Dream Unlimited has undergone major strategic changes since late last year and has continued to sharpen its focus through the COVID-19 crisis.
“We’ve added a lot more income properties and recurring income,” president and chief responsible officer Michael Cooper told RENX. “We’ve generally just been building a stronger company.
“We’ve got land, about 12,000 apartments and condos, and about five million square feet of office. We spend a lot of our time now on internal growth.”
Toronto-based Dream Unlimited (DRM-T) has approximately $9 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. It provides asset management services for three funds: Dream Office REIT (D-UN-T); Dream Industrial REIT (DIR-UN-T); and Dream Alternatives (DRA-UN-T).
Dream Global, Dream Industrial moves
Dream Global REIT was created in 2011 to invest in European real estate and launched its initial public offering that same year.
“For the shareholders, the value of the contract was very high and it really recapitalized Dream Unlimited and provided us the most liquidity we’ve ever had,” said Cooper.
Although this process began well prior to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, he noted it’s beneficial to have plenty of capital in these uncertain times.
“Last February, we decided to try to increase our liquidity and raise some capital,” said Cooper. “In the last 15 months, we’ve raised internally over $700 million from our existing assets.”
Dream Unlimited has also paid down more than $300 million in debt.
Former Dream Global REIT executives Alexander Sannikov and Bruce Traversy joined Dream Industrial REIT in senior operating and investment roles, and the trust acquired $268 million of light industrial and logistics assets in the Netherlands and Germany during Q1 2020.
It’s also in exclusive negotiations, or under contract, to acquire more assets in those countries and is open to investing in other nations.
“We weren’t getting out of Europe, we just wanted to do it in a different way,” said Cooper. “It’s harder to build new, the yields are pretty good, and interest rates are much lower. So overall we think you get in at a nice starting price.”
Dream Equity Partners
Dream Unlimited recently created Dream Equity Partners to enter the private real estate space and act as an asset management business for institutional and retail investors such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.
Former Nuveen Real Estate executive Rahul Idnani was named president of the new entity, which will focus on managing and developing office, multifamily, industrial and mixed-use assets in Canada, the United States and Europe across core, core-plus and value-add strategies.
“We invest a lot of our own capital, plus we’ve started public companies that we manage, but I think the real growth in real estate asset management is on the institutional side or high net worth,” said Cooper.
“We concentrated so much on public companies and we’re really under-represented in terms of having funds. So we thought that with the sale of Dream Global, we should commit dedicated people and have a fund business.”
Dream Equity Partners will diversify Dream Unlimited’s capital and allow growth without concern for the whims of the public market.
Dream Unlimited and Dream Office REIT
Dream Unlimited became Dream Office’s development manager last year, leading the rezoning and intensification process for the REIT’s redevelopment assets.
Meanwhile, Dream Office became Dream Unlimited’s property manager.
Specialization has become a focus since Cooper said he doesn’t “want to have four different groups doing the same thing throughout the organization.”
While Dream Unlimited still develops residential condominiums, it’s turning its attention more to purpose-built rental apartments.
“If we build a condo, we end up with cash. Then we have to find another piece of land and we have to do it again,” he observed.
“If we build an apartment, we do it once and then they should be able to produce consistent cash-flow over a long period of time. It’s just an easier and more predictable business to run.”
Western Canada land and residential assets
Dream Unlimited develops land and residential assets in Western Canada for immediate sale.
While the company was built on the success of that business from the beginning of this century until 2013, it has reduced its working capital in Western Canada over the last few years.
Western Canada represented approximately 39 per cent of Dream’s total book equity at the end of 2019, down from 67 per cent two years earlier.
“I don’t think we’re going to be doing a lot of large land sales,” said Cooper. “I think we’ll continue to develop our way out.
“So if we continue to develop, reduce our inventory, take the cash out of Western Canada, and not buy significant amounts of land, we’ll end up growing the rest of our business and shrinking the land and housing in Western Canada.
“It’s a slow process, but we think we can get the maximum returns by doing it that way.”
Dream Unlimited has just approved the commencement of servicing for the first phase of Alpine Park in southwestern Calgary, the first phase of which was acquired in 1997.
It expects the initial phases, comprised of 136 acres of the total 1,600-acre landholding, to generate income between 2021 and 2026 and cash of approximately $70 million.
