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What we know about Canada's real estate industry as we enter 2021 | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange



If there has been one common theme throughout 2020, it has been uncertainty.

From the surge in e-commerce and its impact on commercial spaces, to the rise of the remote workforce impacting vacancy rates and investment in home offices, this year has quickly taught us the importance of embracing uncertainty and looking for opportunities in the face of adversity.

As we look to the new year, we have learned that to identify these opportunities and make a difference moving forward, it’s important to focus on the information available to us and what we can control.

What do we know about commercial real estate?

Traditionally, Canadian commercial real estate has been viewed as a relatively safe, low-risk investment.

However, the significant economic uncertainty and pandemic-driven safety measures such as lockdowns, physical distancing regulations and capacity limits have changed the projected trajectory of the commercial landscape in the near, and potentially long, term.

On one hand, the commercial market is seeing retail stores close their doors due to forced lockdowns. In turn, lost revenue as well as a growing consumer shift to online option is triggering increasing demand for industrial properties.

On the other hand, many businesses that have successfully transitioned to a remote workplace are assessing the future need for physical office space and considering a shift to a hybrid or entirely remote setting moving forward. Still others will wait to see how society adjusts in the coming months to make these types of decisions.

While some government measures are in place to help businesses that have experienced a significant drop in revenue in most of these situations landlords are still not made whole.

Additionally, the majority of these measures are only short term, meaning that unless the economy significantly picks up property owners may be forced to sell or restructure existing debt – if that option is available to them.

However, it’s not all bad news for the commercial sector. Industrial properties and warehouses will continue to thrive as the surge in e-commerce persists, further fuelling the need for these types of spaces.

The same can be said for multifamily buildings, which have seen an increase in investment activity since the start of the pandemic and is a segment that is expected to continue experiencing high demand as immigration picks up.

What do we know about residential real estate?

Unlike the commercial landscape, residential real estate has always been inherently cyclical and accustomed to a degree of uncertainty and risk. While the pandemic has added a new level of uneasiness and tightening in the market, the reality is that the fundamentals do not change.

Major cities known for having ample employment opportunities inherited large populations as Canadians attempted to ease their daily commute by living closer to their physical office.

However, the emerging remote workplace has opened new possibilities for Canadians and has resulted in many trading in smaller spaces in urban markets for larger spaces in suburban or rural communities.

As well, if we see an increase in interest rates in the new year, that could lead to an influx of buyers racing to enter the market before rates climb in an effort to avoid higher borrowing costs than the record lows the market is currently experiencing.

A spike in interest rates also has the potential to add risk, meaning previously low-risk borrowers may now be considered higher-risk. This creates new obstacles for first-time homebuyers or homeowners looking to refinance their mortgages.

Finding opportunity amid uncertainty

Trying to make sense of the uncertainty in 2020 isn’t easy, but it’s important to focus on the things we can control.

At FCT, this year has taught us to prioritize two things: safety and innovation. We remain committed to supporting the health and safety of our customers, partners and employees, and to explore new ways to leverage technology to improve and transform the real estate industry as we continue to adjust to our new reality.

As we look forward to 2021, we need to continue to embrace the unexpected and look for opportunities in the face of uncertainty.

It will be a year of transformation and real estate professionals who closely monitor the market and shift strategies to stay ahead of new and emerging trends will have the advantage

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LACKIE: Toronto real estate defying all conceivable expectations amid pandemic – Toronto Sun



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It was a perfect storm.

By the end of 2020, rental transactions in Toronto were down 20% from the year before. Average rent, down 5% across the GTA, fell a full 15% in the downtown core alone.

Notwithstanding the broader social and economic concerns of this moment we’re in, it is finally a good time to be an apartment hunter.

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Now, prospective tenants considering a move have options — units without thoughtful floor plans, outdoor space, a great view and daytime sun will languish. So would-be landlords are doing all they can to sweeten the deal — everything from signing incentives to rent rebates, to free parking, cable and Wi-Fi — anything to be competitive.

The question is then, how low can it go and how much longer can we expect this to last?

Given that the current state of things is a direct result of the fallout of the pandemic economy, it’s a safe bet that recovery will depend on how long it takes for life to return to some semblance of normal.

