Tyler Suchan

RE/MAX River City

Cell 780-945-1318

Email: tylersuchan@gmail.com

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Monday, May 20, 2024 9:34:06 AM UTC
Regional New Housing Construction

A comparison of different regions across Canada shows varying trends in new housing construction. 

Canada as a whole, along with Ontario, BC, and Quebec, had a decrease in overall housing starts in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. On the other hand, Alberta exhibited a significant increase in housing starts in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, diverging from the national and Ontario trends.

For semi-detached dwellings, however, Canada experienced an overall increase in starts in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. Similarly, Alberta saw a remarkable increase in starts for semi-detached dwellings during this period. Ontario and BC did not follow this trend and saw slight decreases.

Canada witnessed a decrease in row housing starts in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. Quebec, however, demonstrated a slight increase in row dwelling starts in Q1 2024, and Alberta showed a significant increase in row dwelling starts in Q1 2024.

For apartment dwellings, Canada showed a substantial increase in starts in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023, suggesting a potential move towards more multi-unit residential development to address housing needs.This was the one housing type which experienced an increase in starts in all of the regions compared.

Overall Seasonally Adjusted Total Housing Starts (All Areas)

Table showing housing market data for Dec 2023 to Mar 2024 across Canada and its regions, including SAAR values and trends for each month. Data is sourced from the CMHC Housing Market Information Portal.

Seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) are the monthly numbers adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation, then multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. The trend figures are six-month moving averages of SAAR rates.

Bar chart comparing the overall housing starts by dwelling type across various Canadian regions for Q1 2023 and Q1 2024, showing significant differences between regions and dwelling types.

Housing Starts for Single Family Dwellings

Table showing housing market data for Canada, Ontario, Quebec, BC, and Alberta, including figures for Q1 2024, Q1 2023, YTD-24, and YTD-23. Source: CMHC Housing Market Information Portal.

Table comparing housing market data for Q1 2024, Q1 2023, YTD-24, and YTD-23 across Canada, Ontario, Quebec, BC, and Alberta. Data source: CMHC Housing Market Information Portal.

Housing Starts for Apartment Dwellings 

Table showing housing market statistics for Q1 2024, Q1 2023, YTD-24, and YTD-23 across Canada, Ontario, Quebec, BC, and Alberta. Figures are listed under each category for each region.

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Making Your Money Work Harder with Private Mortgages

Real estate is well-known for being a solid choice for investment and diversification, but many investors overlook a major related investment opportunity, which offers lucrative returns and a true passive income. Private mortgages offer an attractive investment opportunity for people looking for steady cash flow and passive income, backed by real property, offering a tangible asset to support your investment.

Chad Robinson, president of Align Mortgage Corporation, emphasises, “You don’t need to limit your investment options to stocks or the responsibilities of property ownership to build wealth. Consider real estate private mortgage lending as a smart and stable strategy. It offers a straightforward path to growing your wealth with less volatility of the stock market or the complexities of property management.”

Varied Types of Private Mortgages for Flexibility

Private mortgages come in various forms, tailored to different risk levels and investment goals. One common way is through direct lending, where investors give mortgages to borrowers, backed by real estate. This allows investors to have a lot of control over their investments, negotiate good terms, and carefully assess borrower risk. Another option is mortgage funds or pools, which gather money from many investors to fund a mix of mortgages. These funds offer diversification, professional management, and exposure to a broader market. It is important to note that pooled investments generally require investing through an exempt market dealer or other financial professional and are not appropriate for all investors. 

Steady Income and Higher Rates

Private mortgages are attractive because they can provide steady, passive income while securing your initial investment with solid real estate. Unlike the ups and downs of other investments or the work involved in managing rental properties, private mortgages offer a reliable income from fixed interest payments. This steady income, along with the potential gradual repayment of the loan, helps investors build wealth over time.

According to Chad Robinson, president of Align Mortgage Corporation, “Private mortgages can generate between 8% to12% annually. These higher rates make up for the potential added risk. What’s more, depending on factors like risk level, investor experience, loan structure, and the length of the loan, you could see returns of up to 15% annually. It is important to note higher returns generally signify higher risk.”

Capitalize on Lending Gaps

Private mortgages offer a chance for investors to benefit from weaknesses in the traditional lending system. Regular lenders usually have strict rules and complicated procedures, which means many good borrowers don’t get the loans they need. With tightening requirements for traditional lending situations, more potential borrowers than ever are seeking alternative financing to purchase homes or take advantage of other opportunities.

By stepping in to fill this gap, private mortgage investors can benefit from higher interest rates and fees, thereby enhancing the yield on their investments. Moreover, securing these loans with tangible assets like real estate adds an extra level of safety, reducing the chance of default and the risk of losing money.

Advantages Over Real Estate Investments

Compared to traditional real estate ventures like rental properties, private mortgages offer several distinct advantages that appeal to passive income seekers.

Liquidity and Flexibility

Private mortgages may provide better liquidity and flexibility than owning actual properties. Unlike real estate, which can be hard to sell quickly, private mortgages have shorter terms; typically 1 year. This flexibility allows investors to adjust their portfolios and take advantage of new opportunities without dealing with the complexities of property transactions. It is important to plan that not all borrowers are able to exit or refinance on time, renewals/extensions sometimes happen. 

They can be tailored to suit specific risk profiles and investment objectives, allowing investors to optimize their returns while preserving capital. Because these private mortgages do follow the same underwriting rules as large lenders, there is greater flexibility for both investors and borrowers, with interest rates typically reflecting the level of risk involved.

A man in a suit and glasses holds a "FOR RENT" sign while standing in front of a large windowed background.

Offering Truly Passive Income

Many individuals are drawn to real estate investments for their perceived passive nature. However, the reality of property ownership often entails significant time, effort, and ongoing management responsibilities.

While rentals and other real estate investments are often touted as passive income streams, the truth is far from it. Managing rental properties in fact involves many tasks, including finding suitable properties, negotiating purchases, overseeing renovations or upgrades for flipping purposes, and carefully timing market conditions to maximize profits upon selling. Moreover, the day-to-day management of rental properties entails ongoing responsibilities such as tenant communication, property maintenance, rent collection, and addressing tenant issues or disputes. These tasks can be time-consuming and demanding, requiring a considerable investment of both time and energy.

