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Teranet partnership takes real estate insights to new heights

Nearmap Ltd. Joins Teranet in real estate information provider

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

A Canadian provider of information systems for the real estate, legal, and financial services industries, has announced a high-flying new partnership.

Teranet will work with aerial imagery and location data experts at Nearmap Ltd, to deliver a suite of complimentary new products to the market that leverage Teranet core competency in reliable land and property data and Nearmap’s suite of new revolutionary imagery products.

“We are very excited about this partnership. Combining Nearmap’s advanced imagery capabilities with Teranet’s expertise in real estate and property insights creates so many possibilities for our organizations”, said John Robinson, VP, Commercial Solutions at Teranet. “This synergistic partnership will enable our organizations to deliver complimentary solutions to a broad range of customers and significantly extends our capabilities across Canada.”

Nearmap is one of the 10 largest aerial survey companies in the world. The Australian firm regularly captures wide-scale urban areas in Australia, New Zealand, and the US multiple times each year.

“This partnership between Nearmap and Teranet brings together crucial information from the ground and in the air for anyone making land and property decisions,” said Patrick Quigley, Executive Vice President and GM of International Partnerships and Expansion. “We are excited to partner with Teranet to bring an industry leading set of rich Canadian based content and solutions to customers.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Warning for real estate, mortgage pros as cyber attacks increase

Cybersecurity training need for real estate

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Real estate agencies and mortgage firms may be leaving themselves exposed to cyber attacks by not taking some simple steps.

A new report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority says that   71% of more than 500 individuals with responsibility for IT security decisions across multiple Canadian business sectors said their organization had been impacted by at least once cyber incident last year.

The impact includes time and resources, out of pocket expenses, and even paying ransoms.

“Now more than ever, Canadians need trust in the internet. We believe that security is the foundation of that trust which is why we have leveraged our experience safeguarding the .CA domain to help Canadian organizations protect themselves and their users,” said Byron Holland, president and CEO, CIRA, which is running its Cybersecurity Awareness Month throughout October.

The report found that 96% of respondents said that cybersecurity awareness training was at least somewhat effective in reducing incidents, but only 22% conducted the training monthly or better; and just 41% of respondents have mandatory cybersecurity awareness training for all employees.

Reporting requirements Many of the respondents (43%) were unaware of their responsibilities regarding reporting of cyber incidents as part of PIPEDA.

Of those businesses that were subject to a data breach, only 58% reported it to a regulatory body; 48% to their customers; 40% to their management and 21% to their board of directors.

“While technical solutions are important, the best layer of security for any organization are cyber-aware employees,” said Jacques Latour, chief security officer, CIRA. “We are happy to see more organizations embracing cybersecurity awareness training as a critical element of their defense. However, there is more work to be done to ensure the quality and rigor of the training offered keeps pace with the ever-changing world of cybersecurity.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Canadian housing activity benefits greatly from population growth

Population growth continues to drive Canadian condo market activity

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

A significant driver of Canada’s housing dynamism is its population growth, taking into account the latest sales figures from major markets.

Statistics Canada data showed that the national population expanded by 531,497 to roughly 37.6 million in July, ending up as the greatest year-over-year increase registered since the 1970s.

A RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger earlier this year found that Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary have all been ranked among the 10 best cities to live in across the world. Much of their attractiveness lies in their population growth and other positives like healthcare, education, retail availability, and ease of transport.

These factors tend to outweigh the impact of higher prices, according to RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada executive VP Christopher Alexander.

“While price and value are always top of mind for buyers, there are some aspects about a home that you can’t change,” Alexander stated at the time. “These liveability factors are what make your home more than just the place you live.”

Condo markets in these leading Canadian cities have accelerated significantly this fall, especially when compared to other major cities south of the border.

Last month alone, benchmark prices in Toronto went up by 5.2% annually to $805,500. This was only about $10,000 below the record highs achieved around two years ago, Bloomberg reported.

And even though Vancouver prices have exhibited a downward trend over the last few months, sales activity intensified by a massive 46% year-over-year, making September the third straight month of sales growth.

Even Calgary, which is still recovering from the catastrophic effects of the oil industry turmoil seen from 2015 onwards, enjoyed an 8.2% annual increase in sales in September.

To compare, the traditionally hot Manhattan market has been labouring under a steady sales slowdown over the past two years. During the third quarter, resale prices for Manhattan condos and co-ops shrunk by 8% annually.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

This year’s sales continue to outstrip 2018’s, amid weaker starts

Slow housing starts not affecting sales

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Despite signs of housing starts losing steam, Canada’s home sales remain stronger compared to last year and the early months of 2019.

“This continues to reflect strong demographic demand, both from international inflows and new households created within Canada,” Bank of Montreal senior economist Robert Kavcic told The Canadian Press.

“There’s a lot of homebuilding activity going on across the vast majority of Canada.”

The number of transactions is expected to continue growing, amid significant boosts from lower rates and a growing consumer population.

The Canadian Real Estate Association recently adjusted its 2019 resale forecast up to 482,000 units, around 5% higher from 2018.

“Canada’s housing sector is back on the front foot with resales picking up as the year progresses and homebuilding activity clearly displaying some momentum,” RBC senior economist Josh Nye stated.

“Ontario, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada are on the rebound while the trend in BC and Quebec remains strong despite slower starts in the last month or two.”

