“Unprecedented” may have been overused in news stories this year, but no word better describes the events of 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic defined the year, claiming several hundred thousand American lives and wiping out millions of jobs. Huge sectors of the economy were shut down, flipping the real estate industry on its head and forcing developers, landlords and brokers to scramble. Covid exacerbated problems in brick-and-mortar retail, strained offices and housing in city centers and pushed the hospitality sector to the brink.
Moreover, it raised existential questions about city living and central business districts.
The year also saw mass civil unrest, perhaps the most divisive election in U.S. history and an unexpected stock-market boom. Read on for the biggest real estate stories from the most tumultuous year in recent memory.
The Covid reckoning
The pandemic decimated the economy, leaving millions of Americans unemployed and unable to make rent and mortgage payments. Some local tenant groups orchestrated rent strikes. But by and large, government inserted itself between renters and landlords, and homeowners and lenders, to keep people in their homes. The situation has left some landlords, who have their own mortgages to pay, in a lurch. And despite unprecedented — there’s that word again — federal aid, critics say Washington has not done enough to help individuals or real estate businesses.
Covid accelerated consumers’ shift to online shopping and put countless stores, gyms, restaurants and bars out of business. Residential sales froze in major urban centers including New York and San Francisco, as many who could afford to leave cities fled to the suburbs and second-home markets.
Commercial transactions as well ground to a near halt for the better part of the year. The real estate industry brought its own workers back to the office, but it failed to inspire others as very few have followed suit. A full return is unlikely until the vaccine is widely available, and even then, work-from-home will surely not give up all of its gains.
Many employers are seeing the cost savings and recruiting benefits of remote work and have signaled they may reduce their physical footprints. Altogether, the change in consumers’, workers’ and employers’ preferences call into question whether some longtime real estate strategies have a place in a post-pandemic world. Will shoppers return to stores? Will workers reoccupy offices and expensive cities? Is the central business district dead?
But in the immediate, the pandemic forced the industry to adapt. Virtual home showings and closings were initially the only ways to get deals done, and are likely here to stay. As more Americans began shopping online, the industrial sector went from merely hot to smoking. Brokerages and other firms cut staff to preserve cash, struggling developers fought to keep projects and deals afloat, and businesses of all types were sucked into legal battles and in some cases bankruptcy. For many, it’s now sink or swim.
No more developer-in-chief
The election of Joe Biden marked an end to a wild four years, in which a developer from Queens seemingly broke every rule of presidential politics.
Though Donald Trump’s approach won him a diehard following, it alienated huge swaths of voters. And while his administration has been a mixed bag for real estate, anti-industry sentiment grew during Trump’s time in office and blue states pushed further to the left. The world seems immutably changed from when Trump was elected in 2016.
Real estate executives by and large saw an ally in the Oval Office, but in the months leading up to November, more began donating to Biden — perhaps sensing his win or seeking a different response to the pandemic.
Though it’s not clear what, besides Covid, Biden will prioritize first, the president-elect has pledged to change some Trump-era policies that have a direct impact on real estate. He has promised to reinstate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which Trump repealed in July because he said low-income housing would destroy the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.” Biden also has his eye on adding reporting requirements to the Opportunity Zone tax break and changing who is eligible to use 1031 exchanges.
A promise for reform
George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police set off nationwide protests, leading real estate executives to pledge solidarity and change.
But some demonstrations devolved into vandalism and looting, while police were called out for brutalizing protesters. That put the industry in an awkward position. Developers, brokers, bankers and attorneys have long provided political and financial backing to the New York Police Department. The looting led some in the industry to double down on their support for law enforcement while others broke rank.
Floyd’s death and the ensuing unrest prompted the industry to reflect on what it could do to address structural racism, not to mention its own well-documented diversity problem. Executives from Douglas Elliman wrote to agents and staffers in June, “Our hope is that we channel our deep anger, frustration and despair into collective and production action.” Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman said, “The murder of George Floyd is an abomination. It’s more unwelcome evidence — as if we needed it — of a specter that’s haunted this country for four hundred years.”
The Black Lives Matter protests also inspired some agents and staffers to speak out about issues and incidents at their own firms.
It was a stark contrast to the industry’s silence when Trump hesitated to condemn white supremacist and neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
This time, the industry promised more than “just lip service.”
“I’m heartbroken that all this pain we’re feeling, all of the energy being generated, all of the moral clarity that a moment like this creates — might still not lead to enough change,” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin wrote to his firm in June. “I know how rare it is to feel this much momentum on something so important, and how easy it is for the moment to slip away or get out of control.”
The IPO boom
In the biggest year for IPOs since 2007, proptech got in on the action.
U.S. equities made a major comeback from a pandemic-induced plunge, with investors bullish on tech companies in particular — a result of the work-from-home boom.
While Airbnb’s public offering was the most high-profile real estate IPO of the year, its traditional listing was a rare sight in 2020. Other firms gravitated toward blank-check companies, also known as special-purpose acquisition companies or SPACs, in the hopes of leaving less money on the table. (Airbnb shares soared 113 percent on its first day of trading. Had its bankers priced its shares higher, it theoretically could have raised an additional $4 billion.)
SPACs, which were a popular way to go public in the 1980s, have no underlying assets. They raise money from investors to acquire and take a target company public down the line. They negotiate share price ahead of an IPO, unlike traditional offerings, where bankers pick an initial stock price based on perceived interest from investors — and perhaps a desire to reward favored clients.
Instant-homebuying startup Opendoor and home-services software company Porch.com took that route. Both went public in December and saw their valuations soar to $18 billion and $1 billion, respectively.
