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You call it a sound investment. We call it Pemberton.

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Contents. Departments COVER STORY

10 Editors’ Note 14 Opening 57 Western 80 Closing

Trending 18 How to buy a rental property Some key points you'll want to take into consideration 30 Where are the safest cities in Canada?

A breakdown of which cities are safest based on crime stats

Features 26 Investor DNA Do you have what it takes to succeed in real estate? By Kara Kuryllowicz

The Top 50 Places to Invest in Canada 34 The Starbucks effect Spotting the next 'it' neighbourhood By Sonia Bell 36 Make the grade Scoring an A+ on student housing By Wayne Karl …continued on page 6


The where and the why

By Wayne Karl & Sonia Bell


And the survey says... Look for this logo throughout, for our survey results and see how they could affect your investment plans.






From the

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Contents Canadian



Moe Lalani



John Jenkins







Doreen Wills



Paul Bimm

…continued from page 4


38 Next stop, succes Why you should plot your investment course around transit By Diane Duflot 62 After the show Hockey Wives’ stars Kodette and Jason LaBarbera jump from the rink to the investment arena By Wayne Karl 76 The XX factor Women investing in real estate – the experience and evolution By Elisa Krovblit


Shelley Balla


24 Legal Advice Know your options for structuring your business By Jayson Schwarz 32 Investment Condos 'Condo Assignments’ a challenging way to profit By Brian Persaud





Investor Snapshots 22 Denise & Stuart MacPherson Full-time investors, Ottawa 56 Eryn & Steve Lorriman–Moreau

Investors, Barrie, Ont.



65 Marnie Griffiths Full-time investor, Calgary 70 Trevis McConaghy Farmer turned full-time investor, Melfort, Sask. 72 Sherilynn Milsom Full-time investor, Edmonton 74 Shelley Visser Flight attendant, investor, Calgary





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Editors’ Notes Canadian


Susan Legge EDITOR


Tammy Leung


Sonia Bell Elisa Krovblit Lydia McNutt

Your investment future awaits THERE IS NO SHORTAGE of investment opportunities out there.

Bonds, stocks, RRSPs, mutual funds, REITs, – the list is endless. Even the most experienced investor needs the latest intel and tips when weighing their next opportunity. This is where Canadian Property Investor comes in. We examine key fundamentals that should be central to any real estate investment strategy, using the network of experts we’ve grown over the last 25-plus years in the real estate business, through our New Home, Renters and New Condo Guide publications. We answer all of this and more, profiling actual investors who have turned proven strategies into personal experiences and successes in the Canadian market. Canadian Property Investor is a uniquely Canadian magazine that provides content that is compelling, interesting, and most of all, practical. ¡ Learn about our Top 50 Places to Invest in Real Estate in Canada – a list of markets we feel are ripe for consideration ¡ Examine whether you have the right stuff in Investor DNA ¡ Show why you should buy near transit in Next stop, success ¡ Explore the influence of female investors in The XX Factor ¡ Spot the next hot neighbourhood in The Starbucks Effect ¡ Validate what Canadians want. Our first-ever national survey, entitled The Great Canadian Real Estate Survey, polls and compiles data from Canadians from coast to coast as to their real estate preferences and behaviours. We are excited to introduce you – the people and households of potential buyers and investors – to the variety of rewarding real estate opportunities that exist across Canada. We look forward to hearing from you about our first issue.


Megan Pike Daiana Garay




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“Buy land, they’re not making it any more.” – Mark Twain

Investment Strategies 101

Throughout this issue of Canadian Property Investor (and in the feature on Investor DNA on page 26), you will see references to the various real estate investment strategies. The most common strategies are listed below.

Common investment strategies


Pre-con condo This involves buying a condo at pre-sale (the earlier in the sales process, the lower the price), and either holding onto it and renting it out once it’s complete, or selling it before construction wraps up and the building is registered – what’s known as “selling your assignment.” 14


Fix + flip Popular as a TV show but rife with risk in real life, this method involves buying a property you believe to be undervalued in its current state, spending on renovations over a period of weeks or months, then “flipping” it for – you hope – quick profit.


Buy, hold + rent The lowest risk strategy for novice investors, it involves buying a property, holding on to it for the long term (five to seven years) and renting it out. The goal is to generate positive cash flow above your carrying costs (mortgage, condo fees, taxes, insurance, management fees).


Buy, reno + hold This strategy is something of a combination of buy, hold and rent and fix and flip – instead of buying an undervalued property to do a quick flip, you hold onto it after the renovations, hoping to charge top-of-market rent to help recoup your capital costs over time.






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Investment property checklist Follow the below checklist to analyze the potential of your target area. The more “yes” answers you get, the more likely it will be a solid investment.

Is aver the area’ ag s incre e income fas asing the pter than ro aver vincial age?

a Will the are benefit fromic an econom te or real esta ? t ripple effec

ic m o on nt Ec pme he elo ce and sI t Dev Offi ive s ? es lpful r g pro he

Does the area offer an attract lifestyle? ive

Are theajroer any mportation trans ements improv works? in the

Is the creat area in faste g jobs r the p than r avera ovincial ge?

Is the area’s population growing faster than the provincial average?

a Is therencrease noted i ur and in labo ls cost materia rea? in the a Is the area’s infrastructure being built to handle the expected grow th?

Has th

e politic ortal h l s e a d a e e r createdship Is ther problem econom an term ing that is r i grow thc occurr to disappea atmosph likely future? ere? e in th

Does the have morearea than one employer?major


It’s all about cashflow

What a drag

“Strong positive cashflow enables you to hold a property regardless of the value. A decreasing value only becomes important if you must sell, but if it has strong positive cashflow, there is usually no pressing need to sell, and you can hold onto it until the value recovers. Purchasing a negative cashflow property and banking on value appreciation is what we call speculation (aka gambling). And when one gambles, the house usually wins.”

Location, location, location, right? Yes, except when you’re too close to any of these, for they can drag your property value down by...

Sherilynn Milsom Full-time investor, Edmonton


Power plant






Funeral home


High renter concentration

Shooting range


Strip club


Bad school


Cemetery 16


Homeless shelter



Buy a rental property n By Wayne Karl

minimum 20-per-cent down payment. A larger down payment also means you have to borrow less and your monthly payments will be lower.

WONDERING how to buy a rental property and not sure where to begin? You may think only large Canadian markets offer opportunities, but smaller centres also make great target areas. The key things to look for are a solid local economy, stable employment conditions and minimal new apartment construction. These combine to produce a tight rental environment. As an investorlandlord, you’ll need to learn about vacancy rates. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) summarizes these in its rental market reports. An increasing rate means rental supply is growing, and renters have more units from which to choose.

Declining vacancy rates mean supply is tightening and your property may be in higher demand, and you could charge higher rent. A vacancy rate between two and three per cent is balanced, meaning supply is appropriate for demand. Anything below that is ideal. Investment strategy Acquiring and operating an investment property is very different from buying a primary residence. Using the buy, hold and rent strategy, your goal is to generate income over and above your mortgage costs, while building equity over time. Buyers of investment properties are typically required to have a

n More trending online:


Choosing an investment property Research and due diligence are a must. Look for areas with strong economic fundamentals: growth in jobs, population and average income, and increasing (but still reasonable) home prices. Other influences in value appreciation are proximity to mass transit, shopping, schools and other amenities. Ultimately, you want a property that appeals to potential owners, not just renters, because you want to be able to sell it one day, taking advantage of any increase in value. Setting the rent You will need to set the “right” rent – high enough to generate positive cashflow, but not so high you price yourself out of the market. Find out what comparable units in the area rent for by checking where local landlords advertise, provincial rent registry databases and CMHC’s rental market reports. In larger cities, downtown properties might be your first choice as a location, since they will appeal to renters. But it’s also where average prices are higher and therefore less affordable. That makes generating positive cashflow more difficult.

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Investor Snapshot


Denise & Stuart MacPherson Full-time investors, Ottawa

we were able to integrate other more sophisticated strategies, such as rent-to-own and private mortgage borrowing and lending. We were able to not only build a successful business, but were also able to help some people grow their retirement portfolio using RRSP mortgages, and help others acquire their own home despite having bad or bruised credit scores. We can actually have a positive impact on the lives of others using real estate, and this gives us immense satisfaction. Q: What investment strategy has been the most successful for you, and why? Q: How did you get started in real estate investing?

Q: What investment strategy do you use, primarily?

We met in the mid-1990s, and although we both worked for the federal government, we had each suffered financial losses through divorce. In our 40s, we realized that we needed to do something different to prepare for retirement, and to live the lifestyle we wanted. During the next 10 years, we followed the traditional model of saving and investing in RRSPs using mutual funds. Unfortunately, the market corrections with the dot-com bust and the 2008 financial meltdown made us realize that we needed a different plan. At that point, we decided to investigate real estate investing. What we learned, and what we started to see after putting our education into practice, proved to us that investing in real estate was the right decision.

We use a mix, including rentto-own, fix and flip, and private mortgages, but our greatest accomplishments have come from rental properties. We like properties where we can create extra value by adding secondary suites. We also invest in multiunit buildings.


Q: How can you determine what strategy is best for you? There are a number of factors to consider. In our case, we had access to capital that allowed us to make down payments and fund improvements, and we didn’t need immediate access to cashflow to meet our day-to-day expenses. We were able to start building a portfolio of income properties that would generate longer term wealth. As our knowledge about real estate grew,

In terms of long term wealth creation and return on investment, our most successful strategy has been rental properties. For example, we have a property where we added a secondary suite and the net annual revenues after all expenses and debt service returns a 28-per-cent annual ROI. After adding the revenues created by mortgage pay-down and appreciation, the annual return is more than 80 per cent. On the other hand, if we measure based on personal satisfaction, using RRSP funds to invest in private mortgages may be more successful. We have not only been able to increase the size of our RRSP in a safe and secure manner, but we also borrow RRSP funds where we have assisted other people to also invest their underperforming RRSPs in a tangible asset – real estate – that will ensure they can have an earlier and more comfortable retirement.

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Know your options for structuring your business n By Jayson Schwarz

From legal and tax implications, there are specific dos and don’ts when it comes to setting up your real estate deal

CANADA IS RATED among the most

desirable places in the world to live, based on such criteria as health care, education, public transit, diversity, greenspace, nature, industry, farming, culture, food and an appealing lifestyle. Investing in real estate in Canada, whatever the province, opens a world of opportunity and choices to every investor, whether domestic or foreign.


