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Open Text plans restructuring including real estate consolidation – OttawaMatters.com

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WATERLOO, Ont. — Open Text Corp. is temporarily reducing the salaries of its executives, senior leadership and other employees, and cutting its overall workforce by up to five per cent, the multinational software company announced Thursday.

It also announced the permanent closure of half of its offices while having some employees continuing to work from home even after the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted.

“The cost control programs are temporary, while the pandemic persists. The restructuring programs are permanent,” chief executive Mark Barrenechea told analysts in a conference call.

“Our corporate offices, our centres of excellence, innovation centres and country head offices will remain open, when we are able to do so,” Barrenechea said. 

He said the permanent closures will be at smaller offices and will affect about 15 per cent of the total workforce. About 95 per cent of employees has been working from home because of the pandemic.

The company, headquartered in Waterloo, Ont., estimates that the restructuring program will cost from US$80 million to US$100 million by the time it’s completed at the end of fiscal 2021.

Once completed, OpenText said it anticipates annualized cost savings of approximately US$65 million to US$75 million.

Barrenechea said the actions announced Thursday are pre-emptive and in anticipation of COVID-19’s impact on industries it serves.  

“We will come out of this stronger than we went into it,” said. 

The company, which operates in multiple countries and reports in U.S. currency, announced the restructuring with its financial results from the fiscal third quarter ended March 31.

The quarter included a 13.3 per cent increase in revenue, which rose to $814.7 million from $719.1 million.

However, Open Text’s net income was down 64.3 per cent to $26.0 million or 10 cents per share, and adjusted earnings were down 4.7 per cent to 61 cents per share. 

— by David Paddon in Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:OTEX)

The Canadian Press

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Real estate market sees 'thaw' in Langley – Aldergrove Star – Aldergrove Star

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The sale of homes started to increase in Langley in May as restrictions prompted by the coronavirus slowly eased, but numbers were still down sharply from last year.

“Everything’s now thawing,” said Ty Corsie, a local realtor.

He said that 60 days ago, it was like the entire local real estate market was frozen, but now things are starting to move again as buyers and sellers adjust to the new normal.

According to data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) 59 single-family homes changed hands in Langley last month, down 32.2 per cent from the same month in 2019.

There were 52 townhouses sold, down 38.8 per cent, and 50 condos sold, down 38.3 per cent from a year before.

The numbers were comparable to sales volumes seen in January, traditionally one of the slowest months for real estate in the year, when 49 houses, 47 townhouses, and 46 condos were sold in Langley.

But Corsie noted that both buyers and sellers are re-entering the market. His firm listed six homes for sale this week alone, much more than they normally would. It looks like a delayed spring, he said, with people trying to make up for time lost in March and April.

Despite the overall low sales numbers compared to last year, Langley was faring better on average than many of its neighbours.

Overall, the Fraser Valley region saw a 46.9 per cent decline across all home types in communities running from North Delta through to Abbotsford. There were 805 home sales, down from 1,517 the year before.

Local sales also represent a significant improvement from April, when sales in Langley were down by 50 per cent.

READ MORE: Coronavirus hammers Langley housing market

Prices remained stable, with the price of a single-detached house in Langley still hovering near $1 million, where it had been for some time. The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation has predicted that Canadian house prices will decline this year and the next, anywhere between nine and 18 per cent.

The benchmark prices for townhouses and condos were also up slightly in May compared to a year ago in Langley.

Corsie said a big part of the increase has been the creation of a “new normal” that allows people to see houses again. People are wearing gloves and masks to visit homes before signing contracts.

The pandemic and the physical distancing restrictions have made things more difficult for younger realtors, Corsie said.

Experienced realtors can rely on referrals from previous clients and a deep list of contacts. Younger realtors starting out have to build up those contacts through promotional materials, open houses, and face-to-face contacts.

“Meeting people face-to-face is a huge part of the business,” he said.

With open houses and door knocking essentially impossible, the last two months have seen a lot of young realtors without work. He’s hopeful that will change as the market picks up.

