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GTA 2019

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

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7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

GTA 2019

By Wayne Karl

GTA homebuyers, we have some good news and some bad news.

First, the good news: You live in one of the most desirable areas and housing markets in Canada – maybe even the world.

The bad news? That affordability challenge we’re all facing.

“The affordability issue is not going away,” PricewaterhouseCoopers says plainly, in its Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2019 report.

Why? See point number one.

“Potential homebuyers will need to alter their expectations and possibly delay entry into homeownership,” Dana Senagama, manager, market analysis for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), told Homes Publishing.

Not exactly the most hopeful outlook for those – especially first-timers – looking to buy a home in and around the GTA.

But it’s not all bad. Let’s look at what’s going on in the market, and what would-be buyers can do to help their cause.

1 Return to price growth

Following the introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan in April 2017, recent interest rate hikes and other changes, sales and prices in the GTA have seen some moderation.

But the slowing will be short-lived, Senagama says. Key economic fundamentals such as population and employment growth will continue to drive housing market demand, but the supply of new homes is not being addressed. The result? A return to price growth.

“CMHC is working on data gaps like supply with many industry stakeholders and partners,” she says. “Currently, we are participating in a working group with the province of Ontario to find solutions and best practices.”

PwC says the region is feeling the effects of demographic shifts. Millennials have begun to compete with Baby Boomers for real estate, and over the next decade, almost 700,000 first-time buyers will target the GTA or Hamilton markets, according to a May 2018 report from the Ontario Real Estate Association.

2 Risk of overvaluation

Senagama cautions, however, that the Toronto market is still showing signs of overvaluation.

“This happens when house price growth is surpassing the population and income growth. So, despite some of the moderation you’re seeing, we’re still calling for a high degree of vulnerability in Toronto in the foreseeable future.”

3 Inelastic supply

The GTA housing market is characterized by inelastic supply. “Supply is slow to respond to any change in price, and we’re seeing that time and time again,” she says.

Recent research from CMHC and Altus Group, in fact, shows that of the lowrise new home projects that were started in 2016 and 2017, it took 15 years for those developments to go from the initial land purchase to product hitting the market.

Supply response
Source: CMHC

 

“We have a problem, in terms of supply.”

With very limited new home supply hitting the market, once buyers get used to temporary shocks to the system brought on by policy issues and rising interest rates, they return to buying homes, which in turn drives up prices.

4 Condo demand

With lowrise home prices enjoying spectacular growth in recent years, there was a compositional shift in demand toward less expensive product – namely condos – particular among first-time buyers.

But now, with price growth even in this category – with average condo prices rising 8.4 per cent year-over-year to $552,269 in the third quarter this year – and pre-construction units in the $700,000 range…

“These are not price points for first-time buyers,” Senagama says, “so we’re still looking at very high prices across the GTA.”

5 Mortgage rates

The Bank of Canada has already raised its influential overnight rate target three times since July 2017, to 1.5 per cent from 0.75 per cent. Experts expect at least one more increase this year, possibly as early as the next rate announcement on Oct. 24.

A more moderate pace of rate increases could impact the market, but not significantly since the majority of mortgage holders are on fixed-rate mortgages, CMHC research shows.

6 Rental market

Any discussion about affordability needs to include the rental market, Senagama says. “Much like the ownership segment, supply is a huge constraint in the Toronto rental market.”

Rental

With the average vacancy rate in the GTA 1.1 per cent, and 0.7 per cent for condo rentals, rental rate increases are picking up steam. “Because we have a supply problem. And because we don’t have enough supply of the purpose-built rental units, the gap has been filled in by the condo market.”

About 33 per cent of all condos in Toronto are being rented out by investors, according to CMHC. This results in renters paying a much higher premium to rent a condo versus a purpose-built apartment – on average 50 per cent more, for a two-bedroom unit.

“We talk about affordability, and this raises so many other concerns, especially in a market that is supply-strapped,” Senagama says.

7 Catch 22

investors are buying into the condo market to rent out their units, taking advantage of the tight rental market. But first-time buyers – who typically aren’t equity-rich or wealthy – have to compete for available condo product, which again drives up prices.

 

 

5 REASONS TO BUY A HOME NOW (OR AS SOON AS YOU CAN)

1 Affordability

More supply of new homes is a big part of the solution. But despite ongoing lobbying from the housing industry, and apparent increasing awareness of new elected municipal leaders, this problem won’t be solved overnight. It will take time. Lots of it. In the meantime, as PricewaterhouseCoopers says: The affordability issue is not going away. It might even get worse before it gets better.

2 Market moderation waning

With little relief on the supply side expected, price growth will continue to be strong, even if somewhat muted compared to the double-digit increases seen over the last few years. In short, the longer buyers wait, the more it could cost you.

3 Interest rates

Experts expect at least one more increase this year, possibly as early as the next rate announcement on Oct. 24. To protect yourself against a more moderate pace of rate increases, consider a fixed-rate mortgage product.

4 Pent-up demand

Buyers believe prices are going to increase, but not to the same degree we’ve seen in recent years. This will lead to pent-up demand, which when released over the next year, will contribute to increasing buying activity and rising prices. So, if you’re able to buy before then, you could beat the rush.

5 Rental market

If you’re a Millennial planning to move out of home and into the rental market, consider this: Toronto is the most expensive Canadian rental market, with average rates for one-bedroom units at slightly more than $1,900 per month (up 2.8 per cent from August to September); $2,374 for two-bedrooms (up 7.1 per cent). Try saving up for a down payment at those rates; maybe staying at home a little longer isn’t so bad after all.

