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How Will Coronavirus Impact The Housing Market?



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.

RELATED: Real Estate Home Sales: Six Cities Making a Comeback

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Real Estate

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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Real Estate

$58m Vancouver penthouse tops list of Canada’s most expensive condos



One of the world’s leading condominium real estate platforms has revealed the ten most expensive condos ever sold or listed in Canada, with an 8,000-square-foot Vancouver penthouse worth $58m topping the list of properties. This is followed by another Vancouver condo also situated in Coal Harbour worth $38.88m, and a $35.8m 48th floor penthouse at the Hotel Georgia residences.

One of Canada’s leading condo real estate platforms has revealed that a $58m top floor penthouse in Vancouver is the most expensive condo ever sold in Canada, followed by two more Vancouver properties, worth $38.88m and $35.8m respectively. used its internal data, as well as an array of publicly available data from the last 30 years to curate the list of the ten most expensive properties in the country.

A 8,000-square-foot Vancouver penthouse worth $58m topped the list, followed by another Vancouver condo also situated in Coal Harbour worth $38.88m, and a $35.8m 48th floor penthouse at the Hotel Georgia residences. Canadian households now own $5.7 trillion worth of property assets, according to Statistics Canada, a 300% increase since 2005*. The average price for a condo in Toronto is $574,000**, whilst the average price for a standard house in the city is $1.04m***.

The five most expensive condos ever listed/sold in Canada, and how much they’re worth, are:

  • Coal Harbour 8,000-square-foot Penthouse – $58m
  • Coal Harbour 26th floor 6,670-square-foot Condo – $38.88m
  • Hotel Georgia Residence 48th floor Penthouse – $35.8m
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim Penthouse – $29.9m
  • Four Seasons West Penthouse Toronto – $28m

The full list of the ten most expensive condos ever listed/sold in Canada can be viewed here:

After being built in 2012, the 8,000-square-foot Coal Harbour penthouse was initially sold two years later for $16.6m. The property boasts a selection of four bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus two rooftop terraces and a balcony totalling 4,840-square-feet, as well as a private seven-car parking garage.

Also built in 2012, the second property on the list, a 6,670-square-foot Coal Harbour Condo, takes up the entire 26th floor of the tower it’s situated in, and is the only apartment in the building with this feature. Views from the property span across; the ocean, the mountains, and the Lions Gate bridge. The condo also boasts three terraces, two fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a six car garage space.

PreCondo is Canada’s leading condominium real estate platform, connecting buyers and sellers from around the globe. The site currently hosts more than 650 properties, in 100+ neighbourhoods across the country, and has successfully helped to sell over 700 condos since its launch in 2013.

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Real Estate

Development and Construction Remain Strong in Surrey



More than $692 million in development projects were given the approval to proceed by Surrey City Council at last night’s Regular Council – Land Use Meeting. The projects that were brought forward range from high rise residential towers, rental apartments, townhouses to industrial warehouses.

“With close to $700 million in building projects before Council last night, it’s clear that there is no shortage of confidence in developing and building in Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Surrey City Council has made it a priority to make sure that planning for our growing city does not halt during COVID-19. Several of the projects given the approval to proceed are along the corridor of the new Surrey Langley Skytrain extension and they align with Council’s Smart Development strategy that calls for new development to coincide with the construction of transit, schools, and other amenities.”

Development projects were given the approval to proceed to include the following:

  • 6-storey apartment building and 162 townhouses (Application number: 7919-0109-00)
  • 2 high rise residential towers and a mid-rise rental building (Application number: 7919-0223-00)
  • 6-storey apartment building and 55 townhouses (Application number: 7915-0393-00)
  • 3-storey rental apartment building and 4-storey rental apartment building containing a combined 104 units (Application number: 19-0168)
  • 4-storey rental apartment building containing 156 units (Application number: 19-0118)
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Real Estate

Building permits issued in Surrey breaks $2 billion mark



The City of Surrey set a new record in building permit values issued in 2019. The total construction value exceeded $2.29 billion last year, which is 33% higher than the previous record total of $1.52 billion from 2018.

