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The ’22 Most Influential in BC Real Estate

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Power is a lot less interesting than influence these days, and although deep pockets can certainly guide the direction a city grows, they’re not everything.

Influencers are making their mark, and they can take many forms.

It might be that they have money, and therefore a measure of power, or they know how to work a room and win people over. It might just be their time, their moment of convergence when all eyes are on them, pushing them to step up and lead the way and show us how it’s done.

An influential person or group might have the wisdom and grace to show us how we’ve lost our way, or they may be someone who’s new to the scene and has a hot take on a dire situation.

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Whatever form they take, they’re worth paying attention to; they’re the ones getting things done, stirring stuff up and – like it or not – they’re just getting started.

As the country’s leading real estate news site, we’ve had our ears to the ground and our eyes on the prize all year long, discerning who has significant sway in the real estate industry and who’s just blowing in the wind.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the 22 most influential individuals, organizations, and associations in BC real estate in 2022. (Find Ontario’s Most Influential here.)

 

Portrait of Andy Yan

Andy Yan &nbsp|&nbsp The Visionary

Program Director of SFU’s City Program, urban planner

Everybody turns to him for housing issue answers.

Andy Yan is a data nerd and visionary known for turning out housing statistics that are both alarming and totally not surprising at all. BCers seek Yan’s unwavering validation that no, it’s not their imagination, house prices make no sense in relation to their incomes and the region is indeed a freak show.

Because he serves the data and bon mots in equal measure, he’s a regular feature in local and international media. So respected is Yan that he was called to provide expert testimony in B.C. Supreme Court when a bid was made to mount a class action suit against the province for its foreign buyer tax (Yan testified on behalf of the government. The bid was rejected).

He was the first to identify what is now known as the “empty condo” phenomenon. He tracked house prices across the city with his “million-dollar-line.” He coined phrases like “hedge city” when referring to Vancouver’s emerging investor class, and “zombie city” to capture a city of rootless indifference. “Hipster homeland” is where the millennials dwell, and “we’re building Ferraris not Hondas,” he says of luxury housing.

Portrait of Bob Rennie

Bob Rennie &nbsp|&nbsp The Marketer

Founder of Rennie & Associates Realty

He excelled at the art of the presale, and then just the arts.

No list of top influencers in Vancouver gets compiled without Bob Rennie on it, and that’s because his name is forever linked with the city’s endlessly thriving condo market. He started selling real estate in 1975, and became an early adopter of the presale around 1989, when Asian developer Allied Holdings gave him and his team their first tower to sell before it was built.

When he sold out a downtown condo tower before it was built, the presale was born. His own profile now looms larger than his business, which may be why he’s mostly stepped away from media attention. Over the decades he’s amassed an impressive collection of contemporary art, stored in an undisclosed warehouse and for several years exhibited at his own gallery, a $20 million refurbished Chinatown building that he recently sold.

He also sits as president of Tate Americas Foundation. Rennie likes to say that he’s more interested in art than anything else these days, and he’s transferring a lot of the business over to his son Kris Rennie, who is now president of Rennie Marketing Systems. And although he despises the tag, he will always be the “condo king”.

Portrait of Trent Rodney

Trent Rodney &nbsp|&nbsp The Modernist

Realtor who specializes in midcentury modern houses.

He’s made West Coast Modern cool again.

Not so long ago, an abundance of midcentury modern houses with a specific West Coast vibe were being lost to the wrecking ball, the result of sky-high land prices and a wealthy buyer that couldn’t care less that their house was a Hollingsworth or Erickson or Pratt. The thing was too small and too old.

But realtor Trent Rodney saw a market that felt otherwise, and he carved out a niche for himself, marketing exclusively to that segment. The houses, mostly built from the 1950s to the 1970s on the North Shore, are now coveted by a growing database of clients who are at the ready any time Rodney brings one onto the market. No matter what shape they are in, clients are paying top dollar, and restoring Rodney’s rescues to their former glory.

CHW Logo

CityHallWatch &nbsp|&nbsp The Activists

A website run by citizen researchers

They root out corruption.

When a Vancouverite tells you that the city is run by developers, what they mean is much of the city’s policies are guided with the input of developers and their hired hands. The smart ones make a point of establishing a rapport with the mayor and councillors, and during election time, they court the most development-friendly candidates with fundraising dollars (all above board, of course).