The Canadian investor From coast to coast, Canadians have discovered that even in this enormous country, property is still one of the safest and best investments. The trick is to be able to hang on through any down times. So, don’t leverage yourself; whenever you buy, assume interest rates will go up and the market will fall. Historically, every boom is followed by a bust, so be in it for the long haul. Winners in

real estate are not the quick flip artists. Sure, they score sometimes, but their greed inevitably takes them down. Those who succeed plan for the good and the bad, and have a long-term view. Structuring your real estate investment The first issue after you have identified your target property, is to determine how you intend to hold your property. This will

depend on the type of investment and whether you’re doing this on your own or with partners. Title can be taken in different ways: your name, personally; jointly or as tenants in common with one or more people; through a partnership; corporation; trust or limited partnership by its general partner. Each requires a different perspective, from both liability and tax considerations. Owning personally, through a partnership or with others, means all of the income, losses, gains and liability accrue to you, and whatever marginal tax rate applies to you will be used for the determination of the tax payable on either income or gains. In other words, you need to consider the risks – both financial and from a liability perspective. A partnership works similarly to personal ownership, but for the fact that the partners are jointly liable for the acquisition and everything associated with it, and share in the rewards subject to their partnership agreement. A corporation provides its shareholders with the benefit of liability protection, yet there may be detrimental tax impact for passive real estate holding companies. There are, however, significant tax planning and organizational advantages that can be utilized by the inclusion of other holding companies, family trusts and relationship definition through shareholder agreements. At our firm, we have been recommending limited partnerships for group acquisitions of real estate because of the limitation of liability to the partners, and the ability to regulate and flow-through profit and losses.

All of these methods need to be tailored to the purchaser to properly reflect needs and desires. This is where the right lawyer and accountant become critically important. If you are purchasing a condominium unit to buy, hold and rent, your needs are far different from someone considering a commercial plaza. The banking industry views these choices differently with respect to financing requirements. Also, the nature of the purchase will

From coast to coast, Canadians have discovered that even in this enormous country, property is still one of the safest and best investments.

impact the availability of private or institutional funds. The province you chose to invest in will also affect your method of ownership. Quebec, as an example, is a civil law jurisdiction and has different rules. The rest of Canada follows the common law approach to land ownership. We do, however, have only one Income Tax Act for the country, but there are differences within the tax acts of each province. Foreign or non-resident investors Generally speaking, foreign investors are allowed to purchase real estate with few restrictions,

be it is residential or commercial property. Prince Edward Island, for example, restricts land ownership to residents, and Vancouver recently instituted a foreign buyers’ tax. Applicable taxes All purchasers of real estate pay stamp duty, land transfer tax (LTT) or large registration fees. This will vary, depending on the jurisdiction, and may have both provincial and municipal components. For example, in Ontario, there is an average rate of slightly less than 1.5 per cent of the purchase amount, except in Toronto where combined with the City’s LTT, it is approximately three per cent. In Alberta, the registration fee is $50 plus $1 for every $5,000 of value. Ordinary applicable property taxes are annual. Tax is payable on any income earned when you sell investment real estate; there will be a holdback of between 25 and 50 per cent of the sale price. This issue is ordinarily dealt with in advance in order to restrict the holdback to the profit portion of the sale. Your legal or specialized tax advisor can assist in planning for these taxation issues. You can also visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at to review S116 of the Income Tax Act. Canada affords great lasting potential and opportunity to those who invest in real estate. So pick your spot, find your target and retain a knowledgeable lawyer before you make an offer, to obtain the right protection and the right scenario to maximize your long range profitability and enjoyment.

n Jayson Schwarz LLM is the senior partner at Schwarz Law LLP, a business and real estate boutique law firm based in Toronto with associate offices world-wide and is the Eastern Canadian real estate representative of IR Global. More advice online:

Canadian Property Investor 2016  25

INVESTOR DNA Do you have what it takes to succeed as a real estate investor? By Kara Kuryllowicz

DO YOU HAVE what it takes to become a real estate investor? Quite likely, yes! Anyone with access to cash or equity can invest in real estate, but if you want to succeed at it, understand this: it’s a business. “You wouldn’t consider becoming a doctor without getting the necessary education, so before you become a real estate investor, take courses, attend seminars, find a coach or mentor, surround yourself with successful investors and at the very least, read as many good books as possible,” says Michael Ponte, founder and president, Prosperity Real Estate Investments, Langley, BC. “Invest in yourself first, because you are the key factor to your own success.” Experts are overly familiar with the losses and challenges faced by rookie investors who acted


without forethought and opted out of their due diligence. Sure, savvy investors can make money, but as in any business, a certain industry expertise, experience and a little good fortune are required. And even then, there are no guarantees. “Educate yourself, but you can pay experts to do everything from finding the best property for you to managing the books and the property, while you focus on your existing career,” says Nick Karadza, who co-founded Rock Star Real Estate and Rock Star Inner Circle, an Oakville, Ont.-based investment group. In 2012, Ash Srivastava, who still owns and operates an IT consultancy, sold his first home at a profit of $80,000 just one year after purchasing it. Intrigued, he read up on real estate as an

investment vehicle, then started slowly growing his portfolio. His first small rental condo proved a learning opportunity, and after the third of his now seven investment properties (in Waterloo, Mississauga, Toronto and Brantford), he joined Rockstar. There are investors who make big money quickly, but not many who do it consistently. And if you’re risk adverse and want to protect your earnings, the strategy known as “buy, hold and rent” is the best route. The “fix and flip” method is rife with risk, and even buying pre-construction condos aren’t a sure thing.

Let’s look at the various investment strategies

Investment strategies


FIX + FLIP High risk. It’s a gamble, particularly for novice investors. Can you make money? Yes – but you need cash, expertise and luck to make it work. “It can be profitable for knowledgeable, experienced investors, but there is a lot involved and it’s not the easy money people think it is,” says Karadza. “There are far too many variables – the profit margins tend to be small, so one misstep or unforeseen issue and your profit becomes a loss.”

Canadian Property Investor 2016  27



Worth a look. A condo, particularly a studio or one-bedroom, will cost less than a single-family home, and may appreciate during the pre-construction phase. “It’s an amazing concept that has proven very successful, provided the investors selected the right building in the right city,” says Sharon Golberg, president, Dash Property Management, Toronto. The company advises investors and manages property for investors who live in Canada and about 25 other countries. Focusing on the building’s appreciation during the wait time


can be fun, but it’s more important to consider the net post capital gain, once the capital gains taxes, realtor, legal and other Golberg fees associated with the sale have been paid. Karadza, meanwhile, is not a fan. As he sees it, “Why would I give someone else my money and watch my money work for them? I’d rather watch my tenant pay down my mortgage.” Banking on your condo to appreciate during the sales and construction phases could

backfire or net you less than anticipated; no one knows what the future holds in a world where global events increasingly affect national and even local economies and real estate markets. “You’re gambling that the future price will hopefully remain the same or increase, but no one has a crystal ball,” says Ponte, who has seen just how hard the decline of the oil and gas industry has hit Alberta real estate investors in the past 18 to 24 months. If your down payment is limited, pre-construction may be the only way to buy, hold and rent. As Golberg notes, condos are more affordable and straightforward with predictable costs

We asked: How much are you willing to pay for tech and Green features in your condo?


BUY, HOLD + RENT Excellent idea. Experts suggest the most successful real estate investors focus on their time in the market, versus timing the market. Buy, hold and rent is generally the experts’ preferred strategy. “Our investment strategy is 95 per cent buy, hold and rent, as we found this to be the safest strategy and more importantly, provides some of the best returns,” says Ponte. Why? If you do it properly, your tenants pay down your mortgage and cover all of your operating expenses, including property management and taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance and repairs and even the emergency funds set aside for unexpected repairs and vacancies. “This is my preferred property type because of the GTA’s appreciation rates,” says Srivastava, who typically devotes six to eight hours a month to his real estate investments, with the bulk of this time spent analyzing new opportunities. “Positive cashflow is key to my investment strategy, and to maximize the cashflow, I self-manage my local properties and pay for services as needed.” Experts highly recommend setting up to five per cent of the monthly rent aside for contingencies, and having $5,000 to $7,000 per property on hand to cover temporary vacancies, repairs and unforeseen events. Looking at that extra cash every month, investors might be tempted to treat themselves to a motorcycle or a dream vacation, but our experts highly recommend more practical,

Same as for other condos 58% Slightly more 41% Significantly more 2%

responsible plans. For example, you can set aside a set percentage or even an entire property to fund young children’s education. While the perfect investment property may not exist, according to Karadza, there are winners and losers. Does it consistently generate positive cashflow? Will it do so over the long term? Buy a property with positive cashflow and make sure that either you know how to analyze the deal, or that your advisors do, so that you’re not kicking in $700 a month to carry your so-called investment. This is something our experts see far too frequently from inexperienced investors. “I do the due diligence Srivastava to make sure (properties) meet my specific criteria, and I hire professionals to tackle the cleaning and touch-ups required before showing a unit,” says Srivastava. “A clean, fresh-looking unit warrants more rent and tends to attract tenants who stay longer and take better care of it.” Rather than risk a costly and stressful tenant-related error and take time and energy away from your primary career and family, outsource the property management to the professionals. “Do you know all of the rules and regulations – do you have the interest and time required to learn the ins and outs?” asks Golberg. As Ponte says, “If the property can’t support a property manager, it’s a crappy deal to begin with.”


4 BUY, RENOVATE, HOLD + RENT Proceed with caution. Unless you get an outstanding deal on a property and have the cash to renovate, it’s a risk and your return on the renovation won’t be seen for so many years that by the time you’re ready to sell, it will likely be time for another major upgrade. An upgrade beyond a refresh will warrant a higher rent, which typically attracts better tenants, but know that tenants are hard on properties and their various finishes. “After the first year with the tenants, it won’t have the pristine shine, which is why I save the big renovation with the high-end finishes until right before you sell it,” advises Ponte.

