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Build Your Real Estate Empire With These REITs

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There’s never been a better time to be a lazy landlord with Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are battered as they are today. The COVID-19 crisis hit the real estate world ridiculously hard, and most REITs have barely recovered ground compared to most other stocks on the TSX Index. It’s not hard to see why REITs are so out of favour amid this pandemic.

Rent deferrals, decaying rent collection rates, and the longer-term fallout from this pandemic have weighed on REITs. As the world recovers from this crisis, though, many oversold REITs could be in a position to correct to the upside once rattled REIT investors recognize the value to be had in some of Canada’s most out-of-favour property plays.

Not all real estate sub-industries were impacted the same. COVID-19 landed a bigger hit to the chin of REITs with substantial office and retail property exposure. Think REITs like H&R REIT (TSX:HR.UN), down 55% year-to-date.

Other REITs were spared from taking on a brunt of the damage, such as CT REIT (TSX:CRT.UN), with its warehouse exposure and extreme concentration in the highly-liquid retailer Canadian Tire, a company that’s too liquid to have to miss a month’s rent.

Both the COVID-hit H&R REIT and the COVID-resilient CT REIT are great buys today for a barbell REIT portfolio.

H&R REIT

Having recently reduced its distribution, H&R REIT sports a bountiful, but relatively modest 6.7% yield. The fresh-cut distribution is now more sustainable, and if COVID-19 is conquered next year and H&R REIT can return to pre-pandemic rent collection normalcy, we could easily see the REIT boost its distribution by a significant amount.

For now, the diversified REIT, with its exposure to office and retail properties, is one of the more unattractive places to be in the entire market right now.

Over the three years, I think we’ll witness some reversion to the mean in demand for office and retail space. And with that, H&R REIT could correct upward as sharply as it did in the years that followed the Great Financial Crisis. Fellow Fool contributor Kay Ng is bullish on H&R REIT’s recovery prospects, and you should be too if you’re looking for passive income at a good valuation.

CT REIT

CT REIT is a retail and warehouse-focused play that’s done an outstanding job of holding its own amid the COVID-19 crisis. The REIT has demonstrated its resilience, with its 99.3% occupancy rate and rent collection rate, which bounced back to 98.5% in June.

In a prior piece, I highlighted CT REIT as a safer income-oriented way to play the strength of Canadian Tire’s balance sheet. CT REIT derives around 92% of its revenues from the highly-liquid retailer. Even if the pandemic were to worsen, Canadian Tire is very unlikely to ask for a rent deferral given the cash on its balance sheet and the better-than-expected resilience of its operating cash flow stream.

As one of the REITs least affected by this pandemic, CT REIT is a must-buy, preferably alongside a COVID-hit bargain like H&R REIT.

Shares of CRT sport a 5.7% yield, and the distribution is in a spot to continue growing at a modest rate, regardless of what ends up happening next with the pandemic.

Speaking of wonderful businesses, check out these picks curated by the team here at the Motley Fool Canada.

Source: – The Motley Fool Canada

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Why real estate prices continue to rise despite the pandemic – CBC.ca

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Last May, I wrote an opinion piece titled Time to buy? What the pandemic means for Vancouver’s real estate market where I explained that historically for every one per cent rise in unemployment there is a four per cent decrease in housing prices. 

However, this is not what has happened during the last several months. Between February and August this year the unemployment rate doubled while the Canadian housing market hit all-time highs.  

Homeowners who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were able to keep their homes thanks to various government income replacement programs and banks offering the option to defer mortgage payments. These initiatives bought struggling homeowners some time and allowed them to keep their homes off the market. 

At the same time, interest rates dropped.

This lowered the cost of borrowing for buyers and increased the amount of “house” they could qualify for. The lower rates increased demand at a time when supply was relatively low and, as a result, despite unemployment numbers doubling, the prices of real estate hit new highs. 

Several factors will affect upward trend

Whether the upward trend in real estate sales and prices continues will depend on several factors, such as: the severity of future waves of COVID-19; how quickly the economy can recover; and when our borders will reopen to immigration. However, what will have the most impact will be government action and the policies they implement to keep Canadians and the economy afloat. As long as government aid is flowing — which I think will continue until we have a vaccine and/or the economy is back on track — asset prices can keep rising.  

Financially, on average, Canadians are in better shape now than they were pre-pandemic. Household spending has dropped by 13 per cent, which has increased our savings rate by 28 per cent. The government income replacement programs were effective, but it appears they overshot a bit as for every dollar in salary lost due to the pandemic, the government replaced it with approximately $2.50.

Now that these programs are being dialled back, it will be interesting to see how the changes will affect the economy and housing market.

As for the seven per cent of B.C. mortgage holders who deferred their payments, I don’t think many will default on their mortgages. Some deferred not because they needed to, but because it was an option and they felt it prudent to save money just in case things turned really bad.

Others deferred due to temporary job loss, but then the government programs helped fill their income gap until they could return to work.

In both these cases, most of these mortgage holders should be able to resume their payments.

