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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 23, 2019 227 0 0 0 0 0
Saskatoon’s downtown office vacancy rate might see a sustained upward trend over the next few years, despite the construction of a high-end riverside tower designed to attract choice clientele, according to ICR Commercial. A major factor working in the market is the fact that there’s just not enough new blood. “The demand for new Class A inventory is coming from users already present,” ICR Commercial managing partner Barry Stuart explained, as quoted by CBC News.“There are not enough new tenants entering the market and the flight to quality is projected to continue.” In its latest analysis, ICR said that this would mark the latest in the path set almost two years ago, when the area’s vacancy rate stood at 15.6%.Currently, it sits at 16.7%, translating to more than 400,000 square feet of unoccupied downtown office space. However, the current rate has yet to include the 120,000 sq.ft.in the River Landing North Tower, which is still in the earliest stages of construction. “Once that additional vacancy is accounted for, we will be reporting core area vacancy in excess of 20%,” Stuart noted. Excess supply is a similar problem that Toronto and Vancouver will likely encounter in the near future, according to CoStar Group Inc. Office vacancy levels
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 21, 2019 160 0 0 0 0 0
The 10-year fixed mortgage offered by HSBC—which goes as low as 2.94%—could prove to be just what investors need in markets, like Toronto, that provide diminishing returns. “As an investor, I would strongly consider this,” said Tom Storey, who’s also a Royal LePage Signature Realty team leader.“The penalties aren’t so bad, either.If this catches on, every lender will have a 10-year fixed mortgage product because I believe this is the lowest one ever.” It is, indeed, the lowest rate on a decade-long fixed rate mortgage that a lender has ever offered in Canada, and the penalty for breaking the it in the first half is whichever of 90 days interest or the rate differential is greater.If it is broken during the latter half, a prepayment charge of 90 days interest will be attached. Barry Gollom, HSBC’s senior vice president of products and propositions with retail banking and wealth management, is confident offering this product to a real estate investor because the yield curve between five- and 10-year fixed mortgage money is short, but he does note that everyone has different appetites for risk. “It depends on upon the particular investor’s situation and what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.“The same rate for a long period of time makes great sense for them, but
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 21, 2019 145 0 0 0 0 0
The 10-year fixed mortgage offered by HSBC—which goes as low as 2.99%—could prove to be just what investors need in markets, like Toronto, that provide diminishing returns. “As an investor, I would strongly consider this,” said Tom Storey, who’s also a Royal LePage Signature Realty team leader.“The penalties aren’t so bad, either.If this catches on, every lender will have a 10-year fixed mortgage product because I believe this is the lowest one ever.” It is, indeed, the lowest rate on a decade-long fixed rate mortgage that a lender has ever offered in Canada, and the penalty for breaking the it in the first half is whichever of 90 days interest or the rate differential is greater.If it is broken during the latter half, a prepayment charge of 90 days interest will be attached. Barry Gollom, HSBC’s senior vice president of products and propositions with retail banking and wealth management, is confident offering this product to a real estate investor because the yield curve between five- and 10-year fixed mortgage money is short, but he does note that everyone has different appetites for risk. “It depends on upon the particular investor’s situation and what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.“The same rate for a long period of time makes great sense for them, but
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 21, 2019 157 0 0 0 0 0
Recent sales activity might indicate that the national market has already acclimated to the largest impacts of B-20, according to Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter. “Canadian housing activity appears to be broadly stabilizing, as there are signs that the market has largely digested the many policy changes,” Porter wrote in a report, as quoted by The Canadian Press. “And while the regional divide is wide, fundamentals look to be a bit more supportive in the year ahead, with the policy tightening likely having run its course, job growth surprisingly solid and borrowing costs ebbing.” This is despite the policy regime’s dampening effect, which was most visible in the country’s most in-demand markets.Earlier this month, Toronto-Dominion economists estimated that B-20 led to around 40,000 fewer transactions nationwide (on a year-over-year basis) during Q4 2018. The BMO analysis came in the wake of the latest numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association, which indicated that overall sales activity increased by 3.6% month-over-month in April. Canada’s residential sales volume also enjoyed its first annual increase (at 4.2%) since December 2017.During the same time last year, activity declined to a seven-year low for the month. The CREA report added that Toronto and Montreal numbers compensated for somewhat lacklustre activity in B.C.last month.
