Despite the pandemic, there were dozens of major commercial real estate deals over the past year in Greater Victoria, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Langford, Colwood and View Royal continued to be hotbeds for development, while the provincial government was a major buyer in its efforts to house the homeless and provide affordable housing, according to commercial realtor Dustin Miller, who compiled a list of the year’s top-10 transactions.
Miller, managing broker for 8X Real Estate, said he compiled the list based on the value of transactions and used data from builders, B.C. Land Titles, B.C. Assessment, mortgage and tax documents and other sources.
1. 945 Reunion Ave., Langford
Price: $60 million
Site area: Air Space Title
Improvements: 156 unit multi-family apartment building
Vendor: Ledcor Property Investments, Vancouver
Purchaser: Killam Apartment REIT, Halifax
The Crossing At Belmont is the rental component of Belmont Market, a 160,000-square-foot outdoor shopping centre with anchor Thrifty Foods. The rental units have condo-like amenities and there is a rent-to-own program for tenants to save down payments to purchase across the street at the Belmont Residences strata building.
2. 2861 Craigowan Rd., View Royal
Price: $54 million
Site area: 15.8 acres of peninsula, waterfront on all sides.
Improvements: 161 units
Vendor: Realstar Group, Toronto
Purchaser: Killam REIT, Halifax
The Christie Point Apartments is a unique property on its own peninsula in Portage Inlet The waterfront property has a variety of low-density buildings originally constructed in the 1960s. Improvements call for five two-storey apartment buildings and four two-storey townhouse buildings.
3. 1085 Goldstream Ave., Langford
Price: $52.050 million
Site area: 2.157 acres
Improvements: 166 units
Vendor: Molnar Group, Vancouver
Purchaser: Skyline Wealth, Guelph, Ont.
The Star on Goldstream is a luxury rental building at Goldstream Avenue and Leigh Road completed in 2019. The West Shore region has been a major growth driver in the investment marketplace.
4. The Capital Iron Lands, Victoria
Price: $46.25 million
Site area: 6.7 acres
Improvements: Seven parcels composed of parking, retail and office.
Vendor: The Greene family (Capital Iron founders)
Purchaser: Reliance Properties, Vancouver
The sales included six properties in Victoria’s Old Town District — the Capital Iron building that runs from the foreshore, the two adjacent brick buildings, the Capital Iron Parking Lot at 1907 Store St., and the retail strip mall at 530 Chatham St. The property only contains 93,000 square feet of built leasable space, with the remainder being paved parking lots. Reliance CEO Jon Stovell has said he will work with the city in its goals for this north downtown area and plan for an Innovation District. Any project proposal will have a lengthy public consultation and municipal permitting approval process.
5. 1910 West Park Lane, View Royal
Price: $39.635 million
Site area: 2.3 acres
Improvements: 152 units
Vendor: 1138049 BC LTD Limona Properties – John Sercombe
Purchaser: Capital Regional Housing Corporation
Thetis Lake Apartments is a purpose-built rental development on the former Thetis Lake campground and trailer park with two six-storey buildings. The Capital Regional District is offering 118 of the 152 suites as affordable units, 34 units as provincial assistance units and 20 barrier-free accessible units.
6. 2251 Cadboro Bay Rd., Saanich
Price: $30.736 million
Site area: 3.9 acres
Improvements: 15,000-square-foot institutional health facility slated for demolition
Vendor: Island Health
Purchaser: Capital Regional Hospital District Corporation
The Oak Bay Lodge is a five-storey building constructed in 1972 and initially operated as a retirement community. In the early 1980s, it was converted to long-term care with 235 beds. The lodge closed in July when residents moved into a new 320-bed facility on Hillside Avenue. The property has been slated for demolition and a development proposal is expected in the new year for a public-use project.
7. 2850 Bryn Maur Rd., Langford
Price: $30.525 million
Site area: 0.541 acres
Improvements: 93 rental apartment units
Vendor: Bill Beadle constructed by DB Building Services, Victoria
Purchaser: Centurion Apartments REIT, Toronto
The Arc is a new construction rental apartment building at Bryn Maur Road and Hockley Ave. The six-storey building uses cross-laminated timber.
8. 3020 Blanshard St., Victoria
Price: $18.5 million
Site area: 120,721 square feet
Improvements: 151-room hotel
Vendor: Cornell Developments Ltd., Victoria
Purchaser: B.C. Housing The Comfort Inn & Suites was acquired in May by the province for use as shelter for 90 homeless campers. B.C. Housing partnered with Our Place to run the building.
