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Previous story Greater Victoria sees early bloom of spring real estate market – Victoria News



Greater Victoria helped to lead a resurgence in real estate sales in February.

According to new figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), sales in February 2020 rose by 26.3 per cent compared to February 2019, as 5,741 homes changed owners. The average sales price also rose 12 per cent to $758,863 in February 2020 with the total value of sales rising 41.4 per cent to $4.4 billion.

Looking at specific regions, the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) recorded 563 sold properties sold, an increase of 33.7 per cent compared to February 2019 and 37 per cent increase compared to January 2020. Sales of condominiums were up 35.7 per cent from February 2019 with 175 units sold, while sales of single family homes increased 23.7 per cent from January 2020 with 271 sold.

Sandi-Jo Ayers, president of the said February saw what she called “the bloom of an early spring market” with sales “up substantially” from last year. With the increase, sales figures are within less than five per cent of VREB’s long-term average for the month, she added.

RELATED: Real estate sales in Greater Victoria show signs of recovery

With higher sales, local prices have also risen. The so-called Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark value for a single family home in Greater Victoria rose by 4.3 per cent to $767,000 in February 2020.

Looking across the region, Langford recorded the highest number of single-family homes sold (41) in February 2020 for a total value of $31.7 million. Saanich (East) recorded the second-highest number of single-family homes sold (40) for a total of $40.5 million, followed by Victoria with 32 single-family homes sold for a total value of $32 million. Victoria, not surprisingly, led all Greater Victoria in condo sales with 76 for a total value of $38.3 million.

Oak Bay remains the most expensive terrain in Greater Victoria, according to VREB, with an HPI of $1.21 million for a single-family home, while the Malahat region is the most affordable region of Greater Victoria with an HPI of $568,900 for a single-family home.

Looking at the two largest municipalities, the HPI for a single family home in Victoria is $838,700 and $885,700 in Saanich (East) and $759,300 in Saanich (West). HPIs on the Westshore range from $675,700 in Langford to $703,200 in Colwood, from $848,600 in the Highlands to $967,700 in Metchosin.

On the Saanich Peninsula, North Saanich records the HPI with $941,000, followed by Central Saanich with $762,800 and Sidney with $663,500.

Looking across the province, Greater Victoria led the way with an increase of 44.5 per cent, according to BCREA, followed by the Fraser Valley with 36 per cent. Areas with declining sales include the northern regions of British Columbia.

So what accounts for the increase in sales? Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA’s chief economist, points to lower mortgage rates and relaxed mortgage qualifying rules. But if these factors “may provide a boost to home sales heading into the spring,” he also warns of “significant economic uncertainty lingering over the outlook.”

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Despite one billion-dollar deal, commercial real estate sales drop sharply in Metro Vancouver in 2019 –



Last year was not the best of times for commercial real estate brokers in the Lower Mainland working north of the Fraser River.

That’s because the number of sales plummeted 32.8 percent from 2018, according to figures released today.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver noted that the 2019 commercial sales figure was also 41.5 percent behind the torrid pace set in 2017.

The drop in dollar value was even greater—the $6.86 billion in sales in 2019 was 56.7 percent below the $15.83 billion recorded in the previous year.

“Activity in the commercial market slowed in 2019 due in large part to reduced economic activity across our provincial economy last year,” REBGV president Ashley Smith said in a news release. “We experienced a pickup in home buyer activity in the residential real estate market to start this year, but we’ll have to wait and see how demand for commercial real estate will be impacted by the economic difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing.”

That’s not to say there weren’t any gigantic commissions, though.

The biggest-ticket sale came when Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone Partners bought the Bentall Centre in Vancouver’s financial district for $1.05 billion.

Another significant sale involved 1075 West Georgia Street, a 26-storey office tower that went for $275 million. Airport Executive Park in Richmond traded hands for $208 million.

It’s just that there weren’t as many of these as in previous years.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Ashley Smith attributes the slow commercial market to reduced economic activity in B.C.

The best-performing sector last year was industrial land, with 463 sales. That was down just 6.1 percent from 2018, with the value dropping by 6.9 percent.

Ecommerce has driven the industrial land market in recent years, with Amazon securing several large sites.

Office and retail transactions declined by 24 percent in 2019. But what’s worse from the standpoint of commissions is that the dollar volume in this area plunged by 65.8 percent.

Commercial land sales were also slow, with a 54.1 percent drop in transactions and a 61.5 decrease in dollar volume in 2019.

