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NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Releases First Quarter 2020 Results – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, May 14, 2020 /CNW/ – NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (the “REIT”) (TSX: NWH.UN), Canada’s leading global diversified healthcare real estate investment trust, today announced its results for the three months ended March 31, 2020.

Commenting on the activity, Paul Dalla Lana, CEO of the REIT, said:

“The declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic at the end of the quarter has caused unprecedented challenges in the world as well as highlighting the continued importance of public health. The REIT’s tenants and their employees are at the frontline in providing essential healthcare services to their communities. Our primary objective is to support them as they confront this demanding moment and for the long-term.

Mr. Dalla went on to say:

“Q1 and year to date, the REIT made significant progress on advancing key strategic initiatives including the completion of its planned Australian asset dispositions, advancing its $3.0 billion European JV and expanding its European footprint with its first UK acquisition of 6 hospitals”.

Operationally, the REIT’s high-quality portfolio has performed well with 100% of properties remaining open and approximately 85% of May rent collected with the majority of the balance subject to formal deferral arrangements.  Building on a defensive operational focus, the REIT has shifted its near-term corporate priorities from growth initiatives to maximizing liquidity and operating efficiencies while limiting non-essential capital spending. The REIT also enacted its business continuity plans to transition to a remote operating model while executing on all aspects of the business without interruption.

With temporary restrictions on elective procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare services have seen growing underlying demand. As a result, we believe that as policies and practices liberalize going forward, the healthcare industry will see a strong recovery driving the need for our services and opening up possibilities for expanding our business. With strong operating and capital partners, the REIT is exceptionally well positioned to build on its leading healthcare real estate platform”.

2020 First Quarter Financial and Operational Highlights:

For the three months ended March 31, 2020, the REIT delivered strong financial and operational performance with an increasingly conservative balance sheet across an expanded 183 property, 15.2 million square foot defensive acute healthcare real estate portfolio underpinned by long-term inflation indexed leases. Key highlights are as follows:

  • Revenue increased 3.8% year over year in Q1 2020 to $96 million primarily driven by acquisition activity;
  • AFFO per unit increased by 3.7% to $0.21 in Q1 2020 ($0.92 per unit on an annualized normalized basis) as a result of accretive strategic acquisitions, increased management fees and SPNOI growth;
  • AFFO payout ratio of 97% (87% normalized) based on the REIT’s $0.80 per unit annual distribution;
  • Constant currency cash recurring SPNOI growth of 2.9% in Q1 2020 as compared to Q1 2019, driven primarily by annual rent indexation;
  • Strong portfolio occupancy of 97.3% rising 50 bps from Q1 2019 and the international portfolio holding stable at 98.9% occupancy;
  • Weighted average lease expiry of 14.4 years increased by 1.4 years, underpinned by the international portfolio’s Hospital and Heathcare Facilities Assets weighted average lease expiry of 20.2 years;
  • Total fee bearing assets under management was unchanged at $8.0 billion;
  • Net asset value per unit decreased by 4.9% to $12.53 primarily as a result of depreciation in exchange rates across all currencies relative to CAD; and,
  • Consolidated leverage of 49.5% (including convertible debentures) is down 10 bp from December 31, 2019 due to the full deployment of proceeds from the December equity offering. Planned asset dispositions into the REIT’s capital platforms are expected to result in a further 500 bps reduction in consolidated leverage to approximately 44.5%.

Selected Financial Information:

(unaudited)
($000’s, except unit and per unit amounts)

Three months ended
March 31, 2020

Three months ended
December 31, 2019

Number of properties

183

175

Gross leasable area (sf)

15,119,616

14,488,966

Occupancy

97.3%

97.3%

Weighted Average Lease Expiry (Years)

14.4

13.8

Net Operating Income

$72,646

$69,494

Net Income (Loss) attributable to unitholders

$114,717

$(12,058)   

Funds from Operations (“FFO”)

$38,348

$30,352

Adjusted Funds from Operations (“AFFO”)

$36,207

$31,009

Debt to Gross Book Value – Declaration of Trust

44.6%

42.5%

Debt to Gross Book Value – Including Convertible Debentures

49.5%

49.6%

During the second quarter and subsequent to quarter end, the REIT has continued to execute on its key strategic priorities. Significant achievements included:

