Newfoundlanders and Labradorians haven’t let the restrictions of a global pandemic stop them from buying and selling homes.
In fact, over the last two months the province recorded some of its strongest sales numbers in years, according to Bill Stirling, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors.
“We’ve just had the best July we’ve had in decades in terms of the number of sales across the province,” Stirling said.
“I’ve been in this role now for a little over five years and it’s the first time that I can feel some excitement and a little bit of a pulse in the marketplace.”
Stirling attributes the boom in sales to the tight lockdown under pandemic regulations in March and April, on top of a harsh winter that also kept people mostly inside after record snowfalls buried the province’s east coast in January.
The lack of sales through the lockdown months saw sales come roaring back as the province began to reopen, he said.
“We’re going to finish August with probably the best August we’ve had in five or six years,” Stirling said.
Further, Stirling believes the pandemic itself may have actually helped boost sales, where travel hesitant customers, travel bans throughout Canada and the closure of the Canada-United States border allowed people to sit on their money.
“Personally I think there’s a lot of people who would normally be spending their discretionary income on a trip down south, or a trip to Europe or a trip to Toronto to see a hockey game, none of which is happening,” he said.
“That discretionary money is finding its way into real estate and renovations and that sort of thing.”
Good prices, good buyers
Realtor Martin Byrne says 2020 will probably be his best sales year to date.
Byrne said most summers are generally a slow period for real estate but this summer is the busiest he’s been in 10 years.
“The number of sales have shot up. We were down 30 per cent to start off the year, I guess with lockdown and Snowmageddon,” Byrne said.
“We’re now down 10 per cent, but with taking into consideration the sales are actually up 16 per cent for the year over year and sales prices in St. John’s have actually risen for the first time in a long while.”
Both Byrne and Stirling said there’s a lot of movement from first-time home buyers right now, but all areas of the market are moving, including properties listed at over $1 million.
Both also say the province is a buyer’s market, and low interest rates are helping people make the decision to buy.
The Winnipeg Real Estate Market Continues to Grow – RE/MAX News
Could Winnipeg attract homebuyers from other major Canadian cities? Winnipeg has always been on the cusp of a major economic breakout. With the recent economic diversification initiatives of the past few years, the city has witnessed growth, but the path has been slow and long. Could the post-coronavirus economy speed up the momentum for this prairie city?
The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) was blunt in its assessment that Winnipeg and the broader province have seen the housing market blossom in the aftermath of the COVID-19 public health crisis. MREA president Glen Tosh called it an “extraordinary rebound,” particularly after it seemed like residential sales would plummet for a lot longer than just the March-to-April period.
Although the city appears to be playing catch-up, the Winnipeg real estate market has generally had a good 2020. In fact, despite the pandemic, this year is shaping up to be better than in 2019.
“Overall, 2019 was a good year for residential sales in Manitoba, and considering the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, catching up to and surpassing last year’s totals at this time is quite an achievement,” said Tosh in a statement. “While there are more challenges to come in fighting the global pandemic, we believe owning a home in Manitoba can offer a safe haven in an uncertain world.”
So, what do the numbers say?
The Winnipeg Real Estate Market Continues to Grow
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) Winnipeg REALTORS, Winnipeg recently enjoyed its best month on record. In August, sales surged 28 per cent from the same time a year ago and above the five-year average.
New listings failed to keep up with rising sales. Last month, 2,374 new listings were added to the Winnipeg real estate market, which is down one per cent from the same time a year ago. It is also down nine per cent from July. Overall, the present supply stands at 4,232 listings, down 30 per cent from last August, and the number of sales that account for the current inventory is 44 per cent.
Put simply, demand is ballooning, but there is a shortage of listings to match buyers. This has created a situation of bidding wars and multiple offers.
What may surprise some market observers is that there has been an incredible increase in the move-up market as Winnipeg households seek more space. In fact, the highest sale price ever occurred in August: $3.9 million.
“A work from home trend is changing the way one thinks about the kind and extent of space and has definitely garnered more thought and attention,” said Catherine Schellenberg, RE/MAX Professionals, president of WinnipegREALTORS®, in a news release. “This coupled with historically low mortgage rates are motivating factors for a number of sellers and buyers to make a change during this pandemic.”
Since there is plenty of uncertainty in the broader economy with the cold and flu season on the horizon, homebuyers and sellers are wondering if Winnipeg can maintain the upward trajectory in housing. The consensus appears to be a resounding “yes”.
Can Winnipeg Sustain the Momentum in the Fall?
The Canadian real estate market is expected to benefit from ultra-low borrowing costs. Rates are at historical lows, and they could remain this way for several more years. The Bank of Canada (BoC) has all but confirmed that low interest rates are here to stay for a few more years. As part of the central bank’s efforts to cushion the economic blow from the virus outbreak, rates across-the-board will remain lower for longer. The five-year benchmark mortgage rate, for example, was lowered to below five per cent.