On the other hand, private mortgages entail minimal operational involvement, sparing investors from the day-to-day responsibilities of property management and tenant relations. Investors do not have to be hands-on and physically nearby and available to deal with concerns, or pay management fees for professionals to handle these tasks for them, which cuts into the profitability of the investment. 

Mortgage investment fund companies will handle underwriting, servicing, and administration of mortgage loans, allowing investors to pool funds for investment and participate with a minimum-effort process. 

Risks and Challenges in Rental Property Investments

While investing in private mortgages obviously includes risks, as all investments do, they can be mitigated. In private mortgage lending, risks can be minimized by thoroughly assessing borrowers’ ability to repay, securing loans with tangible assets like real estate, and adjusting interest rates to compensate for risk. Diversifying investments across multiple borrowers and properties spreads risk, while ongoing monitoring and proactive management help address potential issues early on.

In addition to the operational demands, rental property investments also carry inherent risks. Tenancy loss, for example, can result in periods of vacancy, leading to a loss of rental income and potential financial strain. Furthermore, the quality of tenants can significantly impact the profitability and stability of rental investments. Dealing with non-payment of rent, property damage, or eviction proceedings can be arduous and costly for landlords. 

Increasing Regulatory Restrictions on Rentals

Moreover, the regulatory landscape surrounding rental properties is subject to change, with increasing restrictions on short-term rentals posing challenges for investors. Various municipalities and provinces have started to ban short-term rentals, while the Canadian government has announced it will deny deducting expenses for short-term rentals in these regions. Additionally, underused housing taxes, anti-flipping rules, and other efforts have made it increasingly difficult to generate profits in certain rental markets.

Private Mortgage Investor Profile

With private mortgage investment company funds, where investors pool resources to offer mortgages, an individual does not need to  have a high net worth to participate, so more people are able to invest. 

Private mortgage investing is well-suited for investors seeking stable fixed-income assets with a potential for higher yields than traditional securities. Private mortgage funds can be structured to accommodate varying levels of capital and risk tolerance, making them suitable for both conservative and more aggressive investors.

A hand holding a watering can is watering a potted plant shaped like a dollar sign.

The Growth of Private Mortgage Investments

Private mortgages are a rapidly growing sector of lending, according to the CMHC, and for good reason. 

Beyond passive income generation, private mortgage investments offer many benefits that contribute to their appeal. Investors have the flexibility to tailor their investment strategies to align with their risk tolerance and financial objectives, whether seeking stable income, capital appreciation, or portfolio diversification.

Despite inherent risks, Mortgage Investment Entities (MIEs) typically do well because of their link to the Canadian real estate market, offering flexibility, higher yields, and diversification. Private mortgages offer predictable cash flows and lower volatility than stocks, appealing to investors seeking stability. Additionally, they can act as a hedge against economic fluctuations, deriving value from collateral rather than external market forces. This low correlation enhances portfolio resilience, especially during financial market volatility.

Chad Robinson comments, “The need for alternative lending is increasing rapidly. Soaring rents are pushing people towards home ownership if at all possible. Many people don’t fit the requirements for traditional mortgages, so there’s a growing demand for private mortgages to get off the rental treadmill.” 

Those who are self-employed, bruised credit, and others, can have difficulties getting financing. Private mortgages offer a needed opportunity to these individuals to enable their homeownership aspirations or other goals. In this way, investors can play a vital role in expanding access to housing and fostering economic health.

Interested investors can learn more about generating passive income from Chad Robinson’s book, Becoming the Bank

Government of Canada – Canada’s Housing Action Plan

Government of Canada – Underused Housing Tax

Government of Canada – Residential Property Flipping Rule

OSFI – Minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages

Disclaimer: 

  • Trust Units are available to qualified investors on a private placement basis only via Offering Memorandum . The statements contained herein are qualified in their entirety by the Offering Memorandum. The foregoing does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of interest to purchase any securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized. For more information on investment visit www.atlasone.ca 
  • All mortgage investments carry a risk. There is a relationship between risk and return. In general, the higher the rate of return, the higher the risk of the investment. You should very carefully assess the risk of the mortgage transaction described and if applicable and in the supporting documentation before making a commitment.
  • Private Mortgages are regulated in Canada. Ensure you are working with licensed individuals in your province.
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TRREB REALTOR® QUEST 2024: Canada’s Largest Real Estate Conference and Trade Show

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s REALTOR® QUEST 2024 took place at the Toronto Congress Centre on May 15th and 16th.

Those who braved the lengthy lines to get into the conference were rewarded with an exceptional event, full of informative speakers, valuable insights, and networking. There were two full days of seminars, panels, and an amazing speaker series that boasted 20 notable speakers. REALTOR® QUEST also saw a return of its trade show; this year was another massive affair with over 200 exhibitors.

The 2024 conference and trade show had ample opportunities for personal and professional growth, helping realtors and other real estate professionals with practical support and fostering meaningful connections. This event is Canada’s largest real estate conference and trade show, with over 10,000 attendees, both Canadian and international.

A few key resource areas offered notable information and support for the attendees. The International District offered information on global opportunities for real estate clients, while the Learning Hub delivered information on TRREB’s tech tools, MLS® Rules and Policies, compliance, and best practices, provided by TRREB Professional Development Specialists. Another valuable resource was Health Quest, offering free health and wellness services.

The Honourable Doug Ford took to the stage on the 15th, addressing Ontario’s real estate market trajectory, touching upon key areas such as the influx of newcomers to the province and the promising growth of its economy.

Speakers

The TRREB REALTOR® QUEST was able to draw some major names for speakers, who presented to a packed house.

Keynote Speakers

Monty Moran is an inspiring and effective leader who guided Chipotle to unprecedented growth and success during his time as co-CEO. Moran’s leadership style is known for its focus on empowerment and team building. A former trial lawyer turned CEO, Moran’s journey highlights his ability to adapt and thrive in diverse professional environments.

