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Hot real estate market sparks warnings to potential buyers as complaints to regulator double

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As home sales in the province continue on a dizzying trajectory, the province’s real estate watchdog and regulator are warning buyers to be wary of what they may be getting into.

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate said that in the first three months of 2021, they have seen an increase in inquiries and complaints.

Calls to the regulator were up 42 per cent over the previous year, while complaints, such as how offers were made and accepted, were double the number received in the same period in 2020.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial decisions. There are potential risks at the best of times, but with the added pressure and stress of the current market conditions, those risks are amplified,” Micheal Noseworthy, superintendent of real estate, said in a statement.

 

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says sales in the region have continued at a record-setting pace.

Residential home sales covered by the board totalled 5,708 in March 2021, up 126.1 per cent from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and up 53.2 per cent from February of this year.

Rural and suburban areas have experienced the biggest spikes.

For the past two weeks, Jay Park has been in the middle of the buying frenzy.

He and his partner are trying to upgrade from their one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse in Vancouver.

“I wish we had done this a month or two ago,” he said.

 

A condo tower under construction is pictured in downtown Vancouver in February 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

 

Park put an offer on a $1-million condo, $4,000 above asking price.

“To entice the [seller], we put in a subject-free offer, but it wasn’t successful,” he said. “They accepted $110,000 over asking price that was also subject-free.”

The hot market has led to bidding wars. Some would-be buyers have even lined up outside for days to try to get a jump on a property.

Erin Seeley, the CEO of the council, is warning buyers to do their research and be aware of risks before making an offer.

“It’s really important that buyers have engaged with their lender before they’re making offers so they know how to stay within a reasonable budget,” she said.

Seeley said some of the complaints the council has heard from buyers is that they weren’t aware the seller has a right to take an early offer.

“And the seller was really in the driver’s seat about setting the pricing,” she said.

 

Demand continues to outstrip supply for housing in cities like Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

 

Aaron Jasper, a Vancouver realtor, advises clients to avoid cash offers and to include finance clauses even if it may mean they lose a deal.

“There’s a lot of frustration among buyers, feeling pressure to take some risk,” he said.

“You’re better to be delayed perhaps a year getting into the market as opposed to being completely financially ruined.”

Jasper also says realtors are limited in the advice they can give to clients on legal matters, home inspections, potential deficiencies with homes, and financing.

‘Caught up in the craziness’

Other tips from the council include seeking professional advice before making a subject-free offer or proceeding without a home inspection, and speaking to a professional to determine how market conditions may be affecting prices.

Meantime, people like Jay Park say they are still keen to buy. Park has more viewings scheduled and is optimistic.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, but I also don’t want to get caught up in the craziness and make a purchase that’s above our means.”

Source: – CBC.ca

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Credit 'Zombies' on the Rise as Real Estate Firms Lead Charge – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The walking dead of the corporate world are multiplying — and the property industry sustains the most.

A new study on companies that have dodged default for years, even though they don’t have enough money to pay interest, comes just as markets from Hong Kong to New York are roiled by real-estate giant China Evergrande Group’s showdown with its creditors. 

Consultancy firm Kearney found their numbers have expanded by 9% globally in the past decade, in part because loose monetary policy has allowed them to keep rolling over debts. 

While “zombies” have been on the rise since the last financial crisis, the pandemic looks likely to bolster their ranks, with more companies seeking waivers after taking on unsustainable piles of debt when economies were shuttered.

The OECD defines zombie companies as those that have been trading for more than 10 years and have been unable to cover their interest burden from their operating revenues for three consecutive years. 

Kearney studied records of 67,000 listed companies from 152 countries. It found:

  • 7.4% of real-estate firms were zombies
  • 5.9% of healthcare
  • 5.5% of telecommunications and media
  • 5.1% of travel and tourism

Within retail, online retail had a slightly bigger share of zombies than brick-and-mortar counterparts, potentially due to the low profitability of online players, according to the report.   

Europe

At least 5 issuers are offering debt on European markets on Thursday, with new issuance volumes of at least EU2.25 billion-equivalent.

