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Economic turmoil threatens critical real estate development – Investment Executive

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Accelerating inflation is dampening plans for new housing construction, says Steve Marino, vice president of portfolio management at GWL Realty Advisors.

Marino said while interest rates can be a headwind for some real estate developers and investors, that’s not the biggest challenge the industry faces.

“Arguably, the more meaningful impact for developers is high inflation and the associated impact on the cost of construction,” he said. “We’re starting to see some developers pause on plans for new development activity.”

Speaking on the Soundbites podcast this week, Marino said economic factors pose a special challenge to home builders who must assess consumer willingness to pay the kind of rents or home costs that would ensure the necessary risk-adjusted returns to justify moving forward with building projects.

Meanwhile, he said, the demand side of the equation is equally ambivalent.

“We’re seeing waning investor confidence and more conservative lender underwriting,” he said. “Purchasers are concerned about the prospect of potential value erosion, and many are waiting on the sidelines to see where the market settles.”

Indeed, the economic current uncertainty is not the only hurdle the industry has faced in recent months. The Covid-19 pandemic changed rental patterns and caused housing gluts and shortages throughout Canada.

Marino pointed out that suburban rental spaces were popular during lockdowns when people were adjusting to working from home and avoiding crowds. But since the pandemic started to wane, tenants have been returning to inner cities.

“If you think about it, the combination of population circulation restrictions, together with the realities of working from home, made larger suburban units with proximity to green space particularly inviting for occupants,” he said. “As we’ve emerged from Covid circulation restrictions, we’ve seen a significant level of pent-up demand as people are eager to return to living in urban areas, enjoying the vibrancy of our downtown areas.”

Cities, he added, are also a popular destination for immigrants to Canada — a key component of Canada’s economic development program.

He believes governments may need to step up to support the development of sufficient multi-family housing to meet anticipated needs.

“Canada has a very robust immigration target with a forecast of more than 400,000 people per year over the next three years,” he said. “The vast majority of these immigrants will locate in urban areas in pursuit of employment and educational opportunities. To that end, it is critical that all levels of government help support our industry’s efforts to meet the supply shortage.”

The economic climate has given real estate developers a chance to demonstrate one of the most critical traits for success in a fickle industry: flexibility.

“The ability to be nimble in order to adjust to market conditions offers an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the balance of the market,” he said. “That flexibility affords a competitive advantage to be able to respond to market conditions as they evolve and really seek to affect or realize superior risk adjusted returns.”

Marino suggested anyone investing in real estate needs to think long-term in order to successfully navigate through cycles, using a disciplined portfolio investment strategy and key risk-mitigation tactics such as diversification and stringent property underwriting practices.

**

This article is part of the Soundbites program, sponsored by Canada Life. The article was written without sponsor input.

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Local builders still busy as real estate market takes a break – Times Colonist

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The real estate market may be taking a breather, but there has been no such break for homebuilders in the region judging by new housing start figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The numbers, released Tuesday, show 2,681 new homes were started through the first seven months of this year in Greater Victoria, ahead of last year’s pace when 2,500 new units were started.

It’s a tale of multi-family projects in two parts of the region, said Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association.

Edge said Victoria and Langford are once again doing all of the heavy lifting.

“There are a bunch of municipalities that just fly under the radar every year, like Oak Bay that still doesn’t have zoning for duplex housing,” he said noting Oak Bay has built just 19 new homes this year, while North Saanich has started 16.

“And people question why do we have a housing affordability problem,” he said.

“Well, you have just a handful of municipalities that are really carrying the weight for 13 municipalities.”

The lion’s share has been done by Victoria so far this year.

With a focus on condo and rental apartments, the city has seen 1,219 homes started, well ahead of last year’s 696. Langford has started 663 so far this year, off last year’s pace of 862 through the end of July.

Edge said what’s missing is the missing middle housing — townhomes and houseplexes, rather than the usual condos and single-family homes — that can suit small families and provide more housing options in all parts of the region.

The fact builders in at least two of the region’s centres are busy may help the market catch up a bit, as the number of property sales has slowed considerably. The B.C. Real Estate Association released numbers on Tuesday showing Victoria’s sales dropped 37.5 per cent in July compared with the same time last year, while the Island saw a 40 per cent drop and the province fell 42 per cent.

“High mortgage rates continued to lower sales activity in July,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson.

“Many regions around the province have seen sales slip to levels well below normal for this time of year.”

At the same time, provincial active listings rose 28 per cent year-over-year.

Inventories remain quite low, but the slow pace of sales has tipped some markets into ­balanced or even buyers’ market territory, the association noted.

Year-to-date, residential unit sales were down 29.3 per cent to 56,801 units, while the average residential price was up 13.2 per cent to $1.03 million.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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Podcast: Real estate marketing strategy with Publish Partners | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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Podcast: Real World of Real Estate with Gerald Tostowaryk

Max Jakubke, principal and founder of Publish Partners, and the firm’s digital marketing director Bianca Elliot discuss numerous strategies for effective online real estate marketing with host Gerald Tostowaryk.

One of the focuses for the episode, the second in a series on real estate marketing, is using data effectively to improve your storytelling ability about a project or development.

As part of the discussion, Jakubke and Elliot share some examples of successful campaigns.

Publish Partners is an international firm based in Vancouver.

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Perfect time for sellers in Saskatchewan real estate market – Global News

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For people who analyze statistics for a living, interpreting numbers is often about perspective.

For example, take home sales in Saskatchewan last month.

The province saw a 10-per cent reduction in home sales from 2021. However, last year was a record year for home sales in Saskatchewan.

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“Overall, most regional markets are starting to shift away from the exceptionally tight market conditions seen earlier in the year,” the Saskatchewan Realtors Association said in a press release.

“However, most regional markets still face conditions that are tighter this July then they were last year.”

One of the reasons for the reduction is the spending issues many people are facing as inflation has drove prices of everyday items up. Another reason the market has slowed is the simple fact it’s summer and people aren’t home.

“People are on holidays, they’re out farming and so typically we see a slower market and people are maybe not used to that because during the pandemic we had a market that was very busy throughout the year,” said Chris Guérette, the CEO of Saskatchewan Realtors Association.

“So we are returning to sort of pre-pandemic activity during this time of the year.”

Buyers are more leaning towards more homes priced under $400,000, which as a result means less are available and slowing down sales.

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“Inventory levels trended up in July over previous months, but every region still faced inventory levels that were lower than the previous year and long-term averages,” the press release read.

“Overall, most regional markets are starting to shift away from the exceptionally tight market conditions seen earlier in the year.  However, most regional markets still face conditions that are tighter this July then they were last year.

Guérette said overall, the provinces market it a lot more stable than other places.

“We know that we won’t have the drastic ups & downs that other large municipalities are facing & other provinces are facing at the time right now. So that means places like Ontario and B.C are seeing some really large dips and some swings.”

Guérette said it is a sellers’ market right now, with the average price of a home in Saskatchewan going up to $335,000.


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How to send your kids off and prepare for university housing.

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