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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘condos

[URBAN NOTE] “Generational shift in real estate forces Gen Y to downsize”

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Reporting from Vancouver, The Globe and Mail‘s Brent Jang reports on Generation Y’s saturated housing market.

First-time buyer Jordan Hopper paid $383,500 for a place to call his own, getting a taste of what a difference a generation makes in Metro Vancouver’s expensive housing market.

A couple of weeks ago, he signed a deal to buy a one-bedroom condo in the municipality of North Vancouver. Mr. Hopper, 22, is thrilled that he will be moving into the 632-square-foot condo in late May, though he admits it’s a far cry from his parents’ 2,400-square-foot detached home, which they bought for $336,000 back in 1996.

Mr. Hopper has adjusted his expectations. His parents’ 53-year-old bungalow has tripled in market value to at least $1-million. The detached home is located a 15-minute drive away from his condo but seems a world away financially. Kids grew up with plenty of space in the neighbourhood of his childhood. “I played road hockey on the street and had all those sorts of things that come with growing up in a detached house,” said Mr. Hopper, who now works in North Vancouver as an account manager at Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity).

Mr. Hopper said his generation got squeezed out of the market for detached homes many years ago.

The average price for new and existing detached properties sold within the city of Vancouver surpassed $1.9-million last year, up 173 per cent since 2005. Vancity forecasts that the average detached price within Vancouver’s city limits could top $4.4-million in 2030, based on pricing growth in recent years, though real estate experts dismiss the projection as fantastical.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 14, 2015 at 10:19 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that the average price of a home in Toronto has risen above six hundred thousand dollars.
  • D-Brief observes an acceleration in the deforestation of the Amazon.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the environment of close-orbiting exoplanets.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mocks the standards of Rolling Stone, and Jann Wenner.
  • Steve Munro studies the frequency of service on the St. Clair streetcar line.
  • Peter Rukavina notes that the proportion of women running for political office in Prince Edward Island’s election next week is far below their share of the population.
  • Torontoist looks at homelessness and underhousing in the Toronto inner suburbs and explains the rights of tenants.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy explains why a Colorado bakery could refuse to write an anti-gay inscription on a cake.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the writings of a Kalmyk Eurasianist and examines the popularity of ethnic nationalism in the Russian intelligensia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell provides more evidence of the poor judgements of the United Kingdom’s Liberal Democrats.

[URBAN NOTE] On the future of renting in Toronto

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Denise Balkissoon’s article in The Globe and Mail, “The renting gap: Is Toronto in the midst of a rental renaissance – or is it just more of the same?” is not very hopeful.

The rental sector is desperate for square footage – the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation puts Toronto’s vacancy rate at 1.6 per cent – so every unit is welcome. Yet even as 32,726 new condos have gone on the rental market in the past half-decade, tenants continue to struggle with affordability, unit size and family-friendliness, plus trickier issues such as security of tenure and landlord-tenant relationships. Once the first rush of gladness about new space wears off, many landlords, tenants and market watchers are left frustrated at a piecemeal approach that isn’t necessarily filling the gaps that exist.

Rental properties, when they are built to meet all of a prospective tenant’s needs, attract a range of incomes and living circumstances that elevate the diversity of a neighbourhood. “I think the enlightened development community that get it, they see integration as an important public benefit,” says Sean Gadon. As director of the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office, his job often requires much liaising between other public agencies and developers to find innovative means of adding affordable housing to new construction. With the current state of the rental market, Mr. Gadon has seen that “key workers in the economy are squeezed out of access to housing.”

Private developers have 12 tower projects designed specifically for rental currently under way, but most of them are clustered along the city’s wealthy north-south axis. A few carefully negotiated city-led partnerships between developers and non-profit organizations are bearing fruit, but not nearly as much as is needed.

Gillespie, whose company has almost 4,000 new rental units under way across Canada, knows that his brand-new complex in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood won’t be accessible to all. He believes the Honest Ed’s project will add to “the housing continuum,” saying that as new buildings go up, “older housing becomes more affordable.”

Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenant Associations doesn’t agree the trickle-down effect will materialize. He points out that despite all of the new individual condo rentals that have come online, the FMTA still gets thousands of calls a year from people who can’t find affordable places to live.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Price gap between new houses and condos hits $300K in Toronto”

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CBC reports on the growing real estate crunch in Toronto (and Vancouver).

The gap between the price of new condos and the price of new homes is widening in Toronto, hitting close to $300,000 in February according to RealNet.

