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High demand sees real estate prices spiral – Whitehorse Star



Buying a home in Whitehorse and the Yukon has become substantially more difficult to do in the last year.

By Whitehorse Star on August 27, 2021

Buying a home in Whitehorse and the Yukon has become substantially more difficult to do in the last year.

The latest real estate numbers show the average price of a home in the city is now just over $650,000.

That marks an increase of more than $100,000 since 2020.

It’s also a jump of $60,000, or 10.2 per cent, compared to the first quarter of 2021 ($590,700).

That’s more than enough to cause ripples of concern throughout the territory.

Denny Kobayashi, a spokesperson for the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, was one of those people saying it’s not good news for people.

He told the Star it isn’t surprising, but he was taken aback by just how much real estate prices have rocketed upward.

He called the issue one of the biggest challenges currently facing the Yukon.

Kobayashi said he has been hearing about the issue from a variety of businesses.

It’s difficult enough to recruit workers, he said, but the lack of housing is resulting in people turning down job offers because they simply can’t find a suitable place to live.

He mentioned one non-governmental organization that had recently hired a person to fill a senior position.

The new hire was forced to turn it down shortly thereafter because they couldn’t find a place to live.

Marc Perrault, the president of the Yukon Real Estate Board, said the figures are a bit deceiving.

“We know what the cause is. Demand is outstripping supply,” Perrault told the Star.

However, he suggested the market is being distorted somewhat by two main factors.

First, he said there are people moving to the territory from points south to take new employment who are willing and able to spend more than the recommended 40 per cent of their income on housing.

That’s helping to drive up the prices of higher-end homes.

That’s leading to offers coming in over the asking and market price, Perrault said. In effect, there are bidding wars happening, but only over some properties.

Second, Perrault said, there’s another subset of people moving to the Yukon to retire.

They’re often flush with money from the sales of their homes wherever they’re coming from, and can also afford to pay more than market rates.

Perrault said he sees both of these scenarios as hugely influencing real estate prices, but he insisted “that’s not the real market.”

The Yukon is basically a tiny market, and even a few real estate deals closing over market prices can have a sizeable impact on overall numbers that’s disproportionate to what’s actually happening, he said.

“That’s for a smaller number of homes, but it’s really distorting the picture of what’s going on,” Perrault emphasized. “It’s not an accurate view of the market, though.”

Another factor driving the red-hot market is simply the movement of people into the Yukon.

The territory is viewed as a desirable location, and it’s always been stable economically, he said.

He called the lure of the Yukon as being “de-urbanization”, although of course most people will end up in Whitehorse.

Perrault said he doesn’t see the market cooling off any time soon, but he’s confident eventually it will adjust.

According to the report, in the second quarter of 2021, the total value of real estate transactions in the Yukon was $129.9 million: $106.7 million in Whitehorse and $23.1 million for the rest of Yukon.

• The average sale price of a single-detached house in Whitehorse was $650,700, a record-high and an increase of $103,900, or 19.0 per cent, from the second quarter of 2020 ($546,800).

• The average condo sale price in Whitehorse was $457,700, an increase of $44,900, or 10.9 per cent, from the second quarter of 2020.

A total of 91 single-detached houses were sold, an increase of 15 compared to the second quarter of 2020.

• There were 54 condo sales, a decrease of 18 compared to the second quarter of 2020.

• The average condo price was $457,700, an increase of $44,900, or 10.9 per cent, compared to the second quarter of 2020 ($412,800).

• Eleven mobile homes were sold at an average price of $371,300, also a record-high.

• Five duplexes were sold at an average price of $476,200, a record-high.

The average country residential property sold for $780,000 in the second quarter, up from $639,000 a year earlier.

Nine commercial properties were sold at a value totalling $6.6 million.

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I was love-bombed by a Sydney real estate agent. It was intense – The Guardian



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I was love-bombed by a Sydney real estate agent. It was intense  The Guardian

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Welcome to Real Estate Friday! –



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Welcome to Real Estate Friday!

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COVID-19 will leave a lasting mark on real estate – The Globe and Mail



New home owners Denise Craine and Jim Burtcher sold their home in Mississauga and moved to Wasaga Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tannis Toohey(c)/The Globe and Mail

Buying and selling a house in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was, for Denise Craine and her husband, an exercise in adapting to viewing rules that changed from one house to another.

”Every house had a sign that said ‘sanitize before you enter, do not open cupboards, do not use the washroom, no children allowed, no more than two people allowed plus your agent,’ ” recalls Ms. Craine, who runs a Toronto-based association management firm called Secretariat Central. “But then there were two houses that also had gloves in the entrance, and I remember (my husband) telling me later ‘I think we were supposed to wear those.’

“For viewings in their home, Ms. Craine and her husband added their own twist to pandemic protocols: all cupboard doors and drawers were left open to further dissuade touching and visitors were encouraged to disinfect as they went along, with bottles of disinfectant distributed throughout the house.

”So if they really wanted to inspect something, they could clean that surface before and after they touched it,” says Ms. Craine.

As the country’s vaccination rates continue to edge higher and there’s hope that COVID-19 will ease in the months ahead, a question for the real estate industry is what pandemic practices it should hang on to and what can go safely by the wayside.

