Well, fall has officially arrived.
If the house you’re about to buy is going to be under water in 30 years, should that be disclosed during the sale?
Chris Chopik says “yes.” The Toronto real estate agent has been calling for years for a climate risk assessment to be added to real estate listings in Canada the same way that data is readily available on the ease of walking from any address. He said these conversations need to become commonplace and factored into a property’s value.
“For sure, I would say consumers should consider where they’re buying, and what they’re buying, in the context of climate risk,” he told CBC News.
“So if I’m buying seaside, I’d rather buy high. Let me get a seaside cliff, not a seaside beach.”
This type of information has become more accessible in the United States in recent years, and it’ll likely be available for Canadian properties soon.
At a time when the United Nations is warning that climate change will bring more extreme weather events, it’s already raising questions about who will be able to move to areas of relative safety, and who will be left behind.
A company in the San Francisco area, Climate Check, launched a website about 18 months ago offers a free report on risks posed to any U.S. address from climate change.
An address’s risk is ranked from 0, the least risky, to 100, the most risky. More detailed reports are available for a fee. Users can also read more general breakdowns of the risks for each state. Earlier this month, Climate Check’s risk ratings were added to every listing on real estate brokerage Redfin’s website.
The company is working on a site for Canada which could be launched early next year, principal Cal Inman told CBC News.
“I think realtors are using it as a tool to answer questions that they’re getting every day from homebuyers,” Inman said. “In particular, younger generations are asking these questions. It’s top of mind.”
Another group called First Street Foundation has an online tool called Flood Factor, which can provide a flood risk assessment for any U.S. address.
In Calgary, Chopik said, some of this data has been available to agents for the better part of the last decade. Real estate services company Pillar 9 provides flood mapping data to realtors through the Calgary Real Estate Board.
The catastrophic flood of 2013, which killed five Calgarians and caused $5 billion in damage, prompted the board to start providing this data, according to Pillar 9 CEO Shane Griffin. But he said he doesn’t believe the data has had a big impact on the market or affected home prices in areas that are more vulnerable to flooding.
“From what we see for transactions, would it stop somebody from buying a house? I don’t think it would,” Griffin said in an interview.
“But would it potentially give them that knowledge that they need to safeguard the property or ensure that their insurance is correct, or any of that other work that they should do? Yeah, it gives them the opportunity to be proactive.”
Chelsea Mann is president of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association in British Columbia, an area where wildfires have raged this year.
She said agents don’t have access to any general data about a property’s wildfire risk and don’t get many questions about it. During fire season, there are many resources for people to check on active fires and smoke forecasts, she said.
“This year, obviously, has been extreme,” Mann said in an interview. “And we have had a few years in the past that we reference — you know, 2003 and 2017. But in between, it’s a little interesting that people almost forget.”
Other experts and academics, however, say climate change may already be reshaping some housing markets and could even create new types of gentrification.
Jesse M. Keenan, an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University’s School of Architecture in New Orleans, studies the ways that climate change affects housing and real estate markets.
He was one of the authors of a 2018 case study which found that since 2000, homes in Miami at a higher elevation have appreciated in value more than homes at lower elevations.
“There’s examples all around the world, where different shifts of population are crowding out people when they move because of climate change, stress or shock,” he said in an interview.
Another example is Chico, Calif., where rent prices increased after a neighbouring town burned to the ground in 2018, Keenan said.
“It’s basically climate gentrification.”
He said tools like Climate Check and Flood Factor will have both positive and negative impacts. The good thing is that people will know what to expect, and investment can be steered away from high-risk areas.
“Of course, for the people that live there, that will mean that we run the risk of people being trapped, or maybe having [a] decline in their home equity or their valuation of their homes because they become less desirable,” he said.
Andy Yan, the urban planner and Simon Fraser University professor who rang the alarm about vacant condos and the impact of foreign buyers in Vancouver, said this phenomenon could further inflate housing prices in Canada.
