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Invest in This Real Estate – TheTyee.ca

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What if our governments — or maybe even a well-heeled developer — took a sum such as that spent on one spinning chandelier under the Granville Bridge, close to $5 million, and spent it on affordable portables? Not the ones that cost up to $300,000 each that we are producing in pathetic numbers now, but hundreds of pre-manufactured units, at a much lower price?

Here is just one example: Weizhengheng Prefabricated Modular Container House. You can have one of these ready to go for under $6,000 CDN, which means for $5 million you could buy more than 800. What if we placed five or six of these in various laneways, strung a wire for light bulbs, put a porta-potty at the end of the lane, and called it… some small step, at least.

Because we are stepping away and turning our backs from the needs of the city’s homeless citizens, as anyone who has recently visited Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside knows. Science-fiction writer William Gibson has been there and noticed.

The Vancouver-based author shares his reaction in a recent New Yorker profile by Joshua Rothman: “Instead of fantasizing about virtual worlds, Gibson inspected the real one. Storefronts in some Vancouver neighbourhoods were strangely empty — the drawback before the tsunami of global capital, as though the city itself anticipated the future. ‘Have you been to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside?’ he asked me. ‘It’s one of the poorest per-capita postal codes in the entire country, and it is absolutely brutal — well, brutal, Canadian style. Addiction, prostitution, street crime…”

Gibson’s larger point was that we accept this type of thing here in Vancouver and, in slightly different forms, in other global cities. We accept situations that would have been unthinkable only 30 or 40 years ago. We accept it because, again in Gibson’s words, the “Fucked up Quotient,” or F.Q., has steadily risen here and elsewhere until we’ve become inured to the chaos around us.

Gibson suggests that the “future” as we once knew it no longer exists. Why? Because the present is too unstable a base from which to securely posit the existence of a different future in the way we once could. The F.Q. of the present is so high, and rising, that present and future mix into what would be an otherwise interesting hallucination were it not reality itself.

582px version of PrefabInterior.jpg
Human emergency measures. Interior of prefab home.

In Vancouver, we now spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per marginalized person on addiction responses, hospital care, safe injection services, meal services, shelters, and police management of this chaos. The budget grows each year. But we don’t do the one thing that would make the biggest difference for these struggling souls. We won’t put a roof over their heads. Gibson might note this as visible evidence of Vancouver’s high F.Q.

One Weizhengheng Prefabricated Modular Container House costs less than a three-day hospital stay. Sure it’s not pretty, but at least your stuff is safe. And if public art is your thing, hire 100 artists to work with the residents to personalize the minimalist roofs over their heads. Fight for beauty! Fight to lower Vancouver’s F.Q.!

Happy holidays, readers! Our comment threads will be closed until Jan. 2 to give our moderators a break. See you in 2020.  [Tyee]

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Calgary housing market sees best Q3 since 2014, says real estate board – CBC.ca

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Calgary had its strongest third quarter for housing sales since the price of oil plummeted in 2014, according to the latest report by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).

There were 6,628 sales in the third quarter of this year, a sign that even as the pandemic is continuing to dampen the local economy, Calgary’s housing market remains resilient, says CREB’s quarterly update report released on Wednesday.

The report says much of the growth in demand has been driven by the low interest rates and the fact that many buyers’ incomes were not impacted by the pandemic and in fact saw their savings grow.

Overall, residential prices in Calgary rose by one per cent over the previous quarter and are about nine per cent higher than prices recorded in the third quarter of last year, the report said. 

CREB’s chief economist, Ann-Marie Lurie, says much of the upswing in activity was driven by detached and semi-detached home sales. And she said while supply has risen, it’s still somewhat of a seller’s market in Calgary. 

“Supply-demand balances improved for buyers compared to what we saw in the spring, but the market continued to favour the seller in the third quarter,” she said.

The report says the benchmark price is $538,700 for detached homes. That’s up 10.5 per cent from last year.

In the semi-detached market, the benchmark price is $427,767. That’s up 9.3 per cent from 2020.

For row housing, the benchmark price is $299,933 — 8.5 per cent higher than last year.

And in the apartment-condo market, demand rose in the third quarter, but to a lesser extent, the report says.

“The condominium market never entered sellers’ market conditions like other property types, but at five months of supply, this market is considered relatively balanced,” the report said.

The benchmark price in this sector is $253,533. That’s up by roughly 2.5 per cent year over year.

CREB also notes that, aside from strong resale figures, the newly built side of the market is also doing well, with housing starts up by more than 70 per cent in Calgary. 

CREB says in its report that the boost in the local housing market activity is contributing to an economic recovery that’s also being driven by the uptick in oil and gas prices. 

“This has contributed to employment growth in not only the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, but also the construction industry,” the report said. 

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Why people are paying real money for virtual real estate in the metaverse – Financial Post

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These virtual properties could be vacant parcels for creators to build on, or structures that reflect real-life properties and completely original creations

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Location, location, location. That’s the common phrase for success in the real estate market, and it’s no different when these properties are listed in an alternative virtual reality, called a metaverse.

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The metaverse is a growing topic in tech and some crypto circles, describing a virtual reality space into which users can log in and interact with one another using avatars to represent their real selves. It has been growing particularly in the gaming space with titles like Fortnite, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Roblox, and many others fostering a metaverse community for players. Social media websites such as Facebook are also pushing into the space with Horizon Worlds and is planning to hire 10,000 people in the European Union over the next five years to help build their vision of a metaverse.

It’s no coincidence that this concept has sci-fi vibes to it, the term “metaverse” was originally coined in science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s book “Snow Crash” in 1992 to describe a virtual world that people would plug into using their own virtual avatars. Online games like Second Life, which launched in 2003, were a pioneers for metaverse economies, allowing users to trade goods and services using their in-game Linden dollars — including virtual real estate.

