Institutional investors are grappling with the long-term implications of how the coronavirus pandemic will affect demand for various real estate sectors.
Many real estate assets will remain under pressure even as establishments across sectors are once again able to welcome customers, says Jeff Olin, president and chief executive officer at Vision Capital Corp., noting that retail is perhaps the most likely area to see a significant long-term shift in demand.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce was already trending higher, taking up an increasing percentage of total retail sales. Then the pandemic hit. “What happened was you had an exponential increase from about 15 per cent to about 25 per cent due to pandemic,” he says. “So, if and when this is behind us, what happens? Does it go back to 15 per cent? No way.”
The pandemic pushed demographics that hadn’t yet latched onto online shopping to start using it for the very first time, says Olin. And they’re unlikely to go back now that they’ve discovered it, especially groups like the elderly with limited mobility for whom services like online grocery delivery have more than just the advantage of convenience.
Certainly, there will be a return to physical retail, he says, but the sector was likely to see e-commerce take up 25 per cent of total sales eventually, regardless of the pandemic. With firmly established, multinational businesses unable to pay rents, shopping malls will suffer long term, many to the point of closure. “That secular shift has just received a jolt up. We think people will still want to go out and shop, but things won’t be the same and rents are going to come down.”
As for office space, organizations have been slimming down their real estate use for some time before the pandemic, he says, citing digitization, less need to store physical records and overall shifts in how office space is laid out as contributors.
“Now added to the mix, chief executive officers at Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley, Shopify, Twitter, Facebook, the Bank of Montreal all came out publicly in the last few months and their workforces have worked very well in a teleworking environment. And they’re reevaluating their long-term demand for office space. Those trends are inexorable.”
That said, Olin notes the square foot of office space per employee has hit a floor and trends have pushed office workers about as close together as possible. But in the shorter term, demand will be higher because of the need to allow workers to physically distance. “If you’re going to be in an office space, you can’t be on top of your neighbour.”
One of the most surprising shifts in demand is the increasing requirement for manufacturing space in North America. “We’re going to look out five or 10 years from now and say, ‘There was a day in March 2020 when everything changed.’ There is a return of manufacturing to North America that is unequivocal.”
This shift will focus on manufacturing necessities like pharmaceuticals rather than consumer discretional, he adds. Disorganization around acquiring medical supplies when the pandemic began highlighted the need for self-reliance by individual countries, which Olin suggests will contribute to so-called re-shoring of manufacturing.
Vancouver real estate: leaky East Broadway condo for sale, price reduced, $339900, cash only – The Georgia Straight
About two weeks ago, the Straight reported the sale of a unit at a leaky Vancouver condo complex.
It was a $285,000 cash-only, no-financing deal.
Now there’s another unit for sale in the same leaky condo development, Gardenia Villa.
It’s also cash-only, and no mortgage is available.
The price for 603-2468 East Broadway has been reduced to $339,900 from its original listing tag.
Gardenia Villa is known as a leaky condo development.
On September 16, 2006, Vancouver Sun reporters Fiona Anderson and Glen Bohn wrote that owners may have to pay up to $40 million to keep the complex from rotting.
“The project, designed by architect James Cheng and developed by Hong Kong-based Maple Resources Investment Co. Ltd., is a colourful eleven building complex with three gated courtyard gardens and a pool on five acres of land,” Anderson and Bohn reported.
Owners first noticed water issues at the 250-unit Gardenia Villa located at East Broadway and Nanaimo Street, “shortly after it was built in 1994”, the Sun noted in a report about 10 years later on October 2, 2016.
Reporter Keith Fraser wrote in the 2016 report that a judge ordered the strata council to impose on the owners a $16.8 million special levy to repair the complex.
RE/MAX City Realty listed 603-2468 East Broadway on November 25, 2019 for $349,000.
The listing was terminated on January 20, 2020 at a price of $344,000.
On the same day, a new listing came up for $339,000. It expired on June 26. On the same day, a new listing was released for the same price of $339,000.
Now the seller wants a little bit more.
The current listing increased the price by $900 for the sum of $339,900.
Compared to its November 25, 2019 listing tag, the present listing price represents a $9,100 reduction.
The listing history of the property was tracked by Zealty.ca, a real-estate information site owned and operated by Holywell Properties.
RE/MAX Crest Realty describes the property as a “large” unit on the sixth floor of a “concrete leaky condo”.
“Potentially building will be Rain-screened or sold to Developer. No Mortgage available for this complex. Must buy all cash,” the listing states.
The two-bedroom, two-bath, plus den unit “faces towards the center courtyard which is very quiet”.
The other condo unit that the Straight reported about on November 17 is on the fifth floor of the same 2468 East Broadway leaky condo building. That was Unit 502, which the listing described as one that faces a “beautiful courtyard”.
Fort McMurray real estate agent pushes shop local campaign for Christmas
A Fort McMurray real estate agent is encouraging people shop local by creating a video series called 30 businesses in 30 days.
This month, Melanie Galea started posting videos showcasing small businesses in Fort McMurray. From pet stores, to coffee roasters and spas, Galea has been trying to remind locals about what businesses they could be shopping from.
“It just seemed like it was needed more than ever,” said Galea.
“These business owners are ready for Christmas.”
She said there are concerns that businesses are going to be shut down and several businesses have already closed during the pandemic and flood.
“People are staying home, they’re maybe not spending quite as much money. Some businesses are doing well, but I’ve seen businesses shut down because of what’s happening right now.”
Galea did a similar promotion in 2015, making videos to showcase 30 businesses. Thirteen of those stores have since closed.
Galea put a call out for businesses to contact her about making a video, and she was even surprised to find out about companies she had never heard of before.
“It’s great to see there are new businesses,” said Galea.
“The reaction has been fantastic.”
Galea said her videos have even inspired former McMurrayites. She said a former Fort McMurray resident, now living in Edmonton, reached out to Galea to ask about buying gift cards from Fort McMurray shops.
The entire series took about 100 hours to create. She charged $50 per business to do the video, but it’s costing her more than $250 per episode.
“This is my give to the community,” said Galea. She started filming the series in the beginning of October.
Carley Johnson, owner of Firebag Coffee Company, started selling coffee and coffee accessories in February. She roasts coffee at her home in Fort McMurray and sells it online and at local markets.
Since her video went live, she’s had people reach out to her saying they didn’t know her business existed and says her sales have increased.
The company does free delivery in town, and she says they do about 25-30 orders a day.
“Since the video’s run I’ve probably had at least 5 to 10 new people contact me every day.”
“It’s wonderful,” said Johnson.
Michael Langille’s video hasn’t gone public yet — it’s slated for Dec. 9. He’s the owner of The Little Pet Company, which is in the midst of expanding.
“Some people think that we’re still shut down since the flood,” said Langille. “It’s about broadcasting that we’re here.”
He said many people thought the flood destroyed the shop, which it didn’t.
The store was “busier than ever” for the first few months of the pandemic, but recently noticed a “sgnificant change” in the number of customers coming in.
Langille said he doubled his store’s inventory with the expansion, but “we’re not seeing double the sales by any means.”
“We might’ve seen a ten per cent increase, which is not what you want to see when you’re expanding your business.”
He’s hoping the video gets people coming into the store, and spending their dollars in town, rather than online.
JPMorgan’s Pil Sees Quick Return to Office Boosting Real Estate
(Bloomberg) — People will likely return to the office more quickly than expected and that will help boost the price of some commercial real estate, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
Investors may be making a mistake by extrapolating the future from the current situation with lots of working from home due to Covid-19, according to Anton Pil, global head of alternatives at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Top malls worldwide should see a faster-than-expected rebound in traffic, he said, and there’s an overshoot in expectations about how many people will want the status quo versus returning to the office.
“I’m expecting a pretty significant rebound in valuation,” Pil said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Financing terms are at some of the lowest levels that we’ve ever seen, and the income generation continues to be quite strong, at least if you own top-notch offices in strong locations.”
Urban centers have been able to survive previous pandemics and will do so again this time, Pil said. He pointed to the co-working trend as evidence that even when people could work from home they found there was value in being around others.
However, investors are taking things slowly at this point, with commercial real estate dealmaking in the third quarter far below pre-pandemic levels, according to data from CBRE Group Inc. and Real Capital Analytics Inc.
Pil also said that easy monetary policy and available financing means that it’s harder to tell which companies have simply been hurt by the pandemic and which have business models that just aren’t viable. J.P. Morgan Asset Management has stuck to a relatively conservative approach that’s focused on the actual assets companies own, he said, to avoid potential trouble on that front.
Venture capital will be a very robust market over the next year or two, Pil added. Lots of new businesses will be started by people who were laid off or had salaries reduced during the pandemic, he said, plus the efficiency of working from home and broader adoption of cloud computing has made starting a business cheaper and easier around the globe.
ICU admissions near 100 in Alberta, 1,608 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald
Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca
Law professor endured racist taunts in wake of social media clash with UCP staffers – Edmonton Journal
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