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Toronto real estate fatigue and COVID-19 anxiety are setting in: realtors – NOW Toronto



Realtors say now is a good time to find a deal as prices may finally cool due to surging COVID-19 cases and the season

The Toronto real estate market may finally cool following month-after-month of unseasonably frantic behaviour.

The average Toronto house price broke records in June and just kept climbing despite the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching $1,025,925 in October.

But daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario have hit record highs as well. On Saturday, the provincial government announced 1,581 new cases and the pandemic is expected to worsen

“We are continuing to urge our members across Ontario to stop hosting open houses,” says Ontario Real Estate Association CEO Tim Hudak. “Limit face-to-face interactions as much as possible and use virtual tools first and to the greatest extent possible.” 

If the trends continue, Ontario’s red zones could eventually face a lockdown similar to March, which brought the hot real estate market to a standstill.

But Toronto area realtors Meray Mansour and Odeen Eccleston, from Re/Max Hallmark Realty and WE Realty, respectively, don’t think real estate sales will come to a screeching halt. Rather, buying and selling will only pause. 

“In the spring, because it was so new to us, we hadn’t built up that tolerance yet,” says Mansour.

“There was so much uncertainty, people were just paralyzed with fear,” adds Eccleston. 

Both realtors feel most people will continue to conduct business as usual during the second wave, but perhaps a little more carefully. After we speak on the phone, Mansour is going to visit properties to give her client, who will stay at home, a live tour using Zoom. 

“Now we’re kind of used to it,” says Mansour. “Like ‘OK, here we go again.’” 

An unstable Toronto real estate market 

Both Mansour and Eccleston also feel that now is a good time to start looking for real estate deals. Toronto prices continued to rise through October despite the pandemic, which is an indication of the demand. But after months and months of hustling between realtors, buyers and sellers, they say exhaustion is setting in. 

“People are getting what I might call a little bit of Toronto real estate fatigue,” says Eccleston, explaining that it’s a good time for buyers to get a deal from sellers who want to offload remaining listings.

“People kind of start to fall asleep this time of year. I say don’t give up now because competition is going to be a little bit less fierce in November and December.” 

It helps that November and December is typically a time where people take their minds off real estate and figure out the holidays. Mansour adds that despite the high prices, the market is unstable, which leaves room to find details. 

“There’s been weeks where supply has been really high and then it’s gone,” says Mansour. She adds that the market has recently been in a state where it’s no longer just following sustained trends but almost reacting emotionally.

For example, Mansour observed that the Toronto real estate activity received a boost after Joe Biden was announced the projected winner of the U.S. presidential election. 

“Literally, the next day after they announced the winner, everything picked up. My showings picked up. My offers picked up. I sold everything.” 

Mansour believes the election results made people feel a little more secure in their stocks and finances, which are tied to the U.S. economy.

Eccleston adds that the weather was also nice, which generally correlates to strong real estate activity. But both agree that moods and emotions have a heavy impact on real estate activity.

People’s emotions – and the real estate market – have been on a rollercoaster ride in 2020. 

Realtors are the new therapists

“It’s more difficult to put deals together because of the collective anxiety,” explains Mansour, who says she’s working 10 times harder because pandemic fatigue is taking its toll on transactions. 

The pandemic not only added new health and safety measures and obstacles, but new stresses for clients who are in some cases making life-changing decisions in response to the pandemic and financial crisis.

Are they going to have a job? Do they want to leave the city and look for more space? Or will this pandemic be over after a vaccine arrives, meaning should they should stick it out? Do they buy first or sell first?

These are all questions clients usually know the answer to ahead of time, says Mansour. But not in a COVID-19 world. 

“There are announcements every week from the government telling us numbers are up, numbers are down, we’re locking down, we’re opening up,” says Mansour, adding the emotional toll COVID-19 is taking on people affects real estate decisions.  

Nowadays, realtors feel more like therapists.

“The levels of anxiety are high. People are drinking a lot more. We don’t have the normal things that we do every day, like going to the gym or being with friends and family. There’s a lot more isolation. All that stuff affects us psychologically. And most people are not even aware of that. It’s kind of like this underlying factor.

“Sometimes when people are anxious, they make bad decisions,” she adds. “I’ve had to really put on my therapist hat and be like, ‘OK, is this something you really need to do or is this something you’re doing because of your anxiety?’”


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Real Estate Brokerage Compass Taps Banks for IPO – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Compass, a SoftBank-backed company that’s among the largest real estate brokerages in the U.S., has selected underwriters for a potential initial public offering, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The New York-based startup is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley ahead of a listing that’s slated for 2021, said the person, who requested anonymity because the information isn’t public.

Representatives for Compass and Goldman declined to comment. A spokesman for Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately have a comment.

Compass was founded in 2012 by Ori Allon and Robert Reffkin, a Goldman alum who was once Gary Cohn’s chief of staff at the bank. It positions itself as a real estate firm that uses technology to give its agents an advantage over rivals. The company has used capital from venture investors to expand by acquiring smaller brokerages across the U.S.

Low mortgage rates have fueled a housing rally in the U.S. as Americans seek more space to spread out in the pandemic. That’s boosted residential real estate companies, including Zillow Group Inc. and Opendoor, another SoftBank-backed company. Realogy Holdings Corp., which owns Compass competitor Corcoran Group, has seen its shares rally about 28% this year.

In addition to SoftBank, which participated in a $370 million funding round last year that valued Compass at $6.4 billion, investors include Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Wellington Management, Founders Fund, Dragoneer Investment Group and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, according to its website.

