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Sears Rallies After Ailing Chain Posts First Profit Since 2015
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 25, 2017   97   0   0   0   0   0
(Bloomberg)—Sears Holdings Corp. rallied after posting its first quarterly profit since 2015, bringing a ray of optimism to a retail chain struggling to regain its relevance. First-quarter net income amounted to $244 million, compared with a loss of $471 million a year earlier. The gain reflects efforts by Chief Executive Officer Eddie Lampert to sell assets and raise cash. But its main business -- running the Sears and Kmart department stores -- still struggled in the latest quarter: When excluding one-time items, the company posted a loss. Investors took the results as a sign that Lampert’s turnaround bid is making some headway. The 54-year-old hedge fund manager, who is also Sears’s largest investor, has scrambled to wring money from the sprawling chain’s real estate and close stores. On Tuesday, the company made a deal that pushed the due date for $400 million in debt from July to January. It also offloaded some of its pension obligations. “While this was certainly a challenging quarter for our company, it was also one that clearly demonstrated our commitment to return Sears Holdings to solid financial footing,” Lampert said in a statement. “We recognize that we need to accelerate our efforts to improve our operational performance.” The stock climbed as much as 27 percent to $9.45 in New York trading, the biggest intraday gain since Feb. 10. The rally followed a 20 percent decline this year. Sears’s sales remain in a dire state. Revenue fell 20 percent to $4.3 billion in...
When Canadians Are The 'Foreign Buyers'
 
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Canadian Real Estate Jarek BucholcJarek Bucholc   May 25, 2017   101   0   0   0   0   0
This week's newsletter is written by Ron Nurwisah, who would totally go halfsies on a free Italian castle. [1] Foreign buyers are the bogeymen of a real estate boom. They’re blamed for driving up prices[2], emptying up neighbourhood[3]s and all sorts of other shenanigans[4]. But what if we Canadians are the problematic foreign buyers in question? Better Dwelling looked at data from the National Association of Realtors and saw that Canadians were the top foreign buyers in booming U.S. markets like Miami and New York.[5] The story also points out that an overwhelming percentage of Canadians were non-resident buyers and that they were more likely to bid for homes in the middle of the market. Chinese buyers spent almost US$1-million on their homes, Canadians spent just over US$300,000 — a bit over the U.S. average for a home. A little bit closer to home, The Toronto Star looks at how cottage country is experiencing a bit of a boom[6] due to well-off boomers deciding to leave the smog and traffic jams for a lake-side retreat. “The demand is for three-season (cottages) where 10 years ago people were happy with a seasonal cottage,” realtor Hugh Nichols told the Toronto Star. It’s not just young families and renters being priced out Toronto. Two stories look at how the city’s independent business owners are quickly finding the city unaffordable. The Globe and Mail's Corey Mintz writes about how the city’s restaurants are fighting to stay afloat as their rents skyrocket.[7] While the CBC...
Seven Takeaways from ICSC RECon 2017, Day Two
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 24, 2017   115   0   0   0   0   0
While most of the buzz on the show floor this year has been around the upheaval in the regional mall space and the slowdown in the investment sales market, the overall mood remained positive. The story many industry insiders went with was that this is a time of opportunity to resolve challenges and make their centers stronger. Here are takeaways from day two of the conference. Expect retail rents to drop in the next year or two, said Michael Weiner, president of Excess Space Retail Services, a surplus real estate disposition and lease restructuring firm. “Rents going down on Madison and Fifth [in New York City] is maybe a sign of what’s to come,” Weiner said. Nevertheless, he pointed out that the fact that retail center owners are willing to admit the challenges in the marketplace and deal with them now is a positive development. “I think we’ll have a softer landing than maybe what some people have in their minds,” Weiner added. The contraction in the retail sector will continue for some time, agreed Katie A. Reinsmidt, executive vice president and chief investment officer with regional mall REIT CBL & Associates Properties. There are more tenants out there that landlords have concerns about, she said. Yet Reinsmidt added that this may be an opportunity to replace struggling retailers with stronger, more experiential users, including movie theaters and restaurants. “Today our portfolio is better positioned than ever and our balance sheet is better than it’s ever been,” she noted....
