Vancouver’s condominium market has been a hotbed of activity and price growth over the past few years, but Simon Fraser University academic Andy Yan has just confirmed many hopeful home buyers’ worst fears:Almost half of the city’s condo units are not occupied by their owners.
These condos tend to be rented out, used as secondary properties by their owners, or left vacant, unable to be counted as additional supply in the incredibly tight market.
“The big take on this [data] is the role of units that are not owner-occupied — a.k.a.investments,” Yan said, as quoted by the Vancouver Courier.
In his analysis of fresh data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, Yan stated that 46% of the city’s condominiums are not-owner occupied.The phenomenon was especially apparent in Electoral Area A, where 49% of condo units are not-owner occupied.
These ratios were markedly higher than the 35% market share seen in 2009.
“So things became progressively worse, and we knew [about it] 10 years ago,” Yan noted.
“It illustrates the types of demands that are in Vancouver housing and really goes into the question of what’s the priority in demand that
As Vancouver’s real estate market continues sputtering, developers are coming out with all kinds of incentives, one of which is an 8% annual return on a preconstruction down payment.
A condo called Soleil White Rock Living, located in the retirement community of White Rock about three-quarters of an hour from downtown Vancouver, is enticing buyers with the prospect of making an extra $23,275 to $77,275 in interest on their 20% down payments.
“White Rock is a funny market,” said Craig Anderson, director of marketing and sales at Magnum Projects.“It’s a downsizer market where people are sitting on houses they purchased 25 years ago and they’re equity rich.But the hurdle is that homes in the Lower Mainland have dropped 10-15% in the last six months, so your home that was once $1.5 million is now worth $1.35m”
That has made potential buyers reticent about taking out home equity lines of credit for deposits on new homes because they’re looking at a 4.45% rate.
“Their mortgages after 25 years are small, so if we pay an 8% return, we cover the 4.45% and then they continue earning interest on their money,” continued Anderson.“No incentives in Vancouver
Sustained demand for commercial property in Toronto is promising to feed into a virtuous cycle of more business and investment, in turn further driving the city’s flourishing commercial market, according to a new market overview by RE/MAX.
“As Canada’s global business hub, with many companies headquartered in the heart of downtown, there are plenty of job opportunities.The city is also a great place for entrepreneurs with its many business incubators,” RE/MAX explained.
A study by Startup Genome found that as of 2018, Toronto is one of North America’s largest financial services hubs, playing host to 360,000 employees and 12,000 firms.
The figures dovetailed with PwC’s analysis covering the same year, which reported that Toronto’s tech ecosystem is the best in Canada.In 2018, the city saw a total of $1.7 billion raised across 160 deals – a volume equivalent to the combined performances of Vancouver and Montreal.
At present, the market’s office vacancy – which is the most in-demand asset class among the multiple tech companies that have taken root in the city – is around 1%.
“If you look at Manhattan, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami [and] Phoenix as all
With activity levels higher than at any time over the past half-century, Montreal’s flourishing real estate sector might be approaching a period of even stronger growth and extremely positive long-term prospects, according to Devencore CEO Jean Laurin.
From major infrastructure projects to sustained investment volumes, from residential construction to office and condo development, from robust economic performance to the influx of highly skilled and intelligent people, Montreal is exhibiting all indications of a city on an unstoppable rise.
“We may very well look back on this period in Montreal’s evolution and recognize it as marking a truly momentous turning point,” Laurin predicted, as quoted by RENX.
In particular, the REM rapid transit system currently being built is expected to kick the real estate market into high gear.
“Whenever you touch the infrastructure of a city that by itself triggers development activity,” Laurin stated.
Among the main attractions is the 4.5-million-square-foot, 3,000-residential-unit Quartier des Lumières, currently being developed by Groupe Mach from the legacy CBC-Radio-Canada land.
Aside from housing space, the project will offer 600,000 sq.ft.of retail and approximately one million sq.ft.in offices.
Over the last few years, much of
Beginning Monday, Torontonians will have a week to get acquainted with their future.
In collaboration with the City of Toronto, Toronto of the Future will bring together the city’s real estate developers, architecture firms and government agencies at the Metro Hall between June 25 and July 1 where they’ll regale the public with 3D models, Illustrations, visual presentations, and more.
According to Robert J.Vezina, president of Cities of the Future Management, the event is a gateway into the future of North America’s fastest growing city.
“It’s a unique event because there’s absolutely no parallel to it,” Vezina told CREW.“Nobody else does what we do, which is assemble in one place companies that, for all intents and purposes, are competitors, but at Toronto of the Future they’ll be working in tandem to put their city on display.We convinced them all to come together to share information about the city’s future and they’ll do so through big presentations.”