When borrowing is this low, it allows homebuyers to consider other options, like relocating to another city or upgrading their residences. Winnipeg could see an inflow of capital over the next couple of years, particularly as more people become concerned over hyperdense urban centres. The same trend is playing out in other Canadian urban markets like Halifax, which is in the beginning stages of a population boom and a capital influx.
Winnipeg is still recovering from the coronavirus-induced economic downturn, and its housing sector will play a role in its recovery. As pent-up demand and low inventory levels impact the real estate market, you can anticipate that prices will sustain their upward trajectory. According to the RE/MAX Winnipeg Housing Market Outlook (Fall 2020), real estate prices are forecast to rise two per cent for all property types for the remainder of 2020.
What better way to emerge from an unprecedented public heath crisis than seeing housing valuations climb! The future looks promising for this dynamic prairie city.
Royal LePage launches Canada's most powerful AI-driven real estate platform – Canada NewsWire
rlpSPHERE maximizes brokerage, team and agent productivity and profitability
TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2020 /CNW/ – Royal LePage, Canada’s largest real estate company, has launched its widely anticipated new digital brokerage ecosystem, rlpSPHERE. The technology drives brokerage, team and agent businesses struggling with unwieldy traditional tools through powerful websites, superior lead generation, compelling client insight, and an automated client nurturing system, which has natural and intuitive features that delight consumers and experienced professionals alike. With an AI-powered Smart CRM and analytics to track both overall business status and specific opportunities, brokers and agents are freed to be more strategic and increasingly efficient, optimizing their time with active clients while converting prospects in their sphere of influence into satisfied customers.
“We recognized that the quantity of technology being purchased by agents and brokerages was vast and ungovernable. These tools were islands, adding some value in a narrow, functional way but unable to communicate across the enterprise or to positively impact the professional life of a real estate professional,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “We saw the unique opportunity to create a fully integrated solution built with AI programming that rapidly adapts to our professionals’ needs so that they can succeed in the fast-changing, unpredictable world of real estate brokerage. To be fair to our large national team, we knew it had to work on any platform, mobile or desktop. And, it had to be cloud-based so that our people could be productive anywhere, anytime. rlpSPHERE fulfills this audacious vision.”
At its heart, the rlpSPHERE system boasts extensive Canadianization and brand customization of the highly sought after kvCORE platform, creating a powerful all-in-one solution uniquely tailored to the needs of Canadian brokerages, REALTORS®1 and teams. rlpSPHERE is deeply imbued with Royal LePage’s marketing expertise and integrated into Royal LePage’s internal systems providing a seamless experience for agents, teams and brokers to run every aspect of their business.
“As the leader in real estate technology in Canada, we are providing our network with a competitive advantage, leveraging best-in-class consumer and agent technology, optimized to achieve meaningful business outcomes. In early results, energized sales teams are sharing that they’ve established a dominant online presence, engaged with new customers and re-engaged with existing ones. They foresee that they will increase their overall business and consumer service levels whether they are new or experienced agents,” said Carolyn Cheng, COO, Royal LePage.
rlpSPHERE includes cutting-edge productivity tools in a mobile-ready environment. Standout features include:
- Fully customizable brokerage, team and agent websites with the latest consumer search options including polygon map search, search by school catchment area, filtering by lifestyle data, search by travel time as well as recommended listings based on your search criteria.
- A robust Lead Engine featuring unlimited custom landing pages and IDX squeeze pages as well as built-in paid Google and Facebook advertising options via an integrated Marketplace.
- Intelligent, customizable lead routing and accountability options at the brokerage and team levels to optimize lead conversion.
- A Smart CRM and native mobile app with dynamic lead follow up and automated nurturing campaigns to engage more leads and sphere of influence contacts.
- Integrated and branded digital, print and social media marketing templates and options.
The rlpSPHERE platform also provides powerful options for team leaders, empowering Royal LePage teams to manage their business complete with their own branding, full database ownership and privacy as well as lead routing that is independent yet still leverages their brokerage’s services and Royal LePage national systems.
“We’re honoured to be the long-term technology partner, powering Canada’s leading real estate brand,” said Joe Skousen, president of Inside Real Estate. “Working with the talented and forward-thinking leadership team at Royal LePage to successfully customize our kvCORE platform, has been incredibly rewarding. One of our goals as a technology partner is to empower greater success and profitability for the agent, team and brokerage, with a brand-customized experience. It’s provided us another great opportunity to demonstrate not only the robust capabilities but also the flexibility of our platform. We’re thrilled to see the launch of rlpSPHERE to Royal LePage brokers, teams and agents to help drive bottom-line results – especially at a time when real estate professionals are relying on their technology more than ever.”
The rollout of rlpSPHERE began in spring 2020 and will continue through the coming months. Available in both English and French, the core solution will be provided at no cost to the company’s agents and brokerages. Early response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s a career changing system! It gives me the data, organization and structure to stay engaged and focused on what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis,” said Carlo De Castris, sales representative, Royal LePage Royal City Realty, Brokerage. “The automated nurturing and behavioural automation is surprisingly natural, human and personalized. I’ve closed 3 sales, secured an additional listing and have a steady flow of leads that I might not have otherwise had this summer.”