Moran’s emphasis on rewarding people based on their effectiveness in making those around them engaged and productive team members. His belief in the potential of ordinary individuals to make extraordinary contributions highlights the importance of nurturing talent and fostering a supportive workplace culture. He provided real estate professionals with inspiration to enhance their own teams and drive results in the competitive real estate market.

Martha Stewart offers a wealth of insights on all things “home” – which is critical for realtors to gain a better look into the minds of buyers and sellers. Seven out of ten women in the U.S. are influenced by her in the way they think about, organize, and manage their homes.

Her wealth of experience and accomplishments in the lifestyle industry made her a compelling keynote speaker for real estate professionals at the conference. As the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, with over 99 best-selling lifestyle books and an Emmy award-winning television show under her belt, Stewart has solidified herself as the go-to source for all things related to the home. 

Jay Shetty’s biography is a testament to his remarkable journey of personal transformation and global impact. From graduating with honours from Cass Business School to spending three years as a Hindu monk in India and the UK, Shetty’s path is marked by a deep commitment to personal growth and service to others. His decision to blend ancient wisdom with modern digital media platforms has allowed him to reach over 50 million followers worldwide, making him a sought-after voice for purpose-driven living and mindfulness.

Shetty’s groundbreaking podcast, “On Purpose with Jay Shetty,” and best-selling books like “Think Like a Monk” and “8 Rules of Love” have cemented his reputation as a thought leader in the realm of personal development and wellness. His philanthropic efforts reflect his dedication to making a positive impact on society.

Realtors benefitted from Shetty’s insights into making meaningful connections and building authentic relationships.

A group of five professionally-dressed individuals attentively listening to a speaker in a bright, modern conference room.

Speaker Series

With extensive experience in the Real Estate Industry, Theresa Corindia shared insights on “Are You Ready for REALM™? Essential Steps for a Smooth Transition,” drawing from her expertise in client success and training development.

Mary-Anne Gillespie, Real Estate Coach, has led seven of the top ten teams in Canada, and presented, “Embrace Challenge to Achieve Extraordinary Success” and “Million Dollar Open House: Transforming Your Real Estate Career.”

As the CEO of #MindShare101, David Greenspan is known for expertise in sales and marketing efforts. His presentation, “Every Day Excellence: Your Blueprint for Success,” provided practical advice and motivation.

As a Professional Development Specialist at TRREB, Emily Leung emphasizes the importance of ongoing education for real estate professionals, and provided information and insights on SkySlope.

An accomplished entrepreneur and speaker, Daniel Lewis shared his journey and insights on negotiating like a ninja, with a human-centric approach.

With a distinguished career as a licensed paralegal, Bita Di Lisi provided valuable guidance into the complexities of listing and buying tenanted properties, based on her expertise in property management and landlord-tenant relations.

With over ten years of experience as a property valuation consultant, Max Ma shared insights into enhanced assessment data and REALTOR® insights, and building successful client relationships.

As the TRREB Chief Market Analyst, Jason Mercer discussed important trends in the commercial market. A Senior Research Analyst at Altus Group, Jennifer Nhieu also provided key insights into Canadian market trends, leveraging her background in data analytics and commercial real estate.

Founder and CEO of Endgame Coaching, Sean Provencher explored the future of real estate agents in an AI-accelerated world, offering practical strategies for success in the changing landscape.

As a TRREB Professional Development Specialist, Cliff Spicer focused on “Creating a CMA in REALM™,” offering practical insights into CMA creation and leveraging technology for success in the industry. Also a Professional Development Specialist, Ashley St John shared insights on this area, too, providing attendees with valuable knowledge and skills.

A senior partner at Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP, Mark Weisleder answered the most frequently asked questions about TRESA, providing legal insights and practical advice.

Blurred image of people walking and conversing in a modern, well-lit exhibition hall or trade show with various booths and displays.

Trade Show Highlights

The trade show exhibitors represented a wide range of industries, including real estate, finance, and insurance companies, as well as other related services and supports for real estate professionals. Canada-wide and international exhibitors came to provide their expertise.

It offered attendees with excellent opportunities to connect with professionals from this wide range of organizations. Attendees could network with leading real estate agencies and brokerages firms. Financial services and mortgage providers offered information on financing, mortgage trends, and investments. Property management and home services organizations provided information on the huge range of supporting services and products they represented. 

There were even booths representing companies featuring related technology and software solutions, legal services and consultancies, construction and development, educational resources, and health and wellness, for comprehensive opportunities to learn and connect. 

Year after year, REALTOR® QUEST provides value and unique opportunities to real estate professionals. It continues to be a major event and gathering place, and always offers the latest information and updates on critical trends in the industry, making it a great tool for success.

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Alberta Quarterly Market Overview: Q1 2024

Alberta has been experiencing some interesting trends, including its recreational property boom and strong markets early in the year. From a quarterly perspective, the Alberta real estate market in the first quarter of 2024 saw a general increase in sales and average prices. 

Sales

Starting with sales, there was a 4.2% increase quarter-over-quarter in the first quarter of 2024, and a significant 31.0% rise year-over-year, reflecting a strong demand for properties within the region. Population growth will have at least partially contributed to this.

Listings

Meanwhile, the number of listings dropped. New listings experienced a quarter-over-quarter decline of 12.3% in Q1 2024, although there was still a slight rise of 4.7% year-over-year. 

Active listings overall also decreased, dropping by 10.2% quarter-over-quarter and 17.0% year-over-year, showing a decreasing supply of available properties, which could lead to more competition among buyers.

Months of Inventory

In relation, the months of inventory decreased from 2.6 to 2.3, indicating a tightening supply-demand balance within the market, and reflecting the trends of sales increasing while new and active listings decreased. 

Sales-To-New Listings Ratio

Additionally, the sales-to-new listings ratio surged from 70.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 86.2% in the first quarter of 2024, signaling a heightened level of market activity and a stronger seller’s market.

Prices

Average house prices continued to rise, with a 1.9% increase quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2024, and a notable 9.9% surge year-over-year. This upward trend in prices reflects the demand overtaking the available supply, with fewer listings.

Under-Construction

The under-construction segment of Alberta’s market saw a slight decrease of 0.7% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2024. However, there was a larger 9.4% increase year-over-year as a counter. 

