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Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate opens at Concordia University – Concordia University News

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A first-of-its-kind in Canada, the Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate has opened at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. The centre will be a hub for teaching and research on commercial and residential real estate.

“Real estate is a very sophisticated industry, requiring an awful lot of talent and knowledge from the people who enter the workforce,” says Jonathan Wener, BComm 71, chairman of Canderel and Concordia chancellor, whose $10 million gift to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now created the centre. “My hope is that our centre will provide the education and backing that our students need in a very demanding world.”

The real estate industry is one of the single largest contributors to Canada’s gross domestic product and an area of great interest to students. The centre’s main goals are to:

  • Train the next generation of real estate professionals by providing students with the cutting-edge knowledge and real-world experience they need to succeed in the field;
  • Drive innovation through knowledge creation and provide real estate leaders with insights into an evolving market and industry;
  • Provide industry players and employees with training and tools to adapt and excel.

“The Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate is going to add great momentum for Concordia because of its uniqueness and because of its relevance,” says Concordia President Graham Carr. “We are grateful that our chancellor made his transformative gift to allow generations of students to make a dynamic contribution to Canadian society, to Canadian business and to the world in which we live.”

Michel Deslauriers, BComm 85, director of the Jonathan Wener Centre for Real Estate and a finance lecturer at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, says demographic trends, technological advancements, environmental and, most recently, health concerns have brought about changes in the real estate industry.

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Toronto Real Estate: Rental Prices Continue to Go Down – RE/MAX News

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The Toronto real estate market has a reputation for being hot! Jam-packed with amenities, there are so many reasons why homebuyers and renters flock to this dynamic, metropolitan city.

Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused shifts for some parts of the market. For instance, no longer are certain segments eager to rent in the Toronto market, leading to sliding rental prices. Further, precautions to ensure safety during the virus even caused some to reevaluate their current lifestyles, impacting activity within the Toronto rental market as a whole.

RELATED READING: Is Toronto in store for a condo buyer’s market this fall?

Here are some of the trends in the Toronto condo market which could explain why rental prices continue to trend downwards:

Toronto Real Estate Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic

A sharp contrast to the purchasing market which seemed to rebound in a few months and had record-high sales in September, the Q2 rental market in Toronto was clearly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has had prolonged effects on this segment of the market overall. By the end of the second quarter, there were 24.8 per cent fewer apartment rentals on the market compared to Q2 of 2019.

State of Toronto Rental Prices

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), in Q2 the average one-bedroom condominium apartment rent was $2,083, down five per cent from Q2 2019. Meanwhile, the average two-bedroom condominium apartment was renting for $2,713, which is a 5.6-per-cent decrease from the same quarter the previous year.

There are several reasons why rental prices are being pushed down in the Toronto market:

  • Condo supply has brought a lot of inventory back to the market.
  • Job loss during the pandemic could have reduced financial power for renters, causing many to stop searching.
  • Restrictions on showing homes could have also halted renters from searching for an appropriate unit.
  • Less migration due to COVID-19 border control has resulted in fewer new immigrants renting in the city.
  • Students have been spending less time in the city due to post-secondary school closures or the shift toward online learning models.

Rising Toronto Rental Inventory

As the virus raged on, there was a continuation of rental listings versus rental transactions, leading to growth of the overall market. This has resulted in less competition in the market due to increased inventory and perhaps lowered demand thanks to changing housing preferences.

According to the TRREB, the number of condominium apartments on the market was up by 42 per cent year over year. Now that renters now have more choice, this has led to year-over-year declines in average rents in Q2.

Yet, condo owners are considering either turning their properties into long-term rentals or selling altogether. This could result in further supply in the coming years.

Typically, landlords have had the upper hand in this market, often resulting in bidding wars. Yet, for renters who have the financial means, recent conditions allow them to benefit from a more balanced market.

Shifting Preferences Emerge in Toronto Housing Market

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented shift took place. Due to social distancing and other public safety protocols, people were forced to spend the majority of their time confined to their condos.

The boundary between home and workplace was quickly blurred when many businesses pivoted to remote working arrangements and schools shut their doors, prompting parents to homeschool.

Many condo and apartment dwellers were uncomfortable with the shared spaces of a multi-unit living environment such as a lobby, elevators and other facilities. The required close proximity to others induced fear and anxiety.

For those who rent condos in Toronto, the time spent cooped up inside led to increased desire for larger floor plans and access to green space. While the benefits (and glamour) of city-living were long sought after, the limitations of a city lifestyle were quickly realized during the pandemic.

This shift is evident in the increased demand in neighbouring suburban areas like Durham region.

Low Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada slashed its benchmark interest rate to 0.25 per cent; great news for those looking to jump into the housing market. Renters who have been sidelined pre-pandemic due to expensive housing, may now be able to borrow money at a reduced rate. These move up buyers can be another factor explaining lower demand for rental units and the resulting downward trend in rental rates.

The Toronto real estate market has historically been a popular, highly competitive place to rent a property. Yet, demand and activity in this segment of the market have declined. While COVID-19 exposed challenges to city living, there are also seismic shifts in the attitudes people have toward their living arrangements. As homebuyers are setting their sights upon properties and communities promising more indoor and outdoor living space, some renters are also following this trend, leading to decreasing rental demand and prices within the city.

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Saint John tenants nervous about Historica real estate deal – CBC.ca

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A major real estate transaction in uptown Saint John has many tenants concerned.

Hazen Property Investments has sold 20 of its buildings to Historica Developments.

They include the McArthur on Germain Street and another 12-unit building on the west side to name just a couple.

“My gut feeling was anxiety — stress,” said Jeff Arbeau, who has been renting from Hazen for years.

Hazen is known for good-quality units at reasonable prices.  

Historica is known for fixing up older buildings and turning them into luxury units.

We kind of realize there’s probably too many high-end expensive units that most people, we understand, can’t afford.– Keitch Brideau, Historica

Their prices “far exceed” Arbeau’s price range.

Historica rents typically range from $1,200 to $2,000 a month, while Hazen’s are $400 to $700.

“It would have a massive impact ability on my ability to live,” said Arbeau.

Many of his neighbours are also worried.

The information package they received from the new owner asked for debit pre-authorizations for rent payments and promised continued “exceptional” service but didn’t make any assurances about future rental fees. 

Keith Brideau is reassuring Hazen tenants their rents will not be going up. (CBC)

“They don’t have to worry about it,” said Keith Brideau, president and founder of Historica.

Brideau said his company is not planning to increase rents for any current tenants or to change fees for parking, heat or lights.

That’s because he won’t have to recoup investments for any major upgrades.

“They’ve done an excellent job of taking care of their properties,” said Brideau. “Some of them are real gems.”

As tenants move out, he said, units will get things like fresh paint, refinished floors, and new countertops. 

Future tenants, might be charged $50 to $150 a month more than the current rates.

“We definitely aren’t going to be pricing people out of the market,” said Brideau.

Brideau partnered with investors Dr. David Elias and Alex Elias to purchase the Saint John City Hall tower in 2018. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Historica is looking to expand into the “middle market,” he said, where rents range from $500 to $1,000 a month.

“We kind of realize there’s probably too many high-end expensive units that most people, we understand, can’t afford.”

Arbeau said another concern of his is about losing the “mom and pop” service he had from Hazen.

“You can contact them with a need, and they’ll get to you right away,” he said. “They know your name. They help you any way they can.”

Brideau said his company is aiming to match or improve the level of service.

Coun. Donna Reardon says she’s been hearing from concerned tenants for the past two months, since Historica began inspecting Hazen properties. (CBC)

“I’ve spent many a Christmas Day in a furnace room trying to get a furnace going with my dad,” said John Hazen, general manager of Hazen Property Investments.

Hazen’s grandfather bought the company’s first building 100 years ago.

Hazen said he had a heavy heart about the sale, but it was a good business opportunity and the right choice for his family.

Hazen had 13 employees. That’s being reduced to about seven.

Historica’s Park Place redevelopment on Canterbury Street. (Julia Wright/CBC)

Some of the people losing their jobs were close to retirement, he said, and all are receiving severance packages based on their years of service.

Hazen still has 270 units, including Regency Towers on the east side, some on Coldbrook Crescent, and one on the west side.

Municipal leaders have been inundated with messages about the Hazen sell-off.

Their buildings are “little micro-communities,” said Coun. Donna Reardon, who represents Ward 3, which includes the uptown and central peninsula.

“Those neighbours will look after each other,” Reardon said. “People who are in them are there for a long time. … If you’re there seven or eight years, you’re one of the newbies in a lot of Hazen’s buildings.

“So, that is upsetting to think that your neighbours may have to move, or you may have to move out.”

Everyone’s “major concern,” she said, “is that rent will go up extraordinarily.”

There aren’t any rent control mechanisms available to the city, but Reardon said she expects the market will control itself to some degree.

“He can skyrocket the rents, I suppose,” said Reardon, “but what will the market bear in Saint John?”

Reardon said she’d be interested in exploring best practices across the country on rent controls, but she is reluctant to do anything that would stifle development and growth.

Information Morning – Saint John22:06Historica developer pledges no rent hikes

Hazen Apartments was in the rental business in Saint John for 100 years. This week they sold all 20 of their buildings to Historica Developments. We hear from a former Hazen tenant, developer Keith Brideau, who bought the properties and an expert on affordable housing. 22:06

Some are worried that Historica may own too big a share of the local housing market and that this will give it monopoly-like power over prices and availability of apartments.

Historica now owns nearly 40 buildings containing a total of about 400 units.

Brideau estimated that represents five per cent or less of the rental market.

Julia Woodhall Melnik’s big concern is potential gentrification — the displacement of people who live uptown because it’s affordable.

“Where are they displaced into?” asked the assistant professor and director of the laboratory for housing and mental health at UNB Saint John.

The north end is one possibility, said Woodhall Melnik, but deficiencies in the public transit system would make it difficult for vulnerable populations to get to uptown services.

Saint John promotes itself as having relatively low housing prices when it comes to buying, she noted, but limited rental stock means rents are less affordable.

Woodhall-Melnik is hoping developers and landlords will take advantage of government funding available for rent subsidies and affordable housing developments.

Information Morning – Saint John15:33We continue the conversation on affordable housing

We continue our discussion of affordable housing in Saint John. Hazen Property Investments talks about the decision to sell 20 of their buildings. And Ward 3 city councillor Donna Reardon tell us what her constituents are saying and what the city can and can’t do to keep rents reasonable for people. 15:33

Brideau agreed affordable housing is a big issue and said he “would like to be part of that solution.”

He said Historica might announce something on that front within the next year.

Brideau said more construction is happening now in Saint John than he’s seen in the last 20 years. He noted one non-profit building is going up now on Wellington Row.

Reardon said affordable housing is “on everybody’s radar.”

She noted there are still many vacant lots in peninsula neighbourhoods.

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Toronto's hot real estate market may cool down in coming months – Toronto Sun

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Article content

A new survey shows the aggregate price of a home in the GTA increased by 11% year-over-year to $922,421 in the third quarter of 2020.

This Royal LePage House Price Survey says the median price of an average two-story home increased 12.2% year-over-year to $1,082,502 in the third quarter of this year.

The price of a bungalow jumped 10.6% year-over-year to $887,156.

During the same period, condominiums in the GTA  saw prices rise 6.8% year-over-year to $599,826.

Strong home price gains were seen in Toronto where the price of a home rose 11.1% year-over-year to $975,980.

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The median price of a standard two-story home rose 15.5% year-over-year to $1,483,510. And the price of a bungalow increased 11.3% year-over-year to $974,295.

The average price of a condominium increased 4.9% year-over-year to $644,903 during the same time frame.

“Demand from the delayed spring market has continued through the third quarter,” said Debra Harris, vice president for Royal LePage Real Estate Services Limited. “The seasonal slowdown is expected in the coming months, but given the recent strength of September, we will likely see a more brisk fourth-quarter market than the previous year.”

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