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  1. (Courtesy of the Financial Post) RBC is pulling out, yet BMO and TD are expanding. Lets see what happens.
  2. Les projects Altoria et Waldorf Astoria Hotel sont mentionne dans cette article,que j'ai trouver tres interessante. MONTREAL – On the gutted eighth storey of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Andrew Torriani walks across white marble floors turned grey from dust. But despite the renovations under way, Torriani, president and CEO of the historic Ritz-Carlton Montreal, can imagine the hardwood floors, glass walls and marble finishes to come. After being delayed a year, and suffering $30 million in extra costs, he says, the Ritz's über-luxury residence and 130-room hotel project - when complete - will stand above the city's array of existing high-end condominiums. "It's the details - details you wouldn't have believed existed," Torriani said while touting the benefits of Ritz ownership to a reporter this week. The Ritz's 46-unit residence - to open about winter 2011 - follows the injection of nearly 280 other high-end condo units into the city since 2007. Plus, Monit Investments insists its plans for a $200-million downtown Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residence, with 100 condos and 225 hotel rooms, will go ahead near the corner of Sherbrooke and Guy Sts. These condos, which can cost millions of dollars per apartment, are developers' response to a robust market, aging demographics and rock-bottom interest rates that have incited buyers to upgrade their homes. Some hail the trend as a boon for Montreal as it lures the elite back to the city. Former SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. CEO Guy Saint-Pierre bought one downtown, while Bombardier Inc. Chairman Laurent Beaudoin was considering a condo at the posh Sir George Simpson. But several real estate agents, brokers and developers interviewed by The Gazette question how many luxury condos Montreal can sustain above the key $500 a square foot price point. "We really believe there is a limit in Montreal to the sale of condos over $500,000," said Richard Hylands, president of Kevric Real Estate Corp. which is building the more modest 115-condo Altoria project near Old Montreal. "Basically we're offering a very good product. We're not selling indoor golf or an indoor theatre. The people we are selling to want quality but not high condo fees." Real estate observers say the proof is in the for-sale signs. Despite offering striking views, private terrasses and hotel-style amenities, half of the 10 penthouses at Le Roc Fleuri on Drummond St. are empty - even though most of the 140-unit building is sold out. Meanwhile, five of the 31 condos at the Sir George Simpson building are for sale. Since late 2008, the Ritz project has sold 17 of its 46 units. "I think there is an over-supply of high-end condos in Montreal," said Pierre Laliberté, a specialist in condos with the real estate consulting firm Altus Group Ltd. "When you try to sell a condo for $1 million for more, there aren't a lot of buyers." Veteran real estate agent, JJ Jacobs, president of JJ Jacobs Realty Inc., agreed: "The $1,000 a square foot market is a high market for Montreal," she said. "There have been some very big sales, but it's only so deep. "Personally I don't know how many more the city can hold." Condo prices haven't dropped, however, because Montreal developers tend to have deep enough pockets to absorb the cost of the empty units, Laliberté said. Recently, Montreal's high-end condo market has exploded with a handful of new buildings going up between 2006 and last year. Many were bought by aging empty nesters eager to exchange their houses for the convenience of a condo. "There's going to be a portion of those buyers who are going to enjoy the downtown and they have the resources to do it," said Alan Marcovitz, president and chairman of the Westcliff Group of Companies, which built the sold-out Beaux arts condominiums on Sherbrooke St. Even during a time of economic crisis, Montreal's resilient real estate market coupled with low interest rates, also motivated third and fourth time buyers to upgrade, Marcovitz said. And with the economy improving, demand hasn't dwindled despite plans to slowly raise interest rates, he said. "Your typical buyer is in a significantly better position today than a year ago." But most developers agree that few buyers of ultra high-end condos worry about interest rates. "The challenge is finding the right buyers," said Daniel Lalonde, sales and marketing director for Le Roc Fleuri. "We have a limited pool." In Montreal, wealthy buyers have a wide choice of homes - either condos or houses. "They (high-end condos) sell, but you must really satisfy the buyers and this is a very discriminating clientèle," said Normand Lépine, vice-president of Groupe Lépine, which built Sir George Simpson, among other high-end buildings. "The developer shouldn't under-estimate the amount of effort required. You must really have the right project." Among the basics, high-end condo buildings feature a 24-hour doorman, indoor pool, and spa or massage room. Residents of the Ritz, the Crystal de la Montagne, and the Roc Fleuri's penthouses, have the added option of ordering in room service, getting their dry cleaning delivered, or even having a light bulb changed. The Ritz project - which will cost up to $150 million including key indirect expenses - offers residents a private concierge. It also has a back-up power system able to run the building at virtually full capacity in the event of a electricity failure, said Torriani, whose Monaco Luxury Hotel Management Co. is a risk-sharing partner in the Ritz project. But sales at the Ritz - which closed as a hotel in 2008 - started slowly as the recession discouraged prospective customers. Both the Roc Fleuri and the Ritz have attracted a significant number of foreigners - and these buyers feared for their stock portfolios and the future of Montreal's real estate market. "They postponed their plans," said the Roc Fleuri's Lalonde. "It reduced the amount of visits I got from out of town buyers." Faced with the recession and unexpected construction problems - workers discovered asbestos deep within the Ritz's walls - Torriani decided to revamp his plans on a more grandiose scale. To boost sales he brought in Liza Kaufman, a star real estate agent and managing director of Sotheby's International Realty Québec. While 2009 started off slowly, Kaufman said business at the Ritz has picked up. "If the building was already constructed I would have sold out yesterday," she said. Kaufman, who has sold countless multi-million dollar homes said Montreal is more attractive to foreign buyers than locals realize. "I think the market is evolving," she said. "We have to understand that our city has a lot to offer." Torriani said he isn't worried about a lack of local buyers with the financial means to live at the Ritz, which has an 8,000 square foot penthouse listed for $12 million. Indeed, Torriani left his job as Air Canada's director of human resources, to run the Ritz, where he once worked summer jobs as a dishwasher and waiter. His family, including veteran hotelier Marco Torriani, has a vast stake in the project's success. Before leaving the Ritz's construction site this week, Torriani passes by a swathe of blue and cream brocade wallpaper and wood panelling outside the 98-year-old hotel's former boardroom. The room, along with the hotel's façade will be preserved - vestiges of the Ritz's opening in 1912, when the city was booming and its status as "the Paris of North America" wasn't yet a cliché. Torriani insists that today's economic climate - including the success of the Cirque du Soleil and "Quebec Inc." companies - is equally ripe for the Ritz's reopening, both as a high-end hotel and as a residence. "I think we've seen a resurgence in the last five years or so," he said. "Montreal has a lot more wealthy people than you would expect." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com Join Allison Lampert at our blog Inc. Ink for a tour of the Roc Fleuri's most expensive condo and see what $9.5 million will buy. http://www.montrealgazette.com/story_print.html?id=2759239&sponsor=
  3. Builders face financing squeeze 'We can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future' TERRENCE BELFORD From Friday's Globe and Mail September 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM EDT Remember how A Tale of Two Cities starts? Charles Dickens writes, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Stretch that theme a bit and you might be describing what is about to happen in the Toronto-area condominium market. First, the best of times. According to Urbanation Inc., which tracks condos from the Burlington border to Ajax and Whitby, there were a record 295 projects for sale at the end of June. Of these, 147 were under construction and another 38 new ones were ready to break ground. Behind those projects stood 151 different developers, and for many of them it was their first shot at building a condo. Those first-timers were mainly house builders who could no longer find building lots. Their choice was either to move into condos or fold their tents. So on the plus side, prospective buyers have never had greater choice. Now on to the worst of times. That impressive number of projects may prove to be the Greater Toronto Area's version of a Potemkin Village by the end of the year. Veteran market watchers say that up to a third of them are likely to be pulled from the market. Along with them, up to 50 developers may bite the dust. The reason? They are unlikely to find financing, says Barry Lyon. He is a 40-year veteran of the Toronto area real estate market. His company, N. Barry Lyon Consulting Ltd., provides research, marketing and project management to the condo and commercial sectors. "The U.S. credit crunch means the money to build just is not there," he says. "The tap has run dry." So, what determines who gets the money to build? In large part, GTA condo buyers. Developers need to presell about 60 per cent of the units in any project before lenders will take a look at providing the money to build. Equally important, they have to do it within reasonable time frames. As their marketing and sales teams scurry to sell suites, construction and carrying costs for high-priced land are ticking upwards. Mr. Lyon says he would not be surprised to see some developers pulling projects out of the market because those costs have risen to such an extent that they simply can't make a buck going ahead. "In some cases, even with 60 per cent sold, some developers are still going to have a hard time finding financing," he says. It is not that there is any lack of demand. It remains strong, says Jane Renwick, executive vice-president of Urbanation. But it is nowhere near the levels seen in 2007, which was a banner year for the industry. Thanks to record sales in 2007, 76 per cent of the 66,310 suites on the market at the end of June had already been snapped up. "I think a lot of last year's sales went to first-time buyers," she says. "I also think that most of them have now been absorbed so we are looking at a return to a more stable market — less of a gold-rush mentality." Again on the plus side of demand is the lure the GTA holds for immigrants. Ms. Renwick points out that of the 150,000 people who immigrate to Ontario in any given year, 100,000 of them make their way to the Toronto area. "If that trend continues, if we continue with high employment and if the economy continues to expand, we can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future," she says. That demand will continue to be strongest within the old city of Toronto. That is where 70 per cent of today's projects sit, says Mr. Lyon. It is also where prices are highest — an average $461 a square foot, versus $418 a year ago, according to Urbanation. Compare that with $294 in Scarborough, $254 in Pickering, $287 in Ajax and $313 in Aurora. Much of the difference is simply the cost of land to build on. But in that area Mr. Lyon suggests the coming shakeout may bring positive benefits to buyers. He says the loss of about a third of the developers today jockeying for land and bidding against each other to arrange construction crews likely means less competition for available resources. Less competition means lower demand and lower demand usually leads to, if not lower prices, then at least a much slower rise in prices. "It is going to be an interesting year," Mr. Lyon says. "By the end of 2008, the GTA's condo market may be a quite different place." Terrence Belford is a veteran journalist covering the Toronto real estate market.
  4. Un article du New York Time sur un penthouse à Vendre à Montréal. à Source: New York Time Album Photo INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE For Sale in ... Montreal By CLAIRE McGUIRE WHAT A one-bedroom penthouse apartment with industrial details and panoramic views of Montreal HOW MUCH 1,995,000 Canadian dollars ($1,866,400) SETTING This 10-story former factory was built in 1912 in the Paper Mill District near the financial district and Old Montreal. It shares the top floor with two other apartments, and overlooks several museums, the old port and the Chinatown neighborhood. Montreal is situated on several islands at the point where the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers merge. It is about 325 miles north of New York City. Montreal is known internationally for its architecture and design, its strong arts scene and its vibrant gay community. INSIDE The apartment has an open layout; only the bedroom, bathrooms and a sitting room are enclosed. It would be easy to create an additional bedroom. The bedroom has an en suite bathroom and a walk-in closet with one wall made of opaque glass. There is a double-sided fireplace between the living room and the kitchen. The floors are of blue-stained hardwood in some places and slate tile in others. The high ceilings, painted brick walls and textured concrete pillars recall the building’s industrial history. The apartment’s seven arched windows overlook the city, three at the front of the building and four along one side. OUTSIDE A skylight in the kitchen could be enlarged to provide roof access, and the apartment’s owners have the right to create a private rooftop garden. The ground floor of the building has a restaurant, and all building entrances have electronic security doors. The apartment comes with two indoor parking spaces. Next door, the grounds of St. Patrick Church offer the nearest green space. The area has many bicycle paths, and the building is within walking distance of the city’s financial district, as well as cafes, museums and art galleries. HOW TO GET THERE The apartment is 25 minutes by car from the airport, and two blocks from Montreal’s main train station. WHO BUYS IN MONTREAL Louise Latreille, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec, said that she had seen an increase in buyers from Morocco, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, China and Japan — and that many foreigners were buying condos for their college-age children. Most of the city’s American buyers spend winters in Florida or California and summers in Montreal, she added. European buyers tend to look for homes in the mountains, not in Montreal itself. Meanwhile, many Canadian empty-nesters are moving back to the city, looking for “something chic and exclusive,” she said. MARKET OVERVIEW Sandra Girard, senior analyst of the Montreal market for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, says the market has been less active this year than it was in 2007. According to Ms. Girard, the number of transactions in the first half of 2008 was 3 percent lower than in the same period last year. However, 2007 broke records for the number of real estate transactions, making a slight slow-down inevitable, because “the activity registered in 2007 is difficult to sustain.” Meanwhile, sales prices continue to increase at a slower rate. Ms. Girard said overall prices for residential real estate increased 4 percent in the first half of 2008, compared to 8 percent in the same period last year. Ms. Latreille says condominiums continue to be popular among buyers in Montreal. A report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board shows that prices for single-family detached homes increased less than 2 percent in the 12-month period to June 2008, while condo prices increased more than 7 percent over the same period. BUYING BASICS Stéphane Hardouin, a notary and partner in the law firm Sylvestre Lagasse in Sherbrooke, Quebec, says legal fees in Quebec are usually 1,200 to 1,800 Canadian dollars ($1,146 to $1,719). If the property is financed, he said, buyers usually pay an additional 750 Canadian dollars ($716) to the notary, and a mortgage registration fee of 137 Canadian dollars ($131). Buyers pay for an inspection, costing 600 to 1000 Canadian dollars ($573 to $955). Mr. Hardouin says the seller pays around 1,000 Canadian dollars ($955) for a surveyor’s certificate, and also the real estate agent’s commission of 5 to 7 percent. A goods and services tax, or sales tax, is assessed on new homes and on real estate agent commissions, he said. This tax is 12.875 percent. Land transfer taxes in Canada are different for each province. In Quebec, transfer taxes are paid directly to the municipality, Mr. Hardouin said. Montreal’s transfer tax, commonly called the “welcome tax,” has a graduated structure based on the purchase price. The first 50,000 Canadian dollars ($47,800) is taxed at 0.5 percent. The next 200,000 Canadian dollars ($191,100) is taxed at 1 percent, and amounts over 250,000 Canadian dollars ($238,900) are taxed at 1.5 percent, he said. USEFUL WEB SITES Official portal of Montreal: ville.montreal.qc.ca Official tourism website of Montreal: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org Divers/Cité, Montreal’s gay and lesbian arts festival: http://www.diverscite.org Old Montreal official site: http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca Greater Montreal Real Estate Board: http://www.cigm.qc.ca LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY French is the official language of Quebec, while English and French are the official languages of Canada; Canadian dollar (1 Canadian dollar=$0.93) TAXES AND FEES Maintenance fees are 907 Canadian dollars ($865) a month. Municipal property taxes for this apartment are estimated at 11,800 Canadian dollars ($11,255) a year. Ms. Latreille says this figure is 25 percent lower than the normal tax rate because the building is historical. Additionally, school tax is 2,535 Canadian dollars ($2,372) per year. CONTACT Louise Latreille, Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec (514) 287-7434; http://www.sothebysrealty.ca Mon bout préféré:
