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2021 Real Estate Investment Outlook – Forbes

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For real estate, as for many things, 2020 was a strange year. Despite a pandemic, a recession and unemployment that at one time hit 20 million, 6 million homes were sold and the average home price was up 5 percent. There were record low mortgage rates of course, but there’s also the fact is that the recession has mainly been concentrated among people with lower-paid jobs – people who rent.

2021 will be a strange year too. With vaccines rolling out, we know the end of the pandemic is in sight, maybe by 2022? But that won’t mean any sort of return to normal, for the economy or for real estate. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Jobs: A lot of jobs are never coming back. Businesses have learned to work with fewer employees as the pandemic super-charged a trend already underway before the recession. Many of the lost jobs are in retail and at restaurants but high-paid computer engineers also are affected. Yes, the economy will eventually create other jobs, but that won’t help people in 2021.

2. Urban Migration: The movement to the big cities will continue. Even though the pandemic showed that many jobs can be done from anywhere, people and businesses still want to be near the infrastructure, the social activities, the access to premium healthcare.

3. Migration to More Affordable Housing: People will move where the jobs are, and away from expensive housing. For decades, young people moved from the Northeast to Texas and Florida. Recently they’ve been leaving California. With a lot of unemployment, a lot of people will be on the move.

These observations lead me to the following conclusions about real estate in 2021 and beyond.

In the short term there will be strong demand for more rentals, just when the supply has actually gone down. Unemployed renters will expand the lower end of the renter market this year but have financial difficulties. This produces more risk for investors in rental property; they should avoid the lower end and stay as close as possible to the center of the market which is what Local Market Monitor has identified as the rent range. After 2021 the lower-end market will again shrink. Remember that the average renter moves within two years; a lower-end property you buy in 2021 may well sit empty in 2022.

In the long term the market for rentals will continue to expand. The recession has again increased the number of people who can’t afford to buy a home. The surge of home buying in 2020 pushed homeownership to 67 percent, up from 65 percent in 2019, but that’s probably a one-time event; the recession damaged people’s savings as well as their income.

The fact that the surge in home buying only pushed home prices up 5 percent suggests very strongly that price increases in 2021 and 2022 will be modest. This will vary from market to market but there will be few opportunities for flipping properties in price booms. Rehabbing older ones for resale at higher values will be a much better strategy.

So, let’s identify the most promising markets for different kinds of investing.

Table A shows 20 markets where prices were strong in 2020, as well as how much the actual average home price was higher than the income price, which is calculated from local income.

In real estate, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating; if home prices rose well this year, they’re very likely to rise well next year. So, these 20 markets are good prospects for rehabbing properties to higher values.

The home price to income price comparison shows how much risk comes with such projects. In markets like Boise, Tacoma, Phoenix and Tampa, where the home price is more than 25 percent higher than the income price, a boom is underway and investors should avoid multi-year projects.

On the other hand, in places like Memphis, Wichita or Rochester, there’s less chance that prices will fall but also smaller demand for expensive homes, so rehab projects there should have moderate goals.

Table B shows 20 markets where the eventual loss of jobs is likely to be small, because a lower proportion of jobs are in vulnerable categories such as retail, restaurants, tourism, healthcare and manufacturing.

By coupling the vulnerability of jobs (admittedly a speculative effort on my part) with the actual current job situation, we can identify markets that should be good long-term bets for investors in rental property.

The average US job loss in the past year was 6 percent, so a 2 or 3 percent loss right now looks pretty good. Because states have had different shut-down policies, the job numbers aren’t strictly comparable. Similarly, my estimate of how many jobs in each market are vulnerable is mainly relative (the average for 320 markets is 17 percent) and I don’t expect vulnerable jobs to necessarily become job losses.

Still, we know that jobs are the backbone of rentals; the statistics for these 20 markets suggest strong long-term demand from renters.

A few special remarks about the two lists. First, they include just one market from California, which has become so expensive that more people are leaving the state than entering; many of them moving to Boise, Phoenix or Salt Lake City. Second, a lot of these markets are in the center of the country; not so long ago Kansas City, Memphis and Indianapolis were not great investment spots. And third, although by some metrics Boise is the hottest market in the country, remember that the risk of investing there is also growing. Nothing is free.

It will be an interesting year for investors, with short-term disruptions and long-term consequences. It’s a time to really use your analytical skills.

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Toronto real estate and COVID-19: Predictions and housing trends for 2021 | Urbanized – Daily Hive

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Ah, Toronto real estate.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the housing market in Toronto has managed to remain robust during an unprecedented, and therefore, unpredictable time.

