The coronavirus has already had a huge impact on how we all live our lives, leading to mass unemployment worldwide, changes to our day to day structure and permanently forcing us into our homes for the time being. In a time where there is so much focus on houses and the protection they bring, how is the housing market going to look on the other side of this crisis.
Talk of a potential collapse has circulated for years, as we get further and further away from the 2008 financial crisis. Now that we’re looking down the barrel of unprecedented change without an end date in sight, what has been the early impact on the housing market and what can be expected?
A change in price
While we’re still in the early stages of both a national and worldwide fightback against the virus, it has been long enough for significant financial changes to take place. Like many industries, the housing market saw closures, unemployment and furloughing in the early days of the crisis. Like the majority of the world, Surrey ground to a halt when more extreme lockdown measures were implemented to contain the virus.
Many couples and individuals who were lining up to sell their house in the not too distant future will be asking when they can expect to get an appropriate return on their investment. While the year started somewhat strongly, with the Vancouver housing market considered to be stable and strong despite some soft lowering in house price, the immediate coronavirus fallout has put everything into limbo, leading experts to fear the worst.
Fortunately for potential sellers in the Vancouver area looking to offload their home within the next couple of years if not months, it is estimated that the coronavirus crisis will not lead to a significant drop in house prices, with some experts estimating appreciable gains within the next couple of years. This is a positive sign for real estate, as it seems rather than leading to a complete collapse as some may have thought, it will simply set the market back by a year with a small estimated decrease.
While the financial implications of this crisis will lead to some buyers being unable to participate in the market and some sellers holding off for a couple of years, there are still millions of people nationwide looking to buy a new home and sell their current one in the immediate future, crisis or not. Thankfully, Surrey is considered to be a “safe bet” when it comes to the housing market, with prices remaining stable in the area despite fluctuation in neighbouring towns and cities.
Sales will collapse
Unfortunately, while house prices may be able to find some level of stability in the aftermath of the crisis, the same cannot be said for the number of sales.
Coronavirus’ greatest impact has been on our way of life, removing all sense of human interaction. Between viewings, contract signings and the moving process, buying a selling a house is all about human interaction, and simply not feasible under lockdown measures or while the threat still looms. This lead to an immediate fall in the number of sales between February and March of this year.
Unlike the travel industry where lost finances from 2020 are expected to be somewhat recouped through delaying holidays and travel to 2021, house purchases are not being delayed in the same manner. This presents the industry with a huge hole in the yearly revenue total with no obvious sign of when it is going to be filled.
Deals are in limbo
While future deals are being cancelled, ones that were in process as the virus started to make an impact are now in limbo. This presents a challenge for the market to protect these assets and the challenge of how finances surrounding present deals will be affected by coronavirus changes.
There will be many people who had sold their current house and were in the process of buying another when the lockdown was announced and businesses closed, and vice versa. Many buyers aren’t able to get into their new homes. Potential sellers are unable to hold viewings on their homes, delaying the process by many months.
This has created similar issues in the rental market. Not only have there been talks of and developments concerning freezing rent payments during the crisis as low paid or unpaid tenants deal with the fallout of rising unemployment, but there is the issue of people whose contracts have run out during the crisis and have been unable to secure new housing due to cancelled viewings.
This had lead to an increase in online services as estate agents who were in the position to move to an entirely remote setup thrive in a less crowded market. Companies throughout the process of purchasing a house have moved into this model such as online mortgage broker Breezeful. Likewise, many estate agents have been offering virtual viewings of a 3D mapped and controllable walkthrough of a property, thanks to scanning and display software from Matterport.
While no substitute to being inside a property, there were signs of the industry heading this way before the full impact of the virus became apparent, but its impact could increase their popularity and potentially the speed and processes of selling and buying a house, which could be essential to market recovery as we leave quarantine.
With some of the biggest banks in Canada offering homeowners the chance to defer mortgage payments for up to six months, there is already evidence of a significant response to the coronavirus’ impact on the housing market. While not forecast to be the disaster it has been to industries such as retail and the arts, we are yet to fully understand what it could mean for the finances and practices of the sector.
Despite Pandemic, Surrey’s 2020 Building Permit Value Exceeds 10-Year Average
Surrey, BC: Economic confidence within Surrey remains strong, as the City records $1.46 billion in building permit value last year, surpassing the 10-year annual average. Residential building continues to be resilient, making up for $1.1 billion of the construction value. Industrial building permits were just shy of the record-breaking 2019 revenue, making up for $238 million of total construction.
“Despite a brief dip in construction when the pandemic first hit, investment rapidly bounced back, showing the confidence in Surrey as a prime destination for new business and residents,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “The Surrey SkyTrain expansion, combined with an increased demand for housing and commercial space in Surrey makes us confident these strong construction trends will continue through 2021.”
As a result of the physical distancing measures in place, the City launched an online permit application process, creating a more convenient, transparent and streamlined process for customers, while further cutting wait times.
In 2017, Single Family Dwelling permit wait times peaked at 25 weeks, and now the average is only 9 weeks. The flexibility of applying online proved to be convenient for businesses, with 35% of trade permits being initiated outside of regular business hours. 98% of electrical permits and 86% of plumbing permits were also issued online.
