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Greater Vancouver commercial real estate sales drop by 32.8 % in 2019

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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says commercial real estate activity was down substantially last year compared with recent years because of slower economic activity.

The board says there were a total of 1,538 commercial sales in 2019, a 32.8 per cent drop from 2018 and a 41.5 per cent decline from 2017, while the $6.86 billion dollar value of sales in 2019 was down by 56.7 per cent from a year earlier.

Last year’s drop in sales marks the third year in a row of declines from a peak of 2,896 sales in 2016, while dollar value sales hit a high of $16.6 billion in 2017.

The board says it’s still too early to say what kind of impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on commercial real estate this year.

 

Sales of office and retail buildings fell 24 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

 

It says there were 400 commercial land sales in 2019, down 54 per cent from 2018, and down 61 per cent in the dollar value to $3.24 billion.

Office and retail sales were down 24 per cent to 624 sales, while the dollar value was down 65.8 per cent to $1.6 billion. Industrial land sales were down a relatively small six per cent, while multi-family land sales dropped 50 per cent.

 

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RE/MAX (July) | Hot Summer for the Ottawa Real Estate Market – RE/MAX News

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After a spring that seemed to drag on for too long, summer arrived fast and furious. Following months of strict lockdown measures and a laundry list of public health guidelines that put Canada’s economy on pause, the public’s patience is paying off as the tide begins to turn in the province and across the country. Now that things are beginning to reopen and resume activity, has the real estate recovery begun as well? The numbers are certainly looking favourable in the Ottawa real estate market.

The nation’s capital was one of many housing markets that saw a temporary plunge in activity, with home sales cratering as much as 60 per cent in April, but the keyword is temporary.

The latest data suggest a huge rebound in almost every facet of this local market, from listings to resales to mortgage payments. Will summer continue to be a seller’s market as anticipated before the crisis? Slap on some sunscreen and let’s take a peek at the red-hot Ottawa housing market.

Summer in the Ottawa Real Estate Market

Our worst fears about the impact of the public health crisis upon the real estate industry have yet to be seen. Some may suggest that this is due to the commendable work of Realtors nation-wide, who continued to work during the pandemic and swiftly adapted to changing conditions (admittedly we, at RE/MAX, are a little biased). Whatever the case may be, the COVID-19 shock did not result in a perpetual collapse in the Ottawa real estate market – or even within other major Canadian markets.

Although industry experts have been cautious in their predictions on how the virus outbreak has and will continue to impact home-buying and selling, the pandemic appears to have only put a temporary pause to Ottawa real estate activity. As early as May, the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) reported that the average sale price of a residential-class property surged 11.2 per cent in May compared to the same time a year ago, to an average sale price of $548,140.

The average sale price of an Ottawa condo was $343,589, up 15.5 per cent at an annualized rate.

Analysts note that the renewed activity likely stems from the pent-up demand that existed before the shutdown. When you factor in Ottawa’s stable employment levels, as well as support from the federal government, the nation’s capital had been viewed as a stable investment throughout the chaos. There is no indication that things will change during the dog days of summer.

Does this suggest a strong summer or a resurgence in the fall? The immediate future is uncertain, warns the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in a recent report.

“As the virus is overcome, cities will bounce back, but there is significant uncertainty with respect to the path and timing of the recovery,” said Aled ab Iorwerth, deputy chief economist at the CMHC, said in a June report on the housing market outlook in Canada’s largest cities. “Rapid elimination of the virus and a resurgence in global trade will clearly be of benefit while further waves of the virus will put negative pressure on the economy.”

In addition to sales activity and prices, another factor impacting the real estate industry will be the remote work trend. In recent months, many professionals have been working from home, and a recent Angus Reid Institute study found that most Canadians working from home believe they will continue to do so, even after the pandemic is over. Real estate agents might be expected to accommodate this prevalent expectation, with home seekers adding “home office” to their must-have list.

Some experts are suggesting that employers may be requested to fund additional home office space or even partially pay for the cost of renovations. If the work-from-home practice remains embedded in society, real estate – in Ottawa and elsewhere – will need to accommodate this.

