COVID-19 and the housing market

We are all impacted by lay offs, long line ups at supermarkets, empty toilet paper shelves, working from home, or worse. If our own lives haven’t been completely shifted by the COVID-19 crisis, we know someone else who has. In this blog, Tembo will take a look at how COVID is impacting Toronto real estate and the broader southern Ontario housing market.

So far, with March coming to a close, the industry is arguably in very good shape all things considered. First and foremost, real estate is considered an essential business by the provincial government. It’s importance to employment, output, and just ensuring people have somewhere to live is crucial – and the government has obviously responded to that and acknowledged it. Guidelines on home showings and social isolation have been updated and restricted but realtors have used technology to manage some of these disease-related challenges.

International commerce and buying continues, and in many respects, the crisis may accelerate foreign purchases and investors scramble to move their money or persons around the world looking for stability in an ocean of unease. Construction is an issue, with pressure on governments to effectively shut down sites growing despite the importance of construction. The short to medium term impacts on construction sites remains to be seen. Media have already reported that construction sites related to government funded public transit will see delays in their timetables.

Prices and demand have yet to be impacted negatively. March’s numbers will be released in the next few days and will be interesting. April and May figures will be interesting, especially if quarantines, shut downs, and further economic disruption continue. Even if prices and demand does fall, it will likely be temporary, as prospective buyers waiting on the sidelines and investors with cash bide their time for opportunities.

The big and very positive news is that the big banks have announced that people will be able to apply to defer mortgage payments, and lowered interest rates means people can refinance for lower mortgage payments. While this is not an ideal measure, it offers flexibility in a time of crisis. All in all, the immediate impact of the crisis has not phased our ironclad market, but the medium to long term impacts will depend on how long this all lasts.

Tembo Financial for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

During uncertain times, Tembo Financial understands that businesses and personal matters may be affected.

Many businesses are currently facing struggles that were unanticipated, and extremely sudden. Having to close, or operate from home for some is extremely tricky for several businesses.  

How are you going to pay rent? How can you continue to pay your employees? Will your business be able to survive the ongoing and uncertain changes happening? Many new questions arise as different life events take hold of what was your successful and growing business.  

It is in times like this where Tembo Financial may have the product and solution for you, to help you save your business with little risk. Tembo Financial is offering business loans against your personal property, to ensure that you can keep your business afloat. With flexible solutions, this product can assist you in getting your business back up to full speed. Our loans are simple, registering against your personal property, and releasing funds to keep your business the way it was moving before it slowed down.  

Interest will be deferred or prepaid so that you don’t have to come up with the payments until you are ready to pay off your short term, 4-6 month fully open loan. If 4-6 months isn’t suitable for your business, Tembo Financial can assess if your business would be right for a 1-year term.  

If you are a business owner, with equity in your personal home and are looking to tap into the equity in your home to save your business, contact Tembo Financial today to find out more information on how we can help you keep your business afloat!  

What is bridge financing and how does it work?

In the simplest terms, bridge financing is a short-term lending option that helps homebuyers bridge the gap between their old and new homes. It is often a short-term solution for the buyer in order for them to arrange the mortgage for their new purchase.  

Recently, conventional banks have released guidelines, which make it increasingly hard to qualify for a bridge loan.  

The advantages of bridge financing are that you can get the funds you need before your home sells. This can give you the ability to purchase a new home and have some liquid money before your sale closes. The bridge may also give you some money to do some touch-ups or renovations to your home before listing for sale. See our blog on home renovations and increasing your property’s sale price before listing by visiting our blog: https://www.tembofinancial.com/2020/03/03/5-ways-to-increase-your-home-value-before-listing-for-sale/ 

How does it work? 

At Tembo Financial bridge loans are offered to clients without a lengthy list of criteria. We are able to assist clients with the funds that they need to bridge the gap between their purchase and their sale. Bridge financing works by putting a mortgage on your current property and sometimes your new property also, and only pay us back once your property has sold and closed! With flexible payment structures available, you may not have to make any monthly payments! 

 Need more of an explanation? See the example below:  

You are currently a homeowner at 12 Oneway Avenue and have just accepted an unconditional offer from a buyer for your current property, which has a closing date of September 18th. The purchase price was $700,000.00, and after paying off your mortgage, closing costs, and other costs such as moving or renovations, your net proceeds will be approximately $300,000.00. 

You’ve already placed an offer on a new property at 32 Ridgeway Crescent for $500,000.00, which is accepted, and your new property’s closing date is August 29th, 20 days before the closing date of your existing home

On your purchase, you’ve made a $25,000.00 (5%) deposit, and have decided to use $300,000.00 of your net proceeds from your sale towards your purchase. You’ll need that $300,000.00 on your closing date (August 29th), however, you won’t receive the proceeds from your sale until September 18th. What do you do?  

This is where bridge financing would be used, as you would take out a short term $300,000.00 loan for the 20 interim days between your purchase closing (August 29th) and your sale closing (September 20th). Although this situation is quite common, as exact closing dates aren’t always possible, such financing can be difficult to obtain from a bank, especially if the gap is greater than 30 days. 

Getting a loan for a house deposit

Getting a loan for a deposit on a new home is very common. The equity or savings that many people do have for a deposit is tied up in their current home. Luckily, there is an option for you to get a loan and put a deposit on a new purchase before selling your current home. 

Tembo Financial offers deposit loans to clients looking to sell, but wanting their deposit money sooner. The way that they can do this is by confirming that their home will be sold in the next few months, and with just a few documents, Tembo Financial can release funds.  

Best of all this loan often requires no monthly payments and no credit checks! 

In uncertain times, when you aren’t sure when your home will sell, don’t worry about not having money in your pocket. Tembo Financial is able to release your funds when you need them the most.  

5 Ways to increase your home value before listing for sale

Are you planning on selling your home but looking to increase the value before listing?

Here are 5 tips that may help you!

  1. Painting– having a fresh paint job in your home can help you increase the value of your home. This is because the home will look clean, maintained and up to date to your buyer. This small touch up has the ability to increase your value and have more buyers interested.
  2. Staging– Staging the home helps buyers imagine what their future home can look like. With the right furniture and design, your buyer won’t have to imagine what the home will look like fully furnished, and will give them a warmer feeling of the home.
  3. Appliances– buyers love coming in to a home with new appliances. If your appliances are up to date, this can attract a buyer, and increase the value of the home!
  4. Landscaping– with the spring market coming up, it is important to maintain the look of the outside of your home. Having clean landscaping can attract your buyer to walking in to your home!
  5. Bathroom and Kitchen Renovations- having a freshly renovated bathroom and kitchen can attract your buyer. Making sure that your tiles and flooring are spotless in your bathroom is important to the image of your home. Adding new appliances and touch ups to your kitchen can also attract your buyer!

If you are planning to sell your home and would like to see if you can increase the value by doing renovations, contact Tembo Financial. Tembo Financial can advance you the funds that you need to renovate, and increase your sale value!

Bank Mortgage VS. Private mortgage

When arranging a mortgage for your home, you are faced with many options that may be confusing to you.

Tembo Financial offers solutions that can help you decide which is the best route to take.

Though there are several differences between a bank mortgage and a private mortgage, one of the biggest differences seen at Tembo Financial, is that the bank has certain qualifications, which you must fit in order to be considered for a loan. A private mortgage gives more flexible options and can suit different needs of clients.

Bank mortgages are offered to clients in which are currently employed, have a strong credit rating, and enough equity in their home.

Private mortgages however, have the ability to lend only based on the equity in the home, meaning it is possible for credit ratings to be lower, or for the borrower to be unemployed.

Tembo Financial is a private lender, that can offer flexible solutions to clients that don’t fit the tight mold of banks. Speak to one of our representatives today to see if a private mortgage is right for you!

Regulators are concerned about the real estate market – again

The activity we’re seeing the real estate market is raising red flags with federal regulators and the Bank of Canada. When the 2016-17′ boom reached its peak governments at all levels rapidly intervened to cool activity.