For first-time home-buyers, it can be difficult to decide when is the right time to buy a property given the uncertainty.

But, despite property prices continuing to increase, buying during a pandemic might not be such a daunting idea.

According to the President and CEO of Royal LePage, Phil Soper, the current environment has allowed for the lowest interest rates on properties, causing intense interest in the market.

Soper told Daily Hive why property prices remain high, the key housing trends, and what first-time buyers should look for.

Prices continue to soar in the pandemic 

“It’s interesting because now there is higher unemployment and more uncertainty, yet we have a high level of demand for purchasing a home. Towards the end of 2019 and early 2020, the demand in the first quarter of 2020 was crazy busy. But then the pandemic came, and everything grinds to a halt,” Soper said.

“It lasted into the important spring market, and during that time, the Bank of Canada reacted to sure-up the economy, and [as the] housing market [is the] biggest single driver of the Canadian economy, interest rates went to historic lows.”

But, it created an unusual situation where money was cheaper than it had ever been, the competition was low, and within six to eight weeks, home prices backed up – which hadn’t happened since 2012, Soper pointed out.

Because of this, first-time home-buyers were interested in the market. And when it came to virtual viewings, that wasn’t a problem for the younger demographic.

Another more subtle reason Soper mentioned was when looking at age, sellers are typically older, and as a result of the pandemic, had more concerns about interacting with people in person making them reluctant to sell during this time. This dynamic then created a situation where there were more buyers than sellers in the market.

Demand in urban centres remains high, despite movement to suburbs 

Soper said that there has been a housing shortage in Canada’s biggest cities stretching back a decade. When looking at the millennial population cohort, which is the largest population size (mid-20s to late 30s), this is the first-time home-buyer group.

“The research shows their preference is to own a condo in the city. Now, this changes as they get older, and they want walkout properties, which tends to be farther away from the city core,” he said.

“Millennials are still looking for their first property to rent or buy. That’s a big group of people, which continues to put pressure on a supply of buyers for condos and entry-level housing in the city itself.”

The Royal LePage President also said that with immigration, new Canadians tend to rent in big cities for the first three years of their time in Canada, preferring condominiums. This is a trend that will remain in place.

Advice for home-buyers on when to purchase 

Soper emphasized that houses aren’t the same as stocks, meaning it’s not something that can be timed.

“The time you should change your housing is when it makes sense for you and your family and when you can afford it.”

But in a growing country like Canada, it gets more expensive over time. While there can be “short-term blips” like the pandemic, which negatively affected the market for a few months,  these tend to even out in a relatively short period of time.

“People don’t tend to bounce around housing. They tend to stick around,” Soper said. For first-time home-buyers, that’s usually five to seven years, and then longer as you get older for subsequent purchases.

“Make the move for when it makes sense for you. You won’t be wrong over any period of time. Right now, the reason there is so much interest is because mortgage rates are so low, so it’s not a bad time to purchase a home.”

Soper also advised to think long-term and not in reaction to the pandemic. The notion that there is a mass migration to the suburbs is “overblown,” and when the pandemic is over in the near future people will prefer the vibrancy and pace of urban living, with a subset wanting the slower pace of suburban living.

“It’s really important that people look at their neighbourhoods with a post-pandemic eye. Don’t look at it with the health emergency. Look ahead a few months and the type of community you want to live in post-pandemic. It’s a longer-term decision than the health crisis.”

Housing market trends

For Soper, there are a few trends to keep in mind.

One is a home-style projection, which will see the idea of open concept, which has been a strong movement for the last 25 years, lessen as more people work from home and want more private space. Due to this shift, there will also be the move to “smart homes” with the introduction of the 5G network, with people wanted higher and greater access to faster internet.

As well, in the next 10 to 15 years, the demand for housing will continue to grow without a matching level of supply, creating even more in-balance than seen today.

“That will put uncomfortable upward pressure on house prices which will come in waves… we’ll struggle over the next decade or so to make enough housing for our growing population,” he said.

Lastly, Canada’s continued rise on the international stage has made it a desirable place to live. This is a trend Soper sees strengthening over time, especially as immigration continues to grow.

Even during a turbulent time with the pandemic, Toronto’s housing market remains an active area with more first-time home-buyers entering the space.

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Canadian Commercial Real Estate Industry Offers Support to National Vaccination Efforts – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2021 /CNW/ – REALPAC and its member organizations are pleased to announce an industry initiative to support the national vaccination rollout, through providing governments and health networks across Canada with the free use of vacant commercial space (such as retail space in malls, big box space, conference centres, hotels, industrial units, parking lots and office buildings) for use as vaccination sites.