It’s only natural that a city so intertwined with the development community would foster an equally ardent movement of citizen protester. There are citizen researchers churning out data on the reality of allowable building heights and zoned capacity, or that two-faced politician who’s been flipping houses. And there’s CityHallWatch at the centre of it all, a website that scrutinizes every move they make.

Portrait of Kevin Quinn

Kevin Quinn &nbsp|&nbsp The Mover

CEO, TransLink

All eyes are on transit plans.

Transportation is the second largest expense in the Canadian household after shelter costs, so it guides housing choices, and developer choices too. When Quinn talks about 170 km of rapid transit expansion, or a Burnaby Mountain gondola, or a rapid transit extension through Point Grey to U.B.C., developers listen, as they did when he presented future transit plans at the Urban Development Institute last spring.

The new CEO for B.C.’s transit authority is advocating for better planning and design around transit hubs – and more density, especially now that the B.C. government has the authority to buy land around transit hubs for housing projects. TransLink has been making moves into development for the last few years, having purchased two key transit sites along Broadway. If it’s providing the transit, why not the housing, too?

To put this in perspective, two-thirds of all new housing units in the last five years were reportedly built within 400 metres of a SkyTrain station.

MST Development Corp Logo

MST Development Corporation &nbsp|&nbsp The Power Consortium

Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations

A historic partnership at a crucial time for reconciliation.

The business partnership of three First Nations is a historic first for Metro Vancouver. They are transforming the city with two major master-planned communities underway, including former government-held properties Heather Lands – which has received the green light from the city – and Jericho Lands, which is going through the approvals process.

These two projects alone will add homes for an estimated 24,000 people and about 12.5 million square feet of mixed-use space. They are just two of six major holdings in MST’s Metro Vancouver pipeline, which total 160 acres at a value of more than $1 billion. With former president of Aquilini Development David Negrin as their chief executive officer, they are a collective force in the development community.

Portrait of David Eby

David Eby &nbsp|&nbsp The Big Stick

Former AG and Housing Minister and possible next Premier

He’s all over the housing file.

When David Eby was MLA and NDP housing critic, he aggressively challenged the Liberals on their selling off of the Little Mountain social housing community and the inflow of foreign money into the housing market, which was very likely contributing to higher prices. As housing minister and attorney general, he wielded a big-stick approach to getting more housing built.

He went as far as threatening to override municipal zoning powers to hustle supply onto the market. Although the province has long been able to force a municipality to revise its zoning to allow higher density, no one has ever interfered in local governance.

Housing is Eby’s bailiwick, and when Premier John Horgan retires, Eby could potentially take over. Those municipalities that aren’t getting with the program can expect to deal full on with the wrath of Premier Eby.

Portrait of Patrick Condon

Patrick Condon &nbsp|&nbsp The Leftie

Professor, planner

He challenges the supply-will-fix-it narrative.

The Massachusetts-born professor writes books and a ton of think pieces for The Tyee, centred around the basic premise that land price is the reason housing costs have become out of reach for most people. He often cites the late 19th century American socialist thinker Henry George, an economist who butted heads with wealthy land barons who benefitted most from the landlord system.

He advocates for strategies that overturn a system in which a few people get land rich to the detriment of the majority, who are at the mercy of land rent. A city like Vienna, he points out, figured out a way to lower urban land rents instead of inflating them. Housing has become financialized, like stocks and bonds, and that, says the professor, is the problem.

In a city where building more supply is akin to a religion, that kind of talk is almost treasonous.

Portrait of Michael Audain

Michael Audain &nbsp|&nbsp The Philanthropist

Chair, Polygon Homes

His museum alone is reason enough.

Audain is a major presence not only on the development scene, but the art scene. Polygon has long been a household name, having built thousands of low-rise buildings, townhomes, highrises and master-planned communities throughout the region since 1980. That’s when Audain joined the firm, and he brought with him a background in social and co-op housing.

Audain has always given to art, but his crowning achievement is the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, which houses his prized collection in one of B.C.’s most beautiful mass timber buildings. And then there’s his $100 million donation the Vancouver Art Gallery, the biggest ever to a gallery in the country’s history. He’s gone from house building empire to a name that is now synonymous with philanthropy.

