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All posts for the month June, 2020

Benchmark Price for Homes in Vancouver Stays Steady Despite COVID-19

Published June 29, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

There’s an age old expression that’s true much of the time, and it’s that the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Real estate is always a hot topic here in British Columbia, and it’s at the least a fairly warm one no matter where you are in Canada. Here we’ve had so many different industry insiders predicting the worst for the market, and included in that is an expectation that home prices will fall in Vancouver.

It’s definitely been quite the polarizing subject of discussion, with those on one side enthusiastic at the thought of lower housing prices, while the less selfishly minded being concerned about what plummeting values might do for the equity that hard working people have built into their homes over a long time. And then of course there are the realtors who work in the city who also have a very vested interest in seeing house prices maintain some measure of stability.

Here at Real Estate Leads we are entirely in the know about how this is very much front and center for a lot of people, and we will take every opportunity to promote our online real estate lead generation system for Canada as a way in which realtors can better position themselves to obtain new clients in a new reality where those clients aren’t as easy to come by as they once were. Truth is, however, real estate has always been a very competitive business and there are always going to be many chasing after a few in this regard.

But back to topic – the good news for those who wish to see more positivity in regards to the real estate market in Vancouver is that recent information is indicating that housing prices for properties in the city will NOT be going down considerably in response to the economic chill that’s coming with the COVID-19 economic uncertainty.

Rents Go Down, Home Prices By and Large Don’t

The benchmark price of a property in Greater Vancouver has essentially remained constant — going from $1.02 million in February to $1.03 million in May, and indicating that the supply and demand equation HAS insulated the market here in the exactly the same way experts suggested it would. 

There is evidence to suggest the price of rentals has dropped in the last three months, but that’s not been the case for the ownership of homes. What we can safely assume here is also what certain industry experts were saying – that people most impacted by the economic downturn weren’t the same people who would have the financial means to make moves in Vancouver’s housing market to begin with. 

For higher income individuals still in the market – and the nature of Vancouver means there’s plenty of them in this category – it’s likely they were still going to be in the market regardless of what might have happened.

One thing that may take a bite of the market is there may be fewer qualified buyers going after properties and contributing to ‘sold well above asking’ trend that’s been so prevalent in Vancouver and Toronto over the years.

(And while we’re on that topic – Toronto realtors, the same supply and demand factors are going to be insulating the market and benchmark home prices in the same way)

The biggest part of that is going to be lower levels of immigration, and the extent of that influence remains to be seen. However, economic predictions counter that somewhat and all of this seems to be borne out by what’s being reported by the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation).

Possible Marginal Dip in Future

On Monday, they released a housing outlook that predicts the lower range for the average home price in Metro Vancouver may fall from $892,790 in 2020 to $809,215 by 2022. The belief here is that average house prices will decline with weaker household budgets and the uncertain nature of the economic reopening.

With all of this, however, they did state that Vancouver’s ownership markets are less vulnerable to Covid-19-related downturns, and we can safely assume this is going to apply to Toronto too. Keep in mind as well that real estate buyers tend to be older than renters and as a result are less likely to have become unemployed or less-employed as a result of the forced economic downturn.

One more thing we should also consider is that the ‘new’ reality that comes to be once the global pandemic comes to an end may mean an entire revisioning of what the ‘work’ world is, and part of that may mean greater numbers of people no longer being required to live in major metro areas for work. This has the potential to vitalize real estate markets and new builds in other areas of the country, and this will have a hugely beneficial influence for realtors working in smaller communities across the country.

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Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively as the only realtor receiving them for that region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll be made aware of people who’ve indicated their genuine intention of making a move in the real estate market there.

You’ll be be able to take advantage and be the first realtor to approach them and offer your professional services to help them be in the home of their dreams or sell an existing home as part of that process.

Housing Remains Best Investment for Majority of Canadians

Published June 22, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

We’ll preface right away here with today’s blog that the understanding that housing is among the most solid investments a person can make has been THE predominant understanding in this country for a long time. If we’re to look back across however many decades you’d like we’re going to see that’s held true.

