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Residential real estate: a reckoning or just a softening? – Morningstar.ca

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Editor’s note: Read the latest on how the coronavirus is rattling the markets and what you can do to navigate it.

Residential real estate activity fell dramatically by 65% across Canada since the pandemic struck, the fall reaching levels of -80% in Toronto, according to Royal Lepage, as unemployment, loss of revenue and an immigration slowdown combine to make conditions harder for home sellers, condo owners and multi-apartment landlords.

However, it doesn’t seem like buyers are shying away.

“We thought the market would hit pause for a while, and that sellers would be stepping in,” says John Pasalis, president of Realosophy. “Over the past couple of weeks, we saw buyers coming in, but not sellers. We have fewer listings now than we had two weeks ago and sales are even slightly picking up.”

Conditions also appear good in the multi-residential segment, at least according to numbers coming in from major REITs, reports Howard Leung, REIT analyst at Veritas Investment Research. For example, Killam REIT, present mostly in Ontario and in Eastern Canada, “reported that its rent collection for apartments in April was at 98.6%, Leung notes. At Boardwalk, with its base in Alberta, the level was 92% as of April 13th.  But a collection rate of 90% may not be representative of the overall landlord population and more the fact of professional landlords.”

This is not to say that the picture is rosy – or will stay that way in the short-term.

Challenges building up
A major factor to keep in focus is unemployment and, more importantly, reemployment. CIBC Capital Markets predicts that the jobless rate, that stood at 5.5% at the end of February 2020, will swell by two million to a peak of 14%, then fall back to a recession plateau of 8% by February 2021.

“With businesses stretched, how many people will companies rehire? There’s no on/off switch here, but rather a gradual restarting of the economy. An outfit that hired 20 employees and cut that down to 3, will maybe only rehire 7 or 8,” Leung says. That will create a lot of softness in all markets, real estate included.

The unemployment situation brings into play the historically high indebtedness of Canadian households, which on average owe $1.78 for every $1.00 of after-tax income. The CIBC report points out that elevated levels of debt will work to amplify the negative shock to incomes seen from job losses, which will be displayed in a notable increase in the number of mortgages in arrears. So far, between 10 and 15% of mortgage borrowers have deferred payments.

Pressure on rentals
This could have a harder impact on the rental market, which is expected to be most threatened in the shorter term. “The jobless are skewed toward youth and part-time workers, which are prominent in retail, restaurants, tourism; and youths tend to play a smaller role in the housing industry,” indicates Phil Soper, CEO of Royal Lepage.

All signs indicate a downward pressure on rent, with tenants who can’t afford them,” notes Pasalis, who is nervous about condo rentals, many of which are cash flow negative and don’t cover their carrying costs. “Can they afford to lose $200 or $300 a month on carrying costs?” he asks. In large urban markets, rents are often higher than the $2,000/month relief contributed by the Federal government.

On their own, the present pressures could quickly precipitate a real estate crash. “But we have a huge backstop in Canada, with banks that can restructure mortgages (unlike in the U.S. where banks massively securitize mortgages), the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation that insures mortgages, the Bank of Canada that can buy bank bonds if they run out of money,” says James McKellar, professor of real estate and infrastructure at the Schulich School of Business of York University. Add to that the diverse $200 billion Federal relief programs for individuals and companies. “All that pushes further in time any day of reckoning for real estate in Canada,” concludes McKellar..

Immigration?
The hold on immigration is another key factor that will impact real estate. “Because of immigration, Toronto grows by an equivalent of one Calgary every 10 years,” notes McKellar.

Seventy-two percent of immigrants who have been here seven years own their house, “so a drop in immigration should not have an impact on the residential market in 2020, but could impact it in three or seven years. The impact will be felt more quickly in the rental market, but that market is very tight. In Toronto, there’s less than 1% rental availability, in Montreal, 2%,” says Soper.

What to do?
In the long run, things don’t seem as dire. “If the recovery unfolds without any major second wave reset, in 12 to 18 months residential real estate will come through the crisis relatively unscathed. Overall, as the fog clears, we expect to see average prices 5-10% lower relative to 2019 levels,” CIBC notes.

