Rents are roaring!

The latest data by Rentals.ca and Bullpen Research and Consulting shows that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto has hit $2,300, with a two bedroom going for just under $3,000.

Nationally, average rents shot up by 4.3% over the last month, twice the right of inflation. 2019 was a blockbuster month for rent increases, with Toronto hitting 9%, Montreal at 25%, and Vancouver at 11% rent growth. Montreal’s strong economy, Quebec’s strong public finances, and significantly lower prices than Toronto and Vancouver are all powerful factors transforming Montreal real estate. The average rent in Montreal is now $1,350, which would be considered a miracle bargain in Toronto, and in Vancouver, average rents are $1,940, still much cheaper than Toronto.

Toronto’s two-bedroom monthly rent average is now greater than the monthly mortgage payment for a $550,000 TD fixed rate 3.2% mortgage amortized over 25 years ($2,833). 550K can buy you a small condo in Toronto if you can snag it (likely not in the downtown core though). An analysis of average rents nationally shows some interesting numbers. Rents across southern Ontario are exceedingly high. Oakville is at $2,100 a month, Richmond Hill and parts of Northern Toronto are at $1,800-$1,900 a month, and Hamilton is at $1,500. These are all figures for one-bedroom units. The cheapest one bedroom rent in southern Ontario is in Kitchener and London, with $1,100 being the rough average. The cheapest rents in the country are in St. John’s, Newfoundland at $885.

The projection for this year isn’t rosy for renters. Rents are expected to rise by 3% overall in the country and 7% in Toronto. One area where there has been a fair increase in supply in Toronto has been midtown but rents there are high and most of the supply stock is new condo development. Cheaper, more traditional rental buildings have availability in short supply and getting approved is especially difficult for prospective renters with low credit, weak employment opportunities, or poor connections. The supply and demand picture is not expected to shift dramatically to change these trends, and rents will continue to surge.     

What’s in the deal Trump signed with China

As the bombastic rhetoric turned to tough actions, the criticism, surprise, and even fear started to set in. Candidate Donald Trump was laughed at for his tirades against the Chinese winning at the expense of Americans, at the strong intent for the imposition of tariffs, and for his claims that he would ‘punish’ China. But as Candidate Trump got the keys to the White House on the backs of millions of middle class and blue collar Americans who saw little improvement to their respective bottom lines under President Obama, so came power and the opportunity to act. And act he did.

For the last two years, China and the USA have been embroiled in an economic and commercial trade war. Few predicted that the President would be as aggressive and consistent in the decisions he took to both initiate, and escalate the trade war. He went as far as firing senior economic advisers who disagreed with him, and has even taken criticism from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a body that is generally pro-Republican, Globalist, and keen on deep and profitable Sino-U.S. ties.

But after two years of tit-for-tat back and forth actions, we now have what appears to be a ceasefire and deal to ease tensions and begin to resolve the underlying conflict between the two countries. What’s really in this deal? What does it mean? And who are the real winners? Let’s take a look.

  • The stock market and the President will benefit from the deal. Stock market euphoria will continue and the President will appear to be serious, assertive, and successful in winning ‘concessions’. Investors will applaud the erosion of tension, return of stability, and the reduction in the risk of increased escalation.  

 

  • U.S. consumers remain losers, as many tariffs that they are paying for in the form of higher costs for Chinese products and services will remain in place. U.S. farmers have seen a record increase in bankruptcies as they have been cut off from one of their biggest customers. A $28 billion bailout has been paid out to them given the costs of the trade war. There is extreme skepticism on the Chinese honouring the $200 billion in increased buying for products and goods that is in this deal.
  • The big winners in the deal are U.S. financial corporations. They will gain new access to parts of the Chinese market that they haven’t had previously. U.S. firm will now have the capacity to sell products and financial services to the 1.4 billion market of Chinese. This is a huge win for Wall Street. It remains to be seen if the opening up is as smooth and comprehensive as the deal suggests. US firms have long complained that while they have access to China, they are treated unequally and at times unfairly by China’s legal system and some regulators. 

 

Overall, the big winners with this deal are the President and his Wall Street counterparts. The Chinese win a reprieve in the trade war and a reduction in tariffs. 

Can you be denied a mortgage renewal?

Worried about being denied a mortgage renewal? Read this article to learn about reasons why your mortgage renewal could be denied & what to do about it.

Being denied a mortgage renewal is possible and there are many reasons why this may happen. If you have been late to make a payment, or are not in good standing with your lender, it is possible that they will not want to renew.

Many banks will often auto renew your mortgage if you are in good standing and have made all required payments on time. Even private lenders will often auto renew your mortgage. Private lenders will often charge a renewal fee, but this is up to the discretion of the lender.

If you are worried that your lender isn’t going to renew your mortgage, contact a representative at Tembo Financial. This may be a fast and easy solution to finding a lender to renew your mortgage!

Power of Sale: What is it and how to stop it

Power of sale can make it seem like you’re not in control of selling your home. Read this article to learn what it is & how to stop power of sale.

