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Pandemic cools property purchases by foreign buyers – Business in Vancouver



The numbers and the anecdotal evidence are clear: while Metro Vancouver’s housing market has been on a surprising tear during the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for foreign buyers looking to enter the Lower Mainland has not followed suit.

But while local real estate industry representatives and urban development analysts agree that COVID travel restrictions have limited international interest in Vancouver-area homes, they disagree on whether the foreign-buyers market faces a longer-term correction.

According to municipal residential real estate data, there were five months out of 12 in 2019 in which there were more than 30 foreign-involved transactions that triggered the 20% provincial foreign-buyers tax in Vancouver.

Since March 2020, that monthly number of transactions has not surpassed 15 – and failed to break single digits for six of 2020’s last 10 months.

“Who really wants to move globally in the middle of a pandemic?” said Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University and one of the city’s leading urban-planning researchers. “In March 2020, we had 24 foreign-involved transactions in the city of Vancouver. The next month, we went down to six.”

Mike Stewart, who works with corporate rentals for out-of-town executives, said the pandemic “has really put the crimp on corporate rentals, because people are not travelling.”

Brian Higgins, founder of YVR4Sale, which has clients from the U.S., Europe and Asia, agreed that the real estate market boom is driven locally. But Higgins said foreign-buyer activity in Vancouver has lagged behind as far back as 2016, when former premier Christy Clark introduced the 20% foreign buyers tax on any such purchases.

Higgins added that Vancouver’s empty home tax and the additional speculation tax implemented under the John Horgan BC NDP government also “scared a lot of people onto the sidelines.”

Yan, however, noted that even as the number of transactions fluctuated in the market since 2016, their overall value has stayed relatively stable in the $20 million-to-$60 million range every month. That indicates that the taxes have not dramatically shrunk the total dollar value of transactions – just the number of buyers who can afford the extra 20%.

“You have to remember, the nature of the foreign buyers tax wasn’t to prevent more buying,” Yan said. “It was just to capture value for the B.C. taxpayer. It’s essentially increasing the fee for [international buyers] to access the clubhouse. And you’ve also got to remember: It’s very specific to where and what. It’s a very particular type of property in specific regions that are moving up.”

He added that the B-20 mortgage rules introduced in 2018 that have been credited with spurring the current real estate boom have instead discouraged foreign buying, because the requirement for non-Canadians to get a mortgage makes the process more difficult.

What is also clear, observers say, is that international demand has not gone anywhere. Both Stewart and Higgins said they anticipate a surge in buying from abroad – mostly from Canadians living outside Canada in places like the United States, Hong Kong, Great Britain or Europe – as soon as vaccinations become widespread and travel restrictions are loosened.

Higgins said Ottawa’s plan to bring in as many as 400,000 immigrants annually in the next few years to boost the Canadian economy means the Metro Vancouver market will likely see another wave of cross-border buyers soon after the pandemic ends.

“If you are coming out of an unstable situation, people are willing to put a little more money into a more stable country. And Canada is a stable country … and Amazon [Nasdaq:AMZN] is coming in 2024. The tech coming out of that will be an immense economic boom for the city.”

But Yan urged caution. He noted that while the demand has not gone away abroad, how strong and consistent that foreign demand will be is hard to determine.

“Of course, the rest of the world has changed. Let’s face it, one of the main sources of growth had been coming in from China, and the Chinese rules – from the people I’ve talked to – have certainly tightened up. That brings a complication that we may not see the [previous high levels of] demand come back in.

“We don’t know what happens globally.… And a lot of things that drive foreign buyers happen outside of Canada. The world in 2021 is vastly different than what it was in 2016.” •

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Hot real estate market sparks warnings to potential buyers as complaints to regulator double



As home sales in the province continue on a dizzying trajectory, the province’s real estate watchdog and regulator are warning buyers to be wary of what they may be getting into.

The Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate said that in the first three months of 2021, they have seen an increase in inquiries and complaints.

Calls to the regulator were up 42 per cent over the previous year, while complaints, such as how offers were made and accepted, were double the number received in the same period in 2020.

“Buying a home is one of life’s biggest financial decisions. There are potential risks at the best of times, but with the added pressure and stress of the current market conditions, those risks are amplified,” Micheal Noseworthy, superintendent of real estate, said in a statement.



The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says sales in the region have continued at a record-setting pace.

Residential home sales covered by the board totalled 5,708 in March 2021, up 126.1 per cent from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and up 53.2 per cent from February of this year.

Rural and suburban areas have experienced the biggest spikes.

For the past two weeks, Jay Park has been in the middle of the buying frenzy.

He and his partner are trying to upgrade from their one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom condo or townhouse in Vancouver.

“I wish we had done this a month or two ago,” he said.


A condo tower under construction is pictured in downtown Vancouver in February 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


Park put an offer on a $1-million condo, $4,000 above asking price.

“To entice the [seller], we put in a subject-free offer, but it wasn’t successful,” he said. “They accepted $110,000 over asking price that was also subject-free.”

The hot market has led to bidding wars. Some would-be buyers have even lined up outside for days to try to get a jump on a property.

Erin Seeley, the CEO of the council, is warning buyers to do their research and be aware of risks before making an offer.

