CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineMarch 22, 201825001000
Nightmare tenants are afforded a lot of protection under Ontario law, even when they refuse to pay rent or move out, but, fortunately, steps can be taken to ensure your due diligence is foolproof. While asking potential tenants for references and credit reports, as well as having criminal background checks performed, is par for the course, they can be forged or otherwise circumvented, as one Toronto landlord recently found out. A tenant named Mike Lemke had documents forged and friends acting as references—he even enlisted a legitimate real estate sales agent, who happened to be his friend, to represent him—to move into a high-end Liberty Village condo rental.Having experience exploiting the system, he stopped paying rent and refused to move out. Steve Arruda, a sales agent with Century 21 Regal Realty, represented the landlord in that case and had the displeasure of dealing with Lemke.Upon moving into the condo in October 2016, Lemke’s metamorphosis into the tenant from hell didn’t take long. “He paid the first and last month’s rent, then he was there rent-free for six months,” said Arruda.“He’s one of those guys who knows the system and knows exactly how much time he has. “He was bragging about how he’d be there for six months and bragging about how he has rights, like the right not to pay rent. We went to the tribunal, but he’d always stall the hearings, make false accusations—it was just a big mess.It...
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 17, 201712900000
The cost of investing in Toronto is rising and some investors
are beginning to look elsewhere, but are ROIs in Canada’s largest
city really that paltry?
Brad Lamb, owner of Brad J.Lamb Realty Inc.and Lamb Development
Corp., says Toronto condo investments proffer diminishing
“It’s getting harder and harder in places like Toronto and
Vancouver to buy a home, like a condo, and rent it and have it make
any sense as an investment because you’re paying $1,000 per square
foot,” he said.“You’re paying $500,000 for a one-bedroom condo
apartment that’s 500 square feet and you’re going to rent it for
$2,000 a month, but when you add up your mortgage, your condo fees
and taxes, it doesn’t cover it.”
Lamb says Hamilton is becoming increasingly attractive to
“Toronto’s real estate unaffordability shines a nice light on
Hamilton, so investors are looking at alternate places to invest
and prospective homeowners are looking for other places to live,
where they can have a decent life in a nice home,” said Lamb.
However, Akshay Dev, a sales agent with REMAX Realty One
disagrees with that assessment.Not only do Toronto condominiums
appreciate faster than Hamilton’s, they can still be had on the
cheap when compared to other international cities.
“You have to look at
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 17, 201717800000
by Paolo Taruc
First National Financial announced Wednesday its mortgage
investment fund will be terminated by next month.
Unitholders are not required to take any action, according to
the fund’s manager, Stone Asset Management.Instead, the fund will
pay them a special distribution before termination.The payout will
be based on the amount necessary to eliminate the fund's liability
for non-refundable income tax under the Income Tax Act.
The move comes as the favourable tax treatment for the forward
purchase and sale agreement (“Forward Agreement”) – an integral
part of the fund’s portfolio – is set to expire on 19 December.
First National said it will no longer be possible for the fund
to provide its unitholders with exposure to the Portfolio on the
originally intended tax-advantaged basis.
“As a result of the upcoming Forward Termination Date, loss of
the intended favourable tax treatment and reduction in the size of
the Fund's assets as a result of redemptions over the past number
of years, the Manager [Stone Asset] has determined to terminate the
Fund on or about the Forward Termination Date,” it added.
Stone Asset will apply to delist the units of the fund from the
Toronto Stock Exchange.It is expected that the units will be
delisted at the close of
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 15, 201712900000
October sales indicate the housing market is bouncing back,
and the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas are leading the way.
Sales last month were up 0.9% over September, even though
listings declined 0.8%, which is in stark contrast to the
August-to-September increase of 5%.
The Canadian Real Estate Association compiled the data, and
another key finding was that October’s sales-to-new-listings ratio
of 56.7% was up 1% from September, indicating the market is
Year-over-year sales in October decreased 4.3%, but the national
average sale price of $505,937 was up 5%.However, the average sale
price dropped to $383,000 when the GTA and GVA were removed from
REMAX Integra CEO Pamela Alexander says inventory is still tight
in Canada’s two largest housing markets, but that signifies a
return to a stable and predictable market.Fortunately, she says, it
will be nothing like the beginning of 2016, when there was
unusually high activity and homes sold well over value.