Much planning goes into the biannual event, and with good reason:Large-scale models, including an 11-ft scale of The One by Mizrahi Developments—which is also Toronto of the Future’s top presenting sponsor—as well as transportation and infrastructure presentations will
British Columbia might be unprepared to cope with a flood of expats fleeing Hong Kong’s current turmoil, immigration lawyer Richard Kurland warned.
“B.C.’s infrastructure is at risk with a sudden mass migration of Canadians or permanent residents living in Hong Kong,” he told Global News late last week.“Education, roads, hospitals, property prices would be immediately impacted.”
Kurland stated that immigration lawyers are bracing themselves for a deluge of requests for travel documents, study/work permit requests, and renewals of permanent-resident cards.
Massive protests have raged in Hong Kong since June 9, with more than two million people calling for the territory’s leaders to resign and withdraw a controversial extradition bill.
The contentious legislation includes a mechanism that would give the territory’s government the power to hand over fugitives (and other targets like political opponents) to mainland China, where they will face harsh trial and penalties under an authoritarian regime.
Figures from Global Affairs Canada indicated that around 300,000 Canadians reside in Hong Kong at present – and many of them might choose to go back to a safer and more stable Canada, Kurland said.
Moreover, many of these expats will likely
Canadians spend too much money on rent and not only does that obstruct their abilities to save for down payments, it cuts into their rainy day funds.
“If you’re spending more than the 30% threshold on rent, it means your ability to save is less and your rainy day fund is diminished,” Jacob Black, managing editor at RateSupermarket.ca, told CREW.“Your ability to save for a down payment to buy a house is diminished, and it already affects your credit score because you have to dig into your credit card and lines of credit to pay for things that pop up.”
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recommends spending no more than 30% of monthly income on rent, but a RateSupermarket survey found 44% of Canadian renters spend more than a third of that on their rental accommodations, and 15% spend more than half.
Broken down by major cities, 34% of Torontonians spend more than a third of monthly income on rent, while the same applies to 33% of Montrealers and 30% of Vancouverites.Twenty-nine percent of Edmontonians, 27% of Calgarians and 22% of Ottawans spend more than a third of monthly income on rent.
Montreal’s new by-law is strictly requiring property developers to help improve the availability of low-cost homes in the market.
Last week, the city government unveiled its By-law for a Diverse Metropolis, which included the mandate as a prerequisite for multi-family construction permits.
“To qualify for a residential construction permit, the contractor will have to enter into an agreement with the city, whereby they will contribute to increasing the supply of social, affordable and family housing, either by building new dwelling units, transferring land, or paying a financial contribution,” the Montreal government announced.
The government promised that this new set of regulations will not harm the city’s market and economic stability.
"We strive for a greater and more inclusive housing supply, but not at any cost,” according to Robert Beaudry, executive committee member responsible for economic and commercial development, housing and design.
“We believe we have developed a tool that will provide a solid framework all while propelling the construction of social, affordable and family housing units, without compromising the vitality and affordability of the residential market as a whole.”
Mayor Valérie Plante also vowed that the by-law will pave the way for
The pace of office development in Toronto is largely stoked by outsized appetite for the asset class, with vacancy levels at a vanishingly low 1%, according to Colliers International (Toronto) senior managing director Daniel Holmes.
Currently, around 9.4 million square feet of new office projects are being built in the GTA – although it remains an open question if these supply additions can accommodate the fevered demand.
“If you look at Manhattan, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Miami [and] Phoenix as all major central business districts within North America, Toronto has the lowest vacancy rate of all of them,” Holmes told Postmedia.
According to Avison Young, a significant fraction of Toronto’s commercial property demand is from the tech industry, especially e-commerce companies.
“The GTA is not a single option but, rather, offers a wide variety of submarkets giving information and communications technology (ICT) firms the range of real estate options and concentrations of skilled workers that the firms require to facilitate their future growth and success,” Avison Young explained.
With a total of $767 million in sales during Q1 2019, the office sector was the only commercial asset class in the
Constructing a below-grade parking spot in downtown Toronto can cost as much as $100,000—an exorbitant amount that contributes millennials’ affordability woes.
“What we’ve been hearing from our developer members is millennials can’t afford parking on top of the price of a condo unit and they don’t want parking anymore,” said Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) Executive Director Andy Manahan.“In some buildings, we’re building too much underground parking.”
An RCCAO-commissioned report—How Parking Regulations Need to Evolve for High-Rise Buildings—released by the Ryerson Urban Analytics Institute noted that the City of Toronto hasn’t updated its parking standards in 33 years and, furthermore, determined millennial-aged downtown dwellers often forego vehicular ownership in favour of bicycles and ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
But the price of the superfluous parking spot is still passed onto the consumer—and, in the case of millennials, it can be the difference between homeownership and renting.
In addition to affordability troubles, the report also says that below-grade parking garages impede Toronto’s stormwater management capacity.
