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How Canada's real estate market has been forced to move online | Urbanized – Daily Hive



Almost every industry in Canada has been impacted by the global pandemic, and the real estate sector is no exception.

According to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales decreased by 14.3% on a month-to-month basis in March 2020.

Perhaps not surprising, then, is how the pandemic has changed the buying and selling experience.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) says this varies brokerage by brokerage. But both parties — buyers and sellers — can anticipate an increased reliance on technology and digital media tools throughout the process.

This could include video conferencing calls, viewing homes via virtual tours or video walk-throughs, using digital documents for contracts, and electronic signatures for finalizing agreements.

“Though buyers can expect to see a property in person before buying, they should expect to do more ‘browsing’ virtually,” RECO tells Daily Hive. “This may be a trend that stays beyond the pandemic.”

Market outlook in Vancouver


Vancouver realtor Shawn Brown of The West Haven Group says the demand and supply for properties are similarly balanced to what it was before the crisis. He had several deals collapse in March, but after that, he was hit with new business. 

“I’ve had my busiest month so far in April,” he says. Brown notes that this is not the case for a lot of agents; that realtors need to ensure their marketing is effective and that the price is compelling for people to take the risk and buy now.

“Realtors are particularly careful right now with how they are conducting their business because they have been deemed an essential service and they don’t want any reason to be constrained further,” he says.

Brown says several of his buyers were getting left behind at the start of the year because of how competitive the market was, but they have now been able to buy again.

Toronto real estate transactions

Jesse Farb, a broker with The Real Estate Office in Toronto, was overseas right before things broke out in North America.

“When I got back, we reacted by looking at the advice of The Real Estate Council of Ontario, and then figuring out the policies and procedures that we need to put in place for the health and safety of our team, our clients, and then the general public at large,” he says. 

Farb explains that things changed quickly early on with moving to 3D virtual walkthrough tours on all his team’s listings, making sure the legal professionals they work with are operating in a safe manner using digital signings for closings, and also using wire transfers.

He stresses that every transaction is different, but some buyers are trying to enter the market now because they think they will get a better deal; in some cases, they have been right. However, a lot of sellers have been holding firm on pre-COVID pricing.

Farb thinks that when the economy starts to reopen, there will be a small boom during the warmer months as the spring market relaunches, but this could be short-lived due to the economic fallout resulting from the crisis.

Digitizing the process


Matisse Yiu, a digital marketing specialist for the Vancouver rental platform, says buyers are relying heavily on digital tools to “shop” and narrow down their options before requesting a viewing.

“Sellers, in turn, do not want to hold open houses and want to limit visits by prospective buyers to only those who are very serious,” Yiu tells Daily Hive.

She explains that this also applies to landlords and property managers who are now doing tenant screenings before in-person viewings are even held — something she is seeing users rely on more.

“The need for proof of income has also become an important piece of documentation during this time when evictions are currently suspended,” says Yiu. This is an element that’s included in’s rating system for renter reliability and credibility.

As the demand and interest for short term rentals have decreased drastically in Vancouver, Yiu says it will be interesting to see how this affects monthly rental asking rates and vacancy rates, as the availability of Airbnb listings and rental prices seem to be linked.

“Currently, we have already seen a shift of short term rentals returning to the long term rental market, therefore boosting the supply of housing.”

Transitioning to technology

Michael Ninian, the founder and CEO of illusity, a virtual commerce platform for global real estate development presales, says he is seeing a much higher interest in 360 web apps solutions, consumer direct platforms, and VR.

“In general, we are seeing a higher demand for 3D marketing material such as renderings, fly-through videos for use with websites, and social media outreach campaigns,” he explains.

Ninian says developers were caught out with the forced closures of sales centres and disruptions of the traditional sales cycle. “We are now seeing developers coming on board with the idea of bringing the entire sales centre experience directly to a potential buyer using technology like AR/VR/XR, AI, and ML, among others.”

He anticipates that more real estate developers will move to direct virtual commerce platforms when the crisis is over. “Consumers of today want access to information on their terms and similar to the retail and automotive industries, consumers demand informative and convenient sales platforms to purchase products.”


For RECO, the authority states that while these are difficult times for many, real estate remains, and will continue to be, an essential service, both now and when the market shifts back into full swing.

