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Global Wellness Real Estate Market Continues Surge During Pandemic – Forbes

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Wellness real estate has been seeing double digit growth in recent years, even during the pandemic. All 10 international markets saw that level of expansion in the three years prior to Covid-19’s onslaught, according to the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute, which held its Wellness Real Estate and Communities Symposium this week in New York.

“The pandemic fueled the shift in the real estate and construction industries toward wellness: from 2019-2020, wellness real estate continued to grow by over 22%, even as overall construction shrank,” the organization reported. GWI defines wellness real estate as commercial, institutional and residential properties that incorporate wellness elements in their architecture and amenities.

Participants and presenters during the symposium all defined the wellness real estate market as a continuing opportunity, driven in part from lessons learned during COVID. Doctors, architects and wellness professionals have come together to “introduce preventive medicine intentions” into the way we design the built environment “as a preventative medicine tool,” shared presenter and sponsor Paul Scialla, CEO of wellness technology firm Delos.

“The pandemic has driven the idea of ‘building for human health’ into the mainstream consumer consciousness, and the recent market growth far exceeded our predictions,” reports Ophelia Yeung, a GWI senior research fellow.  Seven countries (the US, China, Australia, UK, Japan, France and Germany) comprise 82% of the wellness real estate market, with the US and China alone accounting for 60% of the overall total.

GWI estimates that there are more than 2300 wellness projects worldwide in various stages of development and completion, up from an identified 740 projects three years ago. The group attributes the growth to numerous factors, including stress, loneliness, remote work and an increasing eco-consciousness in the public sphere, but the pandemic has definitely brought the wellness real estate concept more into focus. “COVID forced us to see our homes and built environment in a radically new light,” observes Katherine Johnston, another GWI senior research fellow. “Wellness real estate is now quickly moving from elective to essential.”

GWI vice president of research and forecasting Beth McGroarty sees these trends accelerated by the pandemic driving global wellness real estate growth into the future:

  • Technology will continue to create more “well” buildings, independent living capability for a rapidly-aging population, air purification and telemedicine;
  • Working from home will play a role with wellness-centered down time spaces and new ownership models;
  • Baby Boomers will reinvent senior living with an emphasis on creativity, purpose, multi-generational connections and more compact communities;
  • Affordability will play a more important role, largely because of the pandemic’s driving home the importance of healthy living spaces.

Note: Jamie Gold is a member of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness and Design Architecture Initiative, but was not involved in the programming or organization of the real estate summit.  

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This is Where Canadians Are Buying Out-of-Country Real Estate – Storeys

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Written By
Erin Nicole Davis

In a newfound world that embraces the remote work revolution, Canadians are increasingly directing their real estate dollars outside of Canada and into second homes in dreamy — and often much warmer — spots. 

This comes at a time when the cost of recreational properties in provinces like the already notoriously pricey British Columbia and Ontario soared to sky-high levels not long after the onset of the pandemic. 

One scroll of social media last winter would reveal that a good handful of Instagram “friends” relocated — at least temporarily so — to warmer pastures in places like Nosara, Costa Rica and Miami. Many relied on sublet accommodations, but some actually bit the bullet and purchased second homes.

To discover this year’s preferences in out-of-country home-buying, Point2 analysts examined the search volumes for more than 2,000 real estate-related keywords in islands, countries, and cities outside Canada to find the 30 most popular locations for second homes in the Americas in 2022. 

second homes
Puerto Vallarta

Mexico maintained its #1 position as the most popular home buying location, recording a 28% increase in searches, with dreamy locations like Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen being the most searched destinations. 

South of the border, the United States retained its #2 position on the podium, with Maui, New York, and Miami in the top preferences for Canadian homebuyers. 

Costa Rica takes the #3 spot for the fourth year, with a 23% increase in monthly searches, of which Tamarindo, Jaco, and Nosara took the largest share. 

Meanwhile, Canadians’ interest grew the most over the previous 12 months in El Salvador and Grenada, with real estate-related searches for these locations increasing by 87% and 66%, respectively. With a 34% jump, the Dominican Republic saw the most significant increase in the number of monthly searches of all of the countries in the top 10 most desirable home-buying locations.

“We have experienced exponential growth, and this is due to several factors. First of all, it’s worth highlighting the knowledge of more than 14 years in the real estate area that added to the tools we use and the incorporation of more than 16 agents nationwide, along with all the advertising established in the different social networks,” says Felix Del Valle,  of Bienes Raices Dominicana Real Estate.

“This added to the issue that we all know about the pandemic and the desire of people to go out and invest in other destinations. At that point we understood that the attraction to our country is due to the excellent investment climate offered by the economic stability and great opening offered by the central government, the Dominican Republic being one of the first countries in the region to open its doors to tourism and foreign investment for economic reactivation. All these factors have generated this real estate movement in our country,” he continues.

