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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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Will real estate prices plunge? That may depend on the sellers – Financial Post

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The economic uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has contributed to contradictory estimates of future housing prices and sales. Leading the bears is the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), projecting average housing prices to fall by nine to 18 per cent.

Others, including economists at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), are not convinced prices will fall as steeply as the CMHC projects. Many homebuyers and sellers have been left perplexed by these conflicting forecasts — much can go wrong if they rely on the wrong estimates in their buy and sell decisions.

Regardless of the sophistication of algorithms, forecasts are necessarily a byproduct of the assumptions forecasters make and the data they use. Assumptions, inherently, are neither right nor wrong. They are informed guesses about future outcomes. When reviewing a forecast based on modelling, always remember the advice from the famed statistician, George Box: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

The CMHC forecasts were generated using “a specific set of assumptions for the market conditions and underlying economic fundamentals,” CMHC noted in the report’s appendix.

But how precise are they? CMHC estimates that average Canadian housing prices in 2020 will be anywhere between $493,200 and $518,400, representing a nine to 18 per cent decline from pre- COVID-19 levels. The number of sales transacting through the Multiple Listing Service is expected to be between 416,000 and 450,500.

The above forecasts are for the average price in Canada. Local market forecasts could be much different. CMHC reported provincial estimates for prices, sales and housing starts, with all provinces seeing the same trend of falling metrics through 2020 and a rebound starting later in 2021.

The lowest average price forecast for British Columbia at $609,515 is still more than double that for Alberta at $288,522. Both numbers are for the second quarter of 2022. The lower bound forecast for Ontario at $531,715 is slated for the second quarter of 2021, which suggests that CMHC expects housing markets to recover sooner in Ontario.

CMHC’s report does not disclose the methods or data used to generate forecasts. The report mentions that CMHC forecasts deploy the “full range of quantitative and qualitative tools currently available.”

The report claims that the forecast’s “range provides a relatively precise guidance to readers on the outlook while recognizing the small random components of the relationship between the housing market and its drivers.” However, the wide range of forecast for prices and sales is indicative of the “high degree of forecast uncertainty” partly due to the “unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.” To us, therefore, the claim for precision may be a stretch.

Homebuyers and sellers need to be able to understand what forecasts mean for their decision-making processes. Economists prepare estimates with care. However, when predictions differ from the real outcomes, economists readily revise their projections. Homebuyers and sellers, once they have transacted, cannot “revise” their transactions. Hence the stakes are higher for the ones active in the market.

Another way of thinking about future housing prices is to think about the willingness of sellers to accept lower bids for their listings. If one is of the view that sellers will be, on average, willing to accept bids 18 per cent or more below than what they could have received before March 2020, a significant decrease in housing prices could be inevitable. However, this seems to be an unlikely scenario.

If prices start to decline significantly, sellers can slow or even freeze the market by not listing their properties, withdrawing them from consideration, or refusing a lower bid. Sellers’ unwillingness to sell dwellings at lower-than-expected prices can protect against a freefall in housing prices. Also, when less inventory is available for purchase, buyers may have to compete, which could put upward pressure on prices.

Lastly, the average decline in the average price does not imply that an individual dwelling will experience an average drop in valuation. Why? Because the average price forecasts ignore the differences in sizes and quality of housing or the fact that when economic conditions worsen, higher priced homes stop transacting, and lower-valued homes dominate the sales. The shift in the structural composition of housing gives a false impression that housing prices are falling. Thus, CREA’s estimates of constant quality homes are not as severe as CMHC’s.

Homebuyers and sellers should have a look at the market forecasts. But they should base their decisions on their circumstances and local housing market conditions. Remember, forecasts are useful, but not necessarily accurate.

Murtaza Haider is a professor of Real Estate Management at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran. They can be reached atwww.hmbulletin.com.

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Douglas Todd: China's real-estate investors down on Vancouver, but not out – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Opinion: Even though Metro Vancouver’s real estate might be down in the minds of many of China’s wealthy, they’ve not abandoned it

Opinion: Even though Metro Vancouver’s real estate might be down in the minds of many of China’s wealthy, they’ve not abandoned it.

RICHARD LAM / PNG

Huawei CEO Meng Wenghzou must stay under mansion arrest following this week’s court decision in Vancouver. China’s authorities rage, while continuing to unfairly jail Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig and drastically cut imports of Canadian canola.

Rival ethnic Chinese groups clash in the streets of Vancouver over Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kongers’ freedoms. COVID-19 kills more than 6,800 across Canada and lockdown virtually ends international travel, sending home many of China’s foreign students, especially from Toronto and Vancouver.

China-Canada relations are at their lowest ebb in decades, particularly according to China’s pervasive regime-backed media outlets, which this week called Canada a “pathetic clown.”

And that has implications for Metro Vancouver’s housing market.

This region of 2.6 million is feeling the impact of soured relations with China, even while polling suggests the city continues to retain some of its traditional allure to the world’s most populous country as a desirable place to experience and invest in.

