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The Great Canadian Real Estate Fallacy

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Real Estate Sales In September

It is that time of the year for the Canadian real estate fallacy again. The kind of frenzy that periodically overtakes Canadian housing. The average price for a Greater Toronto home passed the $1-million threshold for the first time in February. The selling price of a detached house jumped 23 percent compared with a year earlier, reaching $1,371,791. Nationally, the average home price in February was a record $678,091, up 25 percent.

There is some truth in that. Canada’s big cities are booming and the country’s future is bright. Rising home values are in some ways a sign of confidence and optimism – good things, we can all agree.

But, in the end, houses and apartments are just a commodity like anything else, subject to the same peaks and valleys in price that come to them all. What goes up must eventually come down. To believe otherwise is to succumb to the very human tendency to think that things will keep on going as they happen to be going at present. They don’t.

The mindset that takes hold at times like this is familiar. Seeing prices soaring, buyers rush to get into the market before they miss the boat. Speculators jump in after them, hoping to flip properties and make a few hundred thousand bucks overnight. All this demand pushes prices up even further, which causes more panic buying at stupid prices.

Real estate boosters will tell you that houses are different from other things we invest in. People live in them, you know! You can’t live in your art collection. They will tell you that Canadian homes, in particular, are capable of defying the laws of gravity. The streams of newcomers flooding into the country mean that demand for housing is sure to remain strong, and high demand means high prices.

There is some truth in that. Canada’s big cities are booming and the country’s future is bright. Rising home values are in some ways a sign of confidence and optimism – good things, we can all agree.

But, in the end, houses and apartments are just a commodity like anything else, subject to the same peaks and valleys in price that come to them all. What goes up must eventually come down. To believe otherwise is to succumb to the very human tendency to think that things will keep on going as they happen to be going at present. They don’t.

Understanding the real estate market is similar to what we do to understand other markets we evaluate over time and see where can we go from there. The issue every year is that prices tend to dance around in an unknown pattern. Uncertainty makes people run away from the investment but this uncertainty works the other way around where it attracts investors and promotes risk-taking.

Tronto has always been a public favorite area to invest money but looking at a bullish behavior during the summer run is always confusing to some investor while the risk-taker tend to enjoy this as this maximizes profits 10X in the long run.

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Interest rates send shivers through B.C. real estate market – Business in Vancouver

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A wintry summer is brewing for B.C.’s real estate market with soaring interest rates drastically reducing buyer purchasing power while sellers clamber for yesterday’s prices. Home sales fell sharply in May while home values are declining, slowly but surely.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales fell 16.3 per cent in May adding to April’s 13 per cent decline to a seasonally-adjusted 6,853 units. On an unadjusted basis, sales fell 34 per cent.

While sales remained above levels observed just prior to the pandemic and above the same-month average from 2010-19, momentum is quickly weakening. This is not surprising with fixed mortgage rates well above four per cent and at a 10-year high, while variable rates are rapidly shifting higher. With home prices up 40 per cent during the pandemic, prospective buyers face a very different market, and many have quickly been priced out of ownership. High consumer price inflation is further amplifying affordability challenges for households.

Sales declines were observed in most regions of the province. Specifically, the real estate boards of Chilliwack (-25 per cent) and the Fraser Valley (-20 per cent), which covers Abbotsford-Mission and eastern communities of Metro Vancouver, including Surrey, led the drop in sales while the rest of Metro Vancouver fell 18 per cent. Vancouver Island fell 18 percent, but remained elevated, with more modest declines in the interior and northern markets. In contrast, retiree demand and migration from Alberta continues to support conditions outside Metro Vancouver.

Declining sales are contributing to a quick moderation in market conditions. Fewer sales and steady new listings lifted active listings in the province for a fifth straight month with inventory on the rise in most markets. Sales-to-active listings ratios remain in a range consistent with a sellers’ market, but the rapid decline suggests markets are nearly balanced, with the potential to move into a buyers’ market range.

At $980,324, the average price fell 4.7 per cent from April and marked the first sub-million-dollar reading since November. Consistent with sales, declines were deepest in Chilliwack (-4.3 per cent) and the Fraser Valley (-6.7 per cent), although average prices eroded in most real estate board areas.

After an impressive run where B.C. manufacturing sales increased for seven consecutive months, the streak came to an end in April as sales dipped 2.9 per cent from March to $5.8 billion. Both durable goods (down 1.6 per cent) and non-durable goods (down 4.5 per cent) posted weaker sales.

