will be located in downtown Vancouver's Bentall Centre.
Business in Vancouver
Land-assembly investor sued over $40m Burnaby flip gets reprieve from judge
Judge who previously ordered businessman to pay $1.15m refuses to also make him pay special costs, as his conduct was ‘insufficiently reprehensible.’
110-year-old Vancouver apartment building near Kitsilano Beach tagged for potential heritage value
An apartment building a block away from Kitsilano Beach has caught the attention of the body that advises the City of Vancouver about heritage matters. Known as the Suffolk Block or the Suffolk apartment building, the residential structure is more than a century old.
Investors grab old Vancouver office towers as developer eyes new build
Reliance Properties plans new downtown office tower, while 100-year-old buildings sell for eye-popping prices.
Jan 23. 2020
Douglas Todd: Vancouver's luxury builders should be nervous
In Manhattan, half the luxury condos built in the past five years remain unsold. Vancouver builders are watching as thousands of New York City condos in glistening “super-skinny” towers, rapidly erected to serve a flood of demand from global millionaires, are largely empty as that city core’s real-estate bubble is bursting. The future is looking wobbly for high-end developers in potentially more risky Vancouver, where prices in the past decade have risen three times faster than in the Big Apple. In both places, middle-class young people are being squeezed out of home ownership. Even though there are differences between the affluent housing markets in New York and Vancouver, which are routinely ranked among the world’s sought-after destinations, the downward trend is similar in the East and West Coast cities.
Vancouver is Awesome
Vancouver ranked #2 least affordable housing market in the world
According to an international survey, Vancouver is the second least affordable major housing market in the world. The 16th Annual Demogaphia International Housing Affordability Survey looked at 92 major housing markets around the world and ranked them based on middle-income housing affordibility. It covered 309 metropolitan housing markets in eight countries including: Australia, Canada, China [Hong Kong Only], Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey determined the middle-income housing affordability ranking by using the “Median Multiple” - the median house price divided by the median household income. The study notes that Hong Kong is the least affordable housing market, with a Median Multiple of 20.8. Last year, the densely populated metropolis had a Median multiple of 20.9.
Manulife acquires new EQ8 apartment buildings in Montreal
Manulife Investment Management announced Thursday morning it has acquired Phases 3 and 4 of the new EQ8 LaSalle purpose-built apartment development in Montreal’s borough of LaSalle for $105 million. The two, newly constructed multifamily buildings stand at 16 storeys apiece and comprise a total of 300 units. “The City of Montreal’s economic story is positive,” said Michael McNamara, the head of real estate investments for Manulife, in a release. “Infrastructure investments, a tightening labour market and government support for technology have all contributed to economic advancement, and ultimately, a market we’re looking to expand in.”
Vancouver council gives thumbs up to five-storey moderate-income building
And then there were four. Four projects approved under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program, that is. The latest project — a five-storey rental building that will be constructed on a site at 1956 to 1990 Stainsbury Ave. near Trout Lake — was approved in a 10-1 decision after a public hearing Jan. 21. Only NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick voted against the rezoning application.The first three of 20 rezoning applications allowed under the pilot program, known by the acronym MIRHPP, were approved late last year. Thirteen of the 80 units in the Stainsbury Avenue building will be for moderate-income households earning between $30,000 and $80,000. Residents in those 13 units will pay between about $950 and $2,000 in rent depending on the size of a unit. Units range from studios to three-bedrooms.
Jan 17. 2020
Most of Canada’s housing market likely to be fertile ground for bidding wars in 2020
Canadians hoping to buy a house in 2020 better brace themselves for limited choice and plenty of competition, the latest housing market data suggests. While conditions remain ho-hum in the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador, in the rest of the country, there are plenty of buyers and not much for sale. A lack of housing supply would be “the story” for 2020, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) warned in its housing market forecast in mid-December. The latest national statistics, released by CREA Jan. 15, seemed to confirm the trend. The number of existing homes available for purchases was at a 12-year low in December, the association said.
Reports forecast CRE trends in Canada, major cities: AY
Canada’s commercial real estate market should continue to benefit from the country’s “solid economic fundamentals and a stable economy,” according to Avison Young’s Global 2020 Real Estate Forecast reports released this week. “Though uncertainty remains on the minds of occupiers and investors in the extended financial and real estate cycles, fundamentals will continue to outweigh fear, at least in the near term,” says the global real estate services firm in its Canadian executive summary. The Canadian reports include a national overview of trends and sector outlooks, as well as separate forecasts for nine of the country’s largest urban markets. Combined, they contain 54 pages of analysis and insights by sector, trend and city.
Poloz weighs housing 'froth' as rate decision looms for Bank of Canada
When home prices heat up, speculators often get the real estate bug — a dynamic that can grow into a dilemma for the Bank of Canada as it watches for signs of “froth” in the market. Governor Stephen Poloz heads into Wednesday’s rate decision with a Canadian housing rebound to throw into the monetary policy mix. "Should this housing rebound continue, we will be watching for signs of extrapolative expectations returning to certain major housing markets — in other words, froth,” Poloz told a Vancouver audience earlier this month. “It can be very unhealthy when the situation becomes speculative.” And while the major housing markets aren’t exactly on fire like they were several years back, solid job growth, immigration and low interest rates are fueling a resurgence in key markets.
Council to decide on Lululemon’s new head office next week (IMAGES)
Lululemon Athletica’s plan for its proposed new 13-storey head office on Foley Street at Great Northern Way goes before a public hearing Jan. 23. The company envisions a sculpted building at 1980 Foley St., which would replace its existing Kitsilano head office and three smaller satellite offices in Vancouver. Lululemon’s application for a rezoning text amendment, which is the subject of the public hearing, seeks additional height and use permissions.
Jan 14. 2020
B.C. home sales plateau as housing markets ‘stage strong recovery’
Following a slide in B.C. home sales that put total transactions in 2018 at 24.5 per cent lower than 2017, a flurry of activity in the second half of 2019 meant the sales trend line for the full year virtually flattened out. There were 77,331 home sales on B.C.’s MLS in 2019, which is just 1.5 per cent below that of 2018, according to British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) stats released January 13. While this level of activity is well below historical full-year averages (see graph above), the levelling-off of sales suggest that the slowdown has stopped.
Top trends impacting commercial real estate in 2020
TORONTO, Jan. 14, 2020 /CNW/ - Avison Young today released its global 2020 Forecast, including ten trends to know for 2020, and national and local property market outlooks for markets around the world. The annual report series provides perspective on how global events, trends and indicators impact commercial real estate in a variety of sectors, including capital markets, office, retail, industrial, multi-family and hospitality, among others. "Understanding economic, geopolitical and business drivers is central to how we help clients navigate the current market and prepare real estate strategies that have resilience for the future," said Dr. Nick Axford, Global Head of Research for Avison Young.
Centuries-old Grosvenor Group deepens West Coast CRE roots
Grosvenor Group’s history in North America is rooted in Vancouver. So is its future, says the head of its North American operations. The 342-year-old U.K.-based developer and operator’s first venture outside of the U.K. was an industrial project on Annacis Island near Vancouver in the early 1950s. “We purchased the raw land and developed it, and redeveloped it, and turned it into an active industrial park,” said Steve O’Connell, Grosvenor’s chief executive, Americas. “We still have a significant holding there today, and in fact, in the last few months have made other purchases down there.”
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Metro Vancouver clocks record-high housing starts
Metro Vancouver managed to buck the national downtrend in housing starts, ending 2019 with a record-high growth, according to the latest figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Over the year, the metropolitan region recorded 28,141 housing starts, beating its previous record of 27,914 in 2016. Of the total housing starts, 21,321 were for condo units, 3,426 for single-family homes, 530 for semi-detached dwellings, and 2,864 for townhouses.
Jan 13. 2020
2019 saw British Columbia home sales, prices dip: BC Real Estate Association
Home sales across British Columbia dropped by 1.5 per cent in 2019, according to the BC Real Estate Association. The agency said the average price of a home province-wide was $700,460, down 1.6 per cent from 2018, though that dip was a result of price drops in three key regions. The agency said the market was trending upwards in the back half of the year, potentially setting the table for sales and prices to rise again this year. “Housing markets across the province staged a strong recovery in the second half of 2019,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson. “This sets up 2020 to be a much more typical year than what markets have experienced recently.”
What Australia’s fires could mean for insurance and real estate in Canada
Australia’s devastating fires have already destroyed nearly 1,900 homes, but they’re just one of the many types of hazards facing homeowners. Climate change is raising the frequency and severity of a number of natural disasters, from flooding and cyclones to soil subsidence, which causes structural damage when clay soils start to contract during prolonged periods of drought. The increased risk has implications for insurance and beyond, according to climate risk analyst Karl Mallon. A recent report from his firm, Climate Risk, projects that 720,000 homes, or five per cent of Australia’s housing stock, will be uninsurable by 2100 as coverage becomes unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
Why is this city councillor visiting every Vancouver neighbourhood this year?
NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick is launching a 50-neighbourhood, year-long tour of the city this month, beginning in Marpole, to collect feedback about where residents think density should be located. The boundaries of the 50 neighbourhoods were defined through an exercise she did with UBC geography students in 2015. Hardwick’s endeavour coincides with the beginning of the city-wide plan, known as the Vancouver Plan, which launched with a “listening phase” in November. Last July, Hardwick was the only councillor to vote against every clause in a motion dealing with the city-wide plan's budget and process.
Grouse Mountain set to ‘evolve’ under new owners
A significant transformation could lie ahead for Grouse Mountain with Northland Properties poised to close a deal to buy the ski hill by month’s end. Northland principal Tom Gaglardi said when he announced the transaction on January 2 that his company would help the destination “evolve.” Exactly what that means is not clear. Northland built a Sutton Place hotel at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which is the other mountain resort it owns. There is no hotel atop Grouse Mountain, and District of North Vancouver and perhaps other approvals would be needed to launch construction, Grouse Mountain spokeswoman Julia Grant told Business in Vancouver.
