With the federal election looming in a month’s time, the Canadian Rental Housing Index—a national partnership between credit unions, housing and municipal associations—is sounding the alarm on the country’s worsening rental crisis.
The hardest-hit provinces are Ontario and British Columbia, but electoral districts really feeling the crunch can be found in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.The Index gathered data from the 2016 long-form census from over 800 Canadian municipalities and regions, as well as 338 federal electoral districts.
Thirty-nine percent of Willowdale renter households spend at least 50% of income on housing, followed by Thornhill and Richmond Hill at 33% and 32%, respectively.
“These numbers clearly demonstrate why Canadians and housing advocates have been calling on our political leaders to take more immediate action to address the affordability challenges impacting so many families and individuals across the country,” Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non-Profit Housing Association, said in a statement.“Whichever party forms the next government will need to increase the investment into the National Housing Strategy in order to achieve its goals before this crisis gets even worse.”
In February, the federal government announced a $40 billion investment to combat homelessness and improve access
Despite suffering some declines, Toronto real estate has proven to be a remarkably resilient and lucrative investment destination, according to RE/MAX.
“The real estate market in Toronto should be looked at as a long-term investment.It provides a tangible asset, compared to something such as stocks.When the real estate market takes a few dips here and there, it’s just a matter of time before it begins to climb again,” RE/MAX Pierre Carapetian Group stated.
The analysis cited the region’s population growth as a major driver of the phenomenon.Toronto boasts of some of the fastest growth in North America, with official numbers indicating that the city had more than 77,000 new residents from July 2017 to July 2018.
In general, multi-family assets have enjoyed a resurgence.Rental properties have particularly benefited from this influx of fresh consumers, many of them with significant purchasing power.
Apartment units currently go for an average rent of $2,259 per month.
“A combination of immigration and a growing tech industry has brought a large number of new Toronto residents to the city anxiously seeking rental homes,” RE/MAX added.“That includes tech companies such as Uber, Microsoft, and Pinterest, to name a few.”
The value of Montreal’s condos is growing more quickly compared to single-family housing assets, if a late August analysis by Royal LePage is any indication.
The study found that a dramatic growth in demand has pushed the average value of Montreal’s condos to go up at least twice as fast as that of single detached housing.
“Baby boomers looking for smaller units, millennials increasing their purchasing power, and more foreign buyers contributed to a hike in condo prices and demand in the past three years,” Royal LePage Altitude broker Maxime Tardif said.
“Available land is limited on the island;builders and developers are making every square foot count.As a result, more high-end, spacious units are being constructed in the suburbs, particularly near transit stations.”
From January to July 2019, the median price of the Greater Montreal area’s condos increased by 10.3% annually, up to $286 per square foot.In contrast, single-detached homes had 5.2% growth during the same time frame.
In the City of Montreal, the condo median price increased by 7.9% year-over-year to $433 per square foot.Single-family detached properties saw their value rise by 6.9% to $313.
This has spurred intensified development in
The Regent Park revitalization project in downtown Toronto is a lesson in meticulous community planning and, specifically, in leaving nary a stakeholder behind.
Speaking at a panel last week organized by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Vincent Tong, chief development officer of Toronto Community Housing Corporation, noted the key to the project’s success is putting residents in the driver’s seat.
“For TCHC, tenant engagement is the most important aspect of how we approach revitalization projects,” said Tong.“We’re asking people to move out of their homes, relocate for many years and then come back.It’s extremely disruptive, so we want to make sure tenants are engaged in the process and with us every step of the way to plan what the future of community will look like.That extends to our procurement process—we’re searching for a development partner for the remaining phases.Stages one to three were Daniels Corp.”
Regent Park’s revitalization is expected to last 20 to 25 years, the conclusion of which will see over 17,000 people living in a mixed-use and mixed-income community.On October 5, developers will deliver presentations in a bid to complete remaining phases.
During Daniels’ involvement, the company
Toronto has been found to be one of the world’s best cities in terms of digital infrastructure, health care, and education.
This was an especially prevalent view among members of Generation Z, according to a study by apartment search portal Nestpick.
The city earned a strong score of 86.2 out of 100, with exceptional results in the most important factors.Such criteria include a global culture, the availability of digital infrastructure, e-payment/e-banking facilities, streamlined government transactions (usually via online channels), and the presence of world-class education and health care.
Toronto was ranked top 4 worldwide, with Los Angeles, Stockholm, and London leading the list.
“Alongside facing global crises such as climate change, this digitally connected age group will also have to tackle artificial intelligence replacing humans, meaning that Gen Z-ers must train in machine learning to stay ahead of the curve,” Nestpick stated.
Similar results were also reported by the latest edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability index, which found that Toronto is one of the best North American cities to live in.
Over the past few years, Welland has emerged as a particularly strong industrial real estate destination in Ontario, boasting of multiple features – namely, competitive land prices, strategic location, and convenient access to international transportation – that make it attractive to large firms.
