How could the Niagara real estate market be better off today than it was a year ago? It’s just one more thing to add to the growing list of unprecedented phenomena dotting the 2020 timeline. The Canadian economy may be feeling the sting of pandemic-related business closures and job loses, but the housing sector is booming from coast to coast. Every segment of the industry, from the condominium market to the luxury niche, is performing well through the COVID-19 pandemic. Niagara is no exception.
Even before the coronavirus public health crisis, Niagara had been an attractive place to plant roots. Big-city dwellers may have also wanted an excuse to migrate to the southeastern region, but work and the amenities of major metropolitan cities prevented the move. With changing consumer trends and societal shifts unfolding today, many families now have their eyes set upon this municipality that blends suburban charm with city culture.
So, just how strong has the Niagara real estate market been in recent months? Several trends are emerging across the region, from declining inventories to ballooning demand. Niagara could be one of the hottest markets in Ontario real estate heading into 2021.
The Niagara Region Real Estate Trends You Need to See
According to the Niagara Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest data, residential home sales activity surged at an annualized rate of 37.2 per cent in August, totalling 978 units. Prices also experienced double-digit gains in August, rising 15.3 per cent to $482,600 from the same time a year ago.
The other important development was the average days it took to sell a home – which was 35 days in August 2020, down from 43 days in August of 2019.
Terri McCallum, President of NAR, attributed the robust growth to steady inventory levels and multiple offers on listed properties.
Despite the steady increase in property values, Niagara remains one of Ontario’s most affordable markets, according to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report. For a long time, a large chunk of demand for Niagara real estate had been driven by retirees. However, with more professionals working from home, remote workers have been elevating demand and taking advantage before housing prices increase even further.
But how much more is the Niagara real estate market expected to grow? The RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report estimated that Niagara real estate could increase as much as six per cent in the remainder of 2020, which is roughly in line with broader Ontario real estate market performance in the final quarter of the year.
What Is Driving the Niagara Real Estate Market?
Niagara is another community benefiting from the growing trend of families leaving major urban centres and planting roots in small towns. Whether it is due to fears over hyper-dense cities or employers introducing work-from-home policies, people are choosing to live in areas other than Toronto and Hamilton. This allows them to save money on housing and enjoy more square footage for their dollars.
Like nearly every other market in Canada, Niagara is seeing a flood of homebuyers amid historically low interest rates. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank of Canada (BoC) slashed interest rates to nearly zero per cent. Further, the Bank lowered the conventional five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent. Put simply, borrowing has never been cheaper, so homebuyers are taking advantage of this accommodative monetary policy and jumping into the market or upgrading their living space.
The lure of the Niagara region is undeniable; it is not hard to see why it remains a favourable destination for tourists and residents alike. Beyond hosting one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Niagara’s rich cultural community and natural sights offer enough to keep you busy year-round:
- The city boasts 101 wineries that churn out delicious Chardonnays, Gamays and Pinot Noirs.
- The region’s long summers and moderate winters are perfect for enjoying the 42 conservation areas, like Ball’s Falls.
- Farms and farmers’ markets offer up some of the best produce in the province.
- The many different festivals, including the Grape and Wine Festival, the Niagara Jazz Festival, and, of course, the Shaw Festival have historically been well-attended by tourists and local residents.
Is Niagara part of the near-term cash injection from impetuous borrowers who have decided to flee the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area following the height of the pandemic? Or is the Niagara Region’s booming housing market part of a long-term trend? Indeed, Niagara’s trends are consistent with so many municipalities within the southeastern part of Ontario, many of which are projected to keep expanding for many years to come. Based upon its strong appeal and sound market fundamentals, the Niagara real estate market has more room for growth as we edge towards 2021.
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate boards merging to form 13th largest association in Canada – Kelowna Capital News
Two real estate boards in the Okanagan-Shuswap region will soon become one and together represent 1,600 Realtors from Revelstoke to the U.S. border.
Currently known as the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB), and the South Okanagan Real Estate Board (SOREB), come Jan. 1 they will be known as the Association of Interior Realtors.
Following the amalgamation in the new year, the Association of Interior Realtors will become the 13th largest Realtor association in Canada.
The new assocation will represent Realtors from Revelstoke to the U.S. border, east to Rock Creek and west to Eastgate Manning Park. It will also encompass the communities of Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge and Dawson Creek.
Under OMREB there are 88 real estate offices within the southern interior, from Peachland to Revelstoke.
SOREB encompasses 34 real estate offices in the southern interior and six officers in northern B.C.
According to both organizations, this amalgamation will allow them to combine resources, and work together to, “form a more perfect union” to ultimately serve and promote, “the value Realtors bring to the real estate transaction.”
OMREB’s current President Kim Heizmann will remain as President of the new organization, and SOREB’s President Lyndi Cruickshank will take the position of Vice-President.
According to the board, the new Association of Interior Realtors will provide leadership and support to its members in their pursuit of professional excellence within the interior region of British Columbia.
“The Board of Directors and the dedicated staff team will continue to improve the services available to the organization’s Realtor members and further promote the value of using a Realtor, both provincially and nationally,” the board stated in an email.
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Baker Real Estate Announces New President and Geographic Expansion – Canada NewsWire
TORONTO, Dec. 1, 2020 /CNW/ – Baker Real Estate Incorporated, Canada’s leading pre-construction residential and condominium sales and marketing company, today announced the appointment of Harley Nakelsky as President, effective immediately.
“Harley is a seasoned professional who has been a valued member of Baker’s senior leadership team for eight years, providing our clients with sound strategic advice and sales support,” said Baker CEO, Barbara Lawlor. “This expanded role, along with our ongoing investments in talent and technology, provides us with a strong foundation to grow our business and serve clients across Canada.”
“I am very excited by the opportunity to reinforce Baker’s proven track record in the Toronto area and, increasingly, beyond,” said Harley Nakelsky. “Our successful experience with launching new developments and selling down current developments despite COVID-19, has positioned us well for 2021 and beyond.”
Building on Baker’s long-term success, Baker is expanding into the Greater Vancouver market with the launch of Baker West, providing the firm’s bespoke service to its clients and local developers.
Jeff Clark, Senior Vice President will continue to be responsible for our international initiatives, including the development of Baker West and the partnerships that will ensure our success in the Vancouver area, and Debbie LaFave, Senior Vice President, will continue to lead our successful business in the Montreal market.
About Baker Real Estate Incorporated:
Baker is a member of the Peerage Realty Partners group of companies. For over 25 years, Baker has been Canada’s leading pre-construction residential and condominium sales company. With offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, it deploys its deep experience to provide consulting on all aspects of a development, ensuring clients strategically customize their projects and optimize returns with the ideal unit mix, floor-plan, pricing, and marketing. With a growing market share, Baker has sold over 100,00 units and generated $80-billion in new home sales.
About Peerage Realty Partners
Founded in 2007, Peerage Realty Partners, a subsidiary of the Peerage Capital Group, offers a unique professional partnership model for entrepreneurial real estate firms. Peerage transacts over C$16 billion in annual sales volume, with over 3,000 sales representatives and 78 offices. In addition to Baker Real Estate Incorporated, our partners include leading luxury brokerage firms: Chestnut Park Real Estate (Ontario,) Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty (Chicago), Madison & Company Properties LLC, (Denver), as well as Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, a leader in new development and condominium sales and marketing in British Columbia, and StreetCity Realty, a progressive brokerage in Ontario.
SOURCE Baker Real Estate Incorporated
For further information: Barbara Lawlor, CEO, Baker Real Estate Incorporated, Tel: 416-923-4621, Email: [email protected]
Commercial real estate: Trends to watch in 2021 – The Globe and Mail
The story of Canada’s commercial real estate in 2021 will depend on how many COVID-19 plot twists have caused permanent changes in leasing and transaction patterns.
Industrial and retail real estate trends that had already emerged in 2019 were greatly accelerated by the pandemic, say industry professionals. Warehousing and distribution centre construction and lease rates, already on the upswing, took off as e-commerce increased. Bricks-and-mortar retail has been hit harder as some retail chains founder and mall tenants struggle to make their rents during lockdowns.
The office sector has been thrown into disarray and forecasts are divided on where office vacancies and trends are heading.
“One camp is predicting work-from-home could become the new norm and the other is saying we will return to how things were previously,” says Matt Picken, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s (JLL) national lead of capital markets.
“I think there will be a compromise. Clearly there’s some cost saving involved in work-from-home but to the detriment of collaboration and office culture.”