Jan 10. 2020
Morguard forecasting growth in Canadian commercial real estate
MISSISSAUGA, ONT. — Morguard Corporation released its 2020 Canadian Economic Outlook and Market Fundamentals Report which states that investor confidence remained strong in the multi-suite residential, industrial and office segments in 2019 as demand continued to outpace supply of properties in these asset classes. The report, Morguard’s 22nd annual edition, provides a detailed 2019 market update and an overview of the 2020 investment trends to watch. Report findings include: The multi-suite residential asset class performed at a healthy level for investors in 2019. Nationally, economic growth and ongoing demographic trends continued to support strong rental market conditions throughout the year. In 2020, positive rental demand patterns and constrained supply will continue to place upward pressure on rents in major cities.
Canadians can expect a vibrant spring real estate market, with home prices rising modestly
TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2020 /CNW/ - According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released today, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $648,544 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Similar to the third quarter, potential buyers are continuing to come back to the real estate market. In the first half of 2019, buyers had remained largely at the sidelines waiting to gauge the potential impact of the federal mortgage stress test. "We have successfully navigated the first significant national housing market correction since the Great Recession a decade ago," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage.
Toronto And Vancouver Residential Real Estate Permits Make Large Declines
Canadians invested less in building and improving real estate last year. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows the value of residential building permits dropped in November. The declines are being seen across Canada, but Toronto and Vancouver are seeing larger declines. The value of residential building permits across Canada are falling compared to last year. The total value of permits reached $4.734 billion in November, down 3.98% from the month before. This represents a decline of 6.86% from the same month last year. Stat Can attributed the decline to multi-family homes.
GWLRA, Canada Life buy 1.1M-sq.-ft. GTA distribution facility
When DSV Solutions put its new 1.1-million-square-foot flagship facility in Milton, Ont. on the sale block, GWL Realty Advisors and Canada Life weren’t about to let it slip past. “Those opportunities are fairly rare in the (Greater Toronto Area) marketplace and certainly help us to scale the industrial portfolio in quick fashion,” GWL Realty Advisors’ Steve Marino said of their acquisition of the new, state-of-the-art distribution centre. The $180-million transaction closed in December. Marino, the firm’s senior vice-president of portfolio management, said the acquisition on behalf of Canada Life is part of the company’s strategy to increase its real estate holdings.
Jan 3. 2020
Home values tumble by up to 15% across Metro Vancouver
Residential property values across Metro Vancouver fell in 2019, with the value of homes — including detached houses and condo units — decreasing by up to 15 per cent. That's according to B.C. Assessment, the provincial agency which appraises all properties in the province annually and released its 2020 assessments Thursday. "The Lower Mainland residential real estate market continues to see signs of moderation," said deputy assessor Brian Smith in a statement. The value of detached homes decreased in Vancouver by around 11 per cent, in Surrey by three per cent, in Burnaby by 10 per cent and in Richmond by 14 per cent, B.C. Assessment said.
Morguard sees strong commercial property market in 2020
Canada’s commercial real estate market is expected to perform well in 2020 with particular strength shown by the rental apartment building sector, according to Morguard‘s 2020 Canadian Economic Outlook and Market Fundamentals Report. Nationally, economic and population growth suggest strong rental market conditions throughout the year, notes the annual lookahead produced by the Mississauga-based real estate and property management company. Morguard has operations across North America. Apart from Alberta’s large cities, which continue to struggle with low energy prices, 2019 marked a strong period for commercial property in Canada, said Keith Reading, director of research at Morguard.
Vancouver real estate: Home sales up in December, prices down from 2018
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver area's real estate board says the number of home sales last year was up from 2018, but remained below the region's 10-year average, despite a moderation in prices. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says the number of sales in 2019 totalled 25,351 units, up three per cent from 24,619 in 2018, which marked a recent low point. REBGV says sales last year were 20.3 per cent below the region's 10-year sales average and 29.6 per cent below 2017, when 35,993 home sales were recorded. The board's composite benchmark price for all residential properties ended 2019 at about $1 million, a 3.1 per cent decline from December 2018.
Anti-money-laundering course mandatory for real estate agents and property managers
The regulatory agency for B.C.’s real estate professionals is launching a mandatory anti-money-laundering course to show real estate agents and strata and property managers how to recognize red flags and what steps they’re obligated to take to report suspected cases. The course will provide “the information you need to understand why real estate is attractive to money launderers,” said the course outline on the website of the Real Estate Council of B.C., the self-regulatory body of the province’s 26,000 licensed real estate pros. Members will learn “how to recognize the risk signs and red flags associated with money laundering (and) review your obligations and the steps to take to report suspicious transactions,” it said.
Jan 2, 2020
Looking back at a decade of Vancouver real estate
The last decade was a tumultuous one for Vancouver's real estate market, according to researcher Andy Yan. Yan, a professor in urban planning and the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, has spent a decade poring over the data of one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. "It's been a long and strange trip," Yan told CBC's Gloria Macarenko on On The Coast. He kicked off the start of the decade with a major paper that detailed the number of empty condos in the city — noting that nearly a quarter of condos in some parts of downtown Vancouver were empty.
Niagara real estate increases exceed expectations for 2019
Niagara Association of Realtors president Deanna Gunter doubted local real estate values would increase much in 2019. She was wrong. "My crystal ball has a crack in it," she quipped. At most, Gunter thought there might be a modest increase of one or two per cent in the value of Niagara homes this year. Instead, average real estate values climbed by more than eight per cent. By the end of November, the average cost of a house in Niagara was $428,600. "Looking back at 2019, we definitely had a more significant increase in average price than we had anticipated," she said.
Lower Mainland assessed home values dip after sluggish year for real estate market
British Columbia property assessment notices are in the mail, and Metro Vancouver homeowners are being told to expect a dip in the value of their properties. The biggest drops for detached homes are expected in West Vancouver and the West Vancouver endowment lands (16 per cent), Richmond (14 per cent) and Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and North Vancouver (11 per cent), according to BC Assessment. Squamish house values held about flat, while detached homes in Pemberton and Whistler climbed by about five per cent each, the agency said.
Eastern Canadian Real Estate Markets See Big Demand Surge
Canadian real estate buyers are unusually busy at a time of year when no one’s selling. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows the sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) increased across the country in November. The biggest gains were seen in Eastern Canadian real estate markets, while formerly hot markets are starting to ease a little. The sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) is an industry indicator used to gauge demand. It’s exactly what it sounds like – the ratio of homes sold, compared to new listings on the market. By looking at this number, we get an idea of how fast the market absorbs homes, compared to people selling homes. It’s surprisingly easy to understand once the numbers are crunched for you.
Dec 23, 2019
New home sales rise in U.S., cap best three months since 2007
Sales of new U.S. homes increased in November, capping the best three months for demand since 2007 and reflecting sustained momentum in a residential real estate market that’s helping to underpin the economy. Single-family home sales rose 1.3 per cent to a 719,000 annualized pace from a downwardly revised October, government data showed Monday. In the three months through November, purchases averaged a 720,000 pace, the strongest in 12 years.
One of Canada’s ‘largest’ office floor plates is for lease
Calgary’s downtown office market offers plenty of space available for lease. But perhaps the most unique real estate on the market is the 80,758-square-foot fourth floor of Gulf Canada Square. The space is 697 feet in length and covers two full city blocks in the downtown core. It may well also be the longest stretch of available office space ever on the market in the city. “Firstly, an 80,000-square-foot floor plate is extremely rare in the entire country and it’s the largest for an office space. That’s the largest base building space that exists (for lease) in Calgary and the country,” said John Savard, owner of Bedrock Realty Advisors commercial real estate services firm in Calgary.
Vancouver condo sells for $142k over asking price with 16 offers
The Vancouver housing market is heating up. That’s according to one real estate agent who shared to Facebook that one of her listings sold for $142,000 over asking, and with 16 “amazing offers” to boot. This comes less than a month after it was reported that the province’s housing market was predicted to recover “much quicker than anticipated,” according to the BC Resale Market Housing Outlook by Central 1 deputy chief economist, Bryan Yu. The report stated that 2019 had a 7% decline in province-wide resale transactions, whereas 2020 and 2021 are expected to see increases of 4% and 13%.
Christmas in jail for Vancouver condo developer facing fraud trial in new year
Vancouver real estate developer Mark John Chandler is spending Christmas in a California jail as he awaits a trial on felony fraud charges. And for many of those in Metro Vancouver who knew Chandler through his dealings in the local real estate market, this comes as welcome news. Chris Stanley, one of many aggrieved presale buyers at Chandler’s beleaguered Langley condo project, said the developer deserves “a mine’s worth” of coal in his stocking this year. Chandler, 56, had spent more than three years battling extradition to the United States, where he faces felony charges in connection with an alleged fraudulent real estate investment scheme.
Dec 19, 2019
$3 million Vancouver real estate tax evasion investigation spurs CRA search warrants
Dec 6, 2019
Hamstreet asks to lower American Equities property prices
Some hints of results are beginning to trickle in from a November real estate auction that included several properties owned by a group of 15 insolvent mortgage funds formerly operated by Vancouver-based company American Equities. The funds were declared insolvent in June and placed into receivership under the direction of Portland-based financial consulting firm Hamstreet & Co. The firm was tasked with auditing the funds’ finances and selling off their assets in order to recapture as much value as possible for investors. American Equities operated the 15 insolvent funds — all of which are named some variation of “American Eagle Mortgage,” e.g. American Eagle Mortgage 100, American Eagle Mortgage 200, etc. — as vehicles for investors, many of whom were local to Clark County. At the time the insolvency became known, the funds held an estimated $34 million in assets against about $77 million in liabilities.
