This week’s news: Here’s why you’re not going to get that starter house

City planner says the supply of starter homes in Toronto is on a steady decline, and the future of the first family homes may have to be apartment.
Aspiring homeowners may be coveting an outdated dream of landing a starter home in a complete community. Toronto’s chief planner says the city’s supply of detached, multiple-bedroom homes is on a steady decline, and more and more families are turning to condos and apartments.

Toronto

Here’s why you’re not going to get that starter house, city planner says (The Toronto Star)

Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat grew up on a half-acre lot in the suburbs. She’s raising her own children in a house with a typical postage stamp city yard.

When she talks to them about where they will raise their own families, Keesmaat encourages her kids to imagine an apartment.

Early numbers hint at larger decline in GTA home sales: expert (CTV News)

Toronto’s suddenly dipping housing market appears poised to decline at a higher rate, according to early June numbers from one real estate expert.

John Pasalis, president and broker at Realosophy, says early sales numbers for the month continue to trend downward, indicating a potentially sharper drop in the Greater Toronto Area than the 20.3 per cent dip reported year-over-year in May. Overall, the numbers indicate Toronto’s once skyrocketing housing market is coming back to Earth under new provincial taxation rules on foreign buyers.

Screw Toronto, we’re moving to Hamilton (Toronto Life)

Hamilton makes a terrible first impression. When you approach the city from the QEW, it doesn’t feature a skyline so much as a blockade of smokestacks—a veritable DO NOT ENTER sign made of steel and scrawled in soot. The view off the 403 isn’t much more appealing: fast-food drive-throughs, dank ’70s mid-rise buildings and five-lane one-way roads that may as well be freeways. For most of my life, I only encountered it from a safe distance, driving over the harbour on the Burlington Skyway en route to Niagara or the U.S. border. In my mind, Hamilton was to Toronto what a backyard shed is to a house—a gritty appendage, perhaps, but not a place you want to hang out.

Canada

Why housing have-nots are cheering for a real-estate crash (Canadian Business)

A year after getting married, Alex Taylor and Rachel Tuttle decided it was time to buy a home and start a family. The two Vancouver residents were in their late 30s, and each had stable, full-time jobs—Taylor served as an urban planner while Tuttle worked for a credit union. They were debt-free, and after years of hard work, frugal living, and the sale of a previous home Tuttle had owned in England, they had a down payment ready.

The couple figured they could buy a fixer-upper in Vancouver’s historically low-income Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. But soon after starting the hunt in 2015, their hopes were dashed. Detached homes were averaging $1.2 million, and even though Taylor and Tuttle qualified for a mortgage, they would have faced steep monthly payments of $4,000.

Canada’s Housing Bubble Will Burst (Bloomberg)

Canadian home sales fell the most in five years last month. That didn’t stop an increase in prices, which were up 18 percent nationwide from a year earlier. When you consider that most houses are leveraged assets, this represents huge gains for homeowners.

While leverage can help boost performance on the way up, it becomes very dangerous on the way down. Leverage can turn even the best investments into poor ones when things go wrong, as losses are amplified. Equity can get wiped out pretty quickly on an overleveraged asset.

Canada accumulating private debt faster than any other advanced economy (Global News)

We all know about Canada’s ballooning household debt. Hardly a day goes by without a headline warning about overstretched Canadians wallets, and policymakers have long been racking their brains about ways to rein-in families’ debt binge.

But another type of private-sector debt has ballooned — and with hardly anyone taking notice.

USA

Mortgage Applications Increase in U.S. in June (World Property Journal)

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 16, 2017, mortgage applications in the U.S. increased 0.6 percent from one week earlier.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 0.4 percent compared with the previous week.

New York City’s terrible real-estate market is sapping Trump’s net worth (Vanity Fair)

When Donald Trump was running for president, absent any government experience, one of the arguments he liked to make for his candidacy was that he is very rich. “I’ve made billions of billions of dollars,” he said in his opening statement during a G.O.P. debate. “I made a lot of money in Atlantic City,” he tweeted last summer, despite his casinos declaring bankruptcy. “I have tremendous income,” he said during a debate with Hillary Clinton, though he has refused to release his tax returns. “And the reason I say that is not a braggadocious way. It’s because it’s about time that this country had somebody running it that has an idea about money.”

So it’s got to really chap the president’s hide that according to an analysis by Bloomberg, not only is he not worth the $20 billion he claimed not so long ago, but his net worth has slipped over the past year to a comparatively diminutive $2.9 billion. The reason? His three Manhattan office properties aren‘t bringing in as much cash as lenders had hoped and have dropped in value.

Miami Home Sales Enjoy Best May in History (World Property Journal)

According to the Miami Association of Realtors, May 2017 saw 1,344 single-family home sales in the greater Miami area, the most in any May in Miami real estate history, and a 9.9 percent jump from the 1,223 homes sold a year ago.

Miami existing condo sales (up 5.7 percent), total residential sales (up 7.7 percent), total dollar volume (up 14.7 percent) and single-family luxury transactions (up 23.5 percent) also increased. Sales for single-family luxury ($1 million or above) have risen for three consecutive months.

International

Think Toronto is bad? This $664,000 parking spot shows how crazy Hong Kong is (Financial Post)

In many places, US$664,000 can buy you a nice house. For that price in Hong Kong, you can buy a slab of concrete, roughly 17 feet long and 11 feet wide, to leave your luxury car.

Hong Kong is now home to a very expensive parking spot, the latest sign of a property market run amok. Even in a city well accustomed to costly real estate, the price spiral has confounded the most experienced observers.

Many parts of UK seeing drastic fall in homes to rent since 2011 (Property Wire)

The number of homes to rent in the UK’s private rented sector has fallen considerably over the last six years with a decline of 11.6% with Scotland seeing a fall of 34.7%, the latest research shows.

The fall in Scotland between July 2011 and June 2017 is described as a major concern that is making it harder for people finding a home to rent, according to the report from Home.co.uk.

Why investing in real estate mezzanine debt in Asia makes sense (CNBC)

A decade ago, the real estate market opportunity in China consisted largely of risky speculative development deals because of a lack of availability of stock.

Foreign investors seeking opportunistic returns from the first wave of China funds have been largely disappointed from a toxic combination of delays, cost escalation and implementation problems due to difficulties in enforcing basic contractual law. As a consequence, investor cynicism about China real estate runs high, and so sentiment on Chinese real estate is largely polarized between uber-bulls and perma-bears with not much in between.

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