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Has Rental Housing In BC Become More Of A Commodity Or Asset To Be Traded?

Purpose built rental buildings are being bought by institutional investors as a means of driving returns to shareholders, rather than creating affordable housing. The owners of rental buildings are getting favorable prices from real estate investment trusts, pension funds, and institutional investors, whose goal is not only to generate a return, but to increase the rate of return to the shareholders of the fund.

Six of Toronto’s seven biggest institutional investors in multi family residential real estate are all keen on expanding their presence in BC’s rental housing sector, as they see huge opportunities for picking up existing rental properties and converting them into high return rental units.

The problem is that the increased return required translates into higher rents for tenants who cannot afford them. Rents have fast outpaced incomes in the last decade or more – this is especially true in the Greater Vancouver and Toronto areas respectively.

What has been happening over the last few years is that purpose built rental units that have been renting out at affordable rates of $750 a month or less, have been taken off the market by either demolitions, conversions, or simply been purchased by institutional investors so that rents can be increased as renovations occur.

What is also alarming is that when the numbers are run on some of the sale prices compared with their current rents, the only way they can be worthwhile investments is when the rents are hiked substantially.

Despite the provincial government’s drive and investment to increase the number of affordable housing units, more units are being lost at a higher rate than are being created. With every new low-to-moderate rental home being built in BC (which have a monthly rent of $750 or less), three units are lost. And this situation is not unique to BC, it’s happening in many parts of Canada.

If you are planning on entering the real estate market with the present conditions, it is advisable to talk to an experienced real estate company, such as ours, to guide you effectively. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000.

Did you know that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in kids 14 years old and under, with more than a third of these injuries happening at home. 

Household injuries are one of the top reasons kids under age 3 visit the ER, and nearly 70% of the children who die from unintentional injuries at home are 4 years old and under. Young kids have the highest risk of being injured at home because that’s where they spend most of their time. 

Here are some simple ways to prevent injuries in your own home. Please note that although childproofing will make your job easier, it won’t eliminate the need for supervision. 

 

Kitchen 

  • Install safety latches on all cabinets and drawers to keep children from potentially poisonous household products. 
  • Use the stove’s back burners and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to keep hot pots and pans out of the reach of children. 
  • Keep kitchenware and appliances out of reach and away from the edge of counters and tables. 
  • Put visual reminders like the Mr. Yuk stickers from poison prevention centers on potential poisonous or hazardous items. 

 

Bathroom 

  • Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers to keep children from potentially poisonous household products. 
  • Install toilet locks to keep toilet lids closed. Children are more top-heavy than adults and can lean and fall into a toilet easily. They also can drown in just one inch of water. 
  • Install anti-scalding devices on faucets and showerheads to prevent burns. Also set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. It takes just three seconds for a child to sustain a third-degree burn from water at 140 degrees. 
  • Unplug hair dryers and electric rollers after use to prevent electrocution from contact with water in the bathroom. Also keep them away from curious children to prevent burns. 
  • Make very sure your child cannot lock the bathroom door from the inside, or ensure that you can unlock it from the outside. 
  • Place a non-skid mat in the bathtub. 

 

Generally around the house 

  • Cover unused electrical outlets with outlet protectors or safety caps. Make sure outlets in the bathroom and kitchen – or near any water source – are updated with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which turn off electricity if appliances fall into water. For outlets in use, especially those low to the ground, there are devices  available which make it difficult to pull out plugs.  
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and in the doorways of rooms with hazards. Gates with expanding pressure bars should not be used for blocking stairs. 
  • Use doorknob covers to keep children away from rooms and other areas with hazards, such as swimming pools. Be careful, though, that these devices are easy for adults to use in case of emergency. 
  • Put corner and edge bumpers on furniture and other items like a fireplace hearth to protect against injury. 
  • Place furniture away from high windowsso children won’t climb onto windowsills. Screens aren’t strong enough to keep children from falling through windows. 
  • Make sure window blinds do not have looped cords they can be strangulation hazards for children. Always lock blinds into position whether they are all the way up or not. 
  • Remove free-falling lids from toy chests, which should have lids that stay open or very light, removable ones. 
  • Prevent furniture from tipping by securing bookcases, shelving, and heavy furniture to walls with brackets and anchors. When storing items, put heavier items on bottom shelves and in bottom drawers. 
  • Put a smoke alarm in any bedroom whose door will be shut at night or where children are sleeping in bunk beds, because smoke rises. 

 

Remember that childproofing your home can never be 100% effective against injury. Supervise your children at all times. 

 

If you are contemplating buying a home, why not get in touch with us for some useful advice?  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  by email or follow us on Facebook. 

Homes in Metro Vancouver became more expensive as was made clear in the August 2020 market report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). The benchmark price of all homes rose in August as sales exceeded historical records for the month. 

“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer. Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today’s housing market,” Gerber added. “Your local REALTOR® can help you navigate today’s market and ensure that the latest public health requirements are followed at every step of the process. Above all, safety has to remain our top priority during this pandemic.” 

 

Home Sales 

There were 3,047 residential property sales registered in August 2020 for the region. The same period last year registered 2,231 sales and July 2020 registered 3,128 sales. 

  • The number of detached properties sold was 1,095a 55% increase from the 706 homes sold in August 2019. 
  • The number of apartments sold was 1,332a 19.4% increase from the 1,116 apartments sold in August 2019. 
  • The number of attached properties sold was 620a 51.6% increase from the 409 sales in August 2019. 

 

Home Listings 

In August, there were 5,813 new listings of detached, attached and apartment properties added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Metro Vancouver. 

This was a 55.1% increase compared to the 5,747 homes listed in August 2019, and a 2.3% decrease compared to July 2020 when 5,948 homes were listed.  

The total number of homes listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver was 12,803, a 4.4% decrease compared to August 2019 (13,396) and a 6 % increase compared to July 2020 (12,083). 

 

Sales-To-Active-Listings Ratio 

This ratio gives a better understanding of the relationship between supply and demand in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period, and home prices can experience upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for sustained periods. 

For all property types, the ratio in August was 23.8%. When broken down by property types, the ratio was: 

  • 23.7% for detached homes. 
  • 30.5 % for townhomes. 
  • 21.6% for condominiums. 

 

Home Prices 

In Augustthe MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,038,700. This was 5.3% higher than August 2019 and a 0.7% increase compared to July 2020. 

 

Click here for a full report. 

 

The real estate landscape in Vancouver is changing dramatically. If you are buying or selling a home, you need to get in touch with an experienced real estate company such as ours to navigate this transitional market. Contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000. 

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