“The new online permit process delivers both a safe and convenient way for customers to continue to operate their businesses, while further positioning the City to handle the expected surge in construction as our city continues to rapidly grow,” said Councillor Mandeep Nagra, Chair of the Development Advisory Committee.
“We are continually looking for ways to advance our services, and this step has benefitted both those applying for permits, and the operational efficiencies at the City.”
Province Approves 91 Affordable Housing Units for Surrey’s Legion Veterans Village Multi-Purpose Social Infrastructure Project
Affordable housing units to be managed by Vancouver Resource Society
The Legion Veterans Village (LVV) project has reached yet another development milestone with the Province, through BC Housing, approving 91 affordable housing units for the mixed-use, multi-purpose project that will provide housing, healthcare and Legion facilities dedicated to serving the needs of Canadian veterans and first responders.
Led by the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, together with Whalley Legion Branch 229 and Lark Group in Surrey B.C., this unique $312-million, two-phase, multi-purpose social infrastructure project is envisioned to be the first of many such projects across Canada.
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much and they deserve a safe and affordable place to call home where they can get the services they need,” says David Eby, Attorney General and minister responsible for housing. “Our government is committed to building more affordable housing and this project in particular will be an important centrepiece in Surrey.”
Inspired by the forms of the iconic Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, the centre piece and phase one of the LVV development is a twenty-storey mixed-use building which includes the newly approved 91 affordable housing units to be managed by the Vancouver Resource Society (VRS), to compliment an additional 171 market housing units in phase one, 325 market housing in phase two, with priority for the affordable units given to Canadian veterans, first responders, Legion members and their families.
“British Columbia places great importance in providing affordable housing, healthcare services and innovation to the province and there are no other projects that combine these elements so efficiently under the same umbrella as the Legion Veterans Village,” says Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey Whalley.
“We look forward to seeing this project succeed in Surrey especially here in Whalley so the rest of Canada can look towards this as a model and beacon for veterans and first responders with PTSD.”
“Legion Veterans Village is a truly unique project and we are proud to be the first city in Canada to host such a comprehensive multi-purpose development that serves and supports our veterans and first responders, as well as our community at large,” says City of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
“The demand for more PTSD and mental health programs has never been higher, especially during these COVID-19 times. The healthcare innovation and clinical research from LVV will help meet this demand and serve our vulnerable communities.”
Phase one of LVV will also include Canada’s first Centre of Excellence for veterans and first responders focusing on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health, and an Innovative Centre for Rehabilitation, offering clinical rehabilitation services, research and the delivery of health care programs, services and trauma counseling for PTSD and mental health.
It will also feature a new 10,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility for the Whalley Legion Branch 229, that will include a cadet assembly hall, banquet facilities, an industrial kitchen, coffee shop and bar/restaurant area, and underground parking.
Phase two of LVV, and complement to the Veterans building, is a new twenty-six-storey building that consists of 325 additional market housing units. The current phase designs are by Neil Banich of WA Architects Ltd.
“VRS is responding to the needs of the City of Surrey by meeting the demands of the growing list of seniors, families, and persons with disabilities who require accessible and affordable housing,” says Ken Fraser, Executive Director of the Vancouver Resource Society.
“We are excited to partner with the Legion Veterans Village to bring affordable housing to veterans, first responders and their families in Surrey as well as access to a continuum of healthcare services, PTSD and mental health treatment and rehabilitation programs, with Legion and Cadet facilities all within the same development.”
Located at 10626 City Parkway, Surrey, the 91 affordable housing units in phase one will include a mix of studio suites as well as one and two-bedroom suites, with 10 units designed specifically to meet VRS requirements for accessibility.
“We have been serving our Whalley community in Surrey since 1960 and this new Legion Veterans Village will be the catalyst for change for our Legion to not only better support our members, but also ensure our future legacy,” says Tony Moore, President of the Whalley Legion Branch 229.
Construction for Legion Veterans Village is underway with phase one to be completed in late 202
Vancouver Resource Society (VRS)
Since 1972, VRS has been providing housing and care services to children, young adults, families, and seniors dealing with disabilities in a variety of housing environments (shared-care to independent apartment/strata living). Their services provide innovative opportunities for individuals and families to maximize their independence and inclusion into their community.
This is achieved by partnering with forward-thinking municipalities and developers who see the benefits of the inclusion of all its citizens in their community. By developing a positive working relationship with municipalities and developers, VRS is able to continue to provide affordable and accessible housing. www.vrs.org
Legion Veterans Village (LVV)
Image: Photo rendering of the Legion Veterans Village
The Legion Veterans Village is a unique $312-million, two-phase, multi-purpose social infrastructure project in the City of Surrey, led by the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, together with Whalley Legion Branch 229 and Lark Group.
The project includes a mix of 495 market housing condominiums, 91 affordable housing units, a Centre for Excellence for veterans and first responders focusing on PTSD and mental health, an Innovation Centre for Rehabilitation and a new facility for the Whalley Legion Branch 229.
