GTA Real Estate News Highlights #16

GTA Real Estate News Highlights #16

Co-working firms taking over commercial real estate, education is driving Chinese buyers to Canada despite the foreign-buyer taxes, the rents are soaring and the first condo signs an agreements to regulate Airbnb rentals - the most important Toronto real estate news over the past week chosen by Torontoism.

The Globe and Mail: Co-working firm to open shop in retail space.

WeWork co-working firm takes over a Manhattan department store, revealing a major trend in commercial real estate: the shared offices are moving into prime locations from the fringes. Taking the place of the retailers which are increasingly moving on-line, the co-working offices offer more and more perks to their members.

WeWork also said it plans to lease the top floors of the Bay's anchor stores on Queen Street in Toronto and Granville Street in Vancouver, and to turn those floors into co-working spaces. Its recently opened downtown Toronto building has arty decor and free-flowing beer in the kitchen.

Behind the rapid growth of co-working spaces is the growth of the gig economy – all the consultants and freelancers, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs need office space. Real estate service company JLL, meanwhile, predicts that by 2030, 30 per cent of corporate real estate holdings will be flexible office spaces, from co-working offices to incubator spaces.

Buzz Buzz Home: Here’s what’s attracting Chinese buyers to Canadian real estate despite foreign-buyer taxes.

As Richard Silver also noted in his interview for CBC News, educational opportunities are the main factor driving Chinese homebuyer inquiries for Canadian properties, despite foreign-buyer taxes in two of the nation’s hottest housing markets. Last year, over 132,300 Chinese students were enrolled in Canadian schools and colleges, up 10 per cent compared to 2015, according to Juwai.com. China was the biggest source of international students in Canada in 2016.

Educational opportunities continue to attract Chinese buyers even though foreign-buyer taxes have been introduced in two of Canada’s biggest metros: Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, Canada had 30 per cent more Chinese buyer inquiries in September compared to a year ago, says Juwai.com.

Statistics Canada: Housing in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census.

On October 25th Statistics Canada released a report describing the housing data from 2016 census. According to the report, more than 9.5 million of the 14.1 million households in Canada owned their home in 2016, representing a homeownership rate of 67.8%. The rate of homeownership has been relatively stable over the last decade.

Millennials have a lower homeownership rate than baby boomers at the age of 30. Younger adults aged 20 to 34 - those often referred to as the millennial generation - are slower to get into the housing market than the baby boomers were.

The report also states that condominiums are on the rise. In 2016, 13.3%, or almost 1.9 million households, were living in condominiums, up 1.2 percentage points from 2011. Of these households, almost 1.3 million (67.1%) were owners, while 616,570 (32.9%) were renters.

VICE Money: Toronto’s housing market might be cooling, but rents are still soaring.

Monthly rents in Toronto are continuing to soar despite the fact that home prices have dramatically declined in the last six months. According to the TREB data released on October 18th, the average monthly rent of a one-bedroom condominium or apartment is 1,976, an 11.2 percent increase from this time last year.

In April 2017 the provincial government introduced new rental regulations, including limiting annual rental increases to 1.5 per cent. Although the measure was supposed to benefit the renters, it has backfired by discouraging developers to build more rental-only housing and had a negative effect on an already scarce supply.

CBC News: Toronto condo signs on to 1st agreement in Canada to regulate Airbnb rentals.

Airbnb says a Toronto condo building is the first in Canada to sign an agreement with the short-term vacation rental company. Neptune condominiums, located near the city's waterfront, is also the first outside the United States to sign on to the Friendly Buildings program in an effort to regulate short-term rentals.

The agreement between Neptune and Airbnb gives condo boards an option to more strictly control who hosts and keep tabs on renters. The measures aimed at increasing transparency include allowing security access to a website showing who is hosting and who their guests are at any given time, a $50/month fee for the hosts for building upkeep, etc.

The agreement comes amid a heated debate in Toronto about whether to allow or ban Airbnb rentals, since they limit the availability of long-term rentals.

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