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Business notes: The Agency Real Estate opens up unique office in Duncan – Cowichan Valley Citizen

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The Agency, a new real estate firm in the Cowichan Valley, has opened its doors at its unique office at 725 Canada Ave. in Duncan.

The Agency has been in business since September, 2019, in Nanaimo, but the owners decided to switch operations to the Valley.

Co-owner Brian Danyliw said the new office isn’t the typical type of real estate office people are used to, with separate cubicles and a corporate ambience.

“We just finished major renovations here and created an open space that is as much about play as it is work,” he said.

“The real estate industry is known for being a cut-throat business, but we want to show that we can have fun and still do our jobs well. At The Agency, we’re all about collaboration and working together as a team.”

Danyliw said, as an essential service, The Agency is in operation during the COVID-19 crisis, but appointments are required and social distancing and other precautions are practised at the office.

•••

While the public faces empty grocery shelves and hears about farmers having to destroy their crops or dump their milk during the COVID-19 crisis, young agrarians like Derrick Pawlowski and Cammy Lockwood are finding solutions for distributing food in their community at the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace.

Having roots in farming themselves, and with their hearts in the fields and kitchens of the 80 active farmers and processors that make up the co-operative, they have turned to organizations like Community Evolution to help them navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic.

The Vancouver-based non-profit organization Community Evolution has an impressive five-year history of empowering co-operative, community-based enterprises to develop, grow and create positive change.

Lockwood, chairman of the CVCM, said Community Evolution’s technical support, facilitation and seed-funding are building capacity within the co-operative and helping it get to a point where it is not only able to fully sustain itself, but can truly emerge as a leader in the industry and share its knowledge with other communities.

“The demand has grown 10-fold since the start of the lockdown, and we’re just so grateful that we are able to use our platform to meet the needs of our producers and consumers,” Lockwood said.

“We are excited to do even more in the future.”

•••

During the COVID-19 crisis, dentists and health-care practitioners outside the hospital system play a pivotal role in supporting the health of our communities.

With dentists mandated by the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia to offer emergency services only during the pandemic, dentists are leveraging tele-dentistry to provide care whenever possible.

A press release from the Valley’s Warmland Dental is advising that it is open, answering calls, and providing in-person care when required.

“Anyone who is experiencing significant pain or other symptoms they think may be considered a dental emergency should call their own dentist as a first step,” the release said.

“It is a dentist’s obligation to ensure they are available for their patients. At our practice, the team will perform an assessment over the phone to screen patients against COVID-19 risk factors and determine if their symptoms constitute a true dental emergency.”

The release said that in cases where symptoms can be treated safely with medication, patients can be provided with a prescription over the phone, and patients needing immediate in-person care will be booked for an appointment.

It said that if a patient’s regular dentist is not available, they are welcome to contact Warmland Dental.

“Patients outside the Duncan area can connect with a dentist virtually through hellodent.com, where patients can have their urgent dental care needs addressed from the comfort and safety of their homes,” the release said.

•••

PropertyGuys.com, North America’s largest private home-sale network, has opened a new franchise in the Cowichan Valley.

Offering a private sale, flat-fee approach to real estate that puts the seller at the core of the transaction, PropertyGuys.com’s ever-expanding circle of franchises has helped more than 90,0000 homeowners from coast to coast take control of their real estate experience and save thousands of dollars.

New owners, Jim and Jocelyn Barnes, are excited about the opening of their first location and to help homeowners in the Cowichan Valley area discover the benefits of private sale.

“We’re in a unique position as franchisees,” said Jim.

“The reason we wanted to open this location is because we used PropertyGuys.com to sell our home in Cranbrook and we absolutely loved it. It was our dream to help others the same way we were helped.”

For more information, visit www.propertyguys.com.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Record month for South Georgian Bay real estate pushing pricing out of reach for many – CTV Toronto

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COLLINGWOOD —
October was another record-breaking month for real estate sales in the region.