“We see every day how hospitals are facing increasingly fragile scenarios, with provision of vital services being put on hold to divert resources to the COVID-19 response effort,” said Michael Brooks, CEO, REALPAC. “We also understand from governments that for Canada to successfully vaccinate its population by the intended September 2021 target, a very regimented approach will need to be taken.”

REALPAC, in partnership with its member organizations, has undertaken an initiative to identify unused commercial real estate space across Canada, to make available for free to governments and health networks to assist with the logistical rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The goal is to provide an easily scalable portfolio of real estate assets that can form part of Canada’s distribution network to support the country’s vaccine mobilization effort. As reported by the BBC, a similar process is seeing success in the U.K., where the government is repurposing spaces such as convention centers and halls to serve as vaccination clinics.

REALPAC has secured the support of numerous CEOs, CFOs and COOs in its membership to participate in this initiative. These real estate owners are large, national operators with considerable real estate assets from coast to coast to coast, and are willing and eager to loan free space to government.

Participating members confirmed at this time include:

“Activating vacant real estate space as clinics for either vaccination or other medical services could reduce the logistical burden on hospitals and healthcare settings,” added Brooks. “REALPAC members are keen to work with the government to repurpose their unused spaces to function as vaccination sites, or storage spaces for vaccines, essential equipment, and medical supplies, which could greatly assist the vaccination rollout effort.”

REALPAC welcomes the opportunity to discuss this initiative with governments, policy makers, public health officials and healthcare networks, and direct inquiries to our participating members.

The commercial real estate industry remains committed to working with governments and healthcare networks to identify areas where space is needed and meet their needs to the best of our abilities. The industry would also like to sincerely thank governments, healthcare providers and front-line workers for their continued efforts to support Canadians during this pandemic. 

About REALPAC
Founded in 1970, REALPAC is the national leadership association dedicated to advancing the long-term vitality of Canada’s real property sector. Our members include publicly-traded real estate companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), pension funds, private companies, fund managers, asset managers, developers, government real estate agencies, lenders, investment dealers, brokerages, consultants/data providers, large general contractors, and international members. Our members represent all asset classes in Canada – office, retail, industrial, apartment, hotel, seniors residential – from coast, to coast, to coast.

SOURCE REALPAC

For further information: on this initiative, please contact: Michael Brooks, CEO, [email protected], 416.642.2700 x225, www.realpac.ca

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Planon acquires a majority stake in real estate software company Reasult BV – Canada NewsWire

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NIJMEGEN, Netherlands, Jan. 20, 2021 /CNW/ — The Planon Group and Reasult today announced that Planon has acquired a majority share in Reasult B.V., founded in 2000 and headquartered in Ede (the Netherlands). Reasult is a software company that optimizes the financial performance of real estate portfolios and projects. Reasult’s leading software solutions are used by real estate developers, asset managers and housing corporations in the Dutch- and German-speaking markets. Example customers are Amvest, a.s.r. real estate, VolkerWessels and HANSAINVEST.

The Reasult software suite includes solutions for real estate development, asset- and portfolio- management, valuation management and financial planning. Planon will combine the Reasult applications with its own solutions for asset management and tenant management and engagement, into one software suite. By doing so, Planon aims to support real estate owners and investors in optimizing the performance of their property portfolio from a financial, building operations and tenant engagement perspective.

 “This acquisition is one of the first steps in Planon’s ambitious goals to accelerate its future growth. Planon firmly believes in the strength of Reasult’s solutions and its organization, both from a technical perspective and due to its extensive market knowledge and experience. It is therefore Planon’s plan to continue to expand the Reasult software suite, as it has done with previously acquired solutions such as SamFM and conjectFM. I am very excited about this acquisition and the possibilities it will offer to customers of both organizations to further develop their current solutions into an end-to-end property portfolio management solution,” said Pierre Guelen, CEO and founder of the Planon Group.

“As co-founder of Reasult 20 years ago, I am very excited about becoming part of a fast-growing global specialist in the field of building operations and service digitalization. With this move, Reasult will be able to further fulfil its strategy of offering a leading platform for optimizing real estate in the broadest sense. As part of a market leading organization, our customers and employees will benefit from this strategic step. The Planon and Reasult solutions are complementary which drives synergy and innovation. This collaboration will allow us to serve our customers in the best way possible and deliver innovative products to help real estate companies be ‘the best in class,'” said Aart Zandbergen, CEO at Reasult.

SOURCE Planon

For further information: Planon: Kayley Costa, [email protected], +31246413135; Reasult: Inge van Hal, [email protected], +31318672930, https://planonsoftware.com

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