Category Archives: Industry News & Commentary

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 »

The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen Written About Rental Housing

I have been in the rental housing industry for over seventeen-and-a-half years now and I have heard a lot of dumb things said in meetings with clients, customers, and colleagues. I thought I couldn’t be surprised anymore, but this past weekend, while reading the Saturday edition of the Toronto Star (April 24, 2021), I burst out laughing at the dumbest… Read more »

Construction Costs Are Rising

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Altus recently released their annual report on construction costs in Canada and you can read REMI Network’s article discussing Altus’s report here. The overall gist is that construction costs for multi-unit housing projects are increasing across Canada and are projected to increase, in most markets, by 1% to 4% by the end of this year, but by 5% in the… Read more »

Toronto Star Article: “Toronto’s Rents Were Supposed To Drop”

Recently the Toronto Star published (on March 21, 2021) a long article examining vacancy rates and average rents across the city of Toronto. You can read the article via the link below (the article might be behind a paywall). https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/03/20/toronto-rents-were-supposed-to-drop-as-people-fled-the-city-during-covid-19-the-data-tells-a-much-different-story.html This article uses data gathered by CMHC and explains that in most neighbourhoods in Toronto average rents increased from 2019… Read more »

What I Would Have Done If I Were A Retail REIT

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2020 was a roller coaster for large parts of the country’s economy, particularly for retailers and retail real estate. When the global pandemic spread to Canada early in the year and it became obvious that large parts of the economy would close or be put on hold, it was immediately clear to me that retail REITs in particular could be… Read more »

Back From The Future: Consulting

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I’m just back from the future! When I started in this industry consulting was a pretty niche activity, with only a few firms (in Ontario) offering market surveys and other research and opinion services on a fee basis. Most clients were developers and property managers, either wanting to get ideas for a new rental development project or wanting ideas to… Read more »

Where Is Ontario’s Rental Housing Industry Headed?

Where is Ontario’s rental industry headed in the future? What changes and shifts and trends can we expect? Here’s a list of possible future trends which I consider highly likely to materialize. I think among developers there will be re-focus on developing mid-level rentals with modest appointments and more affordable rents. Although high-end, luxury, A grade rentals earn the highest… Read more »

Renewing Toronto’s Old-Stock Rental Towers

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On Christmas day 2020 the Toronto Star published an article describing the findings of a group of US real estate experts from the Urban Land Institute who examined some of Toronto’s old-stock rental towers. The newspaper article can be read via the link below (it’s behind a paywall). https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/12/25/us-housing-experts-paint-dire-picture-of-upkeep-availability-of-private-rental-apartment-units-in-toronto.html The experts found that it is essential to keep Toronto’s rental… Read more »

2020 Recap

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2020 isn’t quite over yet but I think we’re close enough to the end of it to safely comment on it. For rental housing, 2020 was another example of the industry’s (natural?) ability to weather bad economic storms. In no particular order, here are my general thoughts on the year and the industry: managers saw only minor increases in vacancies… Read more »

“Sophisticated Investors Are Desperate To Buy”

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The Globe & Mail newspaper recently (December 6th, 2020) published an article entitled “Sophisticated investors are desperate to buy Canada’s apartment buildings; values soar despite Covid-19”. You can read the article via the link below (unless they’ve moved it behind a paywall): https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-sophisticated-investors-are-desperate-to-buy-canadas-apartment/ This is a great article and nearly every paragraph contains something informative. I strongly recommend reading it… Read more »