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What's unique to this hardened real estate insurance market – Canadian Underwriter

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At the same time insurers have a reduced appetite to take on real estate risks, real estate developers during a pandemic-induced economic recession have an aversion to investing a lot of money into risk-reduction measures. These twin dynamics are a recipe for a long and arduous hard market in real estate insurance lines, according to a real estate insurance expert.

“What we’re facing right now is a circumstance where there is less and less appetite to take on the broader and wider risk,” said Jeff Charles, managing director for Gallagher. “That’s the whole supply-and-demand issue that the market is facing. And then there is the multi-year accumulation of attritional losses compounded by cat losses. And it’s a zero per cent interest rate environment. The insurance companies are on their heels with where they can be profitable, and that is driving the focus on their underwriting.”

Carriers are looking for more information about risks associated with where developers are building, primarily in areas with a high flood risk, Charles observed. Absent the right amount of information, it’s easier for companies to say they’re going to pass on an application. “’It doesn’t suit our profile and we don’t have enough information,’” said Charles, reciting what brokers are hearing insurance companies say. “That’s becoming more common and, arguably, appropriate.”

iStock.com/BeeBright

Broker conversations with clients are now shifting, Charles said. Clients will be asked if they’re willing to fork over the money and take on the increased costs to transfer the risks to insurance. Or they have the option to do something different, like take that money and invest in actions to mitigate risks and be pro-active.

There’s no straightforward path for clients to take in this environment, Charles told Canadian Underwriter. He finds the market “fascinating,” since one developer will see things differently from another.

When asked if the aversion to investing in risk mitigation would mean a day of reckoning was coming, Charles said it’s already here.

“The reckoning is starting,” he said. “But what’s particularly unique about this [hardening market in real estate] is that as long as we continue to operate in this low interest rate environment, and insurers are restricted in how they generate their income — they’re playing with one arm tied behind their back with the investment returns — that’s going to leave a continued focus on underwriting profitability and potential reliance on generating the majority of their returns to shareholders from their underwriting profitability.”

Related: COVID-19 compounds ongoing real estate insurance challenges

In other words, insurers have to make better decisions about the risks to which they are deploying capacity, and how much premium they’re going to charge. “We’ve started to see price move and we’re starting to see limitations on terms and conditions,” Charles said.

This is not just a Canada-only problem, he pointed out. The same issues are playing out around the world. Compared to other countries, Canadian flood risk may be small potatoes for global insurers who operate in Canada.

“What’s missing from this conversation is the reinsurance conversation,” Charles said. “What kind of price increases is the insurance company seeing. And what’s the driving impact to the end-user of that cost of reinsurance? That’s where you see…the tolerance to take on additional water issues is being tightened fastest.”

Feature image by iStock.com/Warchi

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Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP Announces Election of Directors of General Partner – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP (the “REIT LP“) (NEO: SVX.U) (NEO: SVX.RT.U) (OTCBB: SBVRF) today announced that the nominees listed in the management information circular for the 2020 annual general and special meeting of holders of Proportionate Voting Units were elected as directors of Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT (GP) Inc., the general partner of the REIT LP. Detailed results of the votes by proxy for the election of directors held virtually on October 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario are set out below:

Nominee

Votes For

% For

Votes Withheld

% Withheld

Michael B. Auerbach

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Richard Acosta

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Leland Hensch

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Scott Baker

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Octavio Boccalandro

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Craig M. Hatkoff

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Anne Sullivan

6,260,700

100%

0

0%

Details of the voting results on all matters considered at the meeting are available in the REIT LP’s report of voting results, which is available under the REIT LP’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP

Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP is a limited partnership established under the Limited Partnerships Act (Ontario) formed for the purpose of effecting, directly or indirectly, an acquisition of one or more businesses or assets, by way of a merger, amalgamation, arrangement, equity exchange, asset acquisition, equity purchase, reorganization, or any other similar business combination involving the REIT LP that will qualify as its qualifying transaction for the purposes of the rules of the Exchange. The REIT LP is a special purpose acquisition corporation for the purposes of the rules of the Neo Exchange Inc. (the “Exchange“). The REIT LP’s restricted voting units and rights are listed on the Exchange under the symbols “SVX.U” and “SVX.RT.U”, respectively.

Additional information is located at www.subversivecapital.com/reit.

SOURCE Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP

For further information: INVESTORS: Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP, [email protected]; MEDIA: Conscious Communications Collective, Leland Radovanovic, [email protected], 845-200-5349

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Canada real estate: RBC Economics reports condo listings on the rise as investors look to sell – The Georgia Straight

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RBC Economics reported on October 15 that condo prices have “stagnated over the past six months”.

Previous to this, the bank’s economics section on September 30 predicted that condo prices could “weaken in larger markets next year”.

Another thing is happening as well with the condo market in Canada.

In its latest housing report, RBC Economics noted that the real-estate market is awashed with condo supply.

According to economist Robert Hogue, “condo investors are looking to sell”.

“As rents soften and vacancies rise, condo listings are spiking in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver—albeit from low levels,” Hogue reported on Wednesday (October 29).

In the City of Toronto, condo listings in September 2020 increased 133.9 percent compared to supply in the same month last year.

For the rest of the Greater Toronto area, condo listings last month posted year-over-year growth of 81.5 percent.

In the island of Montreal, listings rose 41.4 percent in September compared to the same month in 2019.

However, for the rest of the Greater Montreal area, listings declined 32.8 percent year-over-year.

In Greater Vancouver, listings of condo properties rose 20.9 percent in September 2020 compared to the same month last year.

In contrast, listings for detached homes in all Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver metropolitan regions decreased year-over-year in September.

“New, stricter regulations in Toronto are adding to the impulse to sell – at a time when new condo completions are bringing more units to the Toronto and Vancouver markets,” Hogue noted in his October 29 report.

Hogue’s report covered in broad strokes how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the Canadian housing market.

“Rural and suburban areas that once lagged desirable city addresses are now roaring hot as homebuyers wearied by lockdowns seek bigger yards and larger living spaces,” Hogue wrote.

Meanwhile, “Tight downtown condo markets that previously commanded expensive rents are now thick with supply.”

Hogue also stated that “rent is now declining in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, especially in higher density, downtown locations”.

“Underlying the shift,” according to the bank economist is a “surge in rental supply as the short-term rental business dries up and new purpose-built rental and condo units are completed”.

As well, “Big-city living has lost some of its luster with social distancing measures severely restricting cultural life and socializing opportunities.”

“Meantime, affordability issues are driving many Canadians further afield into smaller towns and cottage country, where larger living spaces are available,” Hogue wrote.

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The Importance of Mortgage Loan Insurance

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Mortgage Loan Insurance is meant to shield the borrower from default on the borrower’s part, both straightforward and easy. However, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has built mortgage loan insurance to cover more than just banks. The CMHC needed homeowners to be better able to reach the housing market at an earlier time and better results. After all, more privately-owned housing means more employment, more market activity, more money invested, and so on. If there are more jobs and more investment, the economy will gain. In short, the risk to lenders has been eliminated, leaving them in a stronger position to offer lower interest rates and lower payments.

When the CMHC developed its Mortgage Loan Insurance (MLI) plan, it had a stipulation that if the borrower had less than 20% of the purchase price as a down payment, the insurance was necessary. Before introducing MLI, the Canadian Bank Act restricted federally controlled lending institutions from lending to those with less than 20% of loans. Banks will now fund up to 95 percent of the purchase price, given that MLI is purchased. The move meant that so many more people, who had previously given up on owning a house, now had hope.

MLI offers choices for those who already own a house for those who want to renovate, refinance, or move to another place. CMHC MLI’s are portable from an existing home to a newly purchased one, often without paying the initial premium for a new home. Besides, self-employed individuals looking to fund the purchase of a new home are now in a position to do so without offering conventional forms of proof of income. And those new to Canada are eligible. Current homeowners who choose to integrate energy-efficient elements into their home (the NRCan Energy Assessment Rating must increase by at least five points) are entitled to an extended amortization period-without a surcharge and with a 10% insurance premium rebate. There are also more incentives for borrowers to buy a second home or income land.

Now that we know the value of MLI, how do we translate it into numbers? Ok, it depends on a few equations, for instance. Your lender will do it for you, but if you want an idea ahead of time, start measuring the Gross Debt Service (GDS). The GDS estimates the most expenses you can afford per month, particularly those related to running your house. The cumulative GDS need not be more than 32% of your gross household income to apply for an MLI. Next is your Total Debt Service (TDS) estimation, which calculates the most debt cost your payment can cover. The TDS should not be more than 40% of your total monthly household income. Use the online mortgage calculator to enter the details and your gross monthly income, along with other factors, and you will be presented with the maximum allowable mortgage you apply for.

The MLI premium rate will then be measured as a percentage of the overall loan, taking into account the down payment size. For example, if you need the lender to fund 80% of the property’s cost, your fee would be 1 % of the total loan. If the purchase requires 95 percent of the lender’s funding, the price would be 2.75 percent of the total amount of the loan. The lower the sum financed, the lower the insurance premium.

Also, the harder homeowners work to pay off their mortgage, the more equity they create in their house. The ability to buy earlier than was traditionally feasible (through the MLI), homeowners took the opportunity to go faster than even the lender had expected. As of 2009, the CMHC estimated that Canadian homeowners’ equity status was, on average, 74 percent, while that of its American counterparts was 43 percent. The importance of the MLI is obvious now.

 

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