City of Vancouver asks developer to pay $3.8M for portion of alley
The city's director of real estate concluded $3,795,000 is “fair market value” for the portion of lane needed for the development. In a city where many homes are priced in the multimillion-dollar range, perhaps it’s not surprising the City of Vancouver expects to collect almost $3.8 million for a portion of a lane. The lane, measuring approximately 213.7 square metres, sits between two buildings on Broadway near Granville Street. PCI Developments is proposing to redevelop the site, which includes 1489 and 1465 West Broadway, into a mixed-use office building. The project will also include one of the stops on the Broadway subway extension. PCI needs the lane between the two buildings to create a consolidated site for the development. The lane sale goes before council for approval December 10, with city staff recommending the proceeds — $3,795,000 — be credited to the Property Endowment Fund.
Here’s What Mississauga’s New Waterfront Neighbourhood Will Look Like
Mississauga is experiencing rapid growth both in terms of developments and population growth. As the sixth largest city in Canada, the incoming Hurontario LRT, downtown Exchange District and a new waterfront community are set to revolutionize the cityscape. The highly anticipated Lakeview Village Square will see a development of a 177-acre site, which once housed the Lakeview Power Generating Station lands. As a brand new neighbourhood beautifully situated on Lake Ontario, this ambitious project will have access to the QEW and Highway 427. A mixture of residential units, institutional and cultural uses will make up the village, as well as 825,000 square feet of employment space and 100,000 square feet of retail space. According to Insauga, the project could be worth $6 billion dollars and will host a hydro gateway, Ogden Park, an Artscape community centre, school, waterway common, outdoor event space, a pier, the Serson Innovation Corridor, the Marina District, Lakeview Square and Lakefront Park.
B.C. economy sheds 18,200 jobs in November
What happened: The Canadian economy lost 71,200 jobs in November. The decline was led by losses in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. Why it matters: The data is “discouraging by any measure,” according to TD Canada senior economist Brian DePratto. He says it shows Canadian employment trends are “unquestionably softening.” The Canadian economy lost 71,200 net jobs in November, and British Columbia is one of three provinces that contributed to the decline. New data from Statistics Canada shows that from October to November, B.C.’s economy shed 18,200 net jobs. The loss was matched by Alberta and outpaced by only Quebec, which lost 45,000 net jobs month-to-month. That employment shift in B.C. — a drop of 18.2 per cent over October — was weighed down by a 20.5 per cent decrease in full-time employment. Both goods-producing sectors (-4.8 per cent) and services sectors (-13.4 per cent) registered losses. Part-time work increased by 2.3 per cent overall.
Dec 4, 2019
Metro Vancouver real estate rebound levels off, prices hold flat in November
After four months of rebounding sales activity, Metro Vancouver’s real estate market appears to be leveling off, according to new data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). The organization released its November sales data Tuesday, which showed a 55.3 per cent jump in sales across the region from the same month last year. However, after four months of sales gains, the number of units sold declined 12.6 per cent from October. November’s sales were four per cent above the 10-year November average. Inventory on the region’s market also continued to thin out, with the number of active listings on the MLS system down 12.5 per cent year-over-year and down 12 per cent from October.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
BoC likely to hold rates
The Bank of Canada is likely to hold rates in its monthly meeting on Wednesday, according to a Finder poll of economists and industry observers. The central bank will likely base its decision to keep the interest rate at 1.75% based on the current political uncertainty and its impacts on Canada's economy, particularly on consumer spending and housing markets. "So far, we've seen little change in the trends in these sectors, suggesting that the bank will be happy to stand pat in December," said Brian DePratto, director at TD Economics. Despite the economic concerns, Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University, said conditions are not "bad enough" to require a change in monetary policy.
Signs of real estate innovation after Supreme Court decision opens housing data
TORONTO -- When Chris Pollard wanted to list his Toronto condo, he decided to try a private sale in his neighbourhood first. And thanks to a Supreme Court decision last year against the Toronto Real Estate Board, he and his wife were able to look up how much similar units had sold for in the area to better price the home themselves. Private listings and other alternative sales models are still outliers in Canada's real estate market, despite an opening up of data on sale prices and listing history. Still, last year's ruling has ushered more information for consumers into the market and spurred innovation opportunities, said Anthony Durocher, deputy commissioner for the Competition Promotion Branch of the bureau.
"For the average consumer, they're able to benefit from greater choice of online tools to enable them to make an informed decision," he said of the change, which came after seven years of "hard-fought" litigation.
Growing CanFirst Capital having record year for acquisitions
This is a very busy time for CanFirst Capital Management. The firm has already set a record for acquisitions in 2019, continues to seek investments for its first open-ended fund, and is preparing to launch its seventh closed-end fund. The Toronto-based private equity real estate investment company was launched by managing directors Paul Braun and Allan Perez in 2002. Since then it has raised $550 million, about 70 per cent of it from institutional investors and the rest from high-net-worth investors. “We started primarily by buying property in the GTA and we evolved into national acquisitors,” Braun told RENX. “We’ve acquired property in Montreal, Ottawa, the GTA, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Calgary and Vancouver.” 2019 has been a busy year. CanFirst has transacted about 12 million square feet of space, most of it industrial, but also some suburban office. Warehousing for e-commerce is growing in importance in the company’s portfolio.
Nov 19, 2019
Calgary industrial on 20-year growth spree: Colliers
Calgary’s industrial real estate sector is on a 19-year growth spurt which has seen it almost double in size – adding almost 70 million square feet despite major ups and downs in the regional economy. Data presented at the recent Calgary Real Estate Forum by Colliers International indicates that since 2000 the city and region have seen 1,185 new industrial buildings constructed, with 68.8 million square feet of space and 5,000 acres of land absorbed. The Calgary region industrial real estate market has been buoyed in recent years by the expansion of both its rail intermodal capacity and air freight capacity. It has also benefited from road infrastructure upgrades to support its status as a major inland port.
Almost three quarters of detached Vancouver homes sold below assessed value in 2019
Provincewide real estate figures released this week by Landcor Data Corporation compared all residential sales for the first nine months of 2019 with the same period last year. It breaks down sales numbers, sale prices, sales volumes and what percentage of sales were above or below the assessed value — a gold mine of information for any homeowner. Here are five interesting things to know: 1. Let’s start with Vancouver: Most of the horror stories around money being lost in residential real estate are based on sales of high-end detached homes in the province’s most-populous city.
Ontario government introduces bill to update rules for realtors
TORONTO - The Ontario government has introduced a bill to update regulations for realtors that includes new enforcement tools, rules on business structures and allows more disclosure for consumers. The bill, updating the 2002 Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, would give the Real Estate Council of Ontario more powers to fine realtors and suspend licences for malpractice, as well as allow it to consider a broad range of factors including the public interest when considering registration eligibility. It also gives realtors the ability to incorporate and to be paid through the corporation, providing tax benefits and new ways to manage their income flow.
Vancouver rental housing completions are down by 30% this year: report
A new report adds to the growing chorus of concerns over the shortage of new market rental housing supply in Metro Vancouver, particularly in the City of Vancouver.According to the Goodman Report’s rental housing update, construction completions for occupancy within Vancouver will actually be down by about 30% year-over-year, with 947 units across 14 buildings expected to reach completion in 2019 — compared to 1,364 units finished in 2018. While the region’s namesake city is falling behind, the suburbs are picking up speed with rental housing completions in the suburban cities now growing six times year-over-year.
Nov 18. 2019
B.C. real estate lawyer who dodged $400K in taxes loses licence for a decade
A Surrey lawyer who admitted to evading more than $400,000 in income tax in just four years has lost his licence to practise law for the next 10 years. Baldev Singh Ghag pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion earlier this year, after investigators discovered that he'd failed to report more than $1.28 million in income between 2005 and 2008. He received a 22-month conditional sentence, including eight months of house arrest and was ordered to pay back all of the $418,866 in federal income taxes that he'd dodged. Now, Ghag has also admitted to committing professional misconduct and has resigned his membership in the Law Society of B.C. until 2029, promising he will not apply to practise anywhere else in the country.
The Canadian Real Estate Association Launches the First-Ever National REALTORS Care® Week in Support of Housing and Shelter-Related Causes Across Canada
OTTAWA, Nov. 18, 2019 /CNW/ - The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has launched REALTORS Care® Week, a national week of volunteer service for REALTORS® from coast to coast. REALTORS Care® Week runs from November 18 through National Housing Day on November 22, 2019. During this period, groups of REALTORS® across Canada will be "sharing the comfort of home" with Canadians in need by engaging in volunteer activities in support of housing and shelter-related causes in their local communities. "Our REALTOR® community is proud to be doubling down on our year-round efforts in support of housing charities with our first-ever REALTORS Care® Week," says Kimberly French, CREA Regional Director, Atlantic, and Chair of CREA's REALTORS Care® Committee.
B.C. 'well on way' to hit ambitious affordable housing target: Minister
The B.C. government is on track to hit its ambitious target of building 114,000 new homes of affordable housing over 10 years with the help of community partners, but more work needs to be done, said the housing minister at an affordable-housing conference Sunday. Addressing attendees of the three-day Housing Central conference at a downtown Vancouver hotel, Selina Robinson said 22,460 homes have been completed or are underway across B.C. as of August, with new buildings breaking ground every week. “We are well on our way of achieving our goal,” she said, adding 114,000 is a “big number.” “There is still so much more to do.”