In 2019, $1.57 billion of the construction value came from residential permits which translated to 6,632 new dwellings that will be built in Surrey.

“The economic confidence in Surrey has reached new heights and breaking the $2 billion mark in building permits is uncharted territory for our city,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “The livability, affordability and recreational amenities that Surrey offers have established this city as a place where you can raise your family or grow your business. With the new Surrey SkyTrain extension on the horizon and with Council’s Smart Development initiatives, Surrey will be a prime destination for new residents and businesses for years to come.”

While the Planning and Development Department issued a total of 16,498 building, plumbing and electrical permits in 2019, staff managed to reduce the wait time for single family dwelling to 10 weeks by the end of the year. In comparison, the wait time for a single family dwelling permit peaked at 25 weeks in 2017.

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Real Estate

Should I Refinance my Mortgage? Knowing When to Do it



If you’re looking to reduce monthly mortgage payments and get a lowered interest rate, you could also convert equity to cash or switch to a fixed-rate loan. These are all reasons to refinance, but while it may sound enticing at first, you will want to make sure that it is the right time for you to do it. Before you decide to refinance, it is key to understand the process and evaluate the pros and cons of your situation. Homeowners are sometimes surprised about the amount of documentation needed to get approved for a mortgage refinance. If you learn the basics, you will be able to decide if it is right time for you to do it as well as what will happen when you do.

Reasons to Refinance

There are plenty of reasons you would want to refinance, but there are a few that cut through the rest. First the main goal is usually to lower your payments. It shouldn’t be to just decrease the payment for the short-term, you should be pursuing better interest rates. This is really what will cost you in the long run. Using your home equity to better manage debt is another option, but you are advised to be careful when it comes using your positive financial situation to pay off a negative one. Refinancing will help you pay off your loan faster.

The Process of Refinancing

Refinance is replacing an existing mortgage with a new one. This typically has people refinancing their mortgage in order to reduce their monthly payments while decreasing their mortgage to a fixed-rate and lowering interest. Adjustable rates are typically more expensive, and when you refinance you can lower the cost.

Other people just need access to cash in order to fund a renovation project or pay off debt. This will leave leverage to use the equity from the home to obtain cash. It doesn’t matter what your goal, you should get to know the process of refinancing to get the most out of it. It works a lot like your first mortgage, but timing is even more key. Research your option, collect financial documents, and submit a refinancing application and you’ll be better equipped to benefit.

Refinancing Benefits

Lowering payments is by far the biggest reason that people refinance. The average homeowner may save up $160 or more per month with a refinance. With a lower monthly payment, you are free to put savings toward other debts and expenditures. You can also apply savings towards your monthly mortgage and pay off the loan sooner.

Another reason is to remove private mortgage insurance. If you have enough property appreciation or the principal paid off will not be required to pay mortgage insurance that will reduce your total monthly payment. Homeowners who took out a mortgage in the early stages of their career, it may have made senses financially. But things change. For those who want to pay off the mortgage sooner, reducing the term of the loan can be enticing. There are many more benefits, but none of them will matter if you don’t consider the timing.

When to Refinance

There are many factors that go into refinancing. According to the site MoneyPug, which is used to make a mortgage comparison, first you should make sure have outstanding credit. If you try to refinance when you have poor credit, your interest rate will be sky high. You should also keep up on the market and learn when mortgage prices are at their best.

Furthermore, most banks and other lenders require borrowers to maintain their original mortgage for at least 12 months, but you don’t want to wait too long. Refinancing typically starts over the process, which means that the years you’ve spent paying off the home will not be accounted for. You shouldn’t wait too many years, but you should always make sure it is in fact the right time for you. The terms of each lender are different and you should make sure they are helpful to you.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a lot of money or little, a big house or a small one, paying attention to the time in which you refinance is key. You want your credit to be solid, your financial situation stable, and the years of payment to be right. Once you have thoroughly researched, you will know when to refinance and when to hold off.

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