Wayne Karl is Senior Digital Editor at Homes Publishing. wayne.karl@homesmag.com 

RELATED READING

Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

GTA housing market correction coming to an end, ReMax says

 

 

 

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5 steps

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

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5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

5 steps

Promising to create more housing supply was the first step, now industry leaders are calling on the Ford Government to action solutions that will bring much-needed supply into the marketplace and help solve the housing affordability issue facing many Ontarians.

This week, leaders from housing associations – the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA) and the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) – gathered at the second annual Housing Summit event to examine bold policy prescriptions that will help Millennials get their hands on the keys to their first home.

“Keeping the dream of home ownership alive in Ontario requires bold policies and action from the provincial government,” says Tim Hudak, chief executive officer, OREA.

“First and foremost, to get more new homes in the marketplace, the building approvals process must be streamlined and zoning updated to allow for more homes in the right places. The best and fastest way to give Ontario’s first-time homebuyers a break is to eliminate the punishing land transfer tax for first-time buyers.”

“#Homebelievers know that government can support more housing choice and supply needed to make the great Canadian dream of home ownership a reality in existing, expanding, and established communities across Ontario,” adds OHBA chief executive officer Joe Vaccaro.

As advocates for greater home supply and home affordability in the province, OREA, OHBA and FRPO say the solutions to keeping housing within reach for young Ontarians include:

1 Speed up the planning approvals process

The home development approvals process can take up to 10 years in some parts of Ontario. Better alignment of municipal and provincial housing priorities, will get new homes to the market faster.

2 Build more homes and build them higher around and above transit stations

Use “As of Right” zoning to ensure housing intensification along rail transit lines and stations, exactly where many Millennials want and need them.

3 Provide first-time home buyer tax relief

Eliminate the land transfer tax for first-time homebuyers or dramatically increase the current rebate offered to first-timers.

4 Bring back the Ontario Municipal Board

The traditional role of the OMB has been to take the NIMBY out of housing decisions. Bringing back the OMB means evidence-based planning decisions, which will create more housing supply and choice.

5 Create new rental stock by reducing barriers and red tape

Adjust the annual rent increase guideline to CPI plus two per cent, implement a 20-year rent control rolling exemption on new construction and maintain vacancy decontrol.

RELATED READING

5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

The answer to affordable housing is supply, supply, supply

Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

 

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Housing sector calls on Queen’s Park to take immediate action to address home affordability

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Housing sector calls on Queen’s Park to take immediate action to address home affordability

(Marketwired) — Population growth and a strong economy in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) have created a high-demand housing market where housing supply is critically low and home prices are becoming out of reach for many families and first-time homebuyers.

The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) are urging the provincial government to create a housing experts task force to provide ideas for increasing housing supply in Ontario, thus alleviating the growing home affordability challenges facing Ontarians.

Off the top, they list four things the government can do to relieve the underlying housing supply crunch that threatens the dream of homeownership for young families and future generations:

Fix the “One Size Fits All” Growth Plan

Instead of a blanket provincial preference for high density, give municipalities more flexibility and create more choice in housing for growing families and empty nesters, such as family homes and townhomes.

Improve the Planning Approvals Process

With better alignment of municipal and provincial housing priorities, including the requirement for updated zoning around transit corridors, the industry can get new homes to the market quickly in exactly the places where we want them.

Address the “Missing Middle” of Housing Supply

There is huge opportunity to modernize outdated zoning laws and build the “missing middle” of housing supply in existing communities that are connected to transit and closer to jobs. This includes innovative solutions like laneway housing and multi-unit homes, such as townhouses, stacked flats or midrise buildings.

Target Infrastructure to Support New Housing Supply

The province should support new housing supply with targeted infrastructure investments to get more housing to the market for consumers.

The OHBA and OREA agree that sustainable, long-term solutions are necessary to get to the root of the affordability problem, and it starts with increasing housing supply. Together, they are appealing to the provincial government to take stock of the housing supply problem and work with real estate industry leaders to design solutions that will improve home affordability for all Ontarians.

“Ninety-five per cent of Ontario’s new housing supply is built by our industry, and new home prices reflect the market conditions affected by government policy, like municipal and provincial approvals,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO at OHBA. “It only makes sense to bring together private sector expertise and government policy makers if we are serious about making home ownership more affordable.”

“The Canadian dream of home ownership is at risk in the GTA,” said Tim Hudak, CEO at OREA. “This is the year for provincial and municipal governments to step up with solutions to ensure the dream of home ownership does not slip away from future generations. The housing supply issue is a real problem, but the solutions exist. We need the government to get real estate experts together on this issue, to hammer out a plan for putting more homes on the market and making home ownership more affordable for young families and first-time buyers.”

OHBA is the voice of the land development, new housing and professional renovation industries in Ontario. OHBA represents over 4,000 member companies, organized through a network of 29 local associations across the province. ohba.ca

OREA represents 70,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 39 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA serves its realtor members through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy, and other services. OREA.com


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TREB, OREA fight increased land transfer tax

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TREB, OREA fight increased land transfer tax

Real Estate Magazine, REMonline.com

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) are fighting a City of Toronto proposal that would increase land transfer taxes on homebuyers.

TREB has launched a website to shed light on the proposed changes, which it says could add thousands of dollars in upfront tax for some homebuyers.

http://www.remonline.com/treb-orea-fight-increased-land-transfer-taxes/

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