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‘This year is the record’: Okanagan real estate sales hit new high in 2020 – Global News

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Real estate sales in the Okanagan Valley hit an all-time high in 2020.

Despite a slowdown when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, residential sales picked up again and surpassed previous years.

“We expected the opposite, just like everybody else,” Interior Real Estate Association president Kim Heizmann said.

“We had no idea that this pandemic would create this kind of a perfect storm in real estate.”

Read more:
Home values ‘moderately increase’ in Thompson, Okanagan region

According to the Interior Real Estate Association, the previous biggest year for the region stretching from Revelstoke to Peachland was 2016, which saw $4.7 billion in sales.

However, 2020 had reached that number by October and went on to surpass the annual record by $1.2 billion.

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The final tally for 2020 was $5.9 billion in sales, Heizmann said.

Read more:
BC Assessment: $10.7M waterfront home tops list of 10 most expensive Okanagan properties

“This valley is becoming a big draw. It’s a large magnet that is pulling so many people from other areas,” realtor John Deak said.

Deak believes COVID has changed people’s spending habits, helping them save for down payments.

Low interest rates are also fueling the market, he added.

Read more:
Demand for Okanagan residential sales still strong

“I’m seeing first-time buyers who are local. I’m seeing people who were renting in the Lower Mainland finally able to purchase a home and able to do it here in the Okanagan,” Deak said.

“I’m seeing see Calgary retirees purchase their dream home.”

In the South Okanagan, the average sales price for single family homes surged 37 per cent, according to the real estate board’s statistics.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Real estate agents say pandemic playing role in red-hot Okanagan market

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“Whenever we see any kind of double digit price increases, month over or year over year in any kind of stats, those are big numbers,” Heizmann said.

However, Deak noted that despite the big demand, there is still little supply.

“Inventory is frightful,” he said. “Typically, in the spring is when you see an increase in inventory, but you’ll also see an increase in buyers, so it’s a double-edged sword.”


Click to play video 'Real estate experts in the Okanagan believe COVID-19 is pushing home sales up as people re-examine the kinds of homes they want to live in'



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Real estate experts in the Okanagan believe COVID-19 is pushing home sales up as people re-examine the kinds of homes they want to live in


Real estate experts in the Okanagan believe COVID-19 is pushing home sales up as people re-examine the kinds of homes they want to live in – Nov 4, 2020

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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2020 marked year of 'unprecedented' growth for Hamilton-area real estate market – TheSpec.com

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Not even a global pandemic could stop the Hamilton-area real estate market from growing last year — and in more ways than one.

Nearly 15,000 homes were sold in 2020, marking an 8.4 per cent increase from 2019, while the average price of a home rose by 16.8 per cent to just a little more than $690,000, based on the latest figures released by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB).

The latter is the “most surprising” figure, said RAHB president Donna Bacher, in an email to The Spectator.

“An almost 17 per cent growth in the average price — growth that would normally take two to three years to match — with sales and new listings being relatively normal is crazy,” said Bacher. “Even crazier is this unprecedented growth in average price happening in a year that was unprecedented to begin with.”

The market experienced a “slight slowdown” in March and April as the world ground to a halt due to COVID-19.

In April, the organization reported 484 residential sales in the month of April, a decline of 63.4 per cent compared to April 2019 and 56 per cent compared to March. Realtors pivoted in the wake of changing public health guidelines — and like everything else, open houses and showings went virtual.

The association had expected 2020 to “be a good market,” but the “uncertainty” around lockdowns stifled their expectations.

Bacher credited the “unexpected” gains to “government stimulus packages” as well as low-interest rates.

They also saw an influx of new buyers they never could have predicted.

“I don’t believe we expected the flee to detached homes and the migration radiating outward from Toronto influencing the number of sales in the (our) market area,” said Bacher.

In Hamilton, a detached single-family home sat on the market for an average of 24 days in 2020 compared to 31 in 2019. For Hamilton semi-detached, townhouses and row houses, the average number of days on the market was just 18, compared to 29 in 2019.

No community in the area covered by RAHB, which includes Niagara North and Haldimand County, saw a drop in their average home price last year, but new listings were down 7.4 per cent across the board compared to 2019.

Bacher said that the issue of “supply and demand” continues to drive up the prices of homes.

Back in 2010, the average price of a home in the region was $310,258 — last year’s stats represent a 125 per cent increase in the last decade, according to the association.

By the numbers

Hamilton saw a 10 per cent increase in sales, with the average price of a home rising by 18 per cent to $629,961.

Around the city, Ancaster experienced the highest jump in the number of sales with an increase of 26.7 per cent over 2019, while the Hamilton Mountain saw 2,113 home sales — topping the 2,045 processed in 2019. Dundas saw the largest drop in sales, falling to 304 sales from 323 in 2019.

