B.C.'s real estate industry gathers to set tone for 2020, slams government policies - The Province - Canada News Media
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B.C.'s real estate industry gathers to set tone for 2020, slams government policies – The Province

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Urban Development Institute’s Beau Jarvis.

Arlen Redekop / PNG

Developers set the tone for 2020 targeting everything from the slew of various government taxes against speculation and vacancy to long waits for project approvals and completion timelines to those who are against increasing housing density.

The real estate industry gathered Thursday to hear several developers set the tone and make forecasts for the coming year, with some slamming government policies that have curbed demand for what had been runaway home sales and prices.

They pointed to the arrival of large, tech companies in Vancouver as a sign that many more employees will be in need of housing that isn’t being built quickly enough because banks are growing wary of financing projects in an uncertain market.

Complaints targeted everything from the slew of various government taxes against speculation and vacancy to long waits for project approvals and completion timelines to those who are against increasing housing density.

“I’m getting sick of this bulls—,” said Beau Jarvis, president of Vancouver-based Wesgroup Properties and the new chair of the Urban Development Institute, which represents residential, commercial and industrial builders.

His self-described “rant” entertained the crowd of willing listeners, and there was little dissent in the packed hotel ballroom of over 1,200 builders, planners and real estate executives.

Jarvis described government policies that are being made “in silos” and how they “are competing with each other.” He made light of arguments by some residents against markedly taller buildings by asking, “Do we have a shadowing crisis or a housing crisis?”

He talked of costs that have escalated “exponentially” while revenues are “frozen” and warned that “capital has a low tolerance for uncertainty,” explaining that banks loan based on land values, which are based on zoning, and that some municipalities were eroding some of these “land rights.”

He predicted that with measures such as speculation and vacancy taxes that have curbed the demand for housing sales, and without federal money in B.C., plus the possibility of vacancy controls, the industry would “continue to under-build” even much-needed, purpose-built rental units.

Meanwhile in commercial real estate, office space is tightening in areas such as downtown Vancouver. There will be a shift in anchor tenants to major technology and entertainment companies from San Francisco and Seattle, said Chuck We, senior vice-president of Hudson Pacific Properties for Western Canada, which bought and is redeveloping the office and retail space at Bentall Centre in Vancouver.

He said this will be accompanied by thousands of new executives and workers, who have higher wages and will need homes. Some will come from more expensive housing markets where, even with good salaries, renting is the norm. “The rental (market) just has to be there,” said We.

Jon Stovell, president of Reliance Properties and now past president of UDI, described Vancouver as a “city of two tales” where there is a “war” between those for and against more housing, and “right now” there is a moment to become either a “museum city” or a “global city”.

When asked if there was a “glimmer of hope” for the industry considering all the current hurdles, Stovell allowed that “the supply topic is a much harder conversation” and that, even with all the focus on curbing demand, some government officials might quietly be coming around to “embracing the idea” of increasing supply and that over the next few years, it will mean they will need to again engage the real estate industry.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

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Technology, data, starting to transform commercial real estate: survey – 570 News

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TORONTO — A new report says technology and data are finally shaking up the world of commercial real estate, allowing the industry to make more informed decisions and take on more complex projects.

Toronto-based Altus Group says a majority of 400 global commercial real estate executives surveyed are now seeing the disruptive impact of technology on the property sector for the first time in the five years the real estate group has been conducting the survey.

Altus CEO Bob Courteau says executives are starting to see that data, innovation and technology are going to be critical going forward, after some reluctance in the past to invest in areas beyond the bricks and mortar of real estate.

The change is clear at the executive level, where 80 per cent of firms said they have a chief data officer or equivalent senior executive, compared with only 44 per cent four years ago.

The increased data and efficiencies brought on by technology are allowing real estate firms to expand into growing spaces such as multi-family co-living, a sort of dorm-style arrangement with small private bedrooms and shared living and kitchen space, as well as co-working space and new models for retail.

Altus says a wave of investment in startups focused on real estate tech, or proptech, has created a huge number of players and the sector is ripe for consolidation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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'Proptech' is finally disrupting the world of commercial real estate – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Technology and data are finally shaking up the world of commercial real estate, allowing the industry to make more informed decisions, respond quicker to consumer trends, and take on more complex projects, says consultancy Altus Group.

