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The Most Interesting Real-Estate Stories of 2020 – Livemint



At the start of 2020, Mansion’s reporting stretched from the Koch brothers’ vast (and very expensive) real-estate portfolio to how retirees could apply for mortgages on a fixed income. There was the story about Madrid’s luxury market finally putting the 2008 financial crisis in the rearview mirror. And the other that looked at why wealthy millennials were eschewing the suburbs for move-in ready homes close to cities.

Then March happened, and seemingly, our priorities shifted overnight.

Like many industries in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic shook real estate down to its foundation, flipping markets upside-down and changing the way developers, designers and especially real-estate agents conduct business. Even homeowners had to adapt, from the way they configured their own spaces, to where and why they bought certain properties.

Many stories that appeared in The Wall Street Journal’s real-estate section this year examined the industry through the lens of Covid. But despite the pandemic, sales moved forward. Brokers leaned into technology to show properties and seal deals. And people fell in love with their homes all over again, or gave them a much-needed refresh.

And not all of our stories were defined by the pandemic. If the world is spinning, real estate is happening.

Read on for a closer look at Mansion’s most interesting reads of the year.

Covid-19 Pounds New York Real Estate Worse Than 9/11, Financial Crash

The city’s luxury market was teetering amid a glut of high-end condos even before the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic pushed it over the edge.

Covid is Forcing Real-Estate Developers to Rethink Buildings

Developers are reconsidering everything from how shared living spaces and kitchens are configured to the number of balconies and elevators they have planned for buildings.

TikTok Studios, Zoom Rooms and Co-Working Spaces Are the New Must-Have Home Amenities

For millions of Americans working remotely, a home office became an absolute must-have during the pandemic. These spaces take it to the next level.

For Black Designers, a Surge of New Visibility and Business is ‘Bittersweet’

Following a general reckoning of race relations in the U.S., many Black architects and interior designers saw more visibility and increased demand. Above all, the professionals we interviewed for this story wanted to be recognized for the quality of their work.

Some of Boston’s Priciest Real Estate Is Sinking Into the Earth

Rotten wood pilings are threatening to sink some of the city’s most expensive homes. And buyers who purchase these properties are on the hook for repairs.

As Lake Michigan Rises, Homeowners Scramble to Protect Their Properties

Water levels on Lake Michigan are on track to reach their highest levels on record since 1918. Homeowners are rushing to preserve their properties, made increasingly difficult by coronavirus.

South Dakota Cowboy Who Won $232.1 Million Powerball Lists $41.15 Million Ranch

Neal Wanless was living in a camper after his family’s home was repossessed when won the Powerball in 2009. Now he’s selling the 50,000-acre ranch he assembled with his winnings for $41.15 million.

Wealthy Property Owners All Want a Slice of Hawaii’s Kona-Kohala Coast

Both celebrities and billionaires are jockeying for space along this once remote corner of the Big Island, despite the area’s history of human disputes and volcanic activity.

For These Intrepid Boaters, Life Is but a Great Loop

On every boater’s bucket list: The Great Loop, a roughly 6,000-mile journey that circumnavigates the eastern half of the U.S. and part of Canada. We joined a few Loopers making the journey on luxury watercraft.

Model Train Enthusiasts Are Parking Their Railroads in Souped-Up Spaces

All aboard! Model railroaders are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to build elaborate rooms in their homes for their tricked-out train sets.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text)

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Real eState

What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)



The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation that serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.

Understanding the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, that provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry.

CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice; to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance; to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.”1

A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.

CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada.2 Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada.3

Professionals and Consumers

CMHC provides services to both professionals and consumers. For professionals, CMHC aims to work in collaboration with different groups to provide affordable housing. Services include project funding and mortgage financing, providing information to understand Canada’s housing market, innovation and leadership networks to access funding and talent to spur housing innovation and increase supply, and providing speakers and hosting events for the industry.4

For consumers, CMHC seeks to provide all the tools an individual would need to either buy a home or rent a home and a variety of information and assistance for current homeowners, such as managing a mortgage, services for seniors to age in place, and financial hardship assistance.56

For financial hardship and mortgage assistance, CMHC provides tools that include payment deferrals, extending the repayment period, adding missed payments to the mortgage balance, moving from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, and other special payment arrangements.7

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the National Housing Strategy

In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy.8 Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $70 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.9

Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:

  • Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
  • Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
  • Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research10

History of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.11

In 1947, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.11

In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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Real eState

Canadian home price gains accelerate again in May



Canadian home prices accelerated again in May from the previous month, posting the largest monthly rise in the history of the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, data showed on Thursday.

The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 2.8% on the month in May, led by strong month-over-month gains in the Ottawa-Gatineau capital region, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It was a third consecutive month in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before,” said Daren King, an economist at National Bank of Canada, in a note.

On an annual basis, the Teranet index was up 13.7% from a year earlier, the 10th consecutive acceleration and the strongest 12-month gain since July 2017.

Halifax led the year-over-year gains, up 29.9%, followed by Hamilton at 25.5% and Ottawa-Gatineau at 22.8%.

Housing price gains in smaller cities outside Toronto and its immediate suburbs again outpaced the major urban centers, with Barrie, Ontario leading the pack, up 31.4%.

On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 4.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 4.3% in Halifax and 3.7% in Hamilton.

The Teranet index measures price gains based on the change between the two most recent sales of properties that have been sold at least twice.

Canada‘s average home selling price, meanwhile, fell 1.1% in May from April, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Tuesday, but jumped 38.4% from May 2020.


(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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Bank of Canada seeing signs of cooling in hot housing market



The Bank of Canada is starting to see signs that the country’s red hot housing market is cooling down, although a return to a normality will take time, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Wednesday.

The sector surged in late 2020 and early 2021, with home prices escalating sharply amid investor activity and fear of missing out. The national average selling price fell 1.1% in May from April but was still up 38.4% from May 2020.

“You are starting to see some early signs of some slowing in the housing market. We are expecting supply to improve and demand to slow down, so we are expecting the housing market to come into better balance,” Macklem said.

“But we do think it is going to take some time and it is something that we are watching closely,” he told the Canadian Senate’s banking committee.

Macklem reiterated that the central bank saw evidence people were buying houses with a view to selling them for a profit and said recent price jumps were not sustainable.

“Interest rates are unusually low, which means eventually there’s more scope for them to go up,” he said.

Last year, the central bank slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and Macklem reiterated it would stay there at least until economic slack had been fully absorbed, which should be some time in the second half of 2022.

“The economic recovery is making good progress … (but) a complete recovery will still take some time. The third wave of the virus has been a setback,” he said.

The bank has seen some choppiness in growth in the second quarter of 2021 following a sharp economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the year, he added.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)

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