Portrait of Dennis Lopez

Dennis Lopez &nbsp|&nbsp The New Player

CEO, QuadReal

The money behind two projects that will transform Vancouver.

Nobody had really heard of the real estate company called QuadReal until its name started popping up on major property developments. Chief among them is The Post, a redevelopment of the Canada Post headquarters on Georgia Street that will see thousands of Amazon employees take over that downtown block in a year.

The private company sprang to life in 2016, formed by a B.C. pension fund manager that was looking to expand throughout Canada and the world. CEO Dennis Lopez oversees $67 billion in real estate assets that QuadReal Property Group holds as an investor and developer, based in Vancouver.

One of those assets is Oakridge Centre, which the company purchased from Ivanhoe Cambridge. They’ve partnered with Westbank to redevelop the 28.5-acre site into a massive transit-oriented mixed-use development for around 2,600 homes, with a total floor area of around five million square feet. They are on a tear, and they’re not finished yet.

Starlight Logo

Starlight Investments &nbsp|&nbsp The Landlord

Institutional investment

Institutional investors are taking over in a big way.

They are a polarizing presence, the deep-pocketed institutional investor. Some argue that the cost of building rental housing is so high that nothing significant will get built without them. Others blame them for the financialization of housing.

As one of the country’s biggest rental businesses, Starlight made headlines in the last couple of years as the company moved further into the Vancouver region and Victoria, too, snapping up large apartment buildings and beating out the competition. In the complex equation that is rental housing in BC, whether you think Starlight is part of the problem or part of the solution, it’s clear that this company will be critical to finding the answer to the province’s rental housing question.

Portrait of James Cheng

James Cheng &nbsp|&nbsp The Architect

Architect, Order of Canada recipient

He’s largely responsible for the city of glass.

All those photos you see of glass towers throughout Vancouver’s downtown peninsula? That’s largely the work of one man, architect James Cheng, who designed dozens of them — abreast like soldiers on the skyline, throughout False Creek North and Coal Harbour — including one that looms above all others, the 62-storey Shangri-La.

Cheng’s preference for rectangular shapes and blue and grey shades of glass has come to define the city’s overall look. It’s a form that’s decidedly low key and chill, perhaps even standoffish—and, as the more cynical might say, a reflection of the city itself.

Squamish nation logo

Squamish Nation &nbsp|&nbsp The Outlier

First Nation developer

Building the largest development undertaken by a First Nation.

The Squamish Nation’s Senakw development, at the heart of Vancouver, is what density would look like if developers were given free rein. It is touted as the largest First Nations economic project in Canadian history, and their plan is to build 11 towers on a four-acre site that is tucked up against the Burrard Street Bridge, in partnership with major developer Westbank.

The site, located on reclaimed reserve land, is scheduled to deliver more than 6,000 homes. It is also the envy of every developer in town because, as reserve land, it can be built without undergoing a lengthy approvals process. To that end, plans call for 11 towers of mostly rental units, at heights up to 59 storeys.

The development will provide an estimated $10 billion in earnings for the First Nation, based on a 110-year life cycle scenario for the buildings.

Portrait of Grace Kwok

Grace Kwok &nbsp|&nbsp The Connector

Presale marketer

She helped put Vancouver on the map for international buyers.

The first mention of a presale in Canada is an article from 1968, in the Vancouver Province, according to a Newspapers.com database search. That’s not to take away from Grace Kwok’s or Bob Rennie’s positions among the first realtors to usher in Vancouver’s presale condo market in the 1980s, and the housing typology that pretty much extinguished the city’s rental apartment industry for several decades.

They might not have invented the presale, but they played a huge role in forever changing the marketing of real estate. The story goes that Kwok started by marketing an Andre Molnar development to Asian buyers in 1983, selling it out before completion.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, the co-founder of Anson Realty directly marketed a large share of Vancouver condos to Asian buyers and helped other developers sell out their projects before completion. The upfront financing pleased the banks, the developers could build with less risk, and the buyers could get better deals. Kwok set in motion a pattern that still dominates the 2022 market.

