A child’s crayon drawing, showing three happy people in front of their new home, graces the office of Andrew Lasko of Lasko and Associates. It was a gift from the eight-year-old daughter of a couple from the Philippines – a thank-you gesture for helping the immigrant family purchase a house in Canada by matching their budget with a motivated private seller.
While there have been many such satisfactory outcomes throughout his 10-plus years as a realtor, providing “full service and the right kind of experience for every client” takes effort, especially in a fast-paced and constantly evolving real estate market, says Lasko. “I keep this picture around and on tough days, I look at it and remind myself of why I’m doing what I do.”
The idea of “full service” means different things to different people, and Lasko strives to gauge the exact level for ensuring his clients are comfortable. “That’s why it’s important to start with a conversation to understand their expectations,” he says. “It’s not just about whether they are looking for two or five bedrooms or what kind of amenities they want nearby. I am interested in learning what process works best for them; for example, do they like to be hands-on? Or do they prefer to outsource as many tasks as possible?”
His background in financial planning and analysis in the real estate, urban planning, banking and auditing industries – combined with a passion for community-building – give Lasko an advantage when it comes to enabling clients to make strategic real estate decisions.
He values “a methodical approach and due diligence” for collaboratively navigating an industry, where structures are useful but market trends sometimes require a quick response. That’s where experience is a big asset, he believes.
“Over time, you get to know buying patterns; you see where things are offered and where people are looking,” says Lasko. “I can help you explore real estate as a step towards achieving your overall financial and lifestyle goals. I can also speak intelligently about a range of financial products.”
With many of his clients being busy professionals, including accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers, Lasko aims to minimize the stress that can come with selling or buying a home. “I have pretty big shoulders, so you can trust me to carry much of the load,” he says. “And I’m constantly challenging myself to go the extra mile, to uphold the ethics – and improve the reputation – of the profession.”
Lasko grew up in Toronto and lived in Sydney, Australia, and Copenhagen, Denmark, before settling in Vancouver in 2007. Moving frequently inspired an appreciation of the “emotional strain that can come with the process, even if you’re super-organized.
“The last time I moved, I had a spreadsheet. I hired a packer and a mover,” he recalls. “I was going to wake up in one place and go to sleep in another.”
Needless to say, it wasn’t quite as stress-free as anticipated, he admits, and experiences like this have reinforced his commitment to offering his clients “the right experience.
“I really focus my attention on what they need,” says Lasko, who loves to discover commonalities, for example, in demographic or socio-economic backgrounds. With his ties to the financial, Jewish and LGBTQI+ communities and his active lifestyle, there is always overlap, “like a Venn diagram,” he notes.
Lasko also hopes to help enhance his clients’ financial flexibility, perhaps by discovering unrealized value. “I love the fact that I can help people enter the market with a condo,” he says, “and move their way up to million-dollar estates.”
His efforts and results have not gone unnoticed, and Lasko has repeatedly earned professional recognition. Yet what matters most is when clients tell him he’s “the best realtor,” says Lasko. “This gives me the shivers, in a good way.”
Andrew Lasko is featured in the 2022 Excellence in Real Estate Magazine.
Hong Kong Billionaire’s K. Wah Wins Shanghai Real Estate Bid, Sees “Excellent” Opportunity – Forbes
Hong Kong billionaire Lui Che-woo has been making successful investments in Shanghai real estate since the 1980s, such as K. Wah Center set along the city’s swank Huai Hai Road. A new project coming amid the country’s economically painful zero-Covid policies took a big step forward on Friday when his flagship K. Wah International Holdings said it had won a joint tender bid for HK$4.18 billion, or $532 million, to develop land on the city’s western side.
K. Wah, though a subsidiary, will hold 60% of a joint venture in partnership with two state-owned companies to develop residential and commercial property in an area planned for artificial intelligence and healthcare-related businesses, the announcement said.
K. Wah said the project “represents an excellent investment opportunity for the group to be engaged in a transit-oriented development to expand its presence in the Shanghai property market, replenish the group’s land bank and is in line with the group’s business development strategy and planning.”
The announcement comes after China’s overall GDP growth fell to 0.4% in the second quarter from a year earlier. In Shanghai, where millions experienced lockdowns of varying duration in the April-June period, GDP shrank by 5.7%. China’s relations with the United States and Europe have been strained by Beijing’s close ties with Russia and recent military exercises near Taiwan.
Mainland-born Lui, worth $12.1 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires list today, moved to Hong Kong at age four. Possessing only an elementary school education, he helped his grandmother run a retail outfit that sold food staples in Hong Kong as a teenager. In the late 1940s he re-exported army surplus, and by 1950 was buying construction equipment from Japan and selling it to Southeast Asia. In 1964 his was the first private company to obtain quarrying rights in Hong Kong, thanks to a record bid.
