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Vancouver author recounts 140 years of real estate horror stories – Burnaby Now

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It’s a book chronicling 140 years of real estate calamity, colossal greed and even “skulduggery,” yet its name is Land of Destiny.

When explaining the title, author Jesse Donaldson’s voice straddles between black humour, disbelief and a faint touch of hopelessness.

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Land of Destiny, as it turns out, was how the city was marketed to newcomers in a 1910 magazine clipping.

“It looked no different than the stuff you’d see in real estate brochures today,” Donaldson said. “It was fascinating to go back through all of this stuff over 130 years and seeing the same kinds of things being said, not just about affordability, but the rhetoric around the real estate industry.”

The recurring themes that pop up throughout Land of Destiny are the worst of the worst: Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) employees amassing vast wealth through deception and insider trading, outright lies and political corruption spanning decades.

So what’s different now?

“I was fascinated by how little things have changed,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson’s book covers the time period spanning 1862 — the time of the first land sale in the West End — up until Expo ’86 with good reason. As Donaldson explains, the forces of corruption and greed that led up to 1986 are still very much at play today.

“Politically, we were naïve at best about what happens when you let rich people do whatever they want, and that’s what happened during the recession in the 1980s,” Donaldson said. “That’s permeated every element of our society here.”

It took Donaldson about a year to write and research the book, and when asked for the most obscene nugget of greed he uncovered, he paused.  

“That’s a competitive category,” Donaldson replied.

The 37-year-old settles on the story of how the CPR made its way to Vancouver, despite many believing and investing in the fact that the rail line would end in Port Moody.

According to Donaldson, the skulduggery began in 1881. Word of the line ending in Port Moody got out and investors quickly scooped up and subsequently flipped that land for huge profits.

Angered by the fact that others were making money and not them, CPR officials quickly swooped in and began their backroom dealings with provincial and city officials.

The terminus ended up in Port Moody, but the trunk line — where all the goods and people ended up — was extended to Coal Harbour.

Lies, cover-ups and vast sums of money kept enough mouths shut for the plan to go off without a hitch.

“Nobody saw this coming,” Donaldson said. “Suddenly, the CPR built this railway line to Port Moody, everybody was celebrating and then they said, ‘Just kidding, we’re actually going to keep going.’ It ended up in court for years and all the investors in Port Moody lost their shirts and all the friends of the CPR executives made an obscene amount of money.”

Donaldson says he’s been asked numerous times about how to fix what plagues real estate in Vancouver, to which he responds “the answer is so unsexy.”

New policies and regulations around rent controls, better housing projects that serve more people and strong legislation around money laundering and asset disclosure are a good start, Donaldson said.

All three levels of government need to first agree on the scope of the problem, and then collectively act on it.

“The challenges we’re facing aren’t new, they’re just bigger,” Donaldson said. “The volume has been turned up and the velocity has gone up but it’s all the same kinds of people doing the same kinds of things.”

Donaldson’s book is available now through Anvil Press. A book launch party is slated for 6 p.m. tonight (Dec. 19) at Resurrection Spirits, 1672 Franklin St.  

@JohnKurucz

 

 

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Home sales hit record in 2020 despite pandemic – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in December hit an all-time record for the month to end what was also a record year.

It says December sales were up 47.2 per cent compared with December 2019, the largest year-over-year gain in monthly sales in 11 years.

Sales for the month were also up 7.2 per cent compared with November.

For 2020 as a whole, CREA says some 551,392 homes were sold, up 12.6 per cent from 2019, and a new annual record.

The actual national average home price was a record $607,280 in December, up 17.1 per cent from the final month of 2019.

CREA says excluding Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of the most active and expensive markets, lowers the national average price by almost $130,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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Who knew a health crisis would spur on a Vancouver real estate boom? – News 1130

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Prices are up, and buyers are bidding. As the option of remote work continues, the demand for property is also continuing to rise.

One of the country’s leading brokerages says there is a real estate boom in Vancouver, and while low interest rates and pent-up demand are factors, the pandemic has helped fuel it.

Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper says the aggregate price of a Greater Vancouver home last quarter rose more than seven per cent to a little over $1.1 million.

RELATED ARTICLE: Vancouver office vacancy rates spike amid COVID-19, but well below national average

New data from Royal LePage finds more than half of Canada’s largest real estate markets have seen double-digit price growth over the last few months.