CentreCourt’s 10th anniversary shapes up as record year
Toronto developer CentreCourt has launched sales of The Forest Hill condominiums, marking an early start to its 10th anniversary in 2020, a year which will be its busiest yet. CentreCourt was founded by chief executive officer Andrew Hoffman in 2010. President Shamez Virani joined in 2011. The fully integrated organization operates across all areas of development, including land acquisition, zoning, design, sales, construction and customer care. CentreCourt has quickly become one of the most active high-rise condo developers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with 15 projects in various stages of development collectively representing more than 7,000 homes and $3.5 billion in value.
Nov 14. 2019
Kelowna Capital News
Kelowna named best city for real estate investment in Western Canada
Kelowna is the best city for real estate investments in Western Canada. That’s according to Western Investor, a source for commercial real estate and business opportunities in Western Canada. Kelowna is Canada’s 53rd most populous city but has the 10th busiest airport, which the Western Investor said is a “telling” statistic that it’s a growing city and the reason why it called it the best. The report noted two new hotels at the airport, as well as construction of new commercial and residential buildings in the downtown area.
Commercial Real Estate: Oxford to build Canada's first multi-level industrial building
Oxford Properties Group has launched a new project in Burnaby that will become Canada’s first multi-level industrial building with full transport truck access to an upper floor, Postmedia has learned. The global commercial real estate investor, developer and manager is set to start construction in the second quarter of 2020, with completion expected in 2022. Located at Oxford’s 65-acre Riverbend Business Park in south Burnaby, the building will have 707,000 square feet over two levels at the site of a former paperboard milling operation. Oxford purchased the land in 2011. The park is located close to the intersection of Marine Way and Highway 91A in Burnaby, next to the Fraser River. Oxford said it removed more than 300,000 cubic metres of waste and debris from the property to make way for the now-operational business park.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Should real estate investors be cheering for a resolution to the US-China trade war?
On November 7, after roughly sixteen months of a trade war that has spread its stink across the global economy, the US and China announced a potential breath of fresh air: Progress was being made toward a “phase one trade deal”. Such a deal, when completed, would reportedly lead to a rollback in the colossal tariffs each combatant had imposed on billions of dollars’ worth of the other’s goods, subsequently paving the way to a broader agreement and increased stability in the global economy. Predictably, the message coming out of Washington was both confused and confusing. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg, “If there’s a phase one trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions,” but in the week following the announcement, President Trump repeatedly refused to commit to any tariff rollbacks.
Starlight's $1.72B takeover is a bet on Toronto rent potential: Continuum REIT CEO
The prospect of higher rents across the Greater Toronto Area helped Continuum Residential Real Estate Investment Trust fetch a $1.72-billion takeover offer, just two days before an expected initial public offering. “We knew that the portfolio was very valuable, and it was not valuable because of what it was making today. It was valuable because of what it could make in the next two or three years,” Continuum REIT president and chief executive officer Daniel Argiros said of Starlight Investments’ successful takeover offer in a BNN Bloomberg interview on Tuesday. “We had a gap in our rents – between our in-place rents and our market rents – of over 30 per cent and that was the reason for the strong order book on the IPO,” he added. “The buyer recognized the value of that gap and was willing to pay for that gap.”
Nov 12. 2019
Tech companies offer new ways to buy, sell homes in Edmonton
Technology is giving Edmonton homeowners more options when it comes to selling their home on the cheap. This year real estate tech companies — Bode and Honest Door — have launched in Edmonton, while a third company, Purplebricks, formerly Comfree, says its market in Edmonton is growing. The companies have one thing in common: they allow sellers to list their own homes with a reduced commission fee or no commission fee at all. "We've become really used to and value the tech-based experience, the digital experience in transportation, hospitality, travel, banking, the ability to sell your cars and and your possessions," said Robert Price, CEO and founder of Bode Canada.
B.C. rental crisis goes far beyond impact of short-term rentals, say experts
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s rental housing crisis goes far beyond factoring the impact of short-term rentals, say housing experts who say more building is needed to help families find affordable homes. Recent data from Airbnb Canada says the short-term rental company collected almost $43 million in provincial, municipal and regional taxes over the past year, which will be provided to the provincial government, regional districts and the City of Vancouver to fund housing and tourism initiatives. Housing experts said the tax is a small return for a province where families struggle to find affordable homes. “The extra amount of tax the hosts are paying and the Airbnb is collecting and passing along, there’s no scenario where that tax makes up for the harmful impact of all the short-term rentals on housing availability and affordability in the province,” says Prof. David Wachsmuth at McGill University’s school of urban planning.
B.C. Housing Transparency Rules 'Another Crushing Blow' To Vancouver Luxury Market
It’s been over three years since anti-corruption organization Transparency International Canada sounded the alarm on the Canadian real estate market, characterizing it as a hotbed for organized crime. The organization focused on government handling of home ownership and transactional data, which it said was a valuable tool in money laundering and tax evasion schemes. One of the most widely quoted findings from the report was that government records didn’t clearly identify the real owners of nearly half of Vancouver’s most valuable properties. “The true owners were hiding behind shell companies, trusts and nominee owners,” the group went on to write in a similarly scathing follow-up report published earlier this year titled “Opacity: Why Criminals Love Canadian Real Estate (And How to Fix It).”
Crackdown on dirty money in Vancouver real estate continues with creation of new watchdog
British Columbia plans to create a single real estate regulator to better combat money-laundering in markets like Vancouver, where the government says dirty money has helped drive up housing prices. The provincial government intends to introduce legislation late next year that would establish a joint financial-services and real estate watchdog by the spring of 2021, the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday. The plan would bring real estate regulation — including licensing — under the purview of the B.C. Financial Services Authority, which currently regulates mortgage brokers, private pension plans and financial institutions. Having a single regulator for those areas will streamline investigations and enforcement, according to the government.
Nov 6, 2019
Toronto, Vancouver see home sale gains in October but prices diverge
Home sales rose in Canada's two most valuable real estate regions in October as a rebound in the market continued as interest rates remain low. Greater Vancouver home sales were up by 45.4 per cent in the month compared with a year earlier, while Greater Toronto Area sales were up by 14 per cent. Gains for the Vancouver area followed a similar jump in September and mark the fourth month in a row of rising sales after significant declines at the start of the year.
Squamish Nation development near downtown Vancouver doubles in size
VANCOUVER - In April, the plan was to build 3,000 units. Now the Squamish Nation wants to build 11 towers totalling 6,000 units of mostly rental housing on a plot of vacant land at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge that was returned to the band in 2003. "In the last few years we really eyed it because of its proximity to downtown as an economic development project for the Squamish Nation," said Khelsilem, a band councillor and spokesperson. "The rest of the city has built all these massive towers on our land and we haven't had much benefit from it, and we think it’s a reasonable expectation to also get involved in that type of development.", a 9.8 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October.
Low inventory, consistent demand keeps Greater Victoria real estate prices climbing
The biggest difference appears to be the choice available. In the fall of 2014, there were about 4,000 active listings. As of the end of October this year, there were 2,643. That was a 6.4 per cent drop compared to September, but a 5.3 per cent increase from the 2,510 active listings for sale at the end of October 2018. “There has been a slight increase in our inventory from October last year,” Cheryl Woolley, president of the real estate board, said in a statement. “The current inventory is likely not enough for home buyers to feel they have a lot more to choose from, which in turn puts pressure on pricing for homes in desirable locations and price points. It’s not uncommon to see multiple offers in many of our market segments.”
What Ontario’s Bill 108 means for developers and official plans
On June 6, the Ontario government passed Bill 108, which it dubbed “more homes, more choice.” Bill 108 reverses many of the provisions contained in the previous Liberal government’s Bill 139, affecting 13 Acts in a way that has many implications for both municipalities and real estate developers. Reaction to the bill since it was unveiled last spring has been mixed. Advocacy group Environmental Defence, for example, has slammed Bill 108 for favouring developers instead of protecting the environment and ensuring more walkable and liveable communities. So it should come as no surprise Bill 108 was a hot topic at the Ottawa Real Estate Forum on Oct. 17.
Nov 5, 2019
Metro Vancouver home sales climb for 4th month, prices level off
Real estate sales picked up and sliding prices levelled off across Metro Vancouver last month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGB). The organization released its October sales data Monday, which showed a 45 per cent jump in sales from the same month last year and a 22.5 per cent jump from September. It marked a fourth consecutive month that residential real estate activity increased in Metro Vancouver, and sales volume was 9.8 per cent above the 10-year October sales average. Inventory, which has been piling up over the year-long real estate slump, has also begun to thin out.
Posthaste: Canada's two biggest real estate markets are sizzling again
Canada’s two biggest real estate markets are once again reporting brisk sales activity. Toronto housing prices climbed the most in almost two years amid falling supply. The benchmark price rose 5.8 per cent from a year ago to $810,900, the Toronto Real Estate Board said in a report Tuesday. That’s the biggest jump since December 2017 and takes it to within about $4,300 of the record set in mid-2017, Bloomberg reported. The Toronto data comes on the heels of numbers from Vancouver which show home sales surged 45.4 per cent in October from a year earlier boosted by lower prices, according to The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The city saw 2,858 sales for the month, a 9.8 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October.
Pharrell Williams gets behind Toronto’s Untitled condo
Collaborations between developers on condominiums aren’t uncommon, but Toronto’s Untitled will be unique due to the involvement of Pharrell Williams. “It’s Untitled because we wanted to leave space for you,” the Grammy Award-winning music artist and producer said in a brief video message shown on the large advertising screens that surround Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, where the development was announced by Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties. “Our new two-tower residential project will contain 750 one-, two- and three-bedroom units and 30,000 square feet of amazing amenity space,” said Reserve president and chief executive officer Sheldon Fenton while speaking in front of one of three buses, covered with the Untitled logo, that delivered guests.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Toronto saw fewer new condo listings during the third quarter
A slight decline in Toronto’s condo apartment listings during the third quarter of the year might have led to fewer investor-owned units, according to the city’s real estate board. “Condominium apartments are obviously a popular choice amongst first-time home-buyers. Moreover, it is also important to remember that condominium apartments owned by investors represent a huge component of the GTA rental stock and certainly account for most additions to the rental stock, on net, over the past decade,” TREB chief market analyst Jason Mercer stated in a news release. During Q3 2019, a total of 9,538 new listings were added to the region’s condo inventory. This represented a comparatively muted 1% annual drop.
