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Fraser Valley rolls to record real estate numbers – Business in Vancouver

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B.C. home sales rose nearly 43 per cent in August, year-over-year, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), but were up 55.9 per cent in the Fraser Valley and soared 63 per cent higher in Chilliwack to lead the entire province.

The Valley housing boom, which continued into the fall, reflects a switch in housing demand that has seen people opting to move from central urban cores to suburban locations as more are working from home and others seek more housing space for less money.

The average home price in the City of Vancouver is now $1.07 million, while it is $820,000 in the Fraser Valley and in the $585,000 range in Chilliwack and Mission, the BCREA reports.

There is also the attraction of employment as Surrey – the fastest growing city in B.C. – continues to post impressive job gains.

This year, Surrey’s biggest companies recorded the largest one-year increase in their average number of employees since 2017: up 8.6 per cent from 2,653.6 in 2019. This surge was more than double the annual average employment growth experienced over the past two years for Surrey’s largest businesses.

Prospera Credit Union, which recently built a new headquarters in Surrey, had the highest one-year employment growth in the city. It increased 50.9 per cent to 649 employees in 2020. 

The City of Surrey had the highest five-year public-sector growth in job creation. The municipality increased its employee count to 4,000 in 2020.

Other major employers include the Fraser Health Authority, the local school district and Kwantlen Polytechnical University, all of which have seen at least a 15 per cent increase in staff over the past five years.

Industrial

Four of B.C.’s five largest industrial land transactions in the first half of 2020 were in the Fraser Valley, according to Avison Young, including the largest, a $10 million sale of 4.8 acres in Langley.

Surrey and Delta are leaders in industrial development, highlighted by the $190 million, 470,000-square-foot World Commodity Trade Centre now under construction in Surrey’s Campbell Heights industrial zone, part of China’s global Belt and Road initiative.

Flowing east

A surge in investment has also been fired up by the new $3.1 billion Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, recently approved, that has triggered one of the largest land plays in British Columbia.

Projections are that the SkyTrain corridor will spark a population increase of at least 120,000 people over the next two decades. Land prices in the corridor have soared. In September a half-acre Langley site zoned for high density and close to a proposed transit station, sold for $4.5 million. 

Real estate action is also flowing east.

On September 21 the District of Mission passed a bylaw designating nearly 300 acres of Mission riverfront land for comprehensive development under an Official Community Plan. This plan process is expected to take two years, but Martini Group of Vancouver has a conceptual plan for 87 acres in the District Waterfront Revitalization Project, which Martini wants to develop sooner into a large industrial project, including manufacturing sites, which the company claims would generate at least 1,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, land in Mission is already selling at record high prices.

Earlier this year, two acres of waterfront industrial land in the waterfront district sold for $3.2 million, according to Jag Cheema, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty in Mission,

“We are seeing a lot of buyers coming from Greater Vancouver,” Cheema said, and it is not just for industrial property. The veteran Mission agent noted that a 0.89-acre Mission residential site, zoned for single-family housing, sold in September for $1.1 million after receiving multiple inquiries.

Abbotsford and Chilliwack were touted last year as “emerging as destinations for new industrial development and subsequent sales and leasing activity” Avison Young.

Chilliwack, where the new Molson’s-Coors brewery moved into last year after leaving Vancouver, is seeing a surge in residential and commercial investment.

There has been a recent upswing in multi-family rental sales – average per-door prices are in the $150,000 range based on recent transactions reported to Western Investor – and when the 1.9-acre Cascade retail centre was listed this year it sold at the full asking price of $4.5 million.

One of the largest Valley residential projects is Creekside Mills at Cultus Lake near Chilliwack, a 79-acre “agri-hood” development with 129 detached houses, now selling from $700,000 by Frosst Creek Developments Ltd.

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Commercial Real Estate: Navigating Opportunities And Challenges Ahead (Video) – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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Canada:

Commercial Real Estate: Navigating Opportunities And Challenges Ahead (Video)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

Uncertainties currently abound in many sectors and commercial
real estate is no exception. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused
some level of distress in certain sectors of the commercial real
estate market, it has also opened doors for stakeholders and
presented opportunistic transactions with their own unique set of
risks and important structuring considerations, particularly in the
restructuring and insolvency space.

In this video, Graham Rawlinson and Charlene Schafer briefly
discuss what to expect in our upcoming webinar on December 3 on
commercial real estate. Some of the key topics to be explored
are:

  • preparing for bankruptcy or insolvency opportunities that may
    affect the Canadian real estate market, and what to consider when
    dealing with assets going through some type of a debtor/creditor
    process;
  • funds focused on distressed and opportunistic real estate
    assets, and whether the ongoing distress in the market will
    continue to present new opportunities; and
  • distressed opportunities south of the border and unique
    considerations affecting the U.S. commercial real estate
    market.

Play the short clip below and register for the webinar here.

self

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Real Estate and Construction from Canada

Asserting Privilege In The Condominium Context

Field LLP

The issue of asserting solicitor-client privilege in the condominium context is an interesting one, especially as between the condominium corporation and the individual unit owners

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Nakisa to acquire real estate management tech firm IMNAT | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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IMAGE: Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi. (Courtesy Nakisa)

Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi. (Courtesy Nakisa)

Montreal-based software company Nakisa is expanding into the real estate technology market with the acquisition of IMNAT Software, a cloud-based real estate management solution.

Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi said IMNAT’s real estate management technology will be added to Nakisa’s lease management solutions portfolio.

“By combining the breadth of our lease accounting knowledge with their real estate expertise, we’re poised to disrupt the corporate real estate market, which is currently reliant on outdated processes and proptech legacy software,” he told RENX.

IMNAT is also Montreal-based. The start-up has about a half dozen employees and has entered the sales phase for its platform, which it markets specifically at businesses which manage their real estate.

“Our reimagined corporate real estate solution will offer customers a complete modern end-to-end solution that leverages the Nakisa cloud platform and provides full ITGC (IT general controls), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), user management and more,” Varjavandi said. “We truly believe we can disrupt this market because I think we are much further ahead . . . of our competitors with the technology.

“At the end of the day, because of the technology that we have, we believe we can bring in all these other pillars to provide an end-to-end solution.”

He said IMNAT Software’s technology will complement and extend Nakisa’s existing lease accounting product line and address increasing demand for global corporate real estate management solutions.

The acquisition is set to close on Jan. 1, 2021.

Nakisa and IMNAT

Nakisa released the first version of its product in 2000. The company has two lines of business – one addressing human resources and the other in leasing. It will now expand to provide end-to-end lease management which will include real estate and lease accounting.

The company also has offices in Frankfurt, Singapore, Florida and Pakistan.

Varjavandi said the company name is also his mother’s name.

He said IMNAT Software, founded in 2011, has a core product, InfoSite, which is a leading edge corporate real estate management software designed to centralize and manage corporate real estate accounts.

The platform features databased reporting and dashboards, streamlines corporate lease operations and manages data for leases, taxation, payments and rent rolls.

“When we talked to our customers and looked at the market, what we found that was interesting is that the real estate software industry hasn’t really evolved,” said Varjavandi. “They’re still using very old technology and it’s very costly to implement.

“Even if they’re on the cloud, they’re really not what we call a native cloud application.

“We saw huge opportunity in that area. For us to enter that market, we had a choice of either building the whole real estate functionality, which is the operation day-to-day activity of maintaining your real estate.

“Or we had to acquire a company that already had a customer base, they already had the expertise and they could use their expertise and that’s what happened. We saw this made-in-Montreal company.”

IMNAT has some major clients

Nakisa became familiar with IMNAT because the companies share some of the same clients.

IMNAT’s customer base include large private corporations such as Dollarama, Transcontinental and Lowe’s Canada, as well as some of the largest public government institutions in Canada.

Nakisa and IMNAT will combine their technology and networks. They will also combine their company-level data to generate a more accurate financial planning repository of information for trends and projections.

Varjavandi said InfoSite will be integrated into Nakisa’s product line and branded under the Nakisa umbrella. In January, IMNAT’s team, including CEO and co-owner Alexis Dénommée-Godin and co-owner Jean-François Bechard, will join Nakisa.

“I’m extremely proud of the quality software our team has built over the years and it’s an honour to be recognized and chosen by an established lease accounting brand that serves Fortune 500 companies around the world,” said Dénommée-Godin in a statement announcing the sale.

“Joining Nakisa allows us to take our real estate expertise to the global market and fulfill a need that has a tangible impact on both businesses and people.”

Unify divergent software products

Varjavandi said Nakisa serves more than 900 enterprise customers and over one million subscribers in 24 industries. Its client base includes a number of different industries, including retail, pharmaceutical and airlines. It has users in over 120 countries and supports 18 languages.

He said the acquisition of IMNAT presents a huge opportunity for Nakisa to both better serve existing customers and attract new ones.

