Daily Market Update

by Jordan Maxwell31 Mar 2015
Mulroney: Canada must get creative with foreign ownership in Vancouver 
Canada's former ambassador to China, David Mulroney, has jumped into the debate surrounding foreign ownership in Vancouver's real estate market and how it affects affordability in his new book, Middle Power, Middle Kingdom. "Mainland Chinese buyers are really driving markets from Sydney through New York to London, and Canadian cities like Vancouver — particularly Vancouver — are no exception," Mulroney, who served as Canada's ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff. According to the CBC, he said it's difficult to track the actual number of foreign owners — and their impact on the housing market — but he believes it has been huge force in the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver. "Is it having an impact on price? I know there's a lively debate in Vancouver about that. I'm on the side of those who think it is having an impact on price, but that debate should continue," he said. "Really smart policy makers are thinking about ways to deal with this in ways that keep their cities welcoming — and, gosh, we want that above all — but also protect people on fixed incomes or think thoughtfully about vacancies."

Calgary industrial market to see rise in vacancies
Falling oil prices and Target’s departure from Canada will raise vacancy in Calgary’s industrial real estate sector into 2016, says Cushman & Wakefield. According to the Calgary Herald, in a report Monday, it said the vacancy rate for industrial property locally was 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, down from 7.4 per cent a year ago. More than one million square feet of space was leased during the quarter compared with 978,000 a year earlier. “With over 3.7 million square feet of new supply under construction and with nearly 0.9 million square feet firmly proposed product in the pipeline, it is expected that landlords will lose some leverage,” said Cushman & Wakefield. “This is particularly apparent in the large bay market where currently over 3.5 million square feet of product is under construction, with just one million square feet of that product pre-leased.” Despite the report, Susan Thompson, research manager for Calgary Economic Development, said the report indicates the city’s industrial real estate market remains healthy, in comments to the Herald. “That balanced three to six per cent (vacancy rate) needs to be there to allow growth and activity to occur,” said Thompson, noting transportation and logistics and manufacturing are growing in the industrial space.

“It’s not solely dependent on the oil and gas sector. Yes, in Calgary, as with everything, there is some tie to the energy sector but this one’s got a fair bit of insulation. So it would take protracted downturn to start seeing an impact in here,” she said.

Canadian real-estate players making waves in third-world
Vancouver real-estate marketers Peter Dupuis and Sid Landolt have created World Housing, the world’s first 1-for-1 real-estate gifting model, which builds housing for third-world communities in garbage dumps. The partners in S&P Real Estate Corp. are adapting a principle developed by U.S. retailer Toms Shoes, which donates shoes, water, sight repair services and birth kits to the world’s poor for every pair of shoes and other apparel it sells on its website or in its stores. According to the Financial Post, during their 32-year career, Dupuis and Landolt have designed, marketed and sold more than 20,000 condos, hotel-residences, and other premium real estate worth more than $5 billion. But in 2008 when the B.C. real estate industry fell into a lull, Dupuis decided to get his masters degree by studying housing for Canada’s urban poor. Read more of their story here

COMMENTS

  • by Peter Barbati 3/31/2015 10:42:49 AM

    I expect I may go off on a tangent but...
    Only a dumb-ass would promote unrestricted foreign ownership of Canadian Real Estate. Real Estate is a limited asset and the basic rules of "supply and demand" forces those that cannot afford the asset out of the market. isn't it pathetic that Canadians (born here or immigrant) cannot afford to buy land and homes in their country?
    The rich-foreign owners and their domestic stooges (politicians looking for long term political comfort, bankers looking for that extra bonus cheque) will always pump up the need for more foreign investment citing the need to "introduce more creative financing to fund future projects..." but that's just rubbish heaped on the generally apathetic voters and those investors that are just trying to make an extra few bucks to finance their shaky pensions (through no fault of their own). Weak foreign ownership rules are a disaster socially, as they will promote more homelessness and also a potential disaster financially, if the valuations rise to their "flip" point (to make a profit as with individual homes) and eventually crash collapse when not supportable by the buying market. This is nothing new. Farmable land has largely been ignored by a generally foolish population that would rather flock to inner city bee-hives and play with their electronics and farmland assets are being snapped up by foreign owners that have a more intelligent long-term view of future asset valuation, especially when you consider that increased droughts and stresses on the food growing cycle (drought in California, water issues in Brazil etc.) will essentially demand that farm-land be put to greater use in the near future. The domestic foreign ownership rules cannot mandate that food grown is to be sold to the domestic market when the export market is willing to pay more so who gets the food grown on Canadian farmland that is not owned by Canadians?
    Municipalities all across Canada are essentially broke as their "debts" are larger than anticipated inputs (almost always hinging on Development Charges (DC's) from builders to fund future projects) and have a bad habit of over-building facilities to appease locals that just "really, really need that shiny new arena" to feel better than their neighbouring communities. Does it make sense to spend $12,000,000 for a population of 30,000 of which only a fraction will ever use the facility? Why not build it without pointless architectural features that simply drive up the cost with adding any real benefit? Users want safe facilities not architectural marvels. Probably because the municipal politicians that approve those projects are more interested in cementing their political careers and paving the way for future political ambitions.
    And we all pay for it.
    There's a reason why poor people in Bolivia cannot afford the few dollars needed to hook up to their water system (foreign owned).
    If our politicians want to increase foreign ownership, they MUST strengthen the rules to guarantee that assets will not be funneled out of Canada. That just wont happen as our politicians are ruled by our bankers, who are ruled by their foreign owners.
    I’ll give you a quote: “Any Nation can build great monuments but a Nation that cannot feed its people will never be great”.
    That quote is mine but you can use it if you wish.
    I think I will plant some extra veggies this spring.

  • by Claude J 3/31/2015 12:56:39 PM

    I really, really like this. Very well written. Points well delivered. We need more bold people to speak the truth. We are in a society where a couple of career individuals struggle to raise a family on two good salaries paying enough income tax to support two other families. I'd be o.k. to see them pay for one. Something wrong with our Canadian picture. We need an overhaul in our sad system. Congrats Peter. Claude from Winnipeg

  • by judy 3/31/2015 5:23:53 PM

    You know if someone has worked hard enough in another country to afford to buy a house in a wonderful land like Canada and is willing to pay the price that some greedy seller in Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto is willing to stiff them for, good on them! We have far too many people in this country that feel a sense of entitlement and are not willing to do the hard work or better themselves to afford the "Good Life". They want to live in the big cities where the action is rather than working outside the city and buying what they can afford in a smaller town. They want all the latest gadgets, cable packages, show homes and cars. The "Workers" in this country pay a premium to support a whole lot of people that resent them and live far better than the working man or even upper class in most other countries!!!!!

Poll

Is a Toronto foreign sales tax a good idea?