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Loaded with cash, real estate buyers wait for sellers to crack –



The world’s biggest real estate investors are sitting on piles of cash, preparing for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities created by the pandemic.

With economies around the world sputtering, commercial real estate prices are expected to come down. How much they’ll fall is the key question.

Sellers are currently willing to concede discounts of around five per cent, while bidders are hoping for about 20 per cent off pre-pandemic prices, said Charles Hewlett, managing director at Rclco Real Estate Advisors. That estimated gap, which is likely wider in specific cases, has put a freeze on deals.

“The mantra for anything that hasn’t gotten started is: delay, defer and, in many cases, renegotiate,” Hewlett said. “If I’m going to have vintage May 2020 on my books, I want to be able to demonstrate to my investors that I got an exceptionally good deal.”

Dry Powder

Private equity firms across the globe hold an estimated US$328 billion in dry powder for real estate deployment, according to the data firm Preqin Ltd. Prior to the crisis, asset prices had been pushed up as investors chased yield in riskier corners of the property market. Now, Blackstone Group Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., the largest real estate investing companies, are expected to hunt for bargains among the fallout from the pandemic.

For now, social distancing rules and a virtual travel halt have stalled transactions and led to speculation that prices will drop in coming months.

“The physical restrictions taking place are mostly preventing new deals from happening,” Tom Leahy, a London-based senior director at Real Capital Analytics Inc. said. “Far fewer active buyers, far fewer deals, an increase of deals falling out of contract — those are the preludes to seeing prices fall when the market does come back.”

The volume of deals in Europe plunged 65 per cent in April from a year earlier, according to Leahy. U.S. and Asian markets faced similar drops.

Asia, where the pandemic began, is likely to recover faster than Europe or America, as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and parts of China reopen for business, according to Richard Barkham, chief economist for CBRE Group Inc. Transactions in the Americas will fall an estimated 35 per cent this year, compared with a roughly 25 per cent decline in the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

Takes Time

Still, New York-based Blackstone, which had US$538 billion in assets under management at the end of March, is “starting to see some rescue situations,” President Jonathan Gray said during an earnings call last month. He added that “distress takes time to play out.”

Brookfield, meanwhile, has US$60 billion “ready to be deployed globally as opportunities arise,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Flatt said last week.

“In reflecting on what really matters to our business, it is liquidity, liquidity and liquidity, in that order,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders.

The firms with money to spend first have to figure out what do do with some of their more vulnerable recent investments. Blackstone said last month that its real estate portfolio, which represents about 30 per cent of its assets under management, is concentrated in “sectors that have shown greater resilience to Covid-related headwinds.”

Still, not all its bets look like winners. In late February, Blackstone announced a deal to buy a $6 billion portfolio of university dormitories in the U.K. popular with international students.

Head Scratching

“Are they scratching their heads about having put money into the student business?” Chris Grigg, CEO of British Land Co., one of the U.K.’s largest commercial landlords, said. “You’d guess they probably are a bit.”

Brookfield made waves with a US$15 billion bet on malls in 2018. But with retail stores shuttered and more consumers shopping online, the company recently announced a US$5 billion retail revitalization program.

Until shopping, commuting and travel become routine again, it will be hard for investors to agree on what malls, hotels, offices and other properties are worth.

“Proof is really going to be when the markets start to reopen when buyers and sellers find a middle ground with what’s going to happen with pricing,” Real Capital’s Leahy said. “It’s going to be asymmetrical. Different sectors and different geographies are going to be factors. There’s not going to be a uniform recovery.”

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Vancouver Real Estate Prices Slide, With Typical Home Dropping $7600 Last Month – Better Dwelling



Greater Vancouver real estate is still adjusting to the pandemic, but buyers seem to be more deterred than sellers. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data shows the price of a typical home made a significant monthly decline in May. Inventory fell from last year’s levels, but didn’t drop nearly as much as sales did.

Great Vancouver Real Estate Prices Dropped $7,600 Last Month

Greater Vancouver real estate prices are up from the same month last year, but not much else. REBGV reported the benchmark price for a home reached $1,028,400 in May, up 2.9% from last year. In the City, Vancouver East’s composite benchmark reached $1,089,000, up 3.5% from last year. Pricey Vancouver West saw the benchmark reach $1,283,000, up 4.2% from last year. Looking at the benchmark price chart, you may have noticed this isn’t the first impression.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price

The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver, in Canadian dollars.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

The year-over-year rate of growth is higher than last month, but prices are down using monthly or peak numbers. The 2.9% annual increase for May is higher than it was in May 2019. However, prices are down 0.73% from April 2020 – about $7,600 lower over the span of a month. Prices are also down 6.88% from peak, whereas they were down just 6.19% from the month before. A lot of odd dynamics created by the monthly price change falling almost twice as fast as last year, but the takeaway is prices are lower from peak, and last month.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price Change

The annual percent change of a typical home across Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Home Sales Fall Over 43%

Greater Vancouver real estate sales slipped, although this was largely expected due to the pandemic. There were 1,485 home sales in May, down 33.9% from a month before. This represents a decline of 43.7% when compared to the same month last year. Once again, the drop in sales was expected due to the pandemic. However, sales coming in 54% lower than the 10-year average for the month is a tough pill to swallow regardless.

