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Despite COVID-19, city real estate on solid ground – Winnipeg Free Press

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The Free Press has made this story available free of charge so everyone can access trusted information on the coronavirus.

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It isn’t great, but it could be a lot worse in Winnipeg.

That’s a key takeaway from CBRE’s second-quarter report on the industrial and office real estate sector, which gives insights into how national and domestic markets were influenced by the turbulence of COVID-19. The quarter was the first to occur during the time of pandemic, and all things considered, Winnipeg appears to be in good shape.

“In comparison with other major markets, we have one of the most stable ones there is,” said Ken Zacharias, a senior sales representative with CBRE with a focus on the city’s industrial market.

As expected, both the industrial and office sectors had a tough quarter: office vacancy rates increased to 10.2 per cent from 8.9 per cent, and the industrial sector saw a four per cent availability rate and 156,829 square-feet of negative absorption.

While those figures aren’t exactly cause for celebration, they aren’t cause for significant panic either: each figure puts the city square in the middle of the pack amongst major cities’ data.

Though the national average for office vacancy is 10.8 per cent, cities like Halifax (15.2), London (15.7), Edmonton (19.8), and Calgary (24.5) far outpace it. Over the last three fiscal years, Winnipeg’s vacancy rate has generally hovered around its current level. It’s much the same on the industrial side, with Halifax (6.5 per cent), Edmonton (8.7) and Calgary (9.7) with much higher availability than Winnipeg’s average of 3.5 per cent.

At a time like this, being average is a good thing, especially with more uncertainty ahead, Zacharias said.

He said while this quarter’s negative absorption — a measure that means more space was vacated or put on the market than was leased, indicating a decrease in demand — was extremely high, he suspects it will begin to creep in a positive direction during the third quarter.

Zacharias said though it’s not possible to predict the future, the industrial sector in Winnipeg and beyond is poised to benefit from the current market conditions. A reason for that is the burgeoning of e-commerce operations, which requires investment in domestic distribution space, as well as a renewed interest in bringing manufacturing on shore.

Much of that development will happen outside the city, in rural municipalities like Rosser and Macdonald, where there’s an abundance of space and higher quality facilities available.

But CBRE pointed to the establishment of a 250,000-sq.-ft. package-sorting facility in the St. Boniface Industrial Park as an example of the development the city and surrounding areas could see in the near future. The facility is well into construction, and Zacharias said he’s heard it could be ready to run by the end of the year.

“Industrial real estate is a bright light in a challenging period and businesses in this sector are grateful to have new supply to support the surge in e-commerce logistics activity,” said Jason Kiselbach, Managing Director, CBRE Vancouver in a release. “We expect demand to grow in most markets and industrial properties to come out ahead in the wake of COVID-19.”

Zacharias isn’t a specialist in offices, but he said even the gurus of commercial real estate can’t quite predict where office realty will end up. There are many elements up in the air, including the persistence of work from home strategies, companies hitting pause on lease agreements, and the spatial needs of employers.

Compared to the first quarter, office vacancy in Winnipeg did increase, and it came to a bit of a freezing point. But as reopening continues, and the third quarter gets underway, the industry will see whether the ice begins to thaw.

ben.waldman@freepress.mb.ca

Ben Waldman
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Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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Desjardins Group acquires two real-estate brands from U.K.-based firm – Toronto Star

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LEVIS, Que. – Desjardins Group says it has reached a $60.5-million agreement with a U.K.-based hybrid real estate agency to acquire its Canadian holding company and its two brands.

The financial group says in a statement it will acquire the brands Purplebricks Canada and DuProprio from Purplebricks Group plc.’s holding company 9059-2114 Quebec Inc.

Purplebricks Canada provides fixed-fee real estate brokerage services for homesellers in three provinces, while DuProprio provides real estate services without an agent in Quebec.

The two companies have more than 500 employees in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Desjardins, which is one of the largest mortgage and insurance providers in Quebec, says both will continue to be run by the existing teams.

It says the deal takes effect on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2020.

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Desjardins Group acquires two real-estate brands from U.K.-based firm – BayToday

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LEVIS, Que. — Desjardins Group says it has reached a $60.5-million agreement with a U.K.-based hybrid real estate agency to acquire its Canadian holding company and its two brands.

The financial group says in a statement it will acquire the brands Purplebricks Canada and DuProprio from Purplebricks Group plc.’s holding company 9059-2114 Quebec Inc.

Purplebricks Canada provides fixed-fee real estate brokerage services for homesellers in three provinces, while DuProprio provides real estate services without an agent in Quebec.