  5. http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/montreal-real-estate-tax-foreign-investors-vancouver-1.3704178 A new tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver has real estate agents predicting a spillover effect into other Canadian markets. But it's unclear if Montreal, often an outlier when it comes to real estate trends, will be among them. "I really don't think this is something that's looming for Montreal," said Martin Desjardins, a local realtor. The market here is "nothing compared to what's happening in Toronto and Vancouver," he said. The new 15 per cent tax, which took effect Tuesday, was introduced by the British Columbia government with the intent of improving home affordability in Metro Vancouver, where house prices are among the highest in North America. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has said he is examining the possibility of a similar tax "very closely," as a measure to address Toronto's skyrocketing home prices. Experts believe the Vancouver tax could exacerbate the booming housing market in Toronto and, potentially, affect other Canadian cities. Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said some foreign nationals could turn to areas not subject to a tax — either elsewhere in British Columbia or farther afield. "Certainly I think Toronto and potentially other markets like Montreal will start to become more attractive, because comparatively speaking they will be less expensive,'' Henderson said. However, the Montreal market has so far remained off the radar of foreign investors. France, U.S top Montreal foreign buyers the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the number of foreign investors in the Montreal area is small and concentrated in condominiums in the city's downtown. The report found that 1.3 per cent of condominiums in the greater Montreal region were owned by foreigners last year. That number jumps to nearly five per cent in the city's downtown. Residents of the United States and France accounted for the majority of foreign buyers, while China (at eight per cent) and Saudi Arabia (five per cent) accounted for far fewer buyers. Francis Cortellino, the CMHC market analyst who prepared the study, said it's difficult to determine whether the Vancouver tax will change the situation much in Montreal. "We're not sure yet what [buyers] will do," he said. "There are a lot of possibilities." In Montreal, Desjardins said the foreign real estate buyers most often operate on a much smaller scale, often consisting of "mom and pop investors" or people from France looking for a more affordable lifestyle. "I don't think it will ever be to the point where we'll have to put a tax," he said. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. Luxury automakers smash August sales records in Canada By Nicolas Van Praet, Financial PostSeptember 6, 2009 When auto executives gathered at Pebble Beach in Carmel, Calif. this month to show off a bevy of new luxury car models, the mood was decidedly more downbeat than in previous years. Managers for Lamborghini and Lincoln decried the state of sales for their high-end cars, arguing that their well-heeled American buyers are fearful of flaunting their money with lavish purchases at a time when the United States is still gripped in financial scandals and climbing unemployment. “Keeping up with the Joneses is passé,” lamented Ford Motor Co.’s Mark Fields. Somebody forgot to tell that to Canadians. Amid the worst job market in 15 years, several luxury automakers smashed August sales records in Canada. Mercedes-Benz reported a 20% increase in sales and has sold 2,318 more vehicles this year than last. BMW and Lexus are also besting last year’s tally with double-digit percentage increases last month. Audi nearly doubled its sales in August over a year ago, and has sold 27% more vehicles this year. The country is in a recession and yet the luxury market is holding up. Meanwhile, sales of the most affordable vehicles, subcompacts, are down 26% through the first eight months. “It’s totally counter-intuitive,” said John White, chief executive of Volkswagen Group Canada, Inc., which comprises the Volkswagen and Audi brands. “It’s taken us a little bit by surprise. And the Audi division has had to turn around and ask [headquarters] for more cars because we didn’t think the demand would be as strong in a down market.” Mr. White’s read on the situation is that Canadians who believe they are secure in their jobs are pulling the trigger on buying middle-of-the-road luxury vehicles like the A4 sedan and BMW 3-Series, not the higher-end models. He said the luxury segment has become hyper-competitive as BMW and Mercedes “are out there as aggressive as you’ll see mainstream competitors,” offering deals that were unthinkable only a few years ago and making it easier for buyers to step into premium cars. Mercedes is offering lease deals such as $398 per month on its 2010 C250 car, based on an interest rate of 4.9% for 36 months. That’s on par with a similarly-equipped Honda Accord or Mazda6, according to the Automobile Protection Association. Roughly 40% of luxury vehicle sales transactions in Canada are leases, according to J.D. Power & Associates’ Power Information Network. One third of people pay cash while the rest take out a loan. Sales growth is particularly strong in one sub-segment of the premium market: compact luxury SUVs. Volvo, Mercedes and Audi have launched new vehicles into that category this year, which has helped boost sales volumes 66% over 2008 levels, said industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. “We’re still a society that needs to carry stuff,” said J.D. Power analyst Geoff Helby in explaining why SUV models like the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5 are clicking with buyers. “[People] are stepping away from the previous generation of minivans and big honking SUVs and they’re going into something smaller” without giving up luxury features. In the mind of the Canadian luxury buyer, downsizing is the compromise they’re making in the recession, Mr. Helby said. Mary Weil is proof. The media relations professional and her husband started looking around for a new vehicle earlier this year after the lease on a larger sports utility vehicle he drove expired, she recalls. They decided on a Mercedes GLK compact SUV. “The price point was surprisingly not that much higher than comparable vehicles.” In a Jan.15 analysis, Mr. DesRosiers predicted the luxury market in Canada overall will drop 5% this year. Automakers sold 131,436 luxury vehicles in 2008, a 3% decline over the year before. Financial Post [email protected]
  7. Greece | Oil | Keystone XL | RRSPs | BoC | Apple | Target | Bombardier How the falling loonie and low rates could lure more foreign investors to Canadian housing Republish Reprint Garry Marr | February 26, 2015 | Last Updated: Feb 26 7:12 PM ET More from Garry Marr | @DustyWallet Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Email Typo? More Jason Payne/Postmedia News, file Jason Payne/Postmedia News, fileLennon Sweeting, a Toronto-based dealer with US Forex which trades in currencies, says the loonie is making housing more attractive to foreign buyers. Canada’s two priciest housing markets may not need the boost, but Toronto and Vancouver could be on the verge of a spike in foreign investment. Toronto's rental market reborn as housing prices surge out of reach for many ‘There’s a huge demand for rental… We are seeing for the first time in 40 years people are starting to build rental,’ says managing director of Timbercreek Asset Management With the loonie falling about 10% against the U.S. dollar in the last six months, foreigners who have their money parked in greenbacks or in currencies pegged to the American dollar are likely to ramp up their interest in the Canadian marketplace, say industry experts. Alberta, which is now facing a crunch of new listings and weak demand, is unlikely to see any benefit as investors run away from the province over oil price fears. “The reputation of the oilpatch here has been tarnished a bit,” says Dan Scarrow, the Shanghai-based managing director of Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre, which was set up just two months ago, and is run by Vancouver-based Macdonald Real Estate Group. He says the opposite is true in Vancouver and Toronto, where prices in January were up 7.5% and 6.1% respectively from a year ago, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. “With the Chinese economy slowing down a bit and with the Canadian dollar depreciating 20% versus the RMB, it might change the calculus of some people of how much they want to leave in China and how much they want to bring to Canada.” To [foreign investors], the Canadian market has gone on sale Mr. Scarrow’s firm caused a stir last year with data it produced from its client base that showed 33.5% of all single-family homes sales in the Vancouver area could be traced to buyers from mainland China. Foreign buyers and their position in the marketplace have been a concern for some market watchers, who fear these investors are inflating housing prices. But there hasn’t been definitive data. Even the chief executive of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Evan Siddall, conceded