Significant portion of businesses optimistic about post-COVID-19 recovery

A significant fraction of Canadian business tenants are expecting their revenues to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels within 12 months, according to a recent survey by the Bank of Canada.

However, the study – conducted from May 12 to June 5 – emphasized that such a recovery would be largely contingent upon the federal government’s next steps.

“Firms’ expectations of a return in sales to pre-pandemic levels often depend on the lifting of government-mandated restrictions,” the BoC said. “About 40% of businesses reported that they anticipate their sales will fully recover by next year or that their sales were not negatively affected by the pandemic.”

These particular respondents have been faring relatively well in terms of labour, the central bank said in the study.

“This set of firms also expect the size of their workforce to be near pre-pandemic levels in one year. These firms generally did not report recent staff layoffs or declines in their past sales,” the BoC said.

Despite these flashes of optimism, roughly 10% of retail tenants are still likely to permanently close their businesses, Colliers International said in a report earlier this month. As much as 74% said that they are considering new strategies, with 41% contemplating exclusively online operations.

“We expect the trend around permanent closures to increase given the slow recovery in consumer demand and limitations created by physical distancing,” said Jane Domenico, senior vice president at Colliers Canada.

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2020-07-08 11:00:00

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Are work-from-home policies fuelling a boom in cottage sales?

The teleworking revolution has impelled a significant spike in activity in Canada’s top recreational property markets, according to industry players.

Emblematic of the phenomenon is Muskoka’s cottage sector, which has seen accelerated activity over the last few months, according to Catharine Inniss, sales representative at Cottage in Muskoka Real Estate.

“There’s so much more telecommuting now; I think employers have gotten past the idea that it’s not productive and found out that it’s very productive,” Inniss said in an interview with CTV News. “We had a delayed market for a while but now it has completely sped up and surpassed every other year though that real estate has been in existence up here.”

The market particularly benefited from an influx of would-be buyers from Toronto in May, Inniss said.

“We were hearing that there was pent up demand,” Inniss said. “We were hearing stories about people living in condos in the city, and not being able to get out anywhere to a public park, even being concerned about walking on the sidewalk so we thought if anybody’s been thinking about it, then now would be the time that they would be pursuing buying a cottage.”

Payroll data from ADP Research Institute indicated that the April-May period saw the addition of 208,400 new jobs in Canada, which might impel greater purchasing power down the line.

“The job market appeared to show early signs of a rebound in May as restrictions eased and many began to return to work,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of ADP Research. “Industries that led job growth were construction, healthcare, and administrative support services, while manufacturing and finance continued to show losses as a result of COVID-19.”

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2020-07-08 11:15:00

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COVID-19 can’t slow demand in Toronto real estate market

COVID-19 has not significantly deterred buyers in Toronto due to the market-friendly monetary and fiscal conditions driven by the federal government and the Bank of Canada, according to a RE/MAX analysis.

While employment levels have fluctuated and businesses have placed themselves on hold over the last few months, “at the same time, there has been sustained activity in the number of buyers compared to available listings,” RE/MAX said. “This is one of the chief factors in supporting price growth relative to last year’s pace, despite shifting market conditions.”

Data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board showed that in May, the market’s average home price grew by 3% annually to reach $863,599.

Federal measures played a large part in keeping the number of prospective buyers stable, RE/MAX said.

“Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has supported lenders to cover the cost of mortgage deferrals,” RE/MAX said. “In a broader policy tool, the government implemented a wage subsidy program to help employers keep staff on payroll, helping millions continue to collect paycheques and cover their bills.”

RE/MAX also pointed at the current BoC benchmark rate of 0.25% as especially advantageous to Canadians who were fortunate to have kept their jobs during the crisis.

“This is allowing buyers to borrow greater amounts of money at a lower cost over time,” RE/MAX said. “The institution has also pumped billions of liquidity into the financial system, making lenders more confident in issuing loans.”

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2020-07-08 11:30:00

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