With an expected CAGR of 31.2% from 2022 to 2028, the metaverse is one of the most rapidly growing economies globally. Developing a virtual world through the metaverse offers infinite possibilities for creating better spatial experiences. Its immersive and engaging virtual environment makes digital interactions feel real. This quality has grabbed the attention of leading tech companies who are now vouching for metaverse as the future of the built environment. Thus, investors and developers are looking at the metaverse as a potential investment for enhancing user experience and the saleability of a place.
What is Metaverse Real Estate?
Real estate in the metaverse refers to land parcels and buildings in the virtual environment. The land in the metaverse is virtual, implying that it has no physical attributes. Land parcels in the metaverse are essentially pixels that act as programmable spaces in virtual reality platforms. These lands can be used to develop workplaces, playgrounds, and meeting rooms.
Investors can buy land plots from multiple metaverse platforms providing unique virtual environments. Each of these platforms provides various functions; hence, no one platform represents the metaverse in totality. The Sandbox, Decentraland, Metahero, Horizon Worlds, and Celebrity Atlas are some of the most popular metaverse platforms for real estate developers to invest in.
Why and How to Purchase Real Estate in Metaverse?
Metaverse real estate provides people with a place to connect with people located in distant locations across the globe. Developers can monetize their virtual properties to advertise services, host events, and provide unique visitor experiences. Similar to physical land, real estate properties can also be rented or leased. Hence, investing in metaverse real estate can be profitable for key players in the AEC industry.
In 2017, during Decentraland’s first LAND auction at the Terraform Event, a plot of land was sold at an average of $20. In 2021, the same parcels of land were sold for an average above $6,000. Further, the beginning of 2022 witnessed a boom in the metaverse real estate prices, with property costs rising to $15,000.
For land purchases in the metaverse, the investor must require a virtual wallet to make all transactions. MetaMask is one of the most trusted browser-based wallets for making digital transactions. The digital wallet will have to be filled with cryptocurrency since it is the virtual world’s currency. Investors can study the features of various metaverse platforms and compare them against each other before registering.
Following this, the investor can create a digital avatar of themselves and take a tutorial on the platform to get acquainted with its virtual environment. After this, the plot selection and buying process can begin. Purchasing a metaverse property involves a deed of ownership, a unique code on a blockchain. This code certifies the ownership rights over a piece of virtual land. The purchased plot can be used to develop a new building or a digital twin of physical space.
Benefits of Investing in Metaverse Real Estate
The key benefit of metaverse real estate is that it compensates for the lack of space in the physical world. For instance, employers can create conference rooms and event halls in the metaverse if an office lacks physical meeting spaces. Further, the metaverse provides a seamless collaboration experience that allows people living in different parts of the world to communicate with each other.
Project marketing and property showcase is other significant benefit of the metaverse in the real estate sector. Developers are creating immersive metaverse experiences for potential buyers to witness their “dream house” in virtual reality. Equipped with VR headsets and compatible smartphones, buyers can take virtual reality tours of various places worldwide.
Many countries such as Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Mauritius, Iceland, Spain Costa Rica have invested in virtual tourism with the aid of the metaverse. Tourists can look at the most popular public buildings, experience their charm, and indulge in regional activities by weaving VR headsets.
Risks Associated with Metaverse Real Estate
Investing in the metaverse is promising, but it can also pose high risk owing to its relative newness. Although researchers predict that the metaverse has an excellent scope for growth, it is very early to predict how the industry will grow. For instance, if a metaverse platform decides to go offline permanently, the real estate in them would also become non-existent. In this case, the value of investment made by real estate developers would be questionable.
The valuation of physical land gets appreciated or depreciated based on market conditions, environment, and other tangible factors. But, all these factors have no impact on metaverse real estate since the virtual environment can be controlled. So, the only and most important variable that impacts the value of the real estate in the metaverse is the volatility of cryptocurrencies.
