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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘three torontos

[URBAN NOTE] Toronto Life on the Parkdale rent strike

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Toronto Life’s Cody Punter shared brief interviews with a view of the people taking part in this month’s rent strike in Parkdale.

On May 1, hundreds of people took to the streets of Parkdale to protest rent increases at a handful of apartment towers managed by MetCap, a major landlord in the neighbourhood.

Ontario law normally prevents landlords of pre-1991 buildings from raising rents by more than a low, guideline percentage every 12 months, but MetCap has applied to raise rents higher than the guideline in several of its Parkdale buildings. In response, some tenants are threatening a rent strike, during which they’ll withhold rent payments to MetCap until the company agrees to put a halt to future rent increases and address tenant grievances. We spoke with some MetCap renters in Parkdale to find out how they’re feeling about all this. (MetCap president Brent Merrill didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.)

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s Rent Control Risks Stoking the Red-Hot Housing Market”

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Bloomberg’s Ken Chipman argues that rent control in Toronto risks shifting real estate development from rental units to condos.

Ontario’s government is set to impose the most sweeping rent controls in a quarter century, linking annual increases to inflation, with a cap of 2.5 percent, on all buildings as it tries to keep costs under control. The measure, meant to protect tenants from price gouging, could end up making it more — not less — expensive to rent in North America’s fourth biggest city.

The rules threaten to bring apartment construction to a halt, critics warn. At least one developer said he’s scrapping all rental projects in the pipeline. Others are considering doing the same. This risks worsening the rental-housing shortage and hurting those already priced out of the for-sale housing market, where prices are at a record high even as the troubles at mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. threaten to spill into the market.

Lamb Development Corp. had seven apartment buildings in the works in Ontario — five in downtown Toronto — before Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the expanded rent control on April 20, part of the province’s 16-point plan to cool scorching home price gains. The proposal calls for a rent cap on all units, not just those built before 1991 as mandated by current law.

“We won’t build these buildings as apartments. We will build condominiums,” said Brad Lamb, Lamb Development’s founder. “If you were to now ask 20 or 30 prominent developers about purpose-built apartments, they will tell you they are no longer viable in Toronto.”

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “High rent could make Toronto a ‘generational ghost town'”

CBC News’ Kate McGillivray wrote about the risk of high rents driving young pepe out of Toronto.

Young people across the income spectrum who would like to build lives in Toronto are choosing to leave rather than pay the city’s ever-increasing rents.

For 27-year-old Arthur Gallant, that’s meant moving from Etobicoke, to Burlington, to Hamilton in search of an affordable apartment for himself and his mother.

“You can only move so far west until you hit water and there’s nowhere left to live,” he said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

Gallant is one of hundreds of people who reached out to CBC Toronto as part of our No Fixed Address series, which explores the city’s rental housing market.

Among the stories that have poured in, many are from native Torontonians like him, who would like to live in Toronto but find that apartments cost more than they are willing or able to pay.

“It’s a code-red, sirens-blaring kind of issue because we need to recognize the degree to which the standard of living is in free fall for younger demographics,” said Paul Kershaw, a University of British Columbia professor and the founder of Generation Squeeze, a campaign that raises awareness about the economic pressure faced by younger Canadians.

“Housing prices are squeezing younger people out.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO shares media exploring how Toronto was marketed internationally in the 1980s. This decade apparently saw less concentration on landmarks and more on cultural activities.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a National Geographic collection of the childhood maps of cartographers.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that the loosening of China’s one-child policy has not resulted in much change.
  • Justin Petrone wonders if Estonians are weird.
  • Steve Munro reports on the many, many problematic things coming out of Metrolinx, including fare-by-distance and the ongoing PRESTO disasters.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a thought-provoking set of statues on global warming, Follow the Leaders.
  • Torontoist’s Kieran Delamont notes the astonishing thoughtlessness of new fashion brand Homeless Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at a Belarus in a state of political ferment that might–might–be pre-revolutionary, and wonders if disbanding Russia’s ethnic republics could be profoundly destabilizing.

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto Housing Market May Need Vancouver-Style Cooling, RBC Says”

Doug Alexander and Katia Dmitrieva write for Bloomberg about the statement by the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer that Toronto’s housing market needs to be slowed down like Vancouver’s

Toronto may require measures to cool its red-hot housing market similar to moves taken in Vancouver if interest rates don’t increase, said Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay.

The head of Canada’s largest lender said Toronto housing is “running hot” and is fueled by a “concerning mix of drivers” that include lack of supply, continued low rates, rising foreign money and speculative activity. Similar circumstances in Vancouver prompted British Columbia’s government last year to impose a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers.

“In the absence of being able to use higher rates to reduce that, I do think we’re going to at some point have to consider similar measures to slow down the housing price growth,” McKay said Friday in a telephone interview.

The comments from the bank CEO come as frustration grows over the unaffordability of properties in Canada’s biggest city. The average home price in Toronto jumped 22 percent in January from the previous year, the fifth straight month of gains topping 20 percent. Listings have dropped off, down by half from last year, squeezing prices further.

The CEOs of Canada’s other big banks last year called on the government to increase housing regulation amid skyrocketing prices in Vancouver and Toronto. National Bank of Canada CEO Louis Vachon said that minimum downpayments should return to 10 percent from 5 percent, while Bank of Nova Scotia head Brian Porter suggested his company was pulling back on mortgage lending due to concern about high home prices in those two cities.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2017 at 7:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “No fixed address: How I became a 32-year-old couch surfer”

CBC News’ Shannon Martin reports on how she became a couch surfer, as rent increases outpaced her ability to pay.

I’m 32 years old, work at my dream job and have an amazing circle of family and friends who love me. Life is pretty great.

There’s just one thing — and I can’t believe I’m about to admit this to you, but here goes.

Right now, I live nowhere in particular.

I’m a couch surfer.

For the record, I did have a nice place. But then my rent went up nearly $1,000 per month.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto council approves 2 per cent property tax increase”

The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro reports on how the new Toronto budget comes with a 2% property tax increase, raising some funds but apparently not enough to keep various Toronto public services needed running.

With council poised to approve a budget Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes at “reasonable” rates, critics said they would have trouble sleeping with cuts impacting the city’s most vulnerable.

A council meeting went late Wednesday night as members debated a budget some called “fair” and others contended was “unsustainable.”

Council did earlier approve a residential property tax rate hike that totals 3.29 per cent, or $90 extra for the average homeowner.

An attempt to prevent the elimination of 10 front-line shelter staff positions — at a time when those havens are exceeding capacity targets and those who rely on them struggle to find more permanent housing — failed 19-25. The mayor and all but one of his executive members voted against it.

Councillor Joe Cressy moved a motion that council keep the 10 frontline positions, by voting to increase the 2017 operating budget for shelter, support and housing administration by just over $1 million, by pulling funding from a property tax stabilization reserve fund.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm