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Fraser Valley rolls to record real estate numbers – Western Investor



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.


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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30 businesses in 30 days: Fort McMurray real estate agent pushes shop local campaign for Christmas –



A Fort McMurray real estate agent is encouraging people shop local by creating a video series called 30 businesses in 30 days. 

This month, Melanie Galea started posting videos showcasing small businesses in Fort McMurray. From pet stores, to coffee roasters and spas, Galea has been trying to remind locals about what businesses they could be shopping from. 

“It just seemed like it was needed more than ever,” said Galea. 

“These business owners are ready for Christmas.” 

She said there are concerns that businesses are going to be shut down and several businesses have already closed during the pandemic and flood. 

“People are staying home, they’re maybe not spending quite as much money. Some businesses are doing well, but I’ve seen businesses shut down because of what’s happening right now.” 

Galea did a similar promotion in 2015, making videos to showcase 30 businesses. Thirteen of those stores have since closed. 

Galea put a call out for businesses to contact her about making a video, and she was even surprised to find out about companies she had never heard of before. 

“It’s great to see there are new businesses,” said Galea. 

“The reaction has been fantastic.”

Galea said her videos have even inspired former McMurrayites. She said a former Fort McMurray resident, now living in Edmonton, reached out to Galea to ask about buying gift cards from Fort McMurray shops. 

Carley Johnson sold her first bag of coffee in February. She’s seen an uptick in customers since Melanie Galea posted a video about the coffee company. (Submitted by Carley Johnson)

The entire series took about 100 hours to create. She charged $50 per business to do the video, but it’s costing her more than $250 per episode. 

“This is my give to the community,” said Galea. She started filming the series in the beginning of October. 

Carley Johnson, owner of Firebag Coffee Company, started selling coffee and coffee accessories in February. She roasts coffee at her home in Fort McMurray and sells it online and at local markets. 

Since her video went live, she’s had people reach out to her saying they didn’t know her business existed and says her sales have increased. 

From left to right, Catharine Vangen, Michael Langille, Kimberly-Ann McGregor and Brandon Kelloway. Langille stands with the employees of his pet store; he says some people don’t even know his shop is still open after the April flood. (Submitted by Michael Langille)

The company does free delivery in town, and she says they do about 25-30 orders a day. 

“Since the video’s run I’ve probably had at least 5 to 10 new people contact me every day.”

“It’s wonderful,” said Johnson. 

Michael Langille’s video hasn’t gone public yet — it’s slated for Dec. 9. He’s the owner of The Little Pet Company, which is in the midst of expanding.

“Some people think that we’re still shut down since the flood,” said Langille. “It’s about broadcasting that we’re here.” 

He said many people thought the flood destroyed the shop, which it didn’t. 

The store was “busier than ever” for the first few months of the pandemic, but recently noticed a “sgnificant change” in the number of customers coming in.

Langille said he doubled his store’s inventory with the expansion, but “we’re not seeing double the sales by any means.”

“We might’ve seen a ten per cent increase, which is not what you want to see when you’re expanding your business.” 

He’s hoping the video gets people coming into the store, and spending their dollars in town, rather than online. 

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JPMorgan's Pil Sees Quick Return to Office Boosting Real Estate – BNN



(Bloomberg) — People will likely return to the office more quickly than expected and that will help boost the price of some commercial real estate, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Investors may be making a mistake by extrapolating the future from the current situation with lots of working from home due to Covid-19, according to Anton Pil, global head of alternatives at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Top malls worldwide should see a faster-than-expected rebound in traffic, he said, and there’s an overshoot in expectations about how many people will want the status quo versus returning to the office.

“I’m expecting a pretty significant rebound in valuation,” Pil said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Financing terms are at some of the lowest levels that we’ve ever seen, and the income generation continues to be quite strong, at least if you own top-notch offices in strong locations.”

Urban centers have been able to survive previous pandemics and will do so again this time, Pil said. He pointed to the co-working trend as evidence that even when people could work from home they found there was value in being around others.

However, investors are taking things slowly at this point, with commercial real estate dealmaking in the third quarter far below pre-pandemic levels, according to data from CBRE Group Inc. and Real Capital Analytics Inc.

Pil also said that easy monetary policy and available financing means that it’s harder to tell which companies have simply been hurt by the pandemic and which have business models that just aren’t viable. J.P. Morgan Asset Management has stuck to a relatively conservative approach that’s focused on the actual assets companies own, he said, to avoid potential trouble on that front.

Venture capital will be a very robust market over the next year or two, Pil added. Lots of new businesses will be started by people who were laid off or had salaries reduced during the pandemic, he said, plus the efficiency of working from home and broader adoption of cloud computing has made starting a business cheaper and easier around the globe.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Toronto’s Real Estate Board Tells Brokers Stop Showing More Than 2 Years of Sold Data – Better Dwelling



Toronto’s golden age of real estate brokerage innovation is coming to an abrupt end. Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) sent a memo this week, on sold data. The board informed brokers they will only be allowed to show two years of data going forward.

TRREB Ordered To Allow Brokerages To Show Sold Data

The board formerly known as TREB was sued by the competition bureau in 2011. The bureau argued it was anti-competitive to prevent real estate brokers from sharing sold information. This dispute went on for years, until the supreme court finally rejected any appeals in 2018. Shortly after, the board provided member brokers with a data feed, complete with sold data. Almost immediately, this brought Toronto real estate out of the dark ages.

Release of Sold Data Drove Brokerage Innovation

Allowing the display of sold data led brokerages to build a number of Zillow-like products. Some brokers began providing sold data to clients going back over a decade. Toronto’s formerly dated, agent-driven model, was suddenly refreshed. Buyers were able to research, without an agent acting as a direct barrier to information. Unfortunately, that wasn’t TRREB’s intention.

TRREB Memo Demands Halt On Displaying Data Over 2 Years Old

TRREB sent member brokers a reminder this week that included a restriction that was previously unclear. The board notes several restrictions, but the biggest one is how much sold data can be shown. The memo reads, “Only two (2) years of sold data can be displayed or accessed at any time on the VOW, Website, or App.” 

The updated interpretation of the bureau ruling is going to have a big impact. Starting soon, brokerages will restrict sold data to just 2 years. Much of the innovation that allowed people to research on their own will disappear. Instead Toronto will return back to it’s agent-driven model, where individuals have to request details from agents. This coincidentally will also conceal readily available sold data from the 2017 detached frenzy.

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