Statistics from the South Georgian Bay association of realtors show the number of sales increased 47 percent over October last year. The benchmark price of a single-family home Climbed 21.8 percent to 513 thousand dollars, vacancies are down, while rents are also seeing an increase.

“Rents have been a surprise to me how quickly they have escalated and how out of context they are with the local market, wage rates and labour force,” says community activist Marg Scheben-Edey.

A flood of buyers from the GTA is fuelling the hot housing market. Still, there’s mounting evidence that rising prices make the communities around Southern Georgian Bay unaffordable, especially for service industry workers and single-income families who spend more than half their income on housing.

Pamela Hillier, the Executive Director of Community Connection, says that’s not sustainable and adds calls for help to 211 are up 153 per cent.

“At the end of the month, there’s no money left to buy food, or prescription medicine, or things like that, so people call to see if there are other income sources or help out there to pay for other services that they need.”

Advocates for purpose-built housing, including Gail Michalenko, say a bad situation just got worse in Collingwood.

“Our current council is certainly more supportive and recognizes that there’s a huge issue with this,” says Michalenko, “so now it’s time for some action.”

“There’s a sense of urgency to start addressing the situation,” says Scheben-Edey. It’s not something we can take likely sometimes it’s life and death.”

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Downtown TO office sublease space quadruples in 2020 | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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IMAGE: Bill Argeropoulos, Avison Young’s principal and practice leader for research. (Courtesy Avison Young)

Bill Argeropoulos, Avison Young principal and practice leader for research, Canada. (Courtesy Avison Young)

The amount of office sublease space on the market in downtown Toronto has quadrupled during 2020 to almost 2.5 million square feet, and there’s no short-term turnaround in sight.

Across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), office sublease space on offer has more than doubled this year to over five million square feet.

Avison Young principal and Canadian research practice leader Bill Argeropoulos, who’s been closely monitoring sublease activity since COVID-19 started impacting the real estate market in March, doesn’t see available sublease space returning to previous lows until, perhaps, the end of 2023.

Argeropoulos wrote about the trend in a recent blog post and expanded on his analysis of the peaks and valleys from three past availability cycles in an interview with RENX.

“At the very beginning of the process, people were reluctant to put space on the sublease market because they didn’t know what the outlook was going to be like,” said Argeropoulos, who believes many companies were caught off guard by the length of the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow return of employees to offices.

Sublease space may appeal to some tenants because they can often get shorter and more flexible lease terms. Also, if they can take over space that’s already built out, they’ll save on related capital costs.

Companies have realized if some or all of their employees can work from home until the COVID-19 crisis clears up, they might as well try to relieve themselves of excess space and earn revenue through subleasing. However, lease-up of these spaces has been slow.

Rate of sublease space availability increases

Since last writing about the topic in August, Argeropoulos said available sublease space across the GTA office market increased from 3.7 million square feet to 5.1 million square feet. That’s up from 2.4 million square feet at the end of 2019.

Downtown Toronto sublease availability has risen from 1.7 million square feet to nearly 2.5 million square feet, which is about four times the 652,000 square feet available at the end of last year.

“Deals done with sublease spaces are usually at lower rates than direct landlord space, but we haven’t seen that sort of softening in the rents yet,” said Argeropoulos. “They’re basically on par with direct landlord space for now.

“However, I think the scales will likely tip in the tenants’ favour as more larger blocks hit the market, forcing some landlords to adjust their pricing.

“I think that will come, but given that the majority of the real estate in downtown Toronto is held by well-financed institutions, they’re willing to weather the storm a little bit and not necessarily give up on the rates yet.”

Where sublease space is coming from

Fifty-six per cent of the office sublease availability in downtown Toronto so far is for spaces of less than 5,000 square feet, according to Argeropoulos. Forty-six per cent is in class-A, 32 per cent is in class-B and 22 per cent is in class-C buildings.

“The piece of the pie that we’re closely watching right now is in that greater-than-20,000-square-feet range,” said Argeropoulos. “That number, which we’ve been following over several months, is in the five per cent category.