Power of sale allows your lender to sell the subject property and be repaid from the proceeds of the sale. This often happens when clients miss payments, are late on payments, or their mortgage has matured and is not getting renewed. It is up to the discretion of the lender to take action for power of sale. Many lenders that are not repaid on time are forced to use these measures. What many people don’t know, is that this process is able to be stopped in its tracks, before it’s taken too far.

Having your home sold under power of sale comes with a stigma. Often times people think that they can take advantage, and offer lower prices because of the way power of sale is structured. Instead of going through the process of power of sale, Tembo Financial can repay your mortgagee that is putting you through this, and have you sell your home as you normally would.

The benefits of this are that you are in control. Rather than putting something as important as your home in the hands of someone that you may not trust, you are given control to sell your home.

Don’t let your lender decide what your house sells for. Taking a mortgage with Tembo Financial will give you the time you need to sell your property and pay out your current lender.

Can you use your mortgage for home renovations?

Ever wondered if you could use your mortgage for a home renovation? Here is more information about the process and benefits of doing it!

The simple answer is yes! You can use your mortgage for home renovations. In fact, many people do as a way to improve their home before listing their property on the market for sale.

The process is simple and easy. Before listing your home on the market, you can come to Tembo Financial and let us know how much your renovations will be. We can release the funds so that you can begin to repair and renovate your home. Once the renovations and repairs are complete, you can list your home on the market for sale.

The great thing about taking money for a renovation before listing your property for sale, is that you don’t have to make any monthly payments, and Tembo gets repaid from the proceeds of your home’s sale! The sale has the ability to be even bigger than it was going to be originally, because your renovations have increased your home’s overall value!

Renovations and repairs can include and are not limited to:

  1. Painting
  2. Landscaping
  3. Kitchen renovations
  4. Bathroom renovations
  5. Any other parts of your home that may need a touch up

Tembo Financial can release money to you within 48 hours of approving an online application so you can start to renovate your home in no time!

Don’t worry, if you are not listing your home, and are still looking to do renovations, we can still help you!

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.

What will happen in Washington?

We are rapidly approaching the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. What’s already been an eventful, heated, controversial, and at times militant last few years politically in the U.S. is only going to intensify.

Donald Trump is facing tremendous pressure from a media establishment that despises him and immediately endorsed the now initiated impeachment proceedings against him. Impeachment is likely to be voted for by the Democratic House of Representatives. But in the Republican controlled Senate, it is unlikely that the pro-impeachment forces will be able to convince Republican Senators to vote against their party’s nominee.

Trump is extremely popular with the GOP base, he has a 95% approval rating among right-wing American voters. Successful impeachment would further inflame tensions in the U.S., and some commentators have suggested that it could spark a full-blow civil war. While the U.S. economy is slowing, voters still see the President as the best positioned politician to handle jobs and growth. Tensions with China are growing worse by the day, and the Senate recently passed a bill which effectively endorses the intense protests in that part of China and supporting the cause of rioters. This blatant interference in internal Chinese affairs will be very poorly received by the Chinese. Some have suggested that the Sino-American relationship is rapidly approaching a point of no return and permanent damage. 

The Democratic Party is undergoing an intense internal battle over who will be the nominee who faces off against the President. The present favourite is Joe Biden, but his star is waning. He has made numerous gaffes and mistakes and is losing momentum in the polls. Massachusetts Senator and Liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren is doing well and has espoused an anti-plutocrat, populist message. Young up and comer Pete Buttigieg is surging but is an unknown commodity with poor name recognition. There is also the very real possibility that Hillary Clinton will try for a third run at the nomination. Either way, the U.S. will never be the same after the next election. 

Ontario’s parliament resumes October 28th

After one of its longest recesses in history, the provincial PC government will be back at work when the Legislature resumes on October 28th.

The PCs took many months off to rest and re-calibrate, and to allow the Federal election to unfold and take its course. The reality is that Premier Doug Ford has made a number of serious blunders and his personal popularity has taken a beating. Cuts to autism funding, clashes with Toronto’s municipal government, and a terribly received first budget all took their toll on a government that has now well passed its honeymoon with voters. Doug Ford’s personality popularity has reached lows which even Wynne surpassed at the height of the public’s fatigue and frustration with the previous Liberal government that ran Ontario for 15 years. In order to have a competitive shot at winning re-election in less than 3 years, Ford will have to do work assiduously to rebuild his standing with voters.

His first major challenge will be to respond to growing labour strife. Powerful public sector unions are gearing up for what many believe will be a protracted fight with the governing PCs. Relations between the party and the public sector unions, particularly teachers have been poor for over two decades, since the tumultuous Harris PC government of the late 90s and early 2000s. The unions’ relationship with former Premier Wynne did not end well and the previous Liberals engaged in varying forms of austerity to cut the province’s significant budget deficit. The last thing the pub. sector unions wanted was a PC Government led by Ford. While a deal was reached between education support workers represented by CUPE through the government pouring money into slightly higher wages and a maintenance of the workers’ sick leave plan, other unions may be harder to please. The OSSTF, which represents high school teachers is voicing increasingly battle-ready rhetoric on news that Ford wants to cut average class sizes from 22 students to 25 to save money. Strike votes are ongoing for high school and elementary teachers across Ontario.

