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Community engagement key to real estate development – North Shore News

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Getting the community onside was a central theme when three legendary real estate developers gathered Feb.10 for the 19th annual HAVAN Legends of Real Estate event, moderated by Kirk LaPointe, publisher and editor in chief, Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, Glacier Media, and the first ever held online.

The tenet of gaining the trust of residents, First Nations and local governments underscored discussions about the past, the present and, most notably, the future of real estate development in Metro Vancouver.

When asked to share defining moments in their careers, two of the speakers at the virtual event pointed to times when gaining the confidence of the community was the key to moving a project forward. The third, Ryan Beedie, president of Beedie Development, recalled the successful opening of his first industrial project and the satisfaction he felt delivering jobs and investment into a supportive Delta neighbourhood.

Beau Jarvis, president of Wesgroup and chair of the Urban Development Institute, Vancouver, told the online audience that development can be stalled, even stopped, by community opposition. Kitchen-table talks with concerned neighbours, he said, can be as important as any boardroom meeting when it comes to moving a development from concept to construction.

Deana Grinnell, vice-president, real estate in B.C. and Ontario with Canada Lands Company, has been steeped in community engagement for years. She is involved now in perhaps her most challenging and complex mediations, regarding the master planned development of both the Jericho Lands and the Heather Street Lands in Vancouver. These high-profile projects involve not only deeply- engaged communities, but also three levels of government and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Working with First Nations, Grinnell said, is a template for reaching conciliation with the wider community.

Being humble is good first step, she suggested.

“It is about educating yourself,” Grinnell said, “You can’t expect First Nations to educate you. You can’t arrive in room and say ‘we are going to business as long as you do it my way.’ That won’t work at all.”

Jarvis and Beedie believe the real estate industry has made giant improvements in community engagement over the past few years, but agreed more can be done.

Jarvis noted, however, that the sheer complexity and prolific growth in Metro region real estate has resulted in a “mass” of often overlapping and competing policies from all levels of government related to social issues, density, the environment and climate change, especially in the new residential sector.

“There is no prioritization of policies,” Jarvis said. This leads to development delays, ballooning costs – and directly to the current housing shortage and affordability crisis, he said.

“Every government platform is housing, housing, housing but we are not seeing an outcome,” Jarvis said. “And I don’t see that changing.”

Beedie, citing an example where it took two years to receive permits for a simple industrial building, agreed unnecessary delays can drive prices higher.

“Instead of competing projects coming to the market [at the same time] only one is approved and so the demand pushes prices up,” he explained.

Beedie also cautioned that, in the commercial real estate field, long delays can be a drag on the economy, because national companies who need new space, and employees, will look outside of Metro Vancouver.

Looking to the future, the panel called for cooperative and innovative thinking to match a restrictive land base with the explosive Metro population growth over the next decades.

“We have no greenfield sites left, it is all infill from now on,” Jarvis said, adding the only answer is “intensification.”

Grinnell urged political leadership to create regional hubs that provide a “15-minute community” with homes, jobs, shopping and services all within reach, rather than a continual expansion of land-gobbling transit lines and freeways across the region.

Beedie pointed to specific examples of how infill development could take place, providing there was a political and community buy-in. He cited Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition site, where acres of parking lots sit vacant, he estimated, for 95 per cent of the year. “That land could be purposed for housing or to create employment,” he said.

“There is going to have to be leadership, and some people will be upset, but, if we don’t address issues around density, affordability will just get worse,” Beedie said.

Sponsors

The Legends of Real Estate was presented by the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (HAVAN), and sponsored by FortisBC , National Home Warranty -AVIVA and Federated Insurance. The media sponsor is Glacier Media Group and Business in Vancouver.

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Ottawa real estate market sets record in February – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa’s real estate market remained red hot during a cold and snowy February, setting a record for properties sold during the month.

“Resale properties are virtually flying off the shelves,” Ottawa Real Estate Board president Debra Wright said in a news release.

The board reports 1,390 residential properties were sold in February, up from 1,134 in February 2020.

The sales volume for residential properties and condos in Ottawa was $885,592,105 in February, 54 per cent higher than the same month last year.

“Even though our inventory is significantly lower than 2020 – a combined 46 per cent decrease in housing stock for residential and condos – we witnessed a record number of sales in February 2021,” said Wright.