JLL’s third-quarter 2020 office report showed a total office vacancy rate in Canada of 10.8 per cent and the “largest negative quarterly net absorption in over a decade, totaling nearly 2.7 million square feet of occupancy losses.”
But Mr. Picken remains confident in an office rebound once a vaccine is in place. “It’s too early to write off the office market. Our vacancies were so low for such a long time, this is not necessarily such a bad thing.”
Scott Addison, president of brokerage services Canada for Colliers, says available space, including lease and sublease vacancies, in major downtown markets could increase to more than 10 per cent in the next 18 months.
“The amount of sublease space coming to market is dramatic – 350 per cent more sublease space came to market in the last quarter than last year at this time.”
Mr. Addison says companies may have taken more space than they needed, based on big growth projections, and firms with multiple locations may be consolidating as leases come up.
According to Ray Wong, vice-president of data operations at Data Solutions for Altus Group, there are discussions between office landlords and tenants about downsizing, renegotiating rents and even increasing space requirements to accommodate physical distancing.
“On top of that, we’re seeing increased inquiries into the suburban markets, closer to where people live.”
Mr. Wong adds that some companies are looking into relocating further out of the big cities to markets such as Kelowna, B.C., Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., and Halifax to get more bang from the buck.
That drive to lower density locations might help Calgary, says Greg Kwong, regional managing director in Calgary for CBRE.
The office vacancy rate in downtown Calgary in third-quarter 2020 was 28.7 per cent, according to CBRE statistics. Mr. Kwong says the continuing crisis in the energy sector plays as big a role in Alberta as does COVID-19.
Vancouver is not experiencing the office vacancy woes felt elsewhere to the same extent, according to CBRE’s Vancouver managing director Jason Kiselbach.
“We entered 2020 with one of the lowest vacancies and we still have that,” he said, adding that a diversity of business, including film production and health sciences, as well as constrained office supply has contributed to a favourable climate.
Industrial properties, particularly warehouse and distribution, are bright spots for all markets in Canada. A trend to low vacancies and increasing lease rates was boosted significantly in 2020 by COVID-19′s influence on the rise of online shopping. Experts say the trend will continue through 2021 with still more construction and higher rates.
Mr. Wong says he would tell investors that their most promising bet for 2021 would be industrial land with room for possible expansion on a major arterial road. There is little available space in the market, he says. Third-quarter 2020 figures show national availability at 3.1 per cent, with Toronto figures at 1.9 per cent and Vancouver at 2.3.
In Vancouver, where available land is at a premium, industrial is beginning to go multistorey. Oxford Properties Group’s Riverbend Business Park is the first multistorey facility of its type in the Vancouver area.
Frank Magliocco, real estate leader with PwC Canada, says there is also a trend to some “reshoring” of manufacture because COVID-19 revealed the disruptions that can happen to global supply chains because of a pandemic.
“That’s also driving wind under the sales of industrial.”
Malls and power centres are another uncertain sector of industry. Some observers are seeing excess retail land being converted to residential and industrial uses.
“There is potential to convert some non-performing shopping centres to last-mile fulfillment centres,” JLL’s Mr. Picken says. “The numbers are going to start to break in favour of this type of development because there’s such a shortage of warehouse space in key urban areas.”
Mr. Addison predicts that big regional malls and local corner stores will return post-COVID-19, but consumers may still choose e-commerce over a trip to a power centre.
“Because of the pandemic, those who weren’t using e-commerce are finding ‘this is easy, it’s pretty good.’” Mr. Addison says. “In February, it’s snowing, you’re in Calgary. Are you going to drive out to a power centre or are you just going to order it off Amazon and have it delivered that afternoon?”
Investors show increasing interest in multifamily residential
Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021, an annual survey of real estate professionals conducted by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, showed 61.4 per cent of survey respondents favoured buying moderate income apartments; 48 per cent rated single family rentals as a buy and 42 per cent recommended lower income rentals, the top three commercial real estate categories in the survey.
According to Ray Wong, vice-president of data operations at Data Solutions for Altus Group, there has been some increase in vacancy in downtown Toronto in multiresidential, but that is because of a conversion of Airbnb units to longer-term rentals.
Canada has also missed a cycle of immigration because of COVID-19, he adds.
“Hopefully, immigration will start to come back, and I think a lot of those vacancies will start to dry up again,” Mr. Wong says.
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