there were data gaps. The Crown corporation finally produced data two months ago on the condominium market that showed as much as 2.4% of Toronto highrises were in foreign hands and 2.3% in Vancouver, with some people still disputing those findings. Mr. Scarrow says in terms of Chinese investors they are divided between people still living overseas and people already living in Canada but with money still parked in RMBs. With Chinese New Year over, he expects investment to pick up. Related Foreign buyers taking over — this time it's Canadians in Florida IMF says housing in Canada overvalued by as much as 20% “Decisions have been held off until this week,” he says. “There is a lag for these things in terms of stats and what we see on the ground.” Brian Johnston, chief operating officer of Toronto-based Mattamy Homes, has never been a believer of the idea that foreign investment was a huge factor in Canadian housing, but he says when you get can a 10% to 20% currency swing it has to be positive. “To [foreign investors], the Canadian market has gone on sale,” said Mr. Johnston, noting his company also develops property in the United States it tries to sell to Canadians. “The reverse is true for them. The price of U.S. real estate just went up by 10%.” Lennon Sweeting, a Toront0-based dealer with US Forex which trades in currencies, says the loonie is making housing more attractive to foreign buyers. “The Bank of Canada has tried to offset lower prices with a weaker currency making investing in Canada more attractive,” said Mr. Sweeting, adding most high net worth investors are likely holding U.S. dollars right now. “Absolutely it makes it easier to buy [Canadian real estate]. If you’re holding U.S. dollars you are looking at buying at a discount and there’s plenty of supply.” Low interest rates have also boosted demand, even though foreign investors tend to have to put up larger down payments when borrowing to buy property. Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice-president at condo research firm Urbanation Inc., noted new condo sales in the Greater Toronto Area in 2014 rose over 50% from a year ago but it’s hard to pinpoint how much is attributable to foreign investors. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see more foreign investment in 2015,” said Mr. Hildebrand, adding surveys of Urbanation clients peg the foreign component of Toronto’s condo market at just under 5%. sent via Tapatalk
  8. Could the Miami skyline one day resemble Manhattan’s? Apr 5th 2014 | MIAMI | From the print edition A mirror of prosperity ICON BRICKELL, a three-tower complex in Miami’s financial district, was supposed to be a flagship project for the Related Group, the city’s top condominium developer. It would boast 1,646 luxury condos, a 91-metre-long pool, and a hundred 22-foot columns in its entryway. By 2010, however, it had become a symbol of the excesses of the city’s building boom, and Related was forced to hand two of the towers to its banks. Miami condo prices plunged to 60% below their peak. The vacancy rate jumped to 60%. Predictions flew that the market, the epicentre of America’s property crash, would take ten years to come back, or even longer. The speed of the recovery has surprised everyone. Condo prices are already back near peak levels in Miami’s most desirable areas, and at 75-80% elsewhere. The available supply of units has fallen back to within the six-to-nine-months-of-sales range considered normal, from a stomach-churning 40 in 2008. Only 3% of condos are unoccupied. Sales of condos and single-family homes are above pre-crisis levels across Miami-Dade County. Commercial property, too, has rebounded, with demand outstripping supply. Developers are once again relaxed enough to crack jokes. “I call the current expansion the Viagra cycle,” jokes Carlos Rosso, Related’s president of condominium development. “We just want it to last a little longer.” The recovery has been partly driven by low interest rates and bottom-fishing by private equity, which helped to clear excess inventory. But the biggest factor is that the city nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” has attracted a flood of capital from Latin America. Rich people in turbulent spots such as Venezuela and Argentina are seeking a safe haven for their savings. Estate agents are also seeing capital flight from within the United States. Individuals pay no state or city income tax in Miami, unlike, say, New York, whose mayor wants to hike taxes on the rich further. “Somebody said to me, ‘Give me three reasons why this will continue.’ My answer was: Maduro, Kirchner and De Blasio,” chuckles Marc Sarnoff, a Miami city commissioner, referring to the leaders of the capitalist-bashing regimes in Venezuela, Argentina and New York. Another attraction is the 40% rise in Miami condo rents since 2009, buoying the income of owners who choose not to live in the tropical hurly-burly that Dave Barry, a local author, calls “Insane City”. Brokers report increased business from Eastern Europe and the Middle East (Qatar Airways will fly direct to Miami from June), and an uptick in inquiries from Chinese buyers. Is another bubble forming already? Developers say this time is different, and in some ways it is. In a few years Miami has gone from the most- to the least-leveraged property market in America. Buyers of new condos typically have to put 50% down, half of that before building starts. Banks are loth to extend construction loans unless 60-75% of the units are already sold. In both residential and commercial projects, they require developers to put in much more equity than before. Mr Rosso says Related now puts in three times as much, which limits its ambition. The firm now has 2,000 condos in the works, a tenth of what it was building in 2007. Still, a supply glut is possible. With developers gung-ho again, around 50 towers are under construction or planned in downtown Miami (including the Porsche Design Tower, whose well-heeled inhabitants will be able to take their cars up to the level on which they live in a special lift—this is useful if you really love your car). More were added last month when Oleg Baybakov, a Russian mining-to-property oligarch, bought a trio of condo-development sites for $30m, more than triple their assessed market value in 2013. Miami’s developers are adept at using “smoke and mirrors” to hide the true number of pre-sold units, says Peter Zalewski of Condo Vultures, a property-intelligence firm. Some see the first signs of trouble. The stock of unsold condos and houses has crept up slightly since last summer. A local broker says that Blackstone, a private-equity firm with a taste for bricks and mortar, bought $120m of properties with his firm’s help in 2013 but “won’t do anything like that this year”. Mr Zalewski says banks are competing harder to finance certain projects, but this may not be a sign of unadulterated bullishness. They may simply be betting that many of the 134 towers proposed but not yet under construction in South Florida won’t get built—meaning the 57 that have already broken ground will do better than forecast. Much will depend on whether Latin Americans remain addicted to Miami property and, should their ardour cool, whether Americans and others would take up the slack. Few domestic buyers are comfortable putting 50% down, especially when most of it is at risk if the project fails. One or two developers have begun to accept 30% down, a possible sign of increased reliance on home-grown buyers. The market should get a fillip from the current and planned redevelopment of several chunks of downtown Miami. One of the most ambitious projects is Miami Worldcenter, a 30-acre retail, hotel and convention-centre complex that will feature Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and a giant Marriott hotel. A science museum will soon join the art museum . These projects build on progress made over the past decade towards becoming a world-class city, from the opening of dozens of top-notch restaurants to Art Basel picking Miami as one of the three venues for its shows (“the Super Bowl of the Art World”, as Tom Wolfe called it in his Miami novel, “Back to Blood”). Tourism is at record levels. Miami is the only American city besides New York in the top ten of Knight Frank’s 2014 global-cities index, which ranks cities by their attractiveness to the ultra-wealthy. (It comes seventh, ahead of Paris.) Property is still far cheaper than in most other cities on the list (see chart). Miami’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is dangling the city’s low taxes and lovely weather in front of companies to persuade them to move there. This is starting to bear fruit, especially in finance: Universa, a $6 billion hedge fund in California, recently agreed to relocate, following part of Eddie Lampert’s ESL. SABMiller, a giant brewer, has moved its Latin American head office from Colombia. . “I lived a long time in New York, but here [in Miami] it’s easier to make something from nothing,” enthuses Nitin Motwani, a DDA board member, who talks of the city’s skyline one day resembling Manhattan’s. Mr Zalewski is more cautious. Miami’s property market is “a great game”, he says, but “all it would take to send a chill through the entire market is one big project to go sideways.” Developers who joke about Viagra should keep some aspirin within reach, just in case.
