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For real estate, 'it won't be a flood but a large trickle of business' – Times Colonist

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The second phase of the province’s economic restart will look and feel a lot like the first for the real estate market according to the experts.

While the province starts getting back to work and small businesses start to reopen with new safety protocols, the real estate market, which has been operating through the pandemic, will continue to buy and sell properties with more virtual home tours, online open houses and the signing of electronic contracts.

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“I don’t think we are going to see any huge change over the next few months or so, [real estate agents] will still be using technology a lot more and still use the safety protocols we have been using to show properties,” said Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the Victoria Real Estate Board. “These days, we are doing as much as we can online with our buyers and sellers.”

Real estate was deemed an essential service early in the pandemic and continued to operate with strict safety guidelines.

That resulted in the shut down of open houses in favour of streaming house tours online and virtual open houses.

The next phase of economic reopening will not change that, though there are guidelines to allow for physical tours of properties.

With governments lifting restrictions for some businesses, there will be a change in public confidence that could translate into business, she said. “There may be more people now willing to start buying and selling. There’s lots of pent-up demand among both buyers and sellers.

“It won’t be a flood, but there could be a large trickle of business.”

That will be welcome after a tough April for real estate. There were 287 properties sold in the region in April, a 59% drop from last year’s 696 sales.

The commercial and industrial side of the business is also not expecting to see much change as Phase 2 begins.

Ty Whittaker, executive vice-president with Colliers International Victoria, said the biggest difference doing business during the pandemic has been communication. “There have been a lot more Zoom meetings taking place and a lot of different formats of communicating.”

There wasn’t much difference in the way the market worked, though property tours were conducted with safety in mind and being cautious and respectful of other people’s space.

“But I found that in dealing with business people they were a bit more pragmatic and keen to get back to normal and get people working again,” he said. “They didn’t seem to be as fearful.”

That may be reflected in the industrial side of commercial real estate, which Whittaker said remained steady in the first quarter of 2020.

Colliers’ most recent industrial report showed through the first quarter of this year vacancy remained low at 0.8% versus 0.7% in the fourth quarter of last year, and lease rates increased by an average of 15.4% since the first quarter of 2019.

Whittaker said there were only a handful of industrial tenants that asked for rent assistance from landlords through the first quarter, while a significant number of retail tenants requested help in that time.

“On the retail side of things we hear from landlords that as many as 30% of retailers may not be able to switch the lights back on,” he said.

The same is unlikely to hold true with office space. Whittaker said when nearly 50% of all office space is leased to government, there is a strong amount of stability built into the market.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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Real eState

Douglas Todd: China's real-estate investors down on Vancouver, but not out – Vancouver Sun

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Huawei CEO Meng Wenghzou must stay under mansion arrest following this week’s court decision in Vancouver. China’s authorities rage, while continuing to unfairly jail Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig and drastically cut imports of Canadian canola.

Rival ethnic Chinese groups clash in the streets of Vancouver over Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kongers’ freedoms. COVID-19 kills more than 6,800 across Canada and lockdown virtually ends international travel, sending home many of China’s foreign students, especially from Toronto and Vancouver.

China-Canada relations are at their lowest ebb in decades, particularly according to China’s pervasive regime-backed media outlets, which this week called Canada a “pathetic clown.”

And that has implications for Metro Vancouver’s housing market.

This region of 2.6 million is feeling the impact of soured relations with China, even while polling suggests the city continues to retain some of its traditional allure to the world’s most populous country as a desirable place to experience and invest in.

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Ontario Real Estate Association hands down new guidelines as folks begin looking back into housing market – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360

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While officials are expecting the Canadian housing market to take a real hit because of the COVID pandemic, Ontario realtors are still taking steps to protect those who want to buy or sell a home.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has issued a series of guidelines to protect the health and safety of not just those in the market to buy or sell, but the realtors doing the deals too.

The OREA says virtual home showings should continue for now

Most home showings have been done virtually since the emergency was declared in Ontario, and the OREA says that should become standard practice for now. Documents, forms, and acknowledgments should be processed electronically according to these guidelines. The OREA asks that physical home showings should be preceded by thoroughly disinfecting surfaces, and a physical distance should be maintained while interacting with clients directly. The OREA asks that personal protective equipment be used when distancing isn’t possible. A complete list of the OREA’s recommendations can be found on its website.

Housing starts, sales, and prices are expected to be impacted by the pandemic through 2022

Now that the Ontario Government has announced a phased reopening, the OREA feels many consumers are looking to get back into the market in person. “The health and safety of our Realtors and their clients is OREA’s top priority during this pandemic,” says Sean Morrison, President of OREA. “As Ontario’s economy reopens, many Ontarians are looking to get back into the real estate market. Realtors are here to help make home buyers and sellers feel comfortable and safe while they work to find their dream home. OREA’s guidelines have been informed by up-to-date information from public health, best practices from the industry and experiences in jurisdictions across North America.”

RELATED: HOUSING MARKET TO BE HIT HARD BY COVID PANDEMIC THROUGH TO THE END OF 2022, ACCORDING TO CMHC HOUSING OUTLOOK

On Wednesday, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released a housing market outlook that shows the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt on the industry right through to the end of 2022. Housing starts, sales, and prices within Ontario will be more impacted than some, including B.C. and Quebec, but less than those of oil-dependent Alberta or Saskatchewan.

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Quebecers love the 'burbs, real estate poll suggests – Montreal Gazette

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A survey conducted by the RE/MAX Québec real estate firm suggests that 46 per cent of respondents — particularly those with young children — could see themselves buying a home in the suburbs.

The poll, carried out just as the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak were beginning to be felt across Quebec, found that 28 per cent would like to settle in the city while 21 per cent preferred the country.

Among potential sellers, the Léger poll found 58 per cent would put their homes on the block to move somewhere with more land, while 55 per cent would do so for a larger home.

A large proportion of respondents ages 55-64 would sell in order to move to a less expensive home.

RE/MAX Québec vice-president Sylvain Dansereau said the polling dates were not changed despite the health crisis, adding that a second phase of the survey will be carried out this autumn to measure the effects of the outbreak on the real estate buying and selling preferences of Quebecers.

Quebec’s real estate industry received government authorization to resume operations on May 11.

The poll was conducted March 17-29 with 1,400 respondents in six regions of Quebec and has a 2.6-per-cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.

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