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2019 web

Forecast 2019 – where are Canada’s hottest housing markets?

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Forecast 2019 – where are Canada’s hottest housing markets?

2019 web

Wondering where Canada’s hottest housing markets are, as 2018 comes to a close and 2019 is just around the corner? Well, that all depends on who you ask.

Two of Canada’s large realty firms – Royal LePage and ReMax – both issued their 2019 housing market outlooks on Dec. 11.

Yes, the very same day.

Rather than produce two stories on the exact same topic, just from different sources, we thought it would be interesting to compare them. And while there are some commonalities in their forecasts, there are also some interesting discrepancies.

There is no ‘Canadian’ market

Let’s begin with the headline of ReMax’s 2019 Housing Market Outlook: “Canadian home prices expected to increase by 1.7 per cent in 2019.”

Yeah, about that. Forget that headline. As we recently wrote, those national numbers are pretty meaningless. It’s like trying to summarize the weather, temperature or traffic as “Canadian.”

But, just for comparison purposes, ReMax estimates Canadian home prices will grow 1.7 per cent in 2019; Royal LePage, 1.2 per cent.

National numbers that do matter are interest rates, GDP growth and employment. Then there’s immigration, which affects some markets more than others, mortgage regulations and housing supply. All of these factors are the key drivers of real estate. But more on that later.

Now let’s take a look at some of the regional highlights.

GTA

ReMax says:

  • Toronto average prices down 4% in 2018 to $789,181
  • Toronto average prices forecast to rise 2% in 2019 to $804,964

In Toronto, rising interest rates and the mortgage stress test were the two major factors affecting market activity in 2018, with average sale prices dropping by four per cent from $822,572 in 2017 to $789,181 in 2018, and unit sales down by 16 per cent. Lack of affordability in the single-detached segment will make it difficult for buyers wanting to enter this market. Resale condos, on the other hand, now represent almost 37 per cent of total sales, fueled by affordability.

ReMax Housing Market Outlook, select major markets

Region 2018

 Average Home Price

 

2019

Average Home Price

(Forecast)

Year-over-Year

(%)

Vancouver $1.05M $1.01M -3.0%
Edmonton $379,539 $360,562 -5.0%
Calgary $487,399 $487,399 3.0%
Saskatoon $333,187 $343,182 0.6%
Regina $322,500 $322,500 0.0%
Winnipeg $323,001 $335,921 4.0%
Windsor $299,750 $329,725 10.0%
London $379,654 $398,636 5.0%
Kitchener-Waterloo $473,275 $487,473 3.0%
Hamilton-Burlington $707,949 $849,538 2.0%
Barrie $477,839 $492,174 3.0%
Oakville $1.08M $1.13M 5.0%
Mississauga $705,406 $733,622 4.0%
Brampton $577,846 $600,959 4.0%
Durham $594,585 $612,422 3.0%
Toronto $789,181 $804,964 2.0%
Ottawa $678,670 $705,816 4.0%
Halifax $299,982 $308,981 3.0%
St. John’s $265,523 $265,523 0.0%

 

Elsewhere in Ontario

Rising interest rates and the stress test continue to make it difficult for prospective buyers in Barrie, Oakville and Durham regions.

“This is particularly true for first-time buyers and single Millennials, as evident in cities like Brampton, Kingston and Durham,” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada.

Hottest in the province

The hottest market in Ontario? Windsor, which showed price growth of 13 per cent in 2018, to $299,750, with another 10 per cent increase forecast for 2019. London is also expected to be strong, with prices to increase another five per cent next year, after rising 17 per cent this year to reach $379,654.

 

Royal LePage says:

  • GTA average price in 2018 $844,000
  • GTA average price forecast to rise 1.3% to $854,552

“Compared to the record pace of home appreciation seen in 2016 and 2017, the GTA housing market is now positioned for much healthier and sustainable growth in future years,” says Chris Slightham, broker and owner, Royal LePage Signature Realty.

Many regions outside of Toronto’s core saw price declines in 2018, a result of overshooting in previous years. The continued population growth should cause the suburbs to stabilize and reignite price growth. In addition, the potential subway expansion into the suburbs should stabilize and increase home prices in close proximity to new transit infrastructure.

Elsewhere in Ontario

The median price in Ottawa is expected to increase 2.5 per cent in 2019 to $487,910, benefitting from the city’s healthy economy and high income per household, driven by the public and technology sectors.

