This week’s news: Increase in GTA real estate listings does little to ease overheated market, report says

The number of houses on the market and the number of sales have to grow for months before the market is rebalanced, says the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Our weekly round-up of real estate news in Toronto, across Canada and the world for the week ending April 7, 2017.

 

Toronto

Increase in GTA real estate listings does little to ease overheated market, report says (The Toronto Star)

The number of resale home listings grew 15 per cent in March compared to the same month last year, but competition among buyers nevertheless remained fierce, pushing prices up 33 per cent year over year across the region.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) statistics are deeply troubling to people trying to buy homes in the city, said Toronto Mayor John Tory on Wednesday.

Be careful what you wish for: Developers fire warning shots at politicians over rent control (The Globe and Mail)

Toronto Mayor John Tory says he is open to following Vancouver’s lead by imposing a tax on vacant homes to crack down on speculators, as pressure mounts on governments of all levels to rein in the runaway real estate market.

“Vancouver recently implemented a vacant-home tax. And I am open to exploring whether this would be the right measure for Toronto,” Mr. Tory told reporters on Thursday after a closed-door meeting with housing experts that he convened to discuss the city’s accelerating affordability crisis.

Plan for hotel, short-term rental tax coming ‘in the near future,’ Wynne says (CBC News)

The province will move forward on a request from John Tory to allow the city to levy a tax on hotels and short-term rental accommodations “in the near future,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday, a day after the Toronto mayor issued a list of demands ahead of the provincial budget, including the new tax.

Canada

New survey shows Canadians turning part of their homes into Airbnb units to cover their mortgage (Financial Post)

Canadians facing ever increasing house prices — and debt — are turning to short-term rentals to make ends meet, according to a new survey.

AltusGroup, which provides real estate research, said its FIRM survey from the summer of 2016 found four per cent of all households had used a short-term rental accommodation service in the past year. The number rises to seven per cent for those with a mortgage.

B.C. landlords look to curb legal pot use with rent agreements (Times Colonist)

As Canada edges closer to legalizing marijuana, landlords in B.C. are considering rental agreements with restrictions on growing and smoking in the home to weed out potential fire hazards, odours and liability issues.

The federal task force on marijuana legalization recommended that Canadians should be able to grow up to four plants at home, and be allowed to possess 30 grams of marijuana for personal use. The federal government could announce legislation to legalize marijuana as early as April 20 with an aim for recreational pot to be legal by Canada Day 2018.

Fintrac cut reference to ‘ethnic communities’ in warning to real estate industry (CBC News)

Canada’s money-laundering watchdog drafted a document warning the real estate sector to be on guard for “specific ethnic communities” dealing with terrorism and war, before removing the reference at the behest of an industry association, documents show.

Correspondence between Fintrac and the Canadian Real Estate Association, obtained by The Canadian Press through an Access to Information request, shows that the industry group was concerned that the reference would encourage agents to stop doing business with people based on their ethnicity.

USA

How Is the Price of Owning vs. Renting Affecting the Multifamily Market? (National Real Estate Investor)

Buying a home is one of the most pivotal moments of a person’s life. Most dream of owning their own home to gain equity in an asset that usually grows in value. Still others prefer the flexibility of renting a home that eases the risk should the housing market crash or a neighborhood lose value.

The truth is most people do not get to choose when they can buy a home. They spend years trying to save for a down payment while rising rents are eating into their incomes. But if one were able to time the housing market based solely on the cost differential between renting and owning, how do today’s prices and rents compare? In short, the ratio of home prices to rents has stayed flat for the fourth year in a row in most of the major cities as shown in the ratio of Case-Shiller index to Reis rent in the chart below. This ratio, however, runs somewhat counter to this trend in a number of metros.

Leonard Litwin, New York Real Estate Mogul, Dies at 102 (The New York Times)

Leonard Litwin, a rental-property developer who began with his father’s Depression-era plant nursery on Long Island, built a New York City residential real estate empire and paid millions to Republican and Democratic leaders to ensure tax breaks, government financing and favorable rent laws, died on Sunday at his home on Long Island, in Melville. He was 102.

US construction spending rose to nearly 11-year high (Winnipeg Free Press)

WASHINGTON—U.S. developers ramped up construction spending in February to the largest amount in nearly 11 years, led by more building of homes, highways and schools.

Construction spending rose 0.8 per cent in February to the highest level since April 2006, after two months of declines, the Commerce Department said.

Builders are rapidly putting up more homes in response to strong demand that has pushed up prices for existing homes. Yet it hasn’t yet been enough to relieve a shortage of homes for sale. The accelerated building could boost the economy this year.

International

Dubai real estate market on course to stabilise during 2017 (Emirates 24/7)

A slowing rate of decline across all sectors of the Dubai real estate market suggests increasing stability and the expectation of the market ‘bottoming out’ before the end of 2017, according to leading international real estate consultancy, Cluttons.

Cluttons’ Dubai Spring 2017 Property Market Outlook reports that despite the persistence of market corrections in Q1 2017, average residential prices have moderated by 0.9% with the annual rate of decline slowing from -8.8% at the close of 2016 to -7.8% at the end of March.

Secret companies allow corrupt cash to flood the biggest real estate markets (Transparency International)

Transparency International said today that the governments of Australia, Canada, the UK and the US need to close glaring legal loopholes to prevent the corrupt elite from laundering the proceeds of grand corruption in their local real estate markets.

In a new report, Doors Wide Open: Corruption and Real Estate in Key Markets, Transparency International identifies the ten main problems related to real estate and money laundering in those four countries and makes recommendations on how to address them.

Inside Singapore’s most extravagant homes, where fortunes are at stake (CNBC)

The outlook for Singapore’s most exclusive properties is leaving property analysts and top agents at odds as market conditions and initial data points paint a conflicting picture.

Statistics collated by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and data from real estate services provider CBRE show high-end sales in the city-state have been modest for the first three months of the year, with just three Good Class Bungalow (GCB) transactions taking place, worth a combined 95.3 million Singapore dollars ($68.3 million).

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