We all remember the introduction of the foreign buyers tax, tighter mortgage approvals, the mandating of mortgage insurance at certain levels, etc. These government interventions succeeded, eventually precipitating what was effectively a flat-lining of prices and a slowdown in demand. Once the shock subsided and the market adjusted, the recovery kicked in though, rendering the government action a grand delay. We’re now not far off from the 2016-17′ boom peak. The boom is back, and the apprehension is back with it.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz summed up his opinion on the present status of the housing market with one word – “froth.” The BOC (Bank of Canada) notes that the rise is unsustainable and expects the market to naturally self-regulate if the rise in prices becomes excessive for prospective buyers. As always, the BOC is standing by to raise rates in the event that inflation and housing price growth becomes excessive. This is a worst-case scenario, and in many ways, softening national economic growth would spur the BOC to cut rates instead. The BOC will definitely monitor real estate stats closely in Q1 & Q2 2020 and will review its options if the housing momentum we’ve discussed intensifies. 

As for the provincial government in Queen’s Park, it is unlikely to interfere in the housing market in any way other than stimulating the growth in supply (cutting developmental approvals). The federal government is also limited in its capacity to address a hot market as it must balance affordability with controlling demand. A federal election is also soon on the horizon, which will see activity designed to increase supply and facilitate easier buying of housing, not the opposite. At the end of the day, if regulators and bureaucrats feel that the housing market is getting out of control they will move rapidly in concert with the BOC to add new measures, despite any political pressures. 

Buttonville Airport is going for sale!

Buttonville Airport is a privately owned, public airport just north of Markham. It covers over 170 acres of the primest of prime suburban 905 real estate. The airport is a half hour drive from downtown Toronto and is just east of Highway 404, Buttonville’s strategic proximity to the rapidly growing GTA and the massive growth in air traffic over the last several decades helped transform the site from a ‘grassy strip’ to the largest, most dynamic privately owned airport in the nation. 2018 saw the airport achieve just over 44K aircraft movements, down from over 80K in 2014. In comparison, the large publicly owned Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto has aircraft movements over 125K. In 2009, the family who then owned the airport announced that they wanted to initiate a broad redevelopment of the site into a mixed use commercial, retail, and residential development. This was highlighted as a golden opportunity to unlock tremendous value for a huge tract of strategic real estate. The family sold in 2009, forming a ‘partnership’ with Cadillac, and the price has not been disclosed, but the value of the undeveloped acreage was believed to be worth between $100-150 million at the time.

Cadillac’s plan would have created 10 million square feet of overall multi-use space worth billions. In comparison, the total size of the Yorkdale Mall is just under 1.9 million square feet of retail space. 6-7K new residents would have been accommodated, generating tremendous property tax revenue for the City of Markham. At least a dozen mid and high rise towers were to be constructed. In all likelihood, the ambitious scale of Cadillac’s strategy would have made the airport family billionaires. However, the immense rezoning work required to approve the project was never completed. The deal was shifted off to the Ontario Municipal Board, but negotiations involved too many stakeholders and too much work. Delays kept pushing back the project. The uncertainty and complexity of the project proved too cumbersome for Cadillac and it appears the partnership have now agreed to wash their hands of the property and to put up the holdings for sale.

The sale will create opportunities but also challenges. Significant corporate jet traffic uses the airport and will have little room to transition to as Billy Bishop is limited in its traffic and Pearson is bursting at the seams. The sale will likely up pressure on the federal government and federal transportation regulators to finally and definitively approve construction of Pickering Airport. The GTA is growing to the extent that a second international airport will be necessary, barring that, Pearson will have to be rapidly expanded. Pickering Airport’s construction will intensify development in Durham Region, create many jobs, and spur additional construction, rezoning, and densification. The recently elected Mayor was strongly supportive of airport construction and won election with over 60% of the vote on a pro-build campaign.