“Companies who have been moving from the GTA need a place elsewhere in Ontario, an affordable alternative with a great location and lifestyle.So that has led to a lot of attention for Welland,” according to Dan Degazio, the city’s Director of Economic Development.
“The people who have been moving here are finding this place a godsend to them,” he said.“I think in the last five to seven years, Welland transformed from a city that lost some manufacturing and was essentially on a decline, to a market that is surging thanks to multiple investments drawn in by our wealth of incentives.”
Among the most important of these are significant tax incentives and development charge waivers.
“The biggest part of our incentive programs is that they’re geared towards employment:The more employees, the better the incentive.What these programs do is that they give companies anywhere from a 40% to a 100% rebate on their
Vancouver may hog all the headlines as the west coast’s hottest real estate investment market, but Seattle is hot on its heels.
The State of Washington’s largest city has quietly stolen tech talent from San Francisco—where, like Vancouver, the cost of living has soared beyond most residents’ means—and, as a result, companies have begun migrating north.
Bob Kagan, senior vice president of Laconia Development, which based in the San Francisco area, says Seattle has grown into the United States’ most predictable city—a siren song for real estate investors, to be sure.
“The city represents relatively moderate risk,” said Kagan.“I’ve often said Seattle is San Francisco’s most northern suburb because it’s not only physically like San Francisco, but the job base—the economic base—is the same.San Francisco is clearly dominated by Silicon Valley, and now Silicon Valley companies are moving to Seattle.
“Seattle, in our judgement, is five years behind San Francisco—I can look at the commercial and residential properties in San Francisco today and say that is what Seattle will be five years from now, and history has proven this.It makes investment less risky than in other places because we can pretty much tell what
Market and economic uncertainty has proven to be a damper on real estate investor activity in Vancouver, according to data from CBRE.
These factors have compounded the pressure from a lower number of renovictions and strict government policies – the Residential Tenancy Act, in particular.The latter measure has affected investors and apartment owners especially hard.
“It was just easier [for many investors] to do nothing,” CBRE executive vice president Lance Coulson said, as quoted by the Vancouver Sun.
“There were a lot of things going on in the market that created some uncertainty.A number of investors were on the sidelines … wanting to see what 2019 was going to bring.”
From January to June, apartment sales in the Vancouver region amounted to just over $400 million.This represented a pace far lower than last year’s, which enjoyed an overall 2018 total of $1.4 billion.
“Based on a few deals that have sold since June, and what I believe is currently in play, I estimate that total sales for year-end 2019 could be in the $850-million range,” Coulson predicted.
Extremely tight supply in the affordable housing segment remained a feature of the
Autumn is the real estate industry’s second-busiest time of the year and the pre-construction condo market is replete with an interesting suite of amenities.
And according to Barry Fenton, president and CEO of Lanterra Developments in Toronto, the city’s shrinking condo units make dynamic amenities all the more essential.
“A lot of amenity spaces include mental wellbeing by having yoga studios and state-of-the-art gyms, but also massage rooms, saunas, wet and dry steams,” he said.“Whether someone buys a 500, 800, 1,500 or 3,000 square foot unit, they want to feel good and that’s why it’s important to include such amenities.”
Lanterra, like most developers, hires consultants to conceptualize what its buildings’ wellbeing spaces should look and feel like, the finer points of which Fenton likens to nature’s placidity.
“In some condos, we have planned exercise communities that come down and use the facilities, but it’s also about how the spaces are designed:it’s like being in a forest;it’s tranquil and peaceful,” explained Fenton.“A lot of facilities think a 10x15 room will work, but it doesn’t.People want to stay healthy in body and mind today, and we believe that these extra amenities help achieve that.”
Montreal homeowners have been found to miss their payments much more frequently than those in Toronto, if their delinquency rates are any indication.
This was especially apparent in smaller mortgages, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
As of the first quarter of 2019, Montreal mortgages valued at less than $100,000 had a 0.22% delinquency rate, representing 4.76% annual growth.To compare, the rate in Toronto for that bracket was at 0.11%, fundamentally unchanged from the same time last year.
In the $100k - $200k category, Montreal’s delinquency was at 0.32%, up by 6.67%.Meanwhile, Toronto’s incidence in this range was 0.10%, which was 9.09% lower year-over-year.
Among those who borrowed between $200,000 and $300,000 in Montreal, the rate was at 0.29%, up by 3.57%.In contrast, Toronto saw much less delinquency in this range, shrinking by 11.11% annually to end up at 0.08% delinquency.
“If [these] are older mortgages like we suspect, the holders are benefiting from falling rates.Lower payments mean a lower chance of delinquency,” Better Dwelling noted in its analysis of the data.