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 21, 2019 154 0 0 0 0 0
Shopify Inc.has announced that it will be opening its latest 3.2-hectare mixed-use development in Toronto’s downtown area by 2022. The expansion will come together with the e-commerce firm’s upsizing of its workforce in the city, doubling it to 1,500 within three years. “Shopify has been present in Toronto for seven years and what we’ve found is this is a great place to build a really wonderful tech company,” Shopify director of user experience Amy Thibodeau told BNN Bloomberg. Thibodeau added that Shopify is not backing out from the heated competition among companies in Toronto, especially tech firms vying for the attention of skilled industry professionals. “We’re not a satellite office ...and that makes Shopify unique and compelling in this city,” she said.“And I think more competition is good for Toronto.” The development will be situated in the King and Portland Centre.At present, Shopify has around 700 employees spread across two locations and seven offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Waterloo.The company has a total of around 4,000 employees worldwide. Warehouses, retail locations, and other similar commercial installations remain the investment assets of choice in Toronto’s commercial property market, according to a Q1 2019 analysis by Avison Young. Industrial property saw $817 million in sales during the first quarter alone, impelled by
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 16, 2019 191 0 0 0 0 0
The commercial real estate sector sometimes gets short-shrifted when it comes to accessing data—unlike the residential sector which enjoys copious quantities from all corners—but one technology and analytics company is changing that. CoStar Group, founded in the United States over three decades ago, has grown into a multinational company with several Canadian branches, including in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and, soon, Montreal. “You could look at it from two different sides,” said Roelof Van Djk, CoStar’s market economist for Canada.“We’re a data analytics company, and with our data we’re trying to be the go-to source for data in the commercial real estate industry.When you look at where the industry has gotten data in the past, it’s usually been one source, but we want to answer all the different questions our pertinent clients have—whether they’re brokerages, landlords, investors, even tenants and vendors.It’s not just data on the ground floor but the analytics behind that, and that’s what my team brings to the table:analytics forecasting.” Co-Star entered the Canadian market via Toronto in 2014, but not without years of due diligence so that it could hit the ground running with myriad offerings for its clients, which also include some of the REITs in the world. “First and foremost, you have to look at where CoStar
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 16, 2019 171 0 0 0 0 0
As the bank of mom and dad’s popularity shows nary a sign of abating, there are crucial things for parents helping their children become homeowners to consider. Chief among them, says Jason Davenport, branch manager of Meridian Credit Union Greektown location in Toronto, is the legal obligation—specifically whether or not parents are gifting or loaning their child money. “If it’s a gift, most financial institutions require a gift letter,” he said.“That’s important if things break down before the house gets sold.If it’s a loan, the money can be secured against the house often in second position, if mom and dad are worried about that. “If it’s a matrimonial home and the excited parents give them a gift, but the marriage breaks down, then the gift becomes part of the home’s equity and there’s no way to recover it.You’re going to lose half of those funds to the other party.But if you want to guard against that, you could create a loan and put a lean against the house.If the marriage breaks down and the house is sold, after the bank takes its share from the remaining equity, you can recoup those funds.But, without anything like that, for all intents and purposes, that money is gone for the parents.” Mom and dad also
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 16, 2019 170 0 0 0 0 0
The rate of rent growth in Toronto and Vancouver offices will noticeably slow down over the next few years, continuing the easing already visible this quarter, according to an analysis by CoStar Group Inc. This deceleration will become more evident with the influx of new offices to be completed in the near future.Within five years, work on as many as 25 new office or mixed-use buildings is projected to be finished in downtown Toronto, along with 15 new towers in Vancouver. In downtown Toronto, the 6% annual rent growth during Q2 2019 was noticeably lower than the peak of approximately 8% seen at the end of 2017. In downtown Vancouver, the similarly 6% rent growth during this quarter was nearly half the 11% peak in Q3 2018.CoStar further predicted that this would improve to 1.5% by 2022. “Vacancies are incredibly low in those two markets, rental rate growth has peaked, we’re seeing it come down in the data points were collecting,” CoStar director of market analytics (Canada) Roelof van Dijk told Bloomberg. “Our forecasts show it’ll continue to come down as the new supply comes online in both of those markets, specifically in the downtown.” In four years, Toronto’s vacancy level is expected to go up to around 6%, from
