The Manitoba real estate market started to cool off in September, but the province is still expected to smash 2020’s record year.
OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — Cobblestone Real Estate LLC (“Cobblestone”), a private real estate investment and management firm, announced today the closing of its first proprietary fund, Cobblestone SPC MHC Fund I LP (“CRE I”), with total capital raised of $72.1 million. CRE I makes real estate investments in the manufactured housing community and RV resort sector with a focus on Sunbelt state markets. To date the fund has invested approximately $31 million across eight (8) properties in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada.
Within its target geography, CRE I acquires manufactured housing properties at many different stages, with a focus on asset repositioning through an active management campaign that includes customized property improvements, professional branding, institutional-level financial reporting and operations.
Cobblestone’s co-founders and senior management team include Erik Hagen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jason Hagen, Chief Operating Officer, and Tome Tomaj, Chief Financial Officer.
Regarding the fundraise for CRE I, Cobblestone Chief Executive Officer and President, Erik Hagen said, “We are grateful for the strong support of our limited partners and we are building on that momentum with a growing portfolio and an active investment pipeline.”
About Cobblestone Real Estate LLC
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, Cobblestone Real Estate LLC (www.cobblestoneassets.com) is a fully-integrated real estate investment and management firm focused on manufactured housing communities and RV resort properties (“MHC/RV”). Cobblestone provides institutional and private investors, as well as investment managers, access to the attractive MHC/RV asset class through proprietary funds, off-market joint ventures and expert property and asset management.
THIS PRESS RELEASE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO SELL OR THE SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES. CRE I IS CLOSED TO NEW INVESTORS.
T.K. Frantz, CFA
The Manitoba real estate market started to cool off in September, but the province is still expected to smash 2020’s record year.
There were 1,575 residential properties that were sold last month for total sales of $506.4 million. This is down 12.9% and 9.3%, respectively, from September 2020’s record numbers, but Stewart Elston, president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association said these sales still out-paced September 2019 by 15%.
He said the pandemic push for home offices and bigger yards has died down some but is still a factor. There is, however, an even bigger motivation for homebuyers.
“The pandemic is still playing into it a little bit but by and large it’s interest rates, low-interest rates are still driving the market,” said Elston.
He noted there are consumer protections in place to protect homebuyers in case the low-interest rates shoot up, specifically the stress test required for mortgages.
The sector is still in good shape to improve on the high-water mark set last year for sales, fuelled by a red-hot spring. So far in 2021, there have been 16,013 residential properties sold, up 23.7% over last year and approaching the year-end record of 16,789 sales. The sector has already surpassed total dollars from 2020 with $5.28 billion in total dollars, up 35.3% over the first nine months of 2020, when the year-end total was $5.1 billion.
There have been 20,362 new listings through September, up 0.3%, and the average sale price of $329,998 is up 9.4%.
Elston said the big shift has come in the sale of condos — which includes apartment and townhouse-style dwellings. While single-home sales are still up 21%, condo sales are up 49% as people look for more affordable options.
The average two-bedroom condo is selling for about $200,000, and one-bedroom condos are even cheaper.
“For a number of years the Winnipeg condo market was a little on the saturated side, listings took longer for a home to sell,” he said. “Now what we’re finding, we’re not getting a lot of bidding wars on condos or multiple offers, but they’re selling faster and they’re selling for closer to list price. There isn’t the excess of inventory on condos now there either.”
The market slowdown is good news for first-time buyers. As the sector cools the prices will also start to calm down as well.
“I think that’s a good thing and I think that should give any first-time buyer there’s hope of getting into something,” said Elston, who also recommended expanding their neighbourhood search and to consider condos as an affordable alternative.
When it comes to housing in Vancouver, many believe that affordability has long left the building.
So if that’s the case, why even bother talking about it?
As realtor Adam Major explains in a phone interview with the Straight, it’s because people require homes, no matter what.
“Individuals need to look at what is affordable for them and decide what they want to do,” Major said.
