April 2015 Ontario Economic Fundamentals

Ally

Research Assistant
Registered
Ontario will hike beer tax, sell majority of Hydro One to fund infrastructure

TORONTO - Ontario's "biggest shakeup" to its liquor laws since it repealed prohibition in 1927 includes a new tax on beer and allowing it to be sold in hundreds of grocery stores, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday.

"When it comes to the sale of beer in Ontario, I'm here to announce that the status quo is over and that the days of monopoly are done," Wynne said as she released a report by a panel appointed to look at liquor sales and Crown assets.

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Ally

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Barrie zoning bylaw blamed for empty retail units

A long-time Barrie builder this week told city politicians something many of us already knew: there are a lot of vacant stores in town.

And Gord Mason, who has been building homes here since 1961, doesn’t want to add to the oversupply by building yet another neighbourhood plaza at the corner of Big Bay Point Road and Leggott Avenue.

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Ally

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The vacant truth about rental condos

As Toronto condos go, a cramped unit on the 52nd floor of a newly built downtown tower is as good a place as any to pick apart one of the most oft-repeated real estate stats in Canada’s largest city: the ultra-tight vacancy rate of little more than one per cent. You hear it all the time, on the lips of every condo buyer and regurgitated in real estate reports. It’s one of the reasons a growing number of developers say they’re shifting gears from building condos to building rentals. But like all statistics emanating from Canada’s clubby real estate industry, this one should be taken with a grain of salt—especially since investors are a huge source of demand driving frothy condo markets here and across the country.

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Ally

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Toronto condo market surges during first quarter of 2015

TORONTO, April 15, 2015 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today showed sizable year-over-year price appreciation in the first quarter for all housing types in Toronto.

The average price for detached bungalows jumped 10.2 per cent year-over-year to $655,669, which was followed closely by standard two-storey homes, which were up 9.2 per cent to $803,794. Standard condominiums also experienced strong price growth during the quarter, increasing 7.0 per cent to an average price of $395,584.

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Ally

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GTA condo rental listings rise 21% in first quarter after spike in completions

According to Urbanation, 4,938 condo apartments were rented through MLS in the GTA in the first quarter of 2015, a year-over-year increase of 11 per cent. However, leases couldn’t keep up with the listings, which rose 21 per cent over the same period in 2014. The ratio of leases-to-listings dropped from 70 per cent in Q1-2014 to 64 per cent in the past quarter.

The surge in listings is due to the significant uptick in new stock. In the first quarter, condo completions and registrations rose 42 per cent, year-over-year. The jump echoes TD Economics’ recent report on Toronto’s condo market, which found condo completions in the GTA were three times the historical average in both January and February 2015.

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Ally

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Liberals promise $1.6 billion for 'transformational' Hurontario LRT

With her predecessor Hazel McCallion standing nearby, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie had trouble wiping off her ear-to-ear grin as Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced the province will pick up the entire $1.6 billion cost of the Hurontario LRT.

Calling it a “transformational” investment “that will become that north-south spine of a regionally integrated transit system,” Crombie promised the 26-stop LRT “will unleash the potential of our downtown.”

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Ally

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Hydro zapping customers with May 1 increase

Ontario hydro customers are in for a shock as the price of electricity gets set to rise yet again.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced new time-of-use pricing Monday that jacks up the peak rate to 16.1 cents kWh from 14 cents kWh, effective May 1.

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Ally

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Toronto condo market rental less competitive due to glut of supply

TORONTO - A new report by condo research firm Urbanation suggests Toronto's condo market has become more renter friendly due to a glut of supply and shifting demographics.

Although the number of units rented in the first three months of 2015 grew by 11 per cent compared with a year ago, the report says new listings shot up by 21 per cent as a slew of newly completed condo units came on the market.

Meanwhile, average rents grew at a slower pace and even declined in some neighbourhoods — perhaps a surprising development in a city where the booming real estate market continues drive up already sky-high prices for homebuyers.

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Ally

Research Assistant
Registered
Toronto condo market less competitive due to glut of supply

TORONTO - A new report by condo research firm Urbanation suggests Toronto's condo market has become more renter friendly due to a glut of supply and shifting demographics.

Although the number of units rented in the first three months of 2015 grew by 11 per cent compared with a year ago, the report says new listings shot up by 21 per cent as a slew of newly completed condo units came on the market.

Read the full article here.
 

Ally

Research Assistant
Registered
Moratorium won't stop 700 apartments from turning into condos

Almost 700 apartment units will be able to escape a city moratorium on condo conversions that is meant to protect rental housing availability.

The two year ban on conversions came into effect recently because the apartment vacancy rate for two-bedroom units dipped below 2 per cent in 2014. But that moratorium doesn't cover conversions already approved by the city. There are 683 units already approved that won't be subject to the ban.