 

2020 set to be red hot for real estate in the GTA

Housing website Zoocasa recently got a decent amount of media attention when they released a blog outlining reasons for 2020 being a very hot year for real estate. In summary, Zoocasa is pointing to a lack of supply as the main reason prices will soar this year. Zoo is also making the point that the measures implemented to cool the rapid price growth from 2016-2018 are now well and truly spent. The foreign buyer tax and stress tests are not going to cap prices anymore, the market has priced them in and found ways to accommodate the extra burdens.

The TREB is echoing Zoocasa’s prediction and argue that buyers are now back and much more engaged in the market than before. The psychology of the market has shifted from perceptions of lukewarm activity to a once again hot and steamy outlook and prices are on the up. The market had a brief re-balancing away from sellers to buyers but has now shifted back to being a much more assertively sellers’ market. The average home price in Toronto is now just over $910K, this includes homes and condos medians.

All the data points to sales and prices now having fully hit the highs which inspired the drastic and sudden government intervention in the market some years ago with the foreign buyers tax and the stress tests. Tembo predicted that a recovery, if ignited, could easily have the market rapidly gain back the ground it lost. And we were right. What has been impressive is that the recovery has occurred at a faster pace than even we imagined. Both Vancouver and Toronto have led the way in making sharp gains and returning to the historic highs experienced in the last boom.

Nothing is pointing to a sudden and massive increase in supply. Even though the provincial government is extremely pro-development, there is little capacity in the market to build tens of thousands of extra homes and condos to meet demand. Developers have no reason to swamp the market when they can continue to anticipate and pocket bigger and bigger gains. Interest rates will remain low. There is also some possibility that the Feds will move to make it easier for people to take on mortgage debt given they are in minority government and need to bolster their standing with swing voters.

A snapshot of Toronto’s economy & construction sector as we wrap up 2019

In this blog post, Tembo will give its readers an overview of the state of Toronto’s economy and its major financial indicators. In this way, Tembo hopes to reveal the overall good shape, flexibility, and versatility of Toronto’s economic state. All in all, Toronto’s economic indicators are very positive.

The Macro-Economy

  • Unemployment is at 6.9%, slightly higher than the national figure but still a decent number, remember that population is rising by 70,000, placing pressure on job creation.
  • Mean hourly wages in Toronto meet provincial and national averages, at $29.
  • GDP is growing by roughly 2%, at the rate of inflation, it’s projected to stay at this amount for the next several years. The economy had a strong growth spurt from 2014-2017
  • Toronto’s economy boomed from 1998-2001, averaging rates of well over 5% in those years
  • There are 1,572.4 million jobs are in Toronto, contributing to an office vacancy rate of 4.1%, there have been only 10 business bankruptcies in our City this year
  • The industrial vacancy rate is 1.5%, down from 5.5% in late 2013
  • Consumer prices rose by 1.7% this year
  • Retail sales in Toronto will exceed $32 billion for 2019, most of which was cars and car parts

Buildings under construction

  • There are 246 mid and high-rise buildings under construction in Toronto as of October 2019, up from 202 in October of 2018
  • The pace of building continues to rise, Toronto is competing with New York City for the title of most mid to high rise construction in North America
  • 2022 will be a giant year for construction in our City as there are a huge number of supertall buildings that will be completed in that year
  • These will include the 83 floor The One building at Yonge-Bloor, YSL Residences at 85 floors just down the street, and Sugar Wharf Tower D on Queens Quay which will reach 70 floors
  • This article from the Financial Post has lots of information and an interactive video of some of the supertall structures that are being built right now: https://business.financialpost.com/real-estate/property-post/vertical-city-80-new-skyscrapers-planned-in-toronto-as-demand-climbs

Housing

  • Disappointingly, housing starts in Q3 2019 were 9% lower than in Q3 2018 but are up 11.5% from Q2 2019
  • There were roughly 5,000 housing starts in Q3 2019, most of which were apartments and condos
  • The average house price in our City is $925K

Most analysts and experts consider Toronto’s economy to continue

to remain healthy and reasonably stable in the coming years. Analysts believe the biggest threats are high debt levels, a rapid rise in interest rates, or a severe recession from abroad.