“It looks like it’s heading back to a normal market, like the
one we’ve been experiencing for the last 10 years,” she said.“The
market is trying to find its balance across the country, especially
in its two biggest markets.”
Looking ahead through the remainder of 2017 and into next year’s
first quarter, Alexander expects stable
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 15, 201714100000
by Paolo Taruc
The Urban Development Institute (UDI) has criticized the
decision of Vancouver authorities last week to deny the Beedie
Living mixed-used condo project in Chinatown.
“This ruling creates significant uncertainty because our members
don’t know if they can rely on zoning, urban area plans, advice of
city staff or recommendations of the Urban Design Panel,” said UDI
president and CEO Anne McMullin in a statement.
She described the move as a “surprise decision,” as the proposal
was revised five times over four years and received the support of
expert city staff, the city’s Urban Design Panel of design
McMullin warned that the denials sends a “negative chill”
throughout the industry at a time when when housing supply in
market, rental and affordable homes has reached historic lows.
“Our members, and the thousands of individuals represented in
all facets of development and building, are concerned this decision
undermines the integrity and reliability of the City’s rigorous
planning regime, and puts into question future projects, not only
in Chinatown, but across the City,” she added.
Opponents of the development believe its construction would
gentrify the area and price out the community’s marginalized
residents.“In the neighbouring 189 Keefer building, we have seen 1
bedroom condos being sold for just under half
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 06, 201725100000
The Real Estate Investment Network released its top-10 ranking
of British Columbia cities, and Surrey finished first.
REIN, an independent research and analysis firm, used an
equation that measured gross domestic product, employment and
population growth, followed by increased rental demand, decreased
vacancies, and finally increased rents to determine which cities
possessed the most real estate investment potential.
Surrey, B.C.’s second-largest — and fastest growing — city, had
the strongest performance, according to REIN’s equation.
“Where we start is economic health of gross domestic product,
and with that comes jobs and people, and 12 months down the road
you start to see the housing in terms of rental demand and
vacancies, and 18 months later is when you see actual property
prices increase,” said Jennifer Hunt, REIN’s vice president.“It’s
ranked on a very robust methodology that starts with economic
The REIN report, Top Ten British Columbia Towns and Cities, also
identifies the best investment strategies for each city based on
where they are in the real estate cycle.
“Surrey is in the beginning of a boom,” said Hunt.“Fix and flip
is the optimal tactic to use in the Surrey market as it is today
because of where it is in the real estate cycle.
In addition to diverse economic opportunity,
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 06, 201725000000
According to The Conference Board of Canada’s latest report
titled Compensation Planning Outlook 2018, Canadians
should not expect a substantial addition to their households’
coffers in 2018.
The study revealed that non-unionized employees across the
country will see only a 2.4% increase in their salary next year,
just slightly higher than the 2017 growth of 2.2%.Projected
increases are highest in the pharmaceutical and chemical products
industry at 2.7%, and lowest in the health sector at 1.6%.
Increases of 2.6% are expected in the real estate industry,
along with organizations in construction, finance, and
debt-to-disposable income load rises in Q2
The highest-demand postings remain IT specialists, management,
accounting/finance, engineering, and skilled trades.
On a regional basis, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec lead the way
in terms of projected increases, with wage gains ranging from 2.6%
to 2.5%.Meanwhile, the lowest average base pay increases are
expected in Alberta and Saskatchewan, at 2.1%.
“While the Canadian economy is firing on all cylinders this
year, growth projections for next year and beyond show a slowing
down of the economy.As a result, business leaders continue to
exercise caution, keeping a cap on organizational spending and, by
extension, salary increases,” according to Allison Cowan, director
of Total Rewards Research, The Conference Board of Canada.
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 06, 201727000000
In what came as a shock to observers and authorities alike,
the nation’s gross domestic product contracted in August after a
flat reading in July, Statistics Canada reported last week.
The latest disappointment is another sign that the process of
cooling is well underway from the blistering pace of growth in the
12 months through June, according to fiscal sector players.