Simply put: this is a COVID problem – not a standalone crisis of the rental market. Once vaccines are widely distributed, universities and workplaces reopen, and Toronto reclaims its position as a hub for business, culture, and nightlife, it is a certainty that things will stabilize. And when it does, we will be reminded of the looming crisis we were bracing for prior to the pandemic — a housing supply falling well behind keeping pace with population growth and new immigration.


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With the real estate market still growing, here's how to invest this year – Financial Post



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Investing in real estate has always been considered a smart move, and with so many Canadians in search of better housing thanks to the pandemic, the moment is right to strike. RBC estimates home resales in Canada increased by 13 per cent last year and predicts sales will hit an even higher level in 2021. Clearly, there is money to be made, but understanding the real estate market requires skill and know-how.

Every good investor takes time to study their intended market before making a move. Investing in a home for your entire family is considerably different from nailing down the perfect time for buying a building to flip when the demand is high. If you have ever considered purchasing an investment property, you’ve probably struggled with deciding which type of home is the right one to pour your money into. Not to mention all the other important questions you’ll need to answer for an endeavour as big as this one.

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'Enamoured with the Hammer': Toronto real estate agent rhymes about downtown Hamilton loft –



The career trajectory of Arty Basinski is a somewhat head-spinning affair. First he was a musician, writing his own songs and playing in bands. This didn’t pay the bills, though, so he went into real estate.

Early in his newfound profession, after struggling for a few months, he had a breakthrough — why not advertise the properties using the power of song?

The plan worked. Now, Basinski’s listings go viral online on a semi-regular basis, thanks to the music videos he makes for his clients.

First it was “Lil Yellow House,” a duet he performed with the owner of a semi-detached bungalow in Toronto’s east end. The video amassed over 66,000 views on YouTube and the house sold for just under asking price within a week.

His latest work is a promotional video for a mixed-use building in downtown Hamilton, which includes two apartments above a recently-abandoned vape store.

In “Loft Mi Casa,” which had just over 1,000 views on YouTube as of Jan. 22, Basinski makes the case for buying real estate in Hamilton. for all the details on this Hamilton Storefront Property

It opens with a shot of Basinski standing before the Toronto skyline, CN Tower in the distance, evidently down on his luck. A man in a leopard-print onesie kicks him in the stomach for slapstick effect.

“Leaving T.O., I’ve got nothing left to give. The bills are piling up, I can’t afford to live,” he tells us.

So off he goes to Hamilton, westbound along the QEW, to the land of cheaper real estate.

“I’m enamoured with the Hammer,” the Torontonian rhymes. “Luxury condos are advertising; watch construction from your patio — quite mesmerizing.”

Basinski’s musical background has been a boon for his real estate career. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, being a musician myself,” he told The Spectator. “Oddly enough, I didn’t make it as a musician, but the real estate game turned me back into one, I guess.”

He composes most of the music himself with help from his clients, many of whom have musical hobbies. The chorus in “Loft Mi Casa” — seemingly salsa-inspired, impressively catchy — was recorded in his client’s home studio. The client sings the hook.

When he’s not selling property or rapping about it, Basinski is part of a roving circus act. He drums, he juggles, he spins sticks lit on fire and he walks around on stilts — sometimes all at once.

His novel approach to advertising lends itself to commercial property especially, which can take between six months and a year to sell, he said. “It takes so long to sell commercial storefronts, so you have to keep the property at the forefront of people’s minds. You have to come up with new ways to get people to remember these properties.”



In addition to two apartments and storefront, the Loft Mi Casa building, at 17 John St. N., includes a storage room and an outdoor patio. Its namesake loft boasts a 25-foot-high ceiling and mezzanine bedroom with a walk-in closet.

A “ROI guarantee,” said Basinski. That’s return on investment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made properties harder to sell, so Basinski has also offered a few incentives. If you find the hidden cat in the 3D walk-through posted to his website, he’ll shave off $5,000.

Jacob Lorinc

Jacob Lorinc is a Hamilton-based reporter covering business for The Spectator. The funding allows him to report on stories about education.

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