Once completed (slated for late 2022), a key priority will be the integrated delivery of a continuum of programs and services for veterans and first responders, as well as contributing training and research towards new practices, interventions and technologies in mental health, counselling, engineering, robotics and advancements in neuroscience, etc.
Flash Sale with U-Eight Income Properties in Kelowna
2021 is just around the corner so why not get a head start and make some goals for your financial future? There’s no time like the present to begin your property investment journey.
If you have been searching for an investment-worthy area in BC, look no further than the sunny Okanagan. Just steps from UBC’s busy Okanagan campus and North Kelowna’s business district lies U-Eight, a new development of move-in-ready homes that are perfect for anyone looking to build their investment portfolio. The University District’s appeal is met with an urban atmosphere surrounded by nature’s beauty and enjoyed by the university community, families and professionals alike. This thriving centre is not only rich in arts, culture, and academics, but also on the verge of expansion and growth.
Now is the time to take advantage of U- Eight’s flash sale from November 21st to 30th. With discounts of up to $50 000, two- bedroom homes will start from $344 900 and three bedrooms from $424 900 during this 10-day sale. Current low interest rates are an advantage for those who want to enter the real estate market in this quickly developing and growing community. Furthermore, demand for rental housing in Kelowna, steady UBC Okanagan enrollment and growing industry add to the favourable investment environment. U- Eight homes are move-in ready so you can begin your income property adventure as soon as possible.
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As an income investment property, U- Eight checks all the boxes for liveability. UBC Okanagan’s campus is a 5-minute walk and North Kelowna’s Business District is a short drive away. Commuting is efficient with transit routes and walkable neighbourhoods right at your doorstep and a variety of restaurants, wellness services, boutiques and local specialty shops conveniently accessible. The connection between people and place is visible in the design of the development, allowing for easy modern living while complementing the natural beauty of the region. The U-District is also connected to Glenmore, Lake Country, Winfield and Kelowna International Airport (YLW), allowing you to enjoy the amenities of these neighbouring areas. Many flexible options exist for those with various lifestyles – there’s truly something for everyone.
Invest in U- Eight during this flash sale and begin reaping the benefits of your income property. Connect with U-Eight’s, Terra Shalaby at 604-332-2150 via phone or text. If you are curious and want more information on the U-Eight development please visit liveatueight.com
$16 Million In Federal Funding For Affordable Housing Allocated To Surrey
Surrey, BC – $16.3 million in funding for new permanent affordable housing has been earmarked for the City of Surrey. The injection of money is a result of the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative and will create a minimum of 33 units of new permanent affordable housing in Surrey.
“In order to affect real change in affordable housing, senior levels of government have to step up and partner with municipalities on this front,” said Mayor Doug McCallum.
“That is exactly what the federal government has done with the Rapid Housing Initiative. The projects that will be created by this funding will not only help alleviate some of the pressing needs surrounding affordable housing now, but it will be of great value in positioning us for the future. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, I am very pleased that Surrey has been identified to receive federal funding from this very worthwhile housing initiative.”
The Rapid Housing Initiative is delivered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the funds can go to cover the construction of modular housing, the purchase of land and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing.
“I would like to thank the federal government for stepping up to fund such an important initiative,” said Cllr Laurie Guerra, Board Chair of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society. “This program is indicative of the partnerships we need at every level of government to help solve the affordable housing issue that we face in the Lower Mainland.”
City staff will begin work on an investment plan to outline the proposed capital projects. Upon approval of the plan, construction will be completed within 12 months of the finalization of the funding agreement.
Continued confidence in Surrey’s residential building sector
Confidence in the residential construction sector remains strong in Surrey as more than $808 million in housing developments were given approval to proceed by Surrey City Council at last night’s Regular Council – Land Use Meeting.
Projects of note include several apartment towers ranging from 26 to 49-storeys, three dedicated rental apartment buildings, and a live/work residential townhome project.
“It’s no secret that Surrey has always been a desirable place for young families and first-time homeowners looking to get into the market,” said Mayor Doug McCallum.
“Among the new developments, I am especially pleased with the projects that will expand the rental housing stock in Surrey. These new projects approved by Council will bring even more housing options on stream for people looking to call Surrey home.”
Development projects given approval to proceed include the following:
- 2 high-rise residential towers (45 and 39-storeys) and 11-storey mid-rise rental building (Application number: 7919-0223-00)
- 32-storey residential apartment building (Application number: 7919-010500)
- 26-storey market condo and 21-storey rental apartment building (Application number: 7918-0393-00)
- 13-story rental apartment building and 16-storey market apartment building (Application number: 7918-0443-00)
- 7 apartment buildings of up to 6-storeys and 55 townhouse units (Application number: 7915-0393-00)
- Seven, 5 to 6-storey apartment buildings (Application number: 7917-0544-0)
- 6-storey mixed-use building comprised of 30 market and 70 non-market rental units (Application number: 7918-0450-00)
- 39 live/work residential townhomes (Application number: 7914-0207-00)
This latest round of development approvals comes on the heels of nearly $700 million in building projects approved by Council this past July.
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