As New York City and the world around it consider a gradual reawakening, the focus on managing the threats to physical health assumes priority over everything else. Much less discussed, although profoundly significant, will be the way New Yorkers manage the emotional toll taken by the pandemic and the shelter in place order which has kept us all homebound for so many weeks. More than the illness itself (assuming we are careful enough not to set off a major spike in new cases), so much rests on how we feel about our changed reality.
Psychologists with whom I have spoken report a broad spectrum of reactions to the pandemic, from denial to terror. Most Americans fall somewhere in between, with fear of illness, fear of impending economic stress, and disorientation caused by this time out of time colliding against the desire to return to work and to “normal life.” Of course, there will be a new normal which will approximate but not imitate the world we lived in before. When will we go heedlessly to crowded restaurants, concerts, and sporting events again? Will we fear urban life, with all its attractions but with its inevitable and constant proximity to one another?
The closest parallel to our current circumstances can be found in the city’s recovery after 9/11. Then as now, many anxious New Yorkers spoke of leaving the city. Then as now, people feared large groups, concert halls, and stadiums; they felt apprehensive about the possible presence of an insidious and invisible enemy. Every package seemed a possible bomb, every subway stoppage a reason for anxiety. We had orange alerts, amber alerts, red alerts. Some people did leave the city for the perceived safety of suburban or exurban communities. Most of them returned a year or two later, missing the lively and diverse life which our great cities have always provided.
After three months of stunned paralysis, the post 9/11 real estate market surged into action as 2002 began. Pent up demand drove buyers in every price range, as they realized that they still wanted a life in the city. The reduced prices of the reviving market, which had dropped 10% to 15% over the fourth quarter of 2001, inspired a surge of moving up and moving in, both for those who wanted a larger home and those who had fled the city the previous September.
Do we have more to fear than fear itself? Yes and no. The suburbs will prove to be no safer than Manhattan. Vaccination will tame this virus, as it has tamed so many others. Little by little, world populations will develop immunity. Economic activity will come back to life, as industries, products, and services we don’t yet fully imagine spring up to deal with issues in the changed world. And our world will change, just as it did after 9/11, in ways we can now barely recall.
In today’s environment, the recovery will likely be slower. We will still be viewing properties in masks and gloves for the coming months, probably until the end of the third quarter, while the fourth quarter will be dominated by the Presidential election. Services will come back to life sporadically and gradually. But after spending so much time at home, many buyers will better understand how well their current environment works or doesn’t work for them. Many will want to move, and many will see opportunity in the reduced prices which will follow the pandemic. Feeling afraid, the biggest inhibitor to action and thus to economic activity will abate, as psychologists note it always does. A few years from now New Yorkers will simply be getting on with their lives, many in new homes bought in the wake of this crisis. The “new” normal will have become, simply, normal life.
RE/MAX | Where to Invest in Ontario Real Estate – RE/MAX News
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across the province, country and the world at large, as so many of us have pressed pause on routines, plans, businesses and even our short-term goals. What is just as important as keeping you and your loved one safe amid this unprecedented crisis, is remembering that this is temporary. Life will, eventually, start to regain some normalcy, and we’ll be able to breathe new life into goals that we previously put on hold.
If investing in Ontario real estate was part of your 2020 vision, continue to keep your finger on the pulse. An experienced Realtor will help you stay abreast of what is happening within real estate markets across Ontario, which have shown strength and favourability. Below we share some of our top choices for those looking to secure an investment property within Ontario, for those who are in the market to buy.
London headed into 2020 with a smoking hot market, according to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report – and it is easy to see why. The city is home to two big post-secondary schools, Western University and Fanshawe College, as well as several large hospitals. These institutions not only help keep a steady flow of people into the city, but they are also three of the top employers for London and the surrounding area. More recently, there has been an influx of digital media companies dotting the city’s downtown core, earning London a reputation as the region’s burgeoning tech hub. These are only a few of the many reasons why, over the past five years, the city has experienced significant growth due to migration from the GTA, adding to the high (and ever increasing) demand for housing.