Homeowners at risk

Unfortunately, there are some homeowners who remain unemployed and may have to sell their homes once their mortgage payment deferral option comes to an end.

For those forced to sell there is at least a silver lining in that real estate prices have gone up, putting them in a better position today than six months ago. 

The group I consider most at risk are condo speculators. 

There has been a fundamental shift in what is deemed desirable in real estate. Now that the work-from-home movement is no longer a trend but a necessity, living close to your workplace isn’t as important as it used to be. The items that are on top of today’s buyers’ wish lists include a backyard and an extra room for a home office. 

Many people are selling their downtown condos and purchasing houses in the suburbs.

As a result, we have a tight detached home market while new listings for condos are surging — a trend that I can see not only continuing but accelerating in the near term.

This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.

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United Property Resource Corporation unlocks value of real estate assets held by Canada's largest land owners – Canada NewsWire

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The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is providing UPRC with a $20 million line of credit through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to be accessed for pre-development and pre-construction costs as it builds affordable housing across Canada. UPRC is committed to building a minimum of 5,000 new affordable housing units across the country over the next 15 years. This creates significant opportunity to repurpose assets and build sustainable communities.

UPRC has committed to ‘be building’ 1500 affordable units by 2025 and 5000 affordable units by 2035. That translates into approximately 20,000 new rental units within the same time period as many of these developments will be mixed income and mixed use ensuring much need community space will be incorporated.

“This is one of the largest opportunities to reimagine what our neighbourhoods could look like over the next 15 years and the common good that repurposing real estate can have on communities,” said Tim Blair, CEO, United Property Resource Corporation. “UPRC represents an exciting opportunity to fill a gap in the housing market across the country and advocate for progressive real estate models that are inclusive, environmentally and financially sustainable. None of this would be possible without the support from our partners; we are grateful to the Federal Government, and The United Church of Canada for their vision and commitment.”

UPRC will focus on providing affordable housing for Canadians in a range of housing types including housing for families. Many of UPRC’s projects will broaden housing choices, creating a unique opportunity to fill the “missing middle”, a range of housing types between single-detached houses and high-rise buildings that have gone missingfrom many of our cities in the last 60 to 70 years. As cities struggle to find ways to broaden housing choices, create walkable communities, and remain economically competitive, the missing middleis increasingly part of the discussion about intensification, complete communities, housing choices, and housing affordability.

The UCC undertook a national property inventory, in partnership with the CMHC, to assess the total real estate portfolio and create a strategy. The creation of a development corporation – UPRC – was a key tenet of the strategy.

“It’s incredible to see this vision come to fruition in the UPRC and to see the tremendous value it will bring to communities of faith across Canada,” said Nora Sanders, General Secretary of The United Church of Canada. “In the language that communities of faith would use, ‘this is the abundance that is available to create the world that we want to see'”.

The team of experts that make up UPRC today bring expertise in planning, development, investment banking, and business development. It has established partnerships with CMHC and The United Church of Canada.

Founded in 2019, UPRC brings professional real estate development and management expertise to communities of faith and non-profits to assist them in making astute decisions about their real estate while making lasting contributions to their communities. The development corporation collaborates with both public and private partners. To find out more, visit www.uprc.ca

SOURCE United Church of Canada

For further information: For more information, Backgrounder, Facts & Figures and Bios, please contact: Laura Currie Ryder, 416-317-9447, [email protected]

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http://www.united-church.ca/

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GAME PLAN: Redblacks centre Alex Mateas finds synergy in commercial real estate – Ottawa Sun

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Article content continued

With football gone – hopefully returning as scheduled in 2021 – Mateas and the rest of the CFLers feel like a part of their life has been taken away.

“I’ve never missed football the way I do now,” he said. “I feel like there’s a piece missing right now. Hopefully I can manifest that sense of competition through commercial real estate. But I’ve never wanted to put on the pads and hit somebody more than I do right now.”

With football on the back burner for now, Mateas will keep working out and doing off-season football activities, but he’s also sharply focused on the new business side of his life. He’s also thinking about his friends, his family and his fiancee Chelsea.

“There isn’t a better motivating factor that helps me wake up in the morning with fire,” he said. “It keeps me awake at night and wakes me up early in the morning.”

Then, there are his teammates – in business and in the locker room.

“The bond you create with your (football) teammates through the wins, through the adversity and through the physical contact, you can’t find a parallel to that anywhere,” he said. “You put your body on the line for the benefit of your teammates and it creates a brotherhood you can’t recreate anywhere.”

As for his role as part of the team at Cushman and Wakefield Ottawa, Mateas said: “I’ve been working toward this for three years. I’m absolutely loving it. I’ve got great teammates – in football and in business.”

The first overall pick in the 2015 CFL Draft (out of the University of Connecticut), Mateas is home grown. He grew up around the fields at old Lansdowne Park (with his dad Traian a well-known local soccer coach), going to Merivale High School and playing football for the Myers Riders, Cumberland Panthers and Ottawa Sooners.

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