Interestingly, Royal LePage also notes that neither the new mortgage rules nor recent interest rate hikes have notably affected Ottawa’s housing market.

 

Highlights from other Canadian markets

The star performer of all major Canadian markets in 2019? Montreal, according to Royal LePage.

“Quebec will out-perform the nation in 2019,” says President and CEO Phil Soper. “Like other regions of the country, the economy is strong and people are working. What is different is affordability. We have to remember that Montreal sat out the rapid home price inflation we saw in Vancouver and Toronto this decade, and in Calgary the decade before.”

As for the ReMax outlook for Montreal, Quebec did not participate in this year’s forecast.

 

 

Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast

Region  

2018 Aggregate Home Price
(Year End Estimate)


2019 
Aggregate
Home Price 
(Forecast)
Year-over-Year (%)
Canada $631,000 $638,257 1.2%
Greater Toronto Area $844,000 $854,552 1.3%
Greater Montreal Area $409,000 $421,306 3.0%
Greater Vancouver $1.28M $1.29M 0.6%
Ottawa $476,000 $487,910 2.5%
Calgary $484,000 $473,104 -2.3%
Edmonton $386,000 $378,691 -1.9%
Winnipeg $306,000 $309,829 1.3%
Halifax $321,000 $326,096 1.6%
Regina $327,000 $311,505 -4.7%

 

Influential factors

Now for more on those national factors that do influence real estate.

“I would call attention to two factors influencing our forecast that deserve special consideration,” says Soper. “Firstly, home prices are appreciating, albeit at a snail’s pace. Secondly, the Canadian market is supported by strong economic fundamentals, including a robust rate of new household formation and excellent employment growth.

“The future for Canadian housing remains bright, perhaps too bright. With an increasing number of gainfully employed people looking to put a roof over their heads, and the scarce availability of rental accommodation, policy makers in our major markets will once again be struggling with housing shortages. More than an affordable housing problem, we will once again be facing an overall housing supply crisis.”

As for interest rates, the Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate of 1.75 per cent on Dec. 5, citing a weaker than expected energy sector. Further rate increases are expected in 2019, making it more difficult for Canadians to buy a home in 2019.

The Bank forecasts GDP will increase 2.1 per cent in 2019, a modest increase over 2018, while Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent in November, the lowest on record since 1976.

RELATED READING

5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

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

GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing market

 

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5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

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5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

2018 web

With much of 2018 in the rear-view mirror, It’s been quite the year for the housing market in the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario. From sales and price fluctuations to supply concerns to rising housing costs. As 2019 approaches, here are five things we can learn from real estate in 2018.

 

1 Get used to the affordability issue

Get used to affordability challenges, especially in the GTA. This oft-cited issue is not going away any time soon, despite lobbying from the likes of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Key economic fundamentals such as population and employment growth will continue to drive housing market demand. Over the next decade, almost 700,000 first-time buyers will target the GTA or Hamilton markets, according to a report from the Ontario Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, the supply of new homes is not yet being addressed, which contributes to rising prices.

With recent interest rate hikes and other changes, sales and prices in the GTA saw some moderation in 2018. But this will be short-lived, and a return to price growth is expected.

 

2 Increased government involvement – finally

Government lobbying by BILD and TREB seems to be paying off, in the sense that the Province is increasingly aware of the issues facing the industry – and buyers.

Buyers, you may not realize it, but you should thank BILD, TREB and other associations for that.

In late November, Ontario announced it was committing to a housing action plan “to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Like anything involving government, though, this process will likely be slow moving – meaning, some of the challenges, namely increasing housing supply – will take time to be resolved.

But at least the issues are on the agenda.

One real example of this improved awareness is Ontario’s recent plan to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system in the province – a move the home building industry says is a “game changer.”

It’s a game changer because the new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the existing 3-to-1 ratio, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices. Besides creating more job opportunities for trades workers, the move also helps builders and renovators operate their businesses

 

3 Fixing on interest rates

The Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate three times in 2018 – January, July and October – to where it sits now, 1.75 per cent.

Canada’s major banks, as is usually the case, responded by immediately raising their own rates.

Naturally, all of this has Canadians feeling a little uneasy.

The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Index of Consumer Confidence confirms that rising interest rates and weaker wage growth have started to take their toll on confidence. With interest charges squeezing Canadian wallets and weakening wage growth offering little reprieve, consumers have become hesitant to make major purchases and are less positive about the state of their finances.