Portrait of Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley &nbsp|&nbsp The Mayor

Mayor of Burnaby, former firefighter

He’s leading the way in new construction.

The former firefighter inherited a mess when he took over as the mayor of Burnaby, the sprawling municipality next door to Vancouver. That mess was Metrotown, a rezoning fiasco that saw hundreds of low-income renters turfed from their apartment buildings by condo developers. Located near rapid transit, the apartments had served as highly livable and affordable housing for a large number of service workers and people new to the region.

In just two years, Hurley oversaw a series of measures that included a mandatory 20% below-market rental within all new developments, the opening of homeless shelters that did not previously exist, and a tenant relocation policy to help displaced renters return to new units at the same rent.

And for better or worse, Hurley set records on new construction, transforming the Burnaby skyline into something out of Gotham.

False Creek South

False Creek South &nbsp|&nbsp The Community

Residents of a 1970s community fighting for their homes

They represent the Vancouver conundrum.

Not long after modular housing experiment Habitat 67 blew some hippie minds, Vancouver’s municipal, provincial and federal forces aligned to develop former industrial land on False Creek South. They planned an entirely new seaside community that would be affordable to low and modest incomes, to seniors and handicapped people, at below-market rents and subsidized co-op housing.

At the time, it was considered dense enough, filled with rowhouses and low-rise apartment buildings, separated by meandering pathways and courtyards. It was steps to the seawall and car- free, making it safe for children. But it’s on city-owned land, and the leases for the co-ops are coming due.

The groupings of complexes are now considered relatively low density compared to the gleaming skyscrapers across the water. Today’s Vancouver is about real estate, not housing, and so the city has come up with a plan to add tower-form density that will very likely mean rebuilding, and displacing, the globally celebrated community.

But this is a community so tight knit that many have been subsidizing the rents to help their neighbours, out of their own pockets. They’re not about to go down without a fight.

Portrait of Ryan Beedie

Ryan Beedie &nbsp|&nbsp The Mogul

President of the Beedie Development Group

Industrial exploded this past year.

Beedie is the biggest industrial real estate player in western Canada, which just happened to be the hottest property market throughout the pandemic (largely due to the fact real estate is limited and at a premium). And while e-commerce, in particular, fuelled demand for pandemic warehouse space and distribution, Beedie has gone way beyond the industrial file.

In his 20-plus years as president, he’s grown the family company into a behemoth since he took over for his dad Keith, including the launch of Beedie Living, the residential arm, and Beedie Capital, which has business ventures throughout North America.

He’s a networker among politicians and a keen philanthropist, too, having donated around $100 million over the years. He famously gifted $22 million to Simon Fraser University to create the Beedie School of Business. In more recent years he launched a foundation for his 50th birthday, with a $50 million donation toward educating young people.

Portrait of Faith Wilson

Faith Wilson &nbsp|&nbsp The Luxury Seller

Residential realtor

She sells B.C.’s most exclusive real estate.

Faith Wilson is one of those realtor names that everyone in Vancouver knows. That’s because she’s been at it since 1993 and she has a reputation for selling ultra-exclusive listings, such as the $28.8M 340-acreage with a magnificent log house, rumoured to be owned by a certain A-list Hollywood celebrity and her producer husband – sold last year.

Wilson is a lifetime member of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s Medallion Club, which means she’s been in the top 10% of realtors for at least 20 years. In 2018, she sold the most expensive home in B.C. Five years ago, she linked her brand with Christie’s International Real Estate and is now expanding her operation into the booming Kelowna luxury market, where she’s opening an Manhattan loft-style office.

Portrait of Leonard Kerkhoff and Randall Shier

Leonard Kerkhoff & Randall Shier &nbsp|&nbsp Boomtown Builders

President, Kerkhoff Construction/President, Mission Group Homes

Building Kelowna’s tallest towers.

Vancouver hogs all the attention where development is concerned, but developers of Kelowna’s budding highrise residential community are thriving at the sidelines, in one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. The Okanagan city is, as one Vancouver developer put it, the most exciting market outside of Vancouver.

Kerkhoff, in partnership with Toronto-based North American Development Group, has built Kelowna’s tallest building to date, a two-tower complex called One Water Street that is 29 and 36 storeys. In two months, they sold more than $100 million worth of real estate, Kerkhoff said in 2018.