In 2014, he proposed that Vancouver, the least affordable market in North America, was attractive to wealthy foreign buyers not because of its job market or cultural cachet, but because of its stability.
The same thing could happen in Canadian cities that are relatively safe from the worst effects of climate change, Yan said in an interview. And then there are the regions that will become unsafe.
Deailed data is not yet available on which neighbourhoods or towns in Canada will be hardest hit by climate change. But the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides some clues about which areas of the country will be most affected.
Canada’s Arctic, which is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, will see a longer fire season, the report said. There will be more severe heat waves across North America, which create more severe fire conditions. People who live in cities will feel the impact of higher temperatures acutely because they will be exacerbated by air pollution and smoke from fires.
Coastal communities are expected to see severe flooding throughout the rest of the century. But Ontario and parts of Quebec are also very likely to experience more rainfall as well as extreme precipitation, causing floods even in places that don’t normally flood.
“What we found out with [Hurricane] Katrina was, the first people to move were those who can afford it. And then those who couldn’t were stuck there,” Yan said, referring to the 2005 hurricane.
He said Canadians need to start demanding “political courage” from all levels of elected leadership to mitigate the impact of climate change on housing and infrastructure and more policies like taxes on foreign buyers and empty homes.
“We just can’t afford to surrender,” he said.
Annie Preston, the head of data at Climate Check, said she was struck by how widespread the impact of climate change will be. She said everyone’s instinct is to say that the place they live in won’t be affected.
“Especially looking at the heat risks that we calculate, like everywhere is so subject to really significant increases in heat, which is actually the deadliest hazard so far,” she said in an interview with CBC.
“It just drives home how there’s no safe place. I mean, that sounds dark but I think it’s a positive thing too, helping people understand that we’re interconnected and there’s not necessarily [any] escaping from this. There’s only working forward together.”
Well, fall has officially arrived.
The election is over, the air is finally crisp, and the leaves are starting to turn. It feels like a new chapter is before us.
Following a relatively slow summer, the real estate market has reawakened, with buyers and their agents zooming from showing to showing, sellers and their agents prepping houses to bring to market, all while everyone else is doing their best to keep the calm.
Managing expectations while leaving room for the market to work its alchemy is pretty much the name of the game these days.
Even with the welcome surge of new activity, Toronto is still besieged by the tightest real estate market in recent memory. Active listings are at a 25-year low while demand, bolstered by record-low interest rates, remains fierce. These market conditions don’t bode well for those clinging to the hope that prices will come down any time soon.
If anything, we are already seeing signs that the dramatic growth we have witnessed in the freehold market is now taking root in the condo market, the last front for would-be homeowners now priced out of proper houses in the 416 and 905. If you can’t afford a house in the city and your job requires you to show up to work in-person, your options are limited — one can understand the logic in taking advantage of the low rates while you can and buying what you can afford versus continuing to rent in an equally tight market with rents almost totally back to pre-pandemic levels.
The good news is the election is now over and we may finally have some reprieve from the hollow discussions around how best to confront Canada’s housing (un)affordability crisis. With the Liberals now granted another four years to implement their election promises, it will be interesting to see how that shakes out given that a number of their proposals seemed awfully challenging to deliver.
Think you’re likely to see that Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights come into effect any time soon? Doubtful since it’s a federal policy and the real estate industry is regulated by the provinces. If blind bidding is going to be banned, and I honestly don’t see how it can, it’s going to take years of consultation in order to land on the process to stand in its place, and a regulatory system to enforce it.
Instead, I would expect to see them to swiftly follow through on their promise to freeze foreign home purchases since that won’t take much more than the stroke of a pen. If so, I would also expect to see increased foreign buyer activity until such a time, particularly in the condo sector, which will, at least in the short term, drive demand and contribute to rising prices.
The other aspect of the platform most experts anticipate will be coming will be the Liberal pledge to increase the cut-off for insured mortgages from $1M to $1.25M, effectively punching up buyers’ spending power. Forgetting for a moment that all that will functionally do is allow people to compete with one another for the same homes by spending more, which will in turn be yet another element driving demand, in the short term it may have some unintended consequences.