Analysts agree that for most people, their home is their shelter, and that is a huge value at this moment. If you don’t need to sell it, stay in it! “Don’t sell, even if you expect a recession,” advises Pasalis.

“People think that they should sell and rent, but there is very little potential there. You shouldn’t be worried for the value of your home because fundamentals are still solid. Prices might get a little softer, but they will pick up,” Soper says.

However, some must sell because of retirement, health or other considerations. If you were thinking of selling in two or three years, you might as well sell now and not take any risk with future developments. “Yes, you might miss a bull market, but if you sell now, you won’t lose very much,” says Pasalis.

For investors, the REIT market is worth looking at, notes Howard Leung. “They were all sold off together indiscriminately at the end of March despite having rebounded somewhat. But if you do your homework, I think you can find some reward there, but only in individual titles. I wouldn’t necessarily go to an index or an ETF.”

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Massillon area real estate transfers April 30-May 6 – Massillon Independent

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Bethlehem Township

Barr Maureen E from Lundquist Happy & Eric, parcel 1100194 Safari Trl, $8,100. 

Dickey Jay E & Janice L from Yoder Esther & Stephen E Co Trustees of, parcel 1101262 Riverdale St SW, $99,136. 

Dickey Jay E & Janice L Trustees from Stark Truss Co Inc, 9915 Sherman Church Rd, $142,851. 

Kiko John D Jr & Danielle Ttees from Stacks Eric & Monique, parcel 1101109 Nairobi St, $30,000. 

Ochsenbein Jamie from Graneto Adam J, parcel 1101081 Uganda Pkwy, $3,000. 

Phillips Billy J & Brianna M from Umh Properties LLC, 6887 Hillside Dr SW Lot 284, $41,900. 

Sterling Thomas C from Porrini Jeffrey M & Kimberly K, 128 A St Nav Vil, $81,000. 

Canal Fulton

Flashhouse Cle South LLC from Kumarappan Subramanian & Chaudhuri Urmil, 321 Alissa LN, $280,000. 

NVR Inc., A Virginia Corporation, DBA from Schalmo Properties Inc, 3033 Bonita Cir SE, $29,500. 

NVR Inc., A Virginia Corporation, DBA from Schalmo Properties Inc, 3037 Bonita Cir SE, $29,500. 

Jackson Township

Bartlett Casey from Vukmanovich Gerald S & Lora A, 1215 Leecrest St NW, $202,000. 

Corbit Laurie S & Ashby Michael D from Callisto Daniel, 2852 Sherwood Ave NW, $230,000. 

Daniska Paul & Janis from Fox Carole S, 4340 Noble Loon St NW, $350,000. 

Edmunds Michael & Amelia from Schuring Derrick J & Allison M, 7352 Montella Ave NW, $529,000. 

Mcaleese Mary from Gales Robert R & Karen T, 7028 Knight St NW, $285,000. 

RLS Properties LLC from Kitson Enterprises Ltd, 6577 Promway Ave NW, $320,000. 

Ross Charlene & Jason from Ballas William T, 5530 Brookstone St NW, $340,000. 

Seder Jeffrey L & Joy L from Carrington West LLC, 8800 Regency Dr NW, $190,000. 

Sessor Janet from Soles Deborah K, 9030 Canal Place NW, $269,900. 

Weston Robert from Weston Linda, 5920 Island Dr NW, $149,600. 

Williams John from Halsey Dustin & Sarah, 5228 Konen Ave NW, $410,000. 

Willowdale Country Club Gates Joshua from Willowdale Country Club Oblisk John Mic, 59 Willowdale Ave NW, $255,000. 

Willowdale Country Club Inc from Willowdale Country Club Inc Kellogg Dan, 87 Cherry Dr NW, $435,000. 

Zucal Jeffrey S from Schopp Robert Lee Ttee, 4182 Lochness Cir NW, $699,900. 

Lawrence Township

Cooper Connie from Coffman Jeffrey R, 132 Thomas BLVD NW, $57,000. 

Massillon

Ammond Bonnie J from Ammond Bonnie J & Diloreto Miller Kara, 1839 Meadowbrook Rd SW, $81,850. 

Bauman Blair P from Saleh Wasim, 615 Wellman Ave SE, $39,900. 

Blackford James Allen from Wagner William A Jr, 522 Bebb Ave SW, $105,000. 

Blundell Shelley from Wickham Margueritte L, 1911 Amherst Rd NE, $189,250. 

Cherry Real Estate LLC from Heinzer Joseph M II, 872 9th St NE, $80,000. 

Coblentz Logan & Alberto Lauren from Coblentz Jacqueline K, 17 Rolling Park Dr S, $9,400. 

Harlan Patrick T from Lincolnway-Terrace Homes LLC, 2606 Lincoln Way W #43, $3,800. 

Harlan Timothy W from Lincolnway-Terrace Homes LLC, 2606 Lincoln Way W #58, $1,000. 

Messaris Joyce from Eschman Kenneth W Trustee, 1460 Laurenbrook LN NE, $194,900. 

Michel Zachary D & Stover Lauren G from Bennett Paul D & Michelle M, 1255 Woodforest St NW, $275,000. 

Mortimer Donald from Lincolnway-Terrace Homes LLC, 2606 Lincoln Way W #10, $1,000. 

Novak Alicia Loraine & Daniel Edward Tte from Baker Mark T TRUSTEE/MARK T Baker Trust, 403 Oak Manor Ave NE, $160,000. 

Ontrack Properties LLC from Bauman Blair P, 615 Wellman Ave SE, $75,000. 

Pilgrim Ventures LLC from 501 Strategies LLC, 22 Central CT SE, $60,000. 

Rambaud Nathan & Marion from Carter Nancy J, 871 Campbell Cir NE, $175,000. 

Riadi Ramzi & Kari Atalla & Sweis Ranny from Crescenze Michael J & Stephanie M, 39 26th St NW, $121,500. 

Robinson Todd from Barkheimer Realty Ltd, 54 Chester Ave SE, $60,000. 

Savage Carol L & Vincent Tonya M from Savage Carol L & Vincent Tonya M & Glenn, 828 Matthias Ave NE, $14,000. 

Sierra Azricam Joacim from Black Hawk Investments LLC, 49 Woodland Ave SE, $83,000. 

Smith Brandon from Gerber Rentals LLC, 1315 3rd St SE, $85,000. 

Vega Enterprises Ltd from Gales Courtney J & Emily M, 1930 Cyprus Dr SE, $230,000. 

Woodring Wendy R from Walters Samantha, 412 26th St NW, $150,100. 

Perry Township

Barbera Joey M & Peggy J & Michael Victo from Edwards Dayna, 314 Manor Ave NW, $225,000. 

Beadling Brett & Brianna from Rodriguez Robin Elaine, 6600 Highton St SW, $350,000. 

Brown David A from Cooper Gary J, 300 Proudley Ave SW, $90,000. 

Carlson Nathan M & Emily K from Carlson Maritza, 3220 Greenpark St NW, $100,000. 

Dendinger Katie & Scott from Haynes Barbara, 5010 Barrie St NW, $220,000. 

Geiser Ryan & Beverly from Hershberger Eli & Yoder Sam E, 4321 Warmont St SW, $425,000. 

Gordish Daniel P from WM Real Estate Investors LLC, 3013 Hilton St NW, $148,900. 

Greene Timothy II & Green Candice Lynn from Patterson Jewell M, 4722 Piccadilly Ave SW, $160,000. 

Hudgens Carlee Renee & Jason Duane from Early Janis & Matthew, 4540 Aurora St NW, $260,000. 

Kemp Charles R & Stephanie A from Balizet Robbie M & Andrea Denise, 7089 Crusader St SW, $315,000. 

Kern Timothy from West Manor MHP LLC, 133 Roxbury Ave NW #15, $1,000. 

Lombardi Vincent from Lombardi Anthony Jr & Ida Lee, 160 Victoria Ave NW, $130,000. 

Manos Thomas J from Manos Thomas J & Kerry Laura L, 425 Ingall Ave NW, $38,700. 

Mcbride Jason M from Deluxe Park Ohio LLC, 3454 Hilton St NW #4, $7,600. 

Midfirst Bank from Iser Michael L & Staci L, 4722 Navarre Rd SW, $72,928. 

Residential Solutions Inc from Keller Doris M, 1626 Dunkeith Dr NW, $131,000. 

Roth Austin L & Ryann L from Dibell Beth A, 5885 Drenta Cir SW, $210,500. 

Schleifer Gary M from Hail Holdings LLC, 4727 Surmay Ave SW, $35,750. 

Stockton Gayle from Selby Keith L & Francine, 152 Mount Marie Ave NW, $160,000. 

Storm’s Property Maintenance LLC from Petry Barbara L & Cross James B, 1800 Perry Dr SW, $102,000. 

Tailwind Massillon MHP LLC from Gallentine John J, 3354 Hilton Ave NW #6, $5,000. 

Wade Joyce & Matthew & Renicker Robert from Gertz James W Etal, 8544 Mapleford St SW, $47,000. 

Williams Steven P & Lisa L from TWL Investments LLC, 4673 Stevie Ave SW, $57,500. 

Sugarcreek Township

Turney Rebecca J & Kelly James from Pacula Taras P, 110 Main St W, $110,000. 

Tuscarawas Township

Bleigh Amanda from Ketler Properties LLC, 1215 Cyril Ave SW, $175,000. 

Greer David & Danielle from Greer Stephen D & Rebekah S, 10833 Graber St SW, $90,000. 

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Toronto suburbs boast the most overvalued real estate in all of Canada – blogTO

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While people in and around Toronto have just had to accept (albeit begrudgingly) the region’s outrageous home prices for what they are, it’s downright maddening to look at what you could buy in other parts of the world for the amount it costs for even a tiny condo here.

It’s not just the downtown core, either, with peripheral markets in the province continuing to see prices skyrocket to unseen levels, and homes in even small-town Ontario now on par with L.A. and other larger and far more desirable cities.

Though it’s obvious the region’s real estate is not actually worth as much as it’s going for these days, the extent to which it is overvalued at this point is quite shocking.

New figures from BMO (via Better Dwelling) show that while Canadian homes in general are about 38 per cent overvalued, the issue is the worst in Ontario, where home prices are about 55.4 per cent overvalued as of the first few months of this year.

What’s most interesting is that in Toronto specifically, this number is lower than the province as a whole — at 41 per cent — while in the surrounding suburbs, it’s far higher.

Cottage country areas like Muskoka, the Kawarthas, and Haliburton are approximately 64 per cent overvalued, the bank says, while the suburbs just outside of the GTA have the highest levels of overvaluation.

Properties in “exurb” areas like London, Barrie, Niagara, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo — that is, not the suburbs directly around the city, but just beyond — are now around 74 per cent more expensive than what they’re worth.

Given how fast home prices have climbed in Toronto and, as a result, around the city, experts say we have been on the verge of bubble conditions for some time now; the city was actually just ranked the second-biggest housing bubble in the world at the end of last year due to its severe overvaluation.

This will, stakeholders seem to agree, eventually lead to a swift downtown and market correction, likely later this year due to a number of factors, even without the government intervention that so many have been demanding to quell out-of-control price acceleration.

While B.C., Quebec and Atlantic Canada all join Ontario in having substantially overvalued housing markets, prospective Canadian buyers can still get some bang for their buck if they’re willing to move to Alberta or Saskatchewan, which are considered undervalued.

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Real Estate Has Bucked the Deglobalization Trend – MSCI

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Real Estate Has Bucked the Deglobalization Trend

  • Deglobalization has had profound implications for portfolio construction in listed assets. Conversely, with real estate, there are indications that the asset class has become more global in recent years.
  • Return dispersion across national markets has decreased, while property type has become a more important return driver across all markets, suggesting stronger international alignment, as cross-border transaction volumes have remained stable.
  • Institutional real estate investors could still face challenges from deglobalization, but a historical preference for more transparent and stable markets may help counterbalance some of them.

Real estate has historically exhibited a strong home bias, with investors favoring their local markets. Where investors have sought offshore exposure, they have typically favored markets that offer higher levels of transparency, better governance and stability. This is not to say that investors have not allocated to markets that are less transparent than their home markets. Nor that they have not pursued strategies higher up the risk curve when they invested in foreign markets. But in aggregate markets with higher transparency and government ESG scores have tended to attract more real estate capital.

Globalized real estate drivers in a deglobalizing world

The demand for international real estate is driven by the world’s largest institutional investors, many of whom have explicit global real estate investment mandates. Surveys of investor intentions show continued strong demand for cross-border investments among this group.1 Despite this sentiment, the share of the volume of cross-border transactions, as tracked by MSCI Real Capital Analytics, has remained relatively stable over the last decade, ranging between 19% and 26% of total quarterly transaction volumes.2

Even with relatively stable flows across borders, there is evidence that real estate may have become more global based on return behavior. There has been a notable decline of total-return dispersion across national markets in the MSCI Global Annual Property Index since 2008. At the same time, the spread of returns across property types has increased across all markets as technology changes (like the rise of e-commerce) and the pandemic have disrupted real estate markets, causing headwinds for sectors like retail and office but boosting other sectors like industrial. These trends point to potentially stronger international alignment in the asset class: Unlike in much of the previous two decades, since 2019 there was a greater opportunity for outperformance from allocation decisions based on property type, rather than country.

Return dispersion decreased across national markets but increased across property types

Source: MSCI Global Annual Property Index

Could deglobalization affect real estate?

Political populism, the COVID-19 pandemic and increased geopolitical tensions have all contributed to concerns about deglobalization. Business cycles may become desynchronized, leading to wider variations in the performance of equity and bond markets across countries, lower correlations and higher volatilities. The investment impact of this trend emerged in recent years: In equities, correlations between countries and regional blocs have declined.

Going forward, global investors in bonds and equities may respond by taking a more nuanced approach to asset allocation — for example, by considering new, more focused country allocations for broad allocation decisions (geopolitical blocs, energy importers versus exporters or autocracies versus democracies) and placing greater emphasis on risk factors exposed by the war in Ukraine, such as sanctions risk, reputational considerations and currency convertibility. While it is possible that similar deglobalization headwinds may emerge for real estate investors, there are several factors that could mitigate this.

One example is that, as mentioned earlier, transparency, governance and stability have always been important considerations for global real estate investors, as it is an opaque and illiquid asset class, where asset-investment life cycles are typically measured in years (the median holding period for assets in the MSCI Global Annual Property Index has been six years). The result is that markets with higher transparency, better governance scores and stronger institutions represent the lion’s share of the opportunity set and transaction volumes.

Transparency, governance and stability have mattered in real estate

Where available, market-size estimates are sourced from MSCI’s Real Estate Market Size Report 20/21. For the remaining countries, market size is assumed to be 10% of GDP. Source: JLL, Our World in Data, MSCI

Institutional real estate investors may therefore have less exposure to countries significantly exposed to decoupling risk due to deglobalization. Of the approximately USD 2.3 trillion of assets that MSCI tracks in the MSCI Global Annual Property Index and MSCI Asia Annual Property Index, over 91% of the capital value was invested in liberal democracies with real estate markets rated as transparent or highly transparent by JLL.

Nevertheless, deglobalization could have knock-on effects that impact real estate. For instance, increased political polarization and pandemic-induced supply-chain disruption could drive “nearshoring” and changes to international trade patterns.3 These changes could in turn affect the volume, nature and location of real estate demand. For example, a move from just-in-time to just-in-case logistics could increase demand for industrial-warehouse space and see some of that demand shift away from markets that are further afield and more vulnerable to potential trade disruption.

While deglobalization could result in profound consequences in asset allocation and portfolio construction, different asset classes may be affected in different ways. The distinct features of the real estate investment process, as opposed to that for listed equities and bonds, as well as the nature of the opportunity set typically available to global real estate investors, may mean that real estate could be less directly exposed to the effects of this investment megatrend.

The authors thank Alexis Maltin for her contributions to this post.

1For example, see: “2021 Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor.” Hodes Weill & Associates and Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate, Nov. 10, 2021.

2It should be noted that purchases made by third-party managers on behalf of offshore investors will count toward domestic volumes rather than cross-border volumes and thus may underestimate total cross-border capital flows.

3Nearshoring is the practice of transferring a business operation to a nearby country, especially in preference to a more distant one.

Further Reading

Did Deglobalization Add to Inflation Woes?

The Erosion of The Real Estate Home Bias

Real Estate’s Income Risk in an Inflationary World

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