The Teranet Market Insights Forum on April 24, 2018 revealed many insights and revelations about the Canadian real estate market.
From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., financial decision makers, mortgage insurers, brokers, and Teranet strategic partners met at the Sheraton on Queen Birchwood Ballroom for brunch and a series of informative speeches.
First to the podium was CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Tim Hudak. Hudak was also a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for 21 years and led the Ontario PC Party from 2009 to 2014. He spoke about the economic and political impacts on the real estate market, giving a preview of the year ahead.
Hudak also reminisced about his own personal history with Teranet – he was Minister of Consumer and Business Services from 2002 to 2003.
“Teranet is a textbook example of good privatization and good public/private partnership,” Hudak said.
Hudak has been OREA’s CEO since December of 2016. OREA is focused on raising professional standards and high-impact advocacy on behalf of real estate agents, homeowners, and those who want to join their ranks. Hudak spoke about what he has seen happening in the real estate industry.
According to Hudak, 42% of people aged 20 to 34 in Ontario are still living at home. Similarly, a recent American study showed young people living at home is at a 130-year high. Part of the problem, Hudak said, is that more people are chasing fewer homes. They might be doing everything “right,” getting a degree or diploma, getting married, even having kids, and yet they can’t afford to buy a house.
“Socially, that’s a major concern,” Hudak said.
It worries him on two levels – one, the direct economic spinoff of homeownership and related purchases, and two, the indirect spinoff of the personal development that comes with buying a home.
Hudak identified several roadblocks standing in the way of more housing supply, which he thinks the government can correct. First, he believes the new, more interventionist, rent control regime in Ontario is “damaging and far reaching.” The Land Transfer Tax in Ontario and the double land transfer tax in Toronto is also penalizing, he said. Red tape, like long approval processes, is also getting in the way of development.
On the “very positive side,” Hudak pointed to commercial real estate “going gangbusters.” The commercial vacancy rate in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is only 3.7%, which is less than New York City.
“We need more supply to meet the demand, but that’s a good problem for the GTA to have – being in high demand,” Hudak said.
The next provincial election in June will be an opportunity for Canadians to voice their opinions on housing policy, including a re-evaluation of the foreign buyers’ tax, and other housing measures.
After Hudak spoke, Stefane Marion, Chief Economist at the National Bank, took the stage to discuss the fundamentals of Canada’s housing market and how it compares globally.
According to Marion, much has been portrayed in the media recently about record-high Canadian debt levels, but he was quick to remind us that perspective is important. In order to compare household leverage globally and across economies, adjustments to the definition are required. For example, Canadian household debt includes non-corporate debt and is not an apple to apples comparison to the same data presented in the US.
Marion believes home prices in Canada will remain resilient as evidenced by recent data across the 26 markets reported by the Teranet-National Bank HPI. Furthermore, economic fundamentals in Canada remain strong with key indicators such as employment, home ownership, population growth, immigration, and education all contributing to the strength of our housing market. Marion does see the Bank of Canada hiking rates further this year, but does not anticipate a large correction in housing unless labour markets deteriorate markedly or mortgage rates surge.
Last to speak, but certainly not least, was Teranet Director, Business Development & Marketing Mark Huttram, who introduced two new products being rolled out in the coming year. First, PIN Monitoring, a way to detect specific land registration activities, such as transfers, charges, and discharges, and provide self managing monitoring models to track those activities over a given period of time. Second, The Ontario Mortgage Marketplace, which Huttram called the “most exciting piece of data we can share to every customer here.”
The Mortgage Marketplace will dive deep into registrations, showing who has the most holdings in a particular neighbourhood and separating it by lender.
A second Teranet Market Insights Forum is in the works for November of 2018.
Helen Beltsidis of Solidifi is already looking forward to the November forum.
“I thought it [the April 24 forum] was excellent,” Beltsidis said. “Extremely insightful. The speakers were great. And I’m excited about the new products.”
Beltsidis said she felt “at ease” after listening to the speakers.
“I’m pleased and validated by the economic update from Stéfane,” she said. “It’s contrary to what we’re hearing in news stories.”
Learn more about Teranet’s products and see our latest Teranet Market Insights report at https://www.teranet.ca/commercial-solutions/.