Good morning all;
Spring is finally here. The only way you can be certain that spring has arrived is not by the weather, it’s the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are not in the playoffs! (Insert Rim shot here!)
This week I have seen things pick up even more with the truly wonderful weather. Even the rental market had a jump as potential tenants began to apartment hunt with more vigor.
Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary rated tops for real estate investment
All 3 tops for ‘resilience’ and growth potential, says U.K. report / By: Susan Pigg Business Reporter, Published on Wed Apr 09 2014
Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary have been ranked as the three best places out of 50 cities around the world in terms of where best to invest in real estate for the long term, according to a centuries-old London real estate firm.
Their star ranking doesn’t come so much from short-term metrics like return on investment, but their longer term “resilience” — a stellar combination of “low vulnerability and high adaptive capacity,” says the unusual report, more than three years in the making, by the U.K.-based Grosvenor Group.
Adding to that ability to rise above the cyclical ups and downs of the real estate market is the fact all three Canadian cities have a “high level of resource availability” and “are well governed and well planned.”
In fact, they beat out London, New York and even Chicago, ranked as No. 4, for their strong investment potential over the coming decades.
“These Canadian cities have a great deal of economic dynamism,” said group research director and economist Richard Barkham, in a telephone interview from Vancouver where he’ll be discussing the research findings later this week at an Urban Land Institute conference.
“A lot of people just look at real estate investments in terms of short-term risk and return on investment. But we believe you need to look beyond that — to look at cities holistically in terms of their ability to adapt and improve.
“In the round, Canadian cities — and Toronto in particular — are exceptionally good real estate destinations in the long term.”
Cities currently the most popular with investors, such as New York and London, “are not necessarily those that will protect capital in the long term, the report notes.
Grosvenor, a privately-owned company with investment and development offices in 19 world cities, including Vancouver, has heard the talk about a Canadian housing bubble, concerns about condo overbuilding and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s ongoing extracurricular activities, Barkham said.
Researchers are aware of the challenges around transit in the GTA, a transportation system they still rate as great compared to many other cities in the world.
“We’re taking a longer term view of cities. You can clearly get local issues and characters that can create problems in a very short-term sense.”
And while Toronto house prices continue to climb out of sight, they lag well behind cities like London, which came in 18th in the resiliency rankings, in part because it’s now so prohibitively expensive.
New York was 14th: While it topped all 50 cities at “adaptive capacity” — for its sheer comeback ability in the face of major disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy — it suffered because of crime, lack of infrastructure investment, its vulnerability to extreme weather and “social exclusion.”
Grosvenor’s team of researchers has spent the last three to four years, said Barkham, assessing cities based on 10 parameters, from climate to governance, to planning, technology/learning, funding and “community” — access to affordable housing, education, health care, religious and cultural freedom, honest government and “reasonably crime-free living conditions.”
The “weakest 20 cities” are in emerging markets, eight of them in the so-called BRIC countries.
“Their vulnerability derives from inequality, poor infrastructure provision and environmental degradation, and, to a less extent, climate vulnerability,” says the report.
It adds: “In ranking cities we fully recognize that each is on a journey, some moving more rapidly than others towards prosperity and livability and each with their own constraints.”
Condominium Maintenance Fees and Status Certificates
When purchasing a condominium one has to take into account the monthly maintenance fee charges that an owner is responsible for and the rules and bi-laws that govern the condo corp..
- After property taxes, condo fees receive first priority to be paid (even before mortgages)
- Questions to ask and to verify (Via Status Certificate Review)
- Do the quoted monthly fees include HST as HST is applicable?
- What expenses do they cover: Parking, Heat, Hydro, Water, Insurance, Common Elements and Amenities, Storage Lockers?
- When was the last increase in maintenance fees and by how much? Condo fees are expected to increase over time but if a building is built and managed well it can be minimal increase.
- Are there any lawsuits or actions against the condo corp?
- Are there any special assessments that owners are paying extra for (top up reserve funds, major unforeseen repairs, etc.)
- Are pets allowed and if so what kind? How large?
- Who is the property manager and what is their track record?
- What other condo rules may affect my enjoyment of the unit?
- Were improvements carried out to the condo suite that required the condo corp’s permission?
There are many scenarios that can play out so prudent due diligence will divert some potentially major emotional and financial heart aches! Use a knowledgable realtor and real estate lawyer to warn of any potential risks.
Have a wonderful weekend and a fantastic shortened week, Anthony