“Once we see that number rising, then I think there will be pressure on landlords to perhaps come off because they’re going to be competing with larger blocks of space, which can then be used as leverage to drive down rents.”

Argeropoulos said sublease space on the market now is coming from a range of business types, including technology, financial services, telecommunications and professional service firms.

“Even within the technology sector, it’s not just startups. It’s also established blue-chip technology companies that have decided to reduce their footprint — some on a temporary basis and some on a more permanent basis.”

Looking to the past for possible answers

Argeropoulos said there was no relationship between the rate of sublease availability take-up in the last three peak-to-valley cycles, spanning 20 years, in either downtown Toronto or the GTA as a whole.

For the current GTA office sublease market to return to its previous valley by the end of 2023, 256,000 square feet of take-up per quarter would be needed. That wouldn’t be far beyond the fastest take-up rate seen in the last 20 years.

Downtown, however, the necessary figure would be 159,000 square feet per quarter. That would be double the fastest rate recorded in any peak-to-valley period during the last 20 years.

Significant pent-up demand would be required, especially given the amount of new office space which will be delivered downtown between now and 2024.

In its just-released Canada 2021 Forecast report, Avison Young notes about seven million square feet of new office space is being delivered in 2020 and 2021 in the GTA. That report predicts a slightly higher 7.2 per cent overall vacancy rate for GTA office space in 2021 (it was 6.6 per cent at the end of Q3 2020).

Sources of future sublease space

Much of that new space is already pre-leased, but companies that have made those commitments may realize they don’t need all of it and look to the sublease market to take them off the hook.

Companies moving into new offices will also make significant backfill space available. Much of that could come from major banks, especially CIBC, and Infrastructure Ontario, as it moves back into its former buildings which have been under renovation.

“Rumours are that that Infrastructure Ontario space could be as much as an additional million square feet of availability perhaps coming on the market,” said Argeropoulos.

The City of Toronto has also announced it will implement a workplace modernization program, which includes both leased and owned facilities. That could reduce its office space footprint and introduce up to another million square feet to the sublease market.

“Heading into this crisis, Toronto and the downtown market in general was very, very tight and we couldn’t wait to get some availability to come online so we could transact,” said Argeropoulos. “But no one saw this amount of space coming back.”

Argeropoulos is concerned office demand has dried up and the newly available space isn’t moving.

It’s not yet panic time, he added, but smaller landlords or those with near-term risk due to lease rollovers are in an unenviable position.

“Once there’s greater clarity, the pent-up demand that’s waiting will definitely start to eat up the space,” said Argeropoulos. “How quickly is another question.”

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Record month for South Georgian Bay real estate pushing pricing out of reach for many – CTV Toronto

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COLLINGWOOD —
October was another record-breaking month for real estate sales in the region.

Statistics from the South Georgian Bay association of realtors show the number of sales increased 47 percent over October last year. The benchmark price of a single-family home Climbed 21.8 percent to 513 thousand dollars, vacancies are down, while rents are also seeing an increase.

“Rents have been a surprise to me how quickly they have escalated and how out of context they are with the local market, wage rates and labour force,” says community activist Marg Scheben-Edey.

A flood of buyers from the GTA is fuelling the hot housing market. Still, there’s mounting evidence that rising prices make the communities around Southern Georgian Bay unaffordable, especially for service industry workers and single-income families who spend more than half their income on housing.

Pamela Hillier, the Executive Director of Community Connection, says that’s not sustainable and adds calls for help to 211 are up 153 per cent.

“At the end of the month, there’s no money left to buy food, or prescription medicine, or things like that, so people call to see if there are other income sources or help out there to pay for other services that they need.”

Advocates for purpose-built housing, including Gail Michalenko, say a bad situation just got worse in Collingwood.

“Our current council is certainly more supportive and recognizes that there’s a huge issue with this,” says Michalenko, “so now it’s time for some action.”

“There’s a sense of urgency to start addressing the situation,” says Scheben-Edey. It’s not something we can take likely sometimes it’s life and death.”

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