In its latest rate announcement on Dec. 5, the Bank of Canada noted that global economic expansion is slowing, and the effects of the “oil price shock” are being monitored.

“We expect that the Bank will not move the overnight rate until the effects of the declining energy sector are known,”according to interest rate comparison website ratehub.ca. “However, the Bank makes it clear that they still plan on raising the key interest rate in 2019, likely more than once.”

This moderated stance might put downward pressure on fixed rate mortgages, however, so Canadians may see better fixed rates in the coming weeks, ratehub.ca says.

 

4 Real estate is more local than ever

It’s a simple point that escapes some consumers: Real estate is local, and in 2018, it became more local than ever.

What do we mean?

Well, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and other major real estate bodies are mandated to oversee the national market.

So, when CREA issues a release that says Canadian home sales are down by X per cent, or when CMHC reports the national vacancy rate is down for the second consecutive year – and major media report such headlines – people tend to worry.

It’s essential to remember, however, that when you buy a home, you don’t buy the national market. You buy one house, on one street, in one neighbourhood, in one city and region.

If you live in Ontario, why do you care that Alberta’s ongoing oil industry struggles are pulling sales and prices down in markets in that province? Or that prices in Vancouver are even less affordable than in Toronto?

Forget the national headlines. Drill down into what’s happening in your market.

And why is real estate more local then ever? Because…

 

5 Lessons from Oshawa

General Motors Canada’s November announcement that it was closing its Oshawa assembly plant sent shockwaves not just through the province but all of Canada. To be sure, the loss of at least 2,500 jobs – not to mention untold positions in related suppliers – in a community of 170,000, is going to hurt. Hurt whom, and how badly, are the only questions.

This development should serve as a stark reminder to us all – of how important it is for cities to develop diversified, modern economies. Overdependence on any one ge, singular industries leads to overexposure in the case of downturns or, in GM’s case, outright shutdowns. It hurts the local economy, which impacts employment and wage growth, which impacts the housing market.

Oshawa, thankfully in recent years, has been diversifying its economy and expanding in technology, education and other industries. It will help, but the impact of the GM closure will likely play out over many months, if not years.

These developments could push housing in Oshawa into a buyers’ market, and prospective buyers could benefit from more options and softening prices.

In new homes, builders remain undeterred, encouraged by the longer-term growth and development throughout the Durham Region. Still, some may offer incentives such as discounts or inclusions to entice qualified buyers.

 

RELATED READING

GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Where are interest rates headed in 2019?

 

 

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GTA home prices continue to rise

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GTA home prices continue to rise

Toronto homes web

Greater Toronto Area average home prices continued their upward trajectory in November, rising 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $788,345, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

GTA realtors report 6,251 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS system in November 2018, down by 14.7 per cent compared to November 2017, when there was a temporary upward shift in demand caused by the looming OSFI-mandated stress test at the end of last year.

“New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” President Garry Bhaura says. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were down by 3.4 per cent compared to October 2018.  The average selling price after preliminary seasonal adjustment was down by 0.8 per cent, compared to October 2018.

Average home prices, November

Toronto (416)
2018: $842,483
2017: $803,540

Rest of GTA (905)
2018: $750,721
2017: $732,848

GTA
2018: $788, 345
2017: $761,410

“Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year.”

Looking at the housing market from a policy perspective, TREB says it is encouraged with the provincial government’s recent announcement and on-going public consultation regarding a housing supply action plan.

“Housing supply remains a key issue in the GTA market,” says TREB CEO John Di Michele. “More specifically, an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing types must be part of the conversation, as has been recognized by the provincial government in their consultation documents. Transit supportive and gentle density ‘missing middle’ housing should be a priority.”

 

GTA average prices and percentage gain by home type, November 2018

Detached: $1.01M, 1.3%
Semi-detached: $791,760, 8.3%
Townhome: $647,418, 3.1%
Condo: $556,723, 7.5%

TREB has commissioned research on these subjects and is holding a Market Outlook Economic Summit on Feb. 6, 2019.

“TREB is also encouraged that the provincial government remains committed to public transit expansion,” adds Di Michele. “TREB has long advocated for improvements to the Greater Golden Horseshoe transit and transportation network, and feels the time is right to have a conversation about the level of provincial and municipal responsibility that would be the most efficient arrangement to realize subway expansion sooner in Toronto, and the GTA, as this will impact the housing market.”

