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RENX's Top-30 CRE stories of 2019 – Real Estate News EXchange

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The PwC Tower at Southcore Financial Centre is Toronto is one of the prime assets in the Canadian Core fund in partnership with RBC GAM and BCI. (Courtesy RBC GAM)

It was close … very close. But the largest commercial real estate transaction in Canadian history beat out the ongoing WeWork saga as RENX’s top commercial real estate story of 2019.

The massive $7B investment announced in March involved three organizations, The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), RBC Global Asset Management Inc. and Quadreal Property Group, and resulted in the creation of the RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund.

The deal involves 40 of BCI’s Canadian real estate assets. Once the entire transaction is complete (it is happening in several phases), BCI will retain 50 per cent ownership in the properties and the other interest will be held by the fund.

“(Investors) know that BCI will care about the performance, they will care about long-term decision-making and the long-term future of how the partnership and the fund will grow,” RBC’s Michael Kitt told RENX in an interview after the venture was announced.

Major properties across Canada including the PwC Tower in Toronto, Marche Central shopping centre in Montreal and 745 Thurlow in Vancouver, are among the assets.

The transaction tops our annual RENX Top-30 Stories of 2019 list due to its scale, and the fact it was designed to allow small- and mid-level pension funds and other institutional investors to share ownership of trophy-calibre assets.

WeWork’s ongoing saga

The ongoing story of WeWork came in at No. 2 on our list because of its potential future impact. The company has stopped signing new leases and laid off hundreds of employees as a result of its cancelled IPO and a massive meltdown in its valuation. But, a recent multi-billion-dollar lifeline from investor Softbank Corp. has at least bought it some time to restructure.

Can it recover, or is there worse yet to come? Stay tuned in 2020.

IMAGE: An artist's rendering of the proposed Union Park development in Toronto by Oxford Properties. (Courtesy Oxford)

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Union Park development in Toronto by Oxford Properties. (Courtesy Oxford)

Rounding out our top five are three massive Toronto developments – they stand out even during a year of major project announcements in Canada’s largest urban centre. Cadillac Fairview bought out First Gulf and will develop the up-to-$8 billion East Harbour project along the Toronto waterfront, taking the No. 3 spot.

Not very far away, Oxford Properties unveiled plans for Union Park, a $3.5-billion, 4.3-million-square foot mixed-use project across the street from the Rogers Centre. It ranks No. 4.

And No. 5 is the sale of a 60.5-acre former IBM and Celestica campus at Eglinton Ave. East and Don Mills Road, which will lead to millions more square feet of development.  Aspen Ridge HomesDG Group and Metrus Properties made the acquisition and soon after, released extensive development plans for the site.

We hope you enjoy perusing the list, which as we always say is very much open to debate. Even among RENX’s editors, there was a lot of “give-and-take” in determining the 30 finalists and then assembling our Top 10.

For the full RENX Top-30 list…

Listed below are the Top 10 stories, along with links to the original articles.

For additional links, and more details about each of the stories visit our RENX Top 30 Stories of 2019 Newsletter. There, you can see the rest of the articles on our Top-30 list, along with much more information. (Note the Top 10 are in listed in order of importance, while Nos. 11 through 30 are listed by sectors)

Finally, let us take this opportunity to wish every one of our readers, clients and those who’ve contributed to our coverage this year a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

1) BCI, RBC, Quadreal partner on record $7B investment portfolio

2) The rise and fall of WeWork

3) Toronto’s East Harbour project like ‘Canary Wharf’: CF’s Sullivan

4) Oxford plans Toronto’s largest-ever mixed-use development

5) Celestica sells 60.5-acre Toronto campus for redevelopment

6) Blackstone acquires Dream Global for $6.2B

7) Hudson Pacific, Blackstone affiliate buy Vancouver’s Bentall Centre

8) Squamish Nation votes for $3B housing project

9) Fournier retires, Palladitcheff new CEO at Ivanhoé Cambridge

10) Canada’s hotel sector booms, pipeline at an all-time high

RENX Top-30 Stories of 2019 Newsletter

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

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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

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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

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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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