Amid steady growth in prices and activity, the Ontario
Tri-Cities would likely see even more active sales next quarter,
according to Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty broker and owner
The average home price in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge grew by
8.9% annually during Q1 2019 to reach $517,370, Royal LePage
research indicated.This growth rate has made the region’s pace
among the strongest nationwide.
In particular, two-storey homes magnetized a lot of attention,
with prices going up by 9.6% to $551,042.Bungalows were not far
behind with a 6% increase in median values, up to $461,336.
“Activity has been mostly flat, but we cannot discount how the
weather impacts the market,” Church explained.“January was
relatively active but sales dropped off in February.However, we are
expecting a busy spring this year.”
The region’s gains were much larger than those of the GTA, which
had 3.4% growth during the first quarter of the year to reach
However, the federal government’s new home buyer incentives
introduced last month are unlikely to have a significant impact on
“While all measures that help qualified buyers to become
homeowners are welcomed, it won’t be a game-changer for the
region,” Church explained.“First-time homebuyers are already doing
quite well here as the down payment on an average house is
It’s no secret that investing in property near transit will
yield promising ROIs, but according to the Real Estate Intelligence
Network, there are precise calculations investors can make to
optimize rental prices.
“Transportation infrastructure delivers 10-20% of the value
within 800 metres of access to rail or highway,” said Jennifer
Hunt, REIN’s vice president of research and events, and co-author
of the Toronto Transportation Effect Report.“Multifamily properties
are between 27% and 99% more valuable when they’re within 1,600
metres than those beyond.The greatest premium is within 400
“Ultimately, accessibility to transit—an LRT, subway, commuter
rail and highway access—create more property value, as well as
The commercial sector, too, greatly benefits from nearby
transit.According to the report, offices within 500 metres of rapid
transit stations have 34% fewer vacancies and value enhancement of
up to 28%.
Another key consideration for real estate investors is timing a
property purchase if it’s near a transit infrastructure
project.There are four tiers of which to be cognizant, according to
REIN:The first is when the project is under construction;the second
tier means construction hasn’t begun, but the project has been
funded;the third tier is for planned, but unfunded, projects;and
the fourth refers to projects in their most inchoate phase, meaning
they’re far from finalized.
Hunt noted that each tier
Real estate developer Davpart has announced the development of
the United Building in Toronto, a 55-storey commercial and
residential high-rise that highlights the restored heritage
structure of the former Maclean Publishing Company/Maclean-Hunter
The project is slated to be North America’s tallest
architectural heritage retention development and will have
commercial and retail space from the ground floor to the 10th
floor, as well as new residences above the historic structure.
and Montreal luxury condos surge in value
"From 1910 to the 1980s, 481 [University Avenue] was the
location of Maclean Publishing and later Maclean-Hunter with
several buildings added to become one of the most recognized
structures on University Avenue," said David Hofstedter, president
and CEO of Davpart.
"The existing structure is an example of a commercial building
from the interwar era and is the result of many bold design
influences, from Beaux-Arts to Modern Classical. While
restoring the exterior, we will complete the interior to the
highest standard of contemporary office and retail available today,
so their current uses can continue.”
"The United is a realization of our vision," said
Hofstedter."It's a massive undertaking which started within the
context of preserving and restoring the existing building. The
complexities are enormous and it has taken lots of teamwork and
patience to make it happen."
With over 80 new skyscrapers slated to be built over the next
few years, Toronto has chosen solve its density problem by building
vertically.However, that comes with its own set of challenges.
According to Point2 Homes, Toronto has 60 skyscrapers—17th most
in the world—with 31 more expected to dot the Toronto skyline by
2024.Additionally, 50 other edifices are presently in planning
With thousands of new residents housed in those buildings, it is
crucial for Toronto to remain a livable city, and one solution
being promulgated is developing missing middle housing, which is
defined as anything between single-family detached houses and
condos, like townhomes, semi-detached and multiplexes.Point2 Homes
asked a few experts to weigh in on how Toronto should develop over
the coming years.
