Boomers driving market for luxury housing
Canada’s luxury housing market is in the midst of a striking transfer of wealth, as baby boomers trade up for bigger houses while pouring huge sums into real estate for their children. “I don’t think you’ve ever had nearly as much help from one generation to the next in buying homes,” said Ross McCredie, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, which issued a new report examining the finances and buying habits of different generations of buyers in the “luxury” market, which generally refers to the higher end of real estate markets across Canada. According to the Globe and Mail, wealthy boomers are increasingly looking to upsize into luxury homes, often because they still have adult children living at home. Empty-nesters are more likely to “right-size” into bungalows and condos that are only slightly smaller than their previous home. In many cases, boomers are taking on debt to buy luxury homes, despite the fact that the typical boomers buying in Canada’s high-end market earn an average of $500,000 and can easily afford to pay cash. Often they’re looking to take advantage of low interest rates to invest their home equity in vacation homes, investment properties or the stock market. Read more here
American buyers flocking to B.C. for real estate
American buyers enticed by the low Canadian dollar are scooping up B.C. properties, according to several luxury market real estate agents. According to the CBC, Jonathan Cooper, vice-president of operations for the Macdonald Realty Group, says he has anecdotally seen a resurgence of Americans interested in Vancouver homes. "There was activity from all nationalities around the Olympics, but especially because of our proximity to Washington state, a lot of Americans were here at that time... talked to agents, went to open houses," he says.
"They're high net-worth families who have heard about Vancouver, love how beautiful it is ... and yeah, it's a second home for vacation purposes." And now they're coming back, said Malcolm Hasman, another real estate agent based in Vancouver. "Most of the Americans buying are using the property for two to three months a year for the summer months and coming during the winter to go to Whistler... that market is increasing," he said. "This year has been a very good year if you look at January, February, March... where we are in April... I can tell you my luxury market is having one of its best years in the last 10 years."
Target, Future Shop closure leaves big holes to fill in Canadian retail
The apparent turmoil in Canada’s retail market by the recent pullout of Target and the shock closure of Future Shop represents a painful but necessary evolution for retailers and commercial real estate landlords, say local analysts. According to the Vancouver Sun, the news of Future Shop’s closure of nine locations across B.C., coupled with the retreat of 19 Target stores, won’t necessarily spell disaster for landlords, especially in key locations in and around Vancouver, said Stephen Knight, CEO and managing partner for Sitings Realty in Vancouver. But other retail real estate experts interviewed say the closures represent a major challenge to landlords facing a glut of empty space with few prospects to fill it. “This isn’t all bad news,” said Knight, who also owns Coventry Hills Centre in Calgary, a shopping centre that for 10 years housed a Future Shop, until last week. “The majority of all these sites on the [closure] list is sought after real estate,” said Knight, who has also arranged roughly eight leases involving Future Shop in the Lower Mainland. Key shuttered locations such as at West Broadway in Vancouver and at the Langley Centre will likely find replacements in short order, he said.