“If we are looking for a silver lining, [the crisis] has sparked a tremendous amount of innovation and unprecedented digital adoption by both those in the industry and consumers, much of which may weave into some brokerages’ offerings permanently.”

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Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Announces Annual Meeting of Shareholders – Canada NewsWire



TORONTO, June 1, 2020 /CNW/ – Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc. (“Bridgemarq” or the “Company”) (TSX: BRE), a leading provider of residential real estate services to brokers and their REALTORS®1, today announced that the Company will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on August 7, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. eastern time

The Company’s shareholders’ meeting will be a virtual only, live audio webcast. Shareholders of record as at June 26, 2020 and their proxyholders will be permitted to vote and ask questions during the online event.

Additional information about the meeting, including how to access and participate in the meeting, will be made available in the Company’s Notice of Meeting and Management Information Circular, which is expected to be filed on or about June 26, 2020.


This news release contains forward-looking information and other “forward-looking statements”. Words such as “will”, “expected”, and other expressions that are predictions of or could indicate future events and trends and that do not relate to historical matters, identify forward-looking statements. Reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievement expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include: the duration and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the Company’s business and its ability to conduct the meeting of shareholders on the planned date, the impact of government or other regulatory initiatives to address the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy, changes in government policy, laws or regulations which could reasonably affect the housing markets in Canada, consumer response to any changes in the housing markets in Canada or any changes in government policy, laws or regulations, changes in general economic conditions (including interest rates, consumer confidence and other general economic factors or indicators), technology matters which could affect a shareholder’s ability to access the virtual meeting or vote at the meeting, and other risks detailed in the Company’s annual information form, which is filed with securities commissions and posted on SEDAR at Forward-looking information is based on various material factors or assumptions, which are based on information currently available to management. Material factors or assumptions that were applied in drawing conclusions or making estimates set out in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: anticipated impact of government policies, the successful execution of the Company’s business strategies and recent regulatory developments, including as the foregoing relate to COVID-19. The factors underlying current expectations are dynamic and subject to change. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this release are based upon what management believes are reasonable assumptions, the Company cannot assure readers that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

About Bridgemarq Real Estate Services

Bridgemarq is a leading provider of services to residential real estate brokers and a network of over 19,000 REALTORS®1. We operate in Canada under the Royal LePage, Via Capitale and Johnston & Daniel brands. For more information, go to

Bridgemarq is an affiliate of Brookfield Business Partners, a business services and industrials company focused on owning and operating high-quality businesses that benefit from barriers to entry and/or low production costs. Brookfield Business Partners is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Further information is available at


1 The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

SOURCE Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc.

For further information: Sarah Louise Gardiner, Director of Investor Relations, Bridgemarq Real Estate Services, [email protected], Tel: 416-510-5783

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This Week’s Top Stories: Canadian Real Estate Prices Expected To Fall, and Banks Set Aside Billions For Losses – Better Dwelling



Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories.

Canadian Real Estate

CMHC’s Canadian Real Estate Price Forecast Shows Big Drops In Ontario And BCCanada’s national housing agency gave a detailed breakdown of its real estate price forecast. Prices are expected to fall later this year, and continue into 2021. The forecast ends 2022 not quite recovered across the country. Different markets are expected to be impacted differently, with Ontario and BC projected to take big hits. Less overvalued markets like Quebec are expected to see much smaller price declines.
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Canada’s Big Six Banks Set Aside Over $10 Billion For Bad Loans, Up Over 300%
Canada’s Big Six banks are expecting billions of loans to go bad soon. Provisions for credit losses (PCLs) hit $10.92 billion at the Big Six, up 346.42% from the year before. PCLs are cash set aside for loans the bank believes have become unrecoverable. The sudden spike of increase implies banks see delinquencies to rise sharply soon.
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TransUnion Warns A “Severe” Scenario Likely In Canada, Mortgage Defaults To Jump
TransUnion, one of North America’s “Big Three” credit rating agencies, expects the mortgage market to deteriorate. Analysts from the firm look at over 40 metrics, including forbearance and credit. At this point of the pandemic, the firm sees a “severe” scenario playing out, with mortgage originations dropping, balances swelling, and delinquencies doubling. That’s the trifecta of bad news when it comes to mortgages.
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CIBC: Challenges To Canadian Real Estate Will Be “Coming In 12-18 Months”
One of Canada’s biggest banks sees the real estate market getting hit, but doesn’t expect issues for 12 to 18 months. The bank notes unemployment from 5.5% pre-crisis, to 13% currently. They expect unemployment to fall back to 8% next year, but that’s still at recessionary levels. This should lead to reduced real estate activity, with anticipated declines of 5 to 10 percent. The bank’s analysts further added, “high cost units in the high-rise segment of the market seeing the most notable price declines.”
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Most Of Canada’s Insured Mortgages On Deferrals Projected To Be Underwater Soon
Using the CMHC’s forecast, most of Canada’s recently insured mortgages are projected to be underwater. The CMHC estimates 12% of insured mortgages are now on payment deferral, and they expect this to rise to 20% by the end of the summer. The CMHC is forecasting price declines between 9 and 18% over the next 12 months. This would leave a considerable portion of insured mortgages with less than 1% equity in the next few months.
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Toronto Real Estate