Developing and Managing Real Estate in the Metaverse
In the metaverse, developers can assign property development roles to architects. In the case of neighborhood developers, urban planners and urban designers can be involved. Architects can design the virtual world by planning the land parcels to maximize space utilization. Further, the land in the metaverse needs management similar to physical property management. The virtual world can potentially grow real estate through effective virtual property management, rental assortment, dealing with client queries, and general land maintenance.
Investing in metaverse real estate is associated with high risks and equally high rewards. The uncertainties of the virtual world can exponentially multiply to reap enormous benefits or deteriorate into a complete loss of investments. So, before investing, the developer must ensure that they have complete knowledge and understanding of how the metaverse works.
Investors must identify their risk appetite, weigh all their investment options, and speak to experts before investing. Considering all these factors, the fact that the metaverse will define the future of living is undeniable. Therefore, all key players in the AEC industry should prepare themselves for the dawn of this next-generation technology that is empowering, immersive, and engaging.
In Uncertain Times, Vancouver Island’s Real Estate Market Serves Stability
A real estate investment will always benefit you in the long run, but the hard part of playing the realty game is timing: understanding when to sell and when to buy as markets ebb and flow with the economy. In British Columbia’s real estate market, Vancouver Island makes this a little bit easier.
While the Lower Mainland market has largely been reactive to this year’s numerous (and ongoing) Bank of Canada interest rate hikes, Vancouver Island has remained relatively stable — a few small bumps, rather than a rollercoaster.
“Sales have increased month over month and pricing remains relatively stable, with just a slight dip over this time last month,” says Christine Ryan, Vancouver Island-based Sales Manager at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “This would indicate that the rate hike has contributed to slight pricing adjustments, but has had no effect on the purchasing activity of buyers.”
Meanwhile, over in Metro Vancouver, residential sales increased by about 12.8% from September to October, according to the latest statistics by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), but were actually down 45.5% compared to October 2021, and down 33.3% compared to the October average of the past 10 years.
Ryan says that after a relatively quiet summer and early fall season, the sales activity the Vancouver Island real estate market is currently experiencing indicates that prices are more or less an accurate reflection of market conditions, and that “buyers are responding favourably.”
“Sales are up overall 17% over the previous month in Greater Victoria, with a 3% increase elsewhere on the Island,” Ryan says — and that’s often the case on the Island this time of year.
A quantitative way to identify which way a real estate market is leaning is to look at the sales-to-active-listings ratio (SAR), dividing the number of sales by the total amount of active listings. A ratio of under 12% is usually defined as buyers market, a ratio over 20% generally indicates a lean towards sellers, and anything in between shows balance in the market. According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board‘s statistics, October registered 249 sales and the amount of active listings hit 1,360, giving us a ratio of 18.3% that indicates a healthy balance.
“We typically have a relatively healthy fall market on the Island. Our temperate climate attracts snowbirds who tend to travel west and property shop in the fall. I would suspect that the desire to be settled in a new home for Christmas and the New Year is a driver for this seasonal increase in market activity. Clearly, motivated sellers and motivated buyers are coming together to strike a deal with the guidance of their respective realtors.”
As Ryan has previously said, Vancouver Island is blessed with one of the most stable real estate markets in Canada, and that stability becomes even more appealing when the surrounding markets are in a constant state of flux and uncertainty. Extreme highs can be fun, but that can often mean extreme lows are possible too.
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than stability and reliability.
This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.
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Big White real estate values have spiked despite a slowdown in sales, report says
The Royal LePage report indicates that the median price of a single-family detached home in Big White’s recreational property market for the first 10 months of the year increased 45.5 per cent year-over-year to $1,600,000, while the median price of a condominium increased 11.1 per cent to $500,000.
A house or condominium slope-side or at mountain base prices typically starts at $900,000 and $400,000, respectively.
That price jump for single-family detached home is the biggest in the province. In contrast, Sun Peaks saw a 13-per cent increase, Revelstoke saw a 13.3-per cent increase and Whistler saw a 14.9-per cent increase.
Royal LePage expects the upward price trajectory will continue into 2023 and estimates a rise by another seven per cent.