Nana-Yaw Andoh, assistant professor in the Master of
Architecture Program, Rochester Institute of Technology’s of
Golisano Institute for Sustainability:
“The other end of the pendulum swing is vertical sprawl, which
does nothing to stitch together the urban fabric and oftentimes
create internal mini-cities with no connection to the neighborhood
and great marketing ploys such as ‘all-inclusive’ luxury
“What missing middle housing offers is a reasonable and balanced
option with multiple building types for multi-family housing and a
size that never exceeds a typical large house.The size constraint
allows for missing
A study from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
revealed that nearly half (45%) of Greater Montréal area households
are renters – and that many of them live alone.
According to the CMHC’s Housing Market Insight report, 48% of
renter households in the Montréal were people living alone.The
report also found that about 35% of all renter households had
incomes below $30,000, before taxes.Households with incomes above
$100,000 accounted for only 5% to 8% of renters in most sectors of
the Montréal area.However, in the Griffintown, Outremont and
L’Île-des-Soeurs areas, where rents are generally high, the
proportions of renters varied between 20% and 25%
properties in Montreal slated for record spring
“Renter profiles were fairly consistent across the various
geographic sectors of Greater Montréal,” said Francis Cortellino,
market insights economist at CMHC.“Most renters were people living
alone, with relatively low incomes.The data revealed that
lower-income households also moved slightly less often than other
households and tended to stay within the sector where they already
lived, when they did move.Finally, there did not seem to be a
significant movement of less affluent renters to sectors of the CMA
where the rents were less costly.”
“The profile of renter households in Greater Montréal was also
generally in line with that of
The price of an average home in Canada increased by just 2.7%
year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019 – a sign that the
housing market may experience significant slowdown in the months
According to Royal LePage’s House Price Survey, which compiled
property data in 63 of Canada’s largest real estate markets, the
sluggish increase in home prices was well below the long-term norm
of approximately 5%.Broken down by housing type, the median price
of a two-storey home rose by only 2.6% year-over-year to $729,553,
while the median price of a bungalow rose 1.1% to
$513,497.Meanwhile, condominiums remained the fastest growing
housing type on a national basis, rising 5.4% year-over-year to
confidence edges higher but not by much
The study predicted that home prices will remain flat throughout
the spring market, with several large markets showing signs of
slowdown.Home prices in the Greater Vancouver area are expected to
fall 1.4% over the next quarter, and economic activity in Alberta
is forecasted to remain sluggish, with the aggregate price of a
home in Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray falling marginally by
1.5%, 1.0%, and 0.8% to $468,974, $371,782 and $576,211,
On the other hand, the market is expected to be slightly better
in Ontario.Ottawa is expected to post the
Asset Connect Management is among Toronto’s best-connected real
estate investment firms and this Saturday it’s holding an investing seminar
where, among other things, it will unveil a can’t-miss
The April 5 seminar in downtown Toronto will feature an
opportunity to buy units at a new state-of-the-art condo called the
Woodsworth, which offers guarantees the likes of which Toronto
investors rarely, if ever, see.
“Woodsworth is an extremely unique building and we’re selling
this development at our event.The developer is guaranteeing the
rent at fixed dollars per square foot, so the cash flow is
guaranteed,” said Ryan Coyle, a real estate broker and founder of
Connect Asset Management.
While the development is sure to be a resounding success for
investors, especially those who manage to snag the best available
units early, Coyle noted that there’s more to this development than
“These units are cash flow positive, but when you’re buying in
downtown Toronto you shouldn’t only be thinking about cash flow,”
he said, “because I could go buy a unit in Windsor and have $500
positive cash flow, but that equals $6,000 in my pocket at the end
of the year.If I buy in Toronto and my investment is appreciating
5% per year and I’m losing $500 a
In order to increase rental inventory, Vancouver passed a series
of rules last year requiring Airbnb operators to register for a
license.However, it looks like almost half of Vancouver’s listed
Airbnb operators remain unlicensed.