Ottawa and Toronto activity
“We bought hundreds of millions of dollars of land in Ontario over the last few years, basically in downtown Toronto and Ottawa,” said Cooper. “In Ottawa, we have 42 different development sites, and maybe four or five developments going on at all times.”
Dream Unlimited’s biggest project in the nation’s capital is Zibi, a 34-acre mixed-use community on the Ottawa River that includes land in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.
It consists of four million square feet of density that’s expected to include 1,800 residential units, more than two million square feet of commercial space, and nearly eight acres of parks and plazas. Dream Unlimited has started Zibi site servicing so individual blocks can be built as soon as the company is ready to move forward.
There’s more than 630,000 square feet of residential rental, retail and commercial space in various planning and development stages. Eighty-three per cent of the retail and commercial space had been pre-leased as of March 31.
“We’re getting really good traction, so we’re expecting to see more opportunities as we get through the year to lease more space,” said Cooper.
Kanaal is the first condo building on the Ontario lands. More than half of the 71-unit building was occupied at the end of the first quarter.
Cooper said Dream Unlimited is advancing about 20 development sites in Toronto.
“When the time comes, we’ll do them in a responsible way, but a lot of them will be turned into income properties.”
Dream Unlimited owns just over 30 per cent of Dream Office, which has reduced its portfolio from 174 buildings across the country to 32, primarily in downtown Toronto.
Acquisitions aren’t a priority at the moment.
“When we find opportunities to grow through acquisition, we’ll do it, but most of the growth can be internal for Dream Unlimited,” said Cooper. “We’ve got to have a good idea first, and right now it seems like a hard time to navigate. So we’re pretty content to stay with what we have.”
Other recent Dream Unlimited activity
Dream Unlimited just closed on the sale of its indirect interest in a 67-megawatt renewable power portfolio of three Ontario ground-mount solar projects and four Nova Scotia wind farms to Potentia Renewables Inc.
It’s also nearing completion of the refinancing of its Distillery District property, which comprises 395,000 square feet of commercial and retail gross leasable area in downtown Toronto.
These transactions will generate cash of $130 million, which will be used to pay down debt and provide additional liquidity.
Dream Unlimited also just entered into an agreement to acquire a 50 per cent interest in a 1,200-unit portfolio of apartments in Dallas.
The deal, which is to close in July, is in partnership with The Pauls Corporation. The price is approximately $150,000 per unit.
“That’s our first foray into multifamily in the States,” said Cooper.
Dream Unlimited’s stock performance
Until COVID-19 made most REIT stock prices tumble in late March, before starting a gradual recovery, Cooper said Dream Unlimited had been performing very well.
“Now we’re in a different environment where it looks clear that we’re going to have really low interest rates and we may have some inflation, and those are ideal real estate conditions. So, I’m really bullish on real estate.
“I think that it’s a risky environment, so I want to make sure our balance sheet is good. But overall, I’m very excited about the opportunities in real estate, and the stock prices will follow.
“Right now the stock is going through a transition, but it will settle down.”
Dream Unlimited purchased some of its own shares last year and in Q1 2020, and Cooper said the company is always in the market to buy more if it makes sense.
Real estate, re-imagined: Lone Wolf introduces new cloud solutions for agents, brokers, teams, franchises, MLSs, and associations – Canada NewsWire
Real estate’s top digital technology now available through integrated cloud solutions
CAMBRIDGE, ON, July 8, 2020 /CNW/ — Lone Wolf Technologies (“Lone Wolf”) is thrilled to announce the availability of real estate’s first integrated suites of technology solutions targeted to the specific and unique needs of residential real estate stakeholders: Agent Cloud, Team Cloud, Broker Cloud, Franchise Cloud, and Organization Cloud. Each cloud solution connects real estate’s leading technology in a single package and is available for purchase today through lwolf.com.
“We’re excited to announce the release of our cloud solutions today,” said Jimmy Kelly, CEO of Lone Wolf. “The industry has long sought end-to-end solutions, but no one’s been able to make it happen. We’ve done that, and more. By fully integrating our solutions and connecting them to some of the best tech providers in North America, we’ve not only delivered an end-to-end solution, but an entire suite of end-to-end solutions tailored to each stakeholder role in the industry. And we’re doing it with the best tech available today, from forms, eSignature, and transaction management to back office, accounting, and insights. With Lone Wolf’s clouds, it’s now possible to have a complete—and completely connected—digital experience, whether you’re an agent, broker, administrator, or buyer and seller. That’s real estate re-imagined.”