The Toronto-based real estate firm said Monday that for the first time, a majority of 400 global commercial real estate executives polled said they are seeing the disruptive impact of technology on the sector.

The shift comes as the wave of investment and startups in recent years are starting to show results and shift perspectives, said Altus CEO Bob Courteau.

“There’s a bunch of really aggressive companies that came in to real estate globally, and they came in with a whole different view of the importance of data and technology.”

New companies, and new executives at existing ones, have caused a significant shift in thinking on the role in technology in the space, he said.

“The orientation of the management teams of historical commercial real estate was to put their investments in the ground, not into things like data and technology.”

The change is stark at the executive level, where 80 per cent of 350 firms surveyed now say they have a chief data officer or equivalent senior executive, compared with only 44 per cent four years ago.

“The last couple or three (years) has seen an explosion in change,” said Courteau.

WeWork may be the most well-known company in the space, but new entrants number in the thousands, by some estimates.

Real Estate giant Brookfield Asset Management, through their venture arm Brookfield Technology Partners, has recently invested in companies such as leasing software provider VTS, automated door hardware provider Latch, and contractor software provider Building Connect.

Meanwhile, real estate service provider Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc. launched a US$100 million venture fund in 2018 to invest in the property technology, or “proptech” space, joining an increasingly crowded field.

In Canada, the tech sector has seen numerous startups enter the space including Yuhu, which offers software for building managers, Breather, an on-demand office space provider, Lane, a mobile-focused tool for tenants, and MapYourProperty, which provides analytics for land development.

Early proptech entrants were focused more on efficiencies, like lower energy costs or automating repetitive tasks, but with the wealth of data available there’s the potential to improve future planning and tackle some of the more difficult decisions, said Courteau.

“What am I going to build, what’s the cost to build, what are the consumer trends, what are the upcoming neighbourhoods, how do I create a mixed environment…this is a data rich environment that can have a significant impact on the value of this new building that you’re about to build.”

The survey noted that technology has enabled numerous disruptive trends including multi-family co-living, a sort of dorm-style arrangement with small private bedroom and shared living and kitchen space, as well as co-working spaces and new models for real estate on the retail side to provide more brand exposure and entertainment options.

While adoption has been slower in Canada, many global markets have also started to take advantage of online marketplaces to cut out intermediaries in lending, investment, leasing, and property exchanges. The survey notes that the explosion of proptech firms likely means a significant consolidation is pending, with most Canadian executives polled expecting consolidation within the next 12 to 24 months.

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Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Unveils New Branding – Toronto Storeys

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The Toronto Real Estate Board has revealed a modern new look that includes a revamped name, logo, and colour scheme.

Now, the company will officially go by Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) to reflect the regional nature of the company that has been in place since 2002. The brand refresh shows the evolution of the company’s members, the organization, and the real estate industry since its founding 100 years ago.

“Having been at the forefront of the real estate industry since 1920, this change, although subtle, is significant to benefit our 56,000 realtor members and their clients,” reads the company’s website.

READ: Rising Condo Prices in Toronto Could Have Negative Impact on Investors: Report

In the summer of 2018, TRREB says it began an extensive research and feedback process with key stakeholders, which included the board of directors and members. Through numerous surveys and focus groups, the company says it gained a better understanding of how it felt about the existing brand and how to show its growth.

The new logo reflects some of the key competencies that came from the research and speaks to the company’s leadership in the fields of market facts and data, technology, innovation, and professionalism.

“The icon in the new logo is meant to represent Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Members as a unified force for positive (upward) movement of growth in the real estate profession. It showcases the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board as a progressive and transformative force in the industry,” said TRREB President Michael Collins.

“It is also suggestive of a built form, whether you see a traditional home roofline or a condominium. All of the fifteen circles are a different size, create a sense of movement and momentum,” continued Collins.

“The new tagline, ‘Professionals connecting people, property and communities’ speaks volumes about who the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Members are and what the organization is,” said Toronto Regional Real Estate Board CEO John DiMichele.

“Above all, the new tagline emphasizes the professionalism of our Members. It puts their good name first by highlighting what our Members do – they build communities and help people find their dream homes.”

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