Despite the rising cost of a resort area home, total sales were down 33 per cent year-over-year in the region,
“Transactions at the upper end of the market are largely responsible for the dramatic price increases in the single-family segment, as Big White continues to attract luxury recreational property buyers,” Andrew Braff, sales representative, Royal LePage Kelowna said in a press release.
“However, demand has slowed over the last year as buyers adjust to the rising interest rate environment and sellers feel less urgency to list their properties.
“As activity moderates, we are seeing fewer multiple-offer scenarios compared to last year.”
Braff noted that luxury property owners are less impacted by changes in the market, and are more likely to keep their properties in the family long term, for several generations to enjoy.
In addition to local buyers, the world-renowned ski region attracts demand from across the border and around the globe. However, pandemic travel restrictions over the last two years have forced some international homeowners to visit their recreational properties less frequently.
Thirty-two per cent of U.S. citizens living in border states who currently own a recreational property in Canada have purchased a home in British Columbia. Of those who plan to purchase recreational property in Canada, 33 per cent say they intend to purchase in the province.
Big White is not the only resort seeing this kind of real estate increase.
Canada-wide popular ski regions have posted double-digit year-over-year home price appreciation since the beginning of 2022, despite rising interest rates and price declines in the residential market. Nationally, in the first 10 months of the year, the median price of a single-family detached home increased 15.1 per cent year-over-year to $1,042,700.
All recreational regions surveyed recorded double-digit declines in the number of homes sold during the first 10 months of 2022, compared to the same period last year, when demand for properties reached historical highs.
Royal LePage recreational property market experts across the country report more balanced conditions and an increase in inventory, compared to 2021.
How much are real estate prices going to drop in the GTA?
The average price of a house is forecasted to drop by nearly 12 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) next year.
According to Re/Max Canada’s housing market outlook for 2023, the GTA’s currently balanced market is expected to continue next year.
As per the report, house prices rose 11 per cent from $1,086,155 last year to $1,203,916. But for 2023, average residential sale prices are expected to drop 11.8 per cent to about $1,061,854, which is a roughly $142,000 price difference.
As prices start to decrease, Re/Max says there will be three main trends that will carry on into the new year.
“Continued interest rate increases and associated price adjustments, rising unemployment due to an economic slowdown, and new opportunities to engage in the market for buyers and sellers because of improved affordability,” Re/Max Realtron Realty broker, Cameron Forbes, said
This could be good for prospective homebuyers, as Forbes says there will be fewer competitors to deal with, reduced prices and more options to choose from on the market.
“Meanwhile, sellers will have a trade-up advantage, reduced competition of listings, a stronger ability to re-locate to the suburbs, and have all of the advantages that buyers do, too,” Forbes said.
Currently, the most desirable neighbourhoods are based on location, affordability, and access to transit.
The continued rising interest rates, however, will still make it a slower real estate market for all in the GTA. Re/Max notes this will particularly impact first-time homebuyers, as many choose to put their dreams of owning real estate on the back burner due to a lack of affordability.
Toronto’s luxury real estate market is also expected to continue to cool down next year due to economic pressures.
“It’s important to also consider some key context for the GTA. The pandemic between Spring 2020 and early 2022 were outliers in terms of pricing and demand, and factoring out those years in assessing what lies ahead for the region is important as we slowly tilt back to a post-pandemic recovery,” Re/Max Canada President, Christopher Alexander, said in the report.
“This moderating market is an opportunity for homebuyers to take the time to consider their needs, assess opportunities patiently and ultimately make a wise purchasing decision and investment in the long run.”
On top of the GTA, Durham region, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Barrie and the Georgian Bay area are expected to see average house prices decline between two to 15 per cent next year.
Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Brampton, Mississauga, Niagara, and Peterborough are among some of the regions where sale prices will actually increase between two to eight percent in 2023.
“Hamilton-Burlington, Brampton, Mississauga and Niagara are buyer’s markets, while Sudbury, Muskoka, Durham York Region, Haliburton, Ottawa and Peterborough and the Kawarthas favour sellers,” the outlook report reads.
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