  • Bank of England voted to keep bond-buying target and interest rate benchmark unchanged at a record-low 0.1%
  • Ashmore Group Plc’s Jan Dehn is set to leave the firm, ending a 16-year stint at the emerging market-focused money manager
  • SMCP’s majority shareholder, European TopSoho’s, failed to redeem at maturity EU250 million 4.0% bonds exchangeable into SMCP shares

Asia

Financial regulators in Beijing issued a broad set of instructions to China Evergrande Group, telling the embattled developer to focus on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors while avoiding a near-term default on dollar bonds.

  • Global investors will focus on China Evergrande Group’s $83.5 million interest payment due Thursday on a five-year dollar note
  • The People’s Bank of China pumped in 110 billion yuan ($17 billion) of cash with seven- and 14-day reverse repurchase agreements.
  • Four Chinese firms were offering dollar bonds Thursday, ending a three-day lull in the Asian credit market amid holidays and concern about contagion from the distressed property giant Evergrande

U.S.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said there is little direct U.S. exposure to debt of the Chinese company Evergrande but said it could impact global financial conditions

  • Powell said the Fed could begin scaling back asset purchases as soon as November and complete the process by mid-2022
  • The takeover of medical supply company Medline Industries Inc. is being funded by the largest leveraged buyout loan in three years
  • A gauge of volatility in the $4 trillion market for state and local-government debt has tumbled to just shy of a record low set in early January

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Record-breaking real estate: North Saanich property sells for nearly $23M – CHEK

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The sale of a multi-million dollar listing in North Saanich is shattering any previous record for highest house price on Vancouver Island.

For $22.75 million, the Lawrence Road property includes a 13,000-square-foot home with eight bathrooms, six bedrooms, a two-storey study, a detached yoga studio, an infinity pool, tennis court, gym — even an underground wine cellar.

The president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, David Langlois, said the property is unique.

“You are looking at a very high-end, very interesting property that is going to offer features that you simply can’t find anywhere else,” he said.

It also comes with its own detached two-bedroom guest cottage.

“It’s significant in that it’s certainly the largest recorded sale that we’ve seen in our marketplace,” Langlois said.

“We do have a lot of really valuable real estate throughout the Greater Victoria area. We’ve got lots of private islands, and lots of estate-like settings. It’s not surprising.”

In June, a property in Metchosin sold for $12 million. It sits on 67 acres and a stream runs under parts of the 10,000-square-foot home.

WATCH: Luxury home with stream running through it sets real estate record in Greater Victoria

At the time, it was the highest price ever paid through the Victoria Real Estate Board listings.

Tina Ireland, a regional assessor with BC Assessment, said there are fewer homes in the luxury market available right now.

“The luxury home market is more unique though of course, because the properties are more unique.”

With demand up for properties worth $4 million and more, so are prices.

“Last year’s assessment, we had seen a 10 per cent increase,” Ireland said. “This year I think we’ll see at least that in our assessed values.”

There have been 245 sales of homes in the $2 million category so far in 2021, compared with just 94 in the same period in 2020.

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Dubai real-estate firm DAMAC approved to take firm private – 95.7 News

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Dubai real-estate company known for its deals with former President Donald Trump said Thursday it had received regulator approval for an effort to take the firm private.

DAMAC Properties still plans to offer $595 million for outstanding shares of the company, the firm said in a filing on Dubai Financial Market stock exchange.

It said it would offer an update on the plan in the coming weeks. It earlier announced plans in June for the offer to take the company private, then withdrew them as regulators examined the plan.

The buyout would be through Maple Invest Co. Ltd., a holding company of DAMAC’s billionaire founder Hussain Sajwani. Sajwani owns nearly four-fifths of the company through various investment firms.

DAMAC stock traded up Thursday over 3% on the news. The firm has a market capitalization of over $2 billion.

DAMAC is known in Dubai for a development that features a Trump-branded golf club surrounded by villas and apartments, making it the only one of its kind in the Middle East that bears the Trump logo.

The company’s partnership with the Trump Organization to manage and run the golf course was struck before Trump’s election as U.S. president.

The Associated Press

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