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
Millennials may be the best of hope of saving Vancouver’s languid housing market.
They tend to dominate the condo market, where entry-units are aplenty, and fortunately for Vancouver there is no shortage of towers.
“When I look at the overall market, the detached and condo markets are two totally different markets,” said Wayne Ryan, team lead at REMAX Crest Realty.“Millennials are active in the detached market, but in the lower end of the condo market they make up a big percentage.We’ve had a situation in the detached market where, in the last several years, it’s shifted downwards.The foreign buyer tax and general attitude towards Asian buyers hasn’t been as positive as it was, so the result is we’re seeing properties sitting on the market longer.”
Ryan noted that Vancouver’s detached market correction actually began about three years ago while the condo market concurrently grew hotter and hotter, albeit with modest gains.But as the upper end of the market becomes prohibitive, the lower end brims with desperate buyers—many, if not most, of whom are millennials.
“We’ve seen a 7-8% price adjustment with sales down in the detached market, but there’s firmness in the lower end
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,
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%
Operators of short-term rental secondary units in Quebec will have to register with the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Quebec—which also regulates the province’s hotels—or face fines in the thousands.
The new piece of regulation, slated to come into effect this fall, targets properties being rented out for fewer than 31 days, and failure to comply will permit Revenu Quebec to dole out fines of up to $10,000 for individual operators and up to $25,000 for corporations.
The proliferation of short-term rentals in the country’s second-largest city has all of a sudden dried up its rental inventory—the reason for which the regulation is garnering support in the real estate industry.
“If you look at certain neighbourhoods—the Plateau-Mont-Royal and the city centre—about 3-5% of units are being used for Airbnb,” said Maxime Roy-Allard, a spokesperson for Regroupement des comites logement et associations des locataires du Quebec, a rental advocacy organization.“Thousands and thousands of apartments are being taken out of the rental housing market and that’s concerning because we hear about many families with the first of July approaching [when leases in the province begin and expire] are finding it difficult to find big enough places that
Aside from a surging office market, commercial asset investment in Vancouver has been weak so far this year, according to new research by Altus Group.
A total of 322 commercial transactions were completed in the market during the first quarter, shrinking by 49% annually.Altus Group director of data solutions Paul Richter noted that this was the lowest commercial volume seen in Vancouver in several years.
Only the city’s office segment experienced net gains in Q1 2019, with sales going up to 26 (from the 16 seen the quarter prior).
The retail sector suffered its second consecutive decrease in overall investment during the quarter to end up at 35 transactions worth $136 million.
Meanwhile, the industrial sector’s volume dramatically plunged by 54% year-over-year, ending up at $228 million.This was even more noteworthy considering that the sector enjoyed its all-time investment high during Q4 2018.
Residential land investment was at $446 million during Q1 2019.This was the segment’s first sub-$1-billion level seen in 13 quarters, and its lowest dollar volume since Q2 2014.
Altus warned that the Vancouver commercial segment’s condition over the past few years has been especially concerning.
“The lowest transaction
Scant inventory is propelling demand for recreational properties in Quebec and Ontario—and in the latter’s case, not even flooding proved a deterrent.
“During the spring market, the demand has been so strong that even with the flooding we’ve seen, some people are viewing and purchasing properties that are underwater,” Phil Soper Royal LePage’s CEO, told CREW.“It’s an anecdotal tale, but demand has been so high that people are still paying market value, even though they can’t access part of the property.They’re looking at the land for its potential and moving ahead anyway.”
Royal LePage’s Canadian Recreational Property Prices Forecast details a market with inventory so constricted that prices in Ontario rose 7.2%—despite sales being down 7.9%—and 5.6% in Quebec—two provinces that saw considerable flooding this year.According to the report, stiff competition between retirees and millennials with young families explains the appreciation, especially in Ontario.
Soper says the national price surged because of the two most populous provinces in Canada.
“The national price is being driven by Quebec and Ontario, where the urban markets are either very strong, as in the case of Quebec, or rapidly recovering, as is the case in Ontario, and you
Toronto’s residential property sector has recently been characterized by accelerating sales and tight inventory, according to TREB’s latest data.