After that, Lui started building undistinguished residential housing there. Lui was also an early investor in China, buying into a quarry in Shenzhen in 1980 and later acquiring a land bank in Guangzhou. K. Wah Center opened in Shanghai in April 2005; beside real estate, part of his fortune also comes from the Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group.
Another long-term Hong Kong success story in Shanghai property development, Shui On Land, led by billionaire Vincent Lo, noted in a filing last month China’s short-term business outlook faces uncertainties. “The Chinese economy faces considerable headwinds amid a highly uncertain geopolitical environment, tense U.S.-China relations, and tightening monetary policy in the advanced economies,” it said. “The property sector debt issue will take time to resolve. Still, the government has the policy means and experience to handle the developers’ debt restructuring process and address the suspended project issue.”
And yet Shui On, whose Shanghai projects include city’s iconic Xintiandi nightlife and shopping area, was nevertheless upbeat about the longer-term investment prospects there. “Although the immediate outlook is less than favorable, the impending market correction should enable us to acquire assets in prime locations at attractive prices during what could be a golden era for new investment,” it said.
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Real estate markets slow in most nearby communities – Calgary Herald
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Slowing demand and rising supply in outlying communities like Airdrie have set in along with cooler temperatures of late summer, recent data shows.
Calgary Real Estate Board statistics from last month show sales falling year over year in most communities while supply is rising.
“In all those markets, we’ve seen improvements in inventory,” says Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist with CREB.
“Still these markets remain quite tight, but we are seeing some price adjustments and that’s because they came up so high during the pandemic.”
Airdrie is the largest and most in-demand market with the highest sales last month, 169 transactions, down almost eight per cent year over year. Still, the community saw inventory rise more than 10 per cent with now more than 1.69 months of supply, an increase of nearly 20 per cent from last year.
Other communities have also seen sales fall and supply rise. These include Cochrane, which had 75 sales, down about 17 per cent from August last year. Its supply is now more than two months, up about 26 per cent year over year.
Okotoks had 53 sales in August, down about 19 per cent year over year while supply grew to more than 1.8 months.
Despite falling demand and growing supply, prices still grew year over year in these communities. The benchmark price in Airdrie increased almost 19 per cent to $493,500. In Cochrane, the benchmark price grew by more than 16 per cent to $517,400 while the benchmark reached $549,300 in Okotoks, also an increase of more than 16 per cent.
Chestermere saw the biggest drop in sales year over year at more than 48 per cent.
Only High River experienced a slight increase in activity with sales last month up 2.5 per cent versus the same span last year.
Spotlight: Making sense of the current real estate market in Newmarket – NewmarketToday.ca
Buying a home at any time is a huge undertaking. It requires a lot of preparation, time and access to expertise.
Homeowners—and those who wish to become one for the first time—have it even harder right now, with conditions seeming to change from month to month.
REALTOR® Dave Starr specializes in home buying and selling in Newmarket and the surrounding areas. With over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, he is happy to share what he’s learned with others.
Slowing things down
So how would he describe the current state of the market in Newmarket? “It’s finally more normal and realistic,” he says. “A prospective buyer has a little more breathing room to make sure that their financing is in place and they can also consider a home inspection.”
A seller will benefit by working with a more seasoned agent, he says, because they have had prior experience with similar markets. He likens the situation to a professional athlete who has played in the playoffs before or competed in a large-scale event like the Masters in golf.
Earlier in the year, the market was not realistic.
That tended to leave buyers, sellers and agents scrambling. “The end result can be a situation with buyer’s remorse, where the buyer no longer wants to close on their purchase. The banks sometimes struggle with appraisals, which can also result in a non-closure,” he says. “In the fast-paced market that took place earlier, some agents potentially made more mistakes, especially since they weren’t experienced enough to handle multiple offers.”
Home inspections and interest rates
While some homes may not require a home inspection, there are lots that definitely need one. “In an extremely busy market, buyers could potentially end up with an unwanted surprise—at a great expense,” says the REALTOR®.
He likens it to the necessity of having speed limits on our roadways. The faster you go, the more chances you have of getting into an accident.
“We are now facing an increased mortgage rate, which many would not like to see, but the truth is it will help balance the market overall. Lower interest rates basically were one of the reasons for the inflated house prices and homeowners were simply taking on larger mortgages than ever,” he says.
For years many homeowners would tell him the same thing: that mortgage money was cheap to them. His answer to that never varied: “You do know you have to pay it back at some point.” If the rate were guaranteed for a lifetime, it would be a different story, but of course that’s not the way it works.
The market over the summer was slower but typical; that has become the norm over the past few years.
The fall market is already starting to pick up, with increased activity, though the number of listings in Newmarket is quite low. Rental availability is both quite expensive and experiencing a shortage.
Says Starr, “The market moving forward should remain stable. Buyers and sellers will have more time to make the best educated decision for their needs and wants.”
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, he welcomes any calls or emails.
Let Dave Starr Real Estate help you make your next move. Call 416-520-3231 and get the Starr treatment you deserve.
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