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Rate hikes add a note of hesitation to real estate market

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53 Lynndale Rd. in the Scarborough Bluffs neighbourhood. Listed with an asking price of $4.2-million, the house sold after 16 days on market for $3.9-million.Ciprian Dumitrascu/Ciprian Dumitrascu/Soare Productions

The Toronto-area fall real estate market is entering the final stretch of 2022 with dispirited buyers, a lack of inventory and the table set for an interest rate hike in December.

The cautious mood in November follows a sombre October which saw sales in the Greater Toronto Area tumble 49.1 per cent compared with October, 2021, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

The average price in the GTA dipped 5.7 per cent from a year earlier to stand at $1.089-million at the end of October.

Rochelle DeClute, broker at DeClute Real Estate Union Realty, says rising interest rates have offset the drop in average price. House hunters who line up a preapproved mortgage and fail to buy before it expires find out they are approved for less each time they apply for a renewal.

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“They’re preapproved for a certain price and that price keeps dropping,” she says. “That’s been discouraging.”

Meanwhile, the family money that propelled many first-time and move-up buyers during the run-up in prices during the pandemic is not as readily available,” Ms. DeClute says.

Older generations have seen their investment portfolios decline, she says, and higher interest rates make it less attractive for parents to take out a home equity line of credit on their own house in order to help their adult children.

While such a move made sense when rates were low and real estate prices were rocketing higher, parents are more hesitant when prices are declining, she says.

With prices softening, Ms. DeClute says her team is making sure that sellers are serious before they take on a listing.

Prepping houses for sale is costly for agents, who invest in staging with fresh furniture, painting and landscaping in some cases.

“We really have to have a good conversation about their motivation,” she says. “We have to be very sure that they’re ready to sell and they’re not just testing the market.”

Some homeowners see a property in their neighbourhood sell quickly and expect the same result, she says. If their own house lingers, it’s hard for homeowners not to take it personally.

“The reality of living through it is something sellers are not prepared for,” she says.

Still, some houses are selling with multiple offers – particularly if they have an asking price below the $1-million mark.

Ms. DeClute points to one recent sale in Toronto’s east end. Agent Melanie Wright listed the semi-detached house at 36 Ashland Ave. with an asking price of $999,000 and drew 20 offers.

Six of the offers were clustered around the high end, says Ms. DeClute, and the house sold for $1.415-million.

Houses in higher price brackets are also selling, but a little more slowly compared with recent years, Ms. DeClute says.

In the Scarborough Bluffs, agent Rick DeClute listed a large house at 53 Lynndale Rd. with an asking price of $4.2-million. The house sold after 16 days on market for $3.9-million.

The average number of days on market in October was 21, up 61.5 per cent from the 13 in the same month last year.

New listings, meanwhile, dropped 11.6 per cent in October from October of last year.

Traditionally, many homeowners have taken advantage of a declining market to trade up.

But agents say some potential move-up buyers appear to be nervous about taking on more debt after a series of interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada that lifted its key rate to 3.75 per cent.

Pritesh Parekh, real estate agent with Century 21 Legacy Ltd., says he is encouraging prospective buyers to figure out the repercussions for their budget if mortgage rates climb higher or they face economic hard times.

“They should be asking the questions I don’t think people were asking two years ago,” says Mr. Parekh, who has a background in finance. “As much as the stress test helps, do your own stress test.”

Interior shots of 53 Lynndale Rd. The average number of days on market in October was 21, up 61.5 per cent from the 13 in the same month last year.Ciprian Dumitrascu/Ciprian Dumitrascu/Soare Productions

Mr. Parekh says buyers are also delving into the fine print in mortgage agreements more thoroughly than they did in the past. Breaking a fixed-term mortgage, for example, often comes with hefty penalties.

He expects the market to remain slow for the remainder of 2022.

But some clients are contemplating an upgrade in 2023 as the decline in the average price in the GTA hits single-family homes the hardest.

But a continuing trend that partly accounts for the tight inventory and the low number of transactions at the moment is that people often want to hold onto the original property.