“It’s really important that buyers have engaged with their lender before they’re making offers so they know how to stay within a reasonable budget,” she said.

Seeley said some of the complaints the council has heard from buyers is that they weren’t aware the seller has a right to take an early offer.

“And the seller was really in the driver’s seat about setting the pricing,” she said.


Demand continues to outstrip supply for housing in cities like Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)


Aaron Jasper, a Vancouver realtor, advises clients to avoid cash offers and to include finance clauses even if it may mean they lose a deal.

“There’s a lot of frustration among buyers, feeling pressure to take some risk,” he said.

“You’re better to be delayed perhaps a year getting into the market as opposed to being completely financially ruined.”

Jasper also says realtors are limited in the advice they can give to clients on legal matters, home inspections, potential deficiencies with homes, and financing.

‘Caught up in the craziness’

Other tips from the council include seeking professional advice before making a subject-free offer or proceeding without a home inspection, and speaking to a professional to determine how market conditions may be affecting prices.

Meantime, people like Jay Park say they are still keen to buy. Park has more viewings scheduled and is optimistic.

“It’s a very exciting time for us, but I also don’t want to get caught up in the craziness and make a purchase that’s above our means.”

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Black Press Media introduces one of Western Canada's best real estate platforms helping home buyers Find. Love. Live. that new home – Aldergrove Star



Need an agent who knows the community?

Or, is it time to look for a new place to live, but you don’t know what’s on the market?

Whatever the real estate need is for residents in the communities of British Columbia, Yukon & Alberta, there’s a new way to do that one-stop shopping – by visiting Today’s Home.

The slogan for the site is “Find. Love. Live.”

“We want people to find their dream home, love it, and live in it,” said group publisher Lisa Farquharson.

Building on the success of Black Press Media’s niche digital platforms – Today’s Home brings the same wealth of knowledge and local expertise to the search for a home, be it buying, selling, or even just daydreaming about what changes you can make in the future.

Search hundreds of listings that local real estate agents have available.

The listings cover properties around the region, from a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for $339,900 to million-dollar acreages throughout the province of BC, Yukon, Central Alberta and beyond.

Click on a listing, and see not only the realtor handling the property sale, but links to his or her other listings and social media feeds. With the click of a mouse, take a virtual tour of the property, find the property’s walking score, and learn about nearby amenities.

There are links available to schedule a showing, or send the agent a comment or question.

Want to share a listing? When you click on the share button, you’ll actually send an attractive digital flyer of the prospective property, not just a link.

There’s even a button to help determine how much you have to spend, courtesy of the convenient mortgage calculator.

Plus, scroll down the page on Today’s Home and find a list of expert local real estate professionals who can answer questions or help with that home sale, Farquharson explained.

Today’s Home offers the advantage of the massive reach that Black Press Media has built throughout Western Canada with its network of community newspapers and online products. That allows the public to tailor real estate searches based on location, price, and other key factors while allowing real estate professionals to gain unprecedented audience reach with their listings.

Today’s Home will dovetail into the media company’s existing print real estate publications.

“Black Press Media has real estate solutions in print and now we can add in the digital component,” Farquharson said.

Watch for expansion of the Today’s Home platform in the near future, she added. That will come as Black Press Media adds a new component – the development community. Developers will be able to reach a huge audience when their projects are ready for presentation.

For information on Today’s Home, contact group publisher Lisa Farquharson at 604-994-1020 or via email.

Happy house hunting!

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PGIM Real Estate, Revera Affiliate Target UK Market in Newly Formed JV



Real Estate Sales In September

PGIM Real Estate has been active in recent months providing capital to facilitate blockbuster senior housing acquisitions. Now the firm is looking to capitalize on demand for senior housing in the United Kingdom.

The Madison, New Jersey-based real estate investor and lender announced this week it is entering into a joint venture with Signature Senior Lifestyle, an affiliate of Revera, to develop and operate senior housing communities around greater London

Mississauga, Ontario-based Revera serves 20,000 older adults in long-term care homes and retirement residences in Canada. It is also the majority shareholder of Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest senior housing providers in the U.S. The company operates a portfolio of 12 communities in the U.K. under the Signature Senior Lifestyle brand, with one community in development that is slated to open in autumn 2021.


The JV has one development underway — a senior housing community, or “prime care” home, in southwest London. PGIM worked with Elevation Partners, a London-based investor and asset manager in U.K. health care real estate, in sourcing, structuring and executing the venture. Additionally, PGIM will retain the firm to leverage its expertise.

PGIM and Revera did not respond to requests for comment from Senior Housing News regarding details about its development pipeline.

London is emerging as a future hotbed of senior housing development, spurred by favorable demographic growth trends and a lack of available supply, and the PGIM-Revera venture will find competition.


Maplewood Senior Living CEO Gregory Smith told SHN last month that demand for U.K. senior housing is comparable to major U.S. markets such as New York and San Francisco, where supply has historically been constrained.

Maplewood and its investment partner, Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE: OHI) are looking to expand its luxury Inspir brand to the U.K., and identified five suburban markets around London with high barriers to entry that are favorable for the brand’s growth.

Revera CEO Tom Wellner sees similar untapped upside potential for senior housing in the U.K.

Source: – Senior Housing News

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