In addition to geo-political tensions, however, it must be said that Metro Vancouver’s real-estate market has also lost some of its global appeal because of financial trends. As a result real estate prices fall in many parts of the West, especially in the Lower Mainland. That’s while housing values have been rising in China.

Let’s look closer at what’s leading China’s upper- and middle-classes to steer away from buying into Metro Vancouver real estate like they once did.

China’s investors are also this year not pouring the same billions into high-end commercial or residential properties in adjacent Hong Kong, which has up until now been the top investment destination for China’s wealthy.

One reason for China’s investors pulling back is their rising suspicion of the West, including because of the erratic ways the U.S., some European countries, Canada and others have handled the coronavirus outbreak.

Although the World Health Organization and other health experts say COVID19 emerged in Wuhan, China’s state media claims the country has kept a better lid on it than the West. That’s lead to nervousness among many Chinese citizens about getting sick abroad, as well as fear about being blamed for spreading the virus.

The South China Morning Post, for one, has been talking to rich and middle-class people around China and discovering they’re losing their appetite for buying real-estate “investment vehicles” in the West, in part because of such COVID-19-related fears and mistrust.

That’s goes with their weakening desire to send children to study abroad, where many became involved in real-estate on behalf of their families. At the end of 2019 there were 640,000 students from China around the world, 144,000 of whom were in Canada and 50,000 in B.C.

In addition, however, an equally strong force that is diminishing Chinese people’s interest in buying Metro Vancouver’s pricey houses and condominiums, according to the Hurun Report, is that the city doesn’t offer the same profits it once did.

Housing values have dipped in Metro Vancouver since 2016, when buyers from China were deeply engaged in pumping up the city’s luxury market. And the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicted this week prices could fall an additional nine to 18 per cent in Canada because of the pandemic, and even slightly more in British Columbia.

Bigger real-estate profits are to be made in China.

The widely read Hurun Report is considered an authority on what it calls “China’s high-net-worth individuals.” And its 2020 report said, even before COVID hit, that China’s rich were finding some of the most rewarding real-estate ventures were in their own country.

“Twenty-seven Chinese cities entered the top 50 cities (around the world) with the highest house price increases,” said this year’s Hurun Report. Many of those Chinese cities had values leap 35 to 45 per cent over just three years. There’s no suggestion such hefty profit margins are being seriously dented by COVID-19.

Related

Much of the sharp rise in China’s real-estate prices is the result of its authorities becoming more intent about enforcing a US$50,000 a person limit on the movement of funds out of the country – and banning the widespread use of credit cards, including China’s UnionPay, for buying foreign real estate.

Vancouver realtor David Hutchinson said this week that, for many of the reasons mentioned here, “China is not coming” to local real estate like it once did. “That ship has sailed.”

His perspective echoes that of West Vancouver realtor Nicole Lee, who said earlier that many rich clients from China are looking elsewhere now that B.C. has brought in a foreign-buyers tax on housing, along with a speculation and vacancy tax.

However, even though Metro Vancouver and it’s real estate might be down in the minds of many of China’s wealthy, they’re definitely not out.

Although five years ago China’s rich ranked Metro Vancouver as the third most desirable city in the world for “overseas property purchases,” this year’s Hurun Report says they still rate this relatively small city on the West Coast of Canada as seventh.

In addition, the Hurun Report says China’s high-net-worth parents pick Canada as their fourth favourite place to send their children for an education. As well, out of the 10 million Mainland Chinese who are transnational migrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute, half have ended up in Hong Kong and the U.S., while Canada has been, and remains, their third most popular choice, with Australia fourth.

There are now more than 500,000 ethnic Chinese people in Metro Vancouver, the majority, because of recent migration trends, from China. They can find familiarity in the city’s vibrant ethnic Chinese supermarkets, retail outlets, entertainment, restaurants and housing.

There might not be quite the tremendous volume of money coming out of China into Canada’s property market as there has been in the past two decades, but streams of Chinese capital are sure to continue to make their way across the Pacific.

That should be the case despite the tensions wrought by COVID-19 lockdowns, Huawei controversies, Hong Kong clashes and even a stumbling local real-estate market.

dtodd@postmedia.com

MORE RELATED:

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Douglas Todd: Canada, Australia take different tacks on immigration amid COVID crisis

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Douglas Todd: China's real-estate investors down on Vancouver, but not out – Vancouver Sun

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Article content

Huawei CEO Meng Wenghzou must stay under mansion arrest following this week’s court decision in Vancouver. China’s authorities rage, while continuing to unfairly jail Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig and drastically cut imports of Canadian canola.

Rival ethnic Chinese groups clash in the streets of Vancouver over Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kongers’ freedoms. COVID-19 kills more than 6,800 across Canada and lockdown virtually ends international travel, sending home many of China’s foreign students, especially from Toronto and Vancouver.

China-Canada relations are at their lowest ebb in decades, particularly according to China’s pervasive regime-backed media outlets, which this week called Canada a “pathetic clown.”

And that has implications for Metro Vancouver’s housing market.

This region of 2.6 million is feeling the impact of soured relations with China, even while polling suggests the city continues to retain some of its traditional allure to the world’s most populous country as a desirable place to experience and invest in.

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