The brokerage says multiple offers have again become common and almost every detached home is attracting competitive bids.

Soper says 2020 was the strangest year of his career and that the term “recovery” is an understatement. He adds that, looking at fourth quarter results, he can state without hyperbole that the health crisis has triggered a real estate boom.

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Top Real Estate News of the Week: January 11 to 15 – Toronto Storeys

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Another week in Toronto has come to a close and, from January 11 to 13, real estate stories continued to take our desktops by storm. In fact, you may have struggled to keep up with it all!


And, let’s be real: everything — *gestures vaguely* — is a lot right now, so there’s a fair chance you don’t want to spend your weekend doom-scrolling, trying to catch up on all the latest news about what’s up, what’s down, and what’s not budging. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend it. (Who thought the change of the calendar year meant anything at all, really?)

To make your day a little easier, we’ve gathered up this week’s top articles and assembled them below. Consider this place your Toronto real estate news digest, where you can get the picture before you go outside to get some (socially distanced) fresh air.

With that, we’ll get right to it. Here are your top “storeys” for the week:

1. What Ford’s New COVID Measures Mean for the Ontario Construction Industry

As Ontario grapples with surging daily COVID-19 case numbers that are now threatening to swamp hospitals, Premier Ford announced new public-health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, which includes new restrictions to the construction industry. The measures include a stay-at-home order, in connection with a province-wide state of emergency declaration.

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2. Ford Government Approves Temporary Ban of Residential Evictions

With stay-at-home orders in place, the Ontario government has approved an emergency order that temporarily pauses the enforcement of residential evictions. This marks the second time in less than a year that the province has paused residential evictions. The government made the announcement Thursday morning, two days after Premier Ford declared the province was entering its second state of emergency as Ontario grapples with surging daily case numbers that are now threatening to swamp hospitals.

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3. Canadians Believe More in the Housing Market Than the Overall Economy

Is this optimism? Despite the negative implications COVID-19 has had on nearly every business sector, it appears the pandemic hasn’t had an (lasting) effect on the the real estate industry. According to RBC’s latest edition of its Home Buying Sentiment Poll, Canadians still believe in the strength of the housing market — despite growing concerns of the overall economy.

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4. Average Rent Prices in Downtown Toronto Are Now Less Than the GTA Average

“Never thought I would see this,” Realosophy Realty President John Pasalis wrote on Twitter. His words are paired with a visual, which shows that right now, downtown rents are priced lower than those across the city at large, as well as across the GTA. The core’s average rent price is $2,132, under Toronto as a whole at $2,152, and the GTA’s current $2,227 average.

But there’s more to rent prices than their at-a-glance averages.

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5. Average 1-Bedroom Rent in Toronto Has Dropped Over 20% Year-Over-Year

In a similar vein to the above article, this week, Padmapper released its January national rent report, analyzing hundreds of thousands of listings last month to examine median rent prices across the 24 largest cities in the country. And where the country’s largest city is concerned? One-bedroom rents fell nearly 4% month-over-month, while rents are down over 20% year-over-year.

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6. Who Gets the House? ‘Divorce Month’ Prompts Real Estate Questions

In news that’s both a bummer and important to know, the first month of the year is often known as ‘Divorce Month’ — pandemic or not. And COVID, along with all the increased time it’s forced people to remain together under one roof, has likely only added to the number of people now seeking separation from their partners. And while the initial decision to part ways is the first of a long list of decisions that must be made, what to do with a shared property is most often also hanging out at the top of that list.

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7. Canadian Housing Market Already On Pace to Have Record Year in 2021: RBC

On Wednesday, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue released a new report looking at the current state of the country’s housing market, which Hogue believes is on pace to set more records amid the current unprecedented public health and economic challenges. The report begins with this sentiment: “in the end, the rollercoaster that was 2020 left Canada’s housing market more or less where it started the year: full of bidding wars, escalating prices and exasperated buyers unable to find a home they can afford.”

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8. A Sprawling Winter Light Exhibit is Coming to Toronto’s Waterfront

Need some fresh air? We feel you. Starting this Friday, two new outdoor light exhibits will open to the public as part of Harbourfront Centre and The Waterfront BIA’s outdoor winter celebration of arts & culture: Site Alive | Winter Editionwhich will transform the 10-acre waterfront campus into a unique, immersive world of sensory experience.

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