 

RELATED READING

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

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

 

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EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

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New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments
Ironwood Towns in North Oshawa by Podium Developments and Urban Capital

Despite the bad news this week that General Motors Canada plans to close assembly operations in Oshawa, there are some good new home buying opportunities in the city and elsewhere in Durham Region.

As various levels of government and the Unifor trade union vow to somehow keep the plant open or otherwise deal with the fallout of the decision, the housing sector in Oshawa is expected to shift into a buyers’ market.

That could mean deals for buyers in a market where home prices have already been under pressure.

 

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

 

For those looking to buy a new home, know that there are still plenty of good opportunities in Oshawa and surrounding area.

First, let’s look at recent new home buying activity in the area, courtesy of statistics from Altus Group, theofficial source for market intelligence for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

 

Total new home sales, units

Oshawa Durham Region
Annual
2013          682       2,376
2014       1,108       3,130
2015          971       3,433
2016       1,149       5,344
2017          490       2,385
Jan-Oct
2017          483       2,262
2018            83       1,065
Source:  Altus Group

 

Naturally, the GM news is a sensitive topic to an industry such as home building, where companies dedicate years to planning and construction development projects. So don’t expect a comment any time soon from BILD, the voice of home builders in the GTA, or individual companies.

Might developers at some point offer deals – be they discounts or upgrades – in order to move an unsold inventory in a market not feeling the strongest at the moment?

It never hurts to ask.

 

A selection of new home and condo inventory

Ironwood in North Oshawa, Building Capital and Podium Developments, contemporary freehold townhomes

Harmony Creek, Conservatory Group, townhomes and detached homes

Daniels FirstHome Oshawa, townhomes

Brook Phase 2, Delpark Homes, detached homes

Fields of Harmony Phase IV, Greycrest Homes, detached homes

Harmony Gate, Sundance Homes, townhomes

Kingsview Ridge, Treasure Hill, 30-, 36- and 40-ft. singles

Park Ridge, Tribute Communities, detached homes from the low $900’s

U.C. Towns 2, Tribute Communities, townhomes form the low $600’s

Top of Townline, Woodland Homes, detached homes

For more new home buying opportunities, visit MyHomePage.ca

With files from Natalie Sicilia, New Home Research Manager & Map Editor

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Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

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Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

House web

In one fell swoop, General Motors Canada’s announcement on Nov. 25 that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. effectively has pushed housing there into a buyers’ market.

“The announced General Motors plant closure will certainly impact Oshawa, and the trickle-down effect will be felt across the province,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax Integra of Ontario-Atlantic Region, told Homes Publishing.

“However, it’s important to remember that GM isn’t the economic driver that it used to be in Durham Region. The area boasts a growing education sector and a new casino is slated to open in 2019, which will boost new condo development and housing demand. With the rise of remote work and no relief expected for Toronto house prices in 2019, Oshawa will continue to be a popular choice with first-time and move-up buyers who have been priced out of the 416.”

There you have it, prospective home buyers.

Opportunity knocks

While such a major employment hit is hardly an occasion to celebrate, these developments could mean opportunity for those looking to buy a home.

“The fact is that more than 2,500 GM workers will be left in the lurch come 2020, and the looming loss of income will likely prompt a softening of the market at a local level, as existing residents and prospective homebuyers digest the news and what it might mean for them,” says Alexander. “This coming closure, coupled with further interest rate increases in 2019, is likely to trigger a market shift from the current balanced territory, as homebuyers delay purchases, scale down lower-priced properties or move away in search of employment.”

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

Also read: 5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

Another real estate expert, Don R. Campbell, says the impact of the closure could take 18 to 24 months to play out fully in the region.

Diversified economy

Thankfully, there is more going for Oshawa and the Durham Region than just General Motors. Though it was once described as the “Automotive Capital of Canada,” in recent years the economy has diversified into education and health sciences. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and Trent University Durham and all have campuses in the city, among other economy-boosting facilities.

Indeed, in its latest Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada pegged Oshawa to be one of the strongest economies in the province for 2018. The Board forecast real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent this year, following 3.2 per cent in the last two years, citing strength in the non-residential construction, education, health care, finance and insurance sectors.

In addition, Statistics Canada figures show that Oshawa was one of the fastest growing cities in Ontario from 2011 to 2016, with 6.6 per cent population growth, second only to Guelph at 7.7 per cent. This, after growing 7.7 per cent from 2006 to 2011.