“How is that possible? Simply put, properties that come onto the market are selling very quickly.”

February’s sales included 1,028 in the residential-property class, and 362 condominium-properties.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board says the average number of days on the market for a property declined from 30 days in February 2020 to 14 days last month.

The average sale price for a residential-class property was $717,914, an increase of 27 per cent from a year ago. Condominiums sold for an average of $407,671, an increase of 17 per cent from February 2020.

“There is no denying that scarcity is leading to a more rapid price acceleration,” said Wright about the sales volume for residential and condo properties.

“This scarcity combined with buyer’s willingness to pay and compete in this market will continue to drive up the sales prices.”

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Greater Victoria real estate sales, prices surge amid 'mobs' of buyers, low inventory – Times Colonist

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“Mobs” of buyers are viewing homes for sale across the region, putting in offers well above asking prices and waiving inspections as the real estate market continues surging during the pandemic and traditional slower winter months.

Home sales of all types hit a record 863 during February, smashing the previous mark of 780 in 1992, and sailing past the 772 sales in 2016.

article continues below

And prices are climbing.

The average price of a ­single-family home in the capital region breezed past the $1-million mark in June as the inventory of available homes for sale withered.

February’s single-family home average price hit $1.16 million — up from $888,000 during the same month a year ago. Last month’s average was beefed up by the sale of 30 properties that sold for more than $2 million — with 12 of those selling for asking prices and above, said Dustin Miller of 8X Real Estate in Victoria.

He said an equestrian farm in Central Saanich listed for $6 million went $155,000 over asking and there were three ­condominium sales for more than $2 million each, including the penthouse at Hudson Place One, the tallest building in Victoria.

The Victoria Real Estate Board said the benchmark value — or median price without the high and low end of sales — for a single-family home in the region’s core municipalities during February increased year-over-year by 9% to $948,200, a 1.7% increase from the previous month.

The benchmark value for a condominium in the core remained close to last year’s value at $525,400.

Real estate board president David Langlois said the market is caught between constrained inventory and high demand.

“The good news is that we have seen some stabilization in listings and condo pricing between January and ­February, but we continue to see huge pressure on single family homes,” said Langlois. “New listings are snapped up as soon as they are listed.”

That’s resulted in pressure on single family homes, where there is significant competition for desirable homes. “And in our marketplace most homes are desirable … and people are ­competing for properties and pushing prices up.”

There were 1,318 active listings for sale on the board’s Multiple Listing Service at the end of February — 38% fewer than the same period a year ago.

Miller said there are fewer than 400 single-family homes available across the entire system right now. “In a typical year we will see the most amount of inventory go online in April and May, but if the current trend continues, we will see only around half of the number of new listings compared to what was normally seen in the past.”

Kevin Sing of DFH Realty listed a modest, three-bedroom no-step rancher in East Saanich on Thursday for $759,000 and has shown it to nearly 50 prospective buyers over four days. He’s scheduled appointments from dawn until dusk and has received several offers, some unconditional, and several well over the asking price.

Sing said although the federal government’s mortgage stress test has put many younger buyers out of the single-family-home market, empty nesters, older couples who are downsizing or families with students at nearby Camosun College and the University of Victoria are lining up for the East Saanich home.

The demand for real estate seems insatiable, said Sing, and it isn’t just Greater Victoria.

“It’s worldwide,” he said. “I get on regular Zoom calls and everyone is experiencing the same thing, from Manhattan to the Grand Caymans. Unless you’re in a war zone, the demand for housing right now is just ridiculous.

“It’s hard to explain … it seem we have collectively decided [during COVID] that nesting is what we want to do.”

Langlois said the theme for 2021 is going to be inventory — “where does it come from and how much new supply can be approved — so that this situation does not persist.”

“We’ve seen the government attempt to influence the housing market in hopes of dampening the demand for home ownership,” he said. “The foreign buyer tax has changed nothing … our market continues to zoom forward with almost no foreign buyers. The government adjusted mortgage qualification rules, those are absorbed by the market and buyers adjust.”

Langlois said concerns about housing prices and availability should be addressed by supporting new developments in municipalities. “Be vocal with your local council or neighbourhood association,” he said. “These stakeholders hold the power in these negotiations and help to make space in your community. Gentle density and the building of new homes are the only pathway to moderate housing prices in our area.”