Canadian Property Investor 2016  29


Where are the safest cities in Canada? n By Sonia Bell

THE SAFETY of an area is always

Safest cities in Canada (CSI)

top of mind when searching for a new home. A recent study from Statistics Canada on policereported crimes in 2015 examines the Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume as well as the seriousness of each crime in comparison to others. Last year marked the first time in 12 years that Canada experienced an increase in the CSI – up five per cent year-over-year. The overall volume and severity of violent crime was up six per cent, while non-violent crime was up four per cent. The significant increase in Alberta’s police-reported crime contributed to the national increase. On a positive note, however, the CSI is still 31 per cent lower when compared to 2005. This rise in the CSI is largely attributed to more incidences of fraud, breaking and entering,

1. Quebec City ........................ 41.8 2. Barrie .................................... 43.3 3. Toronto................................. 45.7 4. Ottawa .................................. 46.5 5. Guelph .................................. 48.4 6. Sherbrooke .......................... 49.2 7. Hamilton .............................. 50.5 8. St. Catharines-Niagara ...... 52.2 9. Gatineau ............................... 53.6 10. Saguenay ............................. 53.8 11. Peterborough ..................... 55.0 12. Saint John ........................... 56.3 13. Kingston .............................. 56.5 14. Trois-Rivières ...................... 56.7 15. Montreal ..............................59.1 16. Greater Sudbury ................ 59.4 17. Kitchener-CambridgeWaterloo ............................. 59.8 18. Windsor ............................... 62.0 19. Halifax .................................. 62.8 20. London ................................ 65.4 21. Victoria ................................ 72.6 22. St. John’s .............................74.1 23. Brantford .............................. 77.1 24. Calgary ................................ 78.3 25. Moncton............................... 78.5

n See the full list online:


robbery and homicide. Alberta experienced the largest increase, while other provinces, including BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan also had small increases. Overall, eight out of 13 provinces and territories reported an increase in the CSI by the end of last year. Out of the 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), 20 reported an increase in CSI. Moncton had a 20-per-cent increase in CSI, Victoria and Edmonton both experienced a 16-per-cent increase, and Abbotsford-Mission had a 14-percent increase. Calgary was up 29 per cent – the largest year-overyear increase. This jump was largely attributed to an increase of breaking and entering, theft under $5,000 and motor vehicle theft. These types of crimes were also responsible for the uptick in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. Saskatoon and Regina had the highest increase in CSIs, a trend that has sustained itself since 2010, with a 112.5 and 107.6 CSI, respectively. These cities also experienced an increase in traditional crime rate, which looks at the volume of police-reported crime relative to the population size, and led to a national increase of three per cent. The highest increases were found in Calgary, at 25 per cent, and Moncton, at 21 per cent. However, similar to the CSI, crime rates have also been on a downward trend since the early 1990s.

AQUABELLA at bayside docking this fall Hines and Tridel introduce luxury living by the Lake


ORONTO’S WATERFRONT stretch is a lively entertainment venue for Torontonians year-round. Whether its sailing boats across the harbour, soaking up sunshine at the beach, sampling international cuisine or even sipping hot chocolate while ice skating outdoors, the waterfront is an energetic and vibrant part of the City. On Toronto’s eastern waterfront edge, international real estate firm, Hines, and Canada’s leading developer, Tridel are creating a 13-acre master-planned community called Bayside Toronto. Following a tremendously successful launch for Bayside’s first residential condominiums, Aqualina and Aquavista, construction on both towers is already well underway with occupancy for the first tower expected next summer. Now, this fall, the developers are poised to launch their latest residential project, Aquabella at Bayside – the newest opportunity for those looking for luxury by the lake. Located at Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne, Aquabella will be one of the developers’ most luxurious projects yet, boasting an intimate connection to Lake Ontario, excellent proximity to the City’s downtown core, and unique architecture designed specifically for lakeside living. The internationally-renowned Danish architecture firm 3XN has designed the 12-storey Aquabella to put residents first. Following a visit to the Toronto Islands last spring, the forward-thinking 3XN team was inspired by the relaxed cottage lifestyle of its residents, and promised to bring this concept to Aquabella. During the design process, great attention was given to the quality of views, spacious living, and lifestyle amenities. Aquabella is defined by its uniquely contoured shape, generous garden terraces, vertical neighbourhood concept, and the extraordinary, panoramic views of Lake Ontario, neighbouring parks, and the city skyline offered from its suites. “The combination of Aquabella’s high-end luxury lakefront location and well-designed suites with superior finishes and expansive terraces make this one of our most luxurious buildings yet,” says Jim Ritchie, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Tridel.


Toronto’s award-winning II by IV Design, was selected to create the interiors at Aquabella. Boasting luxurious finishes and expansive, open concept layouts, residences at Aquabella have everything buyers want. Suite prices will start from $1 million and range to over 4,300 sq. ft. in size. The building will also feature an exclusive collection of townhomes. “Aquabella will be a shining example of indulgent living on Toronto’s waterfront, offering the perks of lakeside living without sacrificing the convenience of urban amenities,” says Ritchie. Pursuing LEED Platinum Certification, Aquabella is the third phase of Hines and Tridel’s 13-acre, master-planned Bayside community. When complete, Bayside will include a collection of residential towers and commercial towers, a Water’s Edge Promenade, a 0.75-acre park and feature a mix of retail, dining, entertainment and cultural uses. In addition to the incredible amenities in this new waterfront community, residents at Aquabella will also have access to their own party room, dining room, state-of-the-art fitness centre, a theatre room, a landscaped rooftop terrace, outdoor pool and indoor and outdoor lounges. For more information on luxurious lakefront living, visit or visit the Presentation Centre at 261 Queens Quay East. The Presentation Centre is open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends from noon to 6 p.m. and closed Fridays.


‘Condo Assignments’ a challenging way to profit n By Brian Persaud

WHEN PEOPLE buy condos as an investment, typically they use one of two strategies: hold onto it and rent it out once it’s complete; or sell it before construction wraps up and the building is registered – what’s known as “assigning” the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to another buyer. Since you are not actually the owner of the property yet (it’s still the builder at this point), all you’re doing is relaying your rights to purchase the condo to another buyer. The first approach is rather straight-forward – the investorowner rents out the unit, ideally for more than their carrying costs (mortgage payments, taxes, condo fees, insurance and management fees). This is what we call the “buy, hold and rent” strategy. You take ownership of the unit through the Land Registry System. Before closing day, you transfer money to your lawyer and if you need additional funds via a mortgage, your lawyer will register your ownership of the property and the interest of the mortgage lender. Selling your condo by assigning the contract, on the other hand, involves buying a

unit at pre-construction prices, typically at their lowest price, and counting on the value to appreciate over the three- to fiveyear construction period. But before you become the owner and are fully responsible for all costs, you assign your contract to another buyer. The purchaser who buys the “right” to buy your unit will eventually close and register their ownership of the condo at a later date. So, can you make money selling your Assignment? The short answer is yes, but it’s not as easy as it used to be. Here’s why: Tax implications Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will likely go after a larger portion of your profits. Normally, people are taxed at 50 per cent of capital gains for real estate. CRA is cracking down on investors, saying such profits are business trade income. So, instead of taxing 50 per cent of your gains, the agency will tax 100 per cent of them. If CRA deems your primary purpose was to flip the condo, which is precisely what selling your Assignment is, then you will

We asked: How do you usually search for real estate?

lose your HST rebate. In Toronto, this could amount to more than $20,000 for an average condo. Ontario and BC have HST, but in Alberta only GST will apply. Marketability Many builders won’t allow you to market the property because they don’t want you competing with their own inventory. This limits your ability to find a buyer at a higher price. Putting the property on the realtor Multiple Listing Service (MLS) usually allows a seller to maximize their sale price by exposing it to as many buyers as possible. Yet, listing it on the MLS doesn’t guarantee a sale. Of all the condo listings on the Toronto MLS in the first quarter of 2016, 55 per cent actually sold – anything over 50 per cent indicates a sellers’ market. When we look at only listings of new condos where buyers are trying to flip them, the sales-tolisting ratio on the MLS was 34 per cent. This shows that flipping a condo is not easy. Why are new condos harder to sell? Mostly because average suite size is smaller and price

Preferred listing service (,, 53% Google search 13% Other, such as realtor and word of mouth 23%


Other things to consider when buying pre-construction condos

Target market What will the area be like in a few years when your condo is built? How many other condos in the area represent “competition” for your rental property? What are average rents in the area? What will your financial situation or interest rates be upon completion? Maintenance fees: Builders typically provide an estimate when you buy, but you won’t learn your actual fees until the first year of occupancy. Don’t be surprised if they’re higher. Property taxes: Tax assessments can take a while, so be prepared for your first tax bill. It can arrive 1.5 to two years after possession. Positive cashflow: Generating positive cashflow can be more difficult with new condos, because the purchase costs are often higher – and rents comparable. If you buy new, you have to make doubly sure you can rent it out for more than what it costs you for your mortgage, taxes, condo fees, insurance and management fees. Purchasing a negative cash-flow property and banking solely on value appreciation is speculating, not investing.

Construction delays: If this happens, your money could be tied up for years, during which time the economy or housing market could shift, and so could your profit potential. Builders: Not all builders are created equal, so research their reputation for quality, on-time delivery and other issues. Check the websites of groups such as the Building Industry and Land Development Association, Toronto (, Canadian Home Builders’ Association (, JD Power & Associations ( and others in your market.

Additional caveats The earlier you buy in the sales process, the cheaper it will likely be, and the more options you’ll have for unit location, floor and floorplan. If you “assign” your contract and the “assignee” is unable to close due to an issue with financing, you are responsible for getting the mortgage. If you plan to rent it out, have a tenant lined up with a signed lease agreement and the occupancy date is delayed, you will be responsible for providing them with a place to live until the unit is ready. SOURCE: JULIE BROAD

per square foot is higher. Sellers are unwilling to take a loss and buyers are unwilling to pay a price where the sellers can profit. In most cases, it’s more profitable for an investor to lease their unit until the value appreciates. This is why, still with the Toronto example, 37.8 per cent of all newly built units are leased. Closing costs Fewer buyers are willing to take on the extra closing costs that come with buying an Assignment, on top of what they would normally pay. For example, development levies can total up to one per cent of the total purchase price. What makes a good project to sell an Assignment? Buildings that take a long time to complete: In Toronto, ICE Condos at York Centre, by Lanterra Developments, began selling in 2008 and registered in 2016. Original purchasers bought in at $590 per sq. ft., and can sell today $731 per sq. ft. Buildings that were bought at pre-construction pricing similar to resale pricing at the time: Units at Toronto’s The Massey Tower, by MOD Developments, opened at $713 per sq. ft. in 2012. They are walking distance from resale units that were close to $700 per sq. ft. at the time, such as The Residences of College Park, and Maple Leaf Square Condos. The bottom line If you are looking to sell an Assignment, get advice from a lawyer, accountant and realtor to get an accurate reflection of all your true costs, so you can make an informed decision.

n Brian Persaud is a Real Estate Sales Representative at ReMax Realtron Realty, Brokerage, Toronto, and author of Investing in Preconstruction Condos. More advice online:

Canadian Property Investor 2016  33



Spotting the next ‘it’ neighbourhood By Sonia Bell WHEN IT COMES to real estate, the

