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What's in store for Vancouver's commercial real estate market in 2021? – Mortgage Broker News

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What’s in store for Vancouver’s commercial real estate market in 2021?

Vancouver’s commercial real estate market, particularly its office segment, is well-positioned to capitalize on the economic recovery anticipated to take place during the second half of 2021, according to Avison Young.

While the unprecedented crisis brought about by COVID-19 proved devastating to almost all asset classes, the pandemic had one positive impact on Vancouver: providing the space the regional office market needed “to approach a balanced market for the first time since 2016,” Avison Young said.

The trends were especially apparent in the downtown core, which saw “small- to mid-sized pockets of vacancy” in mostly class B/C properties.

“Similar trends emerged throughout Metro Vancouver with inner suburbs registering minimal increases in vacancy year-over-year and slight negative annual absorption in mostly class B/C properties while the region’s outer suburban markets recorded comparatively strong levels of annual absorption and historically tight vacancy rates in 2020,” Avison Young reported.

The city’s commercial vacancy grew from 4.4% during year-end 2019 to 7.5% by year-end 2020. However, regional vacancy remained comparatively tight and was still less than the record 8% established at year-end 2017.

“While regional vacancy is expected to rise slightly in 2021, a balanced market is still expected,” Avison Young predicted, citing the federal government’s pledge to provide COVID-19 inoculations to most Canadians by September 2021.

“Renewed optimism accompanied by a widely forecasted resumption in economic activity is anticipated to accelerate a return to office by workers and stimulate real estate decision-makers to action,” Avison Young said.

“A reversal of the impacts of pandemic-related policies and precautions is anticipated to take root in the second half of the year with a corresponding improvement in metrics such as vacancy and absorption.”

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Greater Victoria real estate sales, prices surge amid 'mobs' of buyers, low inventory – Times Colonist

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“Mobs” of buyers are viewing homes for sale across the region, putting in offers well above asking prices and waiving inspections as the real estate market continues surging during the pandemic and traditional slower winter months.

Home sales of all types hit a record 863 during February, smashing the previous mark of 780 in 1992, and sailing past the 772 sales in 2016.

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And prices are climbing.

The average price of a ­single-family home in the capital region breezed past the $1-million mark in June as the inventory of available homes for sale withered.

February’s single-family home average price hit $1.16 million — up from $888,000 during the same month a year ago. Last month’s average was beefed up by the sale of 30 properties that sold for more than $2 million — with 12 of those selling for asking prices and above, said Dustin Miller of 8X Real Estate in Victoria.

He said an equestrian farm in Central Saanich listed for $6 million went $155,000 over asking and there were three ­condominium sales for more than $2 million each, including the penthouse at Hudson Place One, the tallest building in Victoria.

The Victoria Real Estate Board said the benchmark value — or median price without the high and low end of sales — for a single-family home in the region’s core municipalities during February increased year-over-year by 9% to $948,200, a 1.7% increase from the previous month.

The benchmark value for a condominium in the core remained close to last year’s value at $525,400.

Real estate board president David Langlois said the market is caught between constrained inventory and high demand.

“The good news is that we have seen some stabilization in listings and condo pricing between January and ­February, but we continue to see huge pressure on single family homes,” said Langlois. “New listings are snapped up as soon as they are listed.”

That’s resulted in pressure on single family homes, where there is significant competition for desirable homes. “And in our marketplace most homes are desirable … and people are ­competing for properties and pushing prices up.”

There were 1,318 active listings for sale on the board’s Multiple Listing Service at the end of February — 38% fewer than the same period a year ago.

Miller said there are fewer than 400 single-family homes available across the entire system right now. “In a typical year we will see the most amount of inventory go online in April and May, but if the current trend continues, we will see only around half of the number of new listings compared to what was normally seen in the past.”

Kevin Sing of DFH Realty listed a modest, three-bedroom no-step rancher in East Saanich on Thursday for $759,000 and has shown it to nearly 50 prospective buyers over four days. He’s scheduled appointments from dawn until dusk and has received several offers, some unconditional, and several well over the asking price.

Sing said although the federal government’s mortgage stress test has put many younger buyers out of the single-family-home market, empty nesters, older couples who are downsizing or families with students at nearby Camosun College and the University of Victoria are lining up for the East Saanich home.

The demand for real estate seems insatiable, said Sing, and it isn’t just Greater Victoria.

“It’s worldwide,” he said. “I get on regular Zoom calls and everyone is experiencing the same thing, from Manhattan to the Grand Caymans. Unless you’re in a war zone, the demand for housing right now is just ridiculous.

“It’s hard to explain … it seem we have collectively decided [during COVID] that nesting is what we want to do.”

Langlois said the theme for 2021 is going to be inventory — “where does it come from and how much new supply can be approved — so that this situation does not persist.”

“We’ve seen the government attempt to influence the housing market in hopes of dampening the demand for home ownership,” he said. “The foreign buyer tax has changed nothing … our market continues to zoom forward with almost no foreign buyers. The government adjusted mortgage qualification rules, those are absorbed by the market and buyers adjust.”

Langlois said concerns about housing prices and availability should be addressed by supporting new developments in municipalities. “Be vocal with your local council or neighbourhood association,” he said. “These stakeholders hold the power in these negotiations and help to make space in your community. Gentle density and the building of new homes are the only pathway to moderate housing prices in our area.”

Miller said buyers and sellers should expect a competitive trend, including “mob-like numbers of people” showing up to see new listings.

He noted “bully offers” being submitted within hours of a property being listed and the waiving of all buyer protection contingencies such as home inspections.

