This week’s news: Ambitious development aims to give Vaughan downtown credibility

SmartREIT, Mitchell Goldhar and CentreCourt Developments’ 55-storey Transit City, located at SmartCentres Place in the heart of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, will be near the vivaNext bus depot and will connect to the new subway stop. (Rendering courtesy of CentreCourt Developments)

Our weekly round-up of real estate news in Toronto, across Canada and the world for the week ending April 14, 2017.

Toronto

Ambitious development aims to give Vaughan downtown credibility (The Toronto Star)

A 55-storey residential tower that will be the tallest landmark on Vaughan’s emerging skyline, is being touted for bringing a distinctly urban vibe to that city’s ambitious downtown plans.

SmartREIT, Mitchell Goldhar and CentreCourt Developments’ Transit City condos will be the first residential building in the 100-acre Vaughan Metropolitan Centre development called SmartCentres Place.

Ontario’s anti-sprawl restrictions not a factor in housing shortage: government (Winnipeg Free Press)

TORONTO—The Ontario government is dismissing suggestions that the province’s anti-sprawl policies are contributing to housing supply shortage and soaring home prices in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Developers argue that easing restrictions on construction of detached homes and townhouses on “greenfield” land — areas set aside by municipalities for development as part of Ontario’s growth plan a decade ago — could help boost supply.

Oxford Properties and startup incubator team up to create a new Toronto innovation district (The Globe and Mail)

Oxford Properties Group and technology startup accelerator OneEleven are aiming to turn Toronto into the next San Francisco with Union Park, a long-term redevelopment of Front Street meant to transform it into a downtown innovation cluster.

The linchpin in the plan is the official reopening in May of 325 Front Street West, a cavernous 250,000-square-foot space that used to serve as an RBC data centre. The five-storey building, currently in the midst of renovations, will eventually house hundreds of high-growth startups and development labs for blue-chip companies.

Canada

Guelph the best place to buy real estate in Canada (CBC News)

Guelph has ranked the top city in Canada to buy real estate, according to Money Sense magazine, an early gift of sorts ahead of the 190th anniversary of its founding on April 23.

The magazine makes its decision based on the health of the local economy, momentum of real estate purchases and the real estate value of cities close by – like Brantford, which came in third spot, and Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge which came in collectively at fourth spot.

Calgary real estate industry hopes housing start uptick the beginning of a trend (CBC News)

New home construction in Alberta is still below pre-recession levels but there are indicators activity is starting to rebound, according to the latest data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

At the same time, the number of completed but unoccupied new homes has reached a record high in Calgary.

Last gas: Vancouver’s sole remaining downtown gas station for sale (CTV News)

After a record-breaking sale for the Chevron station property on West Georgia Street, the sole remaining gas bar in downtown Vancouver has been listed for sale.

The Esso at the corner of Burrard and Davie streets in the West End was just listed by Colliers International. And although the listing for the 17,292-square-foot property does not have a price attached, you can be sure the owners are looking to clean up.

USA

Construction worker’s death at Times Square site was “completely preventable,” DOB commissioner says (The Real Deal)

A construction worker died Wednesday after plunging 18 feet from a job site at 1604 Broadway in Times Square, which will soon be the home of a Grand Ole Opry-themed restaurant and entertainment venue.

Officials said Jose Cruz fell from an I-beam while removing part of a steel deck from a slab at the site, the New York Daily News reported. The 59-year-old died later in hospital.

What happens when your neighbor is a venture capitalist (CNBC)

Waging a public battle against your rich neighbor with obscene tech money is practically a Bay Area tradition.

In David Cowfer’s case, his angry website about an invasive species of Silicon Valley billionaire practically wrote itself. Cowfer is fighting plans to turn a six-bedroom family home in a sleepy cul-de-sac on a picturesque Glen Park hilltop into the ultimate bachelor gymnasium, including a basketball court, lockers, sauna, wet bar, lounge, and a cantilevered swimming pool. Plans also include a two-story garage door with glass panels will roll open to show a spectacular view of San Francisco — and could cause a spectacular nuisance for Cowfer, who lives next door.

Foreclosure Activity in Half U.S. Markets Now Below Pre-Market Crash Levels (World Property Journal)

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 and March 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows first quarter foreclosure activity was below pre-recession levels nationwide and in 102 out of 216 metropolitan statistical areas (47 percent) analyzed in the report.

Nationwide the report shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 234,508 U.S. properties in the first quarter of 2017, down 11 percent from the previous quarter and down 19 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since Q3 2006. The first-quarter foreclosure activity total was 16 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 properties with foreclosure filings each quarter between Q1 2006 and Q3 2007.

International

How much? Sydney auction showcases soaring property prices (The Guardian)

On Saturday morning, 50 wary Sydneysiders gather for an auction in the city’s east. The two-bedroom apartment in the already pricey suburb of Bellevue Hill is listed at $950,000. It’s only 84 square metres but nobody trusts the estimates and it’s expected to go for more after a near-20% rise in prices in the past 12 months.

It is the last weekend before Easter and the Anzac Day breaks, and many homeseekers see this as their final chance before a long lull. In Sydney, an unprecedented 1,154 homes are up for auction – the city’s biggest day on record. In Melbourne the figure is 1,245, with both capital cities registering clearance rates above 80% for the past few weeks.

Singapore’s property prices to double by 2030: Morgan Stanley (CNBC)

The protracted downtrend in Singapore’s property market is poised to end next year, with home prices set to double by 2030, Morgan Stanley said in a Wednesday note.

“Property market bears expect slower population growth, an ageing population, and a structural growth slowdown to weigh on the long-term property market outlook,” the note said. “We disagree and believe home prices will double by 2030.”

England’s ‘tiniest castle’ on sale for $910,000 (News.com.au)

Good things come in small packages.

Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in a quaint pocket of the English countryside, where the tiniest castle in the UK is for sale. Molly’s Lodge — an 1834 structure located in the Cotswolds, a bucolic region a couple hours’ drive from London — hit the market in March.

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