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Colombian real estate startup La Haus raises capital amid pandemic – Financial Post



SAO PAULO — Colombian real estate startup La Haus raised $16 million in funding from venture capital investors Kaszek Ventures, NFX, Acrew Capital, IMO Ventures and Beresford Ventures.

Additional investors include tech entrepreneurs like David Velez, founder of fintech unicorn Nubank, and Spencer Rascoff, co-founder of U.S. real estate database company Zillow, which inspired the La Haus business model.

La Haus provides tools for closing real estate transactions digitally, including listings and other essential information. Transactions going through the startup systems total $250 million in value per year.

In Bogotá and Medellín, where La Haus started, its market share soared from 4% to almost 30% during the coronavirus pandemic. Mexico City, where La Haus started operations last year, already accounts for 25% of the company’s business.

The pandemic has driven consumer willingness to conduct real estate transactions online, said co-founder and president Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos. “We expect to see a permanent shift to online for at least most of the home-buying process,” he said.

Before the pandemic, La Haus gained clients by promising to shorten average closing times in Latin American markets from the time of listing from the current 12 months. The company also hosts a property listing service.

La Haus founders, Jerónimo Uribe, CEO, and Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos were colleagues at Stanford University.

Transactions could rise in Latin America, a region with 600 million people and 186 million residential units worth $10 trillion, Ríos said.

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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RE/MAX | Canadian Real Estate: St. John's Housing Market – RE/MAX News



Canadians have faced extraordinary circumstances over the past few months due to the ongoing global pandemic. In efforts to contain the virus, people have been practicing social and physical distancing, which has affected how they work, spend money and the Canadian real estate market. When it comes to the market in St. John’s, many are left wondering how the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is faring these days.

St. John’s is the main financial, commercial and cultural centre of the province, and the city is home to a variety of suburban neighbourhoods, shopping complexes and industrial areas. Although the fishing industry is still important in St. John’s, the city is known today as the main service centre for the province’s offshore oil and gas industry. St. John’s is a growing metropolitan area with lots to offer, and it’s no wonder one-third of Newfoundland’s population chooses to live here.

Although housing prices are still relatively low in St. John’s compared to other Canadian markets, prices are expected to increase.

Late last year, RE/MAX was anticipating a two-per-cent decline in prices in 2020 for St. John’s Metro. Buyer’s market conditions were expected to prevail in 2020, a continuing trend from 2018-2019.

St. John’s housing market offers exceptional affordability versus many other major cities across Canada, and this is a leading reason why it is an attractive place to settle down for many people. First-time homebuyers were expected to drive the market in 2020, with the Galway subdivision in high demand.

Home Sales in St. John’s

Home sales are down in St. John’s and Newfoundland & Labrador. The Newfoundland And Labrador Association of Realtors reported that residential transactions in St. John’s fell by 61 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May 2020, while home sales in the rest of the province were down 37.4 per cent.

When we look at single detached homes in St John’s, there was a decline of 62.1 per cent from levels in April 2019.

Examining the overall supply of homes on the market, we can see that there was quite a drop comparing this year to last year. There were 4,013 active residential listings at the end of May, which is a decrease of 27 per cent from the same time last year.

Housing Prices in St. John’s

Housing prices in St. John’s remain low, however, there is an expectation that they will experience an increase over the next several years.

Province-wide, the average price of homes sold in May 2020 was $228,519, down 2.3 per cent year-over-year.

However, due to improvements in the labour market and in the unemployment rate in St. John’s, we could see housing prices in St. John’s begin to crawl higher over the next several years.

Effects of Low Housing Prices in St. John’s

There are several effects that low housing prices can have on a housing market such as St. John’s, including the rate of housing construction and the willingness of homeowners to put their properties on the market.

When housing prices are very low, there is a tendency for a slowdown in housing construction. There is the expectation that a reduction in new home construction in St. John’s will affect housing prices, leading to an eventual increase in prices.

Another effect of low housing prices is that when prices are low, homeowners have the tendency to keep their houses off the market. This will mean fewer homes for sale, leading to a decrease in supply and therefore encouraging prices to go up.

With home sales down and prices remaining low, those looking to purchase a property in St. John’s could find this that now is an opportune time.

Buying a new home during the pandemic does come with its challenges; you may be wondering how the quality of services will differ during this time. Luckily, most activities relating to buying or selling a home can be done online. If you are interested in entering the real estate market, always make sure that you work with a qualified Realtor who can best guide you through the market.

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RE-OPENING CANADA: Toronto's real estate industry wants to boom again – Toronto Sun



For the Toronto-area real estate industry, the beginning of 2020 was shaping up to be a record-setting year.

And then the pandemic happened.

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s new Real Estate Market Economic Recovery Initiatives document, which will be released next week, real estate sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dropped 67.1% in April this year compared to the same time last year and was down by 53.7% this May compared to May 2019, but prices have remained relatively stable because the number of listings has dropped in unison with the number of buyers.

The average selling price for a Toronto detached home in April this year was $1,249,730 — a 7.9% drop since April 2019.

Also, month-over-month sales figures suggest improving conditions, with May 2020 sales up 55.2% over April 2020 sales and June sales following a similar trajectory, said TRREB. (The guide will be updated with June numbers next week.)

“While COVID-19 has temporarily impacted home sales and listings in the GTA, home buying intentions have remained quite stable, suggesting that many people will be looking to satisfy pent-up demand for ownership housing once the recovery starts to take home,” according to the document.