For Kelowna, it was a signal to the world that after years of bankruptcies and false starts, they were ready for business. The institutional investors and Vancouver developers have arrived. Next up is Mission Group’s Water Street by the Park, which includes a 42-storey tower that is under construction.

There’s talk of an even taller tower to follow. Mission’s president Randall Shier said Kelowna’s success is rooted in something that Vancouver doesn’t have: jobs and affordable housing.

Portrait of Tiff Macklem

Tiff Macklem &nbsp|&nbsp The Rate Maker

Governor of the Bank of Canada

Perhaps you’ve heard mention of rate hikes or inflation this year?

Not in a generation has Canada’s central bank been so clearly at the forefront of nearly every single monetary story and situation Canadians are facing.

A collective (and connected) three-headed monster has risen in the form of inflation, housing crisis, and recession – and at the head of all the decisions to fight that monster is Tiff Macklem (unless, that is, Pierre Poilievre has anything to say about it).

Since March, and the Bank’s first interest rate hike, ordinary homebuyers and sellers have become intimately familiar with the country’s 10th BoC Governor, whose decision making powers are impacting them to the tune of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in potential monthly payments.

Whether we all end up in a collective sigh of relief when Macklem steps down, or he manages to deliver some relief before that point, we’ll have to wait and see. But if the final five years of his reign are as intense as the first two, expect the former.

Portrait of Sam Cooper

Sam Cooper &nbsp|&nbsp The Reporter

Journalist and Author

He reveals the bleak path real estate has led us down.

It’s the dark side of Vancouver real estate, the inflow of dubious wealth over the last decade. Dogged journalist Sam Cooper’s book, Wilful Blindness, notes that in 2016 real estate was being traded like shares of stock and most of the buyers were hidden behind numbered companies and trusts, through shadow banking deals.

Worse, Canadian authorities weren’t tracing investor money. Bad actors had infiltrated the city, and the country, using tax-free capital gains to launder their profits. And it had become so embarrassingly awful that government had no choice but to intervene, even if it meant taking aim at the thing that fueled economy for so long: real estate.

Cooper wasn’t the only journalist reporting on the topic, but his book gives us the definitive account of the role real estate played in an underhanded system in which so many benefitted for so long. Cooper will never be out of a job. The corruption will always lurk.

Portrait of Gary Pooni

Gary Pooni &nbsp|&nbsp The Secret Weapon

President of the Pooni Group

He works quietly behind-the-scenes, pushing the process along.

Vancouver developers will tell you that not much happens in Metro Vancouver’s development community without Gary Pooni’s involvement. The low-profile development consultant is a familiar face at city halls throughout the region. He’s the guy who works his magic behind-the-scenes, never seeking media attention.

Pooni can get the most controversial project approved, rallying support from loud pro-supply types who are willing to come out in droves and tout a project’s merits. Some might even call him more of a lobbyist than consultant.

Written By
STOREYS Editorial Team

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Inside Neymar’s International Real Estate Portfolio

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Currently participating at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Brazilian soccer player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (more widely known simply as Neymar) has made a prodigious name for himself as one of the best footballers in the world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that this year Forbes placed him in the number four spot on their annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes—his estimated $95 million earnings in 2022 put him behind only Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, legendary basketball player Lebron James, and his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Lionel Messi, who took the number one spot. Neymar—who plays as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil’s national team and formerly played for Brazilian football club Santos—has naturally racked up an extremely expensive roster of luxury properties. Below, we look at some of his most prolific real estate dealings.

2013

In 2013, Neymar signed with Barcelona’s football club and reportedly began paying around $18,000 per month to rent a contemporary-style mansion nestled on a 10,764-square-foot lot in the quiet and upscale neighborhood of Pedralbes, where Shakira and her ex, Neymar’s former Barça teammate Gerard Piqué, also called home. Just a short distance away from the Barcelona arena Spotify Camp Nou, the modern five-bedroom and five-bathroom structure had a landscaped garden decorated with sculptures, a large pool, and 5,382 square feet of living space across three floors with coastline and city views. The owner of the property, a businessman with ties to the Barcelona football club’s board of directors, offered to rent the home to Neymar after the athlete initially struggled to find a satisfactory permanent home in the area and needed to begin training and playing with his new team. During his stay there, the soccer player had access to a top-floor bedroom suite with panoramic views. Other highlights of the luxe property included an extra large dining area and an underground eight-car garage.

