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Sarnia-Lambton real estate sales up 10.5 per cent in 2019

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Total annual real estate sales broke through $600 million mark for the first time in Sarnia and the rest of Lambton County in 2019 but the president of the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate says she wasn’t surprised.

Sarnia-Lambton real estate
New homes are being built on Gianluca Avenue in Sarnia. The city issued a total of 58 building permits for new single family homes in 2019. That’s down from 83 the previous year.

Paul Morden / The Observer

Total annual real estate sales broke through $600 million mark for the first time in Sarnia and the rest of Lambton County in 2019 but the president of the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate says she wasn’t surprised.

“It’s natural,” said Donna Mathewson. “Every year we set a new record, and we have been consistently for five years.”

The $608.6-million total for 2019 was up 10.5 per cent, compared to a 9.3 per cent increase the previous year.

Mathewson said the number of properties sold locally in 2019 was 1,843 – an increase of just one per cent.


Donna Mathewson, president of the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board, talks about year-end local market statistics released Friday. The total value of local property sales in 2019 increased 10.5 per cent over the previous year. (PAUL MORDEN, The Observer)

Paul Morden /

The Observer

The board said there were a total of 2,547 properties listed for sale during 2019, compared to 2,421 the previous year.

Many areas of Lambton remain in a “high demand, low supply” situation when it comes to homes on the market, Mathewson said.

She said that has been the case for two or three years locally.

Real estate is cyclical and traditionally has peaks and valleys in the market, she said. “We have been on this peak for quite a while.”

Mathewson said the local economy remains strong and she expects the “steady growth” in real estate to continue this year.

2019 ended with a busy month of December, thanks to the mild weather, Mathewson said.

“We were still showing houses the 24th of December . . . the grass was still green.”

The average local home price was $336,354 in 2019, which is also up over last year, but the “hottest” segment with the most sales has been in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range, Mathewson said.

“First time home buyers are buying $200,000 homes now, and they didn’t used to,” she said.

She attributes that to low interest rates and high rents.

Bungalows were the most popular style of home sold in 2019, but Mathewson said that’s in part because bungalows make up most of the new homes being built locally.

“We had a lot more bungalows on the market, than anything else.”

New homes are still “helping drive our market,” Mathewson said.

“We still have development within the city, as well as the county.”

Sarnia-Lambton real estate

New homes are being built on Gianluca Avenue in Sarnia. The city issued a total of 58 building permits for single family homes in 2019. That’s down from 83 the previous year. (PAUL MORDEN, The Observer)

Paul Morden /

The Observer

Wyoming, Petrolia, Enniskillen Township and Corunna in St. Clair Township are some of the communities outside of the city seeing the impact of new home sales, she said.

Building permits statistics from Sarnia’s City Hall note the number of new single family home building permits issued in the city in 2019 totalled 53. That’s down from 83 the year before.

Ken Barros, chief building inspector with the city, said that may be because installation of some new streets and services to open up additional building lots in the city happened later in 2019.

Those streets are now in place and their lots are expected to fill quickly.

He noted the city has recently seen more activity with multi-unit residential building projects.

That includes a $28.5-million permit issued by the city in December for a Tricar residential tower under construction on Front Street. The London company’s plan is for a 15-storey building with 123 to 125 units.

By the end of 2019, the city had issued building permits for a total of $110.3 million in construction, up from $92.9 million in 2018.

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Vancouver real estate agent makes surprise guilty plea in murder trial – Vancouver Sun

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Tejwant Danjou startled his own lawyers when he admitted at the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial that he killed Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel room


At the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial for second-degree murder, Tejwant Danjou pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel two years ago.


Kelowna Daily Courier

A surprise guilty plea was entered in a Kelowna courtroom Tuesday to a murder charge.

Tejwant Danjou startled his own lawyers when he admitted at the outset of what was to have been a three-week trial that he killed Rama Gauravarapu in a West Kelowna motel room.

“I’m guilty,” Danjou, a 70-year-old Vancouver real estate agent said when asked how he was pleading to the charge of second-degree murder.

Asked by Judge Allison Beames if he had consulted with his lawyer, Donna Turko, before entering the plea, Danjou responded: “I don’t need to speak to anybody. I’m guilty.”

Danjou said Crown counsel had offered him the mandatory minimum sentence for second-degree murder of 10 years before parole eligibility in exchange for a confession.

Beames asked Danjou if he fully understood the implications of the guilty plea. She also told him that, despite whatever deal the Crown might have offered him, it would be up to her to impose the sentence, which for second-degree murder means imprisonment for between 10 and 25 years before parole eligibility.

“I need to be sure that you know what you’re doing,” Beames told Danjou. “Do you understand that only I can make a determination as to what the appropriate sentence is?”

“Yes, m’lady,” responded Danjou, dressed in red prison clothes.

Given the surprising turn of events, a short recess was declared. 

After proceedings resumed, Turko said she’d spoken with Danjou and confirmed his desire to plead guilty to second-degree murder.

“He’s very clear about it,” Turko told the judge.

Crown counsel Simone McCallum was also surprised by Danjou’s guilty plea: “This has come on the sudden, a little bit,” she said.