“Starbucks Effect” has become a well-known phenomenon. The premise is that if the popular coffee shop opens its doors in a neighbourhood, it’s a sure sign that the area has arrived. But does Starbucks really have this kind of effect on an area, or is it all the other influencing factors that come before it that attracted Starbucks in the first place? In other words, Starbucks isn’t necessarily symptomatic 34

of an area bound to go places, it’s the final stamp of approval. And, if this is the case, the key to making a good real estate investment is to get in before Starbucks sets up shop. Realtors often say that a good investor will abide by the real estate saying “follow the money.” According to Shannon P. Murree, sales representative at ReMax Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage in Barrie, Ont., “It’s always better to get in before the Starbucks

because you want to be able to be ahead of the game, so to speak, before the numbers or the market catches up.” If an investor buys into a market a few years prior to Starbucks, chances are, the money has started to come into the area, but hasn’t yet peaked. Most savvy real estate investors or developers would agree that the evolution of a neighbourhood is one that occurs over many years. It also involves a multitude of factors that include such things as population,

We asked: In terms of condo location, what is most important to you?

employment and wage growth, infrastructure improvements and land and housing development. One way to foresee an increase in such factors is the arrival of large retailers; these organizations think long and hard before opening a new store and select locations in a meticulous fashion based on data, research and demographic information. “(Retailers and builders) that are going to be developing in that neighbourhood have already done all the market research to make sure it’s worth their while before making that kind of investment,” says Murree. Such retailers enter a neighbourhood because their research – insight into city planning and economic development departments, for example – indicates the economy and employment there are expanding. These retailers play an important role in providing additional jobs, servicing the growing community and affording the kind of amenities builders count on when they market new developments. According to Murree, “When it comes to investors, one of the first things they need to determine is the tenant profile that they want to be able to attract. If you’re looking for Millennials, what is it that attracts Millennials to an area? If you’re going to be a strategic, savvy investor, of course the community, the Walk Score, the market reports, all of those things are going to influence your purchase decision.” For investors Eryn and Steve Lorriman-Morreau, co-founders of Effective Land Management Solutions (ELMS), retail helps

Downtown location 43% Proximity to transit 35% Other (walkability and neighbourhood amenities) 20%

determine the demographic the area will attract. “Retail in a neighbourhood, especially quality anchor stores, is a good indication that the area is stable… We’d rather see a Walmart or another large retailer in a community (over Starbucks), as these cater to a wider demographic and an indicator of an up and coming area.” The presence of major retailers is an important part of the selection process for builders

When it comes to investors, one of the first things they need to determine is the tenant profile that they want to be able to attract. Shannon P. Murree, ReMax Chay Realty Inc.

and developers. “The absolute truth in land acquisitions is that there is an ordering to how we pick locations (neighbourhoods),” says Brian Johnston, chief operating officer at Mattamy Homes, Canada’s largest home builder, with low- and highrise communities in Ontario and Alberta, as well as in the U.S. “Generally, the neighbourhood picks us, as opposed to the other way around. “As an example, we may want to build townhouses in tony Forest Hill in Toronto. However, it is likely that the best we will find is a highrise site on the periphery

of that neighbourhood. Sites get brought to our attention and we vet the opportunity. We assess things such as schools, parks, transit, roads and shopping to determine whether the opportunity is a viable one. There are vast differences in the availability of services and amenities when comparing greenfield communities on the urban fringe, compared to infill sites, but this is reflected in the selling price of the homes.” One way developers solidify their proximity to retail is by tapping into the “mixed-use” condominium trend, where retail is located within the building itself. Builders are foregoing homogeneous developments that are strictly residential, and instead building communities that entail parks and retail and other amenities. Take for example, E Condos at Yonge and Eglinton, Minto Westside at Front and Bathurst, or Ice District in downtown Edmonton. These developments are a few of many that will introduce retail into their projects. Once they are complete, the ripple effect will ensue. There will be a huge draw for people to live in these condos, wanting direct access to the amenities. It’ll also bring foot traffic to the area from other nearby neighbourhoods, which will then spark more development from retailers who also wish to be near that increasing traffic. Of course, these communities take time to develop. But once they’re complete, investors who get in at the right time could be rewarded with price appreciation, as well as an attractive product for prospective renters. Canadian Property Investor 2016  35

MAKING THE GRADE Scoring an A+ on student housing By Wayne Karl University and college enrollment is booming across Canada, and postsecondary institutions are scrambling to keep up by expanding existing buildings and opening new satellite campuses. The federal government is doing its part, too, having committed in Budget 2016 to provide up to $2 billion over three years. Beginning in 2016-17, the new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will modernize infrastructure at post-secondary institutions and affiliated research and commercialization organizations. 36

Budget 2016 also included other measures to aid students, including a 50-per-cent increase to the Canada Student Grant amounts, for students from low- and middleincome families; and an increase to loan repayment regulations, allowing students to delay repaying their Canada Student Loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. Bottom line? Ottawa is making it easier for Canadians to get and pay for a post-secondary education. This is no small gesture, given that the average annual university undergrad tuition is about $6,000, and students typically graduate with an average debt approaching $30,000.

We asked: Would you invest in real estate in your current neighbourhood?

The challenge is that the scholastic expansion doesn’t necessarily extend to student residences, which creates a need in the rental market – and thus an opportunity for investors. That last part is nothing new. Experienced investors have long known this demand, buying singlefamily and multi-unit properties and converting them to student housing. And over the last several years, places such as Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. (home to University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College) are booming with low- and midrise student apartments built by private investors. But now big-time developers are stepping into the category, offering well located and affordable condo options aimed at students, and those looking to buy units to rent out to students. It also opens the door to new investors with little or no experience. The Greater Toronto Area, in particular, has seen a spate of condo projects marketed to investors for student housing, some even providing built-in property management. How to spot a student housing investment condo opportunity Growth: Expanding post-secondary institutions with significant enrollment growth Community: More post-secondary institutions in area leads to a bigger pool of renters Residences: Schools that are new or expanding but not building new student residences Economic fundamentals: Complementing economic fundamentals in the city or town are conducive to growing resale value Location: Proximity to school, intercity transit, food and entertainment and transportation to major cities Amenities: Basic amenities – students

No 17% Yes 71% Maybe 5%

need decent, clean, affordable and close accommodations; bells and whistles not necessary Experts say it’s a myth that students make for bad tenants – rather, they are high turnover tenants. They sometimes make for better tenants because they are backed, financially, by their parents. And just because a condo is low in price and located near a university or college – or is being marketed as student housing – doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good investment. Positive cashflow (renting out for more than your mortgage carrying costs and other expenses) and location in a growing area on the upswing are key to resale potential in future.


The positives ¡ Better cashflow – usually – than typical condos ¡ Hands-free management – if you contract property management ¡ Rental guarantees – for two or three years while students complete their programs, and the units often include furniture

The local market (size and population of nearby campuses) has to be large enough to support a building with several hundred beds, with an upward trend in enrollment.

The challenges ¡ Higher tenant turnover ¡ Higher maintenance costs at tenant turnover ¡ Smaller resale market for than regular condos And don’t forget… Insurance: Get several quotes and always be upfront and clear that your unit is being used for student housing. Failure to do so, in the event of an issue, could result in claim denial – or worse, lawsuit. Students should also have their own contents insurance Avoiding party central: Finding and screening tenants is key – and once moved in, be “around” but not overbearing. Respect their space and treat them as business partners.

Things to look for with student condos



The location of the building should be a 10-minute or less commute to campus. Anything longer and demand from students really drops off. The shorter the commute, the better.


Local market


Developer track record What has the developer built before? Many entering this space have never built a multiresidential building. Buyer beware when purchasing from a builder with no experience in this sector.


Property management track record Just as important is the property manager who will be managing the building and your unit. Invest with an expert in this space. Managing student rentals is a specialized skill. Canadian Property Investor 2016  37

NEXT STOP, SUCCESS Why you should plot your investment course around transit By Diane Duflot

HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS are willing to pay more to live closer to work, hoping to avoid long, stressful and expensive commutes. This makes proximity to transit and highway options a key driver for Canada’s housing market. It’s actually a global phenomenon; in London, home values rise £1,000 for every minute less that their owners have to spend on the tube daily; in Los Angeles, values of apartments and houses located a quarter to half a mile from rapid transit are 103.5 per cent higher; in Dallas, properties served by rail increase 38

39 per cent over those not served by rail, according to the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN). The influence of being in the vicinity of transit is so marked, that Melanie Reuter, director of research at REIN, says, “Primary researchers across North America and Europe were able to attach a dollar value to square footage based on their proximity to transit; it’s the feature that adds the most value to a home.” The value of real estate in the regions most affected increases by 10 to 20 per cent, according to the REIN’s Transportation Effect

report. This impact also extends to markets in a downturn, where the value of real estate will drop by 10 to 20 per cent less. Dave Toynbee, an investor in Edmonton and the Greater Vancouver Area, remarks that renters, who rely heavily on transit, will pay to live in an area with a shorter commute to work. “The closer a property is to transit, the more a renter will pay. Commutes are now measured in time, not distance.” Furthermore, whether it’s Vancouver’s SkyTrain, Calgary’s C-Train or Toronto’s subway, the

We asked: What is most important to you in a condo?

Location 57% Size 24% Amenities 9%


effect remains, though to varying degrees. The impact of rapid transit is more pronounced “in larger markets such as Toronto, Vancouver, New York or Los Angeles… than in cities like Edmonton and Calgary, which are traditionally car-centric,” according to Reuter. The largest impact is seen from subways or SkyTrains, explains Reuter, “whether they are below grade, above grade or at grade, these have the largest influence, because they’re permanent. We don’t see that with houses along a bus route, because bus routes can change at any given moment. The research also doesn’t support that rapid bus transit has the same influence on nearby housing.” The transportation effect is mitigated, however, by the fact that many homebuyers don’t want to be too close to train or subway stations, REIN reports, because of negative issues such as nuisance, property crime, noise

The impact of rapid transit is more pronounced “in larger markets such as Toronto, Vancouver, New York or Los Angeles.” —Melanie Reuter

and increased traffic on properties adjacent to transit stations. Jarek Bucholc, Calgary-based founder of the Canada Real Estate Investors Club, which has more than 2,000 members nationwide, agrees that properties very near transit “will decrease in value, because people want to face onto greenspace, not a highway.” Overall, however, property values rise due to Transit Oriented Development (TOD) – mixeduse residential and commercial neighbourhoods capitalizing on proximity to public transportation. Especially when an area can be

rezoned for multiple families. Says Reuter, “Buying a single-family home in such an area to tear it down and put 30 in its place makes the value of that property go way up.” Reuter, who recently participated in a meeting on housing affordability with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he was in Vancouver, notes that although some might be “hesitant to invest large sums of money to bring rapid transit to an area that doesn’t have the population, it’s a matter of – if you build it, they will come.” Rapid transit brings population densification, and as more people move to an area, the shops and restaurants to serve them move there, too, making rapid transit a boon for both commercial and residential real estate markets. As well, when the services in a neighbourhood increase, it becomes more walkable – and walkability just happens to be another of the top features for which homebuyers and renters are willing to pay. New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, whose dedication to making improvements in the Greater Vancouver Area’s transportation infrastructure is well known, calls rapid transit “transformational for a community,” specifying that it “has a big influence on urban character, and rapid transit locations tend to shape communities to become more mixed use and walkable.”

n Diane Duflot is a freelance writer based in Vancouver. More stories online:

Canadian Property Investor 2016  39

Select rapid transit project plans that are set to shape communities across Canada VANCOUVER UBC Line/Broadway Corridor extension Broadway is the busiest bus corridor in North America, and more than half a million passengers are passed by there every year. It’s estimated that extending the SkyTrain along the Broadway Corridor to UBC will cost $2.8 billion and to be completed by 2020. This project is still very much in the planning stages, and could involve a combination of light rail and SkyTrain.

