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Pandemic could usher in online era of property sales – BC News – Castanet.net

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Buying real estate is likely never to be the same as it was before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced into the marketplace.

Significant logistical limits to buying a home are currently in place, but with an expected easing of pandemic-related health advisories over time, a new online buying and selling landscape will emerge as the new norm, according to Dinnell Real Estate Group.

Real estate sales have been declared an essential service in B.C., and property sales have continued during the COVID-19 lockdown – although in significantly limited capacity. 

The sector is one of a few that has not entirely shut down, so buyers and sellers have had to quickly adapt.

Until at least some public health advisories are lifted, B.C. residents can expect a slower and different process to buying and selling a home as the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) encourages limiting in-person interactions, which are typically the norm for transactions. The most apparent shift has been the cancellation of open houses – not a legal requirement but rather a recommendation of the RECBC and one that is supported by the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) via the cancellation of bookings and notices on the Multiple Listing Service website.

Realtors Angela Dinnell and Chris Dinnell said virtual open houses will likely persist, but they hope that in-person viewings will not become a thing of the past.

Angela Dinnell, however, sees realty services being pushed further into the digital realm.

“How can we evolve and do the same things in our business as we did before and do them online? We’re doing that now,” she said.

The Home Inspectors Association of BC has published guidelines for inspectors entering homes. In the near term, inspections may be delayed as a result of owners who are sick, isolating or have had possible contact with the ill. Inspectors are to conduct an inspection alone, with various precautions.

And expect to see more online documentation regardless of when restrictions ease.

For instance, the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia is now allowing remote witnessing of affidavits in support of land title applications. This practice enables only lawyers and notaries to remotely witness affidavits, at the direction of the Law Society of BC.

As restrictions ease and people become more accommodating to online interactions and sales activity picks up, buyers, sellers and realtors will need to make more judgment calls.

“Common sense is important,” Kim Spencer, BCREA manager of professional services, said in a BCREA podcast.

“Since real estate is an essential service, professionals are relieved of liability if someone contracts COVID-19 at a showing, unless of course there is “absolute negligence.”

He advises everyone to document health advice and known health risks.

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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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Dramatic drop in Greater Victoria real estate sales in May

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There aren’t as many for sale signs up and far fewer properties are selling, as the Greater Victoria real estate market sees the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our real estate market is responding to the health crisis,” says Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) president Sandi-Jo Ayers. “For the month of May, that was a very tough month and April was as well.”
May saw a dramatic drop in the number of sales, down a whopping 46 per cent from last May, with just 457 properties selling.
“It’s surprising it’s only 46 per cent,” says Tony Joe of RE/MAX Camosun. “That sounds strange but when you think about it, we were a 58 per cent reduction in the month of April and I think many people sort of wondered if real estate would go to zero or close to zero.”
Inventory was down 15.7 per cent compared to last May, but that had prices holding steady.
Condo prices only dipped 3.7 per cent, with an average price of just over $453,000.
Single-family home prices were actually up 2.3 per cent to almost $876,000.
“The other surprising thing too is we’re seeing cases of multiple offers or bidding wars out there, which you would never expect in a time like this,” says Joe.
With restrictions easing in the last two weeks, agents say viewing requests are increasing and they’re actually getting lots of interest from Lower Mainland and Toronto buyers.
“We really are trying to be optimistic,” Ayers says. “We see we have a lot of people that want to move here, they want to sell, they want to buy and realtors on the street are talking about how busy they are getting.”
If you’re buying or selling, it will look different in phase three, with more virtual open houses, online tours, and masks and gloves for in-person showings, as well as minimizing the surfaces that are touched as real estate tries to rebound.

Source: – CHEK

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Edited By Harry Miller

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