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It is also taking off among the decentralized finance crowd with platforms like Decentraland, an online metaverse space that calls itself the first fully decentralized virtual world owned by its users where they create, explore and trade virtual goods using smart contracts on the Decentraland marketplace. Along with virtual clothes and accessories you can purchase using the platform’s native MANA crypto, you can also secure virtual land parcels and estates.

These virtual properties could be vacant parcels for creators to build on, or structures that reflect real-life properties and completely original creations. They are represented by co-ordinates on the metaverse platform where users can meet up using their avatars to socialize and decorate their own spaces with collectibles.

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The possibilities are endless

Andrew Kiguel

Monetizing this space is starting to give rise to metaverse real estate companies, the first being Metaverse Property. Being a nascent industry, the company works to secure a wealth of land assets in the virtual real estate space. It focuses on buying and selling, managing business properties, offering rentals in the metaverse, virtual land development, as well as consultation and marketing. Metaverse Property currently operates on platforms including Decentraland, The Sanbox, Somnium Space, Cryptovoxels, and Upland.

Beyond being virtual landlords and developers, Metaverse Property also says it is creating what it’s calling the first “metaverse real estate investment trust (REIT)”, which will trade through a non-fungible token (NFT) that is backed by the company’s virtual land portfolio.

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With a bullish bet on metaverse real estate, crypto and decentralized financial services company Tokens.com Corp purchased a 50 per cent stake in Metaverse Group this week valued at about $1.7 million, reportedly a record equity investment in a metaverse real estate company.

Andrew Kiguel, the chief executive officer at Tokens.com, explained that the company’s goal is to secure as many virtual real estate land parcels as possible to rent them out to clients.

On platforms like Decentraland, which has seen more than $50 million in virtual sales for goods like real estate, clothes, accessories, usernames and avatars, an outlying parcel in an area less travelled could run a user around $5,000 MANA, or roughly over $4,600 Canadian dollars as of mid-October. These prices can jump up quickly in larger built-out properties in popular zones, with the highest-selling virtual plot of land recorded on the platform being a $1.3 million MANA property in June, equal to about US$900,000 at the time.

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Skeptics might find it bizarre to spend any amount of money on a property that they themselves cannot live in, though Kiguel told the Financial Post that there are valid uses for these virtual properties.

“Really, it’s the foot traffic,” Kiguel said. “So, you might want to build a house to invite friends over, you can decorate the walls with your NFTs, it’s a way of socializing…. COVID drove a lot of this: when the world shut down, people turned to their computers as a means of interacting with people, and so the foot traffic in the metaverse continues to grow at a very high rate.”

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Kiguel added that celebrities like Snoop Dogg are getting into the metaverse as well. In late September, Snoop Dogg partnered with The Sandbox to reconstruct his real-life mansion on the platform’s NFT metaverse. Paris Hilton signed a partnership with Decentraland as one of the headline celebrities being featured on the platform’s first-ever Metaverse Festival slated for October 21 to the 24th. Hilton will be using a Genies avatar, which are animated avatars that can speak using the celebrity’s voice.

With this growing adoption and promotion among brands and celebrities, Kiguel expects that more users will flock to the metaverse space.

“The possibilities are endless. There’s museums and galleries, if you want to go in and see some of the most expensive NFTs sold in the world … you can go to Decentraland,” Kiguel said. “So, the possibilities are really endless, here’s all the different things you could do to attract people here.”

• Email: shughes@postmedia.com | Twitter:
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Real estate cooling with fall temperatures, still on record pace – Winnipeg Sun

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The Manitoba real estate market started to cool off in September, but the province is still expected to smash 2020’s record year.

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There were 1,575 residential properties that were sold last month for total sales of $506.4 million. This is down 12.9% and 9.3%, respectively, from September 2020’s record numbers, but Stewart Elston, president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association said these sales still out-paced September 2019 by 15%.

He said the pandemic push for home offices and bigger yards has died down some but is still a factor. There is, however, an even bigger motivation for homebuyers.

“The pandemic is still playing into it a little bit but by and large it’s interest rates, low-interest rates are still driving the market,” said Elston.

He noted there are consumer protections in place to protect homebuyers in case the low-interest rates shoot up, specifically the stress test required for mortgages.

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The sector is still in good shape to improve on the high-water mark set last year for sales, fuelled by a red-hot spring. So far in 2021, there have been 16,013 residential properties sold, up 23.7% over last year and approaching the year-end record of 16,789 sales. The sector has already surpassed total dollars from 2020 with $5.28 billion in total dollars, up 35.3% over the first nine months of 2020, when the year-end total was $5.1 billion.

There have been 20,362 new listings through September, up 0.3%, and the average sale price of $329,998 is up 9.4%.

Elston said the big shift has come in the sale of condos — which includes apartment and townhouse-style dwellings. While single-home sales are still up 21%, condo sales are up 49% as people look for more affordable options.

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The average two-bedroom condo is selling for about $200,000, and one-bedroom condos are even cheaper.

“For a number of years the Winnipeg condo market was a little on the saturated side, listings took longer for a home to sell,” he said. “Now what we’re finding, we’re not getting a lot of bidding wars on condos or multiple offers, but they’re selling faster and they’re selling for closer to list price. There isn’t the excess of inventory on condos now there either.”

The market slowdown is good news for first-time buyers. As the sector cools the prices will also start to calm down as well.

“I think that’s a good thing and I think that should give any first-time buyer there’s hope of getting into something,” said Elston, who also recommended expanding their neighbourhood search and to consider condos as an affordable alternative.

jaldrtich@postmedia.com

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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