Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories.
Canadian Real Estate
One of the world’s largest credit rating agencies confirmed an early forecast of falling home prices in Canada. Moody’s had expected government measures would delay any impact to home prices. The firm believes this is still true, and even elaborated on which markets will be hit. They expect enthusiasm over stimulus measures will begin to wear thin. At this point, the reality of a damaged labour market, and how meaningful improvements have been will start to hit sellers. This is expected to be stronger in some markets, like Toronto, than other markets – like Vancouver.
Despite booming Canadian real estate sales, condo apartment prices have now fallen from their peak price. The aggregate benchmark reached $478,700 in August, up 6.45% from last year. This number is down 0.15% from the all time record reached in April. As you might expect, not everywhere is falling. Three markets have printed new all-time highs as of August. The rest however, have fallen – and some markets haven’t seen an all-time high in over half a decade.
Canada’s national housing agency, and state-owned insurer, sees a lot of risk in real estate markets. Seven markets are now flagged as having “moderate” levels of vulnerability, up from five in the spring. Toronto and Vancouver remain in the moderate category, while Montreal continues to be considered low risk. The organization did say things appear better than the reality, due to disposable income temporarily being inflated by government support. Once disposable income falls back to non-supported levels, overvaluation metrics should rise once again.
Canada’s biggest real estate markets are seeing one of their fundamental drivers continue to deteriorate – immigration. Toronto only saw 4,450 permanent residents arrive in July, down 64.0% from last year. Vancouver saw 1,300 people, down 71.1% from last year. Montreal fell to 2,110, down 47.2% from last year. Toronto and Vancouver have seen the declines become larger from the month before. Montreal bucked the trend by seeing a smaller decline, but has also seen a much longer trend that goes back before the pandemic.
Canadian mortgage debt is swelling, but households are making a lot fewer payments. The amount paid towards mortgages hit $90.27 billion in Q2 2020, down 3.32% lower than last year. Almost all of this is due to paying off less interest. Breaking the numbers down, we see payments towards principal are on the decline, while payments towards interest are actually rising.
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Canada real estate: TD Economics sees high home prices holding up in fourth quarter before dropping in 2021 – The Georgia Straight
Home buyers looking for a bit of a discount may want to wait a little.
A housing report by TD Economics predicts that high home prices will persist for the rest of 2021.
“Regarding prices, we think they’ll hold up at these record levels in the fourth quarter…,” economist Rishi Sondhi wrote.
Then things will start to ease in 2021.
Sondhi explained that tight supply is driving high home prices.
According to the TD Bank economist, the real-estate market is currently in seller’s territory.
The economist noted that the national sales-to-new listings ratio in September “registered a drum-tight reading” of 77.2 percent.
He noted that “markets were the tightest they’ve been in nearly 20 years in September”.
Sales-to-new listings ratio is the number of sales divided by listings.
A seller’s market means that the sales-to-listing ratio is 60 percent or more, or six sales out of 10 listings.
A balanced market features a ratio between 40 percent and 60 percent.
A buyer’s market happens when the ratio is less than 40 percent, which means fewer than four sales for 10 listings.
In a report on October 15, the Canadian Real Estate Association noted that the national average price of a home set a new record in September.
The average price topped the $600,000 mark for the first time at more than $604,000.
In his report on October 15, Sondhi predicted “some easing is anticipated” for prices after the fourth quarter of 2020.
This is consistent with Sondhi’s previous report on October 8.
The bank economist noted in that earlier report that “unlike sales, an immediate fourth quarter pullback is unlikely” for prices.
“In fact, another (modest) gain could be in the cards,” Sondhi wrote.
“After the fourth quarter,” Sondhi predicted on October 8, “Canadian prices will likely drop through the first half of 2021 by around 7%, before regaining some traction later next year.”
Brookfield weighs US$3B life-sciences real estate portfolio sale – BNN
Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is exploring a sale of its life-sciences real estate portfolio, and seeking about US$3 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The Toronto-based alternative asset manager is working with advisers to sell roughly 2.3 million square feet of life-sciences real estate it acquired as part of its 2018 purchase of Forest City Realty Trust Inc., said the people, who requested anonymity because the information isn’t public.
A Brookfield representative declined to comment.
Blackstone Group Inc. agreed last week to recapitalize a portfolio of BioMed Realty life-sciences buildings for US$14.6 billion, a deal that will generate US$6.5 billion of cumulative profits four years after investing in the properties.
Life sciences, which includes pharmaceutical, biotech and other medical research fields, is a sector where most staff can’t work remotely. That has stabilized the value of such properties.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., one of the largest real estate investment trusts that owns on life sciences properties, has fallen 2 per cent this year compared to a 14.6 per cent decline of the Bloomberg U.S. REITs Index.
ULI & PwC to Release ‘Emerging Trends in Real Estate’ Report
An upcoming report on Canada’s real estate market will highlight our nation’s resiliency through the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide impacts to retail, office spaces, and suburbanization have been felt hard in the development industry, as landowners, sellers, and buyers are all affected by the trials of 2020. Many in the industry are viewing this as a prime opportunity to reposition their portfolios, so this is among the topics to be covered in PwC and ULI’s new Emerging Trends in Real Estate report.
“The coming year will be all about embracing opportunities to be resilient in the face of uncertainty, while shifting strategies in anticipation of market headwinds,” reads a statement issued by Frank Magliocco, National Real Estate Leader, PwC Canada. “For the first time in a few years, we’re hearing divergent views from industry players about issues like the future of office spaces and the urbanization and suburbanization trends.”
Downtown Toronto, image by Forum contributor Michael62
Set to be released on October 30th, the report’s 2021 edition touches on trends and outlooks in the Canadian and US real estate markets. Among these are specific changes to the market, including breakdowns of specific submarkets. Within the commercial real estate submarket, this includes details on retail troubles, office space uncertainty, and warehousing gains. Within the residential real estate submarket, the report discusses the concept of “creating 18-hour cities across Canada,” environments that combine live, work and play elements, as more Canadians are drawn towards more spread out suburban communities.
“The tension between longer term trends and fundamentals and short-term realities manifests in this year’s must-read report,” reads a statement from Richard Joy, Executive Director of Urban Land Institute Toronto. Prudence, “in the face of uncertainty, while dampening some sectors and trends, is accelerating and expanding others.”
The report is to be launched at the end of the month with an online webinar event led with a keynote delivered by Andrew Warren, Director of Real Estate Research at PwC, which is set to be followed by a panel of local experts panel to be moderated by PwC. The program has been expanded, with this year’s event offering attendees the opportunity to participate in various sessions, including a closing Fireside Chat with Jon Love and Aliyah Mohamed to further explore the economic landscape of the real estate development sector.
Those wishing to attend the ULI/PwC Annual Trends in Real Estate webinar on Friday October 30th, from 8 AM to 12 PM, can register at this link.
Source: – Urban Toronto
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