Dominican Republic

It should be noted that the two countries that saw the most significant increases in interest and the number of monthly searches didn’t make the top 30: Real estate-related searches in Guyana and Dominica went up 254% and 112%, respectively, but that wasn’t enough to earn the two locations spots on the list.

In the last year, searches increased for 17 countries on this list and fell for the other 13 (although they still made the list due to their significant search volumes). Notably, the largest drop in the number of real estate-related keywords was for the US Virgin Islands (-30%), followed by Turks and Caicos Islands (-29%) and Ecuador (-29%).

Not surprisingly, the common denominators are that most of the top spots are in a warm climate (and — judging from last year’s brutal winter — why the heck not?) and feature relatively affordable real estate compared to parts of Canada.

Written By
Erin Nicole Davis

Erin Nicole Davis is a born and raised Toronto writer with a passion for the city and its urban affairs and culture.

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GTA real estate prices could continue to fall amid large housing correction, RBC says – CP24

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A housing correction which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.

New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.

Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.

In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.

Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.

That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.

“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”

The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.

In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.

“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”

While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”

The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.

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'The craziness is over': Ottawa's real estate market inches toward stability, but home prices still increasing – Ottawa Citizen

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Thursday, the Ottawa Real Estate Board released its analysis of July listings and sales and declared a “profound slowdown” in the local home resale market.

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Realtor Yvan Rhéaume says Ottawa is still a hot real estate market, but buyers have a better chance of competing for homes now compared with last winter.

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“The craziness is over,” Rhéaume said on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean it’s less expensive to buy a home in the nation’s capital.

“What you see on the news is the prices are dropping and sellers are panicking. That may be the thing in other places across the country, but in Ottawa, we still see a price increase between 2021 and 2022,” Rhéaume said.

Thursday, the Ottawa Real Estate Board released its analysis of July listings and sales and declared a “profound slowdown” in the local home resale market.

“July’s numbers reveal that buyers are indeed putting on the brakes more heavily than what is typically expected during the mid-summer sales dip,” board president Penny Torontow said in releasing the latest statistics.

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According to the board, its member realtors sold 1,100 residential properties in July 2022, compared with 1,718 in July 2021. The stats come from listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The July 2022 sales were well below July’s five-year monthly average of 1,691.

Prices are still increasing, but just not at the same steep trajectory seen earlier in the pandemic.

According to the board’s figures, the average sale price for a residential property was $716,354 in July, an increase of five per cent from a year ago. For condos, the average sale price went up one per cent to $425,694 in July 2022, compared to the same month in 2021.

When it comes to year-to-date average sale prices as of July, the board has the first seven months of 2022 at $805,238 for residential properties, which is an 11-per-cent increase over the same period in 2021, while condos were at $461,557, a nine-per-cent increase.

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Rhéaume said the return of one not-long-ago standard shows a change in the market: conditions are once again being put on offers.

He had one buyer recently purchase a townhouse with conditions on financing and a home inspection. “That was the first time in probably three years, at least,” Rhéaume said of the conditions. On top of that, he was able to negotiate the price.

Wendy Bell, the broker of record in an office of 250 agents, said news about higher interest rates and inflation had an impact on the market starting in the spring.

“That kind of put the brakes on things,” Bell said, opining that another interest rate increase would be “devastating.”

Broker Wendy Bell said the months ahead will provide better indicators for the local real estate market.
Broker Wendy Bell said the months ahead will provide better indicators for the local real estate market. Photo by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Bell said she finds herself trying to educate buyers and sellers about what’s happening in the local market.

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Sellers have watched properties go for sums well beyond asking prices during the pandemic, while buyers recently have been reading about the market quickly returning to normal conditions. Both scenarios aren’t necessarily playing out in Ottawa.

Bell said homes didn’t have to be staged at the height of the buying frenzy over the pandemic, but now she’s urging sellers to make sure their homes are in order — like painting and removing clutter — to attract prospective buyers.

Bell said the months ahead will provide better indicators for the local real estate market as people come back from their summer vacations.

“Things will come back to normal in a more balanced market in the fall,” Bell predicted.

Broker Dawna Erskine said some sellers have been confused about why their homes aren’t attracting the same large offers that some neighbours received just months ago.

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“That’s how drastic things have changed,” Erskine said, and she believes “we are going back to the pre-COVID days” when it comes to home prices.

Erskine said the pandemic has been a “nightmare” while trying to evaluate true values of properties for her eager buyer clients and trying to bid on homes against others willing to pay sky-high prices.

“I can’t tell you how often I’ve worked to guide buyers (and advised) not to buy this,” Erskine said.

“Is the winner really the winner? Or are you the loser?”

Erskine’s optimistic stability will return to the real estate market in the coming months.

“It’s going to become more balanced and I’m really looking forward to it.”

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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