Oct 31, 2019
Greater Vancouver Pre-Sale Real Estate Makes A Big Jump, But So Does Inventory
Greater Vancouver pre-sale real estate buyers are returning. MLA Canada data shows a large increase in sales for September. Rising sales commitments were also met with more inventory though. The net impact is weaker inventory absorption than last year, but a lot more choices for buyers. Greater Vancouver Pre-Sale Inventory Rises 42%. Greater Vancouver saw quite a few new pre-sales units released last month. There were 978 pre-sale units released in September, up 285% from a month before. This represents a 42.2% increase compared to last year. Last month’s numbers came in smaller than forecasted. Most likely, some of September’s inventory was delayed from a month before.
Federal foreign real estate speculator tax expected to pass
A federal tax on foreign real estate speculators is expected to be passed by Parliament, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. The first of its kind, the equity tax will penalize foreign real estate buyers by 1% and the Parliamentary Budget Office expects the tax to rake in revenues of $217 million in the first year. The tax would apply to all residential properties owned by non-Canadians — including corporations and trusts — but homes, condos and townhomes that are rented to tenants who are not immediate family members will be exempt. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals campaigned on taxing offshore buyers.
Vancouver industrial squeeze sparks push for stacked buildings
Metro Vancouver’s shortage of industrial land and the region’s insatiable demand for warehouse and logistics space means developers are now getting serious about building stacked industrial projects. The Vancouver regional market is facing a vacancy rate of just 1.9 per cent, said Bart Vanstaalduinen, executive director, industrial practice lead, Newmark Knight Frank. He was moderating a panel on the region’s industrial market on Oct. 29 at the Vancouver Real Estate Strategy and Leasing Conference.There is nearly four million square feet of new industrial product being built across 39 projects in the region, he said. Another 42 projects are in the development pipeline.
Sudbury Real Estate Board warns about rental scam
The Sudbury Real Estate Board is warning agents and potential renters about a scam connected with the website Prop2go.com. The website is taking information and pictures from real estate agents' 'for sale' listings and telling potential renters that the properties are available to be rented. Hopeful renters are told to fill out an application and send in a security deposit before they can get the keys. "[The website] asks you to give them a deposit, fill out an application with all your information, like your social insurance number," said Dreena Gilpin, the president of the Sudbury Real Estate Board. "And once the deposit goes in they tell you you can move in right away and just go to the real estate office and pick up the keys and when they come to the offices, the property's not for rent."
Oct 28, 2019
Is real estate still a good investment for Canadians?
Long before the stock market existed, before salt was considered as valuable as gold, and before humans first struck oil, the asset that was most sought after was land. Real estate investing has evolved, but today investors still seek out land as a way to diversify their assets, earn income, and increase their net worth. These days, however, many are asking whether or not real estate is still a good investment. The question is timely given the recent governmental focus on the nation’s housing market.
Big losers in Canadian election could be foreign real-estate speculators
The biggest losers of Monday’s federal election may not be a political party, but foreign homebuyers and homeowners, who are facing the possibility of new taxes levied on them by a Liberal minority government supported by the New Democrats. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals vowed in their platform to “limit the housing speculation that can drive up home prices” with a national tax on vacant homes owned by non-Canadians who are not living in Canada. According to a backgrounder, the Liberals are aiming to charge an annual one-per-cent tax, modelling it on a similar measure already in place in British Columbia. “In every decision we make as your government, we will always put this country and its people first,” Trudeau declared in his victory speech.
Toronto Detached Real Estate Prices Rise The Most Since 2017
The Greater Toronto detached real estate market is buzzing once again. Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) numbers show sales made a big jump in September. Sales volumes aren’t back to boom time levels, but the increase was enough to raise prices. Most of the gains are in the 905, which is seeing much higher price growth than the City. The price of a “typical” detached home is on the way up once again. TREB reported a benchmark price of $946,700 in September, up 3.55% from the month before. The City of Toronto benchmark reached $1,135,600 in the same month, up 2.74% over the same period. The price growth in suburbs is big, while the City is moving a little above inflation.
Toronto Don Valley hotel property sells for $102M
The Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites property, a prime potential redevelopment site located along Eglinton Avenue near the Don Valley Parkway, is being sold for $102 million. The buyer is a group known as DVP Hotel Development LP, according to current owner Allied Hotel Properties Inc. (AHP-X), which issued a release Wednesday morning. The agreement remains subject to standard closing conditions as well as approval by Allied’s shareholders, the company said. Closing is expected in January 2020. The assets being sold include Allied’s Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites at 175 Wynford Dr., and adjacent lands. The property is about 5.42 acres.
Oct 25, 2019
Metro Vancouver home prices will see modest increases over next 2 years: CMHC report
The Metro Vancouver housing market will see higher sales and modest price increases over the next two years, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation forecast. The CMHC report, released Thursday, forecasts income and population growth will not only support a rebound, but also create a balanced housing market in Metro Vancouver through 2020 and 2021.“While inventories of homes for sale are expected to decline slightly as sales increase, a growing number of newly constructed homes coming onto the resale market will help keep market conditions balanced overall through the end of the forecast horizon,” the report says of the Metro Vancouver region.
B.C. housing market to stabilize in 2020, accelerate in 2021: federal report
That’s according to a new housing market outlook by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which forecasts housing starts, sales and prices in B.C. will begin to stabilize next year, before accelerating in 2021. The agency says favorable economic and demographic conditions in the province will drive new housing starts, which it says will be “relatively strong growth … when compared to other regions.”
Tough Times For Toronto's Young + Another Real Estate IPO
In Toronto: Home prices and rents expected to rise in a red-hot market as Under-35s are being left behind. Elsewhere: Which party has the best housing plan ahead of Canada's election, rich counties better able to deal with climate change in the U.S., and a public housing project is the first to win top England architecture prize. Toronto area detached home sales were up 33% in September (Move Smartly). Toronto's fall real estate market opened with continued demand for detached homes throughout the Toronto area, with York Region leading the way. Toronto home prices forecasted to soar through the end of 2019 (Daily Hive)
Western Canadian Real Estate Prices Lead Lower, While Ontario Is Booming
Canadian real estate markets are heading in opposite directions, as Ontario picks up. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows national prices made a gain in September. The national index, making a smaller than inflation rise, was held down by British Columbia markets.Canadian real estate prices showed positive growth for a third consecutive month. CREA reported a typical (or benchmark) home across Canada was $628,200 in September, up 0.52% from the month before. This represents an increase of 1.34%, when compared to the same month last year. Prices are rising, just not much.
Oct 22, 2019
Canadian real estate prices are pushing to new highs – just not in Western Canada. The Teranet–National Bank of Canada House Price Index (TNB HPI) is showing prices increasing across the country in September. The growth was much slower than usual for this time of year though, weighed down by weak performance in Western Canada.The C11, an aggregate index of Canada’s largest real estate markets, made a tiny push higher last month. The C11 increased 0.09% in September, bringing year-over-year gains 0.66% higher. The index is at a new all-time high, but Western Canada was a big drag on monthly growth. The year-over-year growth is also tracking lower than inflation.
How a Liberal or Conservative win could affect Canada's economy
Canada’s economic landscape is poised to see some minor changes after Monday’s election, regardless of whether Justin Trudeau’s Liberals or Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives take power, though the big picture drivers and challenges to growth will largely remain unchanged. Here’s what will, and won’t, likely change after the vote. Over the next couple of years, Canada is in store for more federal stimulus, regardless of the winner. This is due to the Liberal government’s already budgeted spending increases which the parliamentary budget office projects will increase the deficit to $21 billion this year and $23 billion in 2020, from $14 billion in 2018.
U.S. existing home sales fell in September as prices climbed
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes declined in September to the slowest pace in three months as higher prices limited the recent progress in residential real estate that has been aided by low mortgage rates and consistent wage gains. Contract closings decreased 2.2 per cent from the prior month to a 5.38 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for a 5.45 million pace. The median sales price jumped 5.9% from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain since January 2018, to US$272,100.
This Week’s Top Stories: IMF Numbers Show Canadian Real Estate Is Overpriced, And Variable Mortgage Rates Move To A 6-Year High
The IMF Crunched Numbers On Canadian Real Estate. Here’s How Overpriced It Is
IMF calculations show some Canadian real estate prices are detached from reality. Toronto real estate prices are 54.7% higher than fundamentals warrant. Vancouver is a little better, with prices just 51.3% above prices normally attainable. Both cities pale in comparison to Hamilton, where prices are 57.1% above attainable prices. Liquidity is another concept for another day.
Oct 16, 2019
Home sales in September up 15.5 per cent from year ago: CREA
OTTAWA -- Home sales in Canada's big cities continued a rebound in September with a 15.5 per cent increase in sales compared with a year ago, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The association said Tuesday that sales compared with a year ago were up in Canada's large urban markets, including B.C.'s Lower Mainland, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa and Montreal, while data showed markets were still in balanced territory. "Home sales activity and prices are improving after having weakened significantly in a number of housing markets," said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump in a statement.