RealNet figures show the average price of new detached home or townhouse was $733,578 in February, compared with $442,672 for a condo, a difference of $290,906.

And while the price of a new home is up 12 per cent from this time last year, the price of a new condo has inched up by just one per cent.

“It’s similar to the trend in Vancouver,” said Brendan Pyne, RealNet Canada business development manager. “Toronto is 10 years behind Vancouver in terms of the difference in the housing market.”

There is a limited amount of new land for single-family dwellings, most of it in the 905 area, he said.

That’s forced developers to consider high-density development and thousands of new condos are under construction or coming onto the market this year.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 27, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Canada, Economics

Tagged with , , , ,

[URBAN NOTE] “Parkdale tenants battle back-to-back rent increases”

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This Toronto Star article by Manisha Krishnam makes for grim reading, especially since the neighbourhood of Parkdale is one of the few downtown (or near-downtown) neighbourhoods still affordable for low-income people. The effect on Toronto’s Tibetan-Canadian community is also noteworthy.

Property manager Akelius Canada applied to increase the rent at 188 Jameson Ave. by 4.1 per cent in 2014; this year it doubled down, seeking a 4.6 per cent hike. At least 50 residents of the midrise apartment building, including many Tibetan refugees, say they can’t afford to pay that much and are planning to protest outside Akelius’ Toronto head office Monday.

“The amount they want to increase, it’s just too much,” says Namgyal Lhamo, 39, a personal support worker who lives in a one-bedroom apartment with her three-year-old daughter and her cousin.

In a statement to the Star, Akelius spokesman Ben Scott said the increases are meant to subsidize costs Akelius incurred from municipal taxes and utilities, increased security measures and extensive renovations. The provincially recommended guidelines for rent increases were 0.8 per cent and 1.6 per cent for 2014 and 2015, respectively.

[. . .]

Lhamo, a Tibetan refugee, moved to Canada from a small village in India in 2010. As a single mom, she said she works long hours at Baycrest hospital, followed by chores when she gets home, often at around midnight. Making ends meet is difficult enough without the rent hike, she said, adding she can’t afford to move elsewhere.

Akelius, a Swedish company, acquired 188 Jameson Ave. and a handful of other Parkdale properties between December 2012 and November 2013. Last summer, residents from four Parkdale buildings filed an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board claiming Akelius’ decision to remove on site superintendents has resulted in neglect. That issue will also be discussed at an April 28 hearing.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 23, 2015 at 9:25 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Manhattan Studios Set Rent Record as Tenants Go Small”

Bloombergh’s Oshrat Carmiel leaves me wondering how anyone who isn’t upper-class can possibly afford to live in Manhattan these days.

Manhattan’s smallest apartments are fueling big gains in rents.

The median rent in the borough jumped 8.9 percent last month to $3,375, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Costs for studio apartments climbed 10 percent to a median $2,351, while rents for one-bedrooms rose 9.4 percent to $3,400, both the highest in more than seven years of record-keeping.

New York’s smaller apartments are luring new tenants entering an improving job market in the city, as well as those who can’t afford bigger homes. Would-be buyers who have been shut out of owning because of high prices and tight credit are also lingering as renters.

“The studio and one-bedroom market is the more common jumping-off point for first-time buyers,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and a Bloomberg View contributor. Rents are rising “because of the logjam that has been created by people who have either been priced out of the purchase market or don’t qualify for a mortgage.”

Manhattan apartment prices jumped to the highest since their 2008 peak in the fourth quarter as buyers competed for a limited supply of homes. Demand was greatest for one-bedroom apartments, which accounted for 38 percent of all sales last quarter, Miller said.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “80-storey tower planned for Stollerys site at Yonge and Bloor”

As the Toronto Star‘s David Rider notes, the southwestern corner of Yonge and Bloor where menswear store Stollery’s once was located may soon be occupied by one of the highest towers in the city. (blogTO also has more, including renderings.)

Developer Sam Mizrahi is proposing an 80-storey tower mixing upscale condo units and retail at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Sts. — a development which would become the city’s second-tallest structure.

Mizrahi unveiled his vision for the former Stollerys store and adjacent lands on the intersection’s southwest corner on Wednesday night at a presentation at the Park Hyatt hotel.

The proposed 318-metre structure would be second only to the CN Tower, which stands 553 metres high.

Mizrahi told the Star it will be built by Foster + Partners of London and will have PATH connections to both the Bloor and Yonge lines, along with “a very significant public realm to enhance the pedestrian experience.”

The building will also feature eight levels of global retailers and over 600 parking spots with valet service.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm

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