Former American Express Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault and CEO Marc Benioff are also investors.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Commercial Real Estate: Navigating Opportunities And Challenges Ahead (Video) – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts




Commercial Real Estate: Navigating Opportunities And Challenges Ahead (Video)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

Uncertainties currently abound in many sectors and commercial
real estate is no exception. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused
some level of distress in certain sectors of the commercial real
estate market, it has also opened doors for stakeholders and
presented opportunistic transactions with their own unique set of
risks and important structuring considerations, particularly in the
restructuring and insolvency space.

In this video, Graham Rawlinson and Charlene Schafer briefly
discuss what to expect in our upcoming webinar on December 3 on
commercial real estate. Some of the key topics to be explored

  • preparing for bankruptcy or insolvency opportunities that may
    affect the Canadian real estate market, and what to consider when
    dealing with assets going through some type of a debtor/creditor
  • funds focused on distressed and opportunistic real estate
    assets, and whether the ongoing distress in the market will
    continue to present new opportunities; and
  • distressed opportunities south of the border and unique
    considerations affecting the U.S. commercial real estate

Play the short clip below and register for the webinar here.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Real Estate and Construction from Canada

Asserting Privilege In The Condominium Context

Field LLP

The issue of asserting solicitor-client privilege in the condominium context is an interesting one, especially as between the condominium corporation and the individual unit owners

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Nakisa to acquire real estate management tech firm IMNAT | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange



IMAGE: Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi. (Courtesy Nakisa)

Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi. (Courtesy Nakisa)

Montreal-based software company Nakisa is expanding into the real estate technology market with the acquisition of IMNAT Software, a cloud-based real estate management solution.

Nakisa CEO Babak Varjavandi said IMNAT’s real estate management technology will be added to Nakisa’s lease management solutions portfolio.

“By combining the breadth of our lease accounting knowledge with their real estate expertise, we’re poised to disrupt the corporate real estate market, which is currently reliant on outdated processes and proptech legacy software,” he told RENX.

IMNAT is also Montreal-based. The start-up has about a half dozen employees and has entered the sales phase for its platform, which it markets specifically at businesses which manage their real estate.

“Our reimagined corporate real estate solution will offer customers a complete modern end-to-end solution that leverages the Nakisa cloud platform and provides full ITGC (IT general controls), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), user management and more,” Varjavandi said. “We truly believe we can disrupt this market because I think we are much further ahead . . . of our competitors with the technology.

“At the end of the day, because of the technology that we have, we believe we can bring in all these other pillars to provide an end-to-end solution.”

He said IMNAT Software’s technology will complement and extend Nakisa’s existing lease accounting product line and address increasing demand for global corporate real estate management solutions.

The acquisition is set to close on Jan. 1, 2021.

Nakisa and IMNAT

Nakisa released the first version of its product in 2000. The company has two lines of business – one addressing human resources and the other in leasing. It will now expand to provide end-to-end lease management which will include real estate and lease accounting.

The company also has offices in Frankfurt, Singapore, Florida and Pakistan.

Varjavandi said the company name is also his mother’s name.

He said IMNAT Software, founded in 2011, has a core product, InfoSite, which is a leading edge corporate real estate management software designed to centralize and manage corporate real estate accounts.

The platform features databased reporting and dashboards, streamlines corporate lease operations and manages data for leases, taxation, payments and rent rolls.

“When we talked to our customers and looked at the market, what we found that was interesting is that the real estate software industry hasn’t really evolved,” said Varjavandi. “They’re still using very old technology and it’s very costly to implement.

“Even if they’re on the cloud, they’re really not what we call a native cloud application.

“We saw huge opportunity in that area. For us to enter that market, we had a choice of either building the whole real estate functionality, which is the operation day-to-day activity of maintaining your real estate.

“Or we had to acquire a company that already had a customer base, they already had the expertise and they could use their expertise and that’s what happened. We saw this made-in-Montreal company.”

IMNAT has some major clients

Nakisa became familiar with IMNAT because the companies share some of the same clients.

IMNAT’s customer base include large private corporations such as Dollarama, Transcontinental and Lowe’s Canada, as well as some of the largest public government institutions in Canada.

Nakisa and IMNAT will combine their technology and networks. They will also combine their company-level data to generate a more accurate financial planning repository of information for trends and projections.

Varjavandi said InfoSite will be integrated into Nakisa’s product line and branded under the Nakisa umbrella. In January, IMNAT’s team, including CEO and co-owner Alexis Dénommée-Godin and co-owner Jean-François Bechard, will join Nakisa.

“I’m extremely proud of the quality software our team has built over the years and it’s an honour to be recognized and chosen by an established lease accounting brand that serves Fortune 500 companies around the world,” said Dénommée-Godin in a statement announcing the sale.

“Joining Nakisa allows us to take our real estate expertise to the global market and fulfill a need that has a tangible impact on both businesses and people.”

Unify divergent software products

Varjavandi said Nakisa serves more than 900 enterprise customers and over one million subscribers in 24 industries. Its client base includes a number of different industries, including retail, pharmaceutical and airlines. It has users in over 120 countries and supports 18 languages.

He said the acquisition of IMNAT presents a huge opportunity for Nakisa to both better serve existing customers and attract new ones.

“We are seeing companies having multiple software and we think we can actually unify the whole leasing, both for accounting and operations side, under one umbrella,” Varjavandi said. “From our perspective, any kind of asset you have we can provide an end-to-end solution.

“On the real estate side, we have a few customers who are interested in expanding on that to things like facility management and project management. Those are areas we’re also working with them. The beauty of the customers that we have, because these are very large customers, they’re actually willing to engage with us . . .

“From a customer perspective, the whole implementation and management is already done for them because it falls on the same platform.”

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