He points to one client who was living in a condo unit with his family. He purchased a townhouse for the family and kept the condo as a rental property.

Mr. Parekh says owners who sell now will have to accept a lower price for their current property, but in most cases they will save more on the new property. He points to the October numbers from TRREB, which show the average price of a detached house in the GTA dropped 11 per cent year-over-year to stand at $1,372,438. For a semi-detached, the average price fell 6.2 per cent to $1,079,393.

The average townhouse price in the GTA slipped 3.9 per cent year-over-year to $919,903.

The average condo price, meanwhile, edged up 1.8 per cent to stand at $716,515.

Mr. Parekh predicts the market will soon head into its typical seasonal slowdown in December, and the Bank of Canada has another policy meeting set for Dec. 7.

“As we get closer to the end of the year, there’s the looming story of another rate hike.”

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, notes the central bank has been sounding more dovish recently but he believes that tilt looks premature following a surge in employment and acceleration in wage growth in October.

Mr. Brown points out that Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem left the door open to another 50 basis point hike in December, but many on Bay Street are now forecasting 25 basis point hike.

Mr. Brown expects the bank to hike in December and again in January.

Looking ahead, Ms. DeClute expects transactions to slow down even more in the final weeks of the year.

More homeowners are planning to list in the early months of 2023 but some are hoping prices will rebound in the spring. Ms. DeClute sees that as unlikely.

The impact of higher interest rates tends to hit borrowers about 12 to 18 months after rates begin to rise, Ms. DeClute says, so she is just now receiving the first calls from concerned homeowners.

One buyer who purchased during the pandemic planned to hold onto the house for about five years and then use the profits from a sale to fund his retirement. But the increase in rates has made that plan unviable.

“He felt strongly the market is going to continue to decline and he wants out.”

She is also hearing from families who have tighter cash flow than they had when they bought their house. Some have kids in expensive activities such as hockey and dance and they will have trouble stretching to make mortgage payments at higher rates.

Ms. DeClute says some are running the numbers and deciding to simplify their lives.

“They’re saying, ‘I don’t need to be in this pocket’, or ‘I don’t need this huge house.’”

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More tall towers being proposed, approved and completed in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Coquitlam – Vancouver Sun

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There are 20 development projects with towers over 45 storeys that are selling condo units, under construction or near completion.

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Developers are seeking approval for two 50-storey towers in the same block where Surrey city council recently gave the greenlight for what will be its tallest building at 67 storeys.

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And there are several proposals for more tall towers like this in Surrey that haven’t been made public yet.

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“There are ones of similar heights that are moving forward,” said Chris Dikeakos of Vancouver-based Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc. “And it’s not just in Surrey. Burnaby is another municipality. Coquitlam is starting to get applications for some much taller towers.”

He added that with increased land and construction costs, developers are motivated to use all the density they can get and build taller towers. However, there is also a point where it stops making sense to push higher “because things like the cost of structural systems increase as you go higher.”

Across Metro Vancouver, there are more than 20 towers over 45 storeys that have been approved by municipal governments, according to data from Zonda Urban market analyst Justin Lee. More than half of these are in Burnaby. Five are in Coquitlam and Port Moody, while Downtown Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey have one each.

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Some are under construction, like the first phase of Onni Development’s Gilmore Place in Burnaby with its 64-storey towers. Others are closer to completion like Westbank’s The Butterfly at 57 storeys in the West End.

After these, there are 40 more tall-tower projects that have been publicly presented to city councils and are in some stage of seeking approval. Most are in Burnaby and Surrey, followed by Downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam.

“We’ll see if economic conditions allow for them to be built,” said Dikeakos, whose firm is working on the new tall tower approved in Surrey and other projects.

In late 2019, Pinnacle International Development made a proposal for a site near the Lougheed SkyTrain Station. It had three towers including one that would be 80 storeys and 250 metres tall. They would be the tallest buildings in Western Canada. Some more details were presented to Burnaby city council in May 2022 for towers of 80, 76 and 73 storeys, but the project has not progressed further with the city.

