This week’s news: New Toronto park at Ontario Place is a sign of hope in a sea of dreck

An idyllic city view from the new William G. Davis Trail at Ontario Place. (Photo by ©Nadia Molinari)

Our weekly round-up of real estate news in Toronto, across Canada and the world for the week ending June 30, 2017.

Toronto

New Toronto park at Ontario Place is a sign of hope in a sea of dreck: Hume (The Toronto Star)

It didn’t take long for Trillium Park to become part of the landscape of Toronto. Barely a week after opening, the new space already feels as if it’s been around forever. The fact it sits on what was once a parking lot makes its appearance that much sweeter.

The problem now is the surrounding city. Located on the water’s edge at the east end of Ontario Place, Trillium Park throws the stinginess of the urban context into sharp relief. That includes Lake Shore Blvd., the highway that separates city and lake; the absence of decent north/south connections; the lack of pedestrian amenities and the green desert that lines Lake Ontario, designed, it seems, for the convenience of lawn mowers.

 

CIBC Square by WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates breaks ground in Toronto (Canadian Architect)

CIBC Square, a transformative project by Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, has officially broken ground. Formerly known as Bay Park Centre, CIBC Square will feature two buildings and a one-acre elevated park over the rail corridor.

Designed by architecture firms WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates, following an architectural design competition, the project is founded on architectural and structural excellence, exceeding mechanical, electrical and security expectations, which have been designed to attain LEED Platinum Core & Shell certification, WELL Certification and WiredScore Platinum accreditation.

Pros and cons of the Airbnb experience (Real Estate News Exchange)

There are a number of pros and cons when it comes to an Airbnb experience. Having just used one in Toronto this month, here’s my personal experience.

Would I recommend it? Sure, I like a deal and I’m willing to try something a little riskier than cookie-cutter hotels.

Canada

Ontario cottage sales surge amid double-digit price increases (CBC News)

Sales of recreational properties in Ontario have surged in the last year amid a double-digit price increase in most markets, a new report from real estate brokerage Re/Max suggests.

The company published the report Tuesday, ahead of the Canada Day long weekend, a time many families in the province are likely to spend at their summer home.

New Brunswick real estate offers a lesson on peak housing prices (The Globe and Mail)

There isn’t much that Toronto real estate watchers can learn from Saint John, but here is one important lesson: Anyone worried about a drop in housing prices is worried about precisely the wrong thing.

The dramatic surge in Toronto real estate, particularly over the last year, has raised fears of a bubble and a crash in prices. Yet, as the last few years in Saint John attest, the real peril after a market peak is a logjam in sales, with sellers pining for prices past and unwilling to capitulate to wary buyers.

Ontario proposes banning real estate agents from representing seller and buyer (CBC News)

Ontario is proposing banning the practice of double ending, in which a real estate agent represents both a buyer and a seller in a transaction.

The Liberal government announced its 16-point housing plan earlier this year, with centrepiece planks of a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax and expanded rent controls.

USA

Pending Home Sales in U.S. Continue to Tumble, Third Straight Month (World Property Journal)

According to the National Association of Realtors, the ongoing supply shortages that are propping up U.S. home prices in many metro areas has caused pending home sales in May 2017 to slump for the third consecutive month. None of the major regions saw an increase in contract activity last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 0.8 percent to 108.5 in May 2017 from a downwardly revised 109.4 in April 2017. The index is now 1.7 percent below a year ago, which marks the second straight annual decline and the most recent since November and December of last year.

Buffett’s Bet on Store Capital Shows Not All Retail Real Estate Is Equal (Bloomberg)

Warren Buffett is betting that some types of brick-and-mortar real estate will hold up better than others in the age of Amazon.

His Berkshire Hathaway Inc. took a 9.8 percent stake in Store Capital Corp., sending shares of the real estate investment trust surging Monday. Unlike other retail landlords that have come under pressure as consumers shop more online, Store focuses on service properties: preschool facilities, health clubs, dine-in movie theaters and pet-care sites. Less than a fifth of its portfolio is invested in traditional retail — and even those it calls “internet resistant,” including furniture stores, hobby and craft centers, and hunting, fishing and camping shops.

71 Percent of U.S. Homeowners Believe It’s a Good Time to Sell (World Property Journal)

The National Association of Realtors is reporting this week that a growing number of U.S. homeowners think now is a good time to sell.

That’s according to NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey, which also found that fewer renters think it’s a good time to buy a home, and respondents are less confident about the economy and their financial situation than earlier this year despite continuous job gains.

International

Colliers International: Real estate in one of Asia’s fastest growing economies (Construction Global)

Out of Vietnam’s population of 95 million, 65 percent are under 30, most of whom are well educated and have a high level of computer literacy. Thanks to this Vietnam boasts one of the fastest growing economies in south east Asia.

In 2015 three substantial revisions were made to property laws, which dramatically opened up the market to investors from other countries.

Here’s a smartphone app that shows Chinese millennials how to shop for international real estate (South China Morning Post)

The key to winning customers, according to 34-year-old Huang Xiaodan, who founded the start-up two years ago, is to provide a higher value service where users can be assured of the quality of the real estate listings on the platform.

“We don’t care much of the quantity, but quality,” said Huang. “Being small doesn’t matter. What customers terribly lack is a sense of security.”

Real estate correction, not crash, forecast as house prices fall: CoreLogic (ABC News)

The latest property price figures from CoreLogic point to a fall nationally during May, led by the previously booming markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

The company’s head of research Tim Lawless told ABC News that May is generally a weaker month for prices as the laggards of the autumn selling season are sold.

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