Importantly, for prospective home buyers, transportation improvements such as expanded GO Transit and the Hwy. 407 extension make it easier for people to live in Oshawa – at cheaper home prices – and commute to work in other areas such as Toronto. Another extension of the 407 eastward to neighbouring Clarington is due for 2020, further easing transportation options.

New home opportunities

Tomorrow, we’ll explore some of the opportunities to buy new homes in the Durham Region.

 

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Oshawa

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

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What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

Oshawa

General Motors Canada has confirmed that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. after next year, leaving the community reeling with concern for the local economy and housing market.

And with good reason.

Auto manufacturing in the city of about 170,000 dates back as far as 1907, and the plant is still a major employer. It employs about 2,500 hourly and 400 salaried workers, with many more engineers working at GM’s adjacent Regional Engineering Centre.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry has said the closure would have ripple effects well beyond the city, hurting businesses and families throughout the Durham Region.

“From a personal finance perspective, this news is devastating for the people of Oshawa,” says Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance expert. “Not only the ones whose jobs will be affected and have the obvious financial impact of losing a steady income. But, also those who depend on those workers to run their businesses – everything from restaurants to dry cleaners to places of interest around the area will be impacted. As well as property values, which are already much lower in Oshawa compared to other parts of the GTA, will take a further hit.”

Durham Region home prices

Illustrating Ahmed-Haq’s point, home prices in the Durham Region have already been feeling the pinch.

 

Historical average home prices, Durham Region
2018: $591,739 (as of October)
2017: 624,225
2016: $528,475
2015: $439,842
2014: $388,610
2013: $354,548

Source: Canadian Real Estate Association

 

Values continued to decrease during the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey. Over the three-month period, the aggregate home price in Oshawa and Ajax decreased 2.8 per cent and six per cent year-over-year to $538,757 and $664,640, respectively. Home values in Pickering also depreciated when compared to the same time last year by 4.4 per cent to $709,260, and the aggregate price in Whitby decreased 3.5 per cent to $677,243.

Oshawa median home prices

Standard two-storey homes
Q3 2018 $557,071
Q3 2017 $576,922
Q/Q % change 0.8
Yr/yr % change -3.4

Detached bungalows
Q3 2018 $512,001
Q3 2017 $517,237
Q/Q % change 2.3
Yr/yr % change -1.2

Standard condos
Q3 2018 $278,224
Q3 2017 $281,864
Q/Q % change 0.3
Yr/yr % change -1.3

Aggregate
Q3 2018 $538,757
Q3 2017 $554,070
Q/Q % change 1.2
Yr/yr % change -2.8

Source: Royal LePage National House Price Composite, October 2018

 

What we can expect in the housing market

“After an announcement such as this, we often witness an immediate softening of purchase demand in the city and its surrounds, while the shock and reality of the situation settles in,” Don R. Campbell, real estate expert and author told HOMES Publishing. “This slowdown doesn’t hit the stats immediately, as there are a lot of deals that are already in the process of closing in the next couple of months. However, come February, the numbers begin to reflect the new reality. That is phase one.

“Phase two is when average sale prices begin to fall, as confidence in the market begins to slip further. In other scenarios, it is just a sign of a move ‘down-market’ or to lower priced properties. However, in today’s world, the existing ‘stress-test’ will be combined with this lack of confidence to exacerbate the normal situation.”

A third phase may follow eight months to a year after the actual closure, when EI benefits begin to run to the end of their course, confidence in the potential return of the GM jobs begins to fade and families have to start making big decisions of relocation to find new appropriate jobs.

“In other words,” Campbell says, “the announcement of and the subsequent closing of the plant kicks off a predictable but sad ripple effect that will last for years.”

If there is one potential saving grace in this news, it’s that Oshawa and the surrounding area has a more diverse economy than in the past, which will help slightly buffer the pain, says Campbell.

“However, the pain is coming and it is real and far reaching.”

The Oshawa plant is not the only facility to be affected by GM’s decision to “accelerate its transformation for the future.” Two locations in the Detroit area are also scheduled to be shut down, which could have spillover affects in related industries across the border in the Windsor, Ont. area.

RELATED READING

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

 

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Drive

Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

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Drive till you qualify? Sure, but it WILL cost you

Drive

You may have heard the old real estate adage, “Drive till you qualify.” The idea being that buyers who can’t afford to buy a home in the city, should drive to surrounding areas to find more affordable and larger homes, with potentially more appealing lifestyle and environmental benefits.

At least that’s the idea.