Calgary Real Estate Board predicts COVID-19, decreased demand for oil to hamper housing market – Global News
Calgary’s real estate board is predicting home sales, prices and new listings will be on the rise in 2021, but their growth will be restricted by the continued impacts of COVID-19 and reduced demand for oil.
The Calgary Real Estate Board says in its annual outlook report that overall sales in the Alberta city and its surrounding neighbourhoods will reach 16,928, a five per cent increase from 16,151 in 2020.
CREB is forecasting that prices will edge up by 1.3 per cent to hit $423,307.
While new listings fell by nearly nine per cent last year and resulted in the slowest year for new listings since 2002, CREB is expecting they will rise in 2021 as owners who delayed sales during the early stages of the pandemic put their homes on the market.
Calgary home sales see modest growth in December
CREB says the market will be helped along by low lending rates and pent-up demand for homes, but persistently high unemployment could spell trouble for the region.
CREB believes the region’s housing supply would see big gains if layoffs continue and people need to adjust their housing to match their new employment situation.
The board warns that consolidation in the energy sector is expected to continue, which would hamper employment and housing activity in the higher price ranges.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
What $500,000 buys in today's Canadian real estate market – Regina Leader-Post
Article content continued
Killarney Road, New Brunswick
80 Jenkins Drive ($499,900)
Located a four-minute drive from Fredericton, this New Brunswick home is reminiscent of a New England farmhouse. The five-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom two-storey features red cedar shingles and tiled floors and, in the kitchen, red shaker cabinetry with accent glass doors, stone backsplash, porcelain floors and new appliances. The kitchen opens to a formal dining room with red pine plank floors. A spacious living room and den/potential bedroom complete the main level. The upper level offers a newly refinished bathroom with porcelain floors, tub/shower with white subway tile and three bedrooms. A large master comes with a private ensuite, complete with large vanity, soaker tub, tile shower and porcelain floors. The recently finished lower level includes a generous-sized family room, two more large bedrooms, and a third full bathroom, also with tub/shower with white subway tile. Outside, a back deck and two covered front porches look out on a landscaped yard.
#202-2410 Rue Ste-Catherine E. ($499,700)
This two-bedroom, one-bath Montreal condo offers 1,232 square feet of open space with large bedrooms and a private 20′ x 8′ terrace. It’s located in the Ville Marie neighbourhood, home to Montreal’s central business district.
#1112 -1420 Dupont St. ($499,900)
Located in the Junction Triangle in Toronto’s West End, this one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo features exposure to an abundance of natural light. Panoramic views of the city are on display from the bedroom and balcony. Freshly painted with upgraded bedroom storage and glass roller door, the unit is near shops and grocery stores as well as subway and transit. Parking included.
RESAAS Enters Commercial Real Estate Industry – Canada NewsWire
VANCOUVER, BC, Jan. 26, 2021 /CNW/ – RESAAS Services Inc. (TSXV: RSS) (OTCQB: RSASF), a technology platform for the real estate industry, is pleased to announce the launch of its dedicated Platform for the Global Commercial Real Estate industry.
- Global Commercial Real Estate industry valued at $16 Trillion*.
- RESAAS Platform already proven to collect valuable Residential real estate data.
- RESAAS will duplicate its data-gathering Platform for the Commercial industry.
- New business division significantly expands RESAAS’ recurring revenue.
- RESAAS operates in 161 countries and supports near 500,000 Residential Agents.
“RESAAS’ success within Residential real estate has empowered licensed Agents to collaborate successfully. The RESAAS Platform, the first of its kind, remains unique in its position to enable the entire industry, regardless of location or Brokerage, to share unique real estate data,” said RESAAS CEO, Tom Rossiter.
“RESAAS is revolutionizing the Commercial Real Estate industry, providing Agents, Brokers and Firms with a proven Platform to share unique data. RESAAS’ Microsoft-powered Commercial Platform will unlock an entirely new revenue stream for the Company.”
RESAAS Commercial will be White-Labeled for large Commercial Real Estate Firms and Brokerages. RESAAS Commercial will benefit from RESAAS’ proven experience working with leading Residential real estate firms such as RE/MAX (NYSE: RMAX) and Keller Williams Realty.
About RESAAS Services Inc.
RESAAS is a technology platform that enables real estate brokerages, franchises and associations to bring real-time communication, new business opportunities and unique data to their agents on a global basis.
Visit www.resaas.com for more information.
The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
The statements made in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that may involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results could differ materially from RESAAS Services Inc.’s expectations and projections.
SOURCE RESAAS SERVICES INC.
For further information: Don Mosher, RESAAS Services Inc., Tel: +1 (604) 617-5448, Email: [email protected]
Apex Legends season 8 gameplay trailer: Fuse and a destroyed Kings Canyon – Polygon
Doctors, researchers call for long-term care changes from Ontario government – The Record (New Westminster)
NEW Fidelity Investment Solutions: Fidelity Multi-Asset Innovation Fund and Fidelity All-in-One ETFs – Canada NewsWire
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Tech3 hours ago
Apex Legends could release on February 2 for the Switch – MobileSyrup
Health23 hours ago
Spain’s COVID-19 infections hit new high as regions double down on measures
Business24 hours ago
BlackBerry says unaware of reason for stock price surge
Sports16 hours ago
Saskatchewan-raised WHL player Kyrell Sopotyk paralyzed in snowboarding accident – CBC.ca
Health23 hours ago
Moderna shot protects against new virus variants; higher blood thinner dose keeps patients off ventilators
Economy23 hours ago
Canada worried by Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plans, will make issue a priority
Health23 hours ago
Six cases of new UK variant of COVID-19 confirmed at Roberta Place LTC home in Barrie – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)
Economy20 hours ago
Canadian dollar rises as investors weigh U.S. stimulus prospects