They can either buy or rent, and that’s entirely up to them.
“It’s okay to be a renter,” noted Major, who is a managing broker with Holywell Properties.
Now for those looking to buy, there are neighbourhoods in and around Vancouver that may be considered as pockets of affordability.
The Straight asked Major to identify some of these areas because of his access to granular data.
In addition to his title of managing broker, he is also the cofounder and CEO of Holywell Properties’ real-estate information site, Zealty.ca.
To digress a bit, Zealty started in 2006 as a virtual map of homes for sale on the Sunshine Coast, where the brokerage is based.
Major’s colleague, Gary Little, wrote the computer program. Little is also a realtor and he previously worked in Silicon Valley. He cofounded Zealty with Major, and serves as its chief technology officer.
The map has since grown into a rich online resource, which includes listings and sold properties, as well as fine-grained data like price per square foot, days on the market, and so on.
Zealty uses data from the real estate boards of Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and the Chilliwack district. The site is updated several times a day.
To zero in on these pockets of housing affordability, Major used median price or the middle point for prices as main parameter.
“Median price gives you the broadest sense of what’s happening in that neighbourhood and what can you buy in that neighbourhood,” he explained in the phone interview.
He also separated detached homes from condos or apartments, because if one combines these two types of properties, this will make a big difference in overall median price.
For the search, Major looked at all sales from January to September 2021.
And so, the area with the lowest median price is where buyers may want to look into, if affordability is what they are after.
For the West Side of Vancouver, Major said that the most affordable neighbourhood for condos or apartments is Marpole. It has a median price of $653,000 as of September 2021.
Major suggested that the best value for money is Downtown and the West End because of their location. The median apartment prices are $690,000 and $692,750, respectively.
However, he observed that condo units in these two places are generally smaller, which does not work for families.
For detached homes, the cheapest neighbourhood in the West Side of Vancouver is also Marpole, where the median price is $2,445,000.
On the East Side of Vancouver, apartments or condos are most affordable in Hastings-Sunrise, with a median price of $521,500.
Major noted that neighbourhoods in East Vancouver like Victoria, Killarney, Grandview, Fraserview, and Collingwood have apartments averaging less than $600,000.
“Main Street is now $885,000—thank the hipsters,” Major said.
For detached homes in East Vancouver, Collingwood is the most affordable place, with a median price of $1,570,000.
“Strathcona, which used to be an island of affordability, has gone full gentrification and is now almost $2 million for a detached home,” Major noted.
Past Boundary Road and into Burnaby, the Zealty CEO noted that the best deal for apartments is in the Cariboo neighbourhood near the Lougheed Town Centre. The median price is $425,000.
One can also look along East Hastings Street in the Capitol Hill area, where the median price is $512,000 as of September 2021.
“A lot of the new buildings near Brentwood and Metrotown have the effect of pushing up the median price in those neighbourhoods,” Major noted.
In Brentwood, the median price for condos is $717,000. In Metrotown, it’s $673,400.
For detached homes in Burnaby, Major said that the most affordable neighbourhood is Greentree Village near BCIT. The median price is $1,398,900.
Farther east, Major described New Westminster as a “good place to find an affordable home”.
“It is a smaller municipality, but there are several neighbourhoods where the median price is around $450,000,” he noted.
The cheapest apartments can be found in the city’s West End neighbourhood, where the median price is $380,000.
Meanwhile, New Westminster’s Uptown is the best for detached homes. The median price is $1,105,000.
The Straight also asked for Zealty data about the North Shore, which is North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and West Vancouver.
Major noted that the best deal for apartments or condos is in the Cedardale area of West Vancouver. The median price is $572,500.
“For detached, nothing on the North Shore is cheap, but West Lynn is likely the best bang for your buck,” the Holywell Properties executive noted.
The median price in West Lynn is $1,695,000, or $135,000 cheaper than neighbouring Lynn Valley. “And you can still ride your bike to Fromme,” Major said, referring to one of the North Shore mountains and a popular destination for hiking and biking.