In practice, however, such a plan may not be quite so simple. A new study from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) shows that increased commuting costs and time could offset any financial savings of buying a cheaper home in an outlying area.

“By assessing the combination of commuting costs and housing costs, one can gain a more comprehensive gauge of the total cost of location choices,” says Andrew Scott, senior analyst, economics, for CMHC.

Drive3
Source: CMHC

 

In 2016, there were approximately 2.6 million commuters in the GTA, with 1.3 million of them commuting to a place of work in the city of Toronto. This made it the most common destination for GTA commuters. Roughly two-thirds of these commuters lived within the cityitself, while the remaining commuted from the 905 areasof the GTA. Pickering had the highest share of people commuting into Toronto, at 52.6 per cent, followed by Ajax (48.4 per cent), Markham (46.9 per cent), Vaughan (40.8 per cent), Richmond Hill (39.1 per cent), Whitby (32.2 per cent) and Mississauga (26.7 per cent).

Most commuters to Toronto drove, at 49 per cent, while 40 per cent took public transit. Of 905 residents who commute into the city, 67 per cent drove a car, and 21 took public transport.

Areas with longest commutes

Average duration of commutes is clearly on the rise, CMHC says, particularly among those who commute 60 minutes or more, one way. Between 2011 and 2016, this was the fastest growing segment of the commuter population, growing by 16 per cent, followed by those who commuted 45 to 59 minutes (14 per cent). Areas with one-way commutes longer than 60 minutes include Aurora, Burlington, Milton, Newmarket, Oakville and Oshawa.

Lower home prices, increase commuting cost

The most likely home type to lure buyers to the suburbs is single-detached homes, CMHC says. However, when the estimated monthly mortgage carrying cost and monthly commuting cost are combined, relatively lower priced municipalities such as East Gwillimbury, Newmarket, Mississauga, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Caledon end up costing morethan or nearly as much as the city of Toronto.

Drive1

Notably, some GTA municipalities did retain their cost advantage. Even with significant commuting costs in areas such as Georgina, Oshawa and Clarington, a large cost advantage remains due to the considerably lower cost of housing.

Drive2

Based on estimates of the cost of commuting to Toronto from municipalities in the GTA, areas with lower mortgage carrying costs for single-detached housing often had significantly higher commuting costs, CMHC says. In many cases, these increased commuting costs completely offset lower home ownership costs.

Bottom line

The bottom line? Do all the math, and make sure that if you’re considering buying outside the city, your decision is based on more than money. The savings might not be there.

RELATED READING

Pent-up demand for townhomes building in the GTA

GTA new home market shows some improvement in September

5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

 

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Townhomes

Pent-up demand for townhomes building in the GTA

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Pent-up demand for townhomes building in the GTA

Townhomes

Condos may be the choice for many in the increasingly expensive GTA, but not everyone wants to live in a box in the sky. More and more new home buyers are looking for affordable lowrise options such as townhomes. Emphasis on the word affordable.

The problem? The supply just isn’t there – and the pent-up demand is growing.

Appealing especially to young families, townhomes provide more space and flexibility than condos, and generally are far more affordable than single-family homes.

“Both stacked (townhomes) and (row) townhouses form a key component of the Missing Middle – the built forms between high-density condo and low-density single-family housing,” Matthew Boukall, vice-president, product management, Data Solutions at Altus Group, told Homes Publishing.

Altus recently studied the sector for one of its regular housing reports, surmising that townhomes play an increasingly important role in in the new home sector, not just in the GTA but across Canada.

In the GTA, new townhouse sales have plummeted in the past two years – both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total new home sales (to just seven per cent of the total in the first half of 2018), Altus says.

GTA Starts

Affordability and availability remain an issue.

In the GTA, the key challenge to supplying this built form has been finding land with the right entitlements to allow and support this construction, Altus reports. Much of the land along Toronto streets support higher density condo product or is priced at a level which encourages rezoning to support this density.

“What can support more townhouse development is allowing rezoning of the land between the existing single-family communities and the corridors for more mid-density development,” Boukall says.

Although townhouse land (medium density) sales in 2017 were actually up over 2016, they are trending lower in 2018. Part of the problem is a lengthy approval process. “Year to date in Toronto, we have only tracked five approved townhouse projects, representing less than 350 units,” says Boukall. “Obviously, we need more product to meet the market demand. The positive note is that developers are proposing more product, with almost 1,500 new units applied for in 2018.”