Aside from registering operators, the new rules also limit
Airbnb rentals to principal residences.However, out of the 4,720
listings in Vancouver, only 2,628 are licensed, according to city
figures.And despite having an agreement with the popular online
home sharing service, only 17 licenses have been suspended so
Read more:Vancouver, Airbnb sign MOU to support new
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart struck a positive cord last
month, however, noting that more than 2,000 cases have opened
against errant Airbnb operators – and one operator with 35 listings
was even levied $20,000 in fines.
“This program is one of many designed to move more supply into
the long-term rental market because housing in our city needs to be
first and foremost for those who live and work in Vancouver,”
Stewart told CityNews Vancouver in mid-March.
Under its agreement with Vancouver, Airbnb provides host
information – such as names, email addresses, and license numbers –
four times a year, with the city doing the legwork of chasing after
wayward operators.And according to CityNews, officials have
While B-20 substantially cooled Canada’s residential real estate
market, it’s proven a boon for the commercial sector.
“On the commercial front, we’re seeing a lot more activity on
buildings of more than 5 units,” said David Goncalves, a mortgage
broker and partner of Mortgage Alliance Vine Group.“We’re seeing
this upswing because people got squeezed out of buying residential
properties because of the lending rule change, and as a result
we’ve seen significant growth in the commercial sector.”
In Toronto, mixed-use developments have exploded in popularity
among investors, and Vine Group has capitalized on the growth by
securing financing for small and mid-sized real estate
developers.While residential lending practices have changed to
become more restrictive, commercial underwriting practices have
become more liberal.
“A lot of lenders on the residential side have door policies,”
Hugo Dos Reis, a partner at Vine Group, said of limits placed on
residential investment properties.“Lenders don’t want to loan to
holding companies, and if they do they charge a premium.Even the
big banks are getting away from that as well, but what we’ve found
is that a lot of people are looking at multi-residential commercial
properties instead of buying, say, a triplex.
“The lending now is on the asset and the most important part of
the deal:cash flow.The client’s exposure
Underscoring just how tight the Vancouver housing market is, the
British Columbia city was ranked the second least affordable city
in North America.
According to real estate site Zoocasa, Vancouver was second
among 30 major US and five Canadian cities.San Francisco was ranked
least affordable overall and Los Angeles was in third place.And on
the other end of the spectrum, Calgary was revealed to be the most
affordable housing market in North America.
Read more:RBC:Housing affordability has improved for the
first time in 3 years
The survey examined the median home prices for December 2018
calculated the minimum income required to purchase homes in each
city.That amount was then compared to the actual median income
earned, to determine whether the market presented buyers with an
income surplus or an income gap, which indicates incomes have not
kept pace with real estate price growth.
The survey found that Vancouver had an income gap of $99,517,
compared to a median income of $65,327.By comparison, Calgary had
an income surplus of $40,297, and a median household income of
$97,334.And another Canadian city, Ottawa, ranked sixth in
affordability, with an income surplus of $27,714 based on the
median income of $85,981.
Are you looking to invest in property?If you like, we can get
The last three months of 2018 finally brought some improvement
to housing affordability across Canada.
After more than three years of declining affordability, RBC
Economics says its measure shows widespread improvement;although
first-time buyers in the hottest markets are still facing a
In its Housing Trends and Economic Report, RBC’s aggregate
housing affordability measure reduced by 0.7 percentage points to
51.9% last quarter (measured as a share of household income).
But in the three most expensive markets there is still a crisis
with Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria showing little improvement in
affordability for most buyers.
Vancouver’s affordability crisis endures despite being in
“full-blown correction mode.RBC says that even with the slump in
sales, high prices means homeownership still requires an
eyewatering 84.7% of household income.
Cooling market conditions in Toronto has taken a bite out of
sales but RBC expects prices to be flat over the next two
years;that won’t help the well-above-average affordability measure
Montreal’s housing market is heating up but prices are rising at
a steady pace.
The area’s affordability measure is some way below the two
hottest markets and below the national average, but at 44.5% it is
near a decade high.
Condos no longer the affordable alternative
The traditional option of
There could be a spike in mortgage applications in the third
quarter if a rate forecast from the British Columbia Real Estate
Association is realized.
The association’s economists are expecting interest rates to
ease during much of 2019 as weaker economic conditions force a
hold-steady from the Bank of Canada.