London maintained a seller’s market throughout 2019, and is projected to stay this way through 2020, even despite a COVID-19-related cooling of demand. Real estate investors looking to purchase within the city’s hottest neighbourhoods should look within North and South West London; these regions are in close proximity to the city’s hospitals, university, and entertainment and retail hubs, as well as Hwy. 401. Due to high demand, vacancy rates for these areas, are accordingly very low. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s yearly rental market report, London’s vacancy rate was 1.8% in 2019, down from 2.1% in 2018.
For a more affordable investment property within the city, East London is a hot neighbourhood worth looking into.
While the popularity of London as a place to live and work has certainly contributed to steadily rising average home prices over the past few years, property price tags are still immensely more affordable than those within the GTA.
Kitchener-Waterloo boasts a thriving (and growing) tech industry, universities, state-of-the-art health institutions, and a real estate market that has recently seen promising growth.
In 2019, residential real estate offered solid returns on investment, with the average sale price of homes climbing 9.3% for the year. According to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report, prices were expected to rise 7% for the year ahead.
According to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report, Kitchener-Waterloo ranked 11th on the affordability scale, out of 16 of Canada’s most populous regions. The COVID-19 public health crisis has temporarily cooled many markets across the province, however with demand heavily outweighing supply within this real estate market, there remains much optimism for a healthy bounce-back post-crisis.
The Niagara Region has a lot to offer besides a breathtaking waterfall. The area is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, drawing wine lovers, casino enthusiasts and nature buffs. Niagara is also home to a quickly growing number of businesses and residents, with the demand for affordable housing and rental properties outweighing supply.
With the Niagara region playing host to a massive Metrolinx expansion that will take place over the coming years, the popularity of this destination is projected to skyrocket. Upon completion of this proposed expansion, there will be 11 GO trains connecting Niagara to downtown Toronto, which will make it an attractive destination for commuters looking to avoid the manic GTA rush-hour traffic.
Now, let’s talk prices. The average house price differs significantly across the cites that make up the Niagara region.
According to data from the Niagara Association of Realtors, for the first quarter of 2020, the average price of a home within the Niagara Region was $496,000, however within the region, there is much variance between price points. The cities of Niagara-on-the-lake and Fonthill & Pelham tip the scale with average price tags of $792,000 and $706,000 respectively.
Investors looking to get the most bang for their buck can look to affordable communities where vacancy rates are still low, and demand is still high. On the more affordable end, St. Catherine’s – the largest city in the Niagara region – offers homes with an average price tag of $457,000, and much new development on the horizon. With the GO Transit expansion to include a stop within St. Catherine’s, prices could be on the rise.
For insight into the most liveable neighbourhoods in Niagara, check out our list of the Best Places to Live in Niagara for 2020.
Just kissing the US/Canada border, Windsor sits at the southern-most tip of Ontario across from Detroit, and from all angles, is a city on the rise! While historically known for its cheap cost of living and low property price tags, the tides have been slowly shifting within Windsor in recent years. The area has become an attractive destination for business, and accordingly, the employment rate in Windsor is the highest it has been in close to 20 years. Job prospects also attract new immigrants, which is driving up the demand for properties.
This rate of growth is fuelling an already high level of housing demand, which is driving up prices, but comparative to the rest of Canada, Windsor still sits comfortably on the top spot as the most affordable real estate market in Ontario, according to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report.
Affordable prices, the gradually re-opening economy and sustained demand are all positive signs for hopeful real estate investors.