Rollback Ahead for Dodd-Frank? Not So Fast
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 24, 2017   111   0   0   0   0   0
Republicans are hoping that version 2.0 of the Financial CHOICE Act[1] will be the silver bullet that repeals many of the more stringent financial reforms put in place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But that may be wishful thinking. Even with a majority in Congress, the legislation faces a tough battle ahead. The comprehensive financial reform bill is about 600 pages and tackles a number of contentious issues ranging from the leadership structure of key agencies to specific banking regulations. The legislation is credited to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) who also introduced a similar bill (version 1.0) last year. “It is far more likely that we will see a version 3.0 than we are to see this pass without significant changes or amendments,” says Sam Chandan, Ph.D., an associate dean at the NYU School of Professional Studies Schack Institute of Real Estate. As its size suggests, the Financial CHOICE Act is “incredibly ambitious,” notes Bill Killmer, senior vice president for legislative and political affairs at the Mortgages Bankers Association. One of the key points that will be the subject of debate and could pose a big hurdle in the Senate is the restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Another issue at the forefront is the “Too Big to Fail” provision and how the failure of systemically large financial institutions would be handled going forward. The bill also would tie all of the financial regulators, regardless of what their funding...
Mnuchin Cites Border-Tax Concern as House Panel Seeks Tweaks
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 24, 2017   102   0   0   0   0   0
(Bloomberg) — House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said he’s open to reviewing parts of the House Republican tax blueprint as Congress looks for a path forward on trying to make U.S. businesses more competitive globally -- even as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered his most direct criticism of the plan yet. “We know there are legitimate concerns -- including from some of our witnesses here today and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- about how it will affect American workers, businesses, and consumers,” Brady said Tuesday during a more than three-hour hearing to discuss a controversial proposal for a border-adjusted tax on imports. Afterward, Brady told reporters that a key point is to “address this transition and design in a way that eliminates those uncertainties and creates that good solid deliberate approach going forward.” Still, little consensus emerged from the hearing, which featured testimony from Target Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell, who’s been fighting along with other retailers and import-heavy industries to kill the proposal. One of the witnesses opposing Cornell was Bill Simon, a former top executive for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., who recently called the retail industry “hysterical” on the issue. As witnesses debated such fine points as the BAT proposal’s effects on consumer prices and the strength of the dollar, Mnuchin sounded a clear warning about the measure during a separate appearance in Washington.  “One of the problems with the border-adjusted tax is that it doesn’t create a...
Seven Takeaways from ICSC RECon 2017, Day One
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 24, 2017   120   0   0   0   0   0
The retail real estate industry is undergoing a permanent change, driven by a shift in consumer preferences and the excessive amount of retail space per person in the U.S., according to the attendees of ICSC’s RECon 2017 show in Las Vegas. While the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center were filled with activity on Monday, the prevailing mood at the show was one of caution on multiple fronts, including leasing, investment sales and development. Here are some takeaways from day one of RECon. E-commerce is not the only culprit responsible for the recent spate of closings and bankruptcies in the brick-and-mortar space. The other culprit? Boredom, according to Michael N. Hirschfeld, managing director and co-lead of the national retail tenant services group with JLL. Many of today’s mall tenants are not offering consumers a compelling enough experience to shop at their stores, Hirschfeld said. U.S. apparel retailers are not differentiating themselves with their merchandise, added Tom P. Mullaney, managing director and co-lead of Jll’s lease and debt restructuring group. The main way to tell them apart is “by the discount. Whether it’s 20 percent, or 30 percent or 40 percent.” The changes in the supply/demand equation in the regional mall space are not cyclical, but secular, and are going to impact the business for years to come, noted Thomas E. Dobrowski, executive managing director in the capital markets group of real estate services firm NGKF. “It’s not going back to how it was,” he said. A...
Broker analyzes the latest controversial assessment of the real estate market
News Canadian Real Estate Magazine   May 24, 2017   87   0   0   0   0   0
"Vancouver mortgages are rapidly deteriorating in quality," one recent report claims.That’s just not the case, according to one leading broker who operates in that market. A recent Better Dwelling article about Vancouver’s real estate market claims the quality of mortgages in that city is declining. “High-ratio mortgages combined with high loan-to-income ratios are a dangerous combination for homeowners,” the article claims.“A high-ratio mortgage is one where less than 20% is placed as a down payment, and the owner has as little as 5% equity in the home.Chances of these mortgages going underwater (i.e.the owner ending up with negative equity in the home) are already pretty high. "This becomes even more of an issue when paired with a high loan-to-income ratio.” The article argues rising rates would make it impossible for many buyers to afford their mortgage payments. According to Dustan Woodhouse, though, a potential increase in rates has already been accounted for with last year’s mortgage rule changes. “A high ratio buyer enters with a 4.64% stress test interest rate.They are already prequalified at interest rates more than 2% above today’s rates.On today’s income they are stress tested at much higher rates at their current income,” he argued.“By the time we actually get to a 4.64% interest rate, the overwhelming majority of