A two-story wood-framed building under construction, with an exposed wooden structure and plywood walls, set against a cloudy sky.>;

Other Economic Indicators

Unemployment Rate

Transitioning to the economic landscape, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3% from the previous quarter, indicating a stable labour market environment. 

Mortgage Arrears

Signs of household financial strain show in the percentages of mortgage arrears. There was a slight rise from 0.32% in Q4 2023 to 0.33% in Q1 2024.

Population

Population growth remained positive, albeit at a slower rate compared to other metrics, with a 0.9% increase quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2024, with a greater 4.4% increase year-over-year. 

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Mortgage Consumer Insights

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its annual 2024 Mortgage Consumer Survey on May 8, 2024. The survey had feedback from nearly 4,000 people in Canada who renewed or refinanced a mortgage, or bought a home over the past 18 months. It sheds light on the opinions and behaviours of Canadian mortgage consumers, and highlights ongoing concerns affecting them, such as affordability challenges and rising interest rates.

According to the survey, 15% of Canadians took out a mortgage during the survey period, which is comparable to the 16% who did during the 2023 survey. Of those, 62% were renewing, increasing from 58% in 2023, while 18% were homebuyers, decreasing from 23% in 2023. 19% were refinancing,

Over the 18-month period, interest rates rose significantly, influencing the decisions of potential homebuyers. 22% of home buyers purchased their home earlier than planned because of these rising rates, while 13% chose to delay their purchase. The numbers of those delaying were nearly three times higher than in 2023. First-time buyers and newcomers were most impacted, at 18% and 26%, respectively, choosing to postpone their purchases. There was a significant rise in the numbers affected by interest rates, from 50% in 2023 to 65% this year.

An average saving period of 4.2 years for a down payment was reported. 30% of buyers received financial assistance, indicating a strong trend of many home buyers needing help to break into a challenging market. Of the buyers who received a gift for the down payment, 32% reported they would not have been able to purchase a suitable home without this assistance. Canadians are also finding other ways to achieve ownership despite difficulties; 12% of respondents bought a property with a non-spousal family member or a roommate.

33% reported refinancing a mortgage to complete renovations or home improvements, while 23% refinanced for debt consolidation. 12% of refinancers added a supplementary suite, suggesting a growing trend towards enhancing property value and optimizing living spaces. 

Two people shaking hands over a desk, with one person handing over house keys for a mortgage, and a small red model house on the table.

 

Despite economic uncertainties, 79% of mortgage consumers see home ownership as a sound long-term investment. Optimism about property values was also strong, with 65% anticipating an upswing in value over the next year, reflecting continuing confidence in real estate as a wealth-building asset; this was an increase over the 55% who were confident in 2023 that their properties would increase in value over a 12-month period.

For real estate investors and private mortgage lenders, the survey findings unveil crucial insights into market dynamics and consumer behaviour. The heightened sensitivity to interest rate fluctuations underscores the importance of closely monitoring economic indicators and adjusting investment strategies accordingly. Additionally, the growing emphasis on home improvement projects presents lucrative opportunities for investors to capitalize on the burgeoning demand for renovation financing solutions. Moreover, the prevalence of co-ownership arrangements signifies a shift towards innovative financing models, presenting new avenues for private mortgage investors to diversify their portfolios and cater to evolving consumer preferences.

An interesting trend is the increasing prominence of digital avenues when it comes to buying real estate. The majority of consumers research online before completing a mortgage transaction, and 52% completed the process completely online, up from 34% in 2023. This parallels the trend of buyers using online research for researching properties to buy, which could be as high as 97%, as well. It is clear that investors, lenders, and sellers need to enhance their digital presence to cater to this trend.

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Building Dreams: The Role of a Calgary Realtor in New Constructions and Developments

The role of a realtor extends beyond simple buying and selling transactions, providing guidance and expertise to support real estate decisions. This is especially true for a pre-construction purchase. Furthermore, the Calgary real estate market can hold many potential gems for both homeowners and investors, but to find the best opportunities, a top Calgary realtor acting as a trusted guide can make a significant difference in the success of the search. A realtor plays a major role in assisting a client navigate through the new and pre-construction market.

Calgary Pre-Construction Real Estate Market

Calgary’s pre-construction market presents both opportunities and challenges for homebuyers and investors. However, pre-construction purchases can be complex, and knowing which neighbourhoods will meet your needs while offering a higher potential for sustained or increasing values requires expertise and industry insight. This is where an experienced Calgary pre-construction realtor becomes particularly invaluable.

Advantages of Pre-Construction Investments

According to Jesse Davies, of the Jesse Davies Century 21 Team, “Pre-construction properties offer several advantages, including lower upfront costs and the opportunity for customization. A property can be customized to your needs, optimized as an investment, or simply tailored to personal tastes.”

Developers often provide incentives and discounts to early buyers, making pre-construction investments cost-effective. Additionally, buyers can tailor various aspects of their homes, such as layouts, finishes, and upgrades, to suit their preferences and lifestyles.

Pre-construction properties can appreciate in value. The Calgary real estate market is known for its consistent growth and offers significant potential for property appreciation even before completion of a project. Investing in high-demand areas can yield substantial returns as property values increase over time.

Also, pre-construction projects often offer modern amenities and innovative design elements that enhance a property’s desirability and long-term value. A reputable realtor can help you determine which amenities and upgrades are worth investing in, maximizing the property’s appeal and value.

Aerial view of a cleared construction site outlined with a dashed white border and location markers, adjacent to a busy road and various buildings.

Role of a Calgary Pre-Construction Realtor

It helps to find a realtor experienced in pre-construction real estate. It’s also an advantage to find the best condo realtor possible who also has experience in pre-construction, if you are looking to find a condo, as the market and process for these are a little different. Similarly, if you are looking for an investment property, choosing a Calgary investment realtor with experience in pre-construction properties is critical. Combining these areas of expertise to meet your needs can make a big difference in finding an ideal project.

Before choosing a realtor, discuss what role they are expecting to provide in the process for you, to ensure a clear understanding of their plans. Likewise, be sure to communicate your needs and wants clearly, so your realtor has a solid foundation to start a search from.