Housing prices on Vancouver Island outside of Victoria climb at highest rate in B.C. in September
The average price of a home continues to climb on Vancouver Island, but it’s outside of Victoria that the increase is the most pronounced. The Canadian Real Estate Association says the average price of a home on Vancouver Island is now $496,100, up 4.02 per cent from September of 2018. In Victoria, the average price is $689,600, up 0.5 per cent from the same period last year. Prices continue to fall in Greater Vancouver, on the Lower Mainland, and in the Fraser Valley, down 7.28 per cent, 6.41 per cent and 4.68 per cent from September 2018.
1 in 5 homes in Canada bought by newcomers, Royal LePage survey says
One in every five homes in Canada is bought by newcomers to the country, according to a Royal LePage survey released on Wednesday. The Royal LePage Newcomer 2019 Survey, which was commissioned by the real estate company, found that newcomers spend about three years in Canada before buying a home and that 75 per cent of newcomers arrive with savings or cash to help buy a home. About 1,500 people, all of whom arrived in Canada within the last 10 years, were interviewed by public opinion polling and market research company Leger for the survey and it was conducted online in August.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Immigration is now a major factor in population growth
Canada’s population and consumer base has seen strong growth thanks to immigration, according to the country’s statistics agency. StatsCan figures revealed that 82.2% of the population growth seen in 2018/2019 stemmed from immigrants and non-permanent residents. Overall, the population increased by 1.4%, which was the highest among G7 nations. The rate of growth was more than twice as fast as that seen in both the United States and the United Kingdom (0.6% each), and was much higher than the rate seen in Germany (0.3%) and France (0.2%).
Oct 15, 2019
Canada’s real estate market seen in full recovery mode as sales and prices gain in September
Canada’s realtors produced another strong month of sales and prices in September, with gains in most major markets in a sign of strength for the nation’s housing market. The number of units sold rose 0.6 per cent last month, extending a recent jump in activity that have seen transactions rise 16 per cent from a year ago, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday. Benchmark home prices rose 0.5 per cent in September, and are up 2.3 per cent over the past four months. Markets in British Columbia led gains in both sales and prices last month, with the country’s oil-producing regions the only ones showing any weakness.
International students have powerful influence on B.C. real estate: data
International students represent a powerful economic influence in Canada, according to data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), not the least of which is seen in the real estate sector. In 2017, the latest numbers available, there were 494,525 international students in Canada, a 119 per cent increase compared to 2010 and a 20 per cent increase from a year earlier. U.S. News and World Report ranked Canada the No. 1 country for education in the world in 2017, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the United States.
Commercial Real Estate: Vancouver podcast digs into the stories behind the construction-site fence
Curious about what really happens during the demolition of a highrise tower? Or maybe interested in how technology is changing how workers toil at construction sites around the city? Perhaps you’re mostly interested in how older managers are getting along — or not getting along — with their young recruits on the job site. A new podcast about the construction industry in Vancouver aims to shed some light on those topics and others. Construction industry entrepreneurs James Faulkner, Christian Hamm and Andrew Hansen have launched The Site Visit (thesitevisit.com). It’s a podcast focused on telling stories from the job site.
Mainstreet’s new multires strategy reaps top returns
Calgary-based real estate investor Bob Dhillon has a simple plan to grow his rental apartment business in Western Canada – jump on the opportunity to provide growing numbers of millennials and international students with places to call home. “Our strategy is at Inning one,” said Dhillon, the founder, president and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corporation (MEQ-T). However, it is creating a buzz due to a 2019 year-to-date total return of 49 per cent, according to a recent report by investment firm Raymond James. The strategy targets those demographics to expand Mainstreet’s portfolio, which as of Oct. 7 stood at 12,901 units in Western Canada. The majority of the portfolio is comprised of 7,038 units in Calgary and Edmonton.
Oct 10, 2019
Province plans to fire Alberta real estate council to deal with dysfunction
The province will fire all eight remaining members of the Real Estate Council of Alberta and appoint an official administrator, actions recommended by a consultant asked to investigate "significant conflict" on the council. "By every measure, the Real Estate Council of Alberta has received a failing grade," Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish said shortly after introducing the Real Estate Amendment Act 2019 in the Alberta legislature. The proposed legislation gives Glubish the power to implement the recommendations.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Canadian housing activity benefits greatly from population growth
A significant driver of Canada’s housing dynamism is its population growth, taking into account the latest sales figures from major markets. Statistics Canada data showed that the national population expanded by 531,497 to roughly 37.6 million in July, ending up as the greatest year-over-year increase registered since the 1970s. A RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger earlier this year found that Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary have all been ranked among the 10 best cities to live in across the world. Much of their attractiveness lies in their population growth and other positives like healthcare, education, retail availability, and ease of transport.
Technology trends reframe building design
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and big data are reframing the operations of an industry often thought of as a technological laggard. Those technologies are also fundamentally changing how buildings are designed. “Technology is just looming there as the big game-changer,” said David Thom, president of IBI Group, which ranks second on Business in Vancouver’s list of Biggest Architecture Firms in Metro Vancouver.
Election pledges risk re-igniting Canadian home prices, realtors warn
Candidates promising home-buyer incentives during Canada’s election campaign risk igniting already lofty prices without tackling the critical issue of supply, a real estate firm warns.Even with consistent economic conditions and no new housing policy changes, home prices will rise by 1.5 per cent in the fourth quarter to an aggregate $632,226 over the same period last year, according to a report Thursday by Royal LePage.
Oct 4, 2019
September home sales up 22% in September, Toronto Real Estate Board says
The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales in the Greater Toronto Area in September were up 22 per cent compared with a year ago as the cost of buying a house also pushed higher. The board says there were 7,825 sales through its MLS System last month compared with 6,414 sales reported in September 2018. On a month-over-month basis, sales in September were virtually the same as August.
Number of realtors in Lower Mainland dropping: study
As the Lower Mainland’s real estate market boomed between 2014 and 2017, so too did the number of realtors in the region, rising to more than 13,500 by 2017. Now, since the fortunes of the region’s housing market reversed, so has the number of realtors, according to a new study by real estate marketing firm Roomvu in collaboration with UBC Sauder School of Business.
The Georgia Straight
South Granville station of Broadway subway to be topped by five-storey commercial building
A development application has been filed for one of the six stops of the Broadway subway in Vancouver. PCI Developments has proposed to build a five-storey commercial building on the northeast corner of West Broadway and Granville Street. The said location has been identified by the B.C. provincial government as the South Granville station of the subway.
Real estate industry needs to remain flexible as expectations shift says PwC
Toronto’s real estate industry heard Friday they will need to become increasingly nimble and adaptable as tenant expectations and building possibilities evolve. Speaking at the Toronto launch of a 2020 trends report, PwC director of real estate research Andrew Warren says silos around real estate categories are blurring more than ever before.
Oct 3, 2019
TORONTO -- The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales in the Greater Toronto Area in September were up 22 per cent compared with a year ago as the cost of buying a house also pushed higher. The board says there were 7,825 sales through its MLS System last month compared with 6,414 sales reported in September 2018. On a month-over-month basis, sales in September were virtually the same as August. The MLS home price index composite benchmark was up by 5.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis in September. Meanwhile, the average selling price for all home types combined was $843,115, up 5.8 per cent compared with a year ago.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Landlords account for a growing proportion of owners in BC, ON
Landlord ownership is steadily increasing in BC and Ontario, according to Statistics Canada. The agency reported that as of 2018, the number of multiple-property owners in BC was over 268,600. Vancouver accounted for 53.6% (143,910 owners) of this demographic. In Ontario, there were 835,175 of these kinds of owners last year, with around 43% (359,475 owners) in Toronto alone. The two provinces, which host the two hottest residential real estate markets nationwide, have an abundance of housing investors. Taking advantage of these cities’ desirability, many of these owners have chosen to rent out these properties.
Toronto housing market posts biggest price gain in 21 months
The Toronto housing market continued to rebound in September, with prices rising the most in 21 months, bringing the cost of a typical home close to the record high set in 2017. The benchmark price across all types of homes rose 5.2 per cent from a year earlier to $805,500, the highest annual rate of growth since December 2017. That’s about $10,000 short of the record set more than two years ago when soaring prices prompted a series of government policy changes to cool the market. Prices were driven higher by a decline in supply, with active listings down 14 per cent to 17,254.
Edmonton’s 1932 by Bateman a ‘legacy’ development
The name of the condo project which will soon rise in Edmonton’s Strathcona neighbourhood sums up the story: 1932 by Bateman. In 1932, Mike Bateman’s grandfather started as a butcher on the corner of 99th Street and 89th Avenue. The Bateman family business grew into a grocery store and eventually a local chain of Bateman IGAs. The family’s involvement in the grocery business ended in 2017, but the two condo towers on the site of the original shop will leave a lasting family legacy. Bateman, partnering with developer Pangman Development Corp., architect/designer Dialog Design and Ledcor Construction, is on the cusp of building a project incorporating 18 and 15 storey towers joined by a pedway with retail on the main floor of one tower and townhouse units at the base of the other.
Oct 1, 2019
Toronto is now the world's second most overvalued property market: UBS
Toronto has emerged as the world’s second most overvalued housing market on the back of low rates and supply shortages, according to UBS AG’s annual global real estate bubble index. Vancouver was sixth in the Swiss bank’s 2019 index that is led by Munich, with Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Frankfurt filling out the other top spots. Toronto’s housing prices tripled between 2000 and 2017 and even the introduction of a foreign buyer’s tax and tighter mortgage rules only temporarily cooled red-hot prices, according to UBS.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Montreal's luxury market expected to enjoy strong numbers this fall
The somewhat languid pace of Montreal’s luxury market so far this year might change in the very near future, according to a report by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada released last week. Overall high-end sales during the first half of September accelerated by 38% year-over-year, paving the way for improved long-term strength. “The City of Montreal’s top-tier real estate market is set to maintain healthy activity into the fall,” the report explained. “Steady absorption of resale inventory from luxury condominium developments completed in recent years sustained Montreal’s luxury condominium market over the summer months, foreshadowing solid fall performance,” Sotheby’s added. “Montreal remains well-positioned to set new records in 2019.”
