Do Rentals ‘Work’?

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Several times during my 15+ years in the rental housing industry I’ve been told that “rentals don’t work”, usually by people who work in accounting or finance, and sometimes by people who are new to the rental housing industry. Their basic assertion is that they’ve “done the math” and found rentals “aren’t profitable,” and therefore it makes no sense to… Read more »

Some Thoughts on Unit Sizes in Multi-Unit Buildings Smaller Centres

Local media ran an article recently (in the St Catharines Standard print edition, June 23, 2021) describing a proposal to construct a new condo tower in downtown St Catharines, the city directly across Lake Ontario from Toronto. St Catharines had a population in 2016 of just over 133,000 people, or about 4.9% the size of Toronto. This condo project, if… Read more »

To Rent or Not To Rent

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One of the more common non-industry discussions about the industry has long been the renting versus owning question. Who comes out ahead over the long term? Is it the home owner who commits a huge amount of capital to home ownership and sees their house increase in value over time? Or is it the renter who rents an apartment or… Read more »

Ownership Housing Affordability in Canada

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The National Bank of Canada last month released a document which they call their ‘Housing Affordability Monitor’ which tracks historical affordability of ownership housing—condo and non-condo—in ten of Canada’s largest cities. You can download the document in PDF format from the link below. https://www.nbc.ca/content/dam/bnc/en/rates-and-analysis/economic-analysis/housing-affordability.pdf Everyone knows that housing prices keep going up and up and up and keep getting less… Read more »

‘The Limits Of Numbers’

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Beyond rental housing, one of my interests is personal investing, which, to learn more about, I read lots of articles and listen to podcasts. Recently I read an article entitled “The Limits of Numbers in Life and Investing” by Vishal Khandelwal. It makes some great points about data and numbers in investing and you can read it via the link… Read more »

Back From The Future: Leasing Services

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I’m just back from the future! When I started in this industry leasing services were a big thing, a major business element for property management firms, and a significant source of revenue for many consultants. Vacancies were high in the less desirable buildings—can you imagine 5% or 10% vacant in Toronto? That’s what it was like, and landlords were willing… Read more »

Maximizing Rent Increases

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In this post I’m going to revisit a topic I looked at in a post dated March 18, 2020: rent increases on turnover. In that post I compared several scenarios in which a hypothetical landlord raises rents by different amounts on turnover. I found that even in high vacancy markets in which large rent increases mean units might sit vacant… Read more »

Don’t Dodge The Solution!

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One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that almost everyone, myself included, has a tendency to avoid or dodge solutions to problems, especially if those solutions require lots of hard work, lots of resources, and lots of discipline (the most difficult of all). Instead of implementing a solution that will fix a problem, we tend to indulge… Read more »

Rental Housing Types: Risk vs Reward

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For some reason the other day I started thinking about the risks and rewards of different types of purpose-built rental housing. Risk is a complex thing and varies from project to project and developer to developer, but, at least from a high-level perspective, it’s probably best defined as absorption risk (how fast will available rentals be leased?) and to a… Read more »

Some Further Thoughts on Target Renters…

I remember that the first serious job I had to do when I started as a consultant in the rental housing industry (in my first week!) was to review a rent roll for a high-rise rental building in central Toronto, an older concrete slab tower almost entirely composed of 1 bed and 2 bed apartments. The landlord had kept reasonably… Read more »