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 14, 2019 173 0 0 0 0 0
Toronto City Council can learn a thing or two from Newmarket Council after the latter approved a new zoning bylaw for its Urban Centres neighbourhood. The Urban Centres Zoning By-law for the Yonge St.and Davis Dr.area updates regulations surrounding permitted land uses, building heights, densities and right-sizing parking, and in doing so the Town of Newmarket hopes to attract business. “This will bring in almost 20 million square feet of mixed-use space literally overnight, so you can expect to see the fruits of that happen within a year or two after that,” said Adrian Cammaert, senior policy planner for the Town of Newmarket.“This is the final piece of the puzzle we’ve been working on for quite some time to grow our centres and corridors.” Newmarket Council held wide-ranging consultations with the development community to determine the kind of bylaws the latter would prefer, which Cammaert says helped commence a relationship. “We did it to get valuable input on the bylaw the development industry would prefer to see in this area, but it also let them know about our project and what they can expect from us and how it will benefit them,” he said. Yonge St.and Davis Dr.was selected as a growth hub in 2005 when the Places to Grow Act
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 14, 2019 168 0 0 0 0 0
A report commissioned for the government of British Columbia warned that money laundering in real estate is widespread across Canada – but a government official in Alberta is alleging that the conclusions are based on unreliable data. According to the report from former B.C.deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney, more than $7 billion in dirty money was laundered in the province in 2018, hiking the cost of buying a home by about 5%.The report also estimated that Alberta had $10 billion washed through its economy. Read more:Money laundering causes 5% price spike in B.C.[1] The report used the “gravity model” to determine how much money was laundered within the country and how much moves between Canada and other countries.“The basic idea behind the model is that there are worldwide proceeds of crime, stemming from drugs, corruption, theft, fraud etc.,” Maloney said in the report. “The gravity model assumes that total world proceeds of crime set aside for laundering will be allocated around the world according to the attractiveness of countries according to both affinity and physical distance.” However, Doug Schweitzer, Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General, told the Globe and Mail that the data may be questionable. “The figure presented for Alberta appears to be the product
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 14, 2019 172 0 0 0 0 0
Calls for a public inquiry on money laundering are mounting in British Columbia following the release of two reports that revealed the extent of the problem in the province – but a former B.C.attorney general is urging officials to set clear goals and a fixed timeline before an inquiry is launched. The reports revealed that more than $7 billion was laundered in B.C.in 2018, causing the cost of buying a home to increase about 5%.“Our housing market should be used for housing people, not for laundering the proceeds of crime,” said Carole James, minister of finance of B.C. Read more:Money laundering causes 5% price spike in B.C.[1] “The amount of money being laundered in B.C.and through real estate is much more than anyone predicted.Our government is tackling the housing crisis head-on and taking action to combat the money laundering that has been allowed to drive up housing costs for British Columbians for far too long.” However, former B.C.attorney general Wally Oppal said that officials should establish set goals before launching an inquiry to avoid a prolonged investigation. “A lot of good things can come of them, but before governments establish inquiries, they should first of all ask themselves:What questions need to be answered?Did something go wrong?And what are the powers
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 12, 2019 176 0 0 0 0 0
