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Canadian housing starts rise 23% in January: CMHC

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OTTAWA – Canadian housing starts rose 23% in January compared with the previous month as groundbreaking increased on both multiple unit and single-family detached homes, data from the national housing agency showed on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 282,428 units from revised 229,350 units in December, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said.

 

(Reporting by Dale Smith, editing by Steve Scherer)

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BCREA: BC Government Proposes Changes to Real Estate Services Act Paving Path for Single Regulator – Business Examiner

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BRTISH COLUMBIA – On March 2, Bill 8: Finance Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 was introduced in the BC Legislature. With its introduction, the BC Government’s intention to create a single financial services regulator, including real estate, announced in September 2019, was finally made clear.

The bill creates the path for the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) to become part of the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA). According to the government’s news release, this is expected to happen “later in 2021.”

BCREA reaction:

We welcome a more cohesive regulatory structure, which is something we asked for early in 2019. Unfortunately, the legislative changes introduced yesterday don’t include the creation of the Professional Standing Committee BCREA proposed more than a year ago.

When the BCFSA becomes the real estate regulator, administration of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA), Real Estate Development Marketing Act and parts of the Strata Property Act will be added to the BCFSA’s current regulatory responsibilities, which include credit unions, mortgage brokers and insurance. BCFSA’s Chief Executive Officer will become the new Superintendent of Real Estate.

As a result of the omission of the Professional Standing Committee, BCREA is concerned that real estate licensees will have fewer opportunities to provide input into rules and policies that impact the practice of real estate. Although the Professional Standing Committee isn’t included in the proposed amendments to RESA, we hope it will be implemented in the practical application of the new regulatory structure. We will continue to work with the BCFSA, OSRE and RECBC to this end. Our goal is to ensure a consistent, meaningful process for practitioner input.

Other Changes:

At a high level, the government also proposes the following changes, among others:

  • expanding the administrative penalty system, including the option of requiring further education and doubling the maximum penalty (currently $50,000),
  • eliminating discipline committees, and
  • strengthening the new superintendent’s options for handling urgent circumstances.

Next steps

BCREA is carefully reviewing the proposed changes to RESA, including seeking legal analysis and meeting with government staff.

This bill – like all bills – will be debated in the legislature and subject to further changes as part of that process. Once it’s passed, it won’t take effect right away. Instead, the government will implement it at a later date by regulation.

As BCREA learns more about the proposed changes to RESA, we’ll provide updates in future blog posts. If you have any concerns, please contact Senior Policy Analyst Norma Miller.

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Manhattan's Real Estate Agents Take Up TikTok to Find Renters – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — TikTok isn’t just a platform for dance videos and investment advice. It’s also a place to hawk Manhattan apartments.

New York real estate professionals are turning to the booming social media app to find tenants in a market where units are piling up amid near-record vacancies. For some, the 60-second videos have changed their jobs completely.

Madison Sutton, an agent at Highline Residential, had just 5,000 TikTok followers in October, when she decided to start taking the app more seriously. Today, she’s up to more than 90,000, and deals sourced from TikTok account for her entire business.

“It was just an immediate reaction,” Sutton said. “TikTok could give an accurate portrayal of the unit while keeping in mind overall convenience.”

Filling Manhattan apartments is especially tough these days, even as rents slide and landlords offer the biggest move-in incentives on record. The pandemic sent many city-dwellers fleeing for the suburbs, and newcomers are finding few reasons to settle down in New York’s costliest borough while nightlife venues are still dark and office towers remain mostly empty.

That’s made alternative marketing strategies like TikTok, which enable agents to connect with renters on their mobile phones, ever more essential.

Sutton said she fields about 45 calls a week from apartment-hunters who found her on TikTok, and she’s grown accustomed to conducting online tours for clients who might have come in person prior to the pandemic. She recently helped two roommates from Austin, Texas, find an apartment at Hudson Yards. They signed the lease without ever stepping foot inside the unit.

“They saw one of my TikToks of the unit, absolutely loved it,” said Sutton, who then gave them a full virtual tour.

Reaching Clients

TikTok uses an algorithm to tailor a user’s “For You” page to their interests — apartments with exposed brick and no brokers’ fees, for instance. A person who has stopped scrolling to watch a video about something related to New York real estate in the past might be shown one of Sutton’s the next time.

That allows agents to reach an audience of potential clients who probably wouldn’t have seen their listings otherwise.

