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High numbers of CERB recipients will crash out once CERB ends

Number of Canadians without support “disturbingly high” once CERB ends

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Will the new CMHC plan on Rapid Housing Initiative can stimulate the economic recovery?

New CMHC initiative to focus on rapid creation of new housing supply

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has announced its new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), which is intended to address urgent housing needs and stimulate further economic recovery through the rapid creation of new housing units.

Complementing the National Housing Strategy, the $1-billion RHI will cover the construction of modular housing, the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to housing supply.

CMHC said that RHI funding will be available to municipal and provincial governments, as well as non-profits and organizations concerned with Indigenous peoples’ welfare.

Touting its “human rights-based approach” to creating new housing, especially during the current pandemic, the CMHC said that the RHI will particularly benefit the vulnerable sectors of society, including women and children fleeing violence, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, racialized groups including Black Canadians, recent immigrants/refugees, and many others.

“We know that Canadians experiencing homelessness are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. That’s why it is so important that we continue to ensure that communities have the resources they need to support those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Aside from this major investment, the federal government will be granting a $236.7 million tranche through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. This will be on top of the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities nationwide address the immediate impact of the pandemic.

“With the Rapid Housing Initiative, our Government is moving quickly to provide more affordable housing to keep our vulnerable populations safe, to fight the virus over the long-term, and to support Canada’s economic recovery,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and minister responsible for CMHC.


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Multi-family real estate in Canada are exceptionally strong

The state of multi-family real estate in Canada

Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News

If any readers are friendly with commercial real estate junkies, they’ll already have heard an earful about how industrial and multi-family properties are where the smart money is being spent by CRE investors. But with unemployment still over 10 percent in August, and rents in some of Canada’s tightest markets showing signs of softening, investors eyeing the multi-family space for the first time may feel there’s reason for worry.

Not so, says Geoff McTait, executive director of origination for Timbercreek in Canada.

“The underlying fundamentals of this market are exceptionally strong here in Canada,” he says. “We continue to see a significant shortfall in terms of new supply meeting demand. That remains true, even once things normalize post-COVID.”

McTait does, however, acknowledge that the pandemic has thrown the tiniest of wrenches into the gears of the multi-family space in the form of increased vacancies and falling rents.

He says the rise in vacancies that Timbercreek has been tracking could be tied to several issues: a significant drop in immigration, an increase in the number of renters taking on roommates to cover their expenses, or unemployed apartment dwellers returning home. 

“I think a lot of people are moving home,” he says.

The same factors are contributing to an overall softening in rents, which has made for some tasty headline fodder in Toronto and Vancouver. But McTait feels rents, like housing prices, could see significant growth once the economy levels out, immigration returns to normal levels and those renters who moved home temporarily are ready to get back out on their own.

“Normalization will occur,” he says. “Demand will return, which will put pressure back on pricing. And I think you’ll continue to see a shortage on the new supply side of things coming to the market.”

Where’s the demand? Follow the jobs

With densification being the order of the day in most space-starved metropolitan areas and smaller buildings being economically unfeasible for most developers, McTait says much of the future demand will be for mid- to high rises, even outside major urban areas.

But he is less convinced by the concept of the urban exodus many market hounds have been touting since the beginning of COVID-19. He says most people will still want to live within an hour or so of their employers in case they need to commute part-time or access their offices.

“The suggestion that people will go to rural locations is a nice idea at this point in time – certainly it’s more affordable – but I don’t think it’s necessarily a solution nor practical in the long-term,” he says. “Employment opportunities will continue to dictate where people live and how they live, and that will continue despite the fact that we have this new potential to work from home.”

It’s little surprise, then, that McTait identifies areas like the GTA, Greater Vancouver, and Greater Montreal as markets poised for strong growth in the multi-family sector. But surging secondary markets like Hamilton, Quebec City, and Kitchener-Waterloo will also attract attention thanks to their affordability, strong employment environments and continued population growth.

Even multi-family markets in Canada’s more problematic economies, like Calgary and Edmonton, have “pleasantly surprised” McTait. There may not be a slew of demand for new properties in these cities, but current demand levels are strong enough to support the existing inventory.

“Multi-family, more broadly, is really the one asset class that we’ve seen over time, from primary, secondary, even into tertiary markets, where you do, in general, see strong demand, even in the tougher markets,” where vacancy ranges from three to seven percent, he says.

And Timbercreek isn’t the only company bullish on the future of multi-family real estate in Canada. In its recent Multi-Family Market Update for Victoria, BC, Colliers International said multi-family properties continue to outperform many other asset types.