Key manufacturing areas such as wood products (down 5.9 per cent); transportation equipment (down 5.5 per cent); computer and electronic equipment (down 3.2 per cent); and electrical equipment, appliances and components (down 5.1 per cent) weighed down overall sales. The decline was only partially offset by a few sectors showing gains, such as food manufacturing (up 1.7 per cent), fabricated metal products (up 2.3 per cent) and sales of machinery (up 3.9 per cent).

Over 2022’s first four months, total sales remained 10.1 per cent of last year’s pace with durables (up 6.7 per cent) and non-durables (up 15.1 per cent), considerably ahead of last year’s pace notwithstanding April’s dip in activity. Manufacturing sales activity dipped across the province in May. In Metro Vancouver, sales fell 1.5 per cent and were down 4.3 per cent in the rest of British Columbia.

Bryan Yu is chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

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Simplicity launches real estate conveyancing solution in Ontario – ITBusiness.ca

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Today, Simplicity Global Solutions, a Canadian technology company, announced that its real estate conveyancing solution, Prolegis Real Estate, is available in Ontario.

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Source: Simplicity Global Solutions

Prolegis is a cloud-based real estate conveyancing solution made for real estate lawyers. It integrates with a real estate practice, providing tools and information to help each user enhance their performance, customer engagement, and work-life balance.

Prolegis is designed to help users save time, with all the capabilities and key third-party integrations needed to convey a real estate transaction. The solution provides user flexibility to configure and organize work, communicate with clients, and manage the real estate transaction end-to-end from a single solution at any time. It offers a library of document and workflow management tools, community databases, stakeholder portals, and real-time support.

‘Simplicity is incredibly pleased and excited to offer Ontario real estate lawyers and conveyancers a fresh new choice in a legal software provider. Collaborating with our valued customers and a network of trusted stakeholders, we are building a better, brighter future for real estate legal professionals and Canadian homebuyers,” said Neil N. Babiy, co-founder and chief executive officer of Simplicity Global Solutions Ltd. “At Simplicity, we envision a future where innovative technology is at the forefront of enhancing the customer experience in the real estate ecosystem. We are committed to helping advance technology utilization and adoption within the real estate sector by providing solutions that are user-friendly, easy to implement, and economical to acquire and operate.”

Ontario real estate lawyers and conveyancers can now book a demo and learn more about the tool here.

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U.S. real estate giant Blackstone says it will not target single-family homes in its Canadian expansion – The Globe and Mail

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Blackstone Inc. BX-N said Monday it has no interest in investing in single-family homes in Canada, laying to rest speculation the giant global asset manager would scoop up hundreds of Canadian houses and turn them into rental properties.

After Blackstone announced plans in May to establish a Canadian office in Toronto, rumours abounded that the private equity firm would unleash its firepower, gobble up homes and increase competition for individuals and families looking to buy homes. The typical home price across the country has climbed 50 per cent over the past two years and real estate investors have come under scrutiny for their role in ramping up competition and driving up prices.

But Blackstone’s head of real estate Americas, Nadeem Meghji, said that is not in the cards for the company’s Canadian expansion.

“It’s just not an area that we are focused on in Canada,” he said in a joint interview with Janice Lin, the new head of Blackstone Canada.

Blackstone targets Canadian real estate, opens office in Toronto

The New York-based company, which has US$915.5-billion in assets under management, has been accused of profiting off the 2007 U.S. housing meltdown after it bought swaths of distressed properties and then rented them out to U.S. residents.

Blackstone has said it did not own any single-family homes before the crisis and didn’t foreclose on any of the properties. It has also said many of its purchases were homes that had been sitting vacant and dragging down local property values.

Blackstone has since sold that business and owns a rent-to-own business called Home Partners of America – one of the many players in a growing single-family home rental market in the U.S.

“We don’t have a similar platform in Canada and we don’t have the intention of launching one because, from our perspective, we think there are just more interesting places to deploy capital in the Canadian market,” Mr. Meghji said.

Ms. Lin, a former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board executive, is in charge of Blackstone’s expansion in Canada. She cited the country’s favourable immigration policies and its strong population growth as two key factors that make Canada a winner for Blackstone’s capital.

Blackstone mostly owns warehouses and other industrial space in Canada, as well as a couple of office towers. It also has some investments in apartment building developments. All together, they are worth about US$14-billion, according to Blackstone, representing just a tiny fraction of the company’s global real estate portfolio.

Ms. Lin and Mr. Meghji both said the company will continue to invest in industrial and top office buildings, as well as hotels.

Blackstone has previously said it expects its growth here will be significant. Mr. Meghji would not quantify “significant” except to say he expects growth will be material and Canada could eventually command a larger share of Blackstone’s global real estate portfolio.

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