The idea of leaving Toronto for a smaller locale has never been hotter among young people than it has been over the past year-and-a-half thanks to COVID-19, the impacts of which have forced so many downtowners to live, work, play, exercise and do whatever else needs to be done in their tiny apartments.
Real estate firms and analysts have responded to this interest in kind with oodles of rankings about which town or city is the best one to flee to after leaving Toronto, most of them based on housing affordability (the other prime driver of our recent millennial mass exodus).
A few months back, Zolo said that Windsor, Ontario was the most-affordable city in Canada. Maclean’s bestowed the same honour upon Elliot Lake, Ontario, and RE/MAX highlighted Kingston as one of the most affordable options in Ontario outside Toronto.
A new report from Zoocasa, prepared in partnership with MoneySense, has dubbed another small city in Canada’s largest province as the best place to purchase a home based on financial reasons: Bancroft.
— SHAWN VENASSE (@shawnvenasse) July 6, 2021
“With the intention of simplifying the complex task of buying a home amid a pandemic, MoneySense, in partnership with Zoocasa, has released the 2021 edition of Where to Buy Real Estate in Canada, revealing which real estate markets offer the best price point, value growth, and overall livability,” announced Zoocasa in a blog post on Tuesday.
“As the official data provider for the feature, Zoocasa ranked neighbourhoods and municipalities across 17 regions from coast to coast using proprietary methodology that takes into account average home prices, price growth over time, as well as neighbourhood characteristics and economics.”
Their findings are said to “reveal value and demand conditions in housing markets across the nation,” which essentially means that they highlight the places where you’d be best-off spending your money on a home, if you want a return on that investment.
According to the ranking, the top 5 municipalities in all of Canada for real estate value are located in Ontario. They are Bancroft & Area, Woodstock-Ingersoll, London-St. Thomas, Tillsonburg and Huron-Perth.
“Known for its proximity to Algonquin Provincial Park and prime Ontario cottage country, Bancroft has long been a vacation locale for those looking to escape the pace of city life,” writes MoneySense of the tiny riverside town.
“With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting increase in remote work, however, the town offers attractive incentives for those looking to make it a permanent destination.”
Bancroft, Ontario has new bragging rights.
— NHLS (@NewCanadaHomes) July 6, 2021
The City of Toronto was rated the third-worst place in Canada for real estate value, bested only by Oakville-Milton (number two) and the least-affordable of all cities in Canada, Vancouver.
“As the pandemic has made homeownership more important than ever, it has driven new trends in home buying psychology,” said Zoocasa Realty CEO Lauren Haw in the report.
“More buyers are looking to upsize their homes and are looking to markets where it’s most affordable to do so.”
Haw also noted that “the ability to work from home has untethered many from living near business centres, and has offered buyers the flexibility to relocate [farther afield] to markets they may not have previously considered.”
Bancroft, which is roughly 2.5 hours from Toronto and has just under 4,000 residents, will give buyers the biggest bang for their buck according to this particular ranking.
“While it may have small-town charm to burn, Bancroft is actually an economic powerhouse with a skilled local workforce, thriving downtown core and all the amenities of a larger city such as a vibrant retail and dining scene, art and theatre, schools and healthcare,” says MoneySense.
— MoneySense (@MoneySense) June 28, 2021
People are buying condos again at higher rates than what we saw in 2020 post-pandy, but detached home sales have cooled down from their crazy March peak, suggesting that buyers who want to stay in Toronto are opting for more affordable types of housing.
And yet, for those who want a house with space to live, work and grow a family, the only option in most cases is to leave. Houses in Toronto are simply too expensive.
Faced with the option of cramming their lives back into 600-square-feet of waterfront whitespace or working from home on a spacious farm (if they have the option), some are still opting to peace out and take their chances on an out-of-town investment.
Bancroft may be the place for them. Or not. Who knows?
