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Canadian government releases more details regarding its five year Housing Supply Challenge

Federal government releases more details of five-year housing initiative

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Condo investor lost much of their down payments during Covid-19 pandemic – analysis

Condo buyers lost much of their down payments during the pandemic ? analysis

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

On average, Canadian condo buyers have lost more than three-quarters of their own down payments over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

In its review of the CREA figures, real estate information portal Better Dwelling said that the average Canadian condo price fell by 0.1% from April.

After taking insurance into account, and assuming a 5% down payment, this translates to an average of 78% of a condo buyer’s down payment lost. As a disclaimer, Better Dwelling said that this calculation did not include any possible payments over the period due to the widespread loss of income nationwide.

Using the same calculation, Toronto was found to be especially worse off. Average condo price decline from April was at 1.86%, translating to a negative 111.2% return in equity. Even including payments over the period only leads to around 0.827% equity.

“This is one of those cases where owners made payments to get barely above water,” Better Dwelling said.

The analysis warned that these trends have troubling implications for those who are looking to downsize due to the cost of condo upkeep.

“Being too broke to sell is a real thing. Buyers only default if they can’t sell in a timely fashion, after a bout of shock,” Better Dwelling said. “Selling isn’t free; there [are] a lot of costs involved – including agent commissions. The higher the value of the mortgage, relative to the value of the home, odds increase the buyer will have to pay to sell. If they can’t afford to sell, the odds of seller default increases.”


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

City of Vancouver, the lowest tax rate for commercial property among major Canadian cities

Vancouver, Calgary chop commercial property taxes

Frank O?Brien
Western Investor

Highlight on 2021 with regards emerging trends in Canadian real estate

What are the emerging trends for Canadian real estate in 2021?

Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News

Projections for 2020 went out the window by about the third week in February. What was supposed to be a year of restrained real estate sales and sluggish economic growth wound up generating both a full-on housing boom and a whiplash-inducing recession. The uncertainty of the past seven months makes projecting next year’s real estate activity a daunting challenge, but as 2021 draws near, any insight into what’s coming around the bend is sure to receive more than a passing glance from Canadian investors, realtors, and mortgage brokers.

PwC Canada and the Urban Land Institute recently teamed up to share their take on where Canadian real estate is headed in 2021. The groups’ Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, released on October 15, paints a picture of a housing market in which buyers, sellers, and developers have been forced to adjust to a plethora of destabilizing changes, from new short-term economic realities to market fundamentals that may be altered forever.

 “The coming year will be all about embracing opportunities to be resilient in the face of uncertainty, while shifting strategies in anticipation of market headwinds,” says Frank Magliocco, PwC Canada’s national real estate leader. “For the first time in a few years, we’re hearing divergent views from industry players about issues like the future of office spaces and the urbanization and suburbanization trends.”

Based on a collection of interviews and surveys with almost 3,000 commercial investors, real estate advisors, banks, and builders, the report, at 117 pages, is a rather gargantuan summation of the perceived trends shaping Canadian real estate. Here are a few of the most relevant highlights.

Residential real estate

There was little consensus around what might happen in the residential sector. Some respondents felt that urbanization could stall if remote work begins drawing people from densely populated and expensive cities to more affordable centres nearby. One Toronto developer reported having already adapted its strategy as a way of getting ahead of the urban exodus, resulting in looking “further afield” for development opportunities.

The urban exodus theory, however, is roundly contradicted by the fact that demand for low-rise homes in suburban locations has remained high throughout the pandemic. The report lists “18-hour cities” – vibrant metros that are international in flavour but not quite on the scale of Toronto – as being particularly attractive for homebuyers. Quebec City, Halifax, Waterloo, and London are provided as examples. Still, PwC expects housing activity to slow across Canada “at least for the next year.”

Concerns over condo prices were mostly confined to the GTA, but the softening currently affecting the city’s condo market is expected to be short-lived. Many interviewees were of the opinion that condo living itself might be in need of a rethink, as being cooped up in a 500-square-foot box has become a version of hell for people who spent much of the spring inside their units. 

“A number of features are being incorporated to make condos more attractive to buyers, such as videoconferencing rooms, dedicated areas for parcel and grocery deliveries, improved amenities and tools to create more connected communities,” reads the report.

When asked to rank their local markets on a scale of one to five across six different metrics, the top four were Toronto (with an average score of 4.23), Vancouver (4.22), Montreal (3.8), and Ottawa (3.56). The three lowest-ranked markets were Saskatoon (2.46), Halifax (2.58), and Calgary (2.61).

Commercial real estate

Somewhat unsurprisingly, warehousing and fulfillment was the commercial sub-sector tapped by most respondents as having the brightest prospects. The ubiquitousness of e-commerce was cited as a major factor, but those interviewed said that supply chain disruptions experienced by some companies during the pandemic have prompted them to keep more inventory on hand, leading to an increased need for storage space. Survey respondents gave the prospects of fulfillment spaces a ranking of 4.67 while those of warehouses received a 4.0.

Multifamily residential properties, particularly those for moderate income earners, are also expected to perform well in 2021. The report says demand may shift, “with renters and homebuyers looking to live in townhouses and mid-rise buildings rather than larger towers that have been the trend in urban centres in recent years”, but the higher rents associated with townhouses could keep many renters in this particular income range in place. Interviewees gave this asset class’s future a 3.79.

Medical office, which received a 3.75 from respondents, is another category expected to offer investors stability in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rise in the adoption of virtual health services but, as the report states, “there will be an ongoing need for physical space for care that can’t be delivered digitally as well as for diagnostic equipment.” One interviewee theorized that some healthcare facilities could take up unused space in high-traffic community locations like malls and smaller plazas.


Considering the rapid evolution of real estate technologies over the past decade, it’s not as if the industry in Canada was in need of an innovation trigger, but COVID-19 gave the sector a hearty shove into the future. One respondent said property-related technology “has accelerated by a decade” during the pandemic.

The same business continuity solutions – videoconferencing, cloud technologies – that have kept real estate humming are expected to generate continued demand in 2021, as are those that support safe re-openings of office and retail properties.  

Continued growth is expected to be seen in technologies that encourage customer engagement and sales, such as virtual tours, voice-activated devices that can guide buyers through a home, and pre-sale tools that help buyers whittle down their lists of prospective properties to visit.

But it was construction tech that respondents said would be the most impactful disruptor in 2021.

“Many interviewees believe that modular construction solutions that address labour shortages have reached the point where they make more sense from a cost perspective and are seeing greater adoption as a result,” the report says, adding that construction companies are showing heightened interest in “digital twin technologies” that use sensor data to improve design and construction processes.


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Homeowners – Will the end of forbearance mean a wave of foreclosures?

Will the end of forbearance mean a wave of foreclosures?

Ryan Smith

Sherrod Brown doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in Kathy Kraninger.

The Ohio Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee has repeatedly accused the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of putting corporations’ interests ahead of consumers and dropping the ball on mortgage relief awareness. He has also chastised her for reorganizing CFPB departments. Now Brown is calling on Kraninger to make sure the CFPB does more to prevent wrongful foreclosures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, the Mortgage Bankers Association estimated that 4.3 million homeowners were in forbearance programs as a result of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many of those homeowners have begun to exit forbearance or are nearing the end of the first 180-day forbearance period provided for borrowers with federally backed mortgages under the CARES Act. In a letter to Kraninger, Brown said that the end of forbearance could result in a wave of improper foreclosures.

“Some borrowers will be able to resume their regular payments by using the deferral or partial claim processes set up by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, or their private lender, in part because the [CFPB’s] June 2020 Interim Final Rule made changes in the servicing process to facilitate deferrals,” Brown wrote. “But other borrowers will be unable to resume their prior payments and will need more time to enter a modification with their servicer to make their payments more affordable.”

However, the mortgage modification process can take time, and Brown worried that during that time, servicers “may already be putting borrowers on track for foreclosure.”

“Under current rules, servicers can begin the foreclosure process when a borrower becomes 120 days delinquent,” Brown wrote. “While the CARES Act provides that servicers are not to report borrowers as delinquent to credit reporting agencies if the loan was current before entering forbearance, servicers and agencies backing federally-backed loans still consider borrowers delinquent for servicing purposes during forbearance under the CFPB’s servicing rules. As a result, at the end of the first 180-day forbearance period, a borrower could immediately be considered eligible for and a servicer could pursue foreclosure if the forbearance is not renewed.”

While servicers are required to reach out to borrowers prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings, “those timelines may be shorter than the 120-day period that typically precedes a foreclosure,” Brown wrote. “In addition, if a servicer begins foreclosure prior to satisfying those requirements, a homeowner cannot rely on those rules to delay the foreclosure and seek assistance.”

In addition, Brown said, the large number of borrowers servicers will need to contact within a short time frame may make it “difficult to ensure that outreach is timely, successful, and meets program requirements.”

“It is unlikely that borrowers will understand how quickly foreclosure could begin,” Brown said. “If servicers begin the foreclosure process before the borrower has an opportunity to either extend their forbearance or be evaluated for an appropriate modification, it could add unnecessary costs for borrowers, make it harder to complete a request for assistance, and risk triggering foreclosures that could threaten families’ and neighborhoods’ recovery from the pandemic.”

Brown asked Kraninger to arrange a staff briefing “to better understand what steps the CFPB will take to ensure that no borrower who is able to remain in their homes is improperly foreclosed upon or further financially burdened during this pandemic.”



Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

B.C construction employment slumped by 6.8 % during pandemic

B.C. construction workers miss job recovery

WI Staff
Western Investor