An expert panel’s report on money laundering in British Columba determined ill-gotten gains contributed to real estate prices spiking 5% in 2018. Overall, $7.4 billion was laundered in the province last year, $5b of which went through real estate.But the panel, led by former B.C.deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney, determined that money laundering is more prevalent in Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies than it is in Canada’s third-largest province. “What this report makes clear is this is not an issue simply for B.C.,” Finance Minister Carole James said during a Thursday news conference.“This is an issue for all of Canada.This is an issue for all jurisdictions.” James added that the B.C.government is prepared to take immediate action. “They key here is we’re not waiting,” she said, “Yes, we need to work with the other provinces.Yes, we need to work with the federal government.” How the government will tackle the problem of money laundering remains to be seen, but it isn’t implausible to think that sweeping legislation could be on the horizon.Arguably more arduous than curbing money laundering is the process of restoring confidence in a real estate market that’s grown beyond the reach of most residents, especially in Vancouver. Robert Mogensen, a broker with The Mortgage Advantage, hopes that the provincial
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 12, 2019 167 0 0 0 0 0
Sales activity in the Greater Toronto Area investment market considerably slowed down in Q1 2019, according to a new quarterly analysis by Altus Group. A total of 502 investment property sales valued at over $1 million transpired in the GTA during the quarter, and overall investment stood at $4.1 billion.This made Q1 2019 the fifth consecutive quarter of decline in investments, with the total volume fully 29% lower than the level seen in Q1 2018.The deal count was also the lowest measured since Q1 2015. However, Altus assured that the trend was impelled more by product shortages than by lack of demand, “as investor sentiment remains confident.” “Quality asset supply issues continue, translating to a decline in overall investment activity.Demand for these assets has driven Toronto to a year-over-year decline in overall cap rates at 4.25% to 4.15% in Q1 2019,” the analysis noted. The GTA’s land market led the charge, representing 32% ($1.3 billion) of total sales for that quarter.The sale of the Celestica Campus in North York (valued at nearly $348 million) was the largest residential land transaction for Q1 2019. The industrial sector was the region’s most traded asset during Q1 2019, but the volume was not enough to prevent losses as the total transaction value went down
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 12, 2019 172 0 0 0 0 0
The B.C.government has launched a public education initiative to improve security and fairness in the province’s rental market. As the first step in addressing various recommendations offered recently by a rental housing task force, B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has promised to bolster public education and enforcement to protect renters’ and landlords’ rights. “To make renting work better for everyone, we need to make sure both renters and landlords know their rights under the law and have a place to go when there's an issue with those rights,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson said, as quoted by The Canadian Press. The Ministry noted that the campaign, which will be funded by the province through Landlord BC and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, will particularly aim at enlightening the public about renovictions – especially the cases when ending a tenant’s term could be considered illegal or unnecessary. The Ministry added that a new compliance and enforcement unit, nested in the Residential Tenancy Branch, will investigate and penalize repeat or serious offenders among renters and landlords alike. “Housing is the foundation of people’s lives.We want to create a rental market where there are no surprises, renters and landlords are treated fairly and there is better security for both sides,” Robinson
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Jarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE InvestingJarek Bucholc ||Street Smart RE Investing   May 09, 2019 174 0 0 0 0 0
Trying to put a positive spin on Vancouver’s luxury property prices—where a two-bedroom, 1,831 square foot condo costs $2,660,000—is a tall order. Sure, in Monaco, a three-bedroom apartment in the District de Fontvieille will go for $14,897,938, and in Hong Kong a three-bedroom apartment on Kennedy Rd.goes for $13,635,200—making that downtown condo in Vancouver look like a bargain. However, the population of Vancouver proper in 2017 was 675,218, and presuming it has hitherto increased, it will likely only be a marginal boost.Monaco’s population is considerably less, but it’s a known playground for the wealthy.In 2017, Hong Kong estimated its population was 7.392 million, so how does a two-bedroom unit go for over $2 million in Vancouver? “[Comparing Vancouver to global markets] is totally incongruent,” said Robert Mogensen, a broker with The Mortgage Advantage.“Vancouver is a branch office city, not a head office city, for one thing.It’s not a central banking city like those other world cities, so to compare it is ridiculous.Is it a pleasant place to live?Yes.Is it great for proximity to the mountains for skiing, or for going golfing?Yes.But it’s still a branch office city.” Point2 Homes recently made the comparison, and while it does have merit—Vancouver is a global real estate staple and prices are a relative bargain compared to those
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