Edmonton Valley Line – Stage 1 This 27-km, low-floor urban line is the largest infrastructure project in Edmonton’s history. Ground-breaking occurred in 2016 and completion of Stage 1 is scheduled in 2020.

TORONTO Scarborough Subway Extension

OTTAWA Confederation Line Construction began in 2013, and completion is anticipated for 2018. Its 13 stations will span 12.5 km, part of which will be an underground tunnel running below the downtown core.

Ottawa LRT—Stage 2 Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and be complete by 2023. About 70 per cent of Ottawans will be within five kms of rail when this project is completed.

Evergreen Rapid Transit Line This seven-station, 11-km rapid transit line will serve Coquitlam, Burnaby, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam. Surrey Light Rapid Transit The Surrey Rapid Transit Study shortlisted four options to meet its rapidly growing needs. On the list of possibilities are different combinations of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), LRT and SkyTrain. The City of Surrey favours plans for an all-LRT addition.

CALGARY RouteAhead Rapid Transit (BRT) Network A series of BRT projects that spans over 70 km across all four quadrants of Calgary. Still in the planning stages, the new BRT could begin in 2021.

Public Transit Infrastructure This new line will extend the BloorDanforth subway line about 7.6 kms from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue and McCowan Road, replacing the aging Scarborough RT. According to TTC’s preliminary schedule, the line will be built from 2108 to 2023.

Spadina Subway extension

 Over the next three years, this new federal $3.4-billion fund will be divided according to each province’s share of national ridership (Ontario, with 44 per cent of ridership, will receive $1.5 billion, while Quebec, with 27 per cent, will receive $924,000).

This project will extend the existing Spadina subway line from Toronto into York Region, making it the first TTC project to cross the City of Toronto boundary. Construction began in 2011 and is expected to be complete in 2017.

Eglinton Crosstown LRT Green Line LRT This line will nearly double the size of Calgary’s LRT network. Construction is scheduled to start in 2017, depending on funding.

EDMONTON Capital Line (Clareview to Gorman) This 2.9-km LRT extension north of Clareview station will exist chiefly within the current CN right-of-way. Preliminary engineering for the project is complete, and the City expects to move forward to design and construction once funding becomes available.


This $8.2-billion, 19-km line will connect to 54 bus routes, three subway stations and several GO Transit lines. Construction on the project began in 2011 and completion is expected by 2021.

SmartTrack SmartTrack will add to the province’s Regional Express Rail (RER) program, using existing GO tracks. When complete, it will connect Markham centre, the downtown financial district and the airport precinct. Ontario has pledged about $160 billion to SmartTrack over 12 years, the largest spent on public infrastructure in the province’s history.

 The budget asserts that investment in public transit hasn’t matched the rapid rate of urban population growth, causing gridlock that costs “billions of dollars in lost productivity each year.”  The fund will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for transit projects, and may include improvements to the Montreal Metro, upgrades to the TTC’s fleet and new light-rail lines in Greater Vancouver and Ottawa.






By Wayne Karl and Sonia Bell

Identifying a list of the Top 50 Places to Invest in Canada is no small task. We poured over mountains of data, and augmented all of it with insight from experts and the experiences of real life investors. We examined vacancy and rental rates (two-bedroom) from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., and validated those findings with the latest data on population, employment and wage growth from StatsCan, average home prices from real estate boards and insights on economic development and investment from multiple sources. What follows may not be a perfect list, as the items to look for in target markets warrant ongoing

attention. Economies change, companies expand and contract, capital projects get delayed or scrapped altogether. We’re confident, however, that we’ve compiled a list of areas in Canada which, if they don’t represent worthy investment opportunities now, they may be primed for resurgence in future. And then there’s the question of investment strategy. As you’ll read from our case studies and other content, there are various means

to make money in real estate. But know this: research, knowledge and information are the common denominators. Canadian Property Investor and its Top 50 Places to Invest in Canada should not be viewed as advice. The onus is on you to augment this information with your own research and insights that every investor should uncover as they perform due diligence. This list is a great place to start, but the rest is up to you.

SEE THE FULL LIST Canadian Property Investor 2016  43



1 Brampton

[ Ontario ]

1. Brampton Vacancy rate 2015: 0.9 2014: 1.9 Average rent 2015: $1,211 2014: $1,195 (2.0% change) Average home prices 2015: $478,989 2014: $447,785 (7.0% change)


Population 2011: 523,911 2006: 433,806 (20.8% change) Employment 2011: 220,610 2006: 137,965 (59.9% change) Median Income 2011: $45,019 2006: $41,664 (8.1% change)

Its ranking in the top 10 in vacancy rates – falling from an already squeaky tight 1.9 per cent in 2014 to a miniscule 0.9 per cent in 2015 – is the product of strong population and employment growth. And that comes from the jobs afforded by corporate expansion; Coca-Cola, Barcardi Canada, Rogers Communications, Air Canada and Canon Canada are among the growing roster of blue chip employers which have relocated to or are expanding here. Since 2005, Brampton has seen a 50-per-cent growth in its health and life sciences sector, now comprising

more than 250 companies. Improving transit infrastructure will come from the Hurontario LRT, a 23-km line running along Hurontario Street from Port Credit in Mississauga, around Mississauga’s City Centre and north on Hurontario to Brampton’s downtown Main Street to the Brampton GO Station. Two caveats: known as a strong, business-friendly government, City Hall recently cleaned house to correct some internal issues and growing pains; average home price growth may be gathering steam, like the rest of the GTA.


Our selection as Brampton as the top place to invest in real estate in Canada may surprise, but not if you’ve been paying attention to this market in the last few years.



Richmond Hill [ Ontario ] Richmond Hill scores with almost non-existent vacancy rates and high rents, thanks to very strong growth in population, employment and income. In July, the city was named the sixth most lucrative place in Canada to do business, citing a large and growing population, high household incomes and educational levels. A thriving technology cluster, combined with professional, scientific and technical services, finance and insurance, healthcare and other industries, bode well for continued growth. Transit expansion will facilitate this growth; with population in York Region expected to grow to 1.8 million people and 900,000 jobs by 2041, the York Region Transportation Master Plan is key. Also, the Yonge North Subway Extension is planned to extend to Hwy. 7 in Richmond Hill, affording residents and commuters more transit options to alleviate traffic congestion. The one challenge with Richmond Hill is high average home prices, which puts property

selection and strategy at a premium. Investors – look at the new condo developments for opportunities.


Milton [ Ontario ]

2. Richmond Hill Vacancy rate 2015: 0.6 2014: 0.9 Average rent 2015: $1,349 2014: $1,299 (2.5% change)

Employment 2011: 78,860 2006: 50,880 (55.0% change)

Average home prices 2015: $895,893 2014: $816,837 (9.7% change)


Average home prices 2015: $538,887 2014: $491,610 (9.6% change)

Median Income 2011: $56,446 2006: $51,018 (10.6% change)

3. Milton Vacancy rate 2015: 1.0 2014: 1.9 Average rent 2015: $1,151 2014: $1,121 (3.3% change)

Population 2011: 84,362 2006: 53,889 (6.7% change) Employment 2011: 39,080 2006: 21,175 (84.6% change) Median Income 2011: $56,843 2006: $50,737 (12.0% change)

[ Ontario ] Boasting a waterfront location on Lake Simcoe, Barrie has been on the radar for savvy investors for years. Designated as an Urban

4. Barrie Vacancy rate 2015: 1.3 2014: 1.6 Average rent 2015: $1,121 2014: $1,086 (4.3% change)


Population 2011: 185,541 2006: 162,704 (14.0% change)

Mass population growth, residential development and a vastly declining vacancy rate has earned Milton a spot in the top three. With its population expected to double within the next 20 years, Milton has been dubbed “the fastest-growing city in Canada.” To be expected, it is also experiencing some growing pains, with its population outpacing infrastructure such as transit and schools. However, this might present an opportunity for investors to get into this market before these amenities are further introduced.



Average home prices 2015: $373,203 2014: $341,023 (9.4% change)

Population 2011: 135,711 2006: 128,430 (5.7% change) Employment 2011: 55,250 2006: 41,325 (33.7% change) Median Income 2011: $49,958 2006: $45,123 (10.7% change)


Canadian Property Investor 2016  45


5. Orillia Vacancy rate 2015: 0.9 2014: 1.9 Average rent 2015: $924 2014: $903 (2.3% change) Average home prices 2015: $302,616 2014: $282,873 (7.0% change)

Population 2011: 30,586 2006: 30,259 (1.1% change) Employment 2011: 14,270 2006: 8,365 (70.5% change) Median Income 2011: $40,386 2006: $36,709 (10.0% change)

Average rent 2015: $954 2014: $926 (4.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $504,456 2014: $443,330 (13.8% change)

[ Ontario ] Population 2011: 468,251 2006: 394,976 (18.6% change) Employment 2011: 183,165 2006: 107,815 (69.9% change) Median Income 2011: $45,642 2006: $40,402 (13.0% change)

7. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Vacancy rate 2015: 1.6 2014: 3.3 Average rent 2015: $940 2014: $886 (3.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $442,200 2014: $396,300 (11.6% change)




6. Surrey Vacancy rate 2015: 2.0 2014: 2.4

Growth Centre by the province, the city is benefitting from the resulting job growth, economic diversification and transportation improvements – and its proximity to Toronto about 90 kms away. No longer is Barrie considered just part of the gateway to Ontario’s cottage country. An increasingly diverse economy and a growing post-secondary destination are drawing new development, businesses and residents to Barrie.