To learn more about rlpSPHERE, please visit rlp.ca/rlpsphere_video.
About Royal LePage
Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of approximately 18,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbolTSX:BRE. For more information, please visit royallepage.ca.
About Inside Real Estate: Inside Real Estate is a fast growing, independently-owned real estate software firm that serves as a trusted technology partner to over 200,000 top brokerages, agents and teams. Their flagship product, kvCORE Platform, is the most modern and comprehensive solution in the industry known for delivering profitable growth at every level of a brokerage organization. Built on a modern, scalable and flexible architecture, kvCORE enables every brokerage to create their own unique technology ecosystem through custom branding, robust integrations and high-quality add-on solutions. With an accomplished leadership team and over 175 employees, Inside Real Estate brings the resources, scale and vision to deliver ongoing innovation and success to their growing customer base.
1 The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services
For further information: Media Contacts: Royal LePage, Sarah Louise Gardiner, Director, Communications and Investor Relations, (647) 961-2260, [email protected]; Inside Real Estate, Media Contact: 801-407-9833
What is Happening in the Fredericton Real Estate Market? – RE/MAX News
Across the country, the real estate market boasted record-breaking numbers all summer long. From the Vancouver housing sector to the Fredericton real estate market, sales activity and prices popped, despite the COVID-19 pandemic lingering in the background. The industry has found the developments remarkable. Canada slipped into a recession and many companies were decimated, but the Canadian real estate market has remained solid during this chaotic time. It is a testament to the superb work of real estate agents, as well as the strength of the nation’s overall housing market.
Before the virus outbreak, New Brunswick was becoming one of many noteworthy real estate hot spots in the country. Although it faced a slump at the height of the pandemic, it has witnessed a remarkable recovery. Sharon Watts, executive officer for the Real Estate Board of the Fredericton Area (REFBA), recently described the state of the market as “like no other” the industry has seen before, since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted by the province.
Whether it is pent-up demand or limited stocks, there are many factors contributing to the boom of the Fredericton real estate sector. Could these bullish factors sustain the market over the next few months?
What is Happening in the Fredericton Real Estate Market?
According to the REBFA, residential sales rose one per cent in July, the second-best July on record. The average price of homes sold surged 16.8 per cent to $218,760. In addition to growing demand in Fredericton, overall supply has trended downward for the last five years. Today, inventory sits at a 20-year low, and this could continue to decline, as recent real estate trends favour smaller cities and suburban or rural markets.
Fredericton has turned into a seller’s market as bidding wars have become commonplace within this city of about 60,000 people. Homebuyers are placing bids as high as $60,000 over the asking price.
“Activity in Atlantic Canada was back to pre-COVID-19 levels by May 2020, and like many sellers’ markets in Canada, multiple offer scenarios continue to happen in these regions,” the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report stated.
Could this impressive feat be sustained for the remainder of 2020 – and beyond?
With low borrowing rates expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, money has never been cheaper. The Bank of Canada (BoC) has reduced its five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent, and there is no reason to dismiss the idea that the central bank would lower it again.
During the pandemic, realtors have been relying on technology and digital tools to conduct transactions and work with their clients. Online documents, virtual tours and detailed web-based advertisements – real estate agents have used digital mechanisms to their advantage. This has allowed people from all over Canada to confidently purchase houses or condominiums in other places, even without seeing these properties in person.
Immigration is another factor that the industry is paying attention to. This year, immigration levels have cratered due to border restrictions and changes in travel. In June, more than 19,000 new permanent residents entered Canada, down from the more than 34,000 immigrants who were welcomed the same time a year ago.
This trend might have an impact on the Canadian real estate market, including Fredericton. The New Brunswick capital is also considered a college town that typically attracts a large number of international students. But while this may not affect the buying and selling of homes, it is disrupting the rental market.
Should this trend continue, developers might think twice about constructing rental units. But Fredericton locals are confident that this renewed demand for houses could be enough to encourage investors to bring new supply to the market.
Is Atlantic Canada the Next Major Housing Market?
Could Fredericton join the broader Atlantic Canada real estate boom? Whether it is the sizzling market of Halifax or St. John’s, cities across the Maritimes are witnessing better-than-expected sales activity and residential prices. Many of these cities are becoming appealing destinations for homeowners due to a renewed focus upon urban development initiatives and more affordable housing options. Plus, with rates as low as they are and remote work policies prevalent throughout the labour market, many are taking advantage of the opportunity and considering other cities and towns across the Great White North.
Once the coronavirus pandemic is safely behind us and society attempts to return to normal, the permanent shift could turn out to favour Fredericton and its neighbours on the east coast. Atlantic Canada may not just be a vacation hotspot for families from Toronto or Montreal. Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia could soon become top destinations for Canadian (and international) homebuyers.
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