Burning Questions For 2022 (Cont’d)


Nicely, perhaps Thursday’s weblog was a mouthful.  However are you able to blame me?  All that point off over the vacations with out an outlet for my ideas – each about actual property, and never, and also you needed to know that the primary weblog again in January can be prolonged.

It’s blogs like these that usually make me really feel responsible of being unoriginal, nevertheless.

Is our market actually the “standard, standard?”

Costs are rising, affordability is falling, stock is low, bla, bla, bla.  That’s the same-old, same-old, however belief me once I say that when our market is underway in a number of days, we’ll be exploring new tendencies, enterprise practices, and I’ll be regaling you with tales galore!

For now, it’s the query(s) at hand.  It’s the adults within the room.  It’s the intense discuss.  It’s the subjects that we have to put on the forefront of all actual property discussions if we need to be told and forward of the curve.

So let’s decide up the place we left off final week…



3) Will the rental market regain misplaced floor?

If actual property is a zero-sum recreation, then it’s onerous to have a “winner” with no “loser.”

However the one true “winners” to come back out of the pandemic within the Toronto actual property market have been tenants.

My cynical facet says it’s as a result of lots of them have been allowed to get away with not paying lease, or packing up and transferring out in the course of the night time, sticking their landlords with vacant properties and avoiding their contractual obligation.  However other than the federal government mainly telling folks, “It’s okay to not pay your lease,” and scores of gainfully-employed people making the most of this, I’d say that the decline in lease charges in Toronto was really an enormous “win” for renters.

For these of you who don’t know simply how a lot rents in Toronto have been affected by the pandemic, right here’s a graph from my colleagues at Bullpen Analysis & Consulting:



The decline in rents, particularly in Toronto, can’t be understated.

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 completely brutalized the rental market, and the market has nonetheless not made again these features.

Nonetheless, the rental market did acquire floor final 12 months.

In Bullpen Analysis & Consulting’s December e-newsletter, we see that an awesome majority of the restoration occurred in the summertime and early fall of 2021:

The common lease for all property sorts within the GTA was up 4.3%, year-over-year, in November of 2021, as we don’t but have the December information in hand.

However the above chart exhibits you the place and when a lot of the bottom was made up.

Maybe the mad sprint to safe leases for September 1st, that passed off in June, July, and August, can clarify this.

Simply have a look at the rise within the common value of a bachelor rental, which went from $1,454 in June to $1,547 in November.  With motion like that, it received’t be lengthy earlier than rental costs have exceeded pre-pandemic ranges.

There are two the explanation why we care about rental costs:

1) As a result of renting is a element of the actual property market, even when most of us solely concern ourselves with gross sales
2) Rental costs will finally have an effect on resale costs, particularly in world of downtown Toronto condos

I’ll be sincere once I say that in 2021, a lot of the traders I represented have a look at present rents along-side pre-pandemic rents, or “future rents.”  I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of this transfer, particularly once you see the itemizing agent for a four-unit property promoting a 4.8% cap charge, solely to dig into the financials and see it’s based mostly on “estimated rents,” that are 30-50% greater than “present rents.”  If the property has a tenant who’s been there for twelve years, and clearly isn’t going anyplace, then what good is that estimate of a future/present lease?

However within the downtown Toronto rental market, there’s extra turnover than ever earlier than.  I’d estimate the typical size of tenancy for a 1-bedroom rental to be about 1.5 years.  If you happen to’re a landlord, you could be involved with the turnover price for those who’re hiring an actual property agent to safe a brand new tenant, however for those who can lease a rental for $2,300 in 2022 that leased for $2,100 in 2021, then theoretically, you’re rising the worth of your funding.

That is all on paper, after all.

Till one chooses to promote.  And that is the place I believe the rental market goes to have a big impact this 12 months.

Once we’re a rental for funding, we don’t begin out by what the present tenant is paying, however reasonably we think about Unit 2308, lookup the current leases within the constructing for that “08” mannequin, and see what’s the most up-to-date.  If the final unit leased for $2,300 and the present tenant, who has been there since 2019, is paying $1,850, we pay them no thoughts.  That tenant will go away, and finally the worth of this rental from an funding standpoint goes to be decided partially by that market worth lease.

It solely takes one current comparable to start out a pattern.  I want it weren’t so, however it’s.  Like a authorized precedent in a court docket of legislation, the actual property decide will merely depend on the earlier ruling.

