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Where to buy real estate in Canada 2021: Overview – MoneySense

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Value
Measures how affordable the neighbourhood is compared to the surrounding area and the region overall
Momentum
Measures how quickly prices are appreciating in this neighbourhood, with an emphasis on long term
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Buying a home is a major financial milestone for many Canadians; owning a property doesn’t just provide them with shelter, but is usually the largest asset in their portfolios, too. With gains outpacing most money markets, a homeowner’s equity can provide capital for anything from home renovations to retirement planning.

And amid the onslaught of the global pandemic, home has become so much more than a place to live. For many, where we live has also become our office, school, gym and restaurant. It’s where we have sheltered in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, in hopes of keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities, safe.

“As the pandemic has made homeownership more important than ever, it has driven new trends in home buying psychology,” says Lauren Haw, CEO and Broker of Record at Toronto-headquartered Zoocasa Realty. “More buyers are looking to upsize their homes and are looking to markets where it’s most affordable to do so. As well, the ability to work from home has untethered many from living near business centres, and has offered buyers the flexibility to relocate [farther afield] to markets they may not have previously considered.”

How COVID “supercharged” the Canadian housing market

This new urgency has “supercharged” what was already a frothy housing market, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Initially, the shock of lockdowns and economic uncertainty did cause a nationwide lull between February and March 2020, with sales and listings plunging 14.3% and 12.5%, respectively. However, the market recovered to normal seasonal levels by June 2020, with sales soaring 15.2% year over year, and 63% from May 2020—much faster than the industry had anticipated.

Buyers venturing outside their current regions to find a dream home have brought big city market dynamics with them. Formerly sleepy small towns are now grappling with a rapid depletion of inventory, bidding wars and homes selling for considerably higher than they were listed for, both due to overwhelming demand and the practice of pricing properties artificially low to attract more potential buyers and sparking a bidding war. The latter is a tactic frequently used in larger urban markets, and had not been typically seen in small towns prior to the pandemic.    

Conditions across the country came to a head in March of this year, when CREA reported the highest level of home sales ever, up 76.2% from the pit of the lockdown, with the average price across all home types (including one- and two-storey single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, and condos) up 31.6% year over year to an average of $716,828. Single-family homes experienced the largest price increase annually, with the benchmark up 25% to $795,700, with similar increases for ground related housing with greater square footage; townhouse prices rose 18% to $586,700 nationally. However, the condo sector bore the brunt of buyers’ fears early on in the pandemic, as people living within close proximity was considered a health risk; the price benchmark grew just 5.3% to $498,000 year over year.

The national sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR), which measures the level of buying competition in the market, sits at a scorching 80.5%, indicating steep sellers’ conditions, with more than 80% of Canada’s markets considered “unbalanced” in terms of supply and demand.

This is sounding alarm bells for policymakers, prompting the Canadian government to take action to cool sizzling price growth: A new national foreign buyer tax was introduced in the most recent federal budget, while the banking regulator has proposed a tougher mortgage stress test, to take effect in June of 2021.

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Goldman Bets on City Bounceback with Paris Real Estate Deal – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is betting that prime retail and office space in Europe’s top capitals still has a bright future.

The firm’s asset management unit has agreed to acquire a block in the French capital that it plans to transform into an upscale store, with office space above, according to Tavis Cannell, who is co-head of EMEA real estate. It’s the latest in a series of real estate bets the bank is making on the future of cities as the world begins its gradual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We never believed that cities were going to die through Covid and that everybody was going to move to the suburbs,” Cannell said in an interview. “And we do believe in the future of the office and continue to see bifurcation between high-quality buildings and everything else.”

Goldman is not alone in that view. Private equity firms including Brookfield Asset Management Inc., KKR & Co. and Tishman Speyer Properties LP have been snapping up plots in cities around the world that can be transformed into workspaces designed to lure workers back to the office.

Goldman and venture partner Immobel SA paid about 100 million euros ($119 million) for the property at 277 Rue Saint-Honoré in one of Paris’s toniest districts, a block north of the Place de La Concorde, according to people with knowledge of the deal. Goldman is investing a mix of clients’ and the firm’s capital for the transaction as part of its opportunistic real estate investing business.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the price or the fund.

“Post-corona there are huge opportunities,” Immobel Executive Chairman Marnix Galle said in an interview. “People who are used to working in chicken coops and have spent the past year working from home want a completely different environment now, they want much better buildings.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Boutique Ottawa real estate firms find freedom in doing business their own way – Ottawa Business Journal

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After more than a decade in commercial real estate, John Zinati had settled into a comfortable career as a leasing manager at a well-known locally owned Ottawa firm and could have simply counted down the days until retirement.

Instead, he chose a different path. In 2016, he launched Zinati Realty, a boutique brokerage that serves mainly owners and landlords in the office, retail and industrial sectors. 

Since then, Zinati has brought on two more brokers and is looking to expand his team further as the industry slowly works its way toward a post-pandemic future. Looking back on his decision to leave the security of an established firm for the uncertainty of life as an entrepreneur, he has no regrets.

“I was just faced with too many limitations, so I made the decision to go out on my own,” Zinati explains. 

“Being nimble and quick and working closely with these owners to get their spaces filled or get their buildings sold is really rewarding.”

Zinati is one of a growing number of local real estate executives who’ve left comfortable, secure jobs at established big-name companies to start their own brokerages and advisory firms.

Many of these owner-brokers point to the freedom of being able to make their own decisions and do their own deals without having to answer to corporate bosses as a major factor in making the leap.

“I think commercial real estate brokerage in the boutique setting is one of the last few places where you can just earn more with a little bit more elbow grease,” says Darren Fleming, the CEO of Real Strategy Advisors. “There’s so much upside.”

Before launching his own firm, Fleming spent seven years as managing director of Cresa’s Ottawa office. His lengthy real estate resume also includes four years as a sales representative at Colliers International and a one-year stint as a leasing agent with Montreal-based developer Canderel. 

In 2016, Fleming sold his shares in Cresa, left the company and enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. 

The following year, he launched Real Strategy Advisors, which provides advisory and brokerage services to office tenants in the tech, professional services and not-for-profit sectors.

He’s never looked back. Too often, Fleming says, strict corporate policies at bigger firms put entrepreneurial-minded brokers in a straightjacket. He points to an example from early in his career, when an employer told him he was storing too much sales data on a company server. 

“I think I’m addicted to being an entrepreneur and being my own boss,” Fleming says. “Are there days when you wish someone would sign off on payroll other than you? Yeah, but it’s worth it in the end.”

KOBLE thriving

Graeme Webster is a partner at Ottawa’s KOBLE Commercial Real Estate, a firm that brokers mainly off-market and unlisted office and industrial transactions for buyers such as entrepreneurs and well-heeled professionals looking to build up their investment portfolios.

He and fellow partner Marc Morin founded KOBLE seven and a half years ago after cutting their teeth for more than a decade at large, well-established firms. Webster says he thrives on the feeling of satisfaction he gets from navigating clients through deals that can set them up for retirement or attain assets that can be passed on to future generations. 

“Our focus is to help people establish that family legacy,” he says. “Real estate is really just the tool to allow them to do that.”

Now at six employees, KOBLE recently brought Ottawa commercial real estate veteran Richard Getz on board as a senior adviser. The firm is also looking to hire someone to oversee its business operations as it continues to expand.

Webster says that despite the overall uncertainty facing the industry at the moment, KOBLE is thriving. The firm has more deals in its pipeline than at any other time in its history, a development he attributes largely to the city’s reputation for being a safe haven in times of economic turmoil.

“It’s a place where when there’s volatility, people want to jump in (the market),” he explains.

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Boutique Ottawa real estate firms find freedom in doing business their own way – Ottawa Business Journal

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After more than a decade in commercial real estate, John Zinati had settled into a comfortable career as a leasing manager at a well-known locally owned Ottawa firm and could have simply counted down the days until retirement.

Instead, he chose a different path. In 2016, he launched Zinati Realty, a boutique brokerage that serves mainly owners and landlords in the office, retail and industrial sectors. 

Since then, Zinati has brought on two more brokers and is looking to expand his team further as the industry slowly works its way toward a post-pandemic future. Looking back on his decision to leave the security of an established firm for the uncertainty of life as an entrepreneur, he has no regrets.

“I was just faced with too many limitations, so I made the decision to go out on my own,” Zinati explains. 

“Being nimble and quick and working closely with these owners to get their spaces filled or get their buildings sold is really rewarding.”

Zinati is one of a growing number of local real estate executives who’ve left comfortable, secure jobs at established big-name companies to start their own brokerages and advisory firms.

Many of these owner-brokers point to the freedom of being able to make their own decisions and do their own deals without having to answer to corporate bosses as a major factor in making the leap.

“I think commercial real estate brokerage in the boutique setting is one of the last few places where you can just earn more with a little bit more elbow grease,” says Darren Fleming, the CEO of Real Strategy Advisors. “There’s so much upside.”

Before launching his own firm, Fleming spent seven years as managing director of Cresa’s Ottawa office. His lengthy real estate resume also includes four years as a sales representative at Colliers International and a one-year stint as a leasing agent with Montreal-based developer Canderel. 

In 2016, Fleming sold his shares in Cresa, left the company and enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. 

The following year, he launched Real Strategy Advisors, which provides advisory and brokerage services to office tenants in the tech, professional services and not-for-profit sectors.

He’s never looked back. Too often, Fleming says, strict corporate policies at bigger firms put entrepreneurial-minded brokers in a straightjacket. He points to an example from early in his career, when an employer told him he was storing too much sales data on a company server. 

“I think I’m addicted to being an entrepreneur and being my own boss,” Fleming says. “Are there days when you wish someone would sign off on payroll other than you? Yeah, but it’s worth it in the end.”

KOBLE thriving

Graeme Webster is a partner at Ottawa’s KOBLE Commercial Real Estate, a firm that brokers mainly off-market and unlisted office and industrial transactions for buyers such as entrepreneurs and well-heeled professionals looking to build up their investment portfolios.

He and fellow partner Marc Morin founded KOBLE seven and a half years ago after cutting their teeth for more than a decade at large, well-established firms. Webster says he thrives on the feeling of satisfaction he gets from navigating clients through deals that can set them up for retirement or attain assets that can be passed on to future generations. 

“Our focus is to help people establish that family legacy,” he says. “Real estate is really just the tool to allow them to do that.”

Now at six employees, KOBLE recently brought Ottawa commercial real estate veteran Richard Getz on board as a senior adviser. The firm is also looking to hire someone to oversee its business operations as it continues to expand.

Webster says that despite the overall uncertainty facing the industry at the moment, KOBLE is thriving. The firm has more deals in its pipeline than at any other time in its history, a development he attributes largely to the city’s reputation for being a safe haven in times of economic turmoil.

“It’s a place where when there’s volatility, people want to jump in (the market),” he explains.

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