Greater Vancouver Composite Sales Vs. Listings

The number of homes sold vs total inventory in Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Home Inventory Fell, But Not As Much As Sales

New listings for Greater Vancouver homes didn’t fall quite as much as sales. REBGV saw 3,684 new listings in May, up 59.3% from the month before. This represents a 37.1% decline compared to the same month last year. The smaller decline for new listings helped prevent total inventory from completely drying up.

Total inventory, a.k.a. active listings, climbed higher across the board. REBGV reported 9,927 active listings in May, up 5.7% from a month before. This represents a decline of 32.4%, when compared to the same month last year. Once again, total inventory didn’t quite fall as much as sales, which actually led to a lower ratio of sales to listings.

The sales to listings ratio (SALR) slid from last year. The SALR fell to 15% in May, down from 18% during the same month last year. Generally, analysts believe prices fall when the ratio drops below 12%. Prices are expected to rise when the SALR is above 20%, and considered balanced between 12% and 20%. The market is still in balanced territory, but a little closer to seeing prices fall, compared to last year.

The pandemic is slowing things down, but buyers appear to be more deterred than sellers at this point. Price growth did still accelerate on an annual basis, which is considered a bullish indicator. However, the mechanics are somewhat broken, considering prices fell on both the month and from peak.

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Okanagan, Shuswap real estate sales double in May – iNFOnews



Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Assessment

June 02, 2020 – 7:00 PM

It appears the novel coronavirus pandemic is loosening its effect on the housing market in Kamloops as well as the Central, North Okanagan and Shuswap as real estate sales almost doubled in May compared to the month before.

According to figures from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board, housing sales jumped 95 per cent in May from April, however, sales still took a big hit, down 42 per cent compared to the same month in 2019.

The Real Estate Board reports 446 units sold in May, up from 299 units in April.

Statistics from the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association paint a similar picture with sales of single-family homes down 52 per cent in May compared to the same month 2019. Prices still managed to increase though, with single-family homes up by nine per cent.

While the volume of sales certainly is down, the price of a single-family home still climbed in the region from Peachland to Revelstoke, albeit modestly with increases between five per cent in the Central Okanagan to one-and-a-half per cent in the Shuswap/Revelstoke.

Townhouses and condos didn’t fair as well, with sales and prices declining in all markets across the region, with the exception of the Central Okanagan. Sales of townhouses in the Central Okanagan felt by 44 per cent, however, the price still managed to creep up by 1.7 per cent.

“While we are still in the midst of a global pandemic it is encouraging to see that residential sales are moving at an upward trajectory,” Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board president Kim Heizmann said in a media release. “We are starting to see a return to real estate activity which looks promising for the future, however, we remain cautious about predicting future outcomes as many economic factors will have impacts.”

The number of properties on the market increased nine per cent in May compared to April but is still 16 per cent lower than the same month the year before. The average number of days to sell a home also increased to 91 days in May from 83 days in April.

In Penticton, sagging South Okanagan real estate sales did not seem to have a negative effect on the average sale price of a single family home, according to May real estate statistics.

The South Okanagan Real Estate Board says the average price of a single-family home rose by nine per cent to $605,768 compared to $553,636 in May 2019.

That’s in spite of the fact single family monthly sales declined by 39 per cent from 117 units last May to 71 units sold in May.

The number of active listings also dropped 11 per cent, from 1,417 last May to 1,262 this May.

Overall sales volume was down from $92,856,414 in May, 2019 to $61,803,933 in May, 2020, a decline of 34 per cent.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won’t censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020


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Kamloops real estate sales numbers down, prices up – Kamloops This Week



Real estate sales in Kamloops and the surrounding region are the lowest they have been in more than five years, with the number of residential units sold down 25 per cent compared to last year and the five-year average.

But the prices remain high.

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The data comes from the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association, which issued its report for May on Tuesday.

A total of 175 residential units were sold in May, down 46 per cent compared to May 2019. That figure also represents a five-year low and is nearly half of the five-year average of about 325 units sold each May.

The price of those residential units, however, is at a five-year high.

In 2016, the average price of a home sold in May was $337,953, but with steady increases each year, the average price of a home sold in May 2020 was $435,621.

KADREA president Wendy Runge said realtors were prepared for a sluggish month after April, which saw a 56 per cent drop in sales and a 51 per cent decline in new listings, noting sales figures have improved since the government enacted Phase 2 of its pandemic-related restart plan.

The number of new listings has also rebounded somewhat. March saw 474 new listings, April had 232 new listings and May recorded 327 people list their homes for sale.

Runge said she anticipates a sharp rise in sales in June.

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