From an absolute perspective, I believe rents in Toronto are ridiculously excessive.  A 23-year-old beginning an entry-level job, making $55,000 per 12 months at a downtown agency, can’t actually “afford” to pay $2,200/month for a 1-bedroom rental, however they do.  And they’ll.  As soon as upon a time, paying 48% of your gross wage towards lease wasn’t a suitable concept, however at the moment, it’s the norm.

From a relative perspective, I believe Toronto rents are fairly cheap.  I do know folks hate the New York comparability, but when the typical value for a Manhattan rental is $4,140 USD, or $5,300 CAD, then the $2,167 CAD common that Torontoians are at the moment paying is, by the very definition, cheap.



4) Who is definitely shopping for pre-construction condos?

Right here comes the conspiracy concept, proper?

But when I’m being sincere, I need to know!  I need to perceive who is definitely paying $2,000+ per sq. foot for pre-construction condos, as a result of I don’t know a single individual within the metropolis, personally or by way of a colleague, that’s shopping for these things.

So if it’s not us, then who?

And right here’s the place the conspiracy concept comes into play, in addition to the potential to be labeled xenophobic or overly nationalistic.

So I’ll danger being referred to as a bigot to ask an essential query, though I’m in all probability going to keep away from specifics.

Let’s simply say that it’s a widely known truth in Toronto that worldwide traders are shopping for up pre-construction condos.  I would not have onerous information to help this, after all.  Builders probably don’t hold this information, and in the event that they did, they’d by no means, ever make it public!  However I do know pre-construction gross sales brokers, I do know builders, and I do know financiers.  We discuss candidly about this on a regular basis, and it’s now not a “best-kept secret” that international cash is shopping for up pre-construction condos.

Then once more, what constitutes an “worldwide investor” anyhow?  Or a “international purchaser?”  If $2,000,000 that originated abroad is utilized by a Canadian resident right here on the bottom to buy a rental, then is the acquisition made by a “international purchaser” or not?

I can’t reply this.

However I can let you know that there are various, many clues to who’s shopping for these condos, and so they aren’t all based mostly on stereotypes and unruly assumptions.

However whether or not it’s the Center East, Asia, or former Russian territories, we see a great deal of cash pouring into Canadian actual property each single 12 months, and I don’t consider for a second that your buddy Brayden from college is the one spending $2,200 per sq. foot on a pre-construction rental at Yonge & Delisle.

So what’s the conclusion right here?

Any objection to our actual property being purchased up by different international locations?

Just lately, I’ve been encouraging lots of my purchasers of their 30’s and 40’s to start out shopping for one-bedroom condos as investments for his or her kids, at the moment anyplace in age from 6-months to 15-years-old.  I actually consider that in twenty years, an awesome majority of our inhabitants shall be renting homes and condos from landlords who, at the very least partially, originate abroad.

Inform me I’m hyping the market and I’ll let you know, “Simply wait.”

If you’ve gotten a baby who’s, say, 3-years-old proper now, there’s not a hope in hell that your youngster will be capable to purchase a house when she or he is 30-years-old.  No method, no how.

There’s method an excessive amount of cash on the planet and much too many international locations have deeper pockets than we do.

I see international cash shopping for up swaths of farmland north of the GTA and that is one instance the place I do have proof, since a household good friend represents many of those farmers, a few of whom have had the land of their households for a century, who at the moment are promoting to offshore trusts, managed by different trusts, and the origin of the cash is not possible to establish.

However so far as the downtown Toronto rental market goes, it’s in all probability the simplest instance of the international cash coming into our market.  And that international cash doesn’t need a resale rental at 230 King Avenue East or 1 Shaw Avenue; it desires to be parked in a mission that’s 5 – 6 years from completion.  Extra importantly: the costs don’t matter.  Many of those folks simply need to get cash out of their nation of origin and into onerous property in an inviting nation like Canada.

Because of this builders can proceed to cost greater costs in pre-construction and truly promote out!

To be truthful, a part of the reason being the elevated value of land, supplies, labour, charges, et al, and builders don’t work totally free.  However we’re now seeing run-of-the-mill condos promoting for $1,600 per sq. foot prefer it’s regular.

Not directly, international capital helps to construct Toronto actual property.

5) Will any of the governments ‘concepts’ to assist housing affordability really assist?

We talked an important deal about this in 2021, each earlier than the election, throughout, and after.

As a cynic, I recommended that not one of the insurance policies both carried out or being floated by the federal authorities have been going to assist consumers of any kind both to make properties extra reasonably priced or to easily get into the market altogether.

However in some unspecified time in the future, the federal government has to take actual motion.

As I famous above, I actually, really consider in my coronary heart that in three a long time, an awesome majority of Torontonians will lease merely due to how a lot actual property is being purchased by traders, each international or home.