Only 5% Of Greater Toronto’s New Homes Sold Last Month
The pandemic finally put the breaks on Toronto’s new home sales, which seemed previously untouched. There were just 771 units in April, down 80% from last year. This is a whopping 78% below the 10 year average. While the slowdown is expected, the decline in sales is much faster than the decline in inventory. This will lead to downward pressure on prices if it persists.
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Birds that come by looking for real-estate (8 photos) – BradfordToday



As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a story here, I am fortunate to live on a farm property a little north of Alliston, where there is a mix of open land, a stand of mature conifers, smaller trees and bushes. It is a wonderful bird habitat. 

In the past couple of months some of those birds have been searching for suitable living quarters. I was fortunate to be able to purchase an Eastern Bluebird Nesting Box from friends of mine who made boxes and donated the proceeds from sales to a local food bank. 

I was pleased to have this personal connection to the builders of the potential home, and pleased at the prospect of having a nesting pair of these birds of happiness as neighbours. I have had them in the ‘hood other years and thus was hopeful they may chose to move into a home built with them in mind. 

I was very excited one day in April when I spied a pair in nearby trees. And, as you may well imagine, even more so when I saw them checking out the house. The male sat on it and went in, no virtual tour was available online. He seemed to like what he saw and called his mate to check it out. They came back a couple of days in a row. To me, it seemed like an easy sale. Alas, I was mistaken. 

The bluebirds moved out of the picture and a pair of Tree Swallows followed pretty much the same procedure. By this time, I was hoping to double my chances with a second nesting box. The Tree Swallow couple went from box to box for about a week. It seemed to me they were testing out flight patterns from the two locations. They were very tolerant of my presence and stayed in place even when I was near. I thought – hey, they like me. 

They are splendid aerialist and fun to watch. They also eat such things as mosquitoes on the fly – an impressive and appreciated skill. 

After the week, however, they moved down the fence-line to a more established neighbourhood and took up residence there. There is more open field thus more comfortable room for free flying. 

I was feeling a little dejected. As is the norm in my way of thinking, it was all because I did something wrong. 

After wallowing in self-pity for a couple of days, I was amazed to see a male bluebird back at the box. I was cautious of being hopeful. When he was back the next day with his mate and they checked out both boxes, the stirring of excitement was hard to suppress. 

I can now announce with great satisfaction and happiness, the pair chose one of these homes, moved furniture in, and have been very joyful neighbours for nearly two weeks. 

It’s so great to look out my office window to see the male sitting on the nearby fence, or in the tree. He is more visible than the more muted coloured female. He is also very protective of the nest. 

They are such charming little neighbours. I am delighted by their presence, and it is a privilege to have them so close. 

As the weeks go by, I will share some of my experiences of bird visitors with readers. In the meantime, keep your eye to the sky and look for birds that may come by. 

A note: Ed and Bryan Osborne sold 120 nesting boxes, and raised $4110.00 for the Tottenham Foodbank. They have another 20 or so to sell.


Rosaleen Egan is a freelance journalist, a storyteller, and a playwright. She blogs on her website

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