The pace of Canadian housing starts in September was markedly lower on a month-over-month basis, according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new home construction stood at 221,202 units in September, decelerating by 2.5% from August’s 226,871 reading.

Experts have earlier predicted an annual pace of 214,500 for the month, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Urban starts also declined by 2.4% to 208,503 units, although apartments, condos, and other multi-unit developments ticked down by just 0.2% to 159,742. Meanwhile, single-detached starts in urban markets fell by 9.2% to 48,761 units.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Parasitic housing could become infectious

Tiny homes built on other buildings an architectural option for crowded urban centres

The Province

Picture Toronto’s CN Tower covered in clusters of barnacle-like pods, extending upward on one of Canada’s most celebrated tourist attractions.

A 2017 conceptual proposal by Toronto architectural firm Quadrangle would see prefabricated wooden cubes clinging to the tower’s concrete, creating residential units of varying sizes and layouts, offering unparalleled views of the city and Lake Ontario.

As affordability grows as a concern in dense urban centres all over the world, so-called parasitic homes — those that latch onto, in between or inside existing structures — could become the way of the future.

Earlier this year, Ecuadorean firm El Sindicato built a little house of glass and steel on the rooftop of another building in the Quito neighbourhood of San Juan. It includes a bed, bathroom, kitchen, storage space and living space in 12 square metres.

Marc Richard, a freelance graphic designer, lives in a similarly sized shed within a decommissioned factory in the Battersea district of London. For Richard, the experience has made him rethink the future of city living and the idea of home.

“Things could be on wheels, like the shed, or you could have flexible spaces, adaptable spaces, perhaps buildings which are modular and you could shrink them down when you need to,” Richard told the BBC.

While expanding on available external or internal space of buildings is not new, parasitic additions contrast deliberately from their host structures by purposefully introducing different colours, materials and styles to stand out.

“This is what the idea of parasiting the city is about,” said Teresa Bardzinska-Bonenberg, an architectural historian at Poland’s University of Arts in Poznan.

“People have now much more inspiration, materials, tools and courage to express themselves.”

She said as more and more city structures earn heritage designations and become exempt from alterations, less space is available for affordable housing, which means architects have to get creative.

While the CN Tower isn’t in danger of becoming a makeshift condo any time soon, one can only imagine what the future of modular housing will look like for Canada’s growing urban centres.

And what a small wooden box attached to the side of a building in Toronto would cost.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Stratas obliged to ensure safe access for all residents

Stratas obliged to ensure safe access for all

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

I live in a condo apartment building that was completed in 1995. We have 48 units over eight floors.

Our family has lived in the building since day one, but our community is rapidly aging and we find ourselves facing some new challenges.

Our underground parking is easily accessible off the main street and anyone with a walker or wheelchair uses the main gate to our parking garage, but we do not have an isolated walkway area or separate door for access. Owners are growing more concerned each day that the age and physical limitations of the owners, and the lack of lighting and shelter over the garage entry present safety risks and it is only a matter of time before a resident is injured. 

Several owners have requested a modification to our front entry to ensure owners have safe, well-lit access in a covered area that also has a security camera.  This would require a minor modification to our front area to level the walk to eliminate one small step and the installation of an automatic front entry door system. 

We took this to a meeting of the owners with a total estimate for the cost of $18,500, including the door activator to our front lobby and the parking garage lobby, security FOBS and the concrete grading of our walk to eliminate the step to meet the building code. 

One owner insisted that people who can’t make the step or open the door shouldn’t be living in our building and convinced enough owners to vote against the alterations. 

How do we resolve this issue before a resident suffers the consequences? 

Elizabeth Millar

Dear Elizabeth:

Every strata corporation in B.C. must comply with the provisions of the B.C. Human Rights Code. Part of that code has the requirement, up to the point of undue hardship on the owners, to accommodate access to facilities and common property of the strata corporation. 

Undue hardship is measured as an extreme financial imposition or condition that would not be reasonable or possible for the owners to meet. An example of that may be the installation of an elevator in a building where no such elevator existed and the cost would be excessive and cause a hardship to the owners.

There are many examples of access or accommodation for special needs that have been ordered by the Human Rights Tribunal and your building would be no exception. Conversions of doors handles to levers, installation of FOB-activated door entries, alterations to strata lots exempt from bylaws, modifications for access of common areas and main entries of buildings, and continuous operation of the remote door activation system are all decisions where strata corporations have been ordered to permit an alteration or pay for the alteration to ensure access. 

Whether an owner or occupant knew about the limitations before they moved in or their physical conditions have changed is irrelevant. It is the obligation of the strata corporation to accommodate wherever possible to ensure safe access.

Like all conflicts, whether they relate to maintenance and repair of buildings, fair treatment of owners, tenants and occupants or access to common property and strata lots, the most prudent and inexpensive course of action is for your strata corporation to make this decision before an owner or tenant files a complaint.

Every time a strata corporation fails to meet a lawful obligation, with the result of a tribunal or court intervention, the costs simply balloon. Take control of the matter and make the decision. 

Your building is not unusual. There are many strata corporations that refuse to upgrade their entry systems and force the occupants to use the parking garage driveway and underground for direct access. They are essentially treating persons with limited accessibility as different classes of persons. No one should be intimidated into feeling guilty because they are requesting their strata upgrade access to their homes.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.