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Greater Victoria real estate sales, prices surge amid strong demand, low inventory; 'mobs' of buyers – Times Colonist

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“Mobs” of buyers are viewing homes for sale across the region, putting in offers well above asking prices and waiving inspections as the real estate market continues surging during the pandemic and traditional slower winter months.

Home sales of all types hit a record 863 during February, smashing the previous mark of 780 in 1992, and sailing past the 772 sales in 2016.

article continues below

And prices are climbing.

The average price of a ­single-family home in the capital region breezed past the $1-million mark in June as the inventory of available homes for sale withered.

February’s single-family home average price hit $1.16 million — up from $888,000 during the same month a year ago. Last month’s average was beefed up by the sale of 30 properties that sold for more than $2 million — with 12 of those selling for asking prices and above, said Dustin Miller of 8X Real Estate in Victoria.

He said an equestrian farm in Central Saanich listed for $6 million went $155,000 over asking and there were three ­condominium sales for more than $2 million each, including the penthouse at Hudson Place One, the tallest building in Victoria.

The Victoria Real Estate Board said the benchmark value — or median price without the high and low end of sales — for a single-family home in the region’s core municipalities during February increased year-over-year by 9% to $948,200, a 1.7% increase from the previous month.

The benchmark value for a condominium in the core remained close to last year’s value at $525,400.

Real estate board president David Langlois said the market is caught between constrained inventory and high demand.

“The good news is that we have seen some stabilization in listings and condo pricing between January and ­February, but we continue to see huge pressure on single family homes,” said Langlois. “New listings are snapped up as soon as they are listed.”

That’s resulted in pressure on single family homes, where there is significant competition for desirable homes. “And in our marketplace most homes are desirable … and people are ­competing for properties and pushing prices up.”

There were 1,318 active listings for sale on the board’s Multiple Listing Service at the end of February — 38% fewer than the same period a year ago.

Miller said there are fewer than 400 single-family homes available across the entire system right now. “In a typical year we will see the most amount of inventory go online in April and May, but if the current trend continues, we will see only around half of the number of new listings compared to what was normally seen in the past.”

Kevin Sing of DFH Realty listed a modest, three-bedroom no-step rancher in East Saanich on Thursday for $759,000 and has shown it to nearly 50 prospective buyers over four days. He’s scheduled appointments from dawn until dusk and has received several offers, some unconditional, and several well over the asking price.

Sing said although the federal government’s mortgage stress test has put many younger buyers out of the single-family-home market, empty nesters, older couples who are downsizing or families with students at nearby Camosun College and the University of Victoria are lining up for the East Saanich home.

The demand for real estate seems insatiable, said Sing, and it isn’t just Greater Victoria.

“It’s worldwide,” he said. “I get on regular Zoom calls and everyone is experiencing the same thing, from Manhattan to the Grand Caymans. Unless you’re in a war zone, the demand for housing right now is just ridiculous.

“It’s hard to explain … it seem we have collectively decided [during COVID] that nesting is what we want to do.”

Langlois said the theme for 2021 is going to be inventory — “where does it come from and how much new supply can be approved — so that this situation does not persist.”

“We’ve seen the government attempt to influence the housing market in hopes of dampening the demand for home ownership,” he said. “The foreign buyer tax has changed nothing … our market continues to zoom forward with almost no foreign buyers. The government adjusted mortgage qualification rules, those are absorbed by the market and buyers adjust.”

Langlois said concerns about housing prices and availability should be addressed by supporting new developments in municipalities. “Be vocal with your local council or neighbourhood association,” he said. “These stakeholders hold the power in these negotiations and help to make space in your community. Gentle density and the building of new homes are the only pathway to moderate housing prices in our area.”

Miller said buyers and sellers should expect a competitive trend, including “mob-like numbers of people” showing up to see new listings.

He noted “bully offers” being submitted within hours of a property being listed and the waiving of all buyer protection contingencies such as home inspections.

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Toronto real estate market surges in February, average price surpasses $1 million – OrilliaMatters

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Toronto’s housing market soared in February as the average home price surpassed $1 million for the first time, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

The board said Wednesday that February home sales reached 10,970, a 52.5 per cent jump from the 7,193 homes sold in the same month last year.

The average selling price for all home types was up 14.9 per cent to $1,045,488, an increase from $910,142 in 2020 that was largely attributed to rising prices in the suburban 905 area code that surrounds Toronto.

The board believes February’s numbers indicated that COVID-19 fears aren’t keeping buyers and sellers out of the market and that their interest in purchasing or listing homes will fuel record prices to climb even higher.

Just last month, the board predicted by the time 2021 ends the average selling price in the region will be $1.025 million, up from an average $929,692 in 2020. February’s numbers surpassed that expectation already.

“It’s clear that the historic demand for housing experienced in the second half of last year has carried forward into the first quarter of this year with some similar themes, including the continued popularity of suburban low-rise properties,” said TRREB president Lisa Patel, in a release.

She warned that trouble was on Toronto’s horizon because of disparities between supply and demand that are already shifting conditions to favour sellers and challenging other markets including Vancouver.

“It’s also evident that the supply of listings is not keeping up with demand, which could present an even larger problem once population growth picks up following widespread vaccinations later this year and into 2022,” she said.

The number of new listings surged 44.6 per cent but active listings were down one per cent to 8,727.

Purchases were up across most housing types in February too.

Condominiums led the way with sales volume increasing 64.3 per cent, but average prices in the category dropped 3.7 per cent to $642,346. 

Townhouse sales climbed 62.5 per cent and prices increased 17.3 per cent to $858,025.

Semi-detached sales increased 53.1 per cent and prices grew 20.3 per cent to $1,050,820. 

Detached sales increased 43.8 per cent to 4,943 and prices rose 23.1 per cent to $1,371,791.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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