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Flamborough held the highest average sale price at $969,322, but Bacher said that could be skewed by property size and type.

Burlington saw sales increase by six per cent and the average price of a home climb to $878,372.

Haldimand saw the most dramatic drop of listings, with a decrease of 19 per cent. But, the average price of a home in the area increased to $547,355 and the numbers of sales rose by seven per cent.

Niagara North saw an 11 per cent increase in sales, with the average price of a home rising by 15 per cent to $664,921.

By the numbers

Hamilton saw a 10 per cent increase in sales, with the average price of a home rising by 18 per cent to $629,961.

Around the city, Ancaster experienced the highest jump in the number of sales with an increase of 26.7 per cent over 2019, while the Hamilton Mountain saw 2,113 home sales — topping the 2,045 processed in 2019. Dundas saw the largest drop in sales, falling to 304 sales from 323 in 2019.

Flamborough held the highest average sale price at $969,322, but Bacher said that could be skewed by property size and type.

Burlington saw sales increase by six per cent and the average price of a home climb to $878,372.

Haldimand saw the most dramatic drop of listings, with a decrease of 19 per cent. But, the average price of a home in the area increased to $547,355 and the numbers of sales rose by seven per cent.

Niagara North saw an 11 per cent increase in sales, with the average price of a home rising by 15 per cent to $664,921.

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Calgary's real estate rebound expected to continue in 2021: CREB – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
The Calgary Real Estate Board is predicting continued growth in Calgary’s housing market this year as result of low lending rates, but ongoing challenges are expected to prevent a substantial increase.

In its annual forecast released Tuesday, CREB predicted total sales in Calgary would increase in 2021 by nearly five per cent compared to last year’s sales.

The 2020 sales numbers exceeded initial expectations, bolstered by a rebound in the second half of the year as demand outpaced supply.

“It is expected some of the momentum recorded at the end of 2020 will continue into 2021, fueled by exceptionally low lending rates and pent-up demand,” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB chief economist, in a statement. “While sales are expected to rise by nearly five per cent on an annual basis in 2021, persistent economic challenges are expected to prevent stronger growth in our housing market.”

CREB is expecting an increase of listings in 2021 as homeowners facing economic challenges may need to sell during high unemployment, while other owners who were reluctant to list at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic begin to enter the market.

The board is predicting 2021 prices to be one per cent higher than 2020.

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Why Real Estate Professionals Are Turning To Virtual Property Tours – Forbes

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I’ve done virtual keynotes for many real estate conferences in the past year and one of the key trends I’ve noted has been the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

High-contact industries are among those that can benefit the most from VR and AR technology

 Prior to the pandemic, virtual property tours weren’t uncommon, but most individuals still preferred to see property in person. Today, that mindset has shifted, with countless buyers turning to virtual property tours first, before committing to see a home in person. Virtual tours have their roots in the computer gaming industry, providing the residential sector with the ability to use 3D and in some cases, VR headsets, to help bring spaces and surrounding areas to life.

While COVID has certainly been the most urgent and immediate factor influencing the rise in VR real estate tours, it’s not the only one. As Millennials and Gen Z become a larger percentage of home buyers, the demand for virtual and mobile real estate services is increasing. These generations have come to expect virtual options for nearly everything, and home buying is no exception.

The next evolution of virtual tours

One of the most advanced companies to bring virtual tours to the masses is Guided Virtual Tours, a rapidly-expanding Tampa-based startup.  

Guided Virtual Tours is different from other virtual tour platforms—unlike traditional virtual tours that require users to click through to different points, this solution guides the prospect through the tour, selling the property just like an agent would. There’s no clicking from point to point or dragging to see different perspectives.

Instead, the prospect sits back and looks around as the VR leasing agent takes them through the tour. 

In addition, this platform is also the first proactive touring solution in the industry. Because these virtual tours can be posted on a property manager’s YouTube or social profiles, it can automatically generate new leads while giving tours 24 hours a day. 

Founder Chris Vasilakis, an American Mensa member and Marine Corps combat vereran, has a deep background in VR, having implemented it in various scenarios—including hip-hop artist management.  

After founding multiple startups in different industries, he eventually went all in on virtual reality with Guided Virtual Tours. 

According to Vasilakis, tours on his platform can be created at an affordable price, which hasn’t always been the case. “This is the future of touring all properties, allowing thousands of prospects to tour each day while reducing the need for human leasing agents,” he says. “It’ll be global—and it’s going to change the industry.”

It’s safe to say that virtual reality has enormous benefits for the year to come as our real estate landscape recovers and adapts to what I believe will be a big business boom in the near future

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