Now today, however, there’s not much debate that the real estate market in Canada is weathering a storm, but it turns out that seeing the solidity of investing in housing is just as sound perspective as it’s always been.

One of the things we will say though is that one of the less-than-ideal aspects of the COVID storm is that there’s less of that proverbial pie to go around for realtors in Canada these days, and especially so for ones working in major metropolitan areas of the country.

It’s for that reason that the online real estate lead generation system we have here at Real Estate Leads comes more highly recommended than perhaps it’s ever been before. Putting the power of Internet Marketing to work providing you with bonafide client leads is something that can’t help but benefit your business at this time, and all the time for that matter.

But back to topic – we feel it’s important to be equivocal during this time when so many people are talking doom and gloom about the real estate industry, and it’s a good testament to the other side of the picture to point out what’s going to be continuing to motivate home buyers – the fact that real estate remain the best investment option for most people in Canada, and all up and down the social ladder.

The Soundest of Decisions for Investment

Owning a home remains the largest single investment for most Canadians. For this reasons it shouldn’t be surprising that fear over an economy that’s on its side right now is generating anxiety for a lot of people.

The CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) recently predicted the ongoing pandemic and resulting freeze of the economy could push down the country’s average home prices somewhere between 9 and 18 percent, and the primary factor in that being job losses and uncertainty forcing many Canadians to the sidelines.

Further, the federal housing agency is predicting the housing sector will not return to pre-pandemic levels until around the time 2022 is drawing to a close. Yes, that’s concerning any way you slice it, but let’s continue on with what’s to be said here before we decide on a big-picture consensus.

We are seeing housing analysts pointing out vulnerabilities in big cities and the booming Vancouver and Toronto condo markets especially. There’s no getting around the fact there’s dark clouds there.

Now that’s of course going to be bad news for speculators or others who have recently purchased a home in a vulnerable region and were hoping to sell for profit  in the not-TOO-distant future.

However, for most long-term homeowners able to maintain an adequate source of income, the very roof over their head is instead the best and safest investment possible. And that is no departure at all from the same way it’s been for as long as homes have been bought and sold as part of a real estate market in this country.

5% or More for More for Nearly 3/4 of a Century

Canadian house values have increased by over five per cent annually over 25-year periods going back the middle of the 1940s, after WWII ended. The 2008 global financial meltdown is included in that of course, and the concurrent predictions for a housing market collapse along with it truly never materialized.

Many homeowners have already benefited from the pre-pandemic housing boom, and for new homeowners, any decline over the next three years can easily be absorbed once the market gets back on track. 

Now as far as potential homeowners are concerned, the next three years could present an affordability window into the residential real estate market. One of the biggest pre-pandemic risks in the housing market was the threat of higher mortgage rates, but we can now be fairly certain that borrowing rates will remain low for a long time. 

It of course needs to be said that a home should never be the only investment in a retirement portfolio, as it’s unique from other investments in terms of risk. A short-term theoretical drop in the value of a home is not to be disregarded, but it checked by the understanding that homes are bought and sold far less frequently, which decreases the risk of making a price decline a real loss and allowing sufficient time for that investment to recover.  

Intrinsic Value in Homes

What really sets a home apart from any other investment is its intrinsic value. A home is considered real estate. That means it is a real, tangible, asset and will always have a significant basic value, and by living in it you are changing the way you’re nurturing that investment asset in a positive way. You’re making it more resilient to market force dips and the like, and with its potential to increase in value you (or your client as might be the case here) are receiving a sort of dividend equal to the cost of rent if you didn’t own a home.

Then there’s the fact that home ownership also allows average investors to build equity by borrowing at a low interest rate in the form of a mortgage by using the property as collateral. Over time, that equity may be repurposed for borrowing at a low interest rate through a home equity line of credit (HELOC). 