Population 2011: 93,788 2006: 84,572 (10.9% change) Employment 2011: 38,775 2006: 25,945 (49.5% change) Median Income 2011: $52,540 2006: $45,401 (15.7% change)

Like Barrie, Orillia continues to shake off a reputation as merely a recreational destination, and is helping the region expand a selfsustaining economy. Hydro One has purchased more than 16 acres here, and with the City plans to build a state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Hub. Economic impact of the construction and related activity is anticipated to inject $200 to $300 million – and new, highquality, knowledge-based jobs – into the economy. Add to this, expansion at local Georgian College and Lakehead University campuses, and there seems to be plenty of opportunities for investors.


Surrey [ British Columbia ] Of all the places in the super-hot Vancouver area to invest, Surrey may not be top of your list – but go ahead and add it. Proximity to downtown – but without the same sky-high housing prices – makes Surrey a favourite of

experienced investors; it’s a perennial front-runner of the Real Estate Investment Network, for example. The City’s Economic Diversification Strategy aims to create a strong and resilient economy focused on health tech, clean tech, advanced manufacturing and agriinnovation. Strong population and employment growth indicate that the transition is well underway.


Maple RidgePitt Meadows [ British Columbia ] Location in the Lower Mainland, but without convenient access to Vancouver until recent infrastructure improvements such as the Golden Ears Bridge, connecting Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to Langley and beyond – have limited growth in this area. Rents and average home prices are light years more affordable than the downtown core, but all that is expected to change. Vacancy rates are already a microscopic 1.6 per cent. The local economy is expanding, beyond forestry and agriculture and into tourism and the film industry, but most residents still work elsewhere.


AbbotsfordMission [ British Columbia ] Just one of several towns around Vancouver to benefit from people moving out of the downtown because of severe affordability




8. Abbotsford-Mission Vacancy rate 2015: 0.9 2014: 3.0

Population 2011: 170,191 2006: 159,020 (7.0% change)

Average rent 2015: $864 2014: $835 (2.8% change)

Employment 2011: 65,115 2006: 42,440 (53.4% change)

Average home prices 2015: $324,707 2014: $268,029 (21.2% change)

Median Income 2011: $46,834 2006: $40,912 (14.5% change)

9. Squamish Vacancy rate 2015: 0.0 2014: 4.5

issues. The Conference Board of Canada says the local economy – agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and retail – is one of the most diverse in the country. It is also one of the most productive, with real GDP forecast to grow 2.5 per cent this year and 2.8 per cent in 2017. Infrastructure improvements, such as the South Fraser Perimeter Highway, makes commuting easier for residents.




[ British Columbia ] Why does Squamish warrant a spot in the top 10? For starters, Squamish’s vacancy rate declined to zero in 2015, boasting the largest decrease in Canada. It also had the highest year-over-year rent

increase. The city has become one of the go-to locations for many buyers and renters who have been priced out of Vancouver’s housing market. However, much like the rest of Vancouver, prices are on the rise, so investors might want to buy sooner than later.


Okotoks [ Alberta ] Once known for its 30,000 population cap (which has since been lifted), Okotoks has emerged as a top Alberta market to invest in. One of the very few Canadian cities with a zero vacancy rate, the area continues to draw individuals due to its location – merely 15 minutes south of Calgary, cutting-edge green initiatives

Population 2011: 17,158 2006: 14,949 (14.8% change)

Average rent 2015: $976 2014: $823 (18.8% change)

Employment 2011: 7,820 2006: 4,280 (82.7% change)

Average home prices 2015: $474,700 2014: $416,400 (14.0% change)

Median Income 2011: $47,183 2006: $43,643 (8.1% change)

10. Okotoks Vacancy rate 2015: 0.0 2014: 1.4

Population 2011: 24,511 2006: 17,150 (42.9% change)

Average rent 2015: $951 2014: $908 (4.4% change)

Employment 2011: 10,540 2006: 5,695 (85.1% change)

Average home prices 2015: $491,596 2014: $458,265 (7.2% change)

Median Income 2011: $62,792 2006: $48,392 (29.8% change)

Canadian Property Investor 2016  47



11. Winkler Vacancy rate 2015: 1.3 2014: 1.9 Average rent 2015: $696 2014: $692 (1.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $278,718 2014: $276,397 (1% change)

Population 2011: 10,670 2006: 9,106 (17.2% change) Employment 2011: 3,805 2006: 2,415 (57.6% change) Median Income 2011: $36,974 2006: $29,746 (24.3% change)

12. Aurora-NewmarketWhitchurch-Stouffville

Average rent 2015: $1,174 2014: $1,097 (2.5% change) Average home prices 2015: $746,254 2014: $673,444 (10.8% change)

Population 2011: 170,809 2006: 146,314 (16.7% change) Employment 2011: 75,355 2006: 49,700 (51.6% change) Median Income 2011: $58,901 2006: $54,675 (7.7% change)

and improvements to transit. Infrastructure is starting to keep up with the population, and the town stands to benefit from the On-It Calgary Regional Transit Pilot Project, which will serve Okotoks and connect residents to Calgary’s south LRT line.


Winkler 13. New Westminster Vacancy rate 2015: 0.8 2014: 1.4 Average rent 2015: $1,159 2014: $1,157 (2.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $436,200 2014: $379,900 (14.8% change)


Population 2011: 65,976 2006: 58,549 (12.7% change) Employment 2011: 29,770 2006: 18,915 (57.4% change) Median Income 2011: $50,065 2006: $42,295 (18.4% change)

its supercentres earlier in 2016, a good sign of growth for an area.



[ Manitoba ]

[ Ontario ]

Winkler is recognized as one of Manitoba’s fastest-growing cities. From an investor standpoint, one downside is that Winkler commands the lowest rents in Manitoba’s urban centres, with a two-bedroom apartment going for $696 per month, according to a 2015 CMHC survey. However, with the vacancy rate declining (currently, the lowest in the entire province), a rising population, and employment growth might put some upward pressure on average rents. Moreover, Walmart selected Winkler as a location for one of

The area continues to challenge the perception that it is merely a bedroom community to Toronto. Aurora-Newmarket-WhitchurchStouffville is experiencing local business growth, attracting more people to live and work here. The area is likely to reap benefits from the Viva Bus Rapid Transit line, which will connect residents to other York Region centres. This will facilitate more development along Yonge Street, the spine of the new transit corridor, and will introduce more shopping, entertainment and new homes.


Vacancy rate 2015: 1.1 2014: 2.1


aided by huge investment in transit and other infrastructure and with far better housing affordability. Due to wrap up in the coming months is the Evergreen Line Rapid Transit Project, a $1.5-billion, 11-kilometre, sevenstation LRT line connecting Coquitlam with existing SkyTrain service in Burnaby.




14. Burnaby Vacancy rate 2015: 1.3 2014: 2.1

Population 2011: 223,218 2006: 202,799 (10.1% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,222 2014: $1,212 (2.9% change)

Employment 2011: 88,810 2006: 53,145 (67.1% change)

Average home prices 2015: $676,667 2014: $581,767 (16.3% change)

Median Income 2011: $48,104 2006: $41,895 (14.8% change)

[ British Columbia ]


New Westminster [ British Columbia ] Located in the Lower Mainland, New Westminster is a small city with big potential. At 0.8 per cent, vacancy rates are low and dropping. Average house prices are much lower than in the Lower Mainland overall, especially, Vancouver. And since the price is right, demand is growing. As a result, developers are supplying, and the area is expected to grow to more than 100,000 people within the next 25 years.


Burnaby [ British Columbia ] Burnaby – the third largest city in BC by population – is just one of several locales to benefit from proximity to Vancouver, further

Hosting the long track speed skating events during the 2010 Winter Olympics may have drawn international attention to Richmond, but it’s the city’s prime waterfront location that keeps it there. Strong growth in population– reportedly with Canada’s highest population of immigrants, at 60 per cent – as well as in employment and income, is evident in home prices that are higher than neighbouring Burnaby and New Westminster.



15. Richmond Vacancy rate 2015: 0.5 2014: 0.4

Population 2011: 190,473 2006: 174,461 (9.2% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,296 2014: $1,198 (6.0% change)

Employment 2011: 72,650 2006: 45,985 (58.0% change)

Average home prices 2015: $716,800 2014: $598,100 (19.9% change)

Median Income 2011: $46,733 2006: $41,065 (13.8% change)

16. Coquitlam

[ British Columbia ] Transit expansion – notably the Evergreen LRT project – is vital to Coquitlam. Many residents work in Vancouver (and may be priced out of the housing market there), Burnaby or other suburbs. Making commuting easier, the Evergreen Line will be a fast and convenient SkyTrain service, connecting Coquitlam City Centre through Port Moody to Lougheed Town Centre. The Evergreen Line is expected to be complete and in service in late 2016.

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.3 2014: 1.0

Population 2011: 126,456 2006: 114,565 (10.4% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,095 2014: $1,028 (9.1% change)

Employment 2011: 50,985 2006: 32,975 (54.6% change)

Average home prices 2015: $640,200 2014: $536,800 (19.2% change)

Median Income 2011: $53,190 2006: $44,825 (18.7% change)

Canadian Property Investor 2016  49


Vacancy rate 2015: 2.8 2014: 3.6 Average rent 2015: $909 2014: $892 (3.2% change) Average home prices 2015: $271,425 2014: $251,297 (8.0% change)

Population 2011: 392,184 2006: 390,317 (0.5% change) Employment 2011: 144,085 2006: 111,215 (29.6% change) Median Income 2011: $44,512 2006: $41,772 (6.6% change)

18. Kelowna Vacancy rate 2015: 0.8 2014: 1.2 Average rent 2015: $1,002 2014: $980 (3.9% change) Average home prices 2015: $508,627 2014: $475,799 (6.9% change)

Population 2011: 117,312 2006: 107,035 (9.6% change) Employment 2011: 45,635 2006: 29,130 (56.7% change) Median Income 2011: $46,566 2006: $38,363 (21.4% change)

19. Oshawa Vacancy rate 2015: 1.7 2014: 1.8 Average rent 2015: $1,035 2014: $1,010 (1.9% change) Average home prices 2015: $357,155 2014: $303,045 (17.9% change)


Population 2011: 149,607 2006: 141,590 (5.7% change)


St. CatharinesNiagara [ Ontario ] A big draw for investors is the ability to get into the market at a reasonable cost – one of the lowest in the province. Location is another attractive feature, near the United States border. There’s also been investment in transit, with a new Niagara-Peninsula GO Train line beginning construction in 2017 and scheduled for completion in 2023. This line will help spur the economy, increase travel options for residents and aid highway congestion.