Richmond lies to the south of Vancouver.
In Richmond’s Granville neighbourhood, Major said that the median price for an apartment is a “surprisingly affordable” $280,000.
“Pro tip: if you buy an apartment on the second floor or above, you don’t have to worry about global warming,” Major joked.
For detached homes, the most affordable neighbourhood in Richmond is East Cambie. The median price is $1,543,500 in this area.
Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody make up the Tri-Cities.
“For apartments, Central Coquitlam, along Austin Avenue, is the best deal,” Major said. The median price is $402,500.
For detached homes, Major noted that the neighbourhood of Meadowbrook is cheaper than the median price for the rest of Coquitlam.
“Just up the Lougheed Highway, to the right of the old Riverview Hospital, the median detached price in Meadowbrook is $1,030,000,” he said. The realtor explained that it is significantly below the overall median price for Coquitlam of $1,535,000.
Going to Surrey and Delta, Major stated that Annieville could be the best place to look for an apartment or condo. The median price is $405,000.
“Older neighbourhoods, which were known for cheaper housing, like Whalley, have seen so much development that they have actually pushed the median price up,” he noted.
In Surrey’s Whalley area, the median price is $428,000.
For detached, the neighbourhood to go to is Bridgeview, which is near the Patullo Bridge. The median price is $1,050,000.
“There are some very expensive neighbourhoods in White Rock and South Surrey, where the median price is well over $2 million,” Major noted.
To the east in the Langley area, the Zealty executive noted that the median price in the city of Langley for an apartment is $433,000.
For detached homes, Major said that nothing is under $1 million. The city of Langley and Aldergrove offer the most affordable, with a median price of $1,160,000 and $1,021,750, respectively.
For homebuyers who do not mind driving a lot if they work in or near Vancouver, Major said Chilliwack offers the “cheapest housing in the Lower Mainland”.
The median price for an apartment in downtown Chilliwack is $265,000.
For detached homes, $825,000 is the median price in all of Chilliwack.
“To get below $800,000, you have to go all the way to Hope, where the median price is $623,750,” Major said.
Now for the big picture, the Zealty cofounder shares a basic formula on how home prices increase as one gets closer to Vancouver from the suburbs.
“There is about a 20 percent increase in median detached prices as you drive along the Trans-Canada Highway, and go from town to town,” Major said.
Let’s start from Chilliwack, where the overall median price for a single-family home is $825,000.
Major pointed out that the price increases by 20 percent in Abbotsford ($1,092,000), then another 20 percent in Langley ($1,395,000), and only slightly in Surrey ($1.4 million).
By the time one gets to Burnaby, it’s $1,765,000.
When a homebuyer reaches Main Street in Vancouver, the median price is $2,150,000. In Shaughnessy, the median price hits $5,850,000.
Major noted that things level off a bit as one heads further west. Median prices of detached homes in Kerrisdale and Kitsilano are $3,105,000 and $2,816,500, respectively.
The same thing happens with apartments or condos. However, Major stated that the rate of increase is lower at 15 percent as homebuyers drive from town to town.
To illustrate, Major noted that one can start with the median price for an apartment in Chilliwack at $299,950, and then get to $750,000 when one arrives on the West Side of Vancouver.
Again speaking about the big picture, Major noted that the median price of a detached home for all of Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Chilliwack is $1.5 million.
For apartments or condos, it’s $590,000.
And for all types of houses in these three real-estate markets, including townhomes, the median price as of September 2021 is $851,000.
In the phone interview, Major told the Straight that there are several reasons why homes have become very expensive.
“The causes for the affordability crisis are many, but I think these can be boiled down to a collective failure at all levels of government for the last couple of decades,” he said.
There’s one prospect that frightens Major, who has been with Holywell Properties since 2006.
“All markets, whether they be housing, the stock market, et cetera, eventually revert back to the mean, and often overcorrect in the opposite direction,” he said.