“The run of amazing Canadian economic data is officially over,
with growth coming back to reality in hurry,” Bank of Montreal
chief economist Doug Porter stated in a note to investors, as
quoted by Bloomberg.“The two-month lull in activity pounds home the
point that the frothy growth of the past year is over and
If the economy fails to expand in September, third-quarter
annualized growth would be on pace for a sub-2% increase, after a
gain of 4.5% in the second quarter.The Bank of Canada projected
growth of 1.8% in the third quarter.Economists surveyed by
Bloomberg News forecast an average 2.1% expansion in the second
Read more:Ontario’s vicious cycle of sluggish income
growth and sustained real estate strength
The nation’s currency dropped as much as 0.6% to C$1.2915
against the U.S.dollar as of November 1, which may fuel concern the
Bank of Canada’s caution about raising interest rates
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 06, 201729700000
Markham is in the midst of a boom.The city’s downtown is home
to a slew of residential and commercial development, but most
notably it’s become the centre of Canada’s tech industry.
According to Sunny Sharma, president of Century 21 Leading Edge
VIP Realty Inc.Brokerage, Markham’s diverse population and thriving
technology industry make purchasing a condo there a sure bet to
“They have the most bio tech companies there,” said Sharma.“York
University is putting a new campus in downtown Markham, and it is
tied in on a new bus lane that goes straight through to Vaughan
along Hwy 7.They’re looping everything to make sure there’s better
The dedicated bus lane is a straight shot to the new TTC subway
station at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre that’s scheduled to open
next month.Better transit connectivity – and by extension,
employment – says Sharma, is one of the keys to buying an
“Basic employment will give local residents jobs and create
secondary levels of employment, which brings in more restaurants,
uber drivers, transportation, and different layers of employment,”
he said.“Downtown Markham is being urbanized and intensified.”
Additionally, Sharma says the downtown core is as hot as ever,
particularly in the entertainment and financial districts, and in
the East Bayfront, a burgeoning neighbourhood that’s comprises a
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 03, 201726100000
Average annual prices of Toronto residential properties remain
stable due to sustained gains in the condo segment, and the further
tightening of mortgage rules could add a temporary boost this
autumn, observers argued.
The decision by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions to impose more stringent stress tests could lead to a
scramble as the rules, which take effect on January, might slash a
family’s purchasing power by as much as 21%.
“The recent changes announced by OSFI might actually result in a
short-term rush as those that are impacted by these changes rush to
buy,” Realosophy.com president John Pasalis told BNN.“What
happens after [the Jan.1 deadline] is anyone’s guess right now, but
I expect the spring market in 2018 to be cooler that it has been in
This is despite the overall market being “more balanced” than it
was a year ago, Pasalis said.The executive noted the growing
evidence of “stark divergences” in the market between condos and
“Average prices are up 2% over last year, but this is due to the
condo market which saw prices rise 17%,” Pasalis
explained.“Freehold prices were flat over last year.”
condo prices could slow
The divergences are even more obvious when one examines
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 03, 201731200000
According to the latest property transfer data released by the
British Columbia government, the proportion of sales involving
foreign nationals in Metro Vancouver inched up between April and
The data showed that 5% of the 6,105 property transfers in
September involved foreign nationals, up from 2.5% in April.
This remained far below the percentage of foreign nationals
buying homes before the former Liberal government implemented a 15%
foreign buyers’ tax in August 2016 in an effort to cool the hot
housing market, The Canadian Press reported.
The B.C.Finance Ministry previously reported that from June 10
to August 1, 2016, 13.2% of all property transfer transactions in
Metro Vancouver involved foreign buyers.
Despite attempts to improve housing affordability, the Real
Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said in August this year that the
typical price of a home in Metro Vancouver had surpassed $1
Read more:Vancouver condo market in demand
The New Democrat government has said that it is reviewing
transaction data along with the foreign buyers’ tax and an
interest-free loan program for first-time homebuyers in an effort
to decide whether such measures should be kept, revised, or
Among municipalities, Richmond saw the highest rate of foreign
buyers between April and September this year at 8%,
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 03, 201722800000
Canadian real estate attracts interest from around the world,
and now American company Zillow has announced that it plans to add
Canadian listings early next year.However, that could ruffle
feathers with the country’s largest real estate board.
Zillow publishes properties’ sold data, which has been at the
heart of litigation between the Toronto Real Estate Board and the
federal competition bureau, who sued the former over
John Pasalis, president of Realosophy, a key competition bureau
witness during the years-long litigation, says Zillow might not
have any problems entering the Toronto market, however, that would
be contingent upon its data’s provenance.