“The mandate for the construction of underground parking structures has exacerbated Toronto’s stormwater problems through a somewhat complex interplay with groundwater,” read the report.“Supplying
The Canadian government has promised $450.8 million over a 10-year period to Manitoba, with the funds to be dedicated to the maintenance and development of community housing across the province.
“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home.Long-term, predictable funding for housing has been needed for more than a decade,” according to Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing and Urban Affairs).
“Today, with the Manitoba Government, we have taken a significant step toward our goal of building strong communities where Canadian families can prosper and thrive, now and for the future.”
The funds will also “support Manitoba’s priorities related to housing repair, construction, and affordability,” Vaughan added.
This investment is part of the federal government’s stated aim to improve the supply of new affordable homes across Canada by 15%, as well as renovate around 20% of current social housing units nationwide.
“By signing this bilateral, we are committing to a decade of strategic investments that will make a difference in the lives of children, families, seniors, vulnerable people and many others,” according to
In a recent bulletin, the Canada Revenue Agency warned consumers about getting deceived into putting their hard-earned money in fraudulent real estate investment schemes.
The cautionary statement is especially important in light of the prevalence of real estate investment across Canada.The trend, along with stronger buying and speculation activity by foreigners, has been cited as the main factor in the “pronounced imbalances” readily apparent in B.C.and Ontario, the Bank of Canada said.
Nationwide resale volume has fallen by around 20% from the peak seen in 2016.
“House price growth has also slowed markedly.For the first time since 2013, it is running below income growth,” the central bank reported in its mid-May Financial System Review.
“Froth from rising expectations of house price growth has declined in housing markets in the Toronto and Vancouver areas over the past two years.While the Toronto market appears to be stabilizing, prices and resale activity continue to decline in Vancouver.”
According to the CRA, among the most sinister of these schemes are tax arrangements.These strategies falsely claim that consumers can get significant tax write-offs through limited-partnership real estate investments.
“It is usually heavily promoted as a product with
Much has been made of brick and mortar retail’s demise, but according to Altus Group, it isn’t dying so much as it’s evolving.
“What’s happening with retail is consumer behaviours are changing, demands are changing, and demographics are changing, and that’s driving how retail is changing,” said Altus Group’s Kruti Desai, manager of national research insights and data solutions.“Consumers are now looking more for experiential retail and want to be engaged.We’re seeing stores becoming more innovative, in terms of adopting additional designs and concepts.Store closures may be happening, particularly among larger format stores, but retail is still evolving with regards to how spaces are being used.”
Retail shops are buttressed by e-commerce and, often, act as show rooms.In exceptional cases, virtual reality is being incorporated into the commercial experience so customers can test out products.
“E-commerce is changing how people shop,” continued Desai.“Customers can still shop online, but they can also pick up in stores or vice versa, so I think that’s going to change how stores are used.In terms of inventory, retailers will check how much they need in-store.They can showcase products and then deliver them to customers, which means there will be demand
Montreal enjoyed its 51st consecutive month of home sales growth in May, according to latest figures from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers.
The city’s home sales and average residential prices remain on an upward trend, while the city’s inventory is seeing a considerable shrinkage, falling by 18% from May of last year to reach a total of 19,915 properties listed for sale.
“Properties are selling faster and faster in the Montreal area, as the average selling time – for all property categories combined – stood at 69 days in May, which is 14 days less than one year ago,” QPAREB board of directors president Nathalie Bégin said.
“Single-family homes and plexes are selling the quickest, with respective selling times of 63 days and 71 days, while it takes an average of 77 days for a condominium to find a buyer.”
The QPAREB reported that total sales activity was at 5,607 transactions last month, growing by 6% annually.
Plexes had the strongest proportional gain with 13% year-over-year sales growth, for a total of 550 deals.Condo activity increased by 7% during the same period (2,001 sales), while the single-family segment had 5%
New multi-family construction was predominant among Vancouver’s housing starts last month, according to latest data from the CMHC.
The asset class represented as much as 90% of the market’s total starts activity in May.Furthermore, new construction volume for non-single-detached housing had an enormous 75% annual gain.
“Two thirds of the new units were located in Burnaby, Surrey, and Coquitlam, which together saw a number of condominium and rental apartment projects get underway,” CMHC stated.
Similarly, Montreal enjoyed a significant 30% year-over-year increase in multi-family starts.The CMHC pointed out that this “solely attributable to rental housing construction, as condominium and single-family home starts recorded decreases.
“The low vacancy rates on the conventional rental market and the greater proportion of young households now opting for rental housing have kept stimulating rental housing starts.”
Meanwhile, Toronto’s total starts dropped by 16% last month.Non-single-detached construction grew by a comparatively weak 10% annually.
“High homeownership costs continue to weigh on the demand for single-detached and row houses thus resulting in fewer low-rise home starts.Strong pre-construction sales of condominium apartment units over the past two years will continue to translate into starts over time at a varied pace,