Canada Election 2019: Housing Affordability Will Get Worse Under Trudeau, Scheer Plans To ‘Help Homebuyers’
MONTREAL ― When Liberal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced the rollout of the federal government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive at the end of August, he stood at a construction site in Richmond Hill, Ont., a battleground riding north of Toronto and ― according to a recent analysis ― home to one of the worst rental housing crises in the country. When Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced his party’s plans to help homebuyers, he did so not far away, in Vaughan, another city north of Toronto that makes the list of places with the worst rental crises.
Vancouver ranks 7th globally for city most at risk of real estate bubble
According to the UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index, which puts the housing market into a long-term perspective and is designed to track the risk of property price bubbles in global cities, Vancouver is seventh on the index for 2019. We’re not the only Canadian city to make the list — Toronto is ranked second. In 2018, Hong Kong topped the list, but this year, the index suggests the greatest risk of a bubble is currently in Munich. The seven bubble risk cities in order are Munich, followed by Toronto, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. Frankfurt and Paris are new additions to the bubble risk zone, according to the Index, Vancouver is seventh. But, the Index also states that valuations in Vancouver, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney have “fallen sharply.”
Sep 27, 2019
If you are the median income earner, there are options for you' A new national housing report shows that average income earners are more likely to be able to afford a home in Calgary than in most other Canadian urban centres. The report by at Zoocasa, a Toronto-based real estate brokerage firm, looked at whether people earning the median income in 15 markets would qualify for a mortgage for an average-priced home. In eight of those cities, including Calgary, it was considered to be affordable. But in the other markets, a median income earner wouldn't qualify for a large enough mortgage to cover the cost of the home.
7 Important Toronto Real Estate Statistics
National home sales and prices are up, according to the latest data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association – but as you may or may not know, there’s no such thing as a “national housing market.” Real estate is local, and conditions can vary dramatically from coast to coast, between cities and even from one neighbourhood to the next. To help give you a better view of what’s happening closer to home, here are seven important Toronto real estate statistics that will be relevant to your home hunt.
Vancouver’s luxury real estate market to get a boost: forecast
Vancouver’s luxury real estate market is expected to get a boost this fall after prolonged uncertainty, even though sales above $1 million were low in the first half of September. The top-tier market started to turn around this summer, according to a Sotheby’s International Realty forecast, after a decrease of 33 per cent year over year in the first half of 2019. And while preliminary market data shows a 27-per-cent year-over-year pullback in sales above $1 million in the first 15 days of September, Sotheby’s forecasts a gradual, albeit tenuous market recovery throughout the rest of fall.
Vancouver's Bentall Centre to expand by one-third, as owners add 500,000 square feet
New owners at the commercial real estate hub in downtown Vancouver known as Bentall Centre are planning a transformative upgrade to their four office towers and underground shopping mall. The plan involves the owners building about 500,000 square feet of space to the current 1.44-million square feet of total floor area, which sits on a five-acre footprint, said Victor Coleman, CEO, president and chairman of Hudson Pacific Properties at an Urban Development Institute luncheon Sept. 26.
Sep 25, 2019
The commercial portion of the recently completed, 69-storey LEED Gold Stantec Tower in Edmonton’s ICE District has been sold to German real estate investment firm Deka Immobilien. Stantec Tower is Canada’s tallest commercial building outside of Toronto. The mixed-use tower includes 29 floors of commercial space for tenants including Stantec, PwC Canada and Dentons Canada LLP, as well as a Rexall pharmacy and Alberta’s only licensed food hall. The deal, reportedly worth about $500 million, is the largest office transaction in Edmonton’s history in terms of dollar value.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
The case for increasing amortizations
Interest rates are expected to rise—when has become anyone’s guess—and if they do, amortizations must as well. “If you look at the reduction from 40 to 35 years, it coincided with a reduction of interest rates by almost a full percentage point in a short span of time with no visible indication of those rates rising again anytime soon,” said Dustan Woodhouse, president of Mortgage Architects. “Each subsequent amortization cut—from 40 years to 35, 35 to 30, 30 to 25—mathematically was roughly the equivalent of a 1% interest rate hike and it offset the lower rates. In other words, reducing amortization by 15 years was the equivalent of a 3% interest rate difference.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Tenants are now finding rental homes crushingly expensive, as well
Defying expectations of the rental asset class being an escape from the crushing costs of ownership, tenants in Canada’s hottest markets are labouring under elevated rent rates. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, mid-income earners in Toronto and Vancouver have to allot, respectively, around 40% and 91% of their pre-tax earnings to rental housing expenses. Torontonians earning just over $45,000 annually will find the situation in markets outside the downtown area to be of no comfort: In the Peel or York regions, they will need to set aside 38% and 44% of their incomes.
Five-year fixed rates to drop to 2.77%, then hold steady: BCREA
Five-year discounted mortgage interest rates are still falling and will drop to an average of 2.77 per cent by the end of the year, then hold firm for a full year, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association’s latest forecast. The average fixed five-year rate in 2019’s third quarter is expected to be 2.86 per cent, which is down from an average of 3.16 per cent in Q2. This is just an average, as some five-year fixed rates are currently available as low as 2.25 per cent.
Sep 24, 2019
B.C. housing starts drop after four-month run
Housing starts in B.C. finally cooled in August following four months of record-high performances. Annualized urban-area starts fell to 36,900 units during the month, from 50,800 units in July, following strong results since April. This was the lowest monthly reading since March. While it remains to be seen if this drop-off marks the beginning of a trend, our expectation is for a significant decline over the next year given the weak resale market and moribund pre-sales of new projects since 2018.
Community Housing Providers To Reject Tenants Convicted Of Crimes
Toronto’s increase in gun violence is undeniable. The province has decided to take action through a change in housing regulations. Now people who have been convicted of drug trafficking, assault, damaging property or gun violence will not be able to reapply for Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). It also allows for TCHC to reject an application for housing five years after the eviction – leaving reformed criminals in the lurch. But Toronto Mayor John Tory says it sends a message to “criminals” that they are not welcome in community housing.
Home Capital Group to sell $425M worth of uninsured mortgage-backed securities
Alternative mortgage lender Home Capital Group plans to sell $425 million worth of its uninsured mortgages to investors, its first sale of so-called mortgage-backed securities since the financial crisis and a move likely to be welcomed by the Bank of Canada. The Toronto-based lender says it plans to sell the first tranche of the loans in a private placement that will close by Friday. The investments, which consist of some of the lenders mortgage loans bundled together and sold off to secondary buyers, will pay a rate of 3.011 per cent.
The Georgia Straight
Townhouse development to subsidize preservation of Vancouver heritage home
Housing affordability and heritage preservation are often difficult to realize in constantly changing cities like Vancouver. But there are also developments that aim to deliver on these two goals. An example would be the proposed project at 1215 West 16th Avenue, wherein a heritage home will be preserved through revenue generated by the construction of townhouses on both sides of the property.
Sep 20, 2019
The interesting history of capital gains tax in Canada — and its significant impact on real estate
Housing affordability is front and centre in the current federal election campaign, so much so that even policies that haven’t yet been announced — and may never have been destined for a platform — are courting controversy. This week, the Conservatives accused the Liberals of harbouring a plan to impose capital gains tax on the proceeds from the sale of a principal residence, a charge the Liberals have flat out refuted. Currently, income generated from the sale of a principal residence is exempted fully from capital gains, and removing such an exemption would be no small matter.
Choice Properties selling $426M retail portfolio
Choice Properties REIT (CHP.UN-T) says it has an agreement to sell a portfolio of 30 properties (27 retail sites and three distribution centres) across Canada for $426 million. Choice does not identify the purchaser in its release Friday morning, but calls it a “third party”. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is scheduled to close on Sept. 30. The portfolio consists of 27 stand-alone retail properties and three distribution centres with an average lease term of approximately 12 years with Loblaw Companies Limited. Choice says the portfolio is being sold at slightly above its IFRS carrying value, and proceeds from the transaction will be used to repay debt.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
PwC forecasts 2020 commercial market
The industrial sector is forecasted to be strong next year with warehousing and fulfillment driving development. According to Q2-2019 statistics compiled by CBRE, the national vacancy rate for industrial space was 3.1%, however, in Vancouver that number is even lower with only 2.1% of spaces available, and they’re nearly all accounted for in Toronto where the vacancy rate is 1.5%. The result is escalating rents because supply simply cannot keep apace demand. PwC cites an interviewee who pegged industrial real estate to be the strongest bet going forward, especially in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. Calgary has also shown promise, not to mention a reversal of fortune for the sector.
Eight-storey condo building considered for East Hastings Street
An eight-storey building could be coming to East Hastings at the corner of Semlin Street. Dialog submitted a rezoning application on behalf of Reliance Properties for a mixed-use building with 131 market condo units for 1943 to 1967 East Hastings St., located directly acros from Xpey’ elementary school, which was formerly known as Macdonald elementary.
Sep 19, 2019
Foreign investment in Canadian commercial real estate slides 70%
Foreign investment in Canadian commercial real estate dropped 70 per cent in the first half of the year amid a scarcity of large portfolios for sale, data from Altus Group Ltd. show. Transactions totalled $1.5 billion, down from $5 billion in the first six months of 2018, when Blackstone Group Inc. (BX:UN) and Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc. bought a Canadian industrial landlord for about $3.8 billion, Altus said.