Providing Trustworthy Advice and Peace of Mind

Pre-construction and development purchases have added complexity, such as understanding how a new or changing neighbourhood will develop and affect your property, being aware of the quality of construction materials used, being familiar with the builder’s reputation and quality of work, and more. An experienced realtor can guide buyers through this for greater peace of mind, streamlining and simplifying the entire process. Critically, a realtor acts in your best interests throughout, as a trusted advisor, not for a development or builder or other party.

Analyzing Data and Forecasting

A top pre-construction realtor has in-depth knowledge of the local market trends, including upcoming developments, builders’ reputations, and neighbourhood dynamics. They leverage this expertise to guide clients in selecting the right pre-construction projects that align with their lifestyle, budget, and investment goals. 

The best Calgary realtor for a pre-construction purchase will analyze factors such as location, amenities, and future growth prospects to ensure a property will maintain and increase in value, future-proofing the investment.

Jesse Davies notes, “A property can appreciate in value before the construction is finished, but picking the right one is crucial. Knowing Calgary’s latest developments and neighbourhoods inside out, and analyzing market data, is an essential first step. A pre-construction realtor then needs to use this information to identify ideal properties and negotiate better deals for the client. This gives them a strong advantage in finding the best property.”

Future-proofing your investment involves looking ahead. Realtors can give you valuable insights by analyzing past sales, price trends, and construction activity. Understanding past fluctuations, like sudden price drops in stable neighbourhoods, can help you spot risks and opportunities. Economic factors like employment rates, GDP growth, and interest rates are also important indicators of how the local market might perform, especially with future interest rate changes on the horizon.

A realtor will also analyze the demographics and population of an area to anticipate property demand. For instance, a surge in young professionals may signify increasing needs for compact units, while regions with older residents may favour retirement homes or accessible condos. Whether you are an investor or a potential homeowner, these insights into a neighbourhood allow for informed decisions. Location analysis includes accessibility, amenities, schools, and job prospects, to gauge a property’s long-term value potential. 

Realtors may also conduct surveys, focus groups, and online engagement to gauge public interest in pre-construction projects, which is important for investors evaluating future property value.

Finding the Right Project

Buying pre-construction offers the advantage of acquiring a brand new property that can be customized to your preferences, whether a condo, townhome, or detached house. You have full control over fixtures and finishes, tailoring the property to your needs, investment goals, or taste. However, with numerous projects introduced regularly, it’s easy to overlook ideal properties, and assessing suitability in the early stages can be challenging. A top realtor with market knowledge and experience can navigate these complexities, providing insights into builders and property potential, and ensuring you find the right fit.

A red "For Sale" sign stands in a grassy, undeveloped lot with trees and a building visible in the background.

Helping With Due Diligence

A realtor assists clients in their thorough due diligence, with research on developers, examining past projects, financial stability, and customer feedback. Visits to sales centres, reviews of floor plans, and professional insights regarding investment viability reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises. Additionally, they provide guidance on purchase agreements and contracts, highlighting clauses concerning project timelines, warranties, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Avoiding Competition

Trying to buy resale property can mean multiple offers for the same property and bidding wars. With pre-construction, you can avoid this intense competition; however, there can still be some competition to buy the best units first. A realtor can help you avoid this situation, too, as they have access to exclusive VIP or early sales events, giving them the chance to buy a unit before they are advertised to the public.

Negotiating

Developers typically set prices for pre-construction units, but there’s room for negotiation, particularly regarding unit selection, floor premiums, and incentives. Different incentives may become available at different stages of construction. A realtor helps navigate this process and helps you negotiate the purchase agreement, negotiating for favourable terms, features, and upgrades, while identifying upgrades that offer value and those that do not, to avoid upselling. A top pre-construction realtor can negotiate for the best deal with added perks, such as free upgrades or appliances, while also clarifying any confusing contract clauses. 

Leveraging Relationships with Builders

A Calgary realtor who has experience in new construction and pre-construction will develop strong relationships with reputable builders, allowing them to access exclusive listings and early insights into upcoming projects.

These relationships enable realtors to negotiate favourable terms on behalf of their clients, for advantageous pricing, incentives, and upgrades. By acting as intermediaries between buyers and builders, realtors streamline the purchasing process and mitigate potential challenges.

Guiding Through the Full Process

Purchasing a pre-construction property involves navigating the various stages of the construction process, from initial design and planning to final inspections and occupancy. A proficient Calgary realtor serves as a knowledgeable resource throughout this journey, offering guidance and support at every step.

During the design phase, realtors collaborate with clients to articulate their vision and preferences, facilitating communication with builders to ensure that design specifications are accurately implemented. They advocate for clients’ interests, addressing any concerns or discrepancies that may arise during the construction process.

Pre-construction involves multiple stages and interactions with various professionals. In addition to making decisions around design, buyers must also make technical choices about electrical work or construction add-ons during the build. In addition, some buyers will be dealing with loan officers, appraisers, notaries and home inspectors. A realtor has access to a network of top professionals and can guide you through all these decisions and stages.

Additionally, realtors can facilitate communication with builders, providing updates on project milestones, timelines, and potential modifications. This proactive approach minimizes misunderstandings and delays, for a smoother progression.

A partially constructed wooden house frame under a clear blue sky.

Navigating Considerations and Challenges

A realtor provides guidance on the various challenges and considerations that arise, from mortgage rates and potential interest rate fluctuations post-deposit, plus sales tax, that all need to be factored in, to delays or cancellations due to weather, regulatory approvals, or supply chain issues. Research and consideration of economic conditions and long-term trends and the impacts on the Calgary real estate market needs to be done. Financial readiness is essential, covering upfront deposits and additional closing costs. A top Calgary realtor can help you with all of this and other expected or unforeseen challenges.

Maximizing Investment Potential

Beyond facilitating the purchase of a dream home, a skilled Calgary realtor assists clients in maximizing the investment potential of new constructions and developments. By conducting thorough market analyses and leveraging their expertise in property valuation, investment realtors advise clients on strategic decisions, such as timing the market and optimizing resale potential. Realtors can also guide on the optimal timing for purchasing, whether during pre-construction, mid-construction, or post-completion, leveraging information on potential promotions. 