“This sustained performance leads many to believe that the asset class will weather the storm of the crisis and thrive in the recovery,” reads the report.


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act passed, big help for Canadian family regarding rent prices throughout 2021

Ontario implements moratorium on residential rent prices

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The Ontario government has announced that it will be freezing the province’s residential rent prices throughout 2021.
Premier Doug Ford said late last week that Ontario’s roughly 1.7 million renters will benefit from manageable rent prices from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 next year if the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act gets passed.
Among the act’s chief provisions is that residential and commercial rent increases will be capped at 1.5%, CTVNews.ca reported.
“This is a difficult period for everyone, especially for families who are struggling right now,” Ford said. “The last thing I want any family to worry about right now is whether or not they can afford to stay in their homes.”
The act will also extend Ontario’s commercial eviction ban, which was in place from May 1 to Aug. 31 this year, to as far as Oct. 30.
“We won’t rest until every person, every business, every community can get back on their feet,” Ford said.
Earlier this month, the provincial government said that it is working with the federal administration to implement an upgraded Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. According to industry organizations, more than 20,000 landlords in Ontario – affecting approximately 44,500 commercial tenants – had applied for CECRA as of late August.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Canadian Millennials are more optimistic purchasing home despite of Pandemic

Scotiabank: Millennials hopeful about buying homes despite COVID-19

Ephraim Vecina
The Vancouver Sun

Compared to other demographics, Canadian millennials are more optimistic about purchasing a home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey by the Bank of Nova Scotia.

The 2020 Scotiabank Housing Poll found that around 18% of young Canadians in the 18-34 age range have “accelerated their plans” to buy their next homes or investment properties. However, roughly 32% of them said that they will only make their purchases once property prices drop.

Scotiabank said that these intentions are mainly driven by lower interest rates. Approximately 68% of those planning to buy will be using their savings, while 42% will be using the equity from their primary homes.

Millennials were also more optimistic (36%) about home price declines within the next 12 months, compared to 24% of those in the 35-54 age cohort and 17% of those older than 55 years old.

Additionally, better purchasing power fed into a greater appetite for renovations, with around 26% of Canadians considering major reworks in their current homes.

“The pandemic has caused many Canadians to turn their living rooms into classrooms, their dining rooms into offices, and their basements into home gyms,” said John Webster, head of real estate secured lending at Scotiabank. “This is motivating many to consider investing more in their current homes or re-evaluating their living spaces altogether.”




Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Renters are facing the threat of eviction during Pandemic

East Vancouver tenants threatened with eviction by indebted developer

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Tenants in East Vancouver are being pushed out to make way for a residential project, but the developer is allegedly saddled with hundreds of millions in unpaid loans.

Renters in the area’s Connacher House and The Carolina apartments are facing the threat of eviction, after developer PortLiving began purchasing properties in the vicinity starting 2018.

Among PortLiving’s plans for its upcoming six-storey Midtown Heritage residential building is to refurbish The Carolina and relocate the Conacher House to an area previously occupied by a soon to be demolished depot, News 1130 reported.

But the Vancouver Tenants Union said that PortLiving is adhering to just the “bare minimum” of the city’s tenant welfare policies.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic. There’s no rush to get these tenants out,” said Vince Tao, a member of the union’s steering committee. “What we want, really, is PortLiving to come to the table and give these tenants extra time.”

PortLiving said that it has “worked very hard with these tenants on solutions,” and that it has offered tenants six months’ worth of free rent. The developer also said that it has provided referrals to help them relocate.

But doubts about the developer’s ability to follow through on its promises are strong: Less than half a year ago, PortLiving founder Macario Reyes said in a sworn affidavit that the company did not have the ability to pay more than $400 million in loans. The document also pointed to an estimated $46 million owed to CMLS Financial and Aviva Insurance.

Nelia and Wilfredo Guevarra, both residents of The Carolina for more than 24 years, said that they have received a letter to vacate the property by the end of September. They also said that the developer has threatened them with a court bailiff “to enforce the eviction if necessary” – a move that the couple called “inhuman” considering the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Business tenants were not left unscathed. Andrew Lee, owner of the nearby Mt. Pleasant Return-It Depot, said that PortLiving has ignored his requests for a grace period while he’s setting up his new location.

“I’ve tried to really work with them and tried to be reasonable; I thought they were reasonable,” Lee said. “It’s just really heartbreaking, and they have no mercy.”


Copyright © 2020 Key Media