  9. By Brian Ker, Special to The Gazette The Gazette's panel of experts answer your questions on real estate. To ask a question, please email [email protected] There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding the bonanza of construction taking place in Montreal and certainly on these pages an inquisitive analysis of the quantity of condominium construction. We also hear about “the hot land market” and there are lots of questions as to its sustainability. I recently attended the Land and Development Conference in Toronto to determine the optimism in North America’s largest condominium market and compare that with what we have been witnessing here in Montreal as land values have rapidly increased over the past five years. In a hot market, land is not an asset but is priced more like a commodity: a raw material that is just one part of a final constructed product, including concrete, steel and labour. In a weak market, land values are more likely tied to its short-term income-producing potential, such as parking revenues less off-setting taxes. The rapidly diminishing land supply and a cultural shift toward urban living have lead to changes in the commercial land market. First, commercial land sales are principally divided between high- and low-density sites. High-density sites intended for office, hotel, mixed-use and multi-unit residential projects, while low-density sites incorporate retail, industrial and single-family home developments. The value of land is based on the total amount of density permitted on its property – a site permitting an office tower is considerably greater than a walkup row-house or an industrial facility – and the total volume of potential sales in a given year, which allow for larger projects. Restrictive zoning can adversely affect the site’s value, as can social-housing inclusions and lengthy, complicated and sometimes “out-of-control” zoning application processes that jeopardize a project’s economic vitality. On Montreal Island, the prevailing trend is that high-density sites are taking a larger market share of total land transaction sales volumes because of the increasing prominence of sales of larger development sites permitting significantly greater density, and higher pricing for each unit of density, also referred to as the price per square foot Buildable. Over the past five years, the value for each unit of density has doubled to an average price of approximately $30 per square foot buildable. This is primarily based upon the rapid increase (up to 50%) in values for condominiums during the same time period, and as such, sales of sites for residential projects have outpaced all other sectors. Developers will be happy to note that Montreal was the third-largest condominium market in North America in 2010, albeit in an aberration year for the U.S. housing market, and only trailing Toronto and Houston in overall condo starts. This buoyancy has been growing for some time as major developers have acquired land holdings to fuel future projects. Since October of 2008, there have been a 11 high-density development land transactions in the greater Montreal area that have traded above $5 million, with a total value of $148 million in high-density land sales. Major sales included the land for the Project Griffintown project, Angus Development in the Quartier des Spectacles, the Marianopolis site, the site for the Altoria project and most recently Prevel and Conceptions Rachel-Juilien acquiring the rights from Canada Lands to develop Les Bassins du Nouveau Havre for $20 million. These major land transactions were purchased by well-known, well-respected and well-capitalized condo developers, with the exception of the Angus Assembly and Altoria, both of which will feature a mix of office and condominium use. Mixed-use projects are becoming the new normal, as developers put forth projects that feature greater overall site density to decrease the effects of higher land prices or kick start existing larger projects with an exclusively residential component. For land values to continue their ascent, Montreal developers and buyers need to develop an attitude shift with regard to larger projects. The traditional condo developer logic is that it is nearly impossible to sell more than 150 units for a project in one sales year. The rationale for this is, typically, that Montrealers will not pay a deposit for a condo unit until substantial pre-sales have been achieved or it is under construction, as they are not willing to wait two to three years for delivery. Recent project launches, though, are challenging this traditional thinking, with buyers (or their agents) waiting in line overnight and first-day sell-outs occurring with regularity, or buyers are asked to place a “deposit” to reserve a unit without seeing final plans. Buyers can no longer sit back and cherry-pick the best unit, as it will probably be reserved before they arrive on the scene. In addition, unless condominiums continue to experience strong price increases, Montreal condo developers will be facing increasing pressure for prime sites from alternative uses, such as office towers, hotels, or institutional (Healthcare, Educational, Student Residence) projects, where demand is steadily growing. Finally, our municipal government needs to develop a more flexible zoning application process with regard to major urban projects and the need for public consultations. Politicians should rely on the counsel of independent experts, but are elected to make decisions, and voters should judge them on these decisions, good or bad, at the ballot-box. Montreal home and condo owners have benefited from the rapidly rising values of their residential real estate over the past five years. Although rising interest rates are on the horizon and will clearly dampen demand for condos for home ownership and as an investment vehicle, demand is increasing for alternate site uses. Land values have also seen a rapid ascent, particularly for high density sites, and the economic fundamentals support continued growth and greater liquidity in this particular market. Brian Ker is associate vice-president, National Investment Team, at CB Richard Ellis Limited. He can be reached at 514 905-2141 or by email at [email protected] Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sustainable+Montreal+construction+bonanza/4889700/story.html#ixzz1OFFSPeAz
  10. Find out how these new developments managed to surviveBy KATHERINE DYKSTRA January 12, 2011 The developers of the 95-unit Griffin Court, on 10th Avenue between 53rd and 54th streets, have made no secret of the fact that they are giving the first 15 percent of their buyers a 15 percent discount. The reason? Let’s just say it’s no coincidence that getting contracts signed on 15 percent of the units is exactly what it will take in order to make the condo plan effective. “People would come in and ask how many we’ve sold,” says Ken Horn, president of Alchemy Properties, which is developing Griffin Court. The building came “softly” on the market in March of last year. “People would say, ‘When you have the plan effective, we’d be interested in buying.’ We realized that once we hit that 15 percent level, it [would be] amazing what happened with sales,” Horn adds. And so, after not moving a single unit in that first six months, Alchemy re-launched the sales of Griffin Court in September, initiating the 15 percent-off perk. Today, Alchemy has 15 contracts that are either signed or out for signature. “[Developers] who cut prices to get the pre-sales requirements are smart and will survive,” says Jonathan Miller, president of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Nothing is easy in today’s tough real estate market, a very different one than, say, four years ago — especially for new developments. To wit, in the second quarter of 2006, 57 percent of all Manhattan closings were on listings in new developments, according to Miller. Compare that to the most recently completed quarter, where only 21.6 percent of closings were in new development. This figure does, however, represent a stabilizing of new development sales, which have hovered in the low 20s for the last six quarters. The low point of 16.4 percent came at the beginning of 2010. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s harder than ever to sell buyers on new development. That’s largely because buyers fear buildings might never be finished (slow sales can lead to reneged financing, which in turn can lead to the dreaded “going rental” or remaining vacant). “Buyers are skeptical still that developers will finish their product. Buyers are really looking for things they can move into in six months,” says Steve Kliegerman, executive director of development marketing at Halstead Property. So, rather than attempt to unload units as soon as a floor plan has been settled on, many developers are waiting to launch sales until the building is nearly finished. That way, buyers can at least walk through a completed model unit. “Most developers are holding product off the market until it is more finished,” says Kliegerman, who launched sales at Gramercy 19 in October. At the time, the project was 55 percent finished in terms of construction; including the on-site sales office. The building’s studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments range from $500,000 to $2.4 million and average $1,400 a square foot. Though 12 contracts have been signed at Gramercy 19, Kliegerman decided to pull four units off the market to wait for their construction to be complete; he wants to show finished products, which he believes can fetch higher prices. Love Lane Mews, a 38-unit conversion in Brooklyn Heights, priced from $1.05 million for a 1,000-square-foot one-bedroom to $4.25 million for a 2,400-square-foot