Multifamily land sales fell by 50.5 percent, with the dollar volume diminishing by 48.9 percent.

The Real Estate Board of Vancouver’s territory does not include White Rock, North Delta, Surrey, and Langley.


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Toronto real estate firm supports residents and businesses during COVID-19 pandemic – National Post



A Toronto real estate firm is offering residents of its properties $100 in UberEats gift cards or grocery gift cards to help support them and local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to residents dated March 30, Shiplake Properties Ltd., which operates five rental apartment towers in Toronto, with currently 1,200 units, said it wants to support residents and local communities during the pandemic.

“Offering our assistance to both our residents and our local community will help ensure that the most vulnerable among us are supported during the crisis,” the letter says.

The real estate group, a third-generation business owned by the Latner family in the city, also offered credits toward rent increases from the past year to tenants, in addition to the $250,000 in gift cards.

We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our community is safe and secure

Stephen Bloom, the company’s CEO, said they have “deep roots” in Toronto, dating back to the 1940s, and that residents “find themselves facing the same challenges as the rest of society.”

“Many residents in our communities were going to have challenges paying their rent,” Bloom said in an interview. “We felt it was our obligation … something we absolutely wanted to do.”

In addition to the credits and gift cards, Shiplake has also established a dedicated email for residents so they can reach out if they’re facing additional difficulties and where issues will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, Bloom said.

“We wanted to both help our tenants and some of the local businesses that have been so badly impacted.”

The logical option, Bloom explained, was to help support local restaurants, which he said are struggling for survival, through their takeout services. Local business, such as restaurants, are important to a community because they bring much character to Toronto’s neighbourhoods, he said. The gift cards, hopefully, will give the local restauranteurs some business, he added.

Shiplake and the Latner Family Foundation have several other initiatives: they are spending $250,000 in April to make sure University Health Network emergency staff are able to pay for accommodations — they’re putting their own lives on the line, Bloom said, and some are staying in hotels so they can be closer to work. More details are still to come, he explained, but there will be support for food essentials at the Sinai and Sunnybrook Hospitals and support for The Daily Bread Foodbank.

As well, they have partnered with the National Gallery of Canada for a virtual tour on April 4 to provide entertainment at home, the letter said. It’ll happen on Instagram Live. Bloom said it’s something for people to do while they’re stuck at home isolating.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our community is safe and secure,” said the letter.

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Okanagan developer touts Vernon units as top real estate investment – Vernon Morning Star



An Okanagan real estate developer is offering an investment opportunity in Vernon that it calls the best in the province.

Vita is a new brand of resort residences by Kevin Bird, president of West K Homes based in Kelowna. The 313 square-foot condo units are designed for trendy functionality in a compact space.

“Interest rates are now at an all-time low and with the current uncertainty of the global markets today, investing in real estate is your best investment solution with Vita being the leader in British Columbia,” said Bird.

Bird, along with real estate development partner Dennis Pirot, received a development permit from the City of Vernon to construct a 103-unit building on Lakeshore Road. The developers plan to break ground in the spring, and the move-in date is set for March 2021.

As an added incentive, Vita is offering 1 per cent financing over a five-year term. If interest rates go up during those five years, investors won’t be affected. A more detailed investment analysis is provided here.

The suites are equipped with stainless steel appliances, vinyl plank flooring, modern kitchen cabinetry and come fully furnished—down to the cutlery.

“When you purchase a suite, all you have to do is show up with your suitcase and enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle and the Vita amenities,” Bird said.

Those amenities include a gym, pool, pickleball court and the beach at Okanagan Lake just across the street.

Prices for the units range from $174,900 to $249,900. The average sale price of the units is $195,000 with a 20 per cent down payment of $39,000. A studio with no deck ranges from $161,900-$190,900. The most expensive units — ground-floor suites with a walk-out patio — cost as much as $234,900.

The residences are not micro units, but they utilize many of the same innovations that allow for high functionality in a compact space.

“They’ve used every nook and cranny to optimize the functionality for living,” Realtor Joel Ellams said last November.

A fully furnished show suite of the units can be viewed in Kelowna, directly across from the Orchard Park Shopping Centre at 1940 Underhill Street. The show suite is an exact replica of the units for sale in Vernon and is open from noon to 5 p.m. daily but closed Fridays.

For more information, email or visit Vita’s website at

To schedule an after-hours visit, call 250-826-7036.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Vernon chamber calls for 6 months flexibility on property tax

READ MORE: Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Brendan Shykora


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