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Toronto due for double-digit market rent increase in 2019

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Toronto landlords with vacant units could enjoy as much as an 11% hike in rent next year.

That’s according to Rentals.ca’s National Rent Report, which only studied empty units and also forecasted that rents nationwide would increase 6% in 2019.

Ben Myers, president of Bullpen Research & Consulting Inc., notes that the breakdown in Toronto is pretty evenly split between purpose-built rental apartments, which skew older, and newer condominium rental units. He also says that Toronto chronically under-delivers the number of units needed every year, and it’s contributing to rising rents.


“There’s probably demand for about 25,000 new rental units a year, and we’re delivering somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2,000 new purpose-built rentals and 18,000 to 22,000 condo rentals,” he said, “which means we’re under-delivering by 3-5,000 units every year.”

The preference remains for newer, lavish units, which typify condo rentals.

“Renters like a higher level of finish and newer amenities, and some of the older buildings might be larger but they’re not providing the lifestyle some of these renters are looking for,” added Myers.

The preponderant reason for the double-digit market rental hike in Toronto has to do with the economics of purchasing a condo unit in the city. In downtown Toronto, investors are buying in at between $1,000 and $1,200 per square foot, and in order to stay cash flow positive they will need to increase rents considerably.

Of course, that’s compounded by a growth in the number of renters. Since the B-20 mortgage stress test was introduced in January, many people are precluded from homeownership. Making matters worse for would-be purchasers, Canada has officially entered a rising interest rate environment.

“It’s reducing credit availability in the market and people can’t afford the home they wanted, so people are choosing to rent longer to afford the home they want instead of the home they don’t want, and that they’d sell three to four years down the road,” said Myers.

Davelle Morrison, an investor-landlord and sales representative with Bosley Real Estate, says her biggest challenge in 2018 has been keeping up with the number of prospective tenants who contact her for rentals, whether her own or her clients’.

“There was a one-bedroom in Leslieville that had over 90 inquiries,” she said. “Another property, a two-bedroom condo at Yonge and Summerhill, had over 30 people show up at an open house. The challenge for landlords right now is keeping up with demand because so many people are looking.”

After Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government, voted out of office earlier this year, introduced rent control, many landlords sold their units to end-user purchasers, and that flooded the marketplace with even more tenants looking for rentals, says Morrison.

“It’s good for landlords if they’re in a good neighbourhood,” she said. “They need to be in a downtown neighbourhood to command that demand. For landlords north of the 401, the demand isn’t quite as high, but the demand is high in the central core—Midtown, Leslieville, the West End.”

 

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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener

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The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

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Candidate slate set for Halifax election as mayoral race grows to three candidates

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The slate of candidates for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s upcoming election has been finalized and it’s now officially a three-horse race for the municipality’s mayoral seat.

Incumbent mayor Mike Savage will face off against Coun. Matt Whitman, the current representative for the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets, and political newcomer Max Taylor.

Whitman and Savage have previously announced their plans to run but Taylor’s inclusion in the race was a last minute surprise.

On his campaign’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old says his platform is “simple”

“Get out and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, I care that you vote,” he writes.

One of the more notable aspects of Taylor’s presence in the race is his status on social media platform Tik Tok.

He’s built a following of more than 600,000 people on the platform and his videos have generated more than 20.6 million likes.

What that will do for his candidacy is up in the air, but he’s sure to bring a youthful energy to the process.

 

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Here’s what Toronto’s new 57-storey skyscraper will look like

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The corner of Bay and Harbour may be getting a new 57-storey office tower perched atop the heritage Toronto Harbour Commission Building.

Updated plans for The Hub — a skyscraper from multinational corporation Oxford Properties — have been submitted, and if approved, will see a building designed by London-based firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to 30 Bay Street.

The project near Toronto’s waterfront which was initially proposed in 2018 will add around 1.4 million square feet of office space to the neighbourhood. The building’s west side will also be directly connected to The PATH network.

The Hub will also sit overtop (but only lightly touching) its next door neighbour: the six-storey Toronto Harbour Commission Building, which was built in 1917.

Nicknamed “The T”, the historic building was sold to Oxford in 2017 for $96 million. Fun fact: The T is also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a janitor.

It’s not entirely clear how the interior of the old Commission Building will play into The Hub’s commercial workspace, but the design of the 57-storey building shows the strategic use of four columns to allow for distance between the main building and The T.

The two buildings will be connected by a “finely detailed glazed atrium.”

Windows will stretch from floor to ceiling in the four-storey lobby, which will be home to restaurants, retail spaces, meeting and event spaces, and maybe a fitness facility.

Floors five to eight of the podium will see larger office floors.

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