Last but not least and very specific to the ‘here and now’ –  it’s quite possible that the biggest measure of the intrinsic value of a home comes from its newfound role as sanctuary during this global pandemic. The value of a home in a time when social distancing could become the norm for years to come may well prove to be immeasurable, and don’t think for a second that’s not going to be motivating individuals who don’t have that right now to make sure they do for the future.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you – and only you – as the only realtor who’s assigned to serve your requested region of any city or town in Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts and speed up the development and growth of your real estate business.

Fraser Valley Real Estate Market Remains Buoyed During Current Instability

Published June 15, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

We’re now right in the exact middle of June. While the market downturn in the Lower Mainland is the same as seen elsewhere in major markets in Canada due to COVID-19 there continues to be indicators that the real estate market in the country overall is showing itself to be more resilient than many have given it credit for.

As we’ve stressed many times, Canada is in a more fortuitous position to whether this storm as compared to other countries (and in comparison to the USA in particular here in North America) because of the realities of our supply and demand dynamic here. Without going into too much detail, the demand for homes in this country – and in particular in and around major metro areas like Vancouver and Toronto – outstrips supply.

That is turning out to be very much a counterbalance against seeing the market become too depressed. Which of course benefits new realtors working in certain areas, and in much the same way that our online real estate lead generation system for Canada here at Real Estate Leads is a real advantage for them in utilizing Internet Marketing methodologies to be fast-tracked to being put in touch with genuine prospective clients.

There are many would-be homebuyers who have turned their attention to Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley as a response to being unable to afford a detached home in Greater Vancouver, and they’re a large part of why the Valley is in fact one of those areas that’s contributing to the resiliency we pointed out above for the Real Estate market in Canada.

May and June to Date Exceeding Expectations

Fresh data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) are showing that the region’s property sales and listings have showed notable recovery in May, and that this trend seems to be continuing through the first half of June.

The local industry consensus is that the main driver of this is the market’s steady adjustment to new safety measures required to buy and sell a home during the provincial state of emergency due to COVID-19, and the last part of that is directly from the FVREB (Fraser Valley Real Estate Board)

Agents and economists alike agree that this is an encouraging sign. Real estate is an essential service and in BC it’s an irreplaceable economic driver for the Province. It hasn’t been easy for people to adapt quickly to physical distancing, virtual tools, and strict personal safety protocols, but the market continues to see more and more transactions happening daily as we all familiarize ourselves with the new normal and become comfortable with it.

Sales activity for May in this part of the Southwestern Corner of BC went up 17% from April, and that created some 800+ transactions. This volume was 47% lower than May of the year previous (2019) and its level of 1,517 sales. At the same time 2,207 new listings went live in the market, which was 56% higher monthly and 38% lower annually.

Active listings in the Fraser Valley stood at 6,454 properties, which was an increase of 8% from April but a decrease of 24% from May of last year.

Resilient Market, and One of Many

Yes, overall numbers remain significantly lower than seasonal norms, but there’s no way around that given the way so many buyers have had their purchasing power taken away from them during this time. However, the market continues to show itself to be resilient and people in the real estate industry continue to work together to ensure public safety. This is going to help the market improve even further once the best workings of it are figured out.

The Fraser Valley’s REB (real estate board) data release also indicated overall prices remaining stable, pointing to a benchmark price for single-family homes of $990,400. This is down by 0.2% monthly and growing by 2.7% annually.

Overall – and again touching on what we talked about in the beginning of this blog –  a lot of downward pressure on prices is attributable to a shortage of inventory. It might come as a surprise to some that multiple offer situations are even being seen where buyers are paying above-asking price, but honestly it hasn’t been for us here.

Wishing you all continued success and resiliency of your own while working in real estate during this time.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered exclusively to you as the ONLY realtor who receives the leads for your protected region of any city or town in Canada. What it does is streamlines the process for putting you more directly in touch with people who are genuinely considering making a move in the real estate market. From there the opportunity is yours to turn them into your clients, and that’s an opportunity we imagine you will make good on!

5 Tips for Growing Your Real Estate Business

Published June 8, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

The vast majority of realtors who have newly entered the business are doing so because they see it as a means to generate a higher level of income for themselves to give them and their family a better quality of life. Along with that is a realization that the ongoing demand for housing in North America makes it a fairly reliable source of self-employment, but with that of course comes the need to understand that this business is among the most competitive of all of them.