Alexander Zakharin, managing director at GZB Realty, has close to 80,000 TikTok followers, ranging from 18-year-olds “not legal to drink but legal to rent,” to parents whose kids point them in his direction. Contacts through TikTok now make up 75% of his business.

“If you do it right, the algorithm allows you to explode,” said Zakharin, who joined the platform roughly a year ago.

In February, he closed a deal on a $11,000-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Square for a Russian influencer who found him on TikTok.

“There’s no doubt it has a benefit to the marketing process,” said Gary Malin, chief operating officer at brokerage Corcoran Group. “Anything that’s being consumed as much as TikTok is being consumed certainly helps expose property.”

But while TikTok can help show off apartments, leasing decisions for most people will come down to money, he said.

“Ultimately, what I think drives deals are the incentives and pricing that are being offered,” Malin said.

With people stuck at home spending more time on social media, the intimate and unvarnished videos on TikTok may draw an audience that hadn’t considered living in Manhattan before.

Sutton, who calls herself a “real estate influencer” on LinkedIn, recently helped a young professional find a place in Murray Hill. The client’s company had given her the option to relocate from Virginia, and she decided she wanted the New York experience — that “electric sense in the air that you can’t find anywhere else,” Sutton said.

“There’s a misconception that people aren’t coming back,” she said. “It’s the opposite.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Manhattan's Real Estate Agents Take Up TikTok to Find Renters – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — TikTok isn’t just a platform for dance videos and investment advice. It’s also a place to hawk Manhattan apartments.

New York real estate professionals are turning to the booming social media app to find tenants in a market where units are piling up amid near-record vacancies. For some, the 60-second videos have changed their jobs completely.

Madison Sutton, an agent at Highline Residential, had just 5,000 TikTok followers in October, when she decided to start taking the app more seriously. Today, she’s up to more than 90,000, and deals sourced from TikTok account for her entire business.

“It was just an immediate reaction,” Sutton said. “TikTok could give an accurate portrayal of the unit while keeping in mind overall convenience.”

Filling Manhattan apartments is especially tough these days, even as rents slide and landlords offer the biggest move-in incentives on record. The pandemic sent many city-dwellers fleeing for the suburbs, and newcomers are finding few reasons to settle down in New York’s costliest borough while nightlife venues are still dark and office towers remain mostly empty.

That’s made alternative marketing strategies like TikTok, which enable agents to connect with renters on their mobile phones, ever more essential.

Sutton said she fields about 45 calls a week from apartment-hunters who found her on TikTok, and she’s grown accustomed to conducting online tours for clients who might have come in person prior to the pandemic. She recently helped two roommates from Austin, Texas, find an apartment at Hudson Yards. They signed the lease without ever stepping foot inside the unit.

“They saw one of my TikToks of the unit, absolutely loved it,” said Sutton, who then gave them a full virtual tour.

Reaching Clients

TikTok uses an algorithm to tailor a user’s “For You” page to their interests — apartments with exposed brick and no brokers’ fees, for instance. A person who has stopped scrolling to watch a video about something related to New York real estate in the past might be shown one of Sutton’s the next time.

That allows agents to reach an audience of potential clients who probably wouldn’t have seen their listings otherwise.

Alexander Zakharin, managing director at GZB Realty, has close to 80,000 TikTok followers, ranging from 18-year-olds “not legal to drink but legal to rent,” to parents whose kids point them in his direction. Contacts through TikTok now make up 75% of his business.

“If you do it right, the algorithm allows you to explode,” said Zakharin, who joined the platform roughly a year ago.

In February, he closed a deal on a $11,000-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Square for a Russian influencer who found him on TikTok.

“There’s no doubt it has a benefit to the marketing process,” said Gary Malin, chief operating officer at brokerage Corcoran Group. “Anything that’s being consumed as much as TikTok is being consumed certainly helps expose property.”

But while TikTok can help show off apartments, leasing decisions for most people will come down to money, he said.

“Ultimately, what I think drives deals are the incentives and pricing that are being offered,” Malin said.

With people stuck at home spending more time on social media, the intimate and unvarnished videos on TikTok may draw an audience that hadn’t considered living in Manhattan before.

Sutton, who calls herself a “real estate influencer” on LinkedIn, recently helped a young professional find a place in Murray Hill. The client’s company had given her the option to relocate from Virginia, and she decided she wanted the New York experience — that “electric sense in the air that you can’t find anywhere else,” Sutton said.

“There’s a misconception that people aren’t coming back,” she said. “It’s the opposite.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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