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The stresses that changed Canadian and Ottawa real estate in 2020 –



If you had to pick one word to describe the 2020 market for resale homes, it would be “stressed.”

Shrinking inventories combined with a sharp rise in demand triggered bidding wars for a majority of properties. Historically low rates for mortgages contributed to higher-than-expected bids, both on the part of the buyers and sellers. Not only that, the pandemic made the process of buying and selling more difficult, and re-shaped the kinds of properties in highest demand. The new mantra was space — not just for extra home offices but for big acreage well beyond the city cores.

Take all this together, and you have most of the explanation for the unusual sales patterns that emerged in 2020.

Consider first the sharp divergence between the biggest cities and smaller towns, as revealed in the latest tabulation by the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Ten of the 12 districts showing the biggest growth year-over-year were smaller urban areas in southern Ontario. These ranged from Kawartha Lakes, where the benchmark price for single-family homes jumped 29.2 per cent to $492,000 in November, to the Simcoe region, where realtors reported a 21 per cent climb in the benchmark price to $439,000. Both of these districts, along with Quinte, southern Georgian Bay and Barrie, benefitted from growing popularity of cottage properties.

They are also part of Toronto’s hinterland, which has expanded dramatically with the increased acceptance of home-based offices by many employers.

Remote working may be behind the rapid rise in resale prices in Woodstock, Tillsonburg, London and Brantford — towns to the west of metro Toronto that have traditionally supported legions of long-distance commuters. It’s possible some of these workers have opted to trade up in their home districts now that commuting costs are out of the equation, at least for the foreseeable future.

The only large city within the group of the 12 fastest-growing markets is Ottawa, where the benchmark price for single-family homes surged 22 per cent year-over-year to $593,000 in November.

The only other large city to come close was Montreal, which saw resale values increase 21 per cent to $472,000.

Metro Toronto, with resale prices up 13 per cent year-over-year to $1 million, was middle of the pack among the largest urban areas while Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary all saw house price gains of less than 10 per cent. Other cities on the prairies — including Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg — also saw single-digit gains in benchmark prices.

On the prairies, the big factor dampening real estate values is weak prices for oil and other commodities. In B.C., the explanation for tempered gains is a combination of high prices and a foreign buyers tax for properties in greater Vancouver.

In Ottawa, the theme was catch-up. When home prices in Vancouver and Toronto surged from 2015 to 2017, they moved up here at a very measured pace. That pattern changed in mid-2019, when benchmark prices in Ottawa started growing fastest among the country’s largest cities.

During the pandemic, rural properties in the Ottawa Valley have appreciated faster than residences in the core of the city. Whether that pattern will continue in 2021 will depend a lot on whether employers insist that workers return to the office. We probably haven’t seen the end of stressed real estate markets.


Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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LACKIE: Toronto real estate defying all conceivable expectations amid pandemic – Toronto Sun



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It was a perfect storm.

By the end of 2020, rental transactions in Toronto were down 20% from the year before. Average rent, down 5% across the GTA, fell a full 15% in the downtown core alone.

Notwithstanding the broader social and economic concerns of this moment we’re in, it is finally a good time to be an apartment hunter.

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Now, prospective tenants considering a move have options — units without thoughtful floor plans, outdoor space, a great view and daytime sun will languish. So would-be landlords are doing all they can to sweeten the deal — everything from signing incentives to rent rebates, to free parking, cable and Wi-Fi — anything to be competitive.

The question is then, how low can it go and how much longer can we expect this to last?

Given that the current state of things is a direct result of the fallout of the pandemic economy, it’s a safe bet that recovery will depend on how long it takes for life to return to some semblance of normal.

Simply put: this is a COVID problem – not a standalone crisis of the rental market. Once vaccines are widely distributed, universities and workplaces reopen, and Toronto reclaims its position as a hub for business, culture, and nightlife, it is a certainty that things will stabilize. And when it does, we will be reminded of the looming crisis we were bracing for prior to the pandemic — a housing supply falling well behind keeping pace with population growth and new immigration.


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With the real estate market still growing, here's how to invest this year – Financial Post



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Investing in real estate has always been considered a smart move, and with so many Canadians in search of better housing thanks to the pandemic, the moment is right to strike. RBC estimates home resales in Canada increased by 13 per cent last year and predicts sales will hit an even higher level in 2021. Clearly, there is money to be made, but understanding the real estate market requires skill and know-how.

Every good investor takes time to study their intended market before making a move. Investing in a home for your entire family is considerably different from nailing down the perfect time for buying a building to flip when the demand is high. If you have ever considered purchasing an investment property, you’ve probably struggled with deciding which type of home is the right one to pour your money into. Not to mention all the other important questions you’ll need to answer for an endeavour as big as this one.

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'Enamoured with the Hammer': Toronto real estate agent rhymes about downtown Hamilton loft –



The career trajectory of Arty Basinski is a somewhat head-spinning affair. First he was a musician, writing his own songs and playing in bands. This didn’t pay the bills, though, so he went into real estate.

Early in his newfound profession, after struggling for a few months, he had a breakthrough — why not advertise the properties using the power of song?

The plan worked. Now, Basinski’s listings go viral online on a semi-regular basis, thanks to the music videos he makes for his clients.

First it was “Lil Yellow House,” a duet he performed with the owner of a semi-detached bungalow in Toronto’s east end. The video amassed over 66,000 views on YouTube and the house sold for just under asking price within a week.

His latest work is a promotional video for a mixed-use building in downtown Hamilton, which includes two apartments above a recently-abandoned vape store.

In “Loft Mi Casa,” which had just over 1,000 views on YouTube as of Jan. 22, Basinski makes the case for buying real estate in Hamilton. for all the details on this Hamilton Storefront Property

It opens with a shot of Basinski standing before the Toronto skyline, CN Tower in the distance, evidently down on his luck. A man in a leopard-print onesie kicks him in the stomach for slapstick effect.

“Leaving T.O., I’ve got nothing left to give. The bills are piling up, I can’t afford to live,” he tells us.

So off he goes to Hamilton, westbound along the QEW, to the land of cheaper real estate.

“I’m enamoured with the Hammer,” the Torontonian rhymes. “Luxury condos are advertising; watch construction from your patio — quite mesmerizing.”

Basinski’s musical background has been a boon for his real estate career. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, being a musician myself,” he told The Spectator. “Oddly enough, I didn’t make it as a musician, but the real estate game turned me back into one, I guess.”

He composes most of the music himself with help from his clients, many of whom have musical hobbies. The chorus in “Loft Mi Casa” — seemingly salsa-inspired, impressively catchy — was recorded in his client’s home studio. The client sings the hook.

When he’s not selling property or rapping about it, Basinski is part of a roving circus act. He drums, he juggles, he spins sticks lit on fire and he walks around on stilts — sometimes all at once.

His novel approach to advertising lends itself to commercial property especially, which can take between six months and a year to sell, he said. “It takes so long to sell commercial storefronts, so you have to keep the property at the forefront of people’s minds. You have to come up with new ways to get people to remember these properties.”



In addition to two apartments and storefront, the Loft Mi Casa building, at 17 John St. N., includes a storage room and an outdoor patio. Its namesake loft boasts a 25-foot-high ceiling and mezzanine bedroom with a walk-in closet.

A “ROI guarantee,” said Basinski. That’s return on investment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made properties harder to sell, so Basinski has also offered a few incentives. If you find the hidden cat in the 3D walk-through posted to his website, he’ll shave off $5,000.

Jacob Lorinc

Jacob Lorinc is a Hamilton-based reporter covering business for The Spectator. The funding allows him to report on stories about education.

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