9. 21 Gorge Rd. East, Victoria
Price: $15.77 million
Site Area: 30,247
Improvements: 52 rental units
Vendor: Greater Victoria Rental Development Society
Purchaser: Real Homes Management Corporation
The Loreen is a 2011-built affordable rental building along Gorge Road. The property is site of the former Capri Motel, which was demolished in 2009. It was originally co-owned by private developer Alanna Holroyd, Kaye Melliship and the Greater Victoria Housing Society. They have sold to another like-minded company, Real Homes Development/Real Homes Management Corp.
10. 1900 Douglas St., Victoria
Price: $14 million
Site Area: 60,005 square feet or 1.3 acres
Improvements: 75-room motel
Vendor: Paul’s Restaurants Ltd., Victoria
Purchaser: B.C. Housing
Paul’s Motor Inn was the second hotel acquisition in Victoria made by the province in response to the pandemic. It purchased the property in June for use as a homeless shelter. The long-term plan is to use the site for affordable housing.
What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation that serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.
Understanding the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, that provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry.
CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice; to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance; to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.”1
A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.
CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada.2 Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada.3
Professionals and Consumers
CMHC provides services to both professionals and consumers. For professionals, CMHC aims to work in collaboration with different groups to provide affordable housing. Services include project funding and mortgage financing, providing information to understand Canada’s housing market, innovation and leadership networks to access funding and talent to spur housing innovation and increase supply, and providing speakers and hosting events for the industry.4
For consumers, CMHC seeks to provide all the tools an individual would need to either buy a home or rent a home and a variety of information and assistance for current homeowners, such as managing a mortgage, services for seniors to age in place, and financial hardship assistance.56
For financial hardship and mortgage assistance, CMHC provides tools that include payment deferrals, extending the repayment period, adding missed payments to the mortgage balance, moving from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, and other special payment arrangements.7
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the National Housing Strategy
In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy.8 Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $70 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.9
Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:
- Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
- Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
- Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research10
History of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.11
In 1947, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.11
In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canadian home price gains accelerate again in May
Canadian home prices accelerated again in May from the previous month, posting the largest monthly rise in the history of the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, data showed on Thursday.
The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 2.8% on the month in May, led by strong month-over-month gains in the Ottawa-Gatineau capital region, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Hamilton, Ontario.
“It was a third consecutive month in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before,” said Daren King, an economist at National Bank of Canada, in a note.
On an annual basis, the Teranet index was up 13.7% from a year earlier, the 10th consecutive acceleration and the strongest 12-month gain since July 2017.
Halifax led the year-over-year gains, up 29.9%, followed by Hamilton at 25.5% and Ottawa-Gatineau at 22.8%.
Housing price gains in smaller cities outside Toronto and its immediate suburbs again outpaced the major urban centers, with Barrie, Ontario leading the pack, up 31.4%.
On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 4.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 4.3% in Halifax and 3.7% in Hamilton.
The Teranet index measures price gains based on the change between the two most recent sales of properties that have been sold at least twice.
Canada‘s average home selling price, meanwhile, fell 1.1% in May from April, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Tuesday, but jumped 38.4% from May 2020.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
Bank of Canada seeing signs of cooling in hot housing market
The sector surged in late 2020 and early 2021, with home prices escalating sharply amid investor activity and fear of missing out. The national average selling price fell 1.1% in May from April but was still up 38.4% from May 2020.
“You are starting to see some early signs of some slowing in the housing market. We are expecting supply to improve and demand to slow down, so we are expecting the housing market to come into better balance,” Macklem said.
“But we do think it is going to take some time and it is something that we are watching closely,” he told the Canadian Senate’s banking committee.
Macklem reiterated that the central bank saw evidence people were buying houses with a view to selling them for a profit and said recent price jumps were not sustainable.
“Interest rates are unusually low, which means eventually there’s more scope for them to go up,” he said.
Last year, the central bank slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and Macklem reiterated it would stay there at least until economic slack had been fully absorbed, which should be some time in the second half of 2022.
“The economic recovery is making good progress … (but) a complete recovery will still take some time. The third wave of the virus has been a setback,” he said.
The bank has seen some choppiness in growth in the second quarter of 2021 following a sharp economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the year, he added.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)
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