The Broker Cloud features a collection of real estate’s leading digital solutions to give brokers everything they need to run their business, serve their buyers and sellers, and improve profitability. Solutions include:
- Lone Wolf Transactions, formerly known as zipForm Plus and TransactionDesk, the broker add-on to the national member benefits in both the U.S. and Canada. Transactions provides 99% forms coverage in North America, real estate’s number-one eSignature solution, and a two-way integration between agents and the back office to give the whole brokerage unrivaled transaction management capabilities.
- Lone Wolf Back Office, formerly known as brokerWOLF, the back office and accounting solution used by over 10,000 offices in North America. The solution seamlessly connects to Transactions and features the industry’s most comprehensive tools for agent management, accounting, commissions, and business intelligence, giving brokerages of any make and model everything they need to run their business.
- Lone Wolf Insights, an AI-enabled solution that translates Back Office data into plain language and puts profitability in the broker’s hands, providing them with actionable insights to improve agent performance and bolster their coaching and retainment efforts.
- Lone Wolf Marketplace, a curated library of best-in-class digital tools that plug and play so that agents and brokerages can manage their client experience from start to finish in one solution.
“What makes our clouds truly special is they’re built around the transaction itself,” said Graeme Canivet, Product Director of Transactions at Lone Wolf. “A transaction is the moment of truth that connects everyone—and everything—in real estate. It’s where agents, brokers, staff, buyers and sellers, and third-party providers like title companies come together with a common goal. Our cloud solutions bring together the various people and technologies involved in a transaction, making it simpler for all.”
The Agent Cloud is a complete suite of solutions that connects every aspect of an agent’s transactions to provide an unrivaled client experience, including:
- Lone Wolf Transactions, which powers the national member benefits in Canada and the U.S., as well as hundreds of local and state associations, to provide agents with instant MLS connectivity and the industry’s most up-to-date and legally binding forms.
- Authentisign, real estate’s leading eSignature tool, which processes over 22 million signatures a year and is built right into Transactions, so agents do not have to export contracts to a third-party signing solution.
- Lone Wolf Marketplace, a curated library of best-in-class digital tools that plug and play into Transactions, so agents can manage the entire deal and client experience in a single place.
- Lone Wolf EliteAgent, which provides additional digital tools to help drive agent productivity, including offer management, listing broadcast, mobile add-ons and more.
“One of the biggest obstacles real estate has in providing a complete digital experience is the adoption of new tech,” said Matt Keenan, Chief Revenue Officer at Lone Wolf. “The acquisition of zipLogix and Instanet Solutions allowed Lone Wolf to build a best-in-class suite of solutions that is tightly integrated with MLSs and associations across North America, so agent adoption is already built in. With our cloud solutions, we believe it’s finally possible for all participants in the real estate industry to have an unparalleled digital real estate experience.”
Nick Gaede | Industry Relations
E: [email protected]
About Lone Wolf Technologies
Lone Wolf Technologies, a Vista Equity Partners portfolio company, is the North American leader in residential real estate software, serving over 1.4 million real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S. With cloud solutions for agents, brokers, franchises, MLSs and associations alike, the company provides the entire real estate industry with the tools they need to amaze clients, build their business, and improve profits—from transactions to back office, insights, and more, all in one place. Lone Wolf’s head offices are in Cambridge, ON and Dallas, TX.
SOURCE Lone Wolf Technologies
Vancouver Real Estate Sales Are Back
Greater Vancouver real estate sales are returning to pre-pandemic levels, but it’s not quite the same. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data shows June sales are almost at last year’s levels. Despite the increase, new listings are hitting the market at such a rapid pace, prices are actually falling further from the peak.
Greater Vancouver Real Estate Prices Peaked In March
The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver is higher than last year, but down from a month before. The benchmark price of all home types reached $1,025,300 in June, up 3.5% from last year. In the City, Vancouver East saw the benchmark reach $1,083,300, up 5.0% from last year. Vancouver West is also higher with prices reaching $1,272,400, up 4.9% from last year. Important to note that all three of these markets are lower in price from the month before.
Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price
The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver, in Canadian dollars.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Since the start of the pandemic, prices have actually been falling – just not as fast as they were last year. All three numbers above are lower than they were the month before, with annual prices peaking in March. The all-time high for home prices was in June 2018, and prices are down 7.16% from then – an even bigger drop from the month before. It’s not incredibly straight forward, but not overly complicated either. Higher growth because prices aren’t falling as quickly as last year, but prices are getting further from the peak a couple years ago.
Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price Change
The annual percent change of a typical home across Greater Vancouver.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Greater Vancouver Real Estate Sales Are Nearly At Last Year’s Levels
Greater Vancouver real estate sales bounced and are moving towards normal volumes, but are still far away. REBGV reported 2,443 real estate sales in June, up 64.51% from a month before. This represents a 17.62% increase compared to the same month last year. Last year was one of the slowest June’s on record though, and sales were still 21.9% below the 10-year average for the month. The increase may sound a little more impressive than it seems.
Greater Vancouver Composite Sales Vs. Listings
The number of homes sold vs total inventory in Greater Vancouver.
Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.
Inventory Is Low, But Sellers Are Returning In Full Force
Greater Vancouver is seeing a substantial increase of new listing activity. REBGV reported 5,787 new listings in June, up 57.1% from the same month last year. This represents an increase of 21.8%, when compared to the same month last year. The rise in new listings is somewhat surprising, considering how quickly it has jumped since the beginning of the pandemic.
The bump in new listings didn’t quite make up for the slow listing activity over the past couple of months. REBGV reported 11,424 active listings in June, up 15.1% from a month before. This represents a decline of 23.7% when compared to the same month last year. Much higher than the previous month, but didn’t make up for the lack of inventory earlier this year.
Greater Vancouver real estate sales returned close to last year’s numbers, but with very different dynamics. New sellers are piling in, and despite low inventory – new inventory is hitting the market at a pace preventing prices from rising. In fact, prices have been sliding further, continuing a second wave of lower prices started in 2018. The CMHC had forecasted lower prices as a result of inventory rising into the second half, and so far that’s the setup people are looking at.
Source:- Better Dwelling
Powell River real estate sales strong in June – Powell River Peak
Total real estate sales during the month of June 2020 for the Powell River area amounted to $14,259,400, considerably more than June 2019’s total of $10,133,400.
Powell River-Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board president Neil Frost said the 2020 to 2019 comparison was not only healthy in volume, it was healthy in variety.
“There are sales all across the board,” said Frost. “May was a solid month but if you look at the residential sales, we’ve done almost twice as much dollar volume from June over May 2020.
“That impacts the average price of the residential market. We are up considerably over 2019 if you compare June to June.”
In terms of the benchmark pricing, Frost said the average home is still listing in the $399,000 range and selling up to $430,000.
In the single-family homes category in June 2020, there were 25 homes sold, valued at $11,421,700, compared to 20 homes in June 2019, valued at $7,769,900.
For mobiles and manufactured homes, two sold in both June 2020 and 2019. In 2020, the value was $245,000, compared to $360,500 in 2019.
In the condos, apartments and duplexes category, there were four units sold, valued at $1,280,900 in June 2020, compared to five units, valued at $1,342,000 in June 2019.
Total number of residential units sold in June 2020 were 31, compared to 27 in June 2019.
In non-residential, there were 10 parcels of vacant land sold, valued at $1,311,800 in June 2020, compared to four parcels of land, valued at $661,000 in June 2019.
Frost said realtors are still seeing competing offers for properties and there are still a lot of out-of-town buyers.
He said July 2020 has started off “decent” so it will be interesting to see how summer sales go.
“It was nice to see not only the number of sales in June, but some higher-end sales, and the low-end is still very active. There are sales on Texada and Savary islands, plus lots. There has been a good mix of single-family homes, to waterfront homes, right down to condos and manufactured homes.”
Frost said there was pent-up demand because people were holding back or waiting to see what would happen with the market and the economy with COVID-19.
“People are still interested in real estate in Powell River,” said Frost. “There’s still a lot of market strength. It’s a good time to sell. The market is active.”
Total number of units sold in June 2020 amounted to 41, compared to 31 in June 2019.
The number of all active listings for the end of June 2020 was 222.
The average monthly selling price in June 2020 was $456,868 and the average days on the market were 56. The average selling price in June 2019 was $388,495, with average days on the market being 36.
Frost said people working in the real estate industry are taking COVID-19 precautions, following protocols, and adhering to WorkSafeBC standards and clients’ comfort levels.
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