“The supply of listings, which was a concern before the pandemic shut-downs began, will continue to be an issue as the economy and housing market recovers.”

The real estate board expects consumer confidence will improve as people gradually go back to work. A growing number of people will look to take advantage of current very low borrowing costs to buy a home, it said.

But this is all based on uncertain factors such as continued success in containing the spread of COVID-19 and generally improving economic conditions and unemployment. But if, for instance, a second wave came along, “a more aggressive approach to government stimulus may be needed.”

TRREB is recommending that policy-makers need to address the lack of a diverse housing supply in the GTA to ensure affordability and “it should once again be top-of-mind once the recovery takes hold.”

For the city, this could mean a deferral of the municipal land transfer tax or property taxes and streamlining zoning approvals.

At the provincial level, also consider a land transfer tax deferral and adjust first-time buyer rebate to reflect current average prices and adjustments of tax rate brackets so that higher rates are not imposed on below average-priced properties.

The board also suggests the province expedite hearings to help optimize the supply of rental housing.

The federal government could consider adjusting the mortgage stress test to allow for greater flexibility and allow 30-year amortizations for insured mortgages.

The feds could also consider various options for flexibility for the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan, including increasing withdrawal limits, expanding first-time home buyer eligibility and allowing cross-generation use, such as parents using RRSP funds to help their kids with a home purchase.

Meanwhile, Ontario Real Estate Association president Sean Morrison says open houses still remain prohibited at this time and the association is recommending realtors stay with stage one protocols for re-opening, which is physical distancing, wearing personal protective equipment during all showings, limiting numbers at showings and sanitizing between showings and have COVID-19 questionnaires ready to make sure no one in contact has travelled outside the province.

“There were a lot of digital tools we used sporadically that we became dependent on,” said Morrison.

“Things like video conferencing with clients, sign documents by an electronic means and email offers back and forth. That became the norm over the past three months. The key piece for us will be the re-opening of sales offices.”

Commercial real estate landlords will face some drastic changes during recovery

Saad Rafi, the head of Toronto’s Recovery and Rebuild strategy said despite the vast majority still working from home — and that may not change any time soon — a number of commercial landlords are looking to rent more space.

That’s because for those who cannot do their job remotely and need to go into the office, those companies will require more space to allow their employees to physically-distance.

That’s just one change the commercial real estate will see as we enter Phase Two and beyond.

“A 6 x 6 cubicle isn’t going to to do it in an era of sensitivity to contagion,” explains Benjamin Shinewald, the president and CEO of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada, which has also released a guide to re-opening to its members.

More people will be working from home, but those who will return to the office will likely need more space in order to keep social distancing, said Benjamin Shinewald, the president and CEO of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada. (Toronto Sun/Ernest Doroszuk)

“The vast majority of tenants are fixed in the space they have. There’s always tenants adding and shedding space. Very sadly, there will be some tenants that will be disappearing because of the recession. But I don’t see a huge change in the horizon (in the next three to six months.)”

Even though the remote workers will balance out the in-office workers who require more space, Shinewald said fewer people returning to work will mean changes to the way buildings operate and changes to their environment — everything from the number of times toilets flush to shopkeepers who have malls attached to office towers, who will have less foot traffic.

“But there are those who say efficiency of retail will increase, because people will not be browsing and loitering in stores the way they used to,” he said.

“They buy what they want and go out.”

Workers in these office towers may also expect changes with elevator usage. Gone are the days when you would cram as many into the confined space. Shinewald said he wouldn’t doubt it if there are quadrants blocked off with a maximum of up to four. Perhaps people will be facing the corners to prevent spread if someone coughs or sneezes.

“The challenges around re-entry are real,” he said.

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Real estate sales, house prices rising in Central Okanagan –



Residential real estate sales in the Okanagan appear to have rebounded in June following a stagnant May.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) says sales were so active last month that they went up by nine per cent over the same time period last year despite having 14 per cent less inventory.

Further, OMREB is cautiously optimistic that the region’s housing market — which stretches from Peachland to Revelstoke — may bounce back quicker than expected.

Read more:
June home sales in Greater Vancouver surge 64 per cent: real estate board

“These numbers are a positive indicator that real estate in the Okanagan is recovering from the pandemic induced slowdown of the previous three months,” said OMREB president Kim Heizmann.

“While we are not on the other side of this yet, this is a cautiously optimistic sign that the housing market may bounce back sooner than forecast.”

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Matt Lee looks at the real estate world during COVID-19

Matt Lee looks at the real estate world during COVID-19

Single-family home sales in the Central Okanagan were up 22.5 per cent month over month, with the average sale price up 3.1 per cent to $684,000.

Overall, 261 homes were sold, with the average turnaround taking 61 days, an increase of 17.9 per cent.

A graphic showing real estate sales from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.

A graphic showing real estate sales from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board.


The North Okanagan saw fewer sales, at 106, a drop of 2.8 per cent, but prices rose 3.5 per cent to $492,500. The average turnaround time was 72 days, up 32.9 per cent.

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In the Shuswap and Revelstoke, 63 homes were sold, up 14.6 per cent, with an average price of $432,100, up 0.9 per cent. The average turnaround time was 77 days, up 9.5 per cent.

In the South Okanagan, single-family home sales rose to 121 units in June from 71 units in May, with the average price rising to $617,986 from $605,768 in May.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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