  • Strategic Asset Sales continue to progress with signing of the Australian disposition to its institutional partner and continued progress on the $3.0 billion European Joint Venture and related seed portfolio sale. Collectively, these sales are expected to generate approximately $145 million of net proceeds to the REIT as more specifically set out below.
    • Australian disposition to institutional JV: On May 14, 2020 the REIT finalized and received regulatory approvals in respect of the previously announced sale of a 70% interest in its wholly-owned Australia REIT portfolio, generating net proceeds of approximately $64 million (A$70.5 million). The REIT will retain a 30% interest in the Australia REIT portfolio and will provide asset and property management services to the portfolio. The transaction is expected to close in Q2 2020 and is subject only to normal closing conditions.
    • European JV seed portfolio sale: In conjunction with its $3.0 billion (€2.0 billion) European JV, which continues to progress, the REIT advanced the sale of the $276 million (€178 million) initial seed portfolio (the “European Seed Portfolio”). While the on-set of COVID-19 has impacted timing, execution of the definitive JV documentation and the closing of the seed portfolio sale is expected in Q2 2020.
  • Increasing Liquidity: On May 14, 2020 the REIT finalized an $82 million increase to its revolving credit facility secured by its portfolio of 6 UK hospitals. The facility was provided by the REIT’s Canadian corporate banking syndicate.
  • Deleveraging: Driven by the REIT’s strategic asset sales, consolidated leverage is expected to decrease by a further 500 bps to 45% supporting a pro forma net debt to EBITDA ratio of 8.0x and investment grade credit metrics.

Normal Course Investment Activity: During Q1 2020 and subsequent to quarter end, the REIT completed $325 million of accretive acquisitions and $154 million of dispositions: 

  • Europe: The REIT completed the acquisition of 2 German rehabilitation hospitals with an aggregate purchase price of $62 million (€40.1 million) at a weighted average capitalization rate of 5.8%. The properties are 100% occupied and have a weighted average remaining lease term of 26.0 years. The REIT also completed its first acquisition in the UK with the $167 million (£97.8 million) acquisition of six high quality hospitals private hospitals at a 7.2% capitalization rate. The portfolio is 100% occupied with a 13 year weighted average remaining lease term.
  • Australasia: The REIT, together with its institutional joint venture partner, acquired the leasehold interest, with an approximately 34 year weighted average remaining term, in the Alfred Centre and Burnett Tower in Melbourne, Australia for $93 million (A$105 million) at an initial yield of approximately 7%. The property is located in the Alfred health precinct adjacent to a major hospital and approximately three kilometers from the Melbourne CBD. During the quarter the REIT completed the sale of two non-core assets to an unrelated third party and the sale of three aged care assets to Vital trust for a combined sale price for approximately $155 million. Net proceeds from asset sales were partially used to repay $90 million of Australian term debt bearing interest at 3.6%.
  • Developments: The REIT completed the $75 million (A$86 million) expansion of the Grey Street Centre at Epworth Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne, Australia and a $6 million (BRL 22 million) expansion at Maternidade Brazil Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Moreover, the REIT progressed its earnings and NAV accretive development projects with $273 million of projects under construction and a further $68 million of approved projects with expected completion dates between Q2 2020 and Q4 2023. 

COVID-19 Update: 

Since the onset of COVID-19, the REIT’s top priority has been the safety of our tenants, our employees and the global effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. For the month of May, tenants representing approximately 84% of contracted gross rent have met or are expected to meet their rental obligations, including approximately 97% amongst its largest 10 tenants. Temporary rent deferral discussions are in progress, on a case-by-case basis, with tenants whose current circumstances are impacting their ability to meet rental obligations. The REIT has strong working relationships with all of its tenants and is confident that the vast majority of any deferred rent will ultimately be recovered over time.

NorthWest is well positioned with a defensive portfolio that is 97.3% occupied, by a diversified tenant roster of predominantly hospital and healthcare tenants that are an essential component of healthcare delivery in REIT’s global markets. Financially the REIT is well positioned with $220 million of cash and available borrowing capacity1 which is expected to increase to $364 million upon the completion of the strategic asset sales in Q2 2020. Further, 88% of the REIT’s 2020 debt maturities have already been completed with remaining maturities comprising Canadian mortgages with a consolidated outstanding balance of $50 million

Development activity remains on track across most of NorthWest’s $273 million of expansion projects   with the exception of those in New Zealand which were temporarily delayed due to regulated site closures from late in the first quarter until recently, when New Zealand began to re-open its economy and construction activities recommenced. To conserve liquidity, the REIT has temporarily paused early stage developments and is actively working to identify opportunities to drive further operational efficiencies.

While the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect much of the world, some countries have begun to lift restrictions and re-open. Across the REIT’s markets, Australia and New Zealand have been amongst the most successful nations at controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus and as such both have already taken steps to re-start their economies including allowing elective surgeries to begin to work through pent-up demand. Similarly, Germany was amongst the most successful European countries at controlling the spread of COVID-19 and has also taken steps to restart its economy and open up its healthcare system.

Q1 2020 Conference Call: 

The REIT invites you to participate in its conference call with senior management to discuss our first quarter 2020 results on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 10:00 AM (Eastern).

The conference call can be accessed by dialing 416-764-8609 or 1 (888) 390-0605. The conference ID is 59244209#.

Audio replay will be available from May 15, 2020 through May 22, 2020 by dialing 416-764-8677 or 1 (888) 390-0541. The reservation number is 244209#.

In conjunction with the release of the REIT’s fourth quarter 2019 financial results, the REIT will post a current investor update presentation to its website where additional information on the REIT’s investments and operating performance may be found. Please visit the REIT’s website at www.nwhreit.com/Investors/Presentations

Vital Healthcare Property Trust

On April 9, 2020, Vital Trust also announced its financial results for the three months ended December 31, 2019 and confirmed its distribution guidance for NZ$0.0875 per unit for the financial year. Details on Vital Trust’s financial results are available on Vital Trust’s website at www.vitalhealthcareproperty.co.nz

About NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX: NWH.UN) (NorthWest) is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust established under the laws of the Province of Ontario. As at March 31 2020, the REIT provides investors with access to a portfolio of high quality international healthcare real estate infrastructure comprised of interests in a diversified portfolio of 183 income-producing properties and 15.2 million square feet of gross leasable area located throughout major markets in Canada, Brazil, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The REIT’s portfolio of medical office buildings, clinics, and hospitals is characterized by long term indexed leases and stable occupancies. With a fully integrated and aligned senior management team, the REIT leverages 230 professionals across nine offices in five countries to serve as a long term real estate partner to leading healthcare operators.

Non-IFRS Measures

Some financial measures used in this press release, such as Operating Income, adjusted same-property NOI, FFO, AFFO, Normalized AFFO, Net Asset Value per Unit, portfolio occupancy and weighted average lease expiry, are used by the real estate industry to measure and compare the operating performance of real estate companies, but they do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. As such, they are unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other real estate companies. These non-IFRS measures are more fully defined and discussed in the REIT’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) for the second quarter ending June 30, 2019, which is available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Also on SEDAR are the condensed consolidated unaudited interim financial statements of the REIT for the three months ended December 31, 2019.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements with respect to the REIT, its operations, strategy, financial performance and condition. These statements generally can be identified by use of forward-looking words such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “intends”, “believe”, “normalized”, “contracted”, “stabilized” or “continue” or the negative thereof or similar variations. The REIT’s actual results and performance discussed herein could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations, including that the transactions contemplated herein are completed. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, among other things, general economic and market factors, competition, changes in government regulations and the factors described under “Risks and Uncertainties” in the REIT’s Annual Information Form and the risks and uncertainties set out in the MD&A which are available on www.sedar.com. These cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to the REIT and persons acting on its behalf. Unless otherwise stated, all forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and, except as expressly required by applicable law, the REIT assumes no obligation to update such statements.

Additional Disclosure

The REIT will rely on the relief granted by the Canadian Securities Administrators and Ontario Securities Commission under Ontario Instrument 51-504 – Temporary Exemptions from Certain Requirements to File or Send Securityholder Materials in respect of the filing of its executive compensation disclosure for fiscal 2019, which it intends to include in the information circular for its 2020 annual meeting of unitholders. The relief provides an extension for executive compensation disclosure normally required to be filed within 140 days of a reporting issuer’s financial year-end.

________________________________

1 Inclusive of $82 million upsize to revolving credit facility completed on May 14, 2020

SOURCE NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

For further information: Paul Dalla Lana, CEO at (416) 366-8300 x 1001.

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2021 Could See the Tightest Muskoka Real Estate Market in Years – Toronto Storeys

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“We had a [property on a] small — tiny — spring-fed lake in Muskoka, where the list-price was $599,000, and it sold in two days for $875,000,” says Ross Halloran of Sotheby’s International Realty, reflecting on the first few weeks of the year.

That’s $276,000 over list price for a two bedroom, one bathroom, “teardown” cottage. Welcome to the current Muskoka real estate market in 2021.

Closing the year on-trend with what the last several months presented, the region’s real estate scene saw record-breaking sales in both its residential non-waterfront and waterfront property categories in December.

And looking forward, Halloran — alongside Maryrose Coleman, also of Sotheby’s International — doesn’t anticipate a decline in buyers’ desires to snag space in Muskoka.

READ: Muskoka Real Estate Closes Out Year with Record-Breaking Activity

What the pair does foresee, however, is supply struggling to keep up with demand.

A Market as Tight as Ever

“I never like to let my listing inventory drop below 30,” Halloran says. “We’re now at seven.”

Coleman reinforces the sentiment, stressing the issue their team continues to face is supply. At the present moment (and for months leading up to the present moment, too) demand is holding its own.

“It’s a really tight market,” Coleman says. “There’s very little available. And there are a ton of buyers out there trying to find the right property.”

In fact, Halloran goes so far as to call the current situation “a bit of a quandary.” Typically, considering cottage country as a whole — from Parry Sound to Lake Simcoe, and down to Bancroft, inclusive of Muskoka, the Kawarthas, Haliburton, and the like — he and Coleman will see about 100 new listings in a given week.

Lately, though, Halloran says they’re seeing far fewer hit the market.

“It was 13 listings last week… as we end this week, 22 new listings have come up,” he says. “We’ve got a stockpile of buyers, because we had so many listings we were able to engage and begin discussions with a number of buyers that had begun their journey… we’ve got what we would normally have in property inventory in buyer briefs.”

In other words, the numbers have essentially reversed themselves, leaving this Sotheby’s team spread thin.

As a result, Halloran and Coleman say they’ve needed to develop new policies for navigating working relationships with buyers. With so many people requesting their time, asking for research to be done on prospective properties, they’ve found themselves going through that whole processes only to find out — as they’re preparing to move forward with an offer — they’re actually in a multi-offer situation.

And let’s be clear: this mad dash for cottage country real estate isn’t just for multi-million dollar, move-in ready properties (though, of course, those are always a sought-after treat). Coleman says that there are “a whole bunch of people” who are looking for tear-downs or lots they’ll be able to build on, and typically, these buyers are hoping to snag spaces like this at prices much lower than those of move-in ready lake houses.

“Part of the challenge is, there are a lot of people who are very specific about what they want,” Coleman explains. “They want to be close to Port Carling, but not right in Port Carling. They want to be on Lake Rosseau or Lake [Joseph], they don’t want to be on any other lake. They need privacy, they want a boathouse.”

If these desires sound familiar, don’t fret. But also, don’t start packing up your boxes just yet.

“There are only so many properties like that,” Coleman says, “but there are a great number of people looking for them.”

Halloran says that, as such, they’re working to do whatever they can to obtain listings as spring approaches. “You are a function of how many listings you have,” he stresses.

Owners Holding On Tight

Halloran says that going forward, he expects a sellers’ market for the foreseeable future. In order to be able to participate in the year ahead, attaining more product is necessary.

“Usually in the spring — come the beginning of March — we’re usually seeing an average of 200 new listings a week leading up to the Spring Cottage Life Show. Then there’s a drop-off, after the Spring Cottage Life Show, and then probably by late-April we’re back up to 200. I think by the time the end of May rolls around … I’d see about 300 listings [across all of cottage country].”

But right now, the region is seeing about 22 listings per week, on average, while days-on-market stats are dropping and sale-to-list averages are increasing. In fact, at the moment, the Lakelands region is looking at less than 0.6 months of inventory — a record low.

As a result of all these changes, Halloran says he expects to see both individual agents and teams alike presenting with less than half their normal inventory. His personal goal? Attaining between 20 and 30 listings before spring hits.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do over the winter,” he says.

But, with ongoing queries, listing proposals, market analyses, direct correspondence, and new product continually being added, it’s safe to say the team has already hit the ground running.

Still, it’ll be “a grind” to get ahold of sustainable inventory, because people are hanging onto their properties… or perhaps they’ve just recently acquired them, and they’re still just settling in! Never mind considering leaving. After all, the last year has proven a flexibility in day-to-day navigation that many may not have considered before, which, in many cases — with consideration to working from home and online schooling — means more room for cottage country to fit in. Whether someone’s long been in the region or only just arrived, it’s understandable that Muskoka living is an experience any owner would want to hold onto.

“[What] the people that own are telling us now is: ‘Sure, I can make a huge profit, but how am I going to be able to buy back in?’” Halloran reports. “‘I may as well just sit tight for now and enjoy what I have… or renovate what I have.’”

Selling your property suddenly becomes less appealing when there’s nothing else left to buy.

Renting as an Impermanent (but Still Competitive) Option

Meanwhile, those struggling to find their perfect property in the resale market — or those simply looking for a less permanent cottage country experience — tend to turn to the region’s rental market. But Coleman, who captains Muskoka District Rentals alongside her Sotheby’s role, says the sector is facing similar supply-and-demand struggles.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t renting who traditionally have rented, when they’ve gone on European vacations [and the like],” she explains. “They might have done the summer — they would rent their cottage for the two, three, four weeks they were going to be away. And that’s not happening now.”

While Coleman says there have been some recent buyers who are open to renting, there have also been properties that used to be on the rental market that have now been sold. In essence, the newly-purchased properties will merely replace those prior rentals, instead of adding to them.

There are also places that may typically be in the rental sphere, but because their owners are currently living or working there, those spots aren’t available these days. What’s more, an air of uncertainty hangs over the summer, leaving cottage-owners unsure of how they’re going to navigate 2021’s warm months. So many unknowns linger, including whether summer camps will be closed or if international travel will be permitted.

Many people who felt the pinch of these scenarios last summer, and who didn’t have a rental option, learned from the experience and booked early. In August and September of 2020, eager summer-lovers reserved their rentals to ensure they’d have something to look forward to when the warmth rolled back around.

Now, Coleman says, others are scrambling, trying to find their own place to stay.

And sure, someone really hankering for a summertime escape could hop on any given rental site to book, but what Muskoka District Rentals offers is different.

“Part of the reason people like to work with a company like ours,” Coleman says, “is they know they’ll get a higher quality of cottage, and they’re going to have available to service them, if anything goes wrong.”

Also, there’s a benefit to the relationships that are built through use of a reliable, human-centred service such as MDR. For example, if someone isn’t able to find a rental option online, a phone call with a listing agent may result in them learning that in just a couple days, the perfect property will be going live.

Ultimately, it’s looking like Muskoka’s wild ride isn’t slowing down anytime soon, regardless of whether the topic of focus is resale or rental. And, if the region’s market has reinforced any universal truth over the last several months, it’s that the more people can’t have a thing, the more they seem to want it.

But another universal truth is this: anything worth having is worth fighting for.

If you’re gunning for a place with a Lake Jo view, or one that’s perfectly poised just minutes from Port Carling, we suggest the latter mantra as the one to keep in mind.

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Real estate quiz: Which Metro Vancouver home for sale has the most bathrooms? $10-million mansion holds record – Straight.com

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If disaster strikes and you and 14 of your friends need to use the loo at the same time, which home in Metro Vancouver is the best place to be at?

Adam Major, managing broker of Holywell Properties, got you covered.

But first of all, Major and Holywell Properties are not selling this home, which currently holds the title of most bathrooms.

The luxury property is on the market for nearly $10 million.

The exact listing price is $9,980,000.

Rather, Holywell Properties operates Zealty.ca, an online real-estate site that features listings, sales, and other information on properties.

To answer the question, the home that is currently on the market and has the most number of baths is 13283 56 Avenue in Surrey.

The mansion has 11 full baths and four half baths, for a total of 15.

What Major finds interesting is that the technology for the Multiple Listing Service or MLS that realtors use to post information only lets agents to list up to a maximum of 12 baths.

“That makes it hard for buyers to know that this house actually has 15: 11 full baths and four half baths,” Major told the Straight.

Major wonders if this incomplete information explains why it’s been taking a while to sell the luxury home, which features views of Boundary Bay.

“That inability to show how many bathrooms there actually are may partly explain why this house has lingered on and off the market for six years without a sale,” he said.

The 11-bed home was listed on January 21, 2015 for $12,880,000. The listing was terminated on May 7 of the same year with a reduced price of $9,388,000.

Other unsuccessful listings were likewise made in the following years and at various prices.

On December 14, 2020, the 16,398-square-foot home came on the market, with Angell, Hasman & Associates (Malcolm Hasman) Realty Ltd. as listing agent.

As of Sunday (January 24, 2021), the Panorama Ridge area home remains unsold after 41 days with its listing price of $9,980,000.

The 13283 56 Avenue home in Surrey has 15 baths: 11 full baths like this one in the image and four half baths.

One may wonder about the latest B.C. Assessment valuation of this home.

Its 2021 total value as of July 1, 2020 is $5,948,000.

The home speaks opulence. It has a pool, fireside outdoor lounge, private guest suite, home theatre, massage and spa room, professional gym, wine room, and media sports centre with baccarat and wet bar.

The property “sits majestically” on a “park-like estate” with a gated driveway and manicured gardens.

Likely because of the limitations of the MLS noted by Major, the marketing blurb by Angell, Hasman & Associates (Malcolm Hasman) Realty Ltd. made sure to mention that the home has 11 full baths and four half baths.

This $9.9-million home in the Panorama Ridge area of South Surrey has the most number of bathrooms.

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This Week’s Top Stories: Canadian Real Estate Prices Increase Over 25x The Rate of US Home Prices, and BoC Sees “Gradual” Softening – Better Dwelling

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Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories. 

Canadian Real Estate 

Canadian Real Estate Prices Grew Over 25x Faster Than U.S. Prices Since 2005

Poor policy choices have led to a comically large gap between Canadian and US home prices. Canadian home prices generally move in line with US home prices, but disconnect in 2005. Instead of falling, prices accelerate in growth through to today. The result is prices have now grown over 25x faster than US home prices over the same period. Most surprising though, is half of these increases occurred in just the past 5 years.

Read More

Bank Of Canada Sees Real Estate Softening “Gradually”

Canada’s central bank sees real estate softening “gradually” in the coming years. They believe the recent surge is due a shift in buying preferences, due to low interest rates. Sudden demand for single-family homes is due to this temporary shift. As these purchases normalize, the organization expects sales driven by the preference swap to fade. Along with the slowing sales, they expect “price growth will soften.”

Read More

Canadians Collecting Unemployment Benefits Surges To A Record High

The number of Canadians collecting unemployment benefits surged to a record high. There were 1.24 million unadjusted claims in November, up 200.9% from a year before. The previous month represented the bulk of the increase, due to CERB ending. That means the bulk of these claims were a result of unemployment earlier this year. However, the fact that it’s still rising indicates there’s still more people getting hammered by this recession.

Read More

Bank Of Canada Index Shows Real Estate Is The Most Affordable In Years. It’s Wrong

The Bank of Canada’s affordability index shows real estate is the most affordable in years. No one’s buying that narrative, so what gives? The index shows households require 31.5% of their disposable income for housing in Q3 2020. The past two quarters have been the lowest since 2015, raising some eyebrows. It has to do with how it’s calculated, and the CERB driven boost to disposable income. In other words, the indicator is broken during the pandemic.

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Canadian Real Estate Markets Are Low On Inventory, As Pandemic Slows New Listings

The pandemic is encouraging people to stay put, but the BoC is encouraging people to buy. The combination is leading to very high demand, in a low inventory market. Small cities like Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, and Gatineau are seeing inventory sell almost at the rate it’s listed. Western Canada is still slower than the national average, but are still unusually busy for this time of year.

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Ontario’s Most Popular Real Estate Market Is Now Rural, While People Flee Toronto

Ontario’s most popular real estate market isn’t a new hip urban area, it’s the country. Outside of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) saw a net intraprovincial increase of 10,392 people in 2020. The rural increases were unusual, until the surge of young people exiting Toronto over the past few years. Toronto’s net loss of population to other parts of the province works out to 50,375 people in 2020. This is the largest net loss in decades of data, and possibly goes back much further. Despite the pandemic contributing to the trend, it actually started a few years ago. Right around when home prices took off.

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Vancouver Real Estate

Vancouver Residents Were Moving To Rural BC, And Abbotsford Before The Pandemic

The pandemic has Vancouver residents seeking more space in rural B.C., but the trend goes back further. There were 45,481 people that left the Greater Vancouver region in 2019 for other parts of Canada. Rural B.C. is the number one place for those migrating, which saw a net inflow of 5,751 of residents. The trend is believed to have accelerated due to the pandemic, which has led to a distinct surge in rural home sales. It didn’t start during the pandemic though, with the trend going back a few years now, to when home prices took off.

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