Kelowna [ British Columbia ] Kelowna may be best known as something of a tourist playground in BC’s Okanagan Valley, but as the largest municipality in this winemaking region, it also boasts an increasingly diversifying economy. Chief among the developments are a burgeoning tech sector (read, money) and a growing student population (hello, student housing). One caution: its roots as a vacation destination. Recreational properties are usually the first to tank in an economic downtown.

Employment 2011: 58,520 2006: 44,395 (31.8% change)


Median Income 2011: $49,877 2006: $45,373 (9.9% change)

[ Ontario ]

Oshawa Oshawa is recognized for providing great value to buyers since, prices are about 50 per cent

lower than the average in Toronto. Combining this with Oshawa’s low vacancy rate makes the city a prime location for investors. Concerns about curtailment or closure of production at Oshawa’s GM plant have been put at bay with recent expansion plans announced. And once these plans move forward, the city is expected to see more employment growth.


Etobicoke SouthLakeshore [ Ontario ] Condos are everywhere in Toronto, so what makes this burgeoning community so special? Dozens of existing and planned projects, proximity to downtown and easy


17. St. Catharines-Niagara



20. Etobicoke South-Lakeshore Vacancy rate 2015: 2.0 2014: 2.4

Population 2011: 122,999 2006: 114,641 (7.3% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,090 2014: $1,076 (2.6% change)

Employment 2011: 55,825 2006: n/a

Average home prices 2015: $537,469 2014: $494,894 (8.6% change)

Median Income 2011: $57,057 2006: n/a


highway access to head to the suburbs, improving transit and an idyllic lakefront location with acres of trails and greenspace… A vast, dormant adjacent parcel of land, partially zoned as employment lands, has builders looking to expand and the city promising to further develop this area – carefully.

is already sparking interest in investors and developers, who have begun scooping up property along the proposed route.


[ Ontario ]

Kitsilano [ British Columbia ] Although vacancy rates in Kitsilano inched upward, they’re still very low, and if you can afford to buy here, the city yields one of the highest rental incomes in Canada. “Kits” will be one of the communities to benefit from the proposed SkyTrain extension, which will run from Commercial along Broadway and up to Arbutus Street. The SkyTrain extension


Vacancy rate 2015: 0.8 2014: 0.3

Population 2011: 41,375 2006: 40,595 (1.9% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,732 2014: $1,680 (6.2% change)

Employment 2011: 26,670 2006: 27,160 (-1.8% change)

Average home prices 2015: $1.04M 2014: $868,300 (20% change)

Median Income 2011: $60,147 2006: $53,455 (12.5% change)

Guelph Guelph benefits from a diverse economy – including agriculture, education, healthcare and manufacturing – that continues to attract a skilled labour force. This has helped earn Guelph among the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Home to the University of Guelph, the city has a large student population, a common renter profile for investors. The population is expected to increase by 50,000 by 2031, and new development is underway that will help house the growing population.

22. Guelph Vacancy rate 2015: 1.2 2014: 1.2

Population 2011: 121,688 2006: 114,943 (5.9% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,027 2014: $988 (3.4% change)

Employment 2011: 52,200 2006: 38,685 (34.9% change)

Average home prices 2015: $378,498 2014: $358,549 (5.6% change)

Median Income 2011: $50,165 2006: $45,674 (9.8% change)

Canadian Property Investor 2016  51


23. KitchenerWaterloo-Cambridge

Average rent 2015: $997 2014: $975 (2.7% change) Average home prices 2015: $348,065 2014: 333,457 (4.3% change)

Population 2011: 477,160 2006: 451,235 (5.7% change) Employment 2011: 203,350 2006: 141,450 (43.8% change) Median Income 2011: $49,788 2006: $45,241 (10.1% change)

24. Mississauga



KitchenerWaterlooCambridge [ Ontario ]

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.8 2014: 1.5 Average rent 2015: $1,245 2014: $1,211 (3.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $546,296 2014: $506,579 (7.8% change)

Population 2011: 713,443 2006: 668,599 (6.7% change) Employment 2011: 303,935 2006: 213,080 (42.6% change) Median Income 2011: $49,853 2006: $44,981 (10.8% change)

25. Toronto Vacancy rate 2015: 1.5 2014: 1.4 Average rent 2015: $1,301 2014: $1,264 (3.5% change) Average home prices 2015: $626,942 2014: $574,539 (9.1% change)


Population 2011: 2,615,060 2006: 2,503,281 (4.5% change) Employment 2011: 1,059,545 2006: 708,220 (49.6% change) Median Income 2011: $49,436 2006: $43,291 (14.2% change)

Ontario’s economy is expected to outpace national growth over the next two years, according to CMHC, with net migration expected to rise to 108,000 and 114,000 by 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Conference Board of Canada says KWC will have one of the fastest-growing economies in Canada this year. With a booming student population and an economy hanging tough post-RIM dominance, this is one of the top destinations for newcomers. Bonus: a new LRT and improved GO Transit connections with Toronto and elsewhere.


Mississauga [ Ontario ] The Horontario LRT, a multibillion-dollar project will continue to transform this suburb. Moreover, Rogers Real Estate Development has announced a $1.5-billion investment in

downtown Mississauga. These projects will heighten connectivity and spark further residential, commercial and employment growth – key ingredients to a booming real estate market. The city’s biggest downfall is similar to many others in the GTA – prices are seeing double-digit growth year over year.


Toronto [ Ontario ] How can Toronto be so far down the list? Top destination for new Canadians, piping hot real estate market… The challenge is this: prices; the city has a serious affordability issue. This makes rental properties a wise choice, but being able to buy suitable downtown locations, rent them out and still cash-flow positive, is the question. High prices, supply concerns and the prospect of foreign buyers’ tax are causing additional consternation in the market.

26 onwards See list

The remaining 25 neighbourhoods are listed on the following pages.


Vacancy rate 2015: 2.8 2014: 2.3


26. Hamilton, Ont.

29. Oakville, Ont.

32. Delta, BC

Vacancy rate 2015: 3.4 2014: 2.3

Vacancy rate 2015: 0.8 2014: 1.6

Vacancy rate 2015: 0.5 2014: 2

Average rent 2015: $1,034 2014: $959 (3.8% change) Average home prices 2015: $442,493 2014: $406,366 (8.9% change)

Population 2011: 519,949 2006: 504,559 (3.1% change) Employment 2011: 194,425 2006: 147,395 (31.9% change) Median Income 2011: $49,103 2006: $43,970 (11.7% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,357 2014: $1,317 (3.4% change) Average home prices 2015: $844,178 2014: $778,469 (8.4% change)

27. Burlington, Ont.

30. Victoria

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.7 2014: 1.2

Vacancy rate 2015: 0.5 2014: 1.5

Average rent 2015: $1,267 2014: $1,199 (4.8% change) Average home prices 2015: $442,493 2014: $406,366 (8.9% change)

Population 2011: 175,779 2006: 164,415 (6.9% change) Employment 2011: 75,295 2006: 55,085 (36.7% change) Median Income 2011: $59,460 2006: $51,645 (15.1% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,128 2014: $1,095 (2.4% change) Average home prices 2015: $521,616 2014: $496,473 (5.1% change)

28. Etobicoke North, Ont.

31. Langley. BC

Vacancy rate 2015: 0.8 2014: 1.0

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.5 2014: 1.1

Average rent 2015: $1,121 2014: 1,067 (4.0% change) Average home prices 2015: $415,709 2014: $382,823 (8.6% change)

Population 2011: 111,343 2006: 108,501 (2.6% change) Employment 2011: 38,865 2006: n/a Median Income 2011: $38,388 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $970 2014: $942 (4.0% change) Average home prices 2015: $545,061 2014: $403,146 (35.2% change)

Population 2011: 182,520 2006: 165,613 (10.2% change) Employment 2011: 76,395 2006: 53,145 (43.8% change) Median Income 2011: $67,733 2006: $60,013 (12.9% change)


Population 2011: 99,863 2006: 96,635 (3.34% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,051 2014: $$1,030 (1.2% change)

Employment 2011: 39,040 2006: 27,890 (39.98% change)

Average home prices 2015: $493,576 2014: $402,383 (22.7% change)

Median Income 2011: $54,789 2006: $48,010 (14.1% change)

33. Kamloops, BC Population 2011: 80,017 2006: 78,057 (2.5% change) Employment 2011: 34,345 2006: 22,465 (52.88% change) Median Income 2011: $44,778 2006: $38,234 (17.1% change)

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.2 2014: 3.1

Population 2011: 85,678 2006: 80,376 (6.6% change)

Average rent 2015: $919 2014: $866 (2.1% change)

Employment 2011: 34,170 2006: 22,885 (49.31% change)

Average home prices 2015: $326,398 2014: $318,241 (2.6% change)

Median Income 2011: $50,293 2006: $42,846 (17.4% change)

34. Etobicoke Central, Ont. Population 2011: 25,081 2006: 23,606 (6.2% change) Employment 2011: 10,110 2006: 7,220 (40.0% change) Median Income 2011: $48,225 2006: $40,123 (20.2% change)

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.6 2014: 1.5

Population 2011: 113,606 2006: 111,349 (2.0% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,310 2014: $1,283 (3.0% change)

Employment 2011: 42,635 2006: n/a

Average home prices 2015: $635,974 2014: $586,325 (8.5% change)

Median Income 2011: $55,024 2006: n/a

Canadian Property Investor 2016  53


35. Woodstock, Ont.

38. Brandon, Man.

41. Edmonton West central

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.8 2014: 0.8

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.6 2014: 0.8

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.8 2014: 1.2

Population 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $1,118 2014: $1,087 (2.8% change)

Employment 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $1,181 2014: $1,137 (2.9% change) Average home prices 2015: $249,593 2014: $240,235 (3.9% change)

Population 2011: 37,754 2006: 35,822 (5.4% change) Employment 2011: 14,605 2006: 11,235 (30.0% change) Median Income 2011: $47,902 2006: $43,680 (9.7% change)

Average rent 2015: $835 2014: $809 (3.3% change) Average home prices 2015: $224,535 2014: $220,079 (2.02% change)

36. London, Ont.

39. Winnipeg

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.9 2014: 2.9

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.9 2014: 2.5

Average rent 2015: $963 2014: $943 (2.3% change) Average home prices 2015: $265,370 2014: $255,453 (3.9% change)

Population 2011: 366,151 2006: 352,395 (3.7% change) Employment 2011: 141,700 2006: 109,035 (29.9% change) Median Income 2011: $47,805 2006: $42,226 (13.2% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,045 2014: $1,016 (3.3% change) Average home prices 2015: $278,270 2014: $273,363 (1.8% change)

