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Provincial real estate council calls upon BC realtors to halt open houses

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Open houses of homes for sale or rent in B.C. are coming to an end.

This comes after a group of agencies overseeing real estate professionals in B.C. called for all open houses, across the province to come to a standstill.

This recommendation was made today (Nov. 5), by the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC), the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE), in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the announcement, they referenced the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

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“RECBC, BCREA, and OSRE share the position that open houses should not be held at this time,” said CEO of RECBC, Erin Seeley.

This recommendation follows an order last week by B.C.’s Public Health Office to limit the number of people at an event in a private residence to six.

The board explained that real estate professionals must continue to follow this guidance when conducting any in-person showings and to recommend their clients instead use virtual tools to show and view properties.

In July, the RECBC released a set of recommendations that B.C. realtors have been using ever since, to stay safe and keep others safe while showing homes.

From the outset of the pandemic, the real estate board has been asking realtors to cease hosting open houses in the interest of public health and safety. However, it’s not until today that they insisted it should stop.

This comes at a time when, in some parts of the province, the real estate market is booming. In the Okanagan-Shuswap region, 70 per cent more homes sold in October of this year, compared to 2019. This is just slightly down compared to September, where 78 per cent more homes sold in September 2020, compared to 2019.

Additionally, the time it takes for homes to fly off the shelves is decreasing.

In the Fraser Valley, October was a record-breaking month for sales.

A total of 2,370 sales were recorded by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, a 48.9 per cent increase since last year.

More information for real estate professionals and consumers on the use of virtual tools and on how to safely conduct in-person showings is available at www.recbc.ca and www.bcrea.bc.ca.

 

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Irish Real Estate Returns Drop Amid Higher Interest Rates – Bloomberg

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Irish Real Estate Returns Drop Amid Higher Interest Rates  Bloomberg

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Bank of Canada comments offer light at the end of the tunnel for real estate, mortgage markets, experts say

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Canada’s struggling real estate sector is breathing a sigh of relief, but it wasn’t so much the size of the Bank of Canada’s Jan. 25 rate hike as the language that came with it that was cause for optimism.  

That’s because while the central bank boosted its benchmark overnight interest rate by 0.25 basis points to 4.5 per cent, its eighth consecutive increase, it also signalled it would put the hiking cycle on pause — at least for now.  

“A 25-basis-point increase or no increase was what we needed, along with the kind of language … that indicated we were essentially where we needed to be” Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper said in an interview. “What’s important at this stage is that we’ve clearly come to a point where interest rates aren’t going to be in the news.” 

Soper said the realization that rate hikes will be stopping or slowing should draw what he called the “missing transactions” — those with the capacity to buy but who have remained on the sidelines — back into the market, though it may take some time. 

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Those buyers, he said, have been reluctant because they understand the link between rising rates and prices, and “they don’t want to buy a house today that will be worth less tomorrow.” 

Having some price certainty will make it easier for them to enter the market, but they’ll still need to be comfortable knowing they are paying five or six per cent on their mortgages while others are locked in at two per cent.  

“There’s still many, many people out there with two per cent mortgage rates. Your sister or your cousin might have a two per cent mortgage rate but you’re going to have to pay five,” Soper said. “This will harm consumer confidence until the market has more time to adjust to it.” 

As a result, he said he saw a “muted recovery” in the cards for the spring. 

The pause also signals a light at the end of the tunnel for variable-rate holders, according to James Laird, Co-CEO of Ratehub.ca and president of mortgage lender CanWise, even if it means another dose of short-term pain. 

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Clearview Commercial Realty’s investment funds help expand portfolio

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After 22 years in the Calgary office of a global commercial real estate firm, Steve Vesuwalla started his own company, Clearview Commercial Realty, in 2019. A year ago, he established Clearview Industrial Fund, with all capital raised though Alberta investors.

Its success has been remarkable, with the closing of the first three funds that brought Clearview a portfolio of 300,000 square feet, comprising a 260,000-square-foot building anchored by the north campus of CDI College and a 35,000-square-foot industrial building in South Foothills

The third fund launched in 2022 resulted in a residential project in partnership with NAI Advent.

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Mission 19 is a luxury 67-unit apartment block that will welcome tenants this fall, designed by Gravity Architect and being built by Triumph Construction in the trendy Mission District at 320 19th Avenue S.W.

Last month, Vesuwalla embarked on a fourth — the Clearview Alberta Opportunity Fund — with a goal of raising a pool of equity that will allow his company to act quickly when commercial real estate opportunities arise.

“Successful real estate ventures result from being able to find appropriate investments and having the ability to purchase right away,” says Vesuwalla. “And cash is still king.”

Acumen Capital Partners handled the equity raise and the first round of financing closed last month. A second round is scheduled to close at the end of this month.

The first purchase — in cash — by the new fund is the former Economy Glass building at the corner of 17th Avenue and Centre Street S.W. in the Beltline district.

The 11,500-square-foot building on a .33-acre site has drive-in overhead/roll-up doors, existing office and retail showroom improvements, and highly usable and accessible lower level space.

Vesuwalla is working with a restaurant group and fitness operator to take over the spaces, but the location is ideal for future development as a multi-storey commercial-residential building. That will be planned on the completion of the extension of 17th Avenue across Macleod Trail, giving direct pedestrian and vehicular link access into the Stampede grounds, the BMO Convention Centre expansion and the Victoria Park/Stampede LRT station redevelopment.

No doubt that connectivity will invite further commercial, retail and entertainment-oriented development along 17th Avenue and in the immediate area.

Doug Johannson, executive vice-president at Clearview who joined the company in 2021, has also been busy completing some commercial real estate deals.

Explosive growth in development of commercial real estate in the Balzac area has continued with the sale of 33.85 acres on the south side of Highway 566.

Located between the successful developments of High Plains and Wagon Wheel industrial parks, it was sold by Johannson on behalf of the Abbotsford, B.C., owner to a local developer for $8.8 million.

He was also the broker for the sale of a 17-acre parcel in Frontier Park to Remington Development, and has an unconditional contract to close on the sale of a 43,500-square-foot building on Enterprise Way, between Stoney Trail and the eastern city limits.

Last year was a good one for Clearview and it has started 2023 full of confidence for even better results from commercial real estate transactions, as well as opportunities the new fund will bring.

Vesuwalla and Johannson continue to look for interesting value-added opportunities to increase Clearview’s rewarding portfolio.

Notes:

President and CEO of Bow Valley College, Dr. Misheck Mwaba, has been appointed to the board of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce for a three-year term. “I look forward to working closely with the board on strategic initiatives to address the evolving needs of the Calgary business community,” says Mwaba. “I am acutely aware of the urgent need to develop and retain a world-class talented workforce, nurture a diversified economy and grow our digital ecosystem. Mwaba is a champion of Workforce Integrated Learning (WIL), re-skilling and up-skilling, and takes pride in liaising with Calgary businesses to understand their labour demands.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at info@davidparker.ca.

 

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