Proceedings will resume at 10 a.m. today, when it’s expected there will be a joint submission from Crown and defence on a statement of facts, describing events surrounding the murder.

Sentencing is expected on March 13.

Police were called to the Best Western Hotel Plus on Carrington Road in West Kelowna on July 22, 2018.

Inside one of the hotel rooms, they found Gauravarapu’s body. Police said Gauravarapu and Danjou, both from the Lower Mainland, were known to one another.

Danjou has been in custody since July 2018. After he was arrested and charged with murder, his licence to sell real estate was suspended by the Real Estate Council of B.C.

Gauravarapu had worked as a financial planner for a Royal Bank branch in Surrey.

Read more Kelowna Daily Courier news here

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Montreal real estate: Luxury home prices spiked in 2019, and will continue to in 2020, Royal Lepage forecasts – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
Prices of luxury homes in the Montreal metropolitan area increased more than anywhere else in Canada over the past year, according to a survey by real estate firm Royal LePage.

During the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, the prices of luxury homes in Greater Montreal increased by 8.5 per cent, while those of high-end condominiums increased by 8.3 per cent.

Luxury properties of the Greater Montreal region are experiencing the same price momentum as in the more general residential real estate market, said Dominic St-Pierre, vice-president and general manager of Royal LePage for Quebec.

Demand for well-established high-end sectors, such as the city of Westmount and the Montreal borough of Outremont, remains stable,    Royal LePage noted.

There was also an increase in the price of luxury properties in other districts, such as Plateau-Mont-Royal and Griffintown. Luxurious West Island residences remain popular, especially because of the quality of the schools and views of the water, features that would be popular with wealthy newcomers, according to Royal LePage

The firm also observed that a lack of confidence among sellers is a factor that greatly contributes to the reduced supply of luxury properties in the Montreal region. Sellers are worried that they will not find what they are looking for after their current home is sold, and most are concerned about rapid price increases.

Royal LePage forecasts that over the next 12 months, the median price of a luxury home should increase by 5.5 per cent in the Montreal region to reach $1.955 million, while that of a high-end condominium is expected to rise 5 per cent to $1.48 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.

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CBRE predicts record $50 billion investment for commercial real estate this year – Toronto Star

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TORONTO – Canada could see a record-breaking $50-billion worth of investment in commercial real estate this year as economic tailwinds and immigration policies support the booming sector, according to a report by CBRE, but it says the strong economy is also creating challenges of affordability and supply.

The commercial real estate services firm said Tuesday that total investment would be about $5 billion higher than 2019 and about a billion dollars higher than the record set in 2018.

Growth comes even amid low vacancies in major markets as tech companies in particular continue to prize downtown locations. Other strong areas include investments in rental apartments as home affordability gets out of reach for many Canadians, and industrial growth driven by e-commerce demand for logistics centres.

“Canada has so many advantages, and so many underlying fundamentals that are positives over the long-term, that we certainly think that growth in the Canadian commercial real estate market is going to continue,” said CBRE Canada vice-chairman Paul Morassutti.

Those trends, along with strong population growth and stable banking and governance, would help steer the sector if a recession hits, said Morassutti.

“The wild card is a recession. My feeling is we’re very well positioned to weather a recession, and I think we’ll continue to flourish after that because of those attributes.”

Heightened interest in the market is also creating challenges, including rising rents and limited office and industrial space, while climate change is creating its own issues.

CBRE says prime office rents jumped 20.9 per cent in Vancouver between 2018 and 2019, 14.2 per cent in Montreal, and 10.1 per cent in Toronto, while national industrial rents rose by 12.3 per cent between the two years for the largest increase on record.

Rents still form a small portion of company budgets and don’t seem to be a major constraint on growth yet, said Morassutti. He noted that in the industrial sector, costs savings in transportation from better locations more than offset costs from higher rents.

Rental rates for apartments are also climbing in major centres as home ownership becomes more expensive, which has helped drive investment in the multifamily. The sector could see about $11.9 billion in investment this year, up from $8.3 billion in 2018, to see the most of any commercial sector, CBRE expects.

The upward trend in residential rental rates is however putting pressure on income inequality, said Morassutti.

“Partially because of that lack of home affordability, you have all these people becoming renters, so on the one hand that’s a good thing. On the other hand, it’s not great for society that our two major cities are becoming unaffordable, it’s not great for the income divide, which is already a large social issue.”

Along with affordability, CBRE says the lack of investment in transit infrastructure, and increasing pressures of climate change on the construction sector and land values are also structural issues of concern for the year ahead.

More immediately, the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak also loom as a big unknown, but could be short-lived if it is contained, said Richard Barkham, global chief economist at CBRE said in a statement.

“If the coronavirus outbreak is relatively contained sometime in March, impacts on the Canadian economy and most commercial real estate sectors will be noticeable in the near term but less substantive over the year.”

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He noted that short-term impacts would largely hit the hotel and retail sectors. He said the global property market should be able to weather the effects of the virus as anticipated today, but that a clearer picture of the epidemic should materialize sometime in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020.

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