Why hasn't climate change put a dent in luxury real estate? – BNN
About a week after NASA released satellite imagery of California’s precipitously low water reserves, Douglas Elliman published its market report for Los Angeles’s second quarter.
Price trend indicators, Elliman found, were among the highest they’d been in at least 17 years. “All of California, especially southern California, is booming,” says Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of appraiser Miller Samuel Inc., which compiled the report. “Beginning with the end of the lockdown, even with rising COVID infections, it’s continuing.”
Housing trends are rising across the U.S., in fact, with median single-family home prices in the second quarter up by at least 10 per cent from the previous year in 61 per cent of the U.S. counties surveyed by the industry database Attom.
Luxury sales in many of these areas matched or surpassed other categories, with strong results from downtown Boston (condo sales are up 118 per cent from the preceding year, according to an Elliman report) to the San Francisco Bay Area, where the number of US$3 million-plus house sales in June were higher than they’ve been since at least 2018, according to a Compass report.
But some of the top performing luxury markets in the U.S.—specifically Southern California, Colorado, and South Florida—have something less rosy in common: They’re all in the throes of extreme climate-related events.
“There’s awareness and discussion about it, but it doesn’t seem to be modifying behavior yet in the markets I cover,” says Miller.
If anything, he continues, events such as flooding and hurricanes seem, at least anecdotally, to encourage high-end construction rather than deter it. “After Hurricane Sandy, there was a tremendous discussion about flooding,” he says. “And what we ended up seeing was middle-class housing being leveled by the storm and higher-end properties taking their place.”
Climate change, Miller concludes, “doesn’t discourage development, and I think it shifts the mix from affordable to more expensive.”
No place is immune to climate change; just ask New Yorkers who saw the sky darkened for days by forest fires 2,700 miles away. But there are some locations, such as Los Angeles, where the luxury real estate market appears particularly impervious to external events.
“You were seeing packed open houses where you could see smoke [from forest fires] in the background,” Miller says, of recent years when the city was threatened by nearby wildfires.
Growth in LA’s luxury market, accounting for the top 10 per cent of sales, has been particularly pronounced. A whopping 112 houses, primarily in the city’s west side and downtown, sold in the last quarter, according to the Elliman report, for a 138 per cent rise over the same quarter last year; the average sales price was just under US$17 million.
“We’ve seen unprecedented demand,” says David Parnes, a principal at Agency real estate brokerage. “Everything is being bought up, and what that suggests to me is that this is not the end. The market is going to get even stronger.” Some properties, he says, receive 20 or 30 offers. “That means those 20 or 30 people have missed out,” he says, “which means that 20 or 30 people are still looking.”
CLEAR-EYED, WITH PRIVATE PLANES
It’s not that wealthy buyers are delusional, brokers say; it’s just that they’ve weighed the pros and cons and are willing to shoulder the risk.
“Clients will ask about rising water, and will talk about flood plains and ask me about the elevation” of a home, says Lourdes Alatriste, a Douglas Elliman broker in Miami. “I do believe it’s a concern. But at that level of money, should anything happen, they just close up and go.”
Luxury buyers, she continues, “have planes. They can get out.”
Other wealthy homeowners are planning for disaster. Palm Beach, Fla., residents are building bigger and higher and stronger houses, while some residents in Malibu, Calif., have attempted to add fire-protective coating to their homes.
Indeed, Alatriste, who says that demand for luxury properties is so high that many of her sales occur off-market, has had a few clients investigate flooding risks and decide not to buy. But largely, “they want to live right now, in the moment,” she says, and Florida “serves that purpose.” Also, she adds, “they get insurance.”
Colorado, which is currently being ravaged by a series of devastating wildfires, is home to numerous markets whose luxury tier has soared throughout the pandemic. There, says Gary Feldman, a broker with 36 years of experience in Aspen’s luxury real estate, “none of my clients really discuss it,” he says of the risk.
In Aspen, which saw sales dry up in the month of June due to a lack of inventory on the market, signed contracts for single family homes occurred only at or above US$5 million, according to an Elliman report.