If 5-year bonds maintain their current level, there should be a
move for the 5-year qualifying mortgage rate, which has not moved
for almost a year.
Their forecast calls for 5-year qualifying mortgage rates to
fall from 5.34% in the first quarter of 2019, to 4.99% in the
second quarter, and reaching a year-low of 4.84% in the third
Rates are then predicted to climb to 5.15% in the last quarter
of 2019 and early 2020 before plateauing at 5.34% for the rest of
The 5-year average discounted rate is set for a drop to 3.44% in
Q2 2019 (from 3.60% in Q1), then a low of 3.30% in Q3 before
climbing back to 3.44% in Q4, 3.64% in Q1/2 2020, and 3.74% in Q3/4
BoC to cut rates?
There are some economists predicting that the BoC may actually cut
rates in 2019 rather than just maintain their current level.
However, BCREA’s economists do
Alternative lender Cashco has launched an awareness campaign on
social media to raise the issue of those Albertans who cannot
The #needmilkmoney campaign has surveyed 3,000 Albertans and
says that across Canada it estimates more than 5 million people are
‘underbanked’ – they have a bank account but cannot access other
services due to high costs.
"We want politicians to know that there is a portion of our
population that is not being served by mainstream financial
institutions," says Courtney Johnston-Naumann, Vice President of
Marketing &Communications, Cashco Financial."The stories of
families in our communities who struggle between paycheques is
real.They are hardworking people who sometimes need a hand up, not
a hand out, to be able to pay regular or unexpected bills in
moments they need it the most.They should be able to access the
credit they need without the many constraints currently in place
that make it more difficult to pay back."
Cashco says that An Act to End Predatory Lending introduced by
the Alberta government in 2016 limits fair and equitable access to
credit and makes building a positive credit history harder.
“The language and limitations imposed in the Act were a surprise
to us," said Tim Latimer, CEO, Cashco Financial."It indicated that
there was very little understanding of
A new platform could make investing in Canada’s most expensive
real estate market less daunting.
Vancouver-based Fraction is an equity stake lending platform
that bills itself more secure than traditional home equity lines of
credit, and by taking a 40% equity stake in a property can reduce
mortgage payments by 35%.
If Fraction were enlisted at the transaction’s outset amd put up
40%, the purchaser would then only need to secure mortgage
financing for the remaining amount.
“If you own a home and want to take some equity out of it, your
existing option is you could sell, get a HELOC or reverse mortgage,
but we think our option is better because you can sell up to 40% of
the future value of your home to us.It’s almost like selling shares
in a home,” said Fraction’s Chief Technology Officer Josh
Baker also touts the platform as an easier way to invest in
additional real estate properties.
“If you want to invest in real estate in Vancouver, you could
buy securities from us, which will represent a pool of properties
in the city, and the value of those securities is debt-protected,”
he said.“Because we’re investing in residential real estate, we’re
using the fundamentals of a mortgage, meaning it’s a mortgage
New regulations may cool down rental prices in Kelowna, B.C.,
which rentals.ca ranked as the ninth most expensive rental market
On rental.ca, the average rental listing in Kelona for a
one-bedroom was $1,299 and $1,754 for a two-bedroom.Comparatively,
the average national rent for all bedroom types in February was
$1,800 – a 1.8% increase from the month prior.
prices exhibit significant Q1 growth
Reacting to a tightening rental market, the Kelowna City Council
voted in early March to add restrictions to short-term rentals on
platforms such as AirBNB by licensing owners $345 a year.According
to local news outlet Salmon Arm Observer, the move is expected to
open up a few more units for long-term rentals.
Kelowna Community Planning Manager Ryan Smith told Salmon Arm
Observer that he estimated 700 to 800 units could be added to
rental market after the new regulations are enforced.Smith added,
however, that “because of the seasonality” nature of tourism in
Kelowna, that number is hard to predict.
Additionally, Taylor Pardy, a senior analyst at the Canada
Mortgage Housing and Corporation (CMHC), told Salmon Arm Observer
that the vacancy rate will be higher in 2019 and 2020 than in the
past three years because of “the volume of apartment rental units