Metro Vancouver home can be purchased for a little over 2,000 bitcoins
News Canadian Real Estate Magazine   May 24, 2017   105   0   0   0   0   0
A newly-built 5,000-square-foot residential property situated at 707 Firdale St., Coquitlam, B.C.is going for just thousands—thousands of bitcoins, that is.   Valued at $2.6 million in the local real estate listings, the home can be purchased for 2,099 bitcoins in Craigslist’s Vancouver and Hong Kong pages.   That sum of bitcoin is worth approximately $5 million, and real estate agent Mario Figliola—who had the house listed in the real estate market—expressed surprise at the ad, saying that it was an “honest mistake” by a friend.   “I was telling someone else how difficult it is now to sell a higher end house because the market has changed.There are more rules and regulations on taxes, like the foreign tax has come into effect,” Figliola told Tri City News.“He heard that, I guess, and he said ‘I’m going to get you a buyer,’ so he posted an ad.”   “This person is not a Realtor.He was just trying to help out, I guess,” he noted, adding that he will never conduct such a significant transaction via the bitcoin market.   “It’s funny money.It is not real.”   Figliola, who declined to identify the friend, is now petitioning for the removal of the
RECO advisory warns against real estate agent engaged in grave fraud
News Canadian Real Estate Magazine   May 24, 2017   84   0   0   0   0   0
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has released a public advisory against agent Christopher Parik, whose professional registration was terminated on January 31, 2017.   “The [RECO] is warning members of the public not to engage in real estate transactions, including Rent to Own transactions (RTO) with Christopher Parik of York Region,” the Council stated in its announcement.   “Mr.Parik operated an independent RTO program under the website www.chrisparik.com, targeting a sector of the public who could neither afford, nor qualify to purchase a home with the promise of a ‘rent to own with zero down’ scheme.”   The RECO was action on the results of an investigation it conducted into Parik’s operations, following complaints the Council received in late 2016 and early 2017.   Are you looking to invest in property?If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage.Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate[1] References ^ Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate (www.canadianrealestatemagazine.ca)
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 23, 2017   103   0   0   0   0   0
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 23, 2017   97   0   0   0   0   0
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 23, 2017   85   0   0   0   0   0
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 23, 2017   91   0   0   0   0   0
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Single-Family Rents Remain Strong—For Now
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 22, 2017   112   0   0   0   0   0
The business of renting single-family homes has blossomed in recent years with large players buying swaths of vacant homes and with homebuyers often sitting on the sidelines over the past few years. Fundamentals have been strong, particularly with vacancy rates at low levels. But one hitch could be too much new rental housing development competing with existing rental stock while renters’ wages growth could potentially be slowing down. “That will shift the balance over the next year to favor renters a bit more in contrast to the strong landlord market we’ve seen over the past five years,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president for ATTOM Data (formerly known as RealtyTrac). Single-family rents have been rising quickly in recent years. Average rents for single-family rental increased 4.5 percent 2017 compared to the year before across the 375 U.S. counties tracked by ATTOM Data. “Renting a single-family home has become a more mainstream and viable option over the last seven years,” says John Burns, CEO of Burns Real Estate Consulting. Burns Real Estate Consulting found a similar increase of about 4.0 percent in the markets it tracks. That’s slower than the 5.7 percent growth in average wages over the past year across those same counties. “That is good news because over the past few years rents and home prices have far outpaced wage growth,” says Blomquist. Very few rental houses are now vacant[1]. Less than 5.0 percent of the rental houses operated by...
Some Concerns in the Air as ICSC RECon Kicks Off
 
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Canadian Real Estate CanadianREI   May 22, 2017   99   0   0   0   0   0
As the retail real estate industry’s big show gets underway in Las Vegas, there are some concerns for the sector hanging in the air. Store closings, troubled properties and other factors are casting a shadow as thousands of attendees and exhibitors head to ICSC’s RECon to talk about the industry’s future and, more importantly, to try and cut some deals. “It’s a very important convention this year, with retail at an inflection point,” says Marcus & Millichap CEO Hessam Nadji. “There has been a lot of negative media, some of it is legitimate but other coverage has been over-sensationalized. I don’t want to underestimate the pain. There will be stores that don’t make it. But, if ecommerce is displacing all retail, why is TJ Maxx doing well? Why are there outlets doing well?” For its part, Marcus & Millichap is sending 300 investment sales professionals and 50 managing professionals to RECon. Despite the concerns, attendance has trended ahead of last year and about 37,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors are expected, according to Stephanie Cegeilski, a spokesperson for ICSC. The show itself keeps growing, now spanning 870,000 sq. ft., or about 17,000 more sq. ft. than in 2016. Cegeilski says one of the trends being highlighting at the show is the growing significance of technology in retail real estate decision-making and the in-store experience. Attendees can visit ICSC’s Central Main Hub to experience a virtual realty (VR) property tour of Markthal, a new Dutch food hall concept. The...
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