three-bedroom, launched sales in November. “We had planned to come to market earlier,” says Laurie Zucker, principal of Manhattan Skyline, which is developing the condo along with Sterling Equities. “It was a difficult construction . . . we thought we’d be on the market during the summer and early fall.” But rather than launch early and attempt to sell off of a floor plan, they held out until there was something for buyers to see. Zucker estimates construction will be complete within the next three to six months. “People aren’t buying from paper anymore, they want to see what they’re getting,” says Corcoran Sunshine Marketing’s Henry Hershkowitz, sales director for 123 Third Ave., a 47-unit condo building at 14th Street and Third Avenue, which came on the market just after Labor Day. “You don’t want to wait until it’s totally done; you just want the tools to sell it.” At 123 Third Ave., Hershkowitz has been able to put more than 80 percent of the units into contract. Condos start as low as $600,000 and go up to $4.525 million. “More than 50 percent [of the building is made up of] one-bedrooms,” Hershkowitz says. “They sold quickly. They’re all sold out.” “There has been some traction in the sense that there has been sales activity,” Miller says of the market overall. “A lot of it was circling around sub-million-dollar properties because that amount could go through Fannie or Freddie in conforming loans.” Of Griffin Court’s 95 units, 46 are below $1 million. Studios start at $625,000 and 681 square feet. “Three, four years ago, the units would go for 25 percent more, [but] our objective has been to price our units to be able to sell,” Horn says. Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/realestate/residential/go_LW7aAM0XPpHPzEzsr0YUwO#ixzz1Aw2q6rJN
  11. Wealthy Global Buyers Favoring Montreal Spur 17% Gains By Greg Quinn - Dec 4, 2013 11:09 AM GMT-0500 International buyers have thrust Montreal, a city sometimes overshadowed by Toronto and Vancouver, into the national spotlight. Montreal, known for its crumbling water pipes and bridges as much as its cobblestone streets, now stands out for drawing the biggest share of foreign owners. They purchased 49 percent of the 206 homes worth at least C$1 million in the first half of 2013, according to a Sotheby’s International Realty Canada report and survey of brokers. In Vancouver, which boasts a rugged Pacific coastline and cultural ties to Asia, 40 percent of buyers of 1,239 such homes were from abroad. Toronto, which has filled its skyline with condo towers over the last decade, had the smallest portion of international owners, making up 25 percent of 2,947 deals. “The share of foreign buying in the Montreal luxury market surprises me,” said Craig Alexander, chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. (TD) “When we think about the presence of international buyers we tend to think about Vancouver and Toronto.” 16.9% Gain International buyers are shoring up high-end housing in Canada after regulators tightened mortgage rules in 2012 to cool the nation’s booming market. In Montreal, prices of bungalows of around 1,200 square feet (111 square meters) rose as much as 5.4 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, according to figures from Toronto-based Royal LePage Real Estate Services. Dwellings of at least 3,000 square feet worth about C$2.47 million in the Westmount area gained 16.9 percent in the same period. In Vancouver and Toronto, price growth of luxury housing in some neighborhoods also outpaced less costly homes, the data show. Julie Dickson, who heads the Ottawa-based Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, said scant data makes it difficult to determine the impact of foreign buyers on the market. “There is anecdotal evidence at a minimum that foreign investment plays a big role, particularly in Vancouver. And while I think that means Canada is a great place to do business, it also is a risk because it can dry up quickly,” Dickson said during a Nov. 25 presentation in Toronto. Full article ici.
  12. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/greathomesanddestinations/03gh-househunting-1.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1299593719-+xlaQH3kS13uLe9aveRW4A
  13. January 25, 2009 And the Blog Goes On By SAMANTHA STOREY KNOWING what your neighbor paid for his apartment is a juicy morsel of gossip, and in New York, gossiping about real estate is an obsession. It is so captivating that an entire niche of blogs was created to cover it. In the past four years, sites like Curbed.com, Brownstoner.com, UrbanDigs.com, TrueGotham.com and The Matrix have been scrutinizing the housing boom with pithy observation and, in some cases, snide commentary. For readers, it was fun to pillory the design flaws of new offerings and to read about how one broker had trashed another in an overheard conversation in an elevator. But with the recession in full swing and the housing market waning, what will these blogs write about now? It’s not entertaining to skewer a market where property values are falling and scores of people are losing their homes to foreclosure. The guiding lights behind these blogs say that they are evolving, becoming more serious and focusing on the nuts-and-bolts details of the market. True Gotham, for instance, is writing about how long transactions are taking. Others are becoming more general sites for neighborhood news. Curbed’s tip line once passed on information from a reader who said that there was a truck in the neighborhood giving out free meat. For some blogs, the real estate slowdown has led to a leveling off in readership. But all of the bloggers say they are confident their services are not only in demand, but will be increasingly valuable as the market gets trickier. The reader community that formed as a result of these blogs is a fundamental part of their success. “These sites are fulfilling the needs of people to connect with each other and stay on top of the ever-changing market,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a media analyst for Forrester Research. “Real estate is a topic ripe for discussion — it is competitive, emotionally charged and fast changing.” Nevertheless, the blogs’ founders worry about declines in page views and advertising, and like the owners of other forms of media, they are trying to find strategies to deal with the recession. Jonathan Butler, the founder and owner of Brownstoner, said he laid off his sole employee in December and had gone back to writing the entire site himself. Profits have not gone down, he said, but he fears that with the economic downturn, they might. “It is somewhat pre-emptive,” he said. “But I’d rather be safe than sorry — I have two kids.” Curbed, the most popular of the New York City real estate blogs, with two million page views a month, has not had an increase in page views since September. “Traffic on Curbed has been flat,” said Lockhart Steele, the president of the Curbed.com media company, speaking from a coffee shop in the East Village. “I think we are seeing a little of the ‘401(k) syndrome,’ ” Mr. Steele said, referring to people who are ignoring recent financial statements because they know they will present bad news. “There are probably people who are thinking, ‘I am not going to look at that for a few months.’” Although not radically so, the blogs are also becoming more tasteful. Curbed has a feature called Price Chopper that before the downturn was illustrated with a bloody ax. Now that some sellers are taking a bath, the ax has been axed. In the spring of 2004, when Mr. Steele started Curbed.com, many of his posts picked up information about new buildings and commercial real estate from other publications, with links to their articles at the bottom. But as the site grew in popularity, Mr. Steele started to receive news tips from his readers and posted those. “The thing that happened is the readers took over,” said Mr. Steele, 35. “I think what makes the site vital is the fact that we cannot be everywhere, but readers are everywhere, and people love to participate.” Mr. Steele said reader involvement had not declined even with the faltering market. He continues to get tips from readers; these are followed up by two full-time editors. Mr. Butler, who used to work in marketing for a hedge fund, is also optimistic about the future of Brownstoner and other blogs. “I think real estate is the topic in New York,” said Mr. Butler, 39, speaking from an architecture firm in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn where he rents cubicle space. “You have plenty of people who couldn’t tell you what the S.