2016

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Neymar found a Barcelona home to call his own in 2016 when he paid $5.2 million for a 7,879-square-foot mansion in the Castelldefels neighborhood, where Messi also resided. The contemporary-style three-bedroom house sat alongside a 10,764-square-foot garden and a swimming pool, situated on a hill with picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea. The home, which also featured a gym and two living rooms, formerly belonged to fellow Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho.

That summer, Neymar also caught some media attention when he posted Instagram pictures of him hanging out with Justin Bieber and other friends at an $8,496-a-night Airbnb mansion modeled after an 18th-century Versailles château. The palatial seven-bedroom and 12-bathroom dwelling sprawled 22,000 square feet and was decked out with crystal chandeliers and intricate millwork. Highlights included a grand staircase, a private movie theater with leather recliners and wood-paneled walls, a wine cellar, a gym, multiple tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a spa, all located on a five-acre lot.

That same year, the athlete also paid $8.5 million for a house in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro—the same area of the seaside city where the Sylvester Stallone movie The Expendables was shot. Neymar spent the early days of the pandemic quarantining at the home with a group of friends. Set on a two-and-a-half-acre lot, the deluxe six-bedroom property is certainly a great home to be stuck in: It has an open-plan living and dining area that seats up to 14 people for dinner, a sauna, a massage room, a 3,000-bottle wine cellar, a gym, a billiards table, and even an underground disco club that the party-loving footballer later built while stuck at home due to an ankle injury. The contemporary home has sleekly decorated interiors, with an eye-catching floating staircase in the living room and a modern kitchen with a breakfast bar. Outside, numerous patios for lounging and alfresco dining, a swimming pool, an oceanside jacuzzi, a tennis court, a beach volleyball court, a helipad, and a jetty where Neymar docks his 15-foot yacht are found. It seems that the athlete still maintains this home.

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Exploring How to Help Homebuyers Compete with Real Estate Investors

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In the summer of 2021, Lauren Brunner and her colleagues at the Port of Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that talked about the influx of out-of-town investors to Ohio’s real estate market. The article startled Brunner and her team, and they quickly did some digging. The Port, as it is called, discovered that 4,100 homes in the county were owned by just five landlords.

“We were, like, hair on fire–we had no idea this was an issue,” said Brunner, CEO and president of The Port, at a panel hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research this week.

These out-of-state investment firms were making it harder for local residents to buy homes, especially low- and middle-income buyers. With sky-high mortgage rates and a tight supply, it’s already been a tough year for new homebuyers across the country. Now communities are mobilizing to make it more difficult for investors to rent out the properties they purchase.

In Cincinnati, The Port was able to acquire nearly 200 properties that it is now working to sell to the tenants at an affordable price. This is just one approach governments are using to combat the issue. Panelists at the HUD event say there are several strategies governments can try to prevent investors from dominating the market.

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A complex issue like this warrants a multifaceted approach, and one place to start is before investors even bid on a property, according to Laurie Goodman, an Urban Institute Fellow for the Housing Policy Finance Center.

“Rather than saying, ‘Bad investor, you shouldn’t be buying these properties, you should be leaving them for homeowners,’ we should be looking to improve the financing process so individuals can compete with institutional investors,” she said at the HUD panel.

When it comes to financing a property, according to Goodman, investors have several advantages that make it difficult for owner-occupants to compete with them.

For starters, most of the homes real estate investors purchase require renovations. From the get-go, many of those properties are out of reach for typical homeowners because taking out home improvement loans is much more difficult for homebuyers. While investors have teams of experts that can anticipate how much renovations will cost and use that information to inform their bids, most homeowners “have no idea” how much renovations cost, and therefore shy away from bidding at all, Goodman said. And because investors typically own hundreds or thousands of properties, they often work with vendors at discounted rates because of the scale.

Meanwhile, nearly 40% of homebuyers or potential homebuyers are denied renovation loans, Goodman noted. “Is it any wonder that a homeowner would prefer to sell to an all-cash bidder than someone who needs a mortgage and has a 39% denial rate in order to get renovation financing?”

