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Prince Edward County real-estate boom signals a fundamental change



17 West Street in Wellington, Ont., one of the principal towns in the increasingly popular Prince Edward County.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Demand for real estate in Prince Edward County, Ont., exploded in June as pandemic-weary Toronto residents seek an escape from the city.

The number of properties that traded hands doubled in June from May, says Treat Hull of the brokerage Treat Hull and Associates. Sales were also jumped sharply from June, 2019.

The average price, meanwhile, climbed 14 per cent from June of last year to hit $600,000.

Mr. Hull sees more than a burst of activity stemming from pent-up demand: he believes there is a tectonic shift underway in real estate that will likely result in high demand for Prince Edward County properties for a long time to come.

Mr. Hull says the coronavirus and the measures imposed to contain it seem to have prompted many people to think about a change in lifestyle. As restrictions were eased and the market began to open up again, buyers swarmed to Prince Edward County, which is about two hours east of Toronto.

“I think it’s psychological. The risk didn’t change overnight,” Mr. Hull says. “All of a sudden they just returned to the market. I was gobsmacked.”

Meanwhile, the number of resale listings fell far short of the same month last year. Months of inventory stood at just over four months at the end of June.

Months of inventory is an indicator of the balance of supply and demand. It measures how long the pool of current listings would last at the current rate of sales. The current level has not been seen since the bubbly days of 2016-2017.

Prince Edward County’s mix of farmland, beaches, charming towns and fine dining have made the headland jutting into Lake Ontario a popular weekend destination for visitors from Toronto for many years. Often, those visitors decide to buy a vacation home or an investment property they can rent out on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms.

The County’s mix of farmland, beaches and fine dining have made it a a popular weekend destination.

JOHNNY C.Y. LAM/The Globe and Mail

Some buyers also purchase with a longer-term view towards retirement. Mr. Hull says that is one group that has been making the drive along Highway 401 recently. Many are accelerating those plans.

Mr. Hull has heard from more than a few lawyers, for example. One is a senior partner at a large Toronto law firm who told Mr. Hull the changes brought about by the pandemic have given him time to reflect. He wants to slow down his practice and work mainly from home.

Mr. Hull says Zoom video conferencing and other technologies have made working from home acceptable now for a wide swath of the professional economy.

In the past, buyers looking toward retirement asked lots of questions about the proximity to a hospital and how long it would take to have the roads plowed of snow in the winter.

Not one of his buyers has raised those concerns in recent weeks.

“They want a retreat,” he says. “Distance from wineries matters for a lot of people.”

Another cohort of buyers is the family that has been talking about buying a cottage or vacation property for years. They’ve been cooped up for months – with lots of time to think about how nice it would be to have a retreat in the countryside.

“They’re stir-crazy and they can’t travel out-of-country.”

Some buyers are also motivated by fear of a second wave, he adds.

Mr. Hull’s analysis shows that many of the recent buyers and current house-hunters are new to the market – not only people who had to put their plans on hold in March when the real estate business dramatically slowed.

“It’s people who have newly resolved, ‘we’ve got to get a place in the country,‘” he says.

Many buyers feel a sense of urgency and want a shorter-than-usual closing, Mr. Hull says.

As for sellers, Mr. Hull sees no sign they are rushing to list. Many remain concerned about allowing agents to usher potential buyers into their homes.

23 County Road 35, Sophiasburgh, Ont.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Looking ahead to the fall, Mr. Hull says there has never been a higher level of uncertainty in the business world. Second waves are common in pandemics, he points out, and it’s also commonplace for the second wave to be worse than the first.

Those factors mean incomes could be hit hard and paying $300-a-night for a weekend get-away to the county could become a lower priority for many people.

Meanwhile, some forecasters are predicting a modest increase in real estate prices in Canada, while others are expecting a decline.

“My advice to clients is, you need to be ready for both scenarios,” Mr. Hull says. “It’s discomfiting for buyers. I’m not saying things are going to go south – but they definitely could.”

Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Rishi Sondhi is warning that the pandemic has thrown sand in the gears of Canadian population growth.

The national population count was already expanding at its slowest pace since 2015 in the first quarter, Mr. Sondhi points out. In April, immigration collapsed.

The risks from weaker population growth and elevated unemployment have prompted Mr. Sondhi to downgrade TD’s forecast to modest price growth in Canadian housing in the second half of 2020 and a mild decline next year.

He expects the impact to be most noticeable in the large cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, where many immigrants settle.

The rental market will slump first – at the same time that pandemic-related job losses have already disproportionately hit younger workers, who also tend to rent.

“The ownership housing market will also feel the impact as fewer newcomers purchase properties and there is less demand from investor-owned rental units,” Mr. Sondhi says in a research report.

Some of the setback is likely to be temporary, he says, but the mix of ongoing travel fears, a pandemic-related slowdown in processing times for immigration applications, government travel restrictions, an only gradually healing global economy to hold Canada’s population growth well below its pre-pandemic rate of about 1.5 per cent annually.

Source:- The Globe and Mail

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Home sales hit record in 2020 despite pandemic – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in December hit an all-time record for the month to end what was also a record year.

It says December sales were up 47.2 per cent compared with December 2019, the largest year-over-year gain in monthly sales in 11 years.

Sales for the month were also up 7.2 per cent compared with November.