&P. 500 is, but they can talk about real estate values.” Brownstoner, which gets 1.2 million page views a month, was started in 2004. Initially, Mr. Butler wrote about brownstone homes on the market in Brooklyn, and linked to resources about renovating them. This was mainly because he was renovating a brownstone that he had bought six months earlier. The posts were so well received that he started a forum specifically to discuss renovation of historic homes. These days Brownstoner has around 15 to 20 posts a day, covering community news, market analysis and new developments. But Mr. Butler still links to listings for interesting Brooklyn properties, and sometimes follows the entire selling cycle, from when a home is listed, through price cuts and the contract, to when the deed is transferred, giving the reader a sort of real-time play by play. Despite a shaky housing market, advertisers say that Curbed and Brownstoner are vital ways to find buyers. “You will see us moving toward more Web-based, cost-efficient advertising,” said Stephen Kliegerman, the executive director of development marketing for Halstead Property, a Manhattan brokerage firm that advertises on Curbed and Brownstoner. “Blogs, in particular, have buyers and sellers who are sharing their stories,” he said. “As more people come to their sites to read about the market, we feel like we will reach more potential buyers than ever before.” Halstead started placing banner advertisements on both sites about nine months ago. “We have backed off on the number of print ads we are doing,” Mr. Kliegerman said, adding that Halstead would continue advertising on blogs at the same level this year. Although some people go to the blogs only when they are hoping to buy, sell or rent, for others they become a habit. Louis Rosenfeld, who lives in Park Slope, started visiting Brownstoner last summer when he was looking for an apartment. He closed on a co-op in the fall, but is still reading the site. “I find it interesting to use as a lens for what’s going on in the borough,” said Mr. Rosenfeld, a book publisher. He said he liked the site’s broad approach. “I can find out what is happening with the Atlantic Yards and in neighborhoods like Ditmas Park and Flatbush.” He also said it was difficult to find news about these smaller neighborhoods in mainstream media. Some see the chance to comment as a way to promote their neighborhoods. On Brownstoner, one commenter used the log-in name Crown Heights Proud. “I would talk about the good things about Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy,” she said. “I liked to talk about the positive aspects of living in the community, the years of middle-class black people who raised their families there and were not afraid to go out on the streets. There is a history.” Crown Heights Proud, who did not give her real name because she wants to protect her privacy, now posts as Montrose Morris. While Curbed and Brownstoner are run by real estate entrepreneurs who derive income from the blogs, several are put out by people who have day jobs in the real estate business. They are less interested in gossip and more oriented to exposing the wizard behind the curtain. Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a Manhattan research and appraisal company, said that the blog genre had given the industry a great deal of transparency. With so much property information available online, “most people do an extensive amount of research before they even call an agent,” he said. “The blogosphere has brought an in-your-face approach to housing, and as a result, the agent’s role has changed from information provider to adviser.” He writes a blog called The Matrix (matrix.millersamuel.com), which has the tag line “Interpreting the Real Estate Economy.” He said his goal was to filter “a lot of the spin consumers are given.” He may write about what a change in federal policy could mean to housing demand, for instance. “I learn a tremendous amount by researching topics, which makes me a better appraiser,” he said. “This is purely a selfish endeavor because it’s like doing homework you like to do.” He doesn’t think interest in blogs will wane. “I think the influence of real estate blogs will continue to grow in this downturn,” Mr. Miller said. “I think they will become more and more mainstream. If you are a passionate real estate follower, people are craving quality and relevance, and these blogs are very fun to read.” Mr. Miller’s blog receives around 60,000 page views a month, which is double what it got a year ago, he said. “I have no way of correlating it to the financial crisis,” he said, “but it might be because of a thirst for information.” Douglas Heddings, a senior vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, started his blog, TrueGotham.com, in 2006, to burnish the image of real estate agents. “I really wanted to fight the used-car-salesman stigma that real estate brokers have,” said Mr. Heddings, who has been a broker since 1992. “I was so sick of going into a relationship with a potential customer and having them be defensive the moment they met me because of the bad reputation of agents.” He started to write about the day-to-day intricacies of brokers’ jobs and the things they should be doing for the buyers and sellers they represent. Initial posts had titles like “A Broker’s View of Unscrupulous Real Estate Brokers” and “Things You Can Overhear in a Real Estate Office.” But being forthcoming backfired, he said. “At the beginning I took a self-righteous tone,” he said. “Airing the dirty laundry of an industry that already struggles with its reputation is not the most effective way to change its perception.” Mr. Heddings said that his blog had replaced more conventional forms of marketing, like sending postcards, and that as a result, most of his clients had found him through reading it. One of them was Naomi Novik, a fantasy fiction writer. She got the idea to search real estate broker blogs from thesavilerowtailor.co.uk, a blog run by a British tailor. Since she had come to know the tailor through his blog, she thought she could get to know brokers through their blogs, too. That’s how she found Mr. Heddings. “New York City real estate has a terrible and well-deserved reputation for being a nightmare,” she said, “and Doug’s blog was endlessly valuable because he seemed like someone who was articulate and trustworthy. I live a good portion of my life online, in a way, and have always found people and services that way.” Noah Rosenblatt, a vice president of Halstead Property, writes UrbanDigs, which started in 2005. From the outset he has tracked macroeconomic indicators like unemployment rates and stock-market strength to gauge the housing market. On the blog, “people can learn about me and how I view the markets,” said Mr. Rosenblatt, who worked as a trader before becoming a broker in 2004. “I tell it like it is, real time, ahead of the curve, as opposed to lagging quarterly reports that get spun by brokers.” As a result, he said, he has attracted a readership that over time has come to know him and to trust his opinion of the market. “It takes a lot of time to build something from nothing,” he said. “You can’t just launch a blog and get 5,000 visitors a day.” Now, all of his clients are people who have found him online. Propertygrunt.blogspot.com, named in part for Grunt, a soldier in the G.I. Joe comic book series, is run anonymously by someone in the real estate industry. In an exchange of e-mail messages, he said he had no plans to change the tune or the tone of his four-year-old blog, which gives his perspective of the real estate market as a whole. A recent entry, he said, “was about how brokers kept using the word ‘confidence’ after the dismal fourth-quarter market reports.” He lampooned brokers’ use of the word, and wrote seven sizzling paragraphs in boldface capital letters to get his point across. But whether gung-ho or down at the mouth, New Yorkers, so far, seem to have an insatiable appetite for real estate news. “It just is, and maybe it always has been, the great New York obsession,” Mr. Steele said. “Maybe it’s because Manhattan is an island, and from Minute 1 there has always been a fixed amount of space. “Jeez, I don’t know,” he said. “Real estate just makes people crazy.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/realestate/25cov.html?pagewanted=1
  14. We are quite fortunate to have such cheap housing here in Montreal. The likes of Winnipeg and Moncton are more expensive than us. Why is that? Source: The Globe and Mail http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070926.whousingprices0926/BNStory/robNews/home
  15. Surtout des investisseurs chinois, comme on l'a vu pour le projet Séville.. via The Gazette A foreign attraction to Montreal’s real estate market BY ALLISON LAMPERT, GAZETTE REAL ESTATE REPORTER NOVEMBER 23, 2013 4:55 PM People are seen waiting outside the offices for the Seville condos on St-Catherine St. W. in 2010. Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette The Seville Condo project has a sign, in English, French and Mandarin, that says “Do you know the person you let in without any fob? Please swipe your fob to show you live here” in the front entrance of the condo building on Ste-Catherine St. W. because of the large number of owners who are recent immigrants from China, or who have bought to rent out as an investment. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette MONTREAL — Down the street from Montreal’s old Forum, in a bustling neighbourhood now dotted with Chinese noodle shops, ethnic grocers and new construction, the sign on the door of the Le Seville condo building asks residents in French, English and Chinese: “Do you know the person you let in?” Since last year’s annual meeting — when some condo owners from China had difficulty following the discussion — the board of directors has been translating important material — such as the sign on the door and the building’s annual budget — into Chinese. “It was clear that the Chinese buyers needed to have access to a language they’d understand, like everyone else in the building,” said condo board president Colin Danby, who learned Mandarin during seven years spent in Taiwan. “Not everything is translated. But as a board, we take that step when it is something important like building security.” Residents estimate that between 20 to 40 per cent of the Seville’s co-owners are either Chinese Canadian, recent immigrants who own neighbouring shops in the area known as Shaughnessy Village, or are foreign investors from China. They bought into the sold-out first phase of the 477-unit Seville in 2010 — when low interest rates and an economy that had emerged relatively well from the 2008 financial crisis drove demand for Montreal condos to near-record highs. While the vast majority of foreign real estate buyers in Canada have focused on Toronto and Vancouver, investors from China, Middle East and Europe also helped fuel Montreal’s