Population 2011: 46,061 2006: 41,511 (11.0% change) Employment 2011: 19,715 2006: 13,225 (49.1% change) Median Income 2011: $42,055 2006: $35,935 (17.0% change)

Average home prices 2015: $369,536 2014: $362,657 (1.8% change)

Median Income 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Population 2011: 663,617 2006: 633,451 (4.8% change) Employment 2011: 276,110 2006: 205,990 (34.0% change) Median Income 2011: $44,829 2006: $38,272 (17.1% change)


37. Kingston, Ont.

40. Penticton, BC

42. Calgary Southwest

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.8 2014: 1.8

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.2 2014: 0.9

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.8 2014: 0.8

Average rent 2015: $1,096 2014: $1,070 (2.9% change) Average home prices 2015: $293,375 2014: $281,980 (4.0% change)


Population 2011: 123,363 2006: 117,207 (5.3% change) Employment 2011: 47,780 2006: 32,640 (46.4% change) Median Income 2011: $48,677 2006: $43,744 (11.3% change)

Average rent 2015: $856 2014: $810 (3.8% change) Average home prices 2015: $383,000 2014: $372,000 (3.0% change)

Population 2011: 32,877 2006: 31,909 (3.0% change) Employment 2011: 10,780 2006: 7,870 (36.9% change) Median Income 2011: $42,523 2006: $35,847 (18.6% change)

Average rent 2015: $1,262 2014: $1,234 (0.9% change) Average home prices 2015: $453,814 2014: $460,584 (-1.4% change)

Population 2011: 325,800 2006: 295,390 (10.3% change) Employment 2011: 109,905 2006: 105,040 (4.6% change) Median Income 2011: $40,379 2006: $33,951 (18.9% change)


43. Edmonton Castledown

45. Calgary Northwest

48. Cranbrook, BC

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.4 2014: 0.9

Population 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Vacancy rate 2015: 4.8 2014: 1.7

Vacancy rate 2015: 1.5 2014: 1.9

Average rent 2015: $1,205 2014: $1,183 (3.4% change)

Employment 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $1,289 2014: $1,268 (0.8% change)

Average home prices 2015: 328,605 2014: 332,954 (-1.3% change)

Median Income 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average home prices 2015: $498,822 2014: $493,268 (1.1% change)

Population 2011: 302,420 2006: 278,330 (8.7% change) Employment 2011: 96,630 2006: 92,275 (4.7% change) Median Income 2011: $39,427 2006: $32,073 (22.9% change)

Population 2011: 19,319 2006: 18,329 (5.4% change)

Average rent 2015: $750 2014: $738 (2.0% change)

Employment 2011: 7,270 2006: 4,970 (46.3% change)

Average home prices 2015: $391,003 2014: $369,576 (5.9% change)

Median Income 2011: $47,240 2006: $42,000 (12.5% change)

46. Edmonton Millwoods

49. Gander, Nfld.

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.8 2014: 0.8

Vacancy rate 2015: 2.6 2014: 0.7

Average rent 2015: $1,345 2014: $1,312 (1.6% change) Average home prices 2015: $302,391 2014: $300,433 (.65% change)

Population 2011: 78,322 2006: 80,363 (-2.5% change) Employment 2011: 48,425 2006: n/a Median Income 2011: $51,083 2006: n/a


Population 2011: 11,054 2006: 9,951 (11.1% change)

Average rent 2015: $660 2014: $645 (2.1% change)

Employment 2011: 4,770 2006: 2,865 (66.5% change)

Average home prices 2015: $275,579 2014: $283,671 (-2.8% change)

Median Income 2011: $50,268 2006: $40,187 (25.1% change)

44. Edmonton South West

47. Edmonton Downtown

50. Vancouver Downtown

Vacancy rate 2015: 3.8 2014: 1.1

Population 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Vacancy rate 2015: 4.0 2014: 1.6

Population 2011: 10,925 2006: n/a

Vacancy rate 2015: 0.2 2014: 0.2

Average rent 2015: $1,306 2014: $1,274 (1.6% change)

Employment 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $1,357 2014: $1,330 (2.6% change)

Employment 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average rent 2015: $1,968 2014: $1,829 (4.6% change)

Average home prices 2015: $369,536 2014: $362,657 (1.8% change)

Median Income 2011: n/a 2006: n/a

Average home prices 2015: $307,255 2014: $294,307 (4.2% change)

Median Income 2011: $51,188 2006: n/a

Population 2011: 54,690 2006: 43,415 (25.9% change) Employment 2011: 33,000 2006: 25,730 (28.3% change)

Average home prices 2015: $1.04M 2014: $868,300 (19% change)

Median Income 2011: $60,387 2006: $44,218 (36.6% change)

Canadian Property Investor 2016  55

Investor Snapshot


Eryn and Steve Lorriman-Moreau Effective Land Management Solutions, Barrie, Ont.

Q: What's your greatest learning experience so far? We encountered an issue that made us realize the importance of getting an up-to-date property survey. We had a survey, but when we went for a zoning certificate, they noted that the garage was not on it and that it was too close to the property line. This led to huge delays and costs before we could even get a building permit. It was a financial burden we didn't expect. We didn't let it deter us and we looked at it as a learning process. Q: What makes Barrie such a great market to invest? Q: How did you get started in real estate investing? We both owned income properties separately. As we educated ourselves, and after a lot of brainstorming, we developed our company, Effective Land Management Solutions, and purchased our first joint property. Q: What investment strategy has been the most successful for you, and why? Renovate and refinance, because we can purchase buildings (often

at a lower price than purpose-built or already-renovated properties), and renovate them. We enjoy completing all, or at least some, of the reno ourselves. We then refinance the improved property at an increased value, thereby gaining access to equity. Q: Any advice for others considering investing in real estate? Educate yourself – attend seminars, interact with likeminded individuals and learn from them.

We asked: In terms of condo amenities, what are most important to you?


Location – it all comes down to location and ROI. When you're able to think outside the box, there are deals to be had. With our experience, we can look past what a property is, and focus on what it could be. Barrie is a hot market and with its proximity and access to the GTA, it is quickly becoming an ideal spot for commuters. It offers all sorts of community events year-round, and the waterfront is a hub of activity. As an investor who lives and invests in Barrie, these are all assets that influence our decisions.

Parking 46% Adjacent to retail/commercial space 29% Fitness centre 16%


The following 18 pages focus on developments in Western Canada

Whistler on the rise

A $1.4-billion takeover of Whistler Blackcomb in Whistler, BC by Vail Resorts Inc. could bolster expansion plans in the mountain resort. A $345-million redevelopment plan to make Whistler Blackcomb a year-round destination includes a new indoor water park, accommodations and townhomes with ski lift access.

Why this matters: Besides new construction and operational jobs, the new and existing properties could benefit from increased tourism business.

Mountain Equipment ramp-up

Flat beer sales

Mountain Equipment Co-op plans to open two new stores in Calgary in the next three years. MEC will open a 30,000-sq.-ft. location in Seton Urban District in fall 2018, followed by a 27,000-sq.-ft. store in Medicine Hill in 2019. These are in addition to two Edmonton outlets opening in fall and next spring.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. reported a 24.1-per-cent decline in profit for Q2 2016. The American-Canadian multinational says factors were operation and market issues, including declines in profits from Canadian plants.

Why this matters: MEC says the stores will provide about 160 new jobs. Not a huge number, but a shot in the arm and a vote of confidence for a local economy that needs it.

Another kick in the teeth A prolonged slump in oil and gas was bad enough, then the wildfires in Alberta in May gave energy companies another kick in the teeth. Production cuts added to costs from evacuations and employee relocation.

Why this matters: Could add to employment cutbacks and further delay the industry’s recovery.

Why this matters: It plans to close the Vancouver operation. Canadian Property Investor 2016  57






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A TH FT E SH E R O W Hockey Wives’ Kodette and Jason LaBarbera move from the rink to the investment property arena By Wayne Karl


SPEND A FEW MINUTES watching W Network’s reality series Hockey Wives, and you quickly realize two things. One – it’s not at all like any of those Real Housewives shows riddled with F-bombs and B-words. And two – it has a decidedly Canadian element of humility to it. Of any “wives” show, you might expect one featuring hockey would be filled with drama. But there are no cat fights here. Sorry. The cast seems real, reasonable and grounded. Notable among them is Kodette LaBarbera, wife of recently retired NHL and AHL goalie Jason LaBarbera, and mom to 7-year-old Ryder and Easton, 5. Among the cast of models, TV personalities and entrepreneurs, Kodette stands out as one of the stars of the show. Hockey Wives provides a glimpse into the family’s challenges with a suitcase lifestyle, with Ryder’s autism and Kodette’s mission to raise awareness and funds for the cause. And in season two recently ended, we learn of Jason’s impending retirement and the LaBarbera’s growing interest in real estate. Canadian Property Investor spoke to Kodette about their transition from the hockey rink to the investment property arena.

Q+A CPI: How did you and Jason get started investing in real estate? On the show, you discussed buying an 18-unit complex in Nelson, BC, but you also own two single-family homes in Calgary as investment properties… KL: There was never really a start to it. Jason purchased his first home in Calgary many years back. He always had friends and brothers living there, so when we started dating we purchased one that was just for us. We bought in Scottsdale, Ariz. a few years after that and lived there for four years when Jason was with the Coyotes. We have since sold that one. We just purchased our “forever” home in Calgary… we just needed a bigger yard for the boys! With the market the way it is in Calgary, it’s easier to just hang on to all three properties. CPI: What’s your motivation – preparing for retirement? Building a nest egg for the boys? To build wealth? KL: It’s definitely a good nest egg for the boys. We hope to keep building that up for them. CPI: On the show, it seemed like you were managing this part of your lives, while Jason focused on hockey. Is that the case, and how do you balance your new ‘career’ and his? Who does what? KL: Oh, no… I really wanted that building in Nelson, but Jason is definitely more hands-on with investments, and he’s quite good at it. I do all the charity work and

ABOVE: Kodette and Jason LaBarbera; sons Ryder, 7 and Easton. 5

fundraising, cleaning, managing the boys’ schedules. Jason plays hockey, then he does all the cooking, banking and investments. CPI: I understand you invest with partners. Is this an official jointventure partnership or a more informal arrangement? KL: They are former teammates and friends of ours – Jim and Stefanie Vandermeer. Jim and Jason have always had the same agent, so we have been closely tied to them for a long time. It’s an official joint venture – our holding company is set up. Stefanie is the brains behind all of it. It always amazes me how much she knows. CPI: What investment strategy are you using – ‘buy, hold and rent’? KL: Yes. For now.

CPI: Why Calgary? KL: We both ended up here… there’s more opportunity than where I am from (Nelