A Swiss bank has concluded that Toronto’s housing market is in bubble territory, as homes in the city are more overpriced based on local rents and incomes than in places like New York, San Francisco, London and Hong Kong.
In an annual ranking, UBS looks at 25 major cities in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia to track and compare the risk of housing bubbles at the local level in each of them, and it then assigns them a number based on that ranking.
A score above 1.5 indicates the bank thinks there’s a risk of a bubble, which UBS defines as “a substantial and sustained mispricing of an asset, the existence of which cannot be proved unless it bursts.”
A score of between 0.5 and 1.5 suggests the market is merely overvalued, while a score of below 0.5 to -0.5 suggests houses are probably fairly valued. Anything below that implies the city is undervalued based on local incomes, demand for housing and other factors.
Toronto scored 1.96, which placed it behind only the German cities of Munich at 2.35 and Frankfurt at 2.26.
No other North American city was deemed to be in bubble territory, including Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago or San Francisco.
It’s the third year in a row that Toronto has been deemed to be in a bubble, after scoring 1.95 in 2018 and 1.86 in 2019.
Vancouver scored 1.37, which means UBS thinks the city’s real estate is only slightly overvalued. Two years ago, Vancouver was also in bubble territory, with a score of 1.92. But prices have come down in the two years between that report and the advent of COVID-19.
But the pandemic has had an unexpected impact on Canada’s real estate market. House prices in both cities have blown past expectations and risen sharply as demand for single-family homes has grown considerably, the bank noted, especially in the suburbs.
Because of that, “affordability is already stretched [and] new supply should be considerable in the coming quarters,” the bank said.
Prices are already high, and an expected “appreciation of the Canadian dollar will curb the appeal of Toronto’s property to foreign buyers when travel restrictions are lifted,” UBS said.
For Vancouver, the bank said that a foreign buyer’s tax had the desired effect of cooling red-hot price gains a few years ago, but they are once again going up and looking overvalued, if not in bubble territory.
“The rental market has been under pressure, as immigration dropped due to the pandemic,” UBS said. “Overall, still sky-high valuations limit the upside for price growth given uncertainty about economic growth.
The cost of buying in major cities
Based on local salaries, UBS calculates that it would take a skilled service worker seven years worth of earnings in order to afford a 650-square-foot home near downtown Toronto, and eight years in Vancouver.
That compares with just three years in Chicago, four in Boston and five in Los Angeles. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it would take that same worker in Hong Kong 20 years to buy a place, and 14 years in London.
Real estate investors, meanwhile, at current prices would need to rent out their new properties for 28 years in Toronto, and for 29 years in Vancouver, just to break even based on current prices.
“Big urban centres will remain economic hubs and should continue to attract people but sky-high housing market valuations, coupled with noticeably weaker demand prospects, suggest investors should be cautious,” UBS said. “Though real estate is often regarded as a legacy investment, now is certainly not the worst time for owners of multiple properties to consider profit taking.”
COVID outbreaks reported at Jasper Park Lodge, Calgary Superstore and long-term care facility – CTV Toronto
Jasper Park Lodge is doing a deep clean of the entire hotel and doing “extensive contact tracing” after seven employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials say none of the employees who tested positive have been at the hotel for the past seven days or more.
“Alberta Health Services has confirmed that no hotel guests or visitors have been impacted,” read a statement from the company.
“Health officials advise that risk of transmission is low for those who have not been in close contact with these individuals.”
That is one of six outbreaks announced by the province on Friday.
Two new outbreaks were announced in Calgary, one at Revere Mount Royal Long Term Care Home, where 19 cases are active, and at the Real Canadian Superstore in the 3600 block of Westwinds Drive N.E., which has 11 cases.
Six cases were reported at Abstract Dance Academy in Chestermere, all of which have now recovered, and there are 14 cases at the RCMP detachment in Grande Prairie, which are all active.
And there are 15 active cases at the New Life Pentecostal Church in Lethbridge.
An ongoing outbreak at Foothills hospital in Calgary also saw three more healthcare workers test positive.
The province announced 432 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, which brought the number of active cases in Alberta to 3,651.
Daily and active tallies have set pandemic highs for three and five days straight, respectively.
The bulk of Alberta’s active infections are still in the Edmonton zone with 1,751 cases, but the Calgary zone is closing in on the capital region with 1,307 cases.
Moderna gets 30000 patients for final stage of vaccine trial – BNN
Moderna Inc. has completed enrollment of its 30,000 participants in its final-stage COVID-19 trial, while more than 25,000 volunteers have received their second shot.
The announcement on Thursday is another indication that vaccine trials are moving into their home stretch. Moderna has said it could get an initial readout on whether the vaccine works by late November. The drugmaker is only slightly behind Pfizer Inc., which is working with German biotech BioNTech SE and expects results from its 44,000-person trial as soon as the end of this month.
Moderna shares rose as much as 4.4 per cent on Thursday morning in New York. This year, the stock has more than tripled in value.
Moderna had slowed trial enrollment in September in order to recruit more minorities, a key goal of U.S. health officials. Overall, 37 per cent of volunteers in the trial come from communities of color, the company said. Also, 42 per cent of are at high risk of developing severe cases of Covid-19, either because they are 65 or older or have pre-existing conditions.