GTA Townhouse sales

STACKED TOWNHOMES

Stacked townhouses, in which one row of townhouse units is stacked on top of another, provide a more affordable option to single-family homes, given higher densities. They also offer many of the appealing aspects of condominiums, but without living in a highrise environment.

However, they still play a relatively smaller role than traditional townhouses in the overall townhouse arena, Altus says.

In the Vancouver market, for example, new stacked townhouse units accounted for slightly more than 200 sales on average per year in 2015-17 – about six per cent of all new townhouse sales.

GTA Stacked

In the GTA, where stacked townhouses have made a larger dent, they remain a niche segment, accounting for about one in five new townhouse sales in recent years.

Part of the challenge with stacked townhouses versus rowhomes are those similar to condominium apartments – longer planning and construction timelines, and other residences adjacent on all sides

Both housing types will play an important role throughout the GTA in the future, but stacked townhouses are expected to become more popular given the better affordability provided by the higher density housing type.

“That said,” Boukall adds, “traditional row townhouses are the more common housing type in the GTA and as such, account for more sales compared to the stacked townhouse product. Row townhouse product has been accounting for a growing share of the single-family new homes sales in the GTA, currently accounting for 42 per cent of the total single-family sales activity in the GTA.”

WHERE IN THE GTA?

So, prospective GTA new home buyers, which areas hold the most promise in terms of future townhome availability?

While townhouses are expected to remain a popular housing option throughout the GTA, both Toronto and the York region share the most medium density land activity in the region, and should see increased development activity as a result in 2019 and beyond.

“The Peel region, most notably Brampton, is the most active for stacked and row townhouse sales in 2018 and should continue to see demand supported by an available land supply and comparably affordable prices,” says Boukall.

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Condo TO web

GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

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GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

Condo TO web

With home prices seemingly forever on the rise, there is only one way for many GTA homebuyers to go – up, as in into highrise condos and other multi-family housing options.

Fueled largely by affordability – and the lack thereof in lowrise homes – resale condominium apartments and townhomes in the GTA now represents almost 37 per cent of total residential sales by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), up from 30 per cent in 2013, according to a new report by ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region.

ReMax report

Momentum has also been reflected in resale condominium values, which is the only property segment that held up against the 2017 market correction, ReMax says.

The average price of a condominium unit increased almost eight per cent to $551,761 between January and October 2018, up from $512,552 during the same period in 2017.

Townhomes were slightly ahead of last year’s pace, with values hovering at $571,058, compared to $568,165 in 2017. Prices of freehold properties, including single-detached, semi-detached, attached/row/townhouse and linked townhomes are all down year-over-year.

AFFORDABILITY KEY ATTRACTION

“The condominium lifestyle continues to resonate with buyers in the Greater Toronto Area for a number of reasons,” says Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “While the affordability aspect is first and foremost, we’ve also a seen strong investor presence in recent years.”

Alexander cites a recent report by Urbanation and CIBC, which found that investors who bought condominiums for the purpose of renting accounted for 48 per cent of all newly completed units in the GTA in 2017. “The income potential, given today’s tight rental market, in addition to the overall return on investment, has been a serious draw for real estate investors.”

Immigration, population growth and lifestyle choices have also contributed to the uptick in demand for condo apartments and townhomes. Aging infrastructure, combined with a lack of transportation alternatives, longer commute times and the environmental component – with efforts to reduce carbon footprint – have all played a role in buyers choosing condominiums in Toronto proper that are close to both work and play, Alexander says.

DOWNTOWN THE CHOICE LOCATION

The most popular area for condominium sales remains the downtown core, with one in every five condominiums (21.9 per cent) sold in the area bordered by Bloor Street to the north, the lakeshore to the south, the Don Valley Parkway to the east and just past Dovercourt Road in the west.

“In spite of a proliferation of condominium developments over the past decade, supply and demand issues continue to persist in the core,” says Alexander. “Limited inventory continues to place substantial upward pressure on prices, with fewer affordable housing options available– and that includes condominium rentals.”

Average resale prices hover at $700,000 for condo units, with new construction closing in on $1,000 per sq. ft.

PROXIMITY TO TRANSIT

“Higher prices in the core are prompting buyers to consider condominium communities farther afield,” says Alexander. “New construction along subway lines to the north, east and west are exceptionally popular, especially with first-time buyers. Yonge Street north of Hwy. 401 comes to mind, as well as the Sheppard line between Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street. Combined, these two areas represent approximately 10 per cent of total resale condominium sales to date and continue to experience growth.”

Mississauga is the GTA’s second most popular destination for condominium living, accounting for 14 per cent of condominium sales so far this year.

Almost 51 per cent of condominium sales in the GTA occur under the $500,000 price point, but affordability is being threatened as builders and developers face skyrocketing construction costs and a land crunch within the GTA, and struggle to maintain the status quo, ReMax says.

“The necessity to ‘build up’ has never been more prevalent in a city that has seen its population climb from one census to the next,” says Alexander. “To prevent the run-up we’ve seen in housing values in the past, all levels of government must work together with developers to streamline the building process. We need to create more affordable GTA housing options that can accommodate buyers and renters at every price point.”

THE TOWNHOME OPTION

These trends generally align with the findings of another report, from Altus Group. Lack of affordability and availability of single-family new homes has buyers increasingly looking to townhomes as a lowrise home option. But supply issues in this category have seen new townhouse sales plummet in the past two years, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of total new home sales – just seven per cent of the total in the first half of 2018.

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Canada Outlook NEW

Canadian housing market to moderate in 2019 but growth to continue in Ontario and Toronto

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Canadian housing market to moderate in 2019 but growth to continue in Ontario and Toronto

Canada Outlook NEW

 

By Wayne Karl

Canada’s housing market should see a moderation in both housing starts and sales, while home prices are expected to reach levels that are more in line with economic fundamentals such as income, job and population growth. This forecast for 2019 and 2020 is drawn from the 2018 Housing Market Outlook from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

Source: CMHC Housing Market Outlook
Source: CMHC Housing Market Outlook

Nationally, CMHC’s outlook for 2019 projects total housing starts to edge down and range between 193,700 to 204,500, with the downward trend expected for both single and multi-unit starts. MLS sales are expected to be between 478,400 and 497,400 units annually while MLS prices should lie between $501,400 and $521,600.

“Our key takeaway from this year’s outlook is moderation in Canada’s housing markets for 2019 into 2020,” says Bob Dugan, chief economist, CMHC. “Housing starts are expected to decline from the higher levels we’ve seen recently. We expect resales in 2019 and 2020 to remain below recent peaks while prices should reach levels that are more in line with economic fundamentals such as income, job and populations growth.”

Ontario recovery

After dampened market activity in 2018, existing home sales and housing starts in Ontario, particularly in single-family homes, will post a partial recovery in 2019. Buyers are expected to re-enter the market on the strength of stronger than expected job growth and in-migration, before the downward trend in starts and sales resumes in 2020.

Source: CMHC Housing Market Outlook
Source: CMHC Housing Market Outlook

GTA growth

With balanced conditions prevailing in the GTA, CMHC expects moderate sales growth and home prices growing in line with inflation. The rising costs of homeownership will result in strong rental demand, while new supply will add some upward pressure on vacancy rates. Toronto buyers should see more housing choices as builders concentrate their efforts on new highrise projects.

OTHER REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Housing starts activity and MLS sales in BC should moderate, as economic and population growth slows while MLS average prices are expected to see a flatter growth profile through 2020.

Vancouver
Over the next two years, Metro Vancouver’s resale market will see lower sales, higher inventories of homes for sale and lower home prices compared with recent market highs. Through 2018, demand and home prices softened across all market segments and local geographies.

PRAIRIES
Buyers’ market conditions in Alberta and Saskatchewan should gradually shift to a balanced market with gradual improvement in economic and demographic fundamentals. Balanced market conditions in Manitoba are expected to continue.

Calgary
Various factors will push and pull the demand for housing in Calgary in 2019 and 2020. Calgary’s economy will experience stronger growth in population and employment. This will help support demand and lift sales in 2019 and 2020. However, the average MLS price will continue to face downward pressure but is expected to stabilize in 2019 and modestly rise in 2020.

QUEBEC
Housing starts and sales of existing homes will both be sustained, however, slower economic growth and rising borrowing costs will moderate activity through 2020. Starts will continue to be dominated by the apartment market segment, while demand for resale single-detached homes will remain relatively strong.

Montreal
In 2018 and 2019, rental housing demand will increase slightly faster than supply in Montreal, which will put some downward pressure on the vacancy rate. Demand will be supported by rising net migration over the forecast horizon.

ATLANTIC CANADA
The Atlantic region will see sustained activity, notably in Nova Scotia, where existing home sales and average prices should trend higher while rental demand will drive growth in apartment construction.

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

 

 

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