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Bankruptcy issues affecting local real estate market

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By GILLIAN SLADE on February 8, 2020.

A chart shows the year-over-year increases to bankruptcy claims in Medicine Hat, region and across the province.–NEWS GRAPHIC MICHELLE DOUVILLE

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

A bankruptcy trustee says so many properties affected in Medicine Hat are not selling and have to be returned to the mortgagees.

“Between people trying to sell them themselves and the properties that we’ve got, it certainly would be probably at least 50 (properties),” said Randy Kobbert, licensed insolvency trustee with Meyers Norris Penny.

“I have many properties, that as trustee, I’m trying to sell and we just simply get to the point where we have to give them back to the mortgagees because we just have not been able to sell them, even for the mortgage balances outstanding.”

Dione Todd, president of the Medicine Hat Real Estate Board, says it is difficult to know why those properties have not been selling. Price could be a factor because typically lower priced homes sell faster than higher priced ones.

“Ones at $200,000 to $325,000 definitely move faster than the $500,000 to $700,000,” said Todd, noting it typically takes more than 90 days to sell a home.

Todd says the price of homes has not dropped compared with figures from last month or even last year or the year before that.

“They’ve been similar,” said Todd.

Medicine Hat leads the province with the highest increase in number of bankruptcies at 20 per cent.

In 2019 there were 337 bankruptcies and consumer proposals, which is a legal settlement (reduced amount) offered to creditors that is part of bankruptcy legislation, said Kobbert. In 2018 there were 281.

Kobbert, who comes to the Medicine Hat office from Lethbridge once a week to handle bankruptcies, says he has never been busier in Medicine Hat.

The loss of employment is a major cause for bankruptcies and even those who have found another job are struggling, he said. Others are underemployed and are struggling to adjust to the wage they are getting now. Some are still struggling to find a job.

Marital splits is another contributing factor to bankruptcies. Kobbert says he believes those splits are often triggered by the enormous stress a couple faces when debts become overwhelming after loss of employment. It contributes to conflict in the marriage.

Many of the people declaring bankruptcy are seniors and one of the contributing factors is double-digit rent increases.

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Local builders still busy as real estate market takes a break – Times Colonist

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The real estate market may be taking a breather, but there has been no such break for homebuilders in the region judging by new housing start figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The numbers, released Tuesday, show 2,681 new homes were started through the first seven months of this year in Greater Victoria, ahead of last year’s pace when 2,500 new units were started.

It’s a tale of multi-family projects in two parts of the region, said Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association.

Edge said Victoria and Langford are once again doing all of the heavy lifting.

“There are a bunch of municipalities that just fly under the radar every year, like Oak Bay that still doesn’t have zoning for duplex housing,” he said noting Oak Bay has built just 19 new homes this year, while North Saanich has started 16.

“And people question why do we have a housing affordability problem,” he said.

“Well, you have just a handful of municipalities that are really carrying the weight for 13 municipalities.”

The lion’s share has been done by Victoria so far this year.

With a focus on condo and rental apartments, the city has seen 1,219 homes started, well ahead of last year’s 696. Langford has started 663 so far this year, off last year’s pace of 862 through the end of July.

Edge said what’s missing is the missing middle housing — townhomes and houseplexes, rather than the usual condos and single-family homes — that can suit small families and provide more housing options in all parts of the region.

The fact builders in at least two of the region’s centres are busy may help the market catch up a bit, as the number of property sales has slowed considerably. The B.C. Real Estate Association released numbers on Tuesday showing Victoria’s sales dropped 37.5 per cent in July compared with the same time last year, while the Island saw a 40 per cent drop and the province fell 42 per cent.

“High mortgage rates continued to lower sales activity in July,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson.

“Many regions around the province have seen sales slip to levels well below normal for this time of year.”

At the same time, provincial active listings rose 28 per cent year-over-year.

Inventories remain quite low, but the slow pace of sales has tipped some markets into ­balanced or even buyers’ market territory, the association noted.

Year-to-date, residential unit sales were down 29.3 per cent to 56,801 units, while the average residential price was up 13.2 per cent to $1.03 million.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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Podcast: Real estate marketing strategy with Publish Partners | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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Podcast: Real World of Real Estate with Gerald Tostowaryk

Max Jakubke, principal and founder of Publish Partners, and the firm’s digital marketing director Bianca Elliot discuss numerous strategies for effective online real estate marketing with host Gerald Tostowaryk.

One of the focuses for the episode, the second in a series on real estate marketing, is using data effectively to improve your storytelling ability about a project or development.

As part of the discussion, Jakubke and Elliot share some examples of successful campaigns.

Publish Partners is an international firm based in Vancouver.

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Perfect time for sellers in Saskatchewan real estate market – Global News

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For people who analyze statistics for a living, interpreting numbers is often about perspective.

For example, take home sales in Saskatchewan last month.

The province saw a 10-per cent reduction in home sales from 2021. However, last year was a record year for home sales in Saskatchewan.

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“Overall, most regional markets are starting to shift away from the exceptionally tight market conditions seen earlier in the year,” the Saskatchewan Realtors Association said in a press release.

“However, most regional markets still face conditions that are tighter this July then they were last year.”

One of the reasons for the reduction is the spending issues many people are facing as inflation has drove prices of everyday items up. Another reason the market has slowed is the simple fact it’s summer and people aren’t home.

“People are on holidays, they’re out farming and so typically we see a slower market and people are maybe not used to that because during the pandemic we had a market that was very busy throughout the year,” said Chris Guérette, the CEO of Saskatchewan Realtors Association.

“So we are returning to sort of pre-pandemic activity during this time of the year.”

Buyers are more leaning towards more homes priced under $400,000, which as a result means less are available and slowing down sales.

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“Inventory levels trended up in July over previous months, but every region still faced inventory levels that were lower than the previous year and long-term averages,” the press release read.

“Overall, most regional markets are starting to shift away from the exceptionally tight market conditions seen earlier in the year.  However, most regional markets still face conditions that are tighter this July then they were last year.

Guérette said overall, the provinces market it a lot more stable than other places.

“We know that we won’t have the drastic ups & downs that other large municipalities are facing & other provinces are facing at the time right now. So that means places like Ontario and B.C are seeing some really large dips and some swings.”

Guérette said it is a sellers’ market right now, with the average price of a home in Saskatchewan going up to $335,000.


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