The market saw 9,989 home sale transactions close through the Board’s MLS System last month.This was 18.9% above the 15-year low for May, which was seen last year.
“Sales activity continues to be below the longer-term norm, as potential home buyers come to terms with the OSFI mortgage stress test and the fact that listings continue to be constrained relative to sales,” TREB president Garry Bhaura said.
“After a sluggish start to 2019, the second quarter appears to be reflecting a positive shift in consumer sentiment toward ownership housing.Households continue to see ownership housing in the GTA as a quality long-term investment as population growth from immigration remains strong and the regional economy continues to create jobs across diversity of sectors.”
Bhaura warned, however, that the May numbers are still considerably lower than the long-term average of 10,300 for that month.
The number of active home listings crept up by just 0.8%, for a total of 19,386 properties.Sales prices went up by 3.6% annually, reaching an average of $838,540.The cost increase was much larger
With multiple indicators hinting at robust performance for the rest of this year, Canada’s industrial properties have seen a record-low vacancy rate of 3% during Q1 2019, according to a recent analysis by Avison Young.
Stability and growth prospects for the asset class are extremely positive, with supply scarcity being the dominant condition.The Avison Young survey found that 10 of the 11 markets studied had lower vacancy levels in the single digits, and that four of these had rates well below the national average.
Indeed, three Canadian markets – namely, Vancouver (1.2%), Toronto (1.5%), and Ottawa (1.6%) – exhibited the lowest vacancy rates throughout North America during the first quarter.
And this might be just the beginning, as logistics ventures’ need for wide open spaces is likely to inflame even greater competition.
“E-commerce remains the industrial sector’s catalyst for success as retailers and developers strive to perfect the supply chain,” Avison Young COO (Canadian operations) Mark Fieder explained, pointing at these companies’ demand for distribution/fulfilment facilities located on or near major urban centres.
“This situation is most apparent in Toronto – and in Vancouver, where strata units increasingly offer the only opportunities for
A novel, if risky, idea is slated for Vancouver’s real estate landscape.
Aragon Properties will be building two condominiums before even opening sales—a move that almost never occurs in Canada because developments must hit about 80% sales before financing can be secured.
“We’re going to bring to market two particular products in some of the most desirable areas of Vancouver’s West Side.One of the things here is the finished homes offer buyers clear advantages over buying off plans;it lets buyers see first-hand the special architectural detail included in each home,” said Aragon’s Vice President of Development Howard Steiss, who added that the projects are self-financed.
“To get the kind of architectural detail we’re including has to be understood and appreciated.”
One of the condos is called Amber, a 31-unit, four-storey brick, concrete and wood building, and the other is called Shift, a six-storey, 43-unit condo.Both projects have up to three bedrooms.Viewings will begin in July.
An advantage to buying a brand new home that’s already constructed is, apart from its tangibility, the move-in date is much, much sooner and not subject to the same delays preconstruction condominiums are usually burdened by.
Canadians are taking significant risks when they go for alternative funding avenues in the current B-20 regulatory regime, a DLC mortgage professional claimed.
“What’s happened is the new rules, particularly the stress testing, have begun excluding many responsible Canadian homeowners who had previously qualified for mortgages, so many are unfortunately trying their luck with alternative lenders;either to handle their entire mortgage (highly inadvisable), or to top up a down payment,” Quebec-based accredited mortgage professional Terry Kilakos wrote recently in his analysis.
“By pushing people to the alternative lending market, [consumers] are being pushed away from the safe harbour of high-quality lenders and into a less regulated and higher-interest area of the market.”
Numbers from CIBC bear out these observations:in terms of dollar volume, alternative mortgages now represent around 7% of the market, up from the 5% proportion in 2017.
The activity represented by this growing share comes with risks innate to the alternative space itself, Kilakos warned.
“Regulation is looser on the alternative market, so by letting debt-to-income ratios climb much higher, it makes it easier for people to qualify for a mortgage.The catch is that by letting those ratios go higher, the
A major $15-million transaction for two multi-family properties just closed in Ottawa last week, attesting to the sub-sector’s continued strength.