condo boom, which peaked in 2012. In 2011, Montreal had the second highest number of permits and starts for new condos of any city in North America. Toronto was in first place. “More inventory, more investors,” said Alexandre Sieber, senior managing director of Quebec operations for real-estate services firm CBRE Ltd. “As you build inventory, you are diversifying the investor base.” Some firms estimate that up to 20 per cent of Montreal condos bought as rental properties — or to be flipped for a profit — were purchased by foreign buyers searching for inexpensive prices in a comparatively stable market. Foreign investors have also bought small multi-unit buildings for use as student rentals and are showing interest in large properties, including vast tracts of land in the Laurentians, brokers say. Just like Vancouver, or Toronto, there is no hard data for the number of foreign real-estate investors in Montreal. But two foreign buyers, along with half-a-dozen commercial and residential real estate brokers, told The Gazette that sales to foreigners and landed-immigrants in areas like Westmount and LaSalle are on the upswing. And Asian and Middle Eastern money is behind at least two new large sites downtown that are being promoted for residential development. “We’re certainly seeing an increase in foreign buyers, especially from China,” said Robert MacDougall, senior vice-president for investment sales and special projects at the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. MacDougall said about 10 to 20 per cent of his offers on properties now come from foreign investors, mostly Asians. In addition to the foreigners who’ve long been purchasing condos for their adult children attending McGill and Concordia universities, people who have recently arrived from Asia are also buying homes in Westmount to be close to their kids’ private schools, brokers say. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada estimated recently that half of the luxury properties sold in Montreal this year were purchased by foreigners. “Two or three years ago, I had the odd buyer show up from China. That was kind of a novelty,” recalled Brian Dutch, a broker with Re/Max DuCartier, who specializes in the Westmount market. “Then all of a sudden, there was another Chinese broker calling for an appointment. And then there’s another. “From it being the odd one, there are now at least two inquiries on a weekly basis.” While foreign buyers are appreciated by the real estate industry because they purchase properties in a relatively soft housing market, investors from Asia and the Middle East have been blamed for driving up home prices in Vancouver. Economists have warned that foreign buyers also create a more volatile market driven by yields, rather than by fundamentals like having a place to live. In Montreal, there have been a few instances of buyers from other countries failing to show up at the notary’s office, after signing contracts — and leaving hefty deposits — to purchase homes. But Montreal brokers have yet to see widespread bidding wars with Asian or Middle Eastern buyers willing to pay above-market prices. “I have seen those kinds of news stories from Toronto and Vancouver (about inflated prices), but my clients are more cautious,” said Jason Yu, a broker with the Brossard-based agency Esta Agence, whose commercial and residential buyers are mostly recent immigrants from China. Yu, who’s worked with Dutch on multiple sales to Chinese buyers in Westmount, said several of his clients are wealthy Asian families moving to Montreal as part of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. A decade ago, Yu and his family came to Canada from China as immigrant investors under a program that requires applicants with a net worth of at least $1.6 million to make an $800,000 interest-free loan to the government for five years. The Quebec program — which mirrors a federal one that’s now frozen and does not accept new applicants — remains hotly debated, amid criticism that 90 per cent of the mostly Asian arrivals promptly move elsewhere in Canada, while their $800,000 stays in la Belle Province. Quebec’s quota for 2013-2014 is 1,750 immigrant investors. Despite the large number who leave, Yu says that he also sees immigrants who choose to stay in Montreal. In the last few months, three of his Chinese clients purchased homes in Westmount, while a fourth is looking to buy downtown condos as an investment. She said the family moved to Montreal largely for her daughter’s education. One immigrant from Shanghai described how her family moved to Westmount a few years ago through the Quebec investor program. Her husband is working in China right now while she raises their daughter and takes French classes in Quebec. “We made the decision very quickly, based largely on what a friend from China who lived in Montreal told us,” said the woman, who spoke to The Gazette on condition that her name wouldn’t be published. “We didn’t even know about Bill 101.” The language law hasn’t affected the family, since her daughter is enrolled at a non-subsidized English girls’ school, where she is learning both official languages. She said she’s constantly meeting new recent immigrants from China. Last week, the woman received a call from Dutch, who had been her real estate broker when she bought her home. Dutch invited her to meet a newcomer from Shanghai who had an accepted offer on a house in the area. Dutch also invited the newcomer’s neighbour, a recent arrival from Beijing. “I called my client to come over because I wanted as much for her and for them to get to know each other,” Dutch said. “Everyone was busy on their iPhones, sharing contact information and yacking away in Mandarin. It was fun. “It’s something we haven’t seen before.” Also new is the tendency of immigrant investors — even ones who leave Quebec — to purchase properties in Montreal. “Will they stay? History says they won’t, but they are making investments here,” said Eric Goodman, owner of Century 21 Vision in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. He described one new condo project in LaSalle, where 80 per cent of the units were sold to Chinese buyers, including recent immigrants, or investors who are still in China. “They are buying them as investments and they are buying them for family members who may come in the future,” said Goodman. “They are always looking for places to put their money. They feel it is safe to build here, even if they’re not going to make as much of a return as in Toronto.” Goodman’s agency also sold the land to the developers behind the YUL mixed condo and townhouse project on René Lévesque Blvd. near Lucien L’Allier Rd. The YUL project, backed by Chinese investors, is being marketed to foreign as well as local buyers. Adjacent to YUL, land on René Lévesque Blvd. next to Guy St. has been purchased by investors from Qatar who intend to launch their Babylon residential development this spring. The downtown area has proven attractive to investors because of the large pool of student tenants, and the limited construction of new rental buildings to replace the city’s aging stock. Indeed, investors — who make up an estimated 40 per cent of owners at Seville — generated such demand for the project that people were lining up at 10 a.m., a day before the sales office opened in 2010. Colin Danby, now condo board president for the Seville’s phase 1, arrived at 3 p.m. He was No. 58 in line, he recalled. The crowd was so large that by 8 p.m., developer Groupe Prével decided to give out tickets to buyers. And just like the hockey scalpers outside the old Forum in the 1970s, “authorized” Seville buyers were said to be hawking condo tickets on the street for $5,000 each. [email protected] Twitter: RealDealMtl © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  16. http://blog.buzzbuzzhome.com/2013/02/montreal-condo-market-optimism.html While the age-old rivalry between Toronto and Montreal has pitted the cities’ hockey teams and arts scenes against each other, there’s another set of bragging rights up for grabs. Which metropolis has the better condo market? Toronto may have mind-boggling number of new units coming on the market, but Montreal is no slouch when it comes to construction crane sightings. We previously reported on the flurry on new builds in Quebec’s largest city and now there are new numbers to make the case for the Montreal boom. Despite concerns about the market overheating, Property Biz Canada pinpointed some optimistic stats coming out of the Quebec Apartment Investment Conference: About 7,726 condo units will be delivered by 2016 in the downtown area, which includes Old Montreal, Griffintown and the Lachine Canal. Of those units, 64 per cent (or 4,658 suites) have already been sold or reserved, leaving 2,568 units left to be sold in the next four years (or 642 a year). According to Debbie Lafave, senior vice president of Baker Real Estate, investors make up 50 per cent of buyers of downtown Montreal condos, compared to the higher percentages suggested for Toronto. Some developers suggested that rental apartment buildings likely aren’t being built since rents in Montreal are too low and construction and land costs are too high to justify their construction. And condos are the most affordable means of entry-point into the Montreal market for first-time buyers. With a condo boom in Canada’s two largest cities, we can’t help but wonder: which city will see the steadiest gains and sales in the future?
  17. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Will you boycott Shell? Honestly thats one question I can't answer. Seeing I get my gas from the evil Exxon (Esso). I just wonder if we would be having this problem, if Power Corp of Canada did not sell Canadian Oil Companies Ltd to Shell back in the 60s.