Showers in 2021 to Bring Flowers in 2022?

With talk of a possible second virus wave and various contrasting predictions for the nation’s recovery, there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding the months ahead. What we do know is that borrowing costs are expected to remain at historical lows as the Bank of Canada (BoC) will keep interest rates at near-zero for the foreseeable future. Further, if social distancing guidelines continue and another lockdown is necessary in the future, the real estate industry has shown that it is ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.

Realtors have been quick to adjust to the new real estate landscape, leveraging technology and utilizing digital tools to service their clients. When they did have face-to-face meetings, strict measures were met to ensure public safety.

CMHC has prepared its early estimates for 2021 and 2022. Canada’s top mortgage insurer forecasted that the average price of residential MLS transactions in Ottawa would range between $406,000 and $460,000 next year. Furthermore, the housing agency said average prices would increase to between $415,000 and $490,000 in 2022. Put simply, a possible drop next year followed by a rebound in the following year.

It all boils down to this: even if Ottawa’s hot real estate market were to take a dip this year in the wake of a possible second wave, average home prices are likely to continue their steady increase on a long-term trajectory.

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Real estate: These are Ottawa's five hottest neighbourhoods – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa’s July real estate market was as hot as the temperatures.

Despite these uncertain times, the market experienced double-digit growth.

Taylor Bennett of Bennett Property Shop Realty says a normal July would mean a slight dip in the number of sales, and the average sale price of properties.

“As we all know, 2020 hasn’t been your normal year, and unsurprisingly the historical trend was broken,” he says.

Bennett explains that even though the market prices continued to climb during lockdown, inventory levels were at an all-time low.

“Buyers had fewer options to consider during a time of the year when we normally see the highest levels of inventory.  But now that we are entering our 4th week of Phase 3, we are seeing activity we normally see in the spring.”

Residential numbers are up more than 15.7 per cent over July of 2019. The condo market has had even more growth, up 18.2 per cent over last July.

“Properties are selling faster than they are being listed, creating an extremely competitive market for buyers. They have to be more prepare than ever to enter into negotiations, especially if they are looking in some of the more sought-after areas.”

As for the hottest neighbourhoods: Hintonburg, Dunrobin, Vanier and Greely are up by more than 45 per cent over last year.

Manotick and Overbrook are tied for fifth place, up by more than 37 per cent.

“Hintonburg and Manotick have appeared on this list before.  But both Dunrobin and Greely likely make this list due to the new societal working habits – the need to be close to your office may not exist as more people are telecommuting and both of these neighbourhoods offer more home for your dollar,” he said.

Bennett says Vanier’s popularity is no surprise.

“As the city population continues to grow we are seeing more gentrification, and Vanier is perfectly positioned for that – great proximity to downtown and the Queensway & next to Rockcliffe and New Edinburgh, a new pedestrian bridge connecting it to Sandy Hill, new infrastructure project being completed by the city and an LRT stop to the south.”

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Kelowna real estate agent fined $6500 for 'misleading' website – Kelowna Capital News

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A Kelowna real estate agent has been fined $6,500 for creating a website that advertised services he was not licensed to provide.

According to a July decision from the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC), James Kevin Adams, an agent who used to work with local real estate firm Sage Executive Group, created a website called “K-O Properties” in 2017. The site advertised property management services around the Okanagan and Kootenay regions.

In its decision, the council called the website “false and/or misleading” as neither Adams nor anybody else affiliated with the site was licensed to provide such services in B.C.

Adams said the K-O Properties site was a working prototype, which he planned to have fully-running only after he was licensed to provide strata and rental property management services. He argued he only published the site to “work out the bugs” and “see how it would work by having [his] friends interact with it.”

The web designer Adams hired to build the website said Adams “most likely was not aware that [the website] was live.”

While the council said no evidence existed of Adams actually providing such services through K-O Properties, it still deemed his actions constituted professional misconduct.

Adams signed a consent order on July 16, agreeing to pay a $5,000 fine and a further $1,500 in fees to the council. He also agreed to complete a real estate and trading services remedial education course at his own expense.

READ MORE: Class resumption raises challenges for Central Okanagan schools

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
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