Online real estate platform promises to save buyers and sellers time, money
Alberta startup Bōde Canada has launched a tech platform it promises will make home selling and buying easier and cheaper. “The buyer ends up paying less, the seller makes more,” Bōde founder and CEO, Robert Price, said. The augmented reality program allows sellers to list their properties for no fee upfront, then markets the listing to various sites. The seller and buyer then connect and when the property sells, Bōde takes a flat one per cent service fee on the final selling price.
Commercial Real Estate: Investment booming in Fraser Valley
Investment figures and new construction projects show that the Fraser Valley is on track to becoming the Lower Mainland’s leading industrial hub, according to data presented by Avison Young. In 2018, buyers signed 199 industrial investment deals in the Fraser Valley. To compare, Burnaby (50), Richmond (79) and Vancouver (44) had a total of 173 deals, said Michael Farrell, a principal with the firm who specializes in Fraser Valley industrial property sales and leasing.
Dan Fumano: Council approves East Van rental building seen as 'litmus test'
When Vancouver city council approved a five-storey rental building late Tuesday, it marked the culmination of a years-long process that helped illustrate the wide chasm between different sides of the housing question. Before council could vote on the proposed building on Grant Street in East Van, they heard from dozens of speakers over almost seven hours spread over two nights.
Sep 18, 2019
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
With the federal election looming in a month’s time, the Canadian Rental Housing Index—a national partnership between credit unions, housing and municipal associations—is sounding the alarm on the country’s worsening rental crisis. The hardest-hit provinces are Ontario and British Columbia, but electoral districts really feeling the crunch can be found in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. The Index gathered data from the 2016 long-form census from over 800 Canadian municipalities and regions, as well as 338 federal electoral districts.
Sidewalk Labs’ Sirefman updates Toronto development plans
Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto plan further discussions by the end of October to update a proposed $1.3-billion development for the Quayside and Villers West areas. Sidewalk head of development Josh Sirefman was interviewed by Spanier Group president Rob Spanier at the Sept. 17 RealTrends conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre about its master innovation and development plan.
What Is Driving Toronto Real Estate Prices?
The real estate sector can be a real mystery. Prices drive ever higher, drop, and then get back to soaring again with no apparent reason. Or is there a reason? There’s always something responsible for driving up housing prices. For Toronto, the spotlight has returned to detached housing, which has pulled up the average price for the first half of 2019.
Vancouver condo developers head to Hong Kong
There is debate over whether anti-government protests in Hong Kong will lead to an exodus of its residents, but Vancouver developers are piling into the Chinese territory to offer Canadian condos to anyone planning an exit. In Hong Kong, the vice-president of international property at Soho — Hong Kong’s version of LinkedIn, but with a focus on real estate — has noticed a sharp increase in Canadian real estate developers pitching property sales.
Sep 17, 2019
Investment figures and new construction projects show that the Fraser Valley is on track to becoming the Lower Mainland’s leading industrial hub, according to data presented by Avison Young. In 2018, buyers signed 199 industrial investment deals in the Fraser Valley. To compare, Burnaby (50), Richmond (79) and Vancouver (44) had a total of 173 deals, said Michael Farrell, a principal with the firm who specializes in Fraser Valley industrial property sales and leasing.
PIRET buys Montreal industrial portfolio from HOOPP
Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust (PIRET) has purchased an 11-property industrial portfolio in the Greater Montreal Area from Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) for $249 million, RENX has learned. PIRET is a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S.-based real estate giant Blackstone and Canadian institutional investor Ivanhoe Cambridge. The Montreal portfolio comprises about 1.5 million square feet, meaning the transaction is priced at about $166 per square foot.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Regent Park revitalization reveals complexities with decades-long projects
The Regent Park revitalization project in downtown Toronto is a lesson in meticulous community planning and, specifically, in leaving nary a stakeholder behind. Speaking at a panel last week organized by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Vincent Tong, chief development officer of Toronto Community Housing Corporation, noted the key to the project’s success is putting residents in the driver’s seat.
Appeal possible in high-stakes Plaza of Nations dispute
The next steps in the high-profile court battle over the Plaza of Nations are taking shape, as the owner of the site — a company held by Singapore magnate Oei Hong Leong — has filed paperwork in its countersuit against officials from major Vancouver developer Concord Pacific Group. Oei and his companies, Hong Kong Expo Holdings Ltd. and Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corp. (CMPC), have applied to the BC Supreme Court to add Concord Pacific Group vice-president David Ju to the countersuit’s defendants, which include Concord Pacific Group CEO Terry Hui and subsidiary Concord Pacific Acquisitions Inc.
Sep 12, 2019
Canada real estate market outlook 2019
The Canadian housing market had a challenging year in 2018 as it struggled to regain its footing after the bubble-like conditions of 2017. It was a year characterized by decelerating sales and pricing. And it looks like 2019 may bring more of the same. After what appeared to be a stabilizing period over the summer of 2018, national home sales have been falling since September. Actual activity was down 19 per cent year-over-year in December, while the national average sale price dropped 4.9 per cent.
Divisive infill housing project moves ahead in Horseshoe Bay
A divisive infill housing project in Horseshoe Bay is going to the public for vetting. Tantalus Gardens – six small single-family homes and eight duplexes over one parkade between Wellington and Nelson avenues – was put on ice by council in May after it was roundly panned by its nearest neighbours. At issue for the opponents was the change of neighbourhood character, the increase in density bringing traffic and parking concerns, tree removal and, most importantly, the loss of the public assembly zoning at the site of the former St. Monica’s Anglican Church, which the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster closed in 2013.
Trudeau promises new speculation tax on foreign buyers if re-elected
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau said if re-elected his government would introduce new measures aimed at improving housing affordability, which would include a federal speculation tax on non-residents. Trudeau said the one-per-cent annual levy would be modelled after the foreign buyers’ tax already in place in British Columbia. Ontario also implemented a similar tax under the previous provincial Liberal government.
B.C. home sales slowly recovering: real estate report
Home sales in B.C. appear to be recovering from a downturn, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. In a report released Thursday, the association says 7,093 residential homes listed on the MLS were sold in August, a 4.9 per cent increase over the same month last year. The average price of all types of homes in the province was $685,575, an increase of 2.6 per cent from August 2018. Brendon Ogmundson, a deputy chief economist with the association, says home sales continue to recover from a policy-driven downturn.
Sep 11, 2019
Government regulations are slowing the supply of much-needed new purpose-built rental apartments, and tighter rent controls could exacerbate the problem, according to a panel of senior executives which closed the Sept. 4 Canadian Apartment Investment Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Starlight Investments president and chief executive officer Daniel Drimmer said his company is interested in developing more affordable housing, but that would require government policy changes to incentivize it. Those could include bonus density, waiving development charges and tax breaks, according to the leader of a firm that has $11 billion of assets under management in Canada and the United States, comprised of 36,000 multifamily units and 6.2 million square feet of commercial space.
Canadian Real Estate Wealth
Autumn is the real estate industry’s second-busiest time of the year and the pre-construction condo market is replete with an interesting suite of amenities. And according to Barry Fenton, president and CEO of Lanterra Developments in Toronto, the city’s shrinking condo units make dynamic amenities all the more essential. “A lot of amenity spaces include mental wellbeing by having yoga studios and state-of-the-art gyms, but also massage rooms, saunas, wet and dry steams,” he said. “Whether someone buys a 500, 800, 1,500 or 3,000 square foot unit, they want to feel good and that’s why it’s important to include such amenities.”
Last June, Vancouver council rejected a different rezoning application for a rental townhouse project in the same neighbourhood. Another developer is taking a crack at pitching a rental project along Granville Street in Shaughnessy. Domus Homes held a pre-application open house Sept. 6 for a potential 83-unit, three-and-a-half-storey purpose-built rental building eyed for 4750 Granville St. and 1494 West 32nd Ave. The developer is working in partnership with Stuart Howard Architects.
As Canadians prepare for the busy fall real estate market ahead, the decision on whether to buy or sell a home this year will be mired in more than the typical uncertainties that come with a transaction of this magnitude. Housing affordability, interest rates and the mortgage stress test were big newsmakers in 2018 and 2019, and will continue to make headlines for at least another six weeks, with the looming federal election on October 21, and lots of housing issues and policies up for debate between now and then.
Sep 10, 2019
With the mortgage stress test stressing out home buyers across Canada, many are resorting to mortgage fraud in order to qualify for the home they want — especially Millennials, according to eyebrow-raising new survey results from Equifax. Around one in five (19 per cent) of Millennial home buyers responding to the survey admitted to inflating their annual income on their mortgage application. And nearly 23 per cent of Millennial home buyers said they think this is an acceptable course of action in today’s mortgage climate — nearly double the 12 per cent of all respondents who agreed this was OK.
Vancouver council will consider building social housing for those at risk of homelessness throughout the city’s residential neighbourhoods. The motion, from Coun. Christine Boyle, would direct city staff to explore the possibility of building temporary modular housing in the lower-density residential neighbourhoods that make up most of the city’s land. In the past two years, Vancouver has built just over 600 units of temporary modular housing, a relatively fast-to-erect and inexpensive kind of prefabricated building, mostly funded by the province.
If there was ever a perfect encapsulation of the state of Toronto's cutthroat housing market, it's this — a garage up for sale near The Danforth that's listed at $599,000. The listing for the 20 foot by 100 foot lot calls it a "rare opportunity for someone looking to build in desirable Danforth Village" that's close to the subway line, schools, shops and restaurants. Real estate broker Nima Khadem told CBC News it's a "really interesting" property. "
OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the pace of new housing starts in August climbed 1.9 per cent compared with July. The housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts rose to 226,639 units in August, up from 222,467 units in July. Economists on average had expected an annual pace of 215,000, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.