This week’s news: Ontario lays out sweeping measures to curb high rents, home prices

Taking aim at the red-hot real estate markets Kathleen Wynne admits have become “a problem,” the Ontario premier announced sweeping measures Thursday that include a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax and expanded rent control. (Photo by Rebecca Siegel)

Our weekly round-up of real estate news in Toronto, across Canada and the world for the week ending April 21, 2017.

Toronto

‘We know we have a problem’: Ontario lays out sweeping measures to curb high rents, home prices (CBC News)

Worried that too many Ontarians are getting priced out by fast-rising rents and surging home prices, Ontario Kathleen Wynne unveiled sweeping measures Thursday aimed at cooling red-hot markets she admits have become “a problem.”

Wynne said it’s hoped the 16 measures — most of which will be contained in legislation that must first pass before they proceed — will curb housing costs that are rising “way faster than people’s paycheques.”

Clearer process needed in hot Toronto real estate market, Tory says (The Toronto Star)

Mayor John Tory and Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa have hinted that changes to real estate industry practices could be part of the solution to cooling — without killing — the over-heated Toronto housing market.

While he wouldn’t provide specifics, Tory said there needs to be more transparency in real estate transactions.

Toronto executive committee OKs shuttering of community housing units (CBC News)

Mayor John Tory’s executive committee reluctantly approved the closure of a Jane and Finch area housing complex Wednesday, but not before getting an earful from a tenant and former mayor.

The committee unanimously approved a motion to allow Toronto Communty Housing (TCH) to close a crumbling townhouse complex on Firgrove Crescent. In total, 134 units will be shut down in the next 12 to 18 months, with TCH hoping most of the residents will move out this summer.

Canada

Vancouver home prices leap forward again, signalling a possible end to market correction: Royal LePage (The Toronto Star)

Royal LePage says early evidence suggests that the recent correction in Vancouver’s housing market may be short-lived.

The realtor released a report Tuesday saying Canada’s two largest real estate markets continued their divergence in the first quarter of the year.

Why people across Canada should care about Toronto’s housing market (Global News)

The average home price in the Greater Toronto Area shot up by 33 per cent over the last year, according to a recent report by the Toronto Real Estate Board.

But if you don’t own a home in Toronto and you’re not planning to buy one, should you care? Some economists and real estate watchers say yes. What happens in the GTA could affect people elsewhere in Canada, albeit mostly indirectly.

Resale prices for Ottawa homes show modest rise (CBC News)

While big city real estate markets like Toronto and Vancouver continue to overheat, Ottawa’s housing market has enjoyed milder growth.

The price of a two-storey home in Ottawa rose 5.6 per cent over the same time last year, according to the latest house pricing survey from Royal LePage.

USA

Single Family Home Production in U.S. Declines in March (World Property Journal)

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department, following an elevated February 2017 reading, nationwide housing starts fell 6.8 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.22 million units. Still, new housing production in the first quarter of this year is running 8.1 percent above the pace in 2016.

“Today’s numbers are aligned with our builder confidence metric, which contracted slightly this month but is on solid footing overall,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Retailers Brace for New York Real Estate Apocalypse (The Business of Fashion)

NEW YORK, United States — To fully grasp the dire state of New York City retail, just take a stroll down Bleecker Street in Manhattan’s brownstone-populated, film-set-ready West Village, where fans on “Sex and the City” bus tours once clustered on corners eating Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, clutching shopping bags filled with goodies from Marc Jacobsor Cynthia Rowley.

Magnolia managed to survive the bursting of the “cupcake bubble,” but its lines are shorter; the “Sex and the City” tours are less frequent. What’s more startling are the empty storefronts lining what was once a carnival of consumption. Marc Jacobs used to occupy four stores here, selling everything from handbags to nail polish. Now, only the book shop, Bookmarc, remains. Many retailers — including Maje, Sandro, James Perse and Club Monaco — remain up and running on Bleecker, although Mulberry, Brooks Brothers and Coach have closed their outposts in the area.

Metro Detroit homebuyers frustrated with red hot housing market (WXYZ Detroit)

Mike Komvies and his wife are shopping for a new home. A year ago, they settled on this West Bloomfield house, but now they’re looking to make move closer to their parents as they embark on having a family.

But, shopping for a new abode isn’t easy easy in metro Detroit. New homebuyers are facing a tough market with high prices and few homes for sale.

International

BREXIT Not a Barrier for Middle Eastern Property Investors in UK (World Property Journal)

A government-led delegation of UK investors and developers are set to visit the Middle East to strike deals with investors as they continue to plough their wealth into the UK post-Brexit.

They will be attending two set-piece events designed to reinforce investment and trade links between the regions as total international investment into the UK from the Middle East topped AED 15.1 billion in 2016.

Asian cities, not countries, key to real estate growth and diversification (South China Morning Post)

The world’s economic weight continues to lean favourably towards Asia-Pacific. From just 28 per cent in the early 2000s, the region’s share of world output, in purchasing power parity terms, now stands at 39 per cent, and is projected to reach 44 per cent by 2025. Thus, many continue to consider Asia-Pacific to be replete with untapped investment potential.

Against this backdrop, Asia-Pacific’s social, political and economic landscape is being strongly influenced by megatrends – rising middle classes, ageing populations, urbanisation, technology and the above mentioned shift of economic power from the West – that are equally apparent in the physical development and the built environment of its key population centres.

China’s property investment remains robust despite curbs (The Japan Times)

Real estate investment in China remained robust in the first quarter from a year earlier, official data showed Monday, as the pace of new construction quickened, despite intensified government cooling measures.

Growth in property investment, which includes residential, commercial and office spaces, accelerated to 9.1 percent from 8.9 percent in the first two months of 2017, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

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