In addition to rethinking how homebuyers can finance property purchases, governments need to have good tenant organizing policies, said Elin Zurbrigg, deputy director of Mi Casa, Inc., a housing advocacy group.

She pointed to Washington D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. If a building is up for sale, TOPA gives tenants the first opportunity to collectively purchase the property. Under the policy, thousands of people – including low-income families – have been able to purchase homes in one of the country’s fastest gentrifying cities, Zurbrigg said.

“Through purchasing their buildings directly or becoming a co-op or condominium owner, it’s a model that’s inclusive of everyone because you don’t need to obtain a mortgage by yourself. You don’t have to qualify individually,” Zurbrigg said.

She encouraged local leaders to work closely with tenant organizations and “channel the power of residents who want to remain in their homes in their neighborhoods.”

Bianca Motley Broom, Mayor of College Park, Georgia, also noted the importance of community engagement.

College Park has about 14,000 residents, 75% of which are renters. The city wants to provide more homeownership opportunities for its residents and was working with a developer to create 200 homes. But when the developer decided to rent those homes instead of sell them, residents spoke out. The city listened and stopped the project, Motley Broom said.

“What we’re trying to do … is let people know, this isn’t just about your house. This is about our entire community and the future of that community and also the future of individual families and their ability to generate wealth to pass on to the next generation.”

“It’s not the job of a market you know, to watch out for society – it’s the job of a market to be efficient and make money,” The Port’s Brunner said. “It’s our job, all the rest of our jobs, to follow behind the market and determine whether what the market is doing comports with our values. And if it doesn’t, we have to fight back.”

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Sale of $37M property could be biggest residential real estate deal in Kelowna history

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This is the view many residents could have if this property sells and has housing built on it.

 

This is the view many residents could have if this property sells and has housing built on it.

Image Credit: Submitted/ForSalebyOwner.ca

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A 90-acre parcel of land in the Rutland area of Kelowna has gone on the market for $37 million.

It’s not listed through any realtor but is posted on the For Sale by Owner Inc. website.

It’s 90.19 acres at 1151 McKenzie Rd., which is north of the Toovey Road subdivision and west of the Black Mountain Golf Course.

The land went on the market two to three weeks ago, according to the owners’ lawyer, Crystal Wariach.

“Over 90 acres of Kelowna’s finest future development land with spectacular panoramic views of the lake and city lights,” the real estate listing says.

The land is not in the agricultural land reserve and is designated for housing.

This outlines the property.

This outlines the property.

Image Credit: Submitted/ForSalebyOwner.ca

In 2019, when city council was looking at various growth scenarios, Wariach emailed councillors on behalf of the owners (cited as Balbir Wariache and Mrs. Prem Wariache).

She asked that this parcel retain is designation as future housing, which is what happened.

“Over the past two years, my clients have had professional development plans created for the property,” she wrote. “The plans provide for the build out of up to 320 lots for single-family homes on the property.”

The owners bought the property in 1999 and continue to own it, Wariach confirmed.

She wasn’t able to confirm, by publication time, whether development options had changed from the 320 lots envisioned in 2019.

The land is included in the Bell Mountain Area Structure Plan that was adopted by council in 2003.

Most of the land within that plan has been developed into single-family housing in subdivisions such as Blue Sky, Prospect Mountain and Lone Pine Estates, Wariach’s 2019 email says.

The largest sale through the MLS listing service that has been publicized to date was announced in January 2021 when the Kirschner Mountain housing development sold for $22 million.

It included 190 acres of land left from a larger parcel that was part of the Kirschner Mountain housing development.

 

If the McKenzie Avenue property sells for $37 million it will eclipse that sale in terms of residential property sold through the MLS system in the city.

Since the Kirschner Mountain sale, there have been bigger real estate deals in Kelowna.

Last December, the Mission Group paid $24 million for the former B.C. Tree Fruits plant near the North End of downtown.

Earlier this year, Victor Projects spent $33 million to buy the former Costco site near the Highway 33 and Highway 97 intersection.

The McKenzie Road listing can be seen here and Wariach can be contacted by email at cwariach@outlook.com.


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