The prevalence of delayed payments among lower-valued mortgages in Montreal might be stemming from the recent surge in demand
Paul D’Abruzzo took a tenant to the Landlord and Tenant Board for three months of unpaid rent on an investment property he owned in Whitby, and through mediation—his best option—ended up coughing up a fourth month of rent-free living.
“My tenant sat there in mediation and said she can’t pay rent anymore, and after I asked her to leave she said she had nowhere to go,” said D’Abruzzo, who’s also a broker with Expert Investor Team at Rock Star Real Estate.“I was advised by the mediator that if I go before the board and ask for a standard eviction of 11 days, I’d most likely not get it because the adjudicator is going to sympathize with the tenant and give them 30 days to leave.
“I was footing the bill for someone who can’t afford to pay rent just so that I could get a proper eviction order.One of the risks is that during those 30 days, they could damage the place and once they leave I have no recourse.That was the best deal on the table and I had to take it.I was pushed into a corner and gave a lady 30 days of free rent
Affordable housing units have seen their importance particularly swell in Quebec, which has seen a marked increase in chronic homelessness over the past few years.
This was especially apparent among newcomers and immigrants, many of whom have taken refuge in shelters across the province.
Recently, Employment and Social Development Canada released the results of its “point-in-time” analysis of homelessness in 61 communities.
The survey found that around 14% of homeless people were newcomers to Canada.As much as 8% identified themselves as immigrants, while 3% were refugees and 4% were refugee claimants.
“Many of them are coming to Toronto in Ontario, and to Quebec, and in those communities, the rental market is just really tight and we just don’t have the capacity to house them,” according to Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.
The federal government has pledged to relieve some of this strain, vowing with the Quebec government to commit nearly $175 million in affordable housing investments up to 2024.
The funds are intended to ensure a healthy supply of low-cost homes for the province’s most in-need segments.Of these, $172 million will be going to the Canada-Quebec Reaching
With demand for low-cost housing heating up in Toronto, the federal and Ontario governments have pledged a multi-million-dollar investment in the renewal of a large-scale affordable housing building in the downtown core.
Hunger for affordable housing has intensified amid punishing price levels.During the first seven months of this year alone, condo prices in the Greater Toronto Area shot up by 9.1% annually, ending up at $743 per square foot.
“Low inventory levels are putting upward pressure on price per square foot in the Greater Toronto Area, especially for entry-level properties like condos,” according to Tom Storey of Royal LePage Signature Realty.
In comparison, single-family detached housing had a mere 1% year-over-year increase, up to $486 per square foot.The overall aggregate price across every residential asset class increased by 6.1% annually, up to $782 per square foot.
Last week, CMHC and the provincial government committed $2.2 million for the urgent repairs and retrofitting needed by the 78-unit Harmony “B” Housing Co-operation Corp.rental complex.
This is a vital addition to a market that has seen a consistent degree of unaffordability over the last few years, according to Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Borrowing and home-buying activity remains undeterred in Canada, despite monthly payments being much higher than the global standard.
Data from Scotiabank indicated that last June, the nation’s household mortgage credit grew by 5.2% month-over-month.This was its fastest pace in two years, and came amid a noticeable 3.7% increase in the outstanding balance of Canadian mortgage debt, which ended up at $1.57 trillion total.
“Mortgage growth has surely rebounded after a period of deceleration from early-2017 to its mid-2018 trough which was induced by a series of measures aimed at tackling runaway home prices,” Scotiabank economist Juan Manuel Herrera and research analyst Alena Bystrova wrote in their report, as quoted by Livabl.
“Real estate markets continue to adjust to regulatory changes and are now benefitting from a decline in borrowing rates after reaching an eight-year high in late-2018, alongside a tightening spell by the Bank of Canada,” they added.
Compared to the rest of the world, Canadians are actually paying higher-than-normal mortgage rates, only exceeded by a small number of developed nations like the United States and Australia.
A recent analysis by HuffPost Canada has shown that even with fixed-rate
Surging growth of rental demand is spurred by unaffordability in Vancouver, along with an influx of immigrants in Montreal, according to the latest edition of IPA’s Midyear Canadian Multifamily Investment Forecast Report.
Amid a burgeoning economy, Greater Vancouver posted a healthy pace of jobs creation, with the workforce growing by 6.7% annually in June (roughly 93,100 new employment posts).
Despite the expanded purchasing power, however, Vancouver is far and away still the most expensive housing market in Canada.The benchmark price for single detached homes currently exceeds $1.4 million, and the median mortgage payment is around $4,000 greater than the market’s average rental rate.
These pose formidable barriers, especially for young households and first-time buyers.Many of them are thus forced into rental housing – itself beset with its challenges, as vacancy was at a mere 1% as of the end of 2018.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, the provincial government’s immigration policy is paving the way for even more demand among non-locals.This will augment last year’s approximately 28,200 non-permanent residents (mostly students and temporary workers) originating from overseas.
“An estimated 16,000 households will be created this year, partly supported by a simpler immigration system than the