Furthermore, realtors offer insights into emerging trends and developments that may impact the value of the property over time. Whether it’s identifying up-and-coming neighbourhoods or anticipating infrastructure projects that enhance livability, realtors empower clients to make informed investment choices that align with their long-term financial objectives. They aid in selecting the ideal unit to align with a client’s investment objectives.

Calgary-Specific Expertise: Tailored Solutions for Local Needs

The best Calgary realtor for a pre-construction property is one who specializes in this unique aspect of real estate, and is highly familiar with the Calgary real estate landscape. They have a deeper understanding of the local market dynamics, neighbourhood intricacies, and other frameworks to provide customized solutions.

“Calgary has a distinctive pre-construction market compared to other Canadian cities. With a mere 10% deposit requirement, the absence of provincial tax, and an investor-friendly climate, it offers opportunities other cities do not provide,” comments Davies.

A local realtor will stay on top of zoning regulations, development policies, and infrastructure initiatives, and support clients throughout the process from finding the right property to successfully taking possession.

Calgary has a lot to offer, but it is important to have a local realtor who knows the area and all of the ins and outs of real estate and buying in Calgary.

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Potential Homeowner Interest and Rate Cuts

The latest Bank of Canada rate announcement was to hold its overnight rate target at 5%, alongside a bank rate of 5.25% and a deposit rate of 5%. Cuts are expected, but the precise timing and magnitude of these cuts are still being debated. Meanwhile, some experts, although expecting cuts to eventually come, have been calling for more aggressive rate cuts to stimulate the economy.

Now, new information is coming out that may suggest rate cuts, which may lead to lower mortgage rates, could boost potential homeowners into buying again. 

A Bank of Montreal survey suggests that 72% of potential homeowners are holding off on buying a house until interest rates drop. This is an increase of 4% from the previous year. While this suggests that rate cuts could prompt greater confidence in buying, there are other financial and economic concerns noted in the survey that are discouraging potential homeowners from taking the plunge. This includes concerns about the cost of living, inflation, fear of unknown expenses, and overall finances. 

While this survey shows how cautious aspiring homeowners are being, it did also find, on a more positive note, that 85% of Canadians believe they are making “real financial progress”.

Another recent survey from RBC also had more positive findings. There is an uptick of people looking to buy in the next two years – 29% compared to 22% in 2023. A majority of 60% believe home or condo ownership is still a good investment, which is an increase from 2023. Furthermore, 41% of potential home buyers expect to be able to save enough for a down payment in four years or less.

A hand holding a small model of a house with a red roof and flowered window boxes, set against a cloudy blue sky.

 

However, this confidence is still tempered by financial concerns and fears about homeownership costs. It also noted that 50% of Canadians are saving less due to inflation, and 57% of respondents indicated they would require a side hustle or second job to afford a home. 36% report that they’re not saving monthly, which is a notable increase from the 8% reported in 2023. 

Despite economic challenges, there’s a continuing sentiment in Canada that homeownership remains a valuable investment. However, practical hurdles, such as affordability constraints, inflation, and interest rates, are causing potential homeowners to look at second jobs or other sources of supplementary income, or find other strategies to address the financial hurdles they are facing. Nevertheless, there are notes of optimism and signs of ongoing interest in real estate, especially if rates drop.

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British Columbia Quarterly Market Overview: Q1 2024

According to a quarterly report by Edge Realty, there are some mixed indicators for the strength of the BC housing market. 

Sales 

Quarter-over-quarter, there was a significant increase of 8.9% in sales in the first quarter of 2024, indicating a reasonable demand for housing. However, the year-over-year growth was more modest at 0.6%, which may indicate a slowdown in the housing market compared to the previous year.

Listings

Quarter-over-quarter for the first three months of 2024, there was a significant rise of 5.7% in new listings. The year-over-year growth in new listings was even more substantial, at 32.2%.

For active listings overall, there was also an increase. Both quarter-over-quarter for Q1 2024 and year-over-year, there’s a positive trend in active listings, indicating a growing inventory of available homes for sale. The quarter-over-quarter increase for Q1 2024 was 6.3%, while the year-over-year increase was a notable 25.6%. This increase in supply could have an impact on housing prices, offering more options for potential buyers.

Months of Inventory

The months of inventory number, which measures how long it would take to sell existing homes on the market given the current pace of sales, increased from 5.4 months in Q4 2023 to 5.6 months in Q1 2024. 

Sales-to-New Listings Ratio 

The sales-to-new listings ratio dropped from 51.5% in Q4 2023 to 46.2% in Q1 2024, showing a relative decrease in demand compared to supply. This might mean some better opportunities for buyers.

Row of suburban homes with gabled roofs under a clear blue sky.

Price 

There was a slight decrease of 1.7% in prices quarter-over-quarter in the first quarter of 2024. However, year-over-year, the prices have risen by 4.4%. While there may be some current downward pressure on prices, the year-over-year price average, as well as average prices over the past several years, have been trending upwards.

Construction

Both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, there’s growth in the number of properties under construction, indicating some investment in housing development and future increases in supply. The Q1 2024 increase in under-construction properties was only a slight rise of 2.8% quarter-over-quarter, however, although the year-over-year increase of 19.5% was more significant.

Economic Indicators

Population Growth

BC’s population has been increasing, with a slight growth of 0.5% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2024, and 3.3% year-over-year. This suggests a potentially continued demand for housing because of this population growth to support the market.

Unemployment Rate 

The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.5% in both Q4 2023 and Q1 2024. This suggests a certain, consistent level of economic activity and stability, which can increase consumer confidence and a willingness to enter the housing market.

Mortgage Arrears 

There’s a slight increase in mortgage arrears from 0.13% in Q4 2023 to 0.15% in Q1 2024. While this increase is relatively small, it does indicate financial strain among homeowners, potentially impacting their ability to maintain mortgage payments and raising concerns for the stability of the housing market.