George Filntissis, Toronto realtor with The Condo Kings – a Royal LePage Terrequity broker – thinks most of the safety practices that were either mandated or strongly recommended because of COVID are here to stay. As far as he’s concerned, that would be a good thing.

”I think that continuing to do things like wearing masks and social distancing would still make sense in the long run because we now know that they help keep us from getting sick,” he says. “I see a lot of people in my work and pre-pandemic it couldn’t be helped that if you met with someone who had a cold, you’re also going to get sick. Handshaking was constant so at some point you were going to catch something.

”Beyond the safety aspect, many of the current real estate practices that were either introduced or accelerated during COVID-19 have also led to greater efficiencies and convenience for realtors and their clients, says Mr. Filntissis.

For example, virtual viewings – which have been around in real estate for some time – have made it easier for prospective buyers to decide whether or not a place is worth visiting.

Shorter appointments, which became the norm during COVID to allow for sanitizing between showings, have shown to be just as sufficient as the typical pre-pandemic one-hour visits.

”Now it’s 15 to 30 minutes which, quite frankly, is more than enough time for most people to look through a place and ask questions,” says Mr. Filntissis.

A minor change with major impact has been the switch from purchasers picking up the keys to their new abode from their lawyer’s office to simply taking it out of the lockbox on the property.

”That is not going away,” says Mr. Filntissis. “It’s very logical, it’s very efficient.”

Courtney Cooper, president of Proptech Collective – a Toronto-based group that connects real estate professionals, technology entrepreneurs and city builders – foresees technology being integrated into more parts of the buying and selling process in real estate.

She points to digital documents and signatures, which allow all parties to sign and seal the deal virtually, as an example of technology that took off during the pandemic and will likely become part of standard practice after.

Denise Craine and Jim Burtcher saw a whole new set of buying and selling rules that have come into play due to COVID.

Tannis Toohey(c)/The Globe and Mail

Digital mortgage platforms such as Homewise and Nesto, which help homebuyers find the best mortgage rates, will also be in greater demand post-pandemic, predicts Ms. Cooper, because they eliminate the hassle – and safety risk – of having to go to a bank to negotiate and sign a mortgage contract.

”I think we’re also going to start to see platforms that tie it all together so you can just go to one place to find and share listings, collaborate with your realtor, get a mortgage, sign the deal and transfer the deed,” says Ms. Cooper. “Right now you need to deal witheach person and company individually but over time all these parties will be more interconnected, and information that you’re providing to different parties today will be moved seamlessly.”

Virtual tours, whether offered as a 3D rendering of a space or through a video conference with a realtor, will also remain a regular part of what homebuyers can expect.

”We might even start to see self-touring here, like they do in the United States,” says Ms. Cooper. “We’ve been seeing more digital connected locks in the U.S., so access is automated, and people can come in using a passcode that’s set to work during a specific time.

”Some of these self-tours are augmented with smartphone audio tours that viewers can listen to as they walk through a property, says Ms. Cooper.

Virtual staging, which designs spaces using digital software that adds 3D furniture and, in some cases, even shows a property’s renovation potential by taking out walls or adding a swimming pool in the backyard, has been another winning technology during the pandemic.

Ibtisem Hamani, owner of Home Magic Touch Inc., a Toronto company that offers traditional and virtual staging services, says the latter accounted for about 10 per cent of sales before the pandemic.

“Then COVID hit, and it was unbelievable the number of orders we had for virtual staging,” she recalls. “The impact on our traditional staging business was immense – the split between our two businesses actually flipped, with virtual staging accounting for 90 per cent and traditional staging 10 per cent.”

In addition to the reduced risk and convenience of being able to show a home at its spiffed-up best on a digital platform, virtual staging offers significant cost-savings – less than $100 for one image versus between $2,000 to $3,000 for traditional staging, where rented furniture is trucked in, and a home is decorated professionally.

”We approach virtual staging like we do traditional staging – it’s all about the proper design and layout,” says Cos Pina, director of marketing at Home Magic Touch. “But the difference is that with virtual staging we have access to more than 3,000 pieces of 3D furniture.”

Ms. Hamani and Mr. Pina say they expect virtual staging to become even more popular in the post-pandemic future. They’re already planning to build on its success with an offering of augmented reality, where online viewers use virtual reality glasses for immersive walk-throughs of properties for sale.

While most home buyers and sellers seem to have embraced – or at least accepted – today’s COVID-driven protocols and processes in real estate, there are some practices that will likely not be missed after the pandemic is over.

Ms. Craine cites one example: when she was shopping around for home insurance, one insurer told her it would send over a property assessor who would inspect the house first-hand only from the outside. Ms. Craine and her husband would need to take the assessor on a virtual tour of their home’s interior.

”We would have to get on our phones and the assessor would direct us to parts of the house that he would want to see virtually,” recalls Ms. Craine. “I didn’t want to have to do that, so in the end we went with someone else.”

As a seller, Denise left cupboards and closet doors open so people wouldn’t have to touch them, and Lysol dispensers all over the house so people could disinfect any surfaces before they touched them.

Tannis Toohey(c)/The Globe and Mail

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