The Ford Government would be wise to strike a balanced compromise with the unions if possible. A full strike of teachers would be extremely disruptive and would place pressure on stressed out parents who’s kids will stay home. Teachers unions have huge member lists, tons of money to fight a government, and have significant support among the public. Every Ontario Premier who took on the teachers eventually lost his or her job – Rae, Harris, Eves, McGuinty, and Wynne all had their disagreements with this powerful interest group. While the average Ontario teacher earns 90K a year, a healthy salary that many private sector workers will never achieve in their lives, teachers are also under constant scrutiny, have lost authority in their classrooms, and are dealing with a youth population addicted and distracted by smartphones, technology, and social media. A protracted fight between the unions and the government will deplete political capital and take attention away from other important issues, like housing, the economy, and middle class pressures. 

What the banks are now calling a ‘rental crisis’

RBC’s lauded economics division recently released a report called Big City Rental Blue: A look at Canada’s Rental Housing Deficit which has grabbed a decent chunk of media attention. The report is an interesting read.

It shows that Toronto needs over 9,000 rental units as of last year to achieve a healthy vacancy rate of 3% (this gives prospective renters meagre, albeit decent options and flexibility in their rental options). The current rental vacancy rate for apartments is 1.1%, only Vancouver has fewer free rental units. For condos the vacancy is 0.7%, a stunning figure that probably ranks as one of the lowest vacancies in the world. The Vancouver condo vacancy rate is 0.3%.. These are tremendous figures. This is the supply situation, and it’s dire.

And the demand picture? You guessed it, even more dire. RBC’s report estimates that there will be a need for an additional 22,000 rental units in Toronto from 2019 to 2023. To give the market a meagre degree of rental unit balance, over 26,000 rental units were needed in Toronto this year, but only 4,300 rental apartment completions were noted. Even if all condo completions are included, the figure still falls thousands of units short. This is why vacancy rates are so low. While 53,600 condo units are under construction as of July 2019, only 33% of these units go into the rental market and many of these will take years to complete. Rental apartment construction has stalled in Toronto for decades as developers find it is far more profitable to put up a 30 storey condo, rapidly sell, and take the proceeds to finish up another quick project.

RBC called for a comprehensive and targeted policy to outline clear goals and to provide strong incentives to build. Apartment rents in Toronto are increasing at twice the rate of inflation (4.5%), and these price increases will likely accelerate as the demand and supply situation won’t be shifting dramatically anytime soon. As we outlined in previous publications, the rental situation is so dire in Mississauga and many surrounding municipalities that prospective renters are offering landlords higher rents than are publicly outlines to be competitive with their counterparts. Congratulations to all Torontonians are are satisfied with their rentals and the rents they are paying! Good luck for those of you on the rental hunt!

On the threat of a war with Iran

There’s been significant media attention in the last few months on escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf between the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran.

Not long ago, the Saudis claimed that an attack on a major oil refinery in their oil rich Eastern Province was the work of Iranian backed forces, even though Yemeni Houthi militants claimed responsibility (there is a brutal, ongoing war in Yemen between Houthi rebels and a Saudi backed former President). Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that President Trump had ample reasons to attack Iran given recent tensions but was backing off from doing so. Trump has spent the last 3 years implementing and reinforcing severe sanctions on Iran and ripped up a nuclear deal negotiated by Obama that international monitors repeatedly stated Iran was abiding by.

If a war breaks out between the U.S. and Iran, it will have a direct impact on Canada and its serious implications are worth outlining for readers. Iran will respond to a direct attack, however limited, with broad retaliatory measures. First, it will strike back at U.S. forces in the Gulf, U.S. bases around the Middle East, and at Saudi Arabia and its oil facilities and military installations, along with other Gulf Arab states. Second, it will move to effectively cripple oil production and exports from the Gulf. Analysts believe a war with Iran would result in oil prices rising to $150-300 a barrel. This would have a rapidly devastating impact on the global financial system and the world economy, imagine the impact of $3 a litre gas here at home, it would likely cause a deep recession internationally.

Israel would also be attacked, as Iran would see the outbreak of conflict with the U.S. as inevitably drawing in Israel at one point or another. U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the Greater Middle East would be direct targets and both Iraq and Afghanistan would be profoundly destabilized to crisis levels. The war in Syria would intensify and with Russian troops stationed there, major escalation and a regional war could result in casualties that would rope in major powers. Hezbollah, a powerful military group in Lebanon and close Iranian allies, could potentially attack Israel with a volley of missiles if they see their major patron and ally under direct attack. In short, the implications of the Middle East being torn apart by yet another major war, would have immediate, profound, and direct impacts on Canadian society.