The two companies have more than 500 employees in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Desjardins, which is one of the largest mortgage and insurance providers in Quebec, says both will continue to be run by the existing teams.

It says the deal takes effect on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Desjardins Group acquires a real estate holding, including DuProprio, from Purplebricks Group plc for CAN$60.5M – Canada NewsWire

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Ownership returns to Canada
Purplebricks acquired ComFree (which was rebranded to Purplebricks Canada in 2019) and DuProprio from Yellow Pages Limited in 2018. The deal announced today brings ownership of both of those entities back to Canada. Purplebricks Canada and DuProprio will continue to be run by the existing teams according to their respective business plans. Desjardins wants to keep the companies’ current employees and honour the companies’ existing contracts.

Two different business models
Based out of offices in Hamilton, Winnipeg and Edmonton, Purplebricks Canada provides fixed-fee innovative real estate brokerage services for home sellers in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta—provinces where the financial bar for entry into the real estate market is often high. In Quebec, DuProprio has offices in Lévis and Montreal and provides real estate services without an agent. The company is associated with more than 20% of residential real estate sales in Quebec.

Desjardins continues pan-Canadian growth
“Desjardins is already the top mortgage lender and home insurer in Quebec and is one of the top three property and casualty insurers in Ontario,” says Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest—and most stressful—decisions that our members and clients, and other consumers will make in their lives. As a co-operative organisation, it was a natural fit for us to acquire Purplebricks’ holding in Canada, present in four different provinces and sharing Desjardins’s strong member and client culture. Through our competitive mortgages and thanks to this acquisition, we will keep on supporting people, whether they choose a commission structure, a fixed-fee service or support without an agent,” says Cormier.

Good news for Canadian onwnership
“It’s great news for our company, our clients and our employees to have ownership of the company back in Canada,” said Randall Weese, licensed Broker of Record, who oversees the customer service and compliance departments at Purplebricks Canada. “Desjardins is a strong cooperative financial group and we’re excited to be joining the family. Our services were created to be a modern and practical alternative to traditional real estate brokerage services. We help Canadians buy and sell and save thousands in commission fees while offering cutting-edge technology and exceptional service. With Desjardins, we’re going to continue our work helping consumers get the most out of the sale of their property.”

Real estate market in Quebec and Ontario
On June 30, Desjardins economists updated their Spotlight on Housing and looked at how the real estate market in Quebec and Ontario is rebounding after the lockdown due to COVID-19.

About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $326.9 billion. It’s the leading mortgage and home insurance provider in Quebec and a top three property and casualty insurer in Ontario. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. Desjardins meets the diverse needs of its members and clients by offering a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the World’s Strongest Banks by The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry. In 2015, Desjardins acquired the Canadian operations of US mutual State Farm.

About Purplebricks Canada
Purplebricks is a full-service real estate brokerage providing Canadian home sellers and buyers with the best REALTOR® expertise and customer service, supported by cutting-edge technology. Sellers save tens of thousands of dollars using our fixed fee service, rather than paying a commission based on the value of their home, and home buyers receive thousands in cash back. Purplebricks operates in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba.

REALTOR®. Member of the Canadian Real Estate Association and more.

About DuProprio
Thanks to its devoted team, DuProprio pursues the mission of providing to Quebec homeowners the support and services they need to sell their property without commission. Over 300,000 consumers have sold their property through DuProprio’s services since it was founded in 1997. Today, DuProprio features the most liked real estate site in Quebec, showcasing over 20,000 properties for sale.

Caution concerning forward-looking statements
Certain statements made in this press release, including those concerning the management of businesses acquired as a result of the transaction, maybe considered forward-looking statements. By their very nature, forward looking statements involve assumptions, uncertainties and inherent risks, both general and specific. It is therefore possible that, due to many factors, the forward-looking statements contained herein fail to materialize or prove to be inaccurate and that actual results differ materially therefrom. A number of factors, certain of which are beyond Desjardins Group’s control and the effects of which can be difficult to predict, could influence the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Although Desjardins Group believes that the expectations presented in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to be correct. Readers are cautioned by Desjardins Group not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements when taking their decisions. Desjardins Group does not undertake to update any oral or written forward-looking statements that could be made from time to time by or on behalf of Desjardins Group, except as required under applicable securities legislation.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

For further information: (media inquiries only): Public Relations, Desjardins Group, 514-281-7000 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 555 3436, [email protected]; Purplebricks Canada, Mathilde St-Vincent, CASACOM, [email protected], 514 242-6852

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https://www.desjardins.com/

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