“Private and institutional clientele continue to show strong interest in Canadian multifamily assets and although opportunities are limited at times, our deep reach and strong client relationships give us the edge in completing transactions,” Institutional Property Advisors senior managing director Aik Aliferis said.
IPA, which operates under Marcus &Millichap, announced the completion of the deal involving two mid-rise apartment buildings:the five-storey 50 Selkirk Street, which comes with 75 units in 52,635 square feet, and the four-storey 350 Mayfield Avenue, which offers 61 units in 37,730 sq.ft.
“These two apartment assets are situated within a primarily residential neighborhood that has become increasingly popular with young families,” Aliferis noted.
Ottawa’s economy has steadily boosted the value of the asset class over the past few quarters, according to an Engel &Völkers report.
Much of the region’s economic robustness can attributed to population growth levels, which stood at 8.8% as of the last reading.For perspective, the national rate was far lower at 5.9%.
“With the market absorbing condos at a faster rate, coupled with the market’s
Senior vacancy rates increased in British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta, but fell in Ontario
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Seniors’ Housing Reports—which surveyed seniors in February and March—vacancy rates for standard spaces in seniors’ residences in B.C.rose for the first time in six years, hitting 4.2% in 2018 from 3%.Non-standard spaces, however, had a vacancy rate that fell 2.1% in 2018 to 1.3% this year.The largest decline came in Vancouver and the Central Coast region/
As one would imagine, rents $1,900 and below were in high demand and had the lowest vacancy rate of all rent ranges.Last year, the lowest vacancy rates were in rental accommodations priced between $2,900 and $4,900 a month.The average rent for standard space grew 5.4% to reach $3,275 this year, but the highest rent increase was a whopping 22% for bachelor and studio units.
As in B.C., Quebec saw some breathing room with its rental spaces for sneiors.The vacancy rate for standard spaces in the province was 7.2%, which increased from 6.9% in 2018.The average rent for the spaces in 2019 was $1,788, and the capture rate was 18.4%d—vastly different than the 6.1% rate for the remaining
Existing policies and market conditions in BC prevent many buyers and sellers from fully participating in the market, according to Vancouver’s Central 1 Credit Union.
The firm found that home sales in the province decreased by a massive 40% since the end of 2018.Currently, hopeful buyers are hesitating due to high price levels, while potential sellers would rather wait on the sidelines for a market recovery.
Stricter federal and provincial regulations were cited to be major factors slowing down activity, the analysis noted.Among the most damaging of these policies were B-20 (which weakened purchasing power by 20%) and BC’s 20% foreign buyer tax (which forced capital holders to invest elsewhere).
Even BC’s likely robust economic performance this year will not be able to offset these weaknesses, Central 1 deputy chief economist Bryan Yu said.Residential sales are estimated to further decrease by 11% in 2019.
And the actual situation this year might even be worse:Yu cautioned that the analysis did not take into account the possible effects of money laundering.
“These were model-driven numbers based on international numbers and I would say very little localized information,” Yu told The Canadian Press.“It seems to me
Investing in healthcare sector assets might be a potent, if unconventional, buffer against the worst effects of housing market weakness, according to The Motley Fool columnist Andrew Button.
This is largely because of the industry’s evergreen nature, Button noted.
“The healthcare sector is noted for its stability.In Canada, it is largely government funded, and what isn’t funded is usually covered by private insurance, which makes the healthcare industry very reliable in terms of income and, by extension, demand for office/clinic space,” the markets analyst said.
Such alternative investment avenues have become more important in the wake of news pointing to a 17-year low in Canadian mortgage growth rates, Button added.
A leading player in this investment space is Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT, which has a portfolio of 149 income-producing healthcare facilities.These include hospitals, offices, and medical clinics.
“This highly specialized niche provides a kind of moat, as the company is one of the few in Canada that focuses specifically on healthcare,” Button explained.“The company’s high geographic diversification also provides a buffer against losses in any one market:it owns properties in Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.”
Moreover, the avenue