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Diversifying Your Portfolio: The Strategic Advantage of Metro Detroit Real Estate Investments

Diversification is a fundamental element in investment strategy, reducing risk by spreading investments across different asset classes. Real estate offers an excellent opportunity for diversification, especially when leveraging markets with growth potential and economic resilience. Metro Detroit is one such market, allowing investors to not only diversify away from a traditional stocks and bonds portfolio, but also diversify a real estate portfolio with unique opportunities.

Metro Detroit’s Economic Resurgence: Not The Detroit Of The Past

Metro Detroit, encompassing the city and surrounding areas, used to be known for its automotive industry and subsequent economic shifts and challenges. In more recent years, however, it has experienced a remarkable resurgence driven by its economic diversification and business innovation.

A key factor is its commitment to diversifying its industrial base, actively attracting investments in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. This has created new job opportunities and a more resilient and dynamic economy. 

“With new industries moving in and a focus on urban renewal, it’s a city that’s reinventing itself. Detroit’s economic resurgence is a testament to its resilience and ingenuity. And it’s generating momentum with more investment opportunities,” notes Joe Hammel of the FIRE Realty Team.

Detroit’s strategic initiatives, including tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, and revitalization projects, have rejuvenated urban centers and kindled an entrepreneurial system. As a result, Metro Detroit has become increasingly attractive to young professionals, families, and other demographics, as well as businesses, leading to equally increasing needs for housing and commercial real estate. 

Strong Rental Income Opportunities

The growing demand for rental housing in Metro Detroit, driven by population growth, urbanization, and lifestyle preferences, presents an opportunity for investors to generate steady rental income. Detroit offers a low price-to-rent ratio, meaning that the potential rent income earned is high relative to the cost of purchasing a property. Additionally, Michigan’s lack of rent control allows for greater flexibility in setting rental rates, further enhancing investment potential.

“When evaluating real estate opportunities in Metro Detroit, consider factors such as proximity to transportation hubs, amenities, and employment centers, which can enhance property value and rental demand,” recommends Hammel.

Impacts On The Real Estate Landscape

Metro Detroit’s commercial real estate market is experiencing robust growth, driven by increasing demand for office space, retail developments, and mixed-use projects. The rise of tech companies, automotive suppliers, and professional service firms as Detroit’s economy has diversified has created demand for office space in the downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods. As these businesses and commercial real estate expand, related supporting buildings, such as the new medical research centre that will start construction in May, retail centres, and residential units and housing to support the increased numbers of workers are expanding, as well.

As the boosts to the Detroit economy have led to population increases in the last couple of years, the city and surrounding areas are evolving to cater to residents. Extensive revitalization efforts are making significant impacts and offering evolving opportunities for homeowners and investors. Detroit offers historic neighbourhoods, cultural amenities, and a growing arts scene, along with a diverse range of housing options for investors seeking long-term growth potential. The surrounding suburban areas are also attractive to homeowners and investors, offering excellent school districts, thriving business communities, and a high quality of life. From residential neighbourhoods to commercial corridors, there is a growing demand for diverse housing options, modern amenities, and mixed-use developments, providing strategic advantages for those looking to fully diversify investments.

Diversification Benefits

Adding Metro Detroit real estate to a diversified investment portfolio can help investors reduce overall risk and enhance returns. As with any real estate investment, it offers a low correlation with traditional asset classes such as stocks and bonds, protecting against market volatility.

However, investing in Metro Detroit real estate offers several distinct advantages for investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and achieve financial goals.

One of the primary advantages of real estate is its ability to serve as a hedge against inflation, with property values and rental income generally rising over time in response to increasing prices. Metro Detroit’s real estate market, characterized by affordable property prices and consistent rental demand, provides investors with a distinctive opportunity to protect against inflation while diversifying their portfolios.

With the region’s growing population and economic resurgence, there is an increasing demand for rental housing across various market segments for steady rental income, generating 

a wide range of opportunities.

Downtown street view showing a mix of modern and older architectural styles with Metro Detroit Real Estate Investments construction work in progress.

Unique Diversification Advantages

Even investors who have already diversified into real estate can find added advantages in Metro Detroit’s distinctive environment. The array of opportunities and unique real estate landscape in the Metro Detroit area provides investors with an expansive platform for diversification, for a broader variety compared to the options available in more conventional city locations.

Facilitating Canadian Investing

Detroit gives Canadians a rare opportunity to invest in US real estate affordably, even given the US dollar exchange rate, and more easily, being close to the border. This enables Canadians to break into the US real estate market relatively easily.

Distinctive Economic and Industrial Landscape

Its diversified economic landscape reduces the reliance on a single industry, making it less susceptible to industry-specific downturns, as opposed to other cities with a narrower economic focus.

Metro Detroit’s strategic location and connectivity to major transportation routes make it an ideal hub for industrial and warehouse properties, e-commerce fulfillment centers, and multimodal transportation facilities, offering investors tangible opportunities to capitalize on global trade dynamics, including catering to short- and long-term housing needs of the people involved in these industries.

Historic Preservation and Development Balance

Unlike some cities where rapid development changes the historical character, Metro Detroit has prioritized historic preservation and adaptive reuse. It embraces its architectural heritage, offering investors the opportunity to restore and repurpose historic properties. This approach fosters a sense of continuity and cultural identity while creating unusual investment opportunities. This allows investors to find properties that are unlike others they have in their portfolio.

Community-Driven Revitalization

In some cities, urban renewal projects are driven by private developers, sometimes leading to gentrification and social exclusion. However, Metro Detroit’s revitalization efforts often involve collaboration between government agencies, community organizations, and local stakeholders. This community-driven approach ensures that development projects align with the needs of residents, ensuring that projects and rentals will be in demand, adding a layer of security to an investment.

High Variety

Unlike some cities where investment opportunities may be concentrated in a few high-demand neighbourhoods, Metro Detroit offers investment opportunities in multiple neighbourhoods and property types. From historic properties needing refurbishment in established neighbourhoods to mixed-use developments in emerging districts, investors can find opportunities that align with their investment strategies and risk profiles. This diversity of investment options allows investors to build well-balanced and resilient portfolios.