“Realtors and consumers deserve to be congratulated,” said FVREB president Chris Shields. “It’s not easy to adapt quickly to physical distancing, virtual tools and strict personal safety protocols and yet we’re seeing more and more transactions happening daily as we all get more comfortable and confident with the new normal.”

CoronavirusLangleyReal estate

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Commercial real estate won’t be a distressed asset: Marcus & Millichap CEO – Yahoo Canada Finance

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The novel coronavirus pandemic forced offices and retailers to shift operations online over the past three months — leading some to speculate that demand for commercial real estate will drop, sending prices plummeting.” data-reactid=”16″>The novel coronavirus pandemic forced offices and retailers to shift operations online over the past three months — leading some to speculate that demand for commercial real estate will drop, sending prices plummeting.

But most commercial properties will not be selling for massive discounts, according to Hessam Nadji, CEO of Marcus & Millichap, a California-based national commercial real estate brokerage.

“There’s a broad brush sentiment that commercial real estate is going to get distressed pricing across the board and that is just not the case,” Nadji told Yahoo Finance. Apartments and warehouses, in particular, are performing “very well.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="As Americans shelter in place, demand for apartments and condos have remained stable. Some 41.4% of investors reported multifamily acquisitions in their market in May compared to 33.6% in April, according to a monthly survey of almost 500 members in the NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) Commercial Real Estate Development Association conducted May 18-20.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”19″>As Americans shelter in place, demand for apartments and condos have remained stable. Some 41.4% of investors reported multifamily acquisitions in their market in May compared to 33.6% in April, according to a monthly survey of almost 500 members in the NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) Commercial Real Estate Development Association conducted May 18-20. 

And a surge in online shopping during the pandemic has upped warehouse demand for last-mile delivery. Warehouse acquisitions increased to 58.7% in May from 54% in April, according to the NAIOP.

Commercial real estate has a history of resilience, said Nadji. The commercial market suffered for 18-24 months after September 11, 2001, as employers feared bringing employees into central business locations. But within a few years, office leasing behavior returned to normal, said Nadji, who expects the same resilience within two to three years, depending on the degree of economic growth.

Workstations in empty office
Workstations in empty office

“We’ve seen from many companies, including IBM, that experimented heavily with telecommuting, that they eventually want to bring people back at least a few times a week to work in groups and be in person and have collaborative functions that bring people together in office locations,” said Nadji.

<h3 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Hospitality and retail underperform” data-reactid=”34″>Hospitality and retail underperform

But properties that house hospitality or retail are a “whole different story,”  he said, and could offer some “opportunistic investment situations.” Led by a few of these underperforming asset classes, commercial real estate properties had a 2.29% delinquency rate on mortgage loans in April, up from 2.07% March — its largest jump in three years, according to New York-based Trepp Research’s CMBS Delinquency Rate, which measures mortgage ayments that are late for more than 30 days. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With the country under lockdown, traveling virtually ceased during the pandemic. Hotel demand was down 42% in April compared to last year, prompting some 2.71% of hotels and motels to default on their loans in April, compared to only 1.53% in March. Commercial real estate suffered its highest jump in delinquencies in three years, but lodging had the highest uptick of all property types, according to Trepp Research.” data-reactid=”36″>With the country under lockdown, traveling virtually ceased during the pandemic. Hotel demand was down 42% in April compared to last year, prompting some 2.71% of hotels and motels to default on their loans in April, compared to only 1.53% in March. Commercial real estate suffered its highest jump in delinquencies in three years, but lodging had the highest uptick of all property types, according to Trepp Research.