Birds that come by looking for real estate (8 photos) – NewmarketToday.ca
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 aerialists 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 $4,110 for the Tottenham Foodbank. They have another 20 or so to sell. Email: email@example.com
Rosaleen Egan is a freelance journalist, storyteller and playwright. She blogs on her website rosiewrites.com
REAL ESTATE: Home Sales Vital To Economic Recovery – Agassiz-Harrison Observer
Having pushed the restart button and emerged into the “New Normal,” we discover that B.C.’s economic engine is but a shadow of its former self. Citizens and businesses must now face the long-term consequences of the national measures taken to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. No amount of government stimulus funding will make up for the loss of personal income, investments and business revenue incurred during the shutdown, and all the federal stimulus money that was pumped into our willfully stalled economy, must somehow be re-paid. Quoting figures released by Mike Campbell, Money Talks, the current debt burden per Canadian individual, including children and seniors, has increased by $29,000 in the last 65 days!
The burden of this debt is now to be shouldered by us all, and it will ultimately be recovered in some form of taxation. The government felt certain Canadians could shoulder an increase in the Federal Carbon Tax during the shutdown, so will they be looking to increase taxes or create new ones to keep Canada solvent?
It is critical that increased taxes are not further eroding one of the main economic growth factors like the housing and real estate market to compensate for overspent coffers. The real estate industry just had the new Foreign Buyers Speculation tax levied upon it in early 2019, and it ultimately had a negative effect on home sales and not the desired outcome of making housing more affordable in B.C..
Real estate sales transactions are already subject to taxation for home buyers, but at present, there is no taxation due upon the completion of a sale by sellers, unless you are a foreign national. Home buyers in B.C. already pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of one per cent on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and two per cent on the remainder up to and including $2 million. The PTT is 3 per cent on amounts greater than $2 million. If the property is residential, a further two per cent PTT is payable on the portion greater than $3 million. Home buyers must also pay GST/HST tax on the purchase of a new or completely renovated home. Currently the title owner’s profits from the sale are not subject to taxation unless the sale of the home is deemed income. Foreign buyers are subject to different taxation laws and already pay taxes on both the purchase and sale of landholdings in B.C..
In 2020, over 530,000 real estate sales transactions are projected to be completed in Canada, and for most part, profits collected from those sales are not currently subject to any taxation. It is one of the last sales a citizen can complete without the long arm of government taking a percentage of what they deem a compulsory contribution to federal revenue. Could this be slated to change in the near future? Is the government eyeing this untapped source of sales taxation? Would you be able to achieve your long term real estate goals if you had to pay taxes on the sale of your home or property? Most households need every penny earned in a real estate sale to make their next home purchase a reality, or they are counting on that income for their retirement. An ill-timed tax on landholding sales profit could bring with it disastrous consequences for the longevity of the market and the failing economy.
Resale housing transactions are one of the biggest drivers of economic growth, and a key factor to our recovery, as ancillary spending is attributed to more than $32 billion per year across the country. The Canadian Real Estate Association released their report titled “Economic Benefits Generated by Home Sales and Purchases over the MLS System” in October of 2019. Their findings showed the direct and indirect employment resulting from home sales is significant, and an estimated 234,015 jobs were generated nationally by average annual resale housing activity between 2016 and 2018. The report stated some $64,100 in ancillary expenditures are generated by the average housing transaction in Canada over a period of three years from the date of purchase. Home purchases and sales create significant spending and major spin-offs to other industries. Finance, insurance, construction, manufacturing and professional service sectors all benefit greatly from home sales. Any new tax levied on real estate transactions would have immediate, negative trickle down effects that would stifle badly needed economic growth.
In conclusion, citizens and businesses alike are tasked to find creative new ways to keep an income stream and their own budgets balanced with less, and the government must find new revenue streams to offset their spending without further hampering economic regrowth. It is imperative that key economy building industries like real estate and the re-sale housing market remain stable, so the economy does not come to a complete standstill and create a great depression of more foreclosures and insolvencies.
We are facing one of the greatest challenges of our time in rebuilding the Canadian economy, and real estate and the housing market will play a monumentally significant factor in how quickly we are able to jump start our economic engine.
Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.
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