As someone who's lived in the Galt Core, and given my profession, I take great pride in living in a beautiful town where we can enjoy many old buildings with boundless charm and character. That are half empty. And have been that way since I first moved into the core in 2003. Every time a new shop opens, another can be found shuttering it's door and windows. We want to revitalize the core. We want us to move forward. We want LRT, and GO trains, and to get back to the river. But how are we going to achieve all these things if we don't get warm bodies downtown? We should be so lucky, that someone wants to spend $130m in our core, and we must be willing to work with them instead of putting up roadblocks. We know this to be true from our own gardens and homes. Left neglected, even the pretties gardens will whither and die. If we have to alter the garden to accommodate a caretaker, isn't that a better and more fitting way to protect it, rather then just neglect it? The end result will be more money spent in our core, more businesses thriving and hiring more people, and so on. And just perhaps, Mayor Craig will be able to sleep a little more easier, seeing a lot less people utilizing the Cambridge Food Bank. Let's just build the damn towers already. Are 20 stories too high? Should they be reduce to 18 or 16? Do you think that will make a difference? Post your comments below! :-)
Ahead of the Ontario general elections set for June 2018, Premier Wynne has brought about some changes she hopes will win-her-more-votes/save the housing market. One of those changes of course is the "closing" of the loophole, that allowed rents to be increased outside of the Ontario Rent Increase Guidelines for buildings constructed after 1991. Yet its these very same rent controls along with many others (ie the huge imbalance in favour of tenants at the Landlord and Tenant Board... municipalities charging absurd property taxes to owners of multi family residential properties... and putting the charges for delinquent tenant's utility charges back on the landlord), that are making it very difficult to for investors to choose to invest in real estate here.
Unless municipalities start adapting and making it easier for home owners to offer secondary suites, or reducing multi family property taxes to more reasonable levels, where are the affordable housing units going to come from? Those renting will stay in place due to the shortage, the landlord may not be ale to afford renovations, improvements, and who ends up suffering? The tenants do. The same as almost always, when rent control is introduced. Buildings start to fall into disrepair, eventually it ends up at the tribunal, the frustrated landlord sells, and the tenant may have to move out, if they're able to find a place.
When there is a shortage of supply, we should focus on increasing the supply to alleviate the problem for escalating rents. This is done by working with municipalities and builders developers on bringing more units to market, not by adding barriers.
Another day, another bidding war, another house selling for well over the asking price. People it seems have had about enough, but no-one truly knows when relief is coming. Is it Sellers? Is it Buyers? Is it Investors that are driving the market?
Inventory in the Region of Waterloo seems to be at an all time low, hovering at around 1.5 months worth. This low supply has meant that houses today are selling for astronomical prices, certainly when compared to what we've seen in the past, and many are wondering when we're going to see an end to this madness. My belief is that what we are experiencing today, is here to stay for at least the next year or so. Unless a bunch of homes unexpectedly hit the market, or a new subdivision becomes available for occupancy, the demand won't ease. I wanted to examine the demand a little closer, to see what's driving it? Immigration in the region, and in Canada in general is at an all time high, and there is further talk of raising it even higher. This influx of immigrants to region, coupled with our improved infrastructure, which bring with it jobs, and people mean there will be great demand placed on housing. Add to this the number of purchasers we are seeing from 905, 416 and 647 area codes, means we are only competing for what little supply there is within our region, but also from a lot of GTA buyers who don't mind driving the hour or so each way, if they can save a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Let's face it, they are probably doing it already in the GTA. So while yes, there are a number of investors who are snapping up properties, my belief is that the demand non-investors place on the market, is what is driving the price of homes today.
Are you ready2move?
Depending on your investment profile, one way to evaluate a strong investment is to see if it's cashflow positive. In it's simplest form, after all your expenses associated with the property, does the rent leave you with any money left over?
In today's market, my opinion is that to achieve a position of cashflow positive, you either have to look at multi-family residential properties, or have a very large downpayment. Something like 30 or 40 percent. For most people this is not possible, and for investors, this is not desirable. Most investors don't want to tie up a large sum in an investment, they want to buy it with as little money as possible, with other peoples money, ideally.
Single family residences, be it apartment style condos, or a townhome, or a detached, are simply selling for way too much money these days, certainly more than any reasonable amount of rent could cover, especially when you factor in property taxes, insurance, condo fees and potentially a LOC interest only payment.
Multi family residences, triplex, fourplex I think could certainly achieve a cashflow positive position with only 20% down, and would advise investors to consider these as a way to minimize your risks. Though I know some first time investors have concerns with the repairs and management associated with these.
Are you ready2move?
Most mortgages have a fee to exit the contract, but calculating it can be confusing and expensive. You have to pay the greater of 3 months interest or the IRD, Interest Rate Differential. The reason for the penalty is to compensate the lender for the loss of expected profit. If a borrower promises to borrow money for five years, the bank counts on five years of interest payments. Reneg on that deal, and the lender needs to recoup some of that loss revenue. The issue is how this penalty is calculated and, for the most part, each lender has a slightly different variation. This is one of the top 3 complaints to the banking Ombudsman. In fact in 2011 there was a class action suit against CIBC in B.C. and Ontario.
If you are in a variable rate mortgage, the penalty is most often 3 months worth of interest, but the IRD is more difficult to calculate. In it's most simplistic form, this is how it looks:
(posted rate at original mortgage date - posted rate for remaining term) / 12 = IRD Factor * outstanding mortgage balance * number of months remaining in term + lender discharge and mickey mouse fees.
Most big bank websites offer their own online calculator, but for the most accurate answer, consider calling your mortgage adviser and ask for the exact amount as if you were to break your mortgage today.
Buying and Selling Residential, Condominium and Investment real estate in the Waterloo Region since 2008. Oh, and also Ottawa! :-D