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Real estate forum optimistic for Edmonton Downtown rebound

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Inflation, construction costs, along with swaths of office and retail vacancies in Edmonton’s Downtown core are not insurmountable problems, industry leaders heard at a Wednesday commercial real estate forum.

Hosted by NAIOP Edmonton, the 2023 Broker Panel heard from representatives from office, retail, industrial, investment and multifamily spaces.

Mark Anderson, vice-president of CBRE Edmonton, said it’s an opportunity to share what the private sector is experiencing but it is not distinct to Edmonton.

“I think it’s really important that we recognize that this is not a uniquely Edmonton problem. This is something that’s been experienced in Vancouver, in Toronto,” he told reporters. “Us Edmontonians, sometimes we’re just so good about being self-deprecating. It’s easy for us to get into that echo chamber thinking that this is just our problem. So it’s not deeply alarming.”

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Anderson said the office vacancy rate in Edmonton is reaching 23 per cent, which has been a lasting impact from the pandemic as offices retool their workplace strategies and employee concerns over flexibility to work from home.

Retailers are also facing a difficult challenge. Recently, Sport Chek announced it would be leaving Edmonton City Centre mall. Anderson said retailers need people in the core in order to have a viable business model.

“It’s really critical, once again, to bring people back Downtown, and then the business case is for these retailers to stay and grow and open up new businesses is going be a heck of a lot stronger.”

One of the concerns has been safety and security in Edmonton’s Downtown, but Anderson said some promising moves have been made by the city and the Alberta government to address houselessness, mental health issues and overall social disorder.

Anand Pye, executive director of NAIOP, said the organization has been advocating for policies that would bring opportunities for capital and investment to the city.

“Make sure that taxes are competitive with other jurisdictions, make sure that we’re positioning ourselves in a way that attracts a lot of investment and capital from other markets to come here to build things and to start new businesses,” he said. “Then we also work on how quickly we can translate a business need into a new building or repurpose old buildings.”

During the panel, Anderson said the market has been in a state where it takes two steps forward and one step back. But there are promising signs. He alluded to an upcoming announcement by a company that has chosen to relocate its head office to Edmonton and will occupy 42,000 square feet.

He noted it will take time to bring people back to the city’s centre, but the private sector is leading the way.

“This is still a really important conversation to have, and we need to start shining some light on these conversations so we can actually have some meaningful progress towards bringing people Downtown,” he said.

Coun. Anne Stevenson, whose ward includes Downtown, attended the panel Wednesday and said she is pleased with the optimism and is looking forward to a positive 2023.

“The success of our Downtown really becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, focusing on the positives, encouraging people to come down, while not shying away from the challenges and the difficult conversations we need to have,” she said.

“It’s really looking holistically at that positive momentum that the Downtown is gaining.”

 

ajunker@postmedia.com

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Three unique real estate listings that caught our eye this week – Western Investor

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Western Investor is famous for the breadth of its commercial real estate listings. It is perhaps the only publication in Canada where investors can find a high-rise office tower, a remote waterfront lodge, a golf course, an industrial warehouse or a small-town bowling alley for sale within its pages.

We often have unique listings and there are three this month that stood out.

First is an entire city block for sale in downtown Calgary.

The 2.83-acre site borders the popular East Village, and the land is rezoned for a high-density mixed-use project with a generous floor-ratio-area (FAR) of 20.

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Flexible commercial zoning allows for residential rentals, condos or hotel and a variety of commercial uses. Current visions include four high-rise towers, but all options are on the table. It is listed by Goodman Commercial, Vancouver, and NAI Commercial, Calgary, at an asking price of $32.4 million.

Second is a rare listing in B.C.’s Central Okanagan.

The property is the 11.3-acre Vibrant Wine vineyard estates in east Kelowna. The property includes a luxury 9,000-square-foot Italian-style villa. The eight-acre vineyard was named the No.1 winery on Trip Advisor and its product was ranked the Best White Wine in the World in 2013. A proven venture that can be expanded, the entire property and equipment is co-listed by HM Commercial and Jane Hoffman Realty, Kelowna, at $13.5 million.

Third of the unique listings is a productive gold mine.

With a private residence and a two-title acreage in the Cariboo, the property covers 3.2 acres near the original Gold Rush town of Likely, B.C.

The land includes an updated three-bedroom house, but the attraction is the operating gold mine. A two person operation on a five-year renewable permit that covers a 100-acre bench, only nine acres have been worked so far, but there has been a consistent average return of 1 ounce of gold per 100 yards mined, with the highest return of 8 ounces in under 100 yards. Note: the price of gold now is around US$1,980 per ounce. The entire operation, including all the mining machinery, is listed by 3A Group, Re/Max Nyda Realty in Agassiz, B.C., at $1.45 million.