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Ally

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Let's get the facts straight, it's the suburbs that benefit from Toronto's amalgamation

Who’s getting a raw deal from Toronto amalgamation? Well, not the suburbs.

Ever since the new City of Toronto was formed in 1998 by rapidly smooshing together five mostly independent municipalities, a lot of residents of the amalgamated city have been convinced they’re getting screwed.

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Ally

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Jobs dream comes true in three years if Innisfil's ambitious plans come together

If all goes well, Innisfil Heights will be fully serviced by 2018 and will blossom into an industrial/commercial mecca like no other on Hwy. 400 as businesses line-up to get a piece of the pie.

It’s a vision council pondered with planning consultants during a special meeting Wednesday as they kick-started a new employment strategy simply called Our Jobs.

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Ally

Research Assistant
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Little difference between Ontario and federal budgets, until it comes to deficit

In Thursday’s budget, the federal Conservatives have pledged to hold the line on spending, while relying on asset sales and economic growth to — er, what? That wasn’t the federal budget lockup I just attended? That was the Ontario Liberals? Well I’ll be.

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Ally

Research Assistant
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Thank you #Hamilton for your leadership on this! City
demands building permits from Canada Post for new mailboxes

A territorial battle is beginning to enswathe the once-peaceful streets of Hamilton, Ont. And the source of the hostility measures in at approximately 164 cm by 62 cm, according to Canada Post.

While several municipalities have pledged to wage war against Canada Post’s new (new for some, at any rate) community mailboxes, the southern Ontario city has taken the bold step of actually passing a bylaw requiring the Crown corporation to apply for a $200 permit in order to erect the mailboxes on municipal property. Canada Post has essentially snubbed the requirement, which prompted city council on Wednesday to apply for a restraining order to halt the installation of the mailboxes. While the court weighs the application, Hamilton city solicitor Janice Atwood-Petkovski told the CBC that ticketing Canada Post for bylaw infractions will begin “immediately.”

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Ally

Research Assistant
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Brampton Planning Committee approves new second unit policy

BRAMPTON—City efforts to regulate basement apartments and secondary units played to mixed reviews at Planning and Infrastructure Services Committee Monday night. While largely welcomed as a step in the right direction, some argued Brampton’s proposed policies requiring landlords to register their units don’t go far enough to ensure the tax burden is spread equitably among property owners.

“Private landlords are not contributing one extra dollar in the delivery of city services or infrastructure costs as they are still taxed exactly the same way as the homeowner that doesn’t have a secondary unit in their home,” said Chris Bejnar, a member of local residents’ group Citizens for a Better Brampton (CFBB). Bejnar was one of several delegates to address Planning and Infrastructure Committee on the policy framework up for council approval on April 22. He suggested the city’s plan doesn’t generate enough revenue for the tax pool.

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Ally

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Ontario to lead Canadian export growth in 2015 on energy weakness

MONTREAL - Ontario is expected to lead all other provinces in export growth this year before a recovery in oil prices in 2016 restores the fortunes of energy-producing provinces like Alberta, according to a report issued Thursday by Export Development Canada.

After years of challenges, exports of goods from Canada's manufacturing heartland are forecast to grow by 10 per cent to $195 billion following last year's eight per cent growth, courtesy of strong demand from a strengthening U.S. economy and a weaker loonie.

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Ally

Research Assistant
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House sales in Kitchener and Waterloo rise in March

KITCHENER — Strong demand for single-detached homes gave house sales a lift in Kitchener and Waterloo in March.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors recorded 619 sales last month, up 15.1 per cent from March 2014. Still, that total was 1.6 per cent below the five-year average for March.

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Ally

Research Assistant
Registered
Where are the Millennials going to move when they start having children?

Earlier this week I attended RealNet’s Q1 2015 market update webinar for the Greater Toronto Area. If you don’t already subscribe to RealNet, you should consider it. They’re one of the best sources for Canadian real estate market information.

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Ally

Research Assistant
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Sarnia-Lambton research park is 97% full

Brimming with tenants, the Western University's Sarnia-based research park is financially stepping out on its own.

The 11-year-old, 80-acre park officially achieved financial independence from the County of Lambton this week, giving it the freedom to operate independently as a private corporation, said chairperson Mike Bradley, calling the milestone a big step forward.

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Ally

Research Assistant
Registered
New low-rise home inventory drops to record low in GTA

March, there were 5,711 new low-rise homes available for purchase in the GTA, a 33 per cent drop from the year before. And fewer properties translated into higher prices. According to RealNet Canada, the average sale price for a new ground-level home in the GTA rose 12 per cent, year-over-year, to a new record high of $738,731.

“This is a perfect example of demand outpacing supply,” explained BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey in a news release. “New ground-related homes are sold as soon as they are introduced into the market, resulting in high sales figures for the month, but low inventory overall.”

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