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
Dartmouth real estate agent fined, suspended for taking dog – CBC.ca
A Dartmouth, N.S., real estate agent has been fined $2,500 and had her professional licence suspended for a month after taking a man’s dog and failing to return the pet.
Mike Smaggus said real estate agent Sarah Sullivan took his bichon frise, Snoopy, under the pretense of dog-sitting for a night last spring, but instead rehomed the animal.
“This conduct is dishonourable, unprofessional, harmful to the best interests of the public and to the reputation of the industry at large,” the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission said in its decision.
At the time, Smaggus and Snoopy were living in a rented north-end Dartmouth house that was listed for sale. Though Sullivan was not the listing agent, she had been to the home.
Smaggus said Sullivan offered to buy Snoopy, but he told her the dog was not for sale. She then offered to take the dog for a night while Smaggus moved out and found a new, pet-friendly place to live.
Smaggus said Sullivan gave him $200, either to help pay for the move or for Snoopy’s care. When he tried to get the dog back, Sullivan told him that Snoopy was no longer with her and that he had been rehomed.
When Smaggus tried to get Snoopy back, Sullivan used or threatened “to use information acquired only as a result of her access to the property as a real estate licensee,” the real estate commission said in its decision.
The commission also accused Sullivan of providing false or misleading information to investigators on several occasions. The board also noted a prior disciplinary action against Sullivan in 2014 when she provided false information to the commission.
Not a theft
Smaggus said he called police but was told it was a civil matter, not a theft, since money had changed hands.
“I’m pretty sure I won’t get the dog back,” he told CBC News. “It’s left a pretty bad taste in my mouth, the whole thing.”
Smaggus put out an appeal on social media, but has not heard anything. He said he doesn’t think there’s much he can do.
“Whoever has my dog has had him since last June, so I don’t think it’s really fair for me to take the dog back,” he said. “I’d like to see him, make sure he’s just doing alright.”
Sullivan told CBC News she is unable to tell her side of the story on the advice of her lawyer. The suspension on her licence is expected to be lifted in mid-February.
Halifax real estate agent suspended after showing home to client who skipped isolation – CBC.ca
A Halifax real estate agent has been suspended after knowingly showing a home to a client who had just arrived in Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada, skipping the 14-day isolation requirement.
The licence of Adam Scott of HaliPad Real Estate Inc. has been suspended for one month, until Feb. 18, for violating the Real Estate Trading Act, according to a notice from the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission.
The commission said an investigation was conducted after a complaint was made by a member of the public.
“The evidence supported Mr. Scott facilitated a viewing with a client knowing the client arrived from outside of Atlantic Canada the night before and had not completed the province’s COVID-19 pandemic mandatory 14-day self-isolation,” the notice said.
The commission said real estate agents and other industry members are required to follow COVID-19 health directives issued by the federal and provincial governments.
Scott was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
N.S. suspends real estate agent for showing home to client who failed to self-isolate for COVID-19 – Global News
A Halifax-based real estate agent has had his licence suspended after he showed a home to an individual who he knew to have not self-isolated for a 14-day period as required by the Nova Scotia government to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The decision from the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission was released on Monday.
In July 2020, Adam Scott of HaliPad Real Estate Inc. showed a home still under construction to a prospective buyer.
At the time, the Atlantic bubble was in effect and permitted residents of another province in the region to travel to another without any self-isolation requirements.
But the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission found that the unnamed individual who was shown the home was from outside of Atlantic Canada and didn’t self-isolate for the full 14-day period.
When the house was shown a third person, a builder, was at the home.
Chris Perkins, the owner of HaliPad, told Global News in a statement that no one had a positive case of COVID-19 and it was not transmitted during the showing.
“This is the first time we experienced COVID-19 protocols not being strictly followed and the agent has taken full accountability for his poor judgement,” he wrote.
The New Reality: How COVID-19 could impact the commercial real estate market
The real estate commission says it repeatedly informed its members through a number of various methods that they were required to follow the federal and provincial COVID-19 health regulations.
In this case, Scott did not, and the commission found that his actions violated the professional conduct standards of a real estate agent.
As a result, Scott’s licence has been suspended for a month or until Feb. 17 and he has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Perkins says the company is deeply disappointed by the event and it served to underscore the importance of complying with COVID-19 regulations.
“We will continue to enforce our strict policy that agents will not attend (in-person) appointments with anyone who has not completed their mandatory isolation period.”
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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