For 2020 as a whole, CREA says some 551,392 homes were sold, up 12.6 per cent from 2019, and a new annual record.

The actual national average home price was a record $607,280 in December, up 17.1 per cent from the final month of 2019.

CREA says excluding Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of the most active and expensive markets, lowers the national average price by almost $130,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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Who knew a health crisis would spur on a Vancouver real estate boom? – News 1130



VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Prices are up, and buyers are bidding. As the option of remote work continues, the demand for property is also continuing to rise.

One of the country’s leading brokerages says there is a real estate boom in Vancouver, and while low interest rates and pent-up demand are factors, the pandemic has helped fuel it.

Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper says the aggregate price of a Greater Vancouver home last quarter rose more than seven per cent to a little over $1.1 million.

RELATED ARTICLE: Vancouver office vacancy rates spike amid COVID-19, but well below national average

New data from Royal LePage finds more than half of Canada’s largest real estate markets have seen double-digit price growth over the last few months.

The brokerage says multiple offers have again become common and almost every detached home is attracting competitive bids.

Soper says 2020 was the strangest year of his career and that the term “recovery” is an understatement. He adds that, looking at fourth quarter results, he can state without hyperbole that the health crisis has triggered a real estate boom.

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Top Real Estate News of the Week: January 11 to 15 – Toronto Storeys



Another week in Toronto has come to a close and, from January 11 to 13, real estate stories continued to take our desktops by storm. In fact, you may have struggled to keep up with it all!

And, let’s be real: everything — *gestures vaguely* — is a lot right now, so there’s a fair chance you don’t want to spend your weekend doom-scrolling, trying to catch up on all the latest news about what’s up, what’s down, and what’s not budging. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend it. (Who thought the change of the calendar year meant anything at all, really?)

To make your day a little easier, we’ve gathered up this week’s top articles and assembled them below. Consider this place your Toronto real estate news digest, where you can get the picture before you go outside to get some (socially distanced) fresh air.

With that, we’ll get right to it. Here are your top “storeys” for the week:

1. What Ford’s New COVID Measures Mean for the Ontario Construction Industry

As Ontario grapples with surging daily COVID-19 case numbers that are now threatening to swamp hospitals, Premier Ford announced new public-health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, which includes new restrictions to the construction industry. The measures include a stay-at-home order, in connection with a province-wide state of emergency declaration.

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2. Ford Government Approves Temporary Ban of Residential Evictions

With stay-at-home orders in place, the Ontario government has approved an emergency order that temporarily pauses the enforcement of residential evictions. This marks the second time in less than a year that the province has paused residential evictions. The government made the announcement Thursday morning, two days after Premier Ford declared the province was entering its second state of emergency as Ontario grapples with surging daily case numbers that are now threatening to swamp hospitals.

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3. Canadians Believe More in the Housing Market Than the Overall Economy

Is this optimism? Despite the negative implications COVID-19 has had on nearly every business sector, it appears the pandemic hasn’t had an (lasting) effect on the the real estate industry. According to RBC’s latest edition of its Home Buying Sentiment Poll, Canadians still believe in the strength of the housing market — despite growing concerns of the overall economy.

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4. Average Rent Prices in Downtown Toronto Are Now Less Than the GTA Average

“Never thought I would see this,” Realosophy Realty President John Pasalis wrote on Twitter. His words are paired with a visual, which shows that right now, downtown rents are priced lower than those across the city at large, as well as across the GTA. The core’s average rent price is $2,132, under Toronto as a whole at $2,152, and the GTA’s current $2,227 average.

But there’s more to rent prices than their at-a-glance averages.

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5. Average 1-Bedroom Rent in Toronto Has Dropped Over 20% Year-Over-Year

In a similar vein to the above article, this week, Padmapper released its January national rent report, analyzing hundreds of thousands of listings last month to examine median rent prices across the 24 largest cities in the country. And where the country’s largest city is concerned? One-bedroom rents fell nearly 4% month-over-month, while rents are down over 20% year-over-year.

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6. Who Gets the House? ‘Divorce Month’ Prompts Real Estate Questions

In news that’s both a bummer and important to know, the first month of the year is often known as ‘Divorce Month’ — pandemic or not. And COVID, along with all the increased time it’s forced people to remain together under one roof, has likely only added to the number of people now seeking separation from their partners. And while the initial decision to part ways is the first of a long list of decisions that must be made, what to do with a shared property is most often also hanging out at the top of that list.

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7. Canadian Housing Market Already On Pace to Have Record Year in 2021: RBC

On Wednesday, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue released a new report looking at the current state of the country’s housing market, which Hogue believes is on pace to set more records amid the current unprecedented public health and economic challenges. The report begins with this sentiment: “in the end, the rollercoaster that was 2020 left Canada’s housing market more or less where it started the year: full of bidding wars, escalating prices and exasperated buyers unable to find a home they can afford.”

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8. A Sprawling Winter Light Exhibit is Coming to Toronto’s Waterfront

Need some fresh air? We feel you. Starting this Friday, two new outdoor light exhibits will open to the public as part of Harbourfront Centre and The Waterfront BIA’s outdoor winter celebration of arts & culture: Site Alive | Winter Editionwhich will transform the 10-acre waterfront campus into a unique, immersive world of sensory experience.

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