Portfolio Growth Potential

While it’s important to diversify, it’s equally important to choose investments with good performance. Metro Detroit’s real estate market offers significant growth potential for investors, driven by demographic trends, urban renewal initiatives, and economic development projects. The area is continuing to attract new residents, businesses, and investments, so property values are expected to appreciate over time, leading to capital appreciation for real estate investors. By diversifying into Metro Detroit real estate, investors can capitalize on the region’s growth.

Affordable Entry Opportunities

One of the unique advantages of investing in Metro Detroit real estate is its affordability compared to other major metropolitan areas. The area’s lower property prices, coupled with favourable financing terms and investor-friendly policies, make it accessible to a broader range of investors. 

Investors who may have been priced out of real estate markets in high-cost-of-living cities, or Canadian investors who are interested in the US market but are concerned about the exchange rate, can leverage Detroit’s unique affordability. With a median house price as low as $89,000, there is ample opportunity to diversify into real estate without needing an extreme level of cash up front. This affordability enables investors to build a diversified portfolio of properties and benefit from the region’s growth potential. At these price points, it is easier to purchase multiple properties in different areas to diversify and mitigate risks such as periods of vacancy. 

Urban Renewal Opportunities

Metro Detroit’s urban renewal and revitalization initiatives, including blight removal to redevelop dilapidated structures, provide lucrative opportunities for real estate investors. 

“Distressed properties and redevelopment projects within areas of renewal can be obtained at competitive prices and upgraded to generate a good return on investment, especially as the neighbourhood around it is revitalized as well. Detroit’s current efforts to revive areas of blight can mean great opportunities,” notes Joe Hammel.

The ongoing revitalization of the urban centers, coupled with demographic trends favouring urban living, presents significant growth potential for real estate investors. As demand for housing, office space, and retail amenities continues to rise, investors stand to benefit from appreciation in property values and rental income.

A person writes the word "diversification" on a notepad related to Metro Detroit Real Estate Investments, surrounded by colorful graphs, charts, and a laptop on a wooden desk.

Diversify Your Investment Portfolio with Metro Detroit Real Estate Opportunities

Metro Detroit helps with traditional investment portfolio diversification, as a counterbalance to stocks and bonds, and with real estate diversification, enabling a broader range of properties, for maximum risk mitigation. Its unique blend of affordability, economic resilience, and urban renewal opportunities offers investors a fresh avenue for spreading risk and maximizing returns. By tapping into Metro Detroit’s dynamic real estate landscape, investors can access a range of opportunities not found in more traditional markets, positioning themselves for long-term success and growth in their investment portfolios. Local real estate professionals like the FIRE Realty Team who specialize in investment properties in Metro Detroit can provide valuable guidance in identifying lucrative opportunities across different neighbourhoods which align with an investor’s objectives and scope.

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Immediate change is necessary to turn housing crisis around

Canada is cratering in many ways and the housing supply and affordability crisis appears to be getting worse.

The stock of new housing is falling – at exactly the time we need it to rise. Many folks – especially the younger generation – can no longer afford to buy a home and live in the cities where they work. They are seeking housing elsewhere, often out of province and sometimes out of country.

Average home prices in Toronto, for example, are now less affordable than Tokyo, New York City, Miami, Seoul and Melbourne, according to an analysis of home prices in 23 metropolitan areas across North America and various other countries done recently by Zoocasa.

The average home price in Toronto now stands at $1.122 million while in Vancouver the figure is worse at $1.197 million.

The embarrassing predicament is only getting worse. Recent federal and provincial budgets, while positive in some respects, did not go far enough on housing and will not move the needle.

Decline in housing starts

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported in its spring housing market outlook that there is expected to be an overall decline in national housing starts this year, led by Ontario and B.C.

The reason?

Unfavourable financing conditions and labour shortages are expected to make many rental building construction projects unfeasible, despite government incentives like dropping the HST.

Condo developments are also being delayed. The new condo segment in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton market remains sluggish. Developers have pulled back because buyers aren’t ready to purchase.

A new two-story house under construction with white walls and scaffolding.

In the first quarter of this year, only four new condo projects were brought to market in the GTHA, according to research and consultancy firm Urbanation. About 60 projects are now on hold.

Meanwhile, mortgage delinquency rates in Toronto have surged 71-per-cent higher in just one year, according to Equifax. 

Equally troubling, an article in Better Dwelling noted that Canada has embarked on an epic borrowing spree as new direct and guaranteed bonds issued by the federal government jumped in March. This is problematic as it could put upward pressure on borrowing costs for investors.

Governments at all levels need to understand that we have a market economy. The role of government is to regulate the playing field, so it works as effectively as possible – not play the game.

To turn the ship around, we must lower the costs associated with buying a new home in Canada.

Buyers burdened with taxes

Simply put, new housing is overtaxed. Governments need taxes to fund essential services but those who are buying new homes are unfairly burdened with high taxes, fees and levies and development charge hikes. About 31 per cent of the cost of a new home is due to the add-ons.

Taxes, fees, levies and development charges have exploded. For example, they’ve increased 800 per cent in the last 20 years. In 2023, development charges alone in Ontario were up 72 per cent over the figure for 2019. Wages have certainly not kept pace with those types of hikes.

Sadly, it appears that the City of Ottawa hasn’t seen the light. In fact, they are making it more difficult for people to buy homes. The planning and housing committee recently approved a new bylaw which will result in a $4,700 to $6,200 hike in fees on new homes built in the municipality.

Charges on single and semi-detached homes inside the Greenbelt will increase from $43,494 to $48,265, while they will increase from $51,376 to $57,596 on homes built outside the Greenbelt.

The first-time buyer, in particular, is being crushed by these add-ons. They need – and deserve – a break. 

Give first-time buyers a break

RESCON has suggested that the federal government rebate the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) to first-time buyers who purchase a new home. They are doing it for purpose-built apartment rental buildings. The same should be done for first-time new home buyers.

We must make it more affordable for people to own a home and stop taxing new housing out of existence.

Can you imagine cutting 30 per cent off the cost of a new home? It would certainly give people a realistic gateway to home ownership and spur developers and builders to take action.

Changes like these must happen immediately.

Richard Lyall is president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). He has represented the building industry in Ontario since 1991. Contact him at media@rescon.com. 

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