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Bosa Properties initially proposed a project with two 70-storey towers on Kingsway near the Metrotown SkyTrain Station, but there haven’t been any further details since it was initially presented to Burnaby council in 2021. In December 2022, Bosa sold the site to Keltic Canada Development for more than $100 million.

Metro King by Anthem Properties is a proposal for a 66-storey tower between Kingsway and Hazel streets across from Metrotown that is nearing a final decision by the City of Burnaby.

This pipeline of potential projects is happening as cities have focused on adding density to sites near transit stations and town centres, according to Dikeakos.

“The taller buildings in these types of developments that you are going to be seeing tend to be real, mixed-use ones, meaning they have a commercial base with significant office or hotel use where the first 15 to 20 storeys are commercial even before you get to the residential portion,” he said.

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His firm in recent years completed Station Square at Metrotown, which has five towers with the tallest being 54 storeys.

“One of the interesting changes that we’re seeing is that because these developments are being done near transit sites, cities are requiring less parking,” said Dikeakos. “If we had to do the same amount of parking required a few years ago, the depth of these excavations would make them completely unfeasible. (When) we’re not required to do as much parking, it allows us to do these taller towers and still make some financial sense.”

Even though developers are motivated to deal with increasing land and construction costs by building higher, there is a turning point. It will obviously be different for each project, but Dikeakos said that for the Station Square project, it was somewhere at the 52- to 55-storey height.

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“That was the maximum we wanted to go in that particular case because things like the cost of structural systems increase as you go higher. The number of elevators potentially increases. Window-washing systems become more complex. There are all sorts of things that actually do add to the overall cost of these taller buildings.”

jlee-young@postmedia.com

  1. Starting in November 2020, companies, trusts, partnership and others who purchased property in B.C., where property ownership was not clear, had to file reports to reveal the true or beneficial owners.

    B.C. property ownership registry in full effect, but will take years to ‘mature’


  2. Deadline to declare your property under Vancouver’s empty homes tax is Feb. 2


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Through Parvis, Real Estate Investment Opportunities Abound – Storeys

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As we collectively ride the ongoing inflation rollercoaster, it’s only natural — and wise — to consider how you can make your financial foundation as stable as possible.

For many, investing is a preferred way to protect and grow wealth. And in the last several years, Canadian real estate has seen an unprecedented boom in interest from all angles, including the investment realm.

Today, investors are increasingly keen to stake claim on real estate assets as a means of diversifying their portfolio. Understandably so, considering the Canadian market’s demonstrated fundamentals of low supply and high demand lend themselves to steadily increasing value.

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Making the sourcing and securing of such assets easy, Parvis Invest – a Canadian marketplace for real estate investing – offers a portfolio of curated, high-quality real estate developments to its investors through a user-friendly platform.

READ: Money Matters: This Online Marketplace Makes Real Estate Investment Easy

Parvis’ selection of real estate products is strategically built via direct collaboration with developers and property owners, plus team insights, analytics, and industry data. Opportunities also undergo vetting by the company’s Investment Committee, which has insight and experience from the worlds of real estate development, private equity, tech, law, and finance.

Capturing the essence of Parvis’ curated offerings, a new 24-storey condo development called Centra invites investors to get in on the ground floor of something special in Surrey, BC. The building’s developer, Everest Group, boasts a team with more than 150 years of combined experience in international real estate and construction management, with more than 30 successfully completed projects and over 1,000 acres of land developed.

The project, five months into its 24-month building schedule, brings 164 residential condominiums — plus three townhomes and two levels of underground parking — to one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities (and the fastest-growing in BC; Surrey’s population is expected to more-than double in the next decade).

Located at 13868 101 Ave, the building is near a host of restaurants and shops, as well as Simon Fraser University, Memorial Hospital, and Skytrain access. Downtown Vancouver is just a short drive away, serving spots to tuck into for a bite, a live show, or an afternoon of shopping. And at the end of the day, residents can comfortably return to their lush, green, and calm family-friendly neighborhood.

For investors, Centra’s risk profile is classified as moderate to high level of risk, because it’s a new construction building. Two factors that help de-risk this project, relative to comparable new developments, are that over 80% of its units are pre-sold, and Parvis investors will receive a preferential equity return of 17.5% IRR. The Parvis equity return is in priority to the remaining equity invested.