“I’d be surprised if they can do it if TREB wins the appeal,” he
said.“If TREB loses, then it might be easier for them to do it,
because they’ll have a right to, but I still think there might
potentially be some issues.But it does depend on where they get
their data from. If they’ve signed an agreement with Teranet
or some other source, it’s going to be a lot different than if they
get their data from the real estate board.”
Pasalis believes that TREB’s efforts are in vain.Although
Realosophy has been prominent in the conflict with TREB, Pasalis
says fighting data accessibility is pointless in this day and
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 02, 201720500000
Commercial real estate in Canada’s six major markets is, by
and large, healthy, but Alberta continues reeling from the
aftershocks of the oil sector’s plummet a few years ago, according
to the National Dashboard Report by Colliers.
Robust office space absorption in Vancouver is being largely
driven by the technology, advertising, media and information
industries, accounting for 40%, while education institutions are
expanding throughout the metropolitan area and comprises 12% of the
absorption.Colliers reported the vacancy rate dropped from 6.3% in
Q2 to 6% in Q3.Education tenants, which figure transit access into
location planning, rose from 35,000 square feet in 2016 to 300,000
Q3 of 2017.The National Dashboard Report also noted that
Vancouver’s Broadway Corridor/Mount Pleasant area is flourishing
with over half a million square feet of office space under
construction or pre-leasing.
Vancouver’s industrial demand is in strong demand, and the
third-quarter vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver is 1.8%, down
slightly from Q2’s 1.9%, and remains below the five-year average of
3.1%.Between the third quarters of 2015 to 2017, the vacancy rate
has been under 2.5%, in part, because of restricted new supply.
The Greater Toronto Area’s vacancy rate during Q3 was 5.3%,
while the availability rate was 7.7%, both of which decreased from
the second quarter.The average asking net and gross rates also
decreased from the previous
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 01, 201725900000
Cranes crowd the Montreal skyline these days as a strong
economy and political stability are fuelling a construction frenzy
throughout the downtown core and beyond.
Although tame by Toronto and Vancouver standards, developers in
Canada’s second-largest city are investing billions of dollars in
new condominium and office complexes, along with retrofitting older
“Since 1976, this is one of the greatest times,” Mayor Denis
Coderre told The Canadian Press.The mayor was alluding to the year
when the election of the separatist Parti Quebecois prompted an
exodus of residents and businesses.
“There [are] right now 150 cranes representing $25 billion of
investment in Montreal,” he said at the official launch of the
second phase of the YUL twin tower and townhouse project that is
sponsored by Chinese investors.
Project developer Kheng Ly of Brivia Group Real Estate, who has
partnered with China’s Tianco Group, said relatively low condo
prices and the lack of a foreign buyers tax make Montreal an
attractive place to invest.
Ly, who arrived in Canada 29 years ago, said the downtown
landscape has changed significantly in the past five years.The
recent addition of direct flights between China and Montreal have
attracted Asian investors who comprise 35% to 40% of condo owners
at the project’s first phase, he said.
CRCanadian Real Estate MagazineNovember 01, 201727000000
The latest census data revealed that condominium units are
fast becoming the residence type of choice among Canadians, with
fully one in five households in the Toronto Census Metropolitan
Area (CMA) residing in condos.
This development is especially pronounced among first-time
millennial buyers, the census results showed.Among members of this
demographic, condos have become a popular ownership choice amid
ever-rising prices, a trend that doesn’t appear to be waning any
“The proportion of households living in condominium units is
likely to rise,” City Planning’s Michael Wright told the Toronto
“The bulk of the city’s potential housing supply includes
condominium units.For the five-year period ending June 30, 51% of
the proposed development projects in the city’s pipeline involve at
least one condominium application, and these projects represent 85%
of the residential units proposed, under construction or recently
built,” he added.
According to Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper, condos stand as solid
evidence of Toronto’s world-class status.
“One third of housing stock we’ve added since 2011 is
condominium.When I was a kid (in 1980) it was 6%.That’s a dramatic
change.Clearly we’re adjusting the product people buy into.It’s
clear we’ve joined other global cities in a changing social norm
where many people don’t expect the white picket fence,” Soper
But condos can only go