It’s also true that the majority of people choosing to become realtors are going to be both ambitious and motivated to get off to the best start possible with their new profession. To that end, our online real estate lead generation service here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent way to gain a real advantage and be put in touch with people who are genuinely considering either buying or selling a home.

Now of course all this does is provide you with the opportunity – what you make of it will depend on the way your present yourself as someone who can help those folks be in the best home for them. Don’t take away from any measure of the focus on becoming a true knowledgeable professional.

With that said, there’s a lot going for taking the approach that anything that gives you a leg up on your competitors is a good thing. If you’re real estate business is growing, then that’s the best reflection of the fact you’ve made the right choices and are building in the best manner possible.

So the question becomes what are the most effective strategies to go about getting more clients, and making more money from real estate?

Here are 5 strategies and tactics real estate agents use to bring in additional revenue or maximize current revenue.

  1. Fix It and Flip It

Buying a house, fixing it up, and then selling it is referred to as ‘flipping’. Many real estate agents have repeat clients who engage in house flipping as a means of creating an additional income stream. And of course, having even one such client can be a big benefit to you.

However, there is a lot of risk involved in flipping houses. In order for this strategy to work, a purchaser needs to buy a house below market value and then be able to accurately estimate the cost of repairs. Understanding how to do this best comes only with actual experience.

Advise your clients to be able to calculate approximated After Repair Value (ARV). They will expect their real estate agent (you) to be able to help them figure this out. You can get a preliminary idea by looking at the recent sales value of houses in that same neighborhood.

Another option is buying at a wholesale price, and then selling  as quickly as possible.

2. Dig Up Hidden or Off-Market Properties

Many properties that are going to make your clients (and you) money are the ones you won’t find on the usual online locations or the MLS. Often they’re ones owners needs to get rid of quickly, and not necessarily the foreclosures.

An off-market property is sometimes called a ‘pocket listing’ and might be one owned by a couple going through a divorce, or a property an owner no longer wants for any number of reasons – including unexpected financial hardship. They’re the houses that the owners can’t usually sell through traditional channels as they need to move fast. These can be gems for investor clients of yours.

Quite often they’ll be able to acquire these properties at below market value.

3. Target Vacation Rental Markets

Vacation rental properties can also be a good choice for clients of yours who are looking for different profitable ways to invest in real estate. However, you should always advise clients that the real cost of a vacation rental is in managing and maintaining them. The key to a successful vacation rental is to price the property low enough that it stays rented year round. If that’s not possible, your client needs to calculate whether they can make enough during the ‘good’ season.

HomeAway, a vacation rental site, states that that the average homeowner on their site rents his property for 18 weeks of the year (about four months) and grosses around $28,000 annually (that’s in USD though). For property owners that may account for a large percentage of their mortgage on the property each year and properties in desirable locations will usually always increase in value year over year.

Before your clients rush headlong into this market, however, be sure they’re entirely aware of the ongoing costs of maintenance and management and repairs.

4. Stage Properties Being Sold

Prospective buyers like to imagine what their life might look like if they were living in a home. Marketing an empty house means it may be hard to sell, and that’s also true because would-be buyers pass judgment to some extent from the moment they view a property for the first time.

Pretty much everyone looking for a house begins their search online. For this reason, among many others, it’s a good reason to tell home seller clients that they should stage their house. It’s a well-known fact that homes that are staged sell more quickly, so the expense of bringing in furniture, adding temporary character and charm touches, artwork etc. so the potential buyer can get a better idea of what this house looks like lived in is ALWAYS beneficial

5. Generate Leads Using Direct Mailers

This old-school method still works as well today as it ever has, especially if you hone in on your desired target market. You can expect the same ROI as you get from social media marketing, and direct mail outperforms all digital channels. In terms of cost-per-acquisition, it’s also very competitive.

The only downside to direct mail is how difficult it is to track where leads are coming from, or where they see you for the first time. However, there are ways to track direct mail that may take a bit more effort or a slightly larger expenditure.

Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively. Sign up and request your region of an city or town in Canada (provided it’s still available), and once you have it you’ll be the only realtor receiving these leads. Again, it’s an opportunity – but if you come across as a reputable professional you’ll likely turn these individuals into clients and be growing your real estate business that much more quickly.

Federal Rent Relief Program To Be A Big Help for Commercial Real Estate

Published June 1, 2020 by Real Estate Leads

It’s understandable how residential real estate dominates the headlines and interest of most Canadians when it comes to the national real estate market, but for many property owners their investments in commercial real estate are just as much at the forefront. As it is in most countries, this is particularly true in major urban centres where – just like residential real estate – the risk / reward proposition is much higher than it would be elsewhere.

In much the same way that the fact people need a roof over their head is the eternal driving factor for residential real estate, needing a place to do business is the same for the commercial real estate market in Canada. Both of these facets of the market are hurting in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the good news in regards to both is that many industry experts and economists are suggesting the pain may be much more temporary than many people think.

In the short term, however, real estate has become an even more competitive business than it was previously. Generating new clients is never easy, but for those who are new to real estate it may be an even more menacing challenge. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for realtors in Canada is an excellent way to harness the power of the Internet to give you a distinct advantage when it comes to that aim.

And in this time – as always – it’s a good idea to take advantage of every one that’s available to you.

But back to topic, and it’s yet another piece of good news in relation to the real estate market that the Federal Government is rolling out a rent relief program for people holding commercial real estate.

No Way Around It

The fact of the matter is that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the commercial sector especially hard. It’s been suggested that somewhere around 21% of Canadian commercial tenants requesting rent relief in April, and that forecasts to continue in the coming months as tenants that are prevented from doing business aren’t creating the revenue they need to make rent, much less profits.

This applies to all of the retail, industrial, and office sectors, and separate surveys are also finding that nearly half of these tenants are looking like they won’t be able to afford rent payments, many of which are payable today – June 1st.

Business analysts are stressing that the focus here needs to be on understanding and co-operation, as tenants and property owners openly communicate and maintain strong working relationships to keep businesses on both sides operating. No one is going to debate the fact that property owners should be doing all they can to enable tenants to remain open or reopen safely, and that’s especially true for tenants who’ve been ‘good’ ones for years or even decades and will be that once again once normal returns

The response to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program of a few months back now was as big as it was expected to be, but it hasn’t been without problems on both sides. One interesting thing to note was that small-business tenants were 2.7x more likely to request rent relief than regional, national, or international tenants, but that shouldn’t be a surprise and the reasons for that should be obvious.

It’s important to sustain local businesses, and that’s something that the real estate community all across the country is acutely aware of.

Welcome Relief

The CECRA program is being re-evaluated, and it’s expected that there are more commercial rent relief measures on the way.

Seeing that tenants whose businesses were completely shut down were 3.4x more likely to request rent relief than tenants who remained open is fairly predictable too, and a valid indication as to why this rent relief is so needed.

Landlords and tenants are facing pending rent deadlines with some uncertainty, as there are landlords who have indicated that they are still waiting for more program details before deciding to apply for CECRA.

However, with this we should consider another important point that was highlighted at CBC.ca today, where it was shared that owners who refused the CECRA relief funds will NOT be able to evict their tenants.

This is a judicious move by the Feds, as there certainly would be owners who’d see the opportunity to legitimize evicting business tenants and then leasing the space for higher monthly rates in the future.

What we should be eagerly looking to see is how the program will treat landlords who have agreed to revised rental payment terms for April or May with their tenants, when the loan funds will be available, and how this program will be rolled out for each province.

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Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you exclusively. As you will be the only realtor serving your chosen region of any city or town in Canada (provided it is still available  – don’t delay!), then you’ll be the only one to receive these leads indicating individuals or couples in the community who are genuinely considering making a move in the real estate market.

It’s a proven-effective way to supercharge your client prospecting efforts, and have a look at our testimonials from business-building realtors just like you.