If they’re concerned, Feldman continues, “they’d buy some place else, and where else do you buy? Everywhere has issues, and not all are climate-related. Some are social. And people are smart enough to weigh the pros and cons of the issues of the day and then decide where to go. But no one really brings it up, in my experience.”
Miller says that might change sometime soon. Climate-related events “just have to be more frequent, and more intense than they are now,” he says. “And I’m not sure when that day comes, but it will come at some point.”
Commercial real estate firm joins global company, opens office in downtown Wilmington – Greater Wilmington Business Journal
The Efird family has been in the real estate business for more than half a century, with Frank Efird Sr. forming a company in 1965 to build homes in New Bern and Craven County.
The Efird Company bought a 1,200-acre farm near New Bern in 1967 that became River Bend Plantation, which incorporated in 1980 to become the town of River Bend.
Frank Efird’s son, Frank Efird Jr., is now leading the family’s commercial real estate business, which recently became a franchise of global commercial real estate firm SVN and opened an office in downtown Wilmington.
Standing behind the bar at 6 Market St., in what Efird Jr. describes as a commercial real estate “digital cafe” that serves as the office for SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate, Efird Jr. said SVN provides options for future growth.
During the pandemic, he said, “I was looking for opportunities to grow our commercial real estate business, and part of that is going from a home office, which I worked out of during COVID, into what is the next step, and this is that next step.”
Efird Jr., who is the managing director for SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate, added, “When I joined the franchise, it opened up a whole new world of networking … so now I’m part of an international franchise with 200 offices and over 1,600 brokers.”
Already, the arrangement has netted Efird Jr. a national client looking for space in Pender County.
The Wilmington-based SVN franchise currently has six people working for it, and is looking to add brokers.
“We’re in growth mode,” Efird Jr. said, and interested brokers will be trained at 6 Market St. and given access to SVN technology.
“As the SVN brand grows across the globe, we are partnering with market leaders who share our vision of a collaborative, open approach to commercial real estate,” said Kevin Maggiacomo, president and CEO of SVN, in a news release. “SVN | Efird Commercial Real Estate is another strong addition to SVN and we look forward to rapidly growing the SVN presence and culture in the Wilmington market.”
A ribbon-cutting with Wilmington Mayfor Bill Saffo for the new office is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 6 Market St.
Altus Group reports commercial real estate market on the rise in Canada – constructconnect.com – Daily Commercial News
TORONTO—According to Altus Group’s latest blog posts, the commercial real estate (CRE) market is on the upswing in Canada, with increasing transaction volume across most major markets and the continued return of investor confidence following the slowdown related to COVID-19 in 2020.
National investment volume in the first quarter increased 25 per cent compared to this time last year, reaching a total of nearly $15 billion, indicates a release.
The industrial sector also reported robust activity in Q1 2021, with $3.5 billion in volume, marking a 46 per cent increase compared to the same quarter last year and composing 23 per cent of total transaction volume for the quarter.
Land sectors also saw substantial increases in the first quarter, with ICI land reaching $2.4 billion in value, up 49 per cent compared to Q1 2020, and residential land reaching $3.6 billion, up 54 per cent. The two sectors make up 40 per cent of the total volume for the first quarter of 2021.
In addition, multi-family has also seen a rise of 23 per cent compared to last year, reaching just under $3.0 billion in volume.
The office market continues to be affected by pandemic-related impacts, seeing $822 million in transactions in the first quarter, down 50 per cent compared to Q1 last year.
On the other hand, the retail sector marked a 10 per cent increase in transaction volume compared to Q1 2020, reaching $1.7 billion, even though they experienced lockdowns at the beginning of the year.
Altus reports all major markets in Canada recorded growing investment volume in the first quarter of this year, aside from Edmonton dropping 45 per cent, Ottawa decreasing slightly by four per cent and Montreal remaining relatively stable, with a drop of 0.4 per cent.
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