The cities where commercial real estate will take the biggest hit are service-based hospitality economies, including Atlantic City, N.J., Myrtle Beach, S.C., Las Vegas, Nev., Fort Walton Beach, Fla. and Wilmington, N.C., according to MillionAcres, a real estate investing branch of the Motley Fool, an investing advice company based in Alexandria, Va. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With less investor demand for retail space, opportunistic investors could also find deals on vacant storefronts. Some 13.4% of NAIOP members said they had witnessed retail deal activity in May, unchanged from activity in April but significantly down from before the pandemic, according to the NAIOP. Notably, retail spaces with grocery stores are proving resilient, according to CrowdStreet, a Portland, Ore.-based investing platform.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”38″>With less investor demand for retail space, opportunistic investors could also find deals on vacant storefronts. Some 13.4% of NAIOP members said they had witnessed retail deal activity in May, unchanged from activity in April but significantly down from before the pandemic, according to the NAIOP. Notably, retail spaces with grocery stores are proving resilient, according to CrowdStreet, a Portland, Ore.-based investing platform. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="While there will also be a short-term reduction in interest in city-based offices, suburban satellite offices may become more popular, said Nadji. Long-term, experts expect the office to remain an attractive investment.” data-reactid=”39″>While there will also be a short-term reduction in interest in city-based offices, suburban satellite offices may become more popular, said Nadji. Long-term, experts expect the office to remain an attractive investment.

“Those kinds of things [a shift toward decentralized locations], I think, will last, and will have a residual effect, but the demise of office space used as kind of a broad statement, I think, is over-exaggerated,” said Nadji.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter&nbsp;@sarahapaynter” data-reactid=”45″>Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance” data-reactid=”46″>Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Yahoo Finance on&nbsp;Twitter,&nbsp;Facebook,&nbsp;Instagram,&nbsp;Flipboard,&nbsp;SmartNews,&nbsp;LinkedIn,&nbsp;YouTube, and&nbsp;reddit.” data-reactid=”47″>Follow Yahoo Finance on TwitterFacebookInstagramFlipboardSmartNewsLinkedInYouTube, and reddit.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More from Sarah:” data-reactid=”48″>More from Sarah:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The office apocalypse is not here, yet” data-reactid=”49″>The office apocalypse is not here, yet

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="People are still paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic” data-reactid=”50″>People are still paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bidding wars start to heat up in some states as coronavirus lockdown eases” data-reactid=”51″>Bidding wars start to heat up in some states as coronavirus lockdown eases

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Real estate sales show signs of 'uptick' – Times Colonist

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The province’s phased-in approach to restarting the provincial economy seems to have had an effect on the Victoria real estate market.

Figures released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board show sales, inventory and some prices rose in conjunction with the second phase of the provincial restart plan.

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Last month, 457 properties changed hands in the region, and while that’s a 46 per cent drop from May of last year, it’s a big jump from the 287 homes sold in April.

“We are still down in terms of sales [year-over-year], but we were up from April, and we saw a real uptick after May 19, when Phase 2 was implemented,” said Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the board. “We are feeling cautiously optimistic based on the numbers from last month. And our home prices have seen a slight increase from last month as well.”

There were 2,544 active listings for sale at the end of May, up from the 2,305 available at the end of April. That is still well off the more than 3,000 available in May last year.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Victoria core last month was $885,400, up from $884,600 in April. Year-over-year, however, the price was down from $863,000. The benchmark condominium price in the core last month was $534,300, up from $533,600 in April, and $516,400 in May 2019.

“I’d say we have seen a trickle of activity, not a tsunami. People are being cautious,” said Ayers, who noted buyers want to ensure they are employed and that they can qualify for the kinds of homes they want.

Indications are Victoria’s real estate market could avoid some of the pain other markets in Canada will face this year, she said. “We believe the way B.C., the Island and the community have responded to the health crisis and our market being local, [real estate] has responded in a healthy way as well here,” she said. “Victoria is such an attractive place to live, it’s safe and the way we responded to this health crisis is catching people’s eye and they may start to think this is a good place to retire or move.

“We firmly believe we are on the radar now.”

The short-term outlook is likely to remain cautious, but Ayers said they expect to see a lot of local movement ahead of the fall school opening, and with local buyers moving up and down in the market.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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