While some buyers may take a beat and wait for their spending power to increase, we might also see sellers do the same, which will further limit inventory and drive-up prices in the short term.
The reality is that Toronto is not unique — housing affordability in major cities is a global problem.
How best to address the crisis is an ongoing conversation happening in countries and cities all over the world. Canada is only just getting started.
Freed Zachary Benjamin & Dianna Marie from Datkuliak Daniel L & Donald E & James W, 4696 Fohl St SW, $125,000.
Freed Zachary Benjamin & Dianna Marie from Datkuliak Daniel L & Donald E & James W, 4720 Fohl St SW, $125,000.
Fritz Travis W from Ames Jack W & Bonita L, 7853 Hudson Dr SW, $285,000.
PSPR Properties LLC from Lee’s hunt’in Shackinc, 702 Main St N, $50,000.
Skibicki Rolland & Pamela from Vancamp Judith C, 216 4th St NE, $125,000.
Alspach John Jr & Carol from Schalmo Properties Inc, 930 Cabot Dr, $41,900.
Hercheck Steven J from Klein Peter N, 555 Market St W, $92,500.
Holderbaum Beth S from Fulton Landings Development LLC, 318 Alexis LN, $356,553.
Mamj Properties LLC from Schalmo Properties Inc, parcel 10009478 Portage St NW, $150,000.
Yeary Lisa M from Huntley Kristen E, 2044 Ellsworth Dr, $246,000.
Aces Real Estate Inc from Goodyear Bank, 4140 Portage St NW, $500,000.
Aowad Ryan & Ashley from Staley James & Sherrie K, 8375 Audubon St NW, $320,000.
Bajormas Joseph J & Mary Beth from Ridgeview Development Co Inc, parcel 1630311 Chermont St NW, $79,000.
Biasella Matthew E & Ashley L from Tank Bradley D & Alexandra v, 7247 Bentham Cir NW, $345,500.
Blackstock Stefan C & Denise M from Mckimm Lisa, 3316 Broadhaven Ave NW, $190,000.
Bradshaw Timothy J & Karen C from Bagwell Eric M & Jill E, 8341 Blue Heron Cir NW, $530,000.
Curtis Susan K from Aman James P & Denise J, 5949 Freitag St NW, $200,000.
Curtis Susan K from Aman James P & Denise J, parcel 1602779 Libbie St NW, $200,000.
Dale Sally M Trustee & from Braucher Daniel J Trustee, 7626 Wales Ave NW, $925,200.
Dale Sally M Trustee from Dale Sally M Trustee &, 7626 Wales Ave NW, $925,200.
Emley William W Sr & Christine A from Samsa Charles A, 2222 Duncannon Ave NW, $270,000.
Gillespie Nicholas R from Chine Jeffrey L & Gillespie Pamela A, 7993 Oakdale St NW, $112,500.
He Ying from Masidonski Lauren M, 3614 Barrington PL NW, $158,000.
Hines Matthew Spencer from Divvy Homes Warehouse I LLC, 1266 Concord St NW, $100,000.
Holmes Sonya A & James P from Waltman Carol E, 8273 Edmund Court Cir NW, $380,000.
Impagliozza Donald J & Jane A from France Jerry G & Mareno Richard M II, 2245 Devonshire Dr NW, $299,900.
Khan Saadat A & Karamat Anum from Rubin Barbara L & Dickson Pamela S Ttees, 4106 Lochness Cir NW, $525,000.
Kibler Christopher & Carly from Vanderlind Gary S & Lisa A Trustees of T, 8663 Regency Dr NW, $675,000.
King Lindsay A from Huston John E III, 8893 Traphagen St NW, $128,000.
Lawrence Mark from Scassa Antonio R, 3508 Cardiff Ave NW, $220,000.
Lemin Ian K & Sara L Ttees from Jane Zito Designs LLC, 7032 Emerson Cir NW, $830,022.