Miller said buyers and sellers should expect a competitive trend, including “mob-like numbers of people” showing up to see new listings.

He noted “bully offers” being submitted within hours of a property being listed and the waiving of all buyer protection contingencies such as home inspections.

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Greater Victoria real estate sales, prices surge amid strong demand, low inventory; 'mobs' of buyers – Times Colonist

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“Mobs” of buyers are viewing homes for sale across the region, putting in offers well above asking prices and waiving inspections as the real estate market continues surging during the pandemic and traditional slower winter months.

Home sales of all types hit a record 863 during February, smashing the previous mark of 780 in 1992, and sailing past the 772 sales in 2016.

article continues below

And prices are climbing.

The average price of a ­single-family home in the capital region breezed past the $1-million mark in June as the inventory of available homes for sale withered.

February’s single-family home average price hit $1.16 million — up from $888,000 during the same month a year ago. Last month’s average was beefed up by the sale of 30 properties that sold for more than $2 million — with 12 of those selling for asking prices and above, said Dustin Miller of 8X Real Estate in Victoria.

He said an equestrian farm in Central Saanich listed for $6 million went $155,000 over asking and there were three ­condominium sales for more than $2 million each, including the penthouse at Hudson Place One, the tallest building in Victoria.

The Victoria Real Estate Board said the benchmark value — or median price without the high and low end of sales — for a single-family home in the region’s core municipalities during February increased year-over-year by 9% to $948,200, a 1.7% increase from the previous month.

The benchmark value for a condominium in the core remained close to last year’s value at $525,400.

Real estate board president David Langlois said the market is caught between constrained inventory and high demand.

“The good news is that we have seen some stabilization in listings and condo pricing between January and ­February, but we continue to see huge pressure on single family homes,” said Langlois. “New listings are snapped up as soon as they are listed.”

That’s resulted in pressure on single family homes, where there is significant competition for desirable homes. “And in our marketplace most homes are desirable … and people are ­competing for properties and pushing prices up.”

There were 1,318 active listings for sale on the board’s Multiple Listing Service at the end of February — 38% fewer than the same period a year ago.

Miller said there are fewer than 400 single-family homes available across the entire system right now. “In a typical year we will see the most amount of inventory go online in April and May, but if the current trend continues, we will see only around half of the number of new listings compared to what was normally seen in the past.”

Kevin Sing of DFH Realty listed a modest, three-bedroom no-step rancher in East Saanich on Thursday for $759,000 and has shown it to nearly 50 prospective buyers over four days. He’s scheduled appointments from dawn until dusk and has received several offers, some unconditional, and several well over the asking price.

Sing said although the federal government’s mortgage stress test has put many younger buyers out of the single-family-home market, empty nesters, older couples who are downsizing or families with students at nearby Camosun College and the University of Victoria are lining up for the East Saanich home.

The demand for real estate seems insatiable, said Sing, and it isn’t just Greater Victoria.

“It’s worldwide,” he said. “I get on regular Zoom calls and everyone is experiencing the same thing, from Manhattan to the Grand Caymans. Unless you’re in a war zone, the demand for housing right now is just ridiculous.

“It’s hard to explain … it seem we have collectively decided [during COVID] that nesting is what we want to do.”

Langlois said the theme for 2021 is going to be inventory — “where does it come from and how much new supply can be approved — so that this situation does not persist.”

“We’ve seen the government attempt to influence the housing market in hopes of dampening the demand for home ownership,” he said. “The foreign buyer tax has changed nothing … our market continues to zoom forward with almost no foreign buyers. The government adjusted mortgage qualification rules, those are absorbed by the market and buyers adjust.”

Langlois said concerns about housing prices and availability should be addressed by supporting new developments in municipalities. “Be vocal with your local council or neighbourhood association,” he said. “These stakeholders hold the power in these negotiations and help to make space in your community. Gentle density and the building of new homes are the only pathway to moderate housing prices in our area.”

Miller said buyers and sellers should expect a competitive trend, including “mob-like numbers of people” showing up to see new listings.

He noted “bully offers” being submitted within hours of a property being listed and the waiving of all buyer protection contingencies such as home inspections.

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