Major continued: “The housing bubble in Vancouver has gotten so big and gone on for so long, it’s scary to think what a correction could look like.”
Sonoma County office and retail real estate have been facing challenges throughout the coronavirus pandemic on when workers and consumers would return, but the local market for space to build, store and ship products continues to hum along.
Sonoma County’s office market during the pandemic has benefited from being farther away from the Bay Area’s densest urban areas, something that proved challenging for recruiters of younger, skilled talent beforehand.
Nineteen months into the dramatic shift in how a number of office-oriented businesses, particularly those deemed “nonessential,” approach remote work, Santa Rosa area offices anecdotally have more people actually working in the leased space than markets traveling south along the Highway 101 corridor, according to Dave Peterson, a partner of Santa Rosa-based brokerage Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc.
“Our agents in Petaluma are not seeing the activity level in office as we’ve seen in Santa Rosa,” he said.
But the Sonoma County market also has not seen the large blocks of office space coming back onto the market for sublease as in San Francisco, Peterson noted.
Office vacancy in Sonoma County moved from 12.2% in the first quarter of last year to 14.1% by the middle of that year, according to Keegan & Coppin. That reversed a slow decline in vacancy since the Great Recession of 2007–2009. Vacancy was 14.4% of 14.8 million square feet in mid-2021, but sublease space amounted to only 0.9%, with most of it in Petaluma.
Companies shopping for office space these days are looking for locations that can be flexible, even accommodating partial remote and in-person work, Peterson said. A hot size requirement is for 5,000–10,000 square feet, but mostly that’s a move to another site, rather than an expansion, he said.
Like in Solano and Napa counties, industrial real estate remains one of the hottest commercial property types in Sonoma County. But the shortage of available modern space is a challenge, according to Peterson.
“There’s very little inventory available,” Peterson said. “There are only two or three buildings with over 20,000 square feet available, and we’re seeing prices increasing for sale and rent.”
Only 4.6% of 25.4 million square feet of Sonoma County industrial space was vacant at the end of the second quarter of this year, according to Santa Rosa-based brokerage Keegan & Coppin. That’s down from the pandemic peak of 5.7% at the end of last year but on par with where vacancy was at before the virus.
This tight inventory, together with escalating prices for construction, are pushing rents up 10%–20% in the past 12 months, Peterson said. Some triple-net rents for newer spaces that were around $1 a square foot 12 months ago are now $1.15.
“A lot of buildings on the market are obsolete, without the power needed for equipment or ceiling height for stacking purposes,” Peterson said.
Nowadays, tenants are looking for a clear height of at least 22 to 24 feet in buildings, he said.
Recent deals speak to local industrial real estate market activity. Dermody Properties leased 29,000 square feet at its newly built LogistiCenter project in Rohnert Park to heating, ventilation and air conditioning supplier Ferguson.
Billa Enterprises is in escrow to sell its most recently completed 70,000-square-foot warehouse at the Billa Landing development near Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport to an affiliate of the undisclosed company planning to occupy it, according to Peterson, part of the listing team. The first two buildings built, each with 45,000 square feet, are fully occupied. The site for the last two buildings, with 70,000 and 140,000 square feet, is being prepared for construction to start on one or both soon because of demand, Peterson said.
Just to the north, along Airport Boulevard leading to the airport, Airport Business Center is working on building a 161,000-square-foot warehouse for Amazon on 41 acres.
The e-commerce giant has said little about what it plans to do there, but it would be on the small side of its distribution facilities, which tend to have several hundred thousand to a few million square feet, like the 617,000-square-foot fulfillment center under construction in Vacaville.
The retailer opened a 201,000-square-foot “last-mile” delivery station in American Canyon this summer and has proposed to put one in the already completed 250,000-square-foot Victory Station project just south of the city of Sonoma. These hubs are where Amazon takes packages that it intends to deliver with its own fleet of trucks, which until the Napa Valley station opened had to travel to North Bay addresses from the East Bay.
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