Lindesmith Zachary Jeff & Jeff from Weaver Christ, 6674 Hills and Dales Rd NW, $110,000.
Mellion Mark L & Amber L from Jain Kantilal N & Bhagwanti K, 3357 Hadrian Cir NW, $360,000.
Miller Michael D from Minor Christopher S, 5947 Westlake BLVD NW, $165,000.
Miller Michael D from Minor Christopher S, parcel 1604187 Sterling St NW, $165,000.
Monaco Nathan A & Aimee B from Jane Zito Designs LLC, 7235 Greenview Ave NW, $872,873.
Oakes Javin from Oakes Edward T., 7816 Daytona St NW, $185,000.
Pachan Ben & Kate from Linton David K & Deborah L Trustees of T, 3328 Waterford Ave NW, $333,220.
Parks Kyle & Mary from Petit Mark A & Lori J, 7680 Killeen St NW, $712,000.
Romans David E & Dorinda M from Boch Robert C & Helen M, 8093 Winterwood Ave NW, $149,000.
Roush Chad & Heather from Moore Johnathon & Jessica, 6685 Hillfield St NW, $195,900.
Russell Daniel Thomas & Heather Armsey from Tonsky Thomas A & Beth A, 6735 Thicket St NW, $357,250.
Sherer Steven D II & Linda Ann from Rodriguez Castillo Vanessa A & Rodas Man, 7403 Hawksfield Ave NW, $375,000.
Smith David W & M Lynn Co-Trustees from Salter Bryce J, 6968 Knight St NW, $212,000.
Tanda Construction LLC from Kelly Joseph, 5093 West BLVD NW, $140,000.
Vail Capital Group LLC from Carlone Brian M & Lynn A, 6990 Hills and Dales Rd NW, $230,000.
Vretas James & Kathryn from Cross Timberlands LLC, parcel 10012362 Nottinghill Cir NW, $370,000.
Boak Marlesa Marie & Keith R from Madzia Cindy Sue & Bing Karen Elaine, 15021 Penford St NW, $150,000.
Luther Michael & Aurora E from Lincoln Joseph W, 136 Thomas BLVD NW, $46,000.
Mitchell Courtney & Seth from Ammond Timothy J & Jennifer A, 4795 Alabama Ave NW, $425,000.
Tharp Eric Shane & Jenni Lynn from Tissot Chelsie, 15391 Orrville Rd NW, $210,000.
Aaron Corban J from Moyer Geraldine B, 869 Amherst Rd NE, $60,000.
Arnold N Brewer Associates LLC from Praxis Properties LLC, 2212 Courtland Ave NW, $66,000.
Bourquin Nichole from Harwig Marc A, 142 Penn Ave SE, $32,500.
Brinkley Property Group LLC from Hercules Holding Collc, 2770 Erie St S, $935,000.
Dicicoo Joseph & Kelsey from Braneky Stephen L &Frieda J, 2536 Valleywood Ave NE, $273,750.
Glick Josiah W from Spencer Kathleen D, 1334 3rd St SE, $30,003.
JJ Canton Rentals LLC from Schnabel Investments LLC, 517 8th St SW, $440,000.
Jones Lemuel T & Connie S from Jre Homes LLC, 1801 Forest Ave SE, $79,900.
Layth & Ayah Properties LLC from Meinhart Patricia A, 2005 Clearview Dr NE, $140,000.
Loudiana Michael J from Gorcoff Dennis M & Susan J, 1488 Pebble Chase Cir NE, $189,000.
Mccoy Todd A from Diacontonas Zachary M, 146 25th St NW, $129,000.
Miller David P & Dream G from Mccleary Ladonna & Boyd Beth, 325 12th St SW, $109,900.
Mullet Merle & Lena from Guilliams Ashley L, 805 32nd St NW, $118,000.
Reality Renovations LLC from Green Mountain Holdings Cayman Ltd, 1161 Bradford Rd NE, $210,000.
Rey Timothy C from Mishler Kelly J, 475 27th St NW, $141,500.
Ruth Jeremy G from Lec Investments LLC, 1117 Tremont Ave SE, $45,000.
Salopek Anthony from Highben Edward A Jr & Carolynnanne M, 667 Young Ave SE, $23,500.
Salopek Anthony from Highben Edward A Jr & Carolynnanne M, parcel 608343 Young St SE, $23,500.
Schilling Birchard L from Hoffner Christopher T, 1420 Forest Ave SE, $84,900.
Baker Anthony S from Riley Homes LLC & Exteriors Plus LLC, 3163 List St NW, $200,000.
Baltzly Andreas from Douglass Jason P & Macy D, 1021 Market St NE, $159,900.
Burke Michael W & Marcoguiseppe from NVR Inc D/B/A Ryan Homes, 6985 Gauntlet St SW, $240,175.
Davis Rebecca J & Robert M from Daugherty Karen S, 5514 Perry Hills Dr SW, $200,000.
Dennis James A from Dennis James A & Robert L, 3232 Rayanna St NW, $40,000.
Duffy Taylor Brooke & from Strock Kelly, 4908 14th St SW, $130,000.
Foradas Alyssa & Mcmullin Corey from Rescomm Property Investments LLC, 3985 Greenford Ave SW, $180,000.
Garrett Raquel L from Warth Michael J, 321 Elmford Ave SW, $103,675.
Gess Emanuel from Belliveau Matthew & Kristina, 1500 Jackson Ave NW, $210,000.
J & K Rental Management LLC from Bowlus Realty Ltd, 1733 Perry Dr SW, $265,000.
JJ Canton Rentals LLC from Schnabel Robert R Jr Trustee / Robert R, 5401 Richville Dr SW, $184,000.
Kaminski Cassidy M from Murray Tina M, 515 Highland Ave SW, $144,900.
Kubiak Michael C IV from Sampsel Lindsey D, 4909 Lynncrest St SW, $130,000.
Laney Joshua C & Mast Sydney R from Laney Charles J Ttee, 2524 Nottingham St NW, $201,000.
Loudon Nathan A & Erica from NVR Inc D/B/A Ryan Homes, 6128 Lavenham Rd SW, $270,125.
Lynch 3125 LLC from Braun Stuart R, 3125 Lynch St SW, $80,000.
Nations Lending Corporation from Long Joseph S, 4742 17th St NW, $80,000.
Nations Lending Corporation from Long Joseph S, parcel 4301227 Woodlawn Ave NW, $80,000.
NVR Inc A Virginia Corporation DBA from Dehoff Agency Inc, 6109 Lavenham Rd SW, $60,000.
NVR Inc D/B/A Ryan Homes from R L Deville Holdings Ltd, 6913 Gauntlet St SW, $47,895.
Piatko Jeffery A from Rohleder Ryan A & Alicia, 5387 Aquarius St SW, $205,000.
PNC Bank National Association from RCK Properties LLC, 5240 Emil Ave SW Unit 102, $26,000.
Slutz Jacob from Schnabel Luke C & Kaley, 5525 Richville Dr SW, $225,000.
Smith Cole Jason from Hirschman Julie S, 1215 Delverne Ave SW, $139,900.
Swisher Jerry L & Susan L from File Lila, 319 Zern Ave SW, $72,000.
Walker Lisa Marie from Flagg Michael R & Annmarie L, 3751 Mollane St NW, $185,000.
Garvin Jewell L from Garvin Wesley J & Jewell L, 5877 Smith Rd SW, $195,000.
Hershberger Aden S & Clara N from Grady Jack C & Shell Deborah H, 14909 Wynncrest St SW, $310,000.
Mast Benjamin M from Miller Milo J, parcel 6700326 Navarre Rd SW, $677,000.
Miller Kobe A & Brittany A from Hershberger Nancy L, 805 West CT, $178,500.
Zeigler Tamara L from Brewster Estates LLC, 460 First St SW Lot #64, $6,000.
Neitz Nicholas from Romar Chris P & George P, 923 Highlander St NW, $72,500.
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