Category Archives: Industry News & Commentary

How We Got Into This House Price Problem

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The following paragraphs are from a Toronto Star newspaper article (dated December 4th, 2021) on GTA house prices and affordability. It’s a good summary of how we got where we are. Kean Birch, as associate professor at York University, said because housing as an investment has historically paid off, those who can afford it are signing up for huge debt… Read more »

Being Proven Right Takes Time

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One of the biggest frustrations with real estate consulting is having to wait to find out whether you’re right or wrong. Because most development projects, especially multi-unit rental properties, take years to get approved, built, and leased, if you as a consultant give advice to a developer you won’t find out for 3 or 4 years whether your advice was… Read more »

Weathering The 2020 Pandemic

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This past Saturday (November 6th) the print edition of the Toronto contained an interview with Dennis Mitchell, the CEO of Starlight Capital. In the interview he was asked how Starlight’s “multi-residential properties” did during the pandemic. His response: The businesses that we own collected well north of 90 per cent of their rent during the pandemic. Actually, during the recovery… Read more »

A Sign Of The Times: The Billionaire Amateur Architect

Charlie Munger is pretty much a household name in the finance and investing worlds, having made his name by becoming wealthy and being Warren Buffett’s investing partner for many decades. Apparently, he also has aspirations to be an architect. Read the article below. What can I say? To give credit where credit is due, his design is well suited to… Read more »

Trickle-Down Rental Housing Development Doesn’t Work

There’s a recent article which has been making the rounds titled “How luxury apartment buildings help low-income renters.” I think it showed up first on a US website but it’s been republished in Canada. I’ve included a link to a US website below so you can read the article (I suspect that’s where the article was published first). https://fullstackeconomics.com/how-luxury-apartment-buildings-help-low-income-renters/ The… Read more »

Consulting: Eliminating Uncertainty

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I wanted to bring to the attention of readers a really good article written by Nick Maggiulli, an analyst with Ritholtz Wealth Management. You can read the article via the link below. In his article, Nick talks about becoming an “uncertainty killer,” someone who helps eliminate or minimize uncertainty for co-workers and employers, as a way of enhancing one’s career… Read more »

Remembering (Shifting) Baselines

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For reasons due more to accident than planning, recently some articles on climate change and related issues crossed my (online) desk. One in particular was thought provoking, an article entitled “Covid-19 and Climate Change: Why we need to remember what we’ve lost” by David Roberts in vox.com. Here’s a link: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/7/7/21311027/covid-19-climate-change-global-warming-shifting-baselines The article makes the important point that humans, both… Read more »

Building & Buying For The Long-Term

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The latest issue of Canadian Apartment Magazine contains an interesting article which I recommend reading. Here’s a link to the article: https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/purpose-built-rental-pro-formas-under-pressure/ The article quotes from Paul Morassutti, a CBRE executive, who comments on the findings of a report on construction costs made by another consulting firm, Finnegan Marshall. Morassutti’s quotes are interesting since he describes and comments on recent… Read more »

Toronto’s Public Housing Shortage

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The Toronto Star published an article this past Sunday (August 8) which had some eye-popping opening paragraphs, worth quoting in full: And 1995 is roughly the year that Torontonians would have had to apply for subsidized housing for a chance to secure any one-bedroom units that became vacant in 2021 at 133 Broadway Avenue, a 52-unit Toronto Community Housing lowrise… Read more »

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 »