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Simcoe County's real estate market shows signs of recovery – CTV News Barrie

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Real estate experts paint a cautiously optimistic outlook after a year of downward market trends across the country.

Trends in Simcoe County show an increase in viewings and buyers re-entering the market after key interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada warded off many last year.

Lance Chilton, the broker of record at Re/Max Hallmark Chilton Realty, calls the local market “more or less balanced.”

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“Inventory conditions are the same as they once were in 2018,” he noted.” From 2020 to 2022, prices rose to about 43 per cent, which was rather rapid.”

Chilton said key interest rate hikes eventually bottomed out the local market by about September – that’s when home prices that peaked at around $1 million dropped to about $730,000.

“Since then, it’s recovered by about five per cent,” Chilton said. “In fact, we actually saw showings increase for the first time in about six months.”

The Barrie and District Association of Realtors (BDAR) confirms that showings have picked up again, with people getting that “spring fever.”

However, the one key issue that remains is low inventory.

“We saw prices dip because of interest rates and people pulling out of the market, but we never saw that supply come back online,” said Luc Woolsey, BDAR president, adding the situation creates multi-offer bids.

“So there’s still a lot of people having to come in firm, waiving conditions and inspections because they’re having to compete.”

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‘Million Dollar Listing’ star warns CA mansion tax will deliver ‘hardest hit’ to market since 2007 – Fox Business

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Though it’s home to some of the most luxurious and expensive real estate listings in America, California is readying to pass a housing bill that one “Million Dollar Listing” agent warned could create the “hardest hit” to the market since the 2007-08 crash.

“In about ten days or so, there’s a measure called the ULA measure that’s going to go into effect, which is going to be probably the hardest hit to the real estate market that we’ve seen since 2007,” broker and television personality Josh Altman said on “Varney & Co.” Monday.

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Altman’s comments come in response to the recently-passed “United to House L.A.” (ULA) measure in California, which adopts a so-called “mansion tax” on property sales or transfers over a certain value to pay for affordable housing.

Properties sold above $5 million but below $10 million are subject to a 4% sales or transfer tax, while properties that sold for more than $10 million will face a 5.5% tax, according to the city clerk’s voter information pamphlet.

‘MILLION DOLLAR LISTING’S’ JOSH ALTMAN GIVES INSIDE LOOK AT ‘BOTCHED’ STAR PAUL NASSIF’S $27.9 MILLION HOME

At least 92% of taxpayers’ money would “fund affordable housing under the Affordable Housing Program and tenant assistance programs under the Homeless Prevention Program,” the pamphlet also clarified.

Luxury home for sale in California

California’s “United to House L.A.” measure will create “the hardest hit to the real estate market” since 2007, “Million Dollar Listing” star Josh Altman said on “Varney & Co.” Monday. (Getty Images)

“The way that this ULA measure was passed is just mind-boggling to me,” Altman added, “and I think it’s one of the most ridiculous bills that I have ever seen in my entire 20-year career.”

The Los Angeles city administrative officer estimated the proposed tax could generate $600 million to $1.1 billion in revenue each year. However, he noted it would “fluctuate” based on how many property transactions with values within the scope of the tax actually occur.

While those who support the measure argue it could help solve L.A.’s housing affordability and homeless crisis, others like Altman caution the tax policy would lead to higher home prices and bureaucracy.

“Think about these people that bought houses three years ago for $5 million and they want to sell now,” Altman hypothesized. “The market’s down, rates are up, that happens. But now they got to cut a check for $200,000 out of their own pocket because there’s no profit on that. So it’s really going to rock the real estate market that we’re in here in Los Angeles.”

California’s real estate market, the “Million Dollar Listing” star further argued, is on “a race to the bottom” over the next 10 days as buyers try to close deals before the mansion tax is enacted.

Josh Altman tours California home

Josh Altman of “Million Dollar Listing” warns California’s “mansion tax” will “trickle down” to working and middle-class households. (Getty Images)

“I’m seeing deals get done that should never have gotten done,” the L.A. agent said. “I’ve even done as much as, on a $28 million listing that I have, we have offered a $1,000,000 bonus for anybody who buys and closes before April 1.”

The “main issue” with the ULA measure remains its “trickle down” effect — not on mansion or luxury homeowners, but on working and middle-class California families.

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“People who voted who said, ‘Oh, I don’t have a $5 million house,’ which by the way, is not a mansion in L.A., we’re talking about a four-bedroom, 4,000 square-foot house in L.A. is $5 million, so this isn’t a mansion tax,” Altman said.

“This isn’t a $30, $40, $50 million house tax – these are regular people that work bill to bill, that have to pay their mortgage just like everybody else, and now they’re being penalized here.”

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FOX Business’ Aislinn Murphy contributed to this report.

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