Both Moderna and Pfizer say they won’t submit for an emergency-use authorization until they have collected two months of safety data on the participants. That means that even if Pfizer gets positive initial results this month, it won’t submit for an emergency authorization until after it gets the safety results in the third week of November.
Injunction against First Nations land reclamation camp sparks skirmish with police – CBC.ca
Blazing wooden pallets and tires blocked one side of a street leading into a southern Ontario community on Thursday, after a skirmish between police and members of a First Nation land reclamation camp.
The confrontation in Caledonia, Ont., came hours after a judge granted a permanent injunction against the camp’s presence, which has stopped construction of a subdivision.
A electrical power pole was also set on fire by members of the Six Nations of the Grand River.
People at the blockade said officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) used a Taser on one person and fired at least one rubber bullet.
The OPP said police cruisers parked on the street were “heavily damaged” by the protest and that officers responded with “appropriate non-lethal force.” There were no injuries and an investigation is underway, the force said on Twitter. Several cruisers had been used to create a buffer zone between the burning blockade and the public.
Camp spokesperson Skyler Williams said the police ignited the situation.
“It’s another example of the OPP coming in here with violent acts of aggression against people that are just occupying their traditional territory. I think all of us are quite sick of it,” he said.
WATCH | An initial confrontation at the scene:
Williams said the blockade would last until the people decide it should end.
“As long as they want to keep pulling guns on our people, as long as the OPP wants to keep committing these acts of violence toward us,” he said.
“Now we have barricades up and people across the country talking about coming here to support what’s going on. I lay this at the feet of the OPP for continuing these violent tactics of peaceful occupiers of their own territory.”
Behind the buffer zone created by OPP cruisers, a group of local residents gathered, watching the smoke billow into the air as evening fell.
Lewis Walker, from Caledonia, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to step in and deal with this long-running conflict.
“Why is the conflict is still going on?” said Walker.
“Deep down inside, this is a federal issue, and we’re tired of it … bring that guy down here.”
Earlier, Ontario Superior Court Justice R.J. Harper granted the injunction sought by Foxgate Development and Haldimand County, the municipality that oversees Caledonia, after removing Williams from the proceedings.
Harper, who insisted that Williams was the leader of the effort, said he showed “contempt” for the court by refusing to obey the previous, temporary injunctions, and by insisting the Cayuga, Ont., courtroom was part of the “colonial” court system.
Harper said the court must acknowledge the “abuses that have been put upon the Aboriginal community.”
However, he added, “claims and grievances in our society … must be done respectfully, must be done in compliance with the orders.”
Members from Six Nations of the Grand River, which sits next to Caledonia about 22 kilometres south of Hamilton, set up the camp in July to stop the construction of the McKenzie Meadows development.
The camp, dubbed 1492 Land Back Lane, was raided by the OPP on Aug. 5, triggering a day of road and railway blockades. Demonstrators set tires ablaze and threw rocks and police fired rubber bullets.
A senior OPP officer said, in an affidavit filed as part of the injunction, that a second enforcement operation could trigger a stronger reaction that could see railways, bridges and power stations “attacked and damaged in retaliation.” The affidavit also said infrastructure could be targeted in other parts of the country.
Call for chief to step in
Six Nations member Gowenetoh said she wants to see elected council Chief Mark Hill take a stronger role in the evolving situation and approach the traditional government, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, to find a solution.
“He hears our cries,” she said. “He could rectify this. All he needs to do is go knock on the Confederacy door and say, ‘I’m willing to help us get our lands back.'”
The Six Nations members of the reclamation camp have historical records they say show that the land the development sits on was sold by a squatter to a settler who then received a land patent from the colonial authorities in 1853.
The property is part of the Haldimand Tract granted to Six Nations of the Grand River in 1784 for allying with the British during the American Revolution. The granted land encompassed 10 kilometres on both sides of the 280-kilometre Grand River which runs through southern Ontario and into Lake Erie. Six Nations now has less than five per cent of its original lands.
The Six Nations elected council has stated that, according to Ontario court decisions, there was no requirement for a private entity like a developer to accommodate Six Nations for developing lands that were taken illegally in the 1800s. Yet, the council said, Foxgate had transferred 17 hectares of land and $352,000 to Six Nations for accommodation.
Foxgate never consulted with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, the traditional Six Nations government, before commencing its project. The Confederacy Chiefs Council has supported 1492 Land Back Lane and deems the property to be in a red zone of land over which it contests title.
The Six Nations elected council has an ongoing court case, filed in 1995, against Ottawa and Ontario over lost lands. It is scheduled to go to trial in 2022.
The Six Nations elected council did not respond to a request for comment.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council could not be reached for comment.
Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt said the blame fell on the federal government for allowing the situation to fester for decades.
“The federal government has a huge role to play,” he said.
“It has abdicated its duties over the years in giving the people of Six Nations a platform for them to voice their concerns and push those concerns through a process. That is why we are here today.”
Hewitt said if Ottawa stepped in to negotiate, it may create a path away from what the OPP says will lead to conflict.
“I would hope there is enough respect between the two communities and ties between the two communities that we can find a better way to bring this to the front of the federal government,” he said.
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