Is the federal government going to face by and watch this occur?

I recall an article from final fall within the Globe & Mail.  Let me see if I can dig it up…

Ah, right here:

“Canada Guess Massive On Actual Property.  Now, It’s An Financial Drag”

From the article:

Earlier than the COVID-19 well being disaster, residential funding routinely amounted to 7 per cent of nominal gross home product. Extra just lately, that’s surged to greater than 10 per cent – or roughly double the equal charge in the US. Caught at house within the pandemic, folks spent huge on new properties and renovations, with assist from rock-bottom rates of interest that have been important to the disaster response.


Can the federal government really do something about this?

The thought of “slowing down” the actual property market, actual property investing, or the function that actual property performs in GDP would ship shockwaves by way of the Canadian economic system.

Simply have a look at this chart from the Globe & Mail article above:



I actually can’t opine on what a “wholesome” degree of residential funding seems to be like, and certain neither are you able to.

However present me any chart that appears like this, particularly when juxtaposed to that of the US, and I believe we’ll each agree that this might be problematic.

The problem, after all, is that a lot financial output is derived from the actual property market.   We might in all probability play a recreation: go round in a circle and every one among us names an occupation that’s tied to the development, renovation, sale, or existence of actual property, and I believe the sport would final for hours.

However do the figures above account for, say, an administrative assistant in a condominium developer’s workplace?  Or a residential window-washing firm?

The federal government has two concurrent issues on their palms:

1) The price of house possession is unaffordable for a lot of Canadians and costs won’t cease rising
2) Far an excessive amount of of our financial output is tied, straight or not directly, to actual property

Do these two issues make it not possible to treatment one with out exacerbating the opposite?

Not solely that, as we’ve famous earlier than many occasions, the tax income derived from actual property building, renovation, and gross sales, is one thing that the three ranges of presidency desperately want and I don’t consider they’re in any place to see a discount in any of those revenues.

So what’s going to the governments; federal, provincial, and municipal, do in 2022 to “assist” with housing affordability?

Not a lot, in my humble opinion.

However we’ll certainly be speaking about this at 12 months’s finish as soon as once more.



6) Will shopping for equities or crypto develop into sexier than actual property?

Do any of you personally know a person that made a “killing” in Bitcoin?

We all know these folks exist, and we all know they love sponsored advertisements on social media touting their brilliance and foresight, and providing us teaching and mentorship of their new enterprise for a nominal charge, however do any of you realize an individual who invested on the onset and by no means offered throughout the downturn?

Bitcoin was buying and selling at $1,000 to start out January of 2017, and by December of 2017, it was at $25,000.

Have you learnt someone who offered for that 25x revenue?

Extra to the purpose, if you realize someone who purchased at $13,000 in November of 2017, who noticed the primary peak at $25,000 in December of 2017, have you learnt in the event that they held on for the three years it took for the value to get again above $25,000 in November of 2020?

Bitcoin is now at $53,000, down from over $80,000 in November.

There isn’t any extra unstable funding than crypto-currency, and there’s no funding that produces extra bullshit, nonsense discuss from frat boys, wanna-be-bankers, and nameless on-line peanut galleries.

Why is that?

Nicely, as a result of it’s the sexiest funding on the market!

Neglect the truth that, in my view, 80% of people that put money into crypto-currencies find yourself shedding cash.  Perhaps extra.  Perhaps virtually all.  I’m not satisfied that novice traders can hold on throughout robust occasions.  Most promote, as evidenced by those that noticed the height in 2017 and didn’t maintain on till 2020.

However crypto is cool!  It’s technologically superior.  It’s 2022.  It’s going to enchantment to the subsequent technology excess of “shopping for shares,” proper?

How about shopping for actual property then?  That was once so cool!

There’s an argument to be made that if shopping for actual property over shopping for equities was the 2012 model of cool, then shopping for crypto is the best in 2022.

We’ve talked advert nauseam on TRB about “actual property versus equities” and I might make an argument both method, if I have been so inclined.

You might have purchased shares of TD Financial institution in January of 2021 for $75.00.  One 12 months later, they’re buying and selling at $100.00.  That’s a 33% revenue, to not point out the 4% dividend, however no person cares about 4% nowadays.  Solely the sensible traders, institutional traders, pension funds, et al…

So a 37% return, you say?

Honest recreation?

Speak to me about diversification, high quality.  Purchase every of the 5 main financial institution shares.  Or purchase an ETF.

The Dow Jones went from 31,000 to 37,000 final 12 months; a acquire of 19%.

So why can we advocate investing in actual property, then?