Even further assurance is provided by way of a corporate guarantee by Everest, and personal guarantees by its directors. The condominium’s minimum investment is $20,000, with a total equity raise of $18,500,000.

By spring 2023, Parvis will also introduce its secondary market, which will give investors the chance to liquidate and sell their investment ahead of time, should they wish — big moves, for a traditionally illiquid asset class. For Centra, there are no transaction or management fees for investors to pay, and in the case one chooses to sell on Parvis’ secondary market, the seller only pays 1% commission.

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Centra (Parvis)

Also currently available for investment is a fully-tenanted residential building in Kitchener, Ontario, classified under the Parvis Core Plus Strategy, which typically features a longer investment horizon with a low to moderate risk profile for investors, and a targeted IRR of 9% to 16%. The building is located at 199 Ahrens Street, is home to 16 units ranging from one to three bedrooms, and was purchased by its developer below market value.

Renovations to the interiors by Mike Beer Investments, plus repositioning of the building and property, promise to increase its annual rental income by nearly double — and the financing for these upgrades is already in place.

This building’s minimum investment is $10,000, with a five-year investment term, and an average projected annual return of 16%. The product’s total equity offering is $1,700,000.

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Kitchener (Parvis)

Within walking distance of several parks, cafes, restaurants, and shops, the address is perfectly situated just north of downtown Kitchener’s main strip. And with GO Transit also only steps away, residents have day trips at their fingertips.

Like with Centra, there are no transaction or management fees related to this building for investors, and in the case one chooses to sell on Parvis’ secondary market when the option opens up, that 1% seller commission comes into play.

It’s no question that 2022 was filled with trials, and ended with uncertainty for many sectors. But through marked financial growth, multiple instances of professional recognition, and licensing approvals secured, Parvis came out of last year an anomaly: exceptionally grounded, stable, and strong.

If these are the attributes you want to see in your own investment portfolio, Parvis can help you get there.


This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.

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Historic Muskoka Resort Hits the Market for $12M – Storeys

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Written By
Erin Nicole Davis

An iconic Muskoka resort has just hit cottage country’s real estate market. 

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For those looking for a new business venture in the summertime hot spot, Windermere House has just been listed for $12M.

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Windermere House

The sprawling, long-time landmark sits on Lake Rosseau — one of the “Big Three” Muskoka lakes — and is known for its quintessential Old Muskoka charm mixed with modern luxury and amenities. Beloved by both tourists and local cottagers, the picturesque resort has been synonymous with Muskoka tourism since 1870. 

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Windermere House

Known as ‘The Lady of The Lake,’ this 56-room resort hotel sits in a prime location in the Village of Windermere, overlooking the stunning lake. Offering a dose of timeless charm, its historic features include original stone architecture, a charming veranda, and classic Muskoka-style windows. The hotel features several food and beverage outlets, full-service spa capabilities, and a 3,200 sq. ft. of function space that ranges from a private boardroom to state-of-the-art conference facilities. 

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Windermere House

With quintessential cottage country recreation front and centre, the 6.62-acre resort features a heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, sand beach, marina, and golf course. 

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Windermere House

The new owner of the property will have the opportunity to take up residence in Windermere Cottage, the traditional four-bedroom private cottage with a separate entrance from Fife Avenue that can also be rented as an additional resort property. Or, as the listing highlights, there’s also the option to personalize a penthouse “cottage” suite within the hotel. 

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Windermere House

The Muskoka chair-filled property includes three detached staff houses, an older, staggered row-style 10-plex, and ample on-site parking. 

While its price tag isn’t within reach of everyone, considering that most of the sprawling cottages on the lake sell for upwards of $5M — coupled with its inevitable income-generating potential — the property may be considered a steal for someone in the market for a breezy new business venture.

Find the full listing here.

Written By
Erin Nicole Davis

Erin Nicole Davis is a born and raised Toronto writer with a passion for the city and its urban affairs and culture.

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