“We are seeing companies having multiple software and we think we can actually unify the whole leasing, both for accounting and operations side, under one umbrella,” Varjavandi said. “From our perspective, any kind of asset you have we can provide an end-to-end solution.

“On the real estate side, we have a few customers who are interested in expanding on that to things like facility management and project management. Those are areas we’re also working with them. The beauty of the customers that we have, because these are very large customers, they’re actually willing to engage with us . . .

“From a customer perspective, the whole implementation and management is already done for them because it falls on the same platform.”

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Real estate expert Benjamin Tal on the winter market, the vaccine, and the massive recovery to come – Post City

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How has the real estate market outperformed your expectations as of late? 

Yes, we have seen the mother of all V-shaped recoveries. The fact that the market recovered was not a big surprise. The speed at which it recovered was a surprise. I think that the number one fact though, of course, when people try to figure this out, will point to pent up demand and extremely low interest rates, which is true. However, there is much more to it. I think that if you look at qualification rates, at 4.79%, for variable and fixed-term rates, they are in fact higher from a qualification perspective when they were in 2008. And back then, this activity went down. In fact, this has been the most housing-market-friendly recession ever. Okay, so it’s not just about the industry. It’s about the composition of the damage in the labour market. 

Explain how the labour market activity has impacted the market.

The vast majority, almost 100%, of all jobs lost during this recession were low wage occupations. Many of them are renters and are not players in the resale market. Second, is that it means that a very large segment of households was untouched by this crisis, financially speaking, their job is there, their income is there. In fact, many of them are sitting on extremely high levels of excess cash. And the interest rates are in the basement. That’s the opportunity that they were looking for. So the asymmetrical distribution of development in the labour market is the secret behind the success of the housing market today.

The downtown condo market is that big outlier here. What do you see happening there right now? 

I think most of the most of the improvement was, of course, in the low-rise segment of the market. It makes sense because the nature of the crisis means that a lot of people want to move to detached houses. We are seeing a situation in which there is a positive correlation between the inflation rate in housing and the price of housing. The fact that detached prices are rising is a real nightmare, if you wish, for mover-uppers, because the price of the house that you want is rising faster than their own house. The gap is widening. So this is a reflection of people wanting to live in bigger houses and therefore they also move to outside the 416. 

And do you see this trend continuing for the long-term?

I  believe that that will continue to be the case for the next six months or so especially during the winter. The housing market in general, during the winter, will weaken alongside the economy as a whole as we have a second wave combined with the flu season confidence will go down. So that’s clearly something that we expect, and that will impact the housing market.  I think that the 416 condo space will feel most of the pain because of the fact that we have a lot of supply coming in and demand is slowing. Having said that, I think that as we reach the other side of this crisis, the later the second half of 2021 we’re going to see a situation in which people start realizing the rental space in downtown Toronto is a bargain and you will see demand returning In between I see some adjustment in supply and some developers that basically front load and that activity will not be there during the winter. So the net result of some reduced supply in the second half of 2021 and marginal improvements in demand, we see some improvement in this market as well. But in between, we have to go through the winter.

And do you see the exodus to the suburbs trend continuing?

That trend started way before the crisis, as we all know, this is not new. Every crisis is a trend accelerator. And this crisis is no different in the sense that it accelerated this trend. Will we continue this trend? Absolutely not. When we are on the other side of this crisis, people will rethink this approach, it will continue, but not at the current rate. So again, when you’re in a situation, you have a tendency to exaggerate the long-term implications of that situation and we are in a situation. So people look at the people fleeing from downtown as a sign of a long-term trend. That’s not the case. I think that people will go back to downtown and the trend will continue but at a much slower pace than we’re seeing now.

What is your advice in terms of navigating this volatile market? Is it better to wait it out?

Well, I think that if you are in the market for a quick investment, then you can wait. For the long term, I think that the winter will provide some good entry positions given the relatively soft nature of the market. I think that the spring will be relatively strong.

And when the vaccine rolls out the timing, what will that do in terms of the market and the economy in general?

That’s one of the reasons why I believe that the economy will be very strong in the second half of the year, especially in the summer and into October, November when the vaccine will be widely available. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so optimistic about the second half of the year, when the economy I believe will rise by four, five, six percent including some nice improvement in the housing market.

Is now actually the best time in terms of buying a condo downtown?

I think that the market is soft and will probably get softer. The next few months will be actually if you have a long term horizon, the next few months will be a good opportunity absolutely.

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