Nicely, I’d argue that actual property is a leveraged funding, and any acquire is 5x.  I do know that you may open a margin account and commerce with leverage, however few do, and I’d argue that any novice investor utilizing 5x leverage is just going to lose 5 occasions as a lot.  Perhaps not you sensible TRB readers, buying and selling in your on-line accounts, however the 22-year-old hot-head out of college who’s individually selecting shares isn’t going to profit from that leverage in the identical method that any purchaser of a downtown Toronto rental would.

If the rental you bought goes up 3% in worth in a single 12 months, you’re up 15%, based mostly in your 20% down fee, to not point out the principal reimbursement in your mortgage.  I do know the proponents of equities investing can have an issue with this, however I consider there’s a 5x revenue baked into any actual property funding in Toronto, in a market that’s gone up yearly for over 20 years, and that the identical is just not true of the equities market.

Nonetheless, why cease at 5x when you’ll be able to search for 10x, 20x, or 100x in crypto!

Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash, Stellar Lumen – my God, we’re all going to get wealthy!

Why purchase actual property after we can purchase crypto and fly our personal jets to our luxurious yachts by this time subsequent 12 months?

I’m very curious to see the place the cash flows in 2022.

Whereas I acknowledge that the pandemic has prompted monetary hardship to many, it’s additionally left many others unaffected, and even been a increase.  There’s a lot cash on this metropolis and all of it should discover a place to land.

Is that cash going to land in actual property, equities, or crypto in 2022?

With fixed chatter of the federal government inventing new taxes on “traders,” maybe that is the 12 months that some take their cash and look to the safe-haven of the DOW, or gold, or perhaps tackle the related danger to realize the potential upside of crypto.

Or perhaps none of that occurs. Perhaps Toronto actual property sees much more funding {dollars} in 2022 than ever earlier than.

Both method, this matter actually piques my curiosity and I’ll be monitoring it very intently this 12 months!



7) Will we see a continued pattern with respect to the securitization and financialization of actual property?

One of many themes I spent appreciable time on in 2021 was the “securitization” of actual property.

Whether or not it’s shopping for a rental by way of Key Dwelling to reside in, with a modest 2.5% down fee reasonably than the government-mandated 5%, or whether or not it’s shopping for “shares” in a rental by way of Addy or Purchase Correctly, we noticed new enterprise fashions spring up final 12 months all all through the actual property panorama.

I discussed final 12 months that of the youngsters I take advantage of to educate on the baseball diamond greater than a decade in the past referred to as me up and pitched me an concept similar to that of Key Dwelling, and so they have main monetary backing.

That’s just one competitor to Key LIving that we all know of.  What number of others are being labored on proper now?

Final week, this text appeared within the Globe & Mail:

“We’re Going To Hear A Lot Extra About The Financialization Of Housing This Yr”

It’s a spectacular learn, however in case you don’t have time or if it’s behind a paywall, right here’s the perfect excerpt:

It’s helpful to think about a residence as offering two sorts of worth: use and change. Use worth, because the identify implies, refers back to the shelter and locational attributes of a construction to its occupants, whereas change worth refers back to the market worth of mentioned constructions. These two attributes of housing have at all times existed in an uneasy relationship and pose a key query to Canadian federal public coverage: If a roof over our heads is critical for survival, shouldn’t these roofs be publicly distributed on the idea of want reasonably than left to the vagaries of a non-public market?

Return to my Burning Query #4, and browse it once more.

Overseas cash is being pumped into our nation’s actual property as simply as water flows from a rest room faucet.  Financialization of Toronto actual property isn’t new; it’s simply being talked about now as a result of we’re in awe and disbelief about the place our market has gone.  As is often the case with actual property, the media and the federal government are at all times late to the get together and at all times reacting to one thing from yesteryear.

Towards the top of 2021, we have been inundated with this concept that “traders” have been responsible for our skyrocketing actual property costs.

Is that this going to proceed in 2022?

Will the federal government pay attention to, not to mention, intention new insurance policies on the securitization of actual property and international or home personal market cash shopping for up actual property in swaths?

This could be the final Burning Query on my checklist, nevertheless it was actually not the least-asked query over my vacation break…



Alright, people, that’s it for my look forward into 2022.

Positive there, are different subjects to debate, questions to boost, and considerations to be searching for, however these are really the factors that caught out probably the most in my thoughts heading into this 12 months.

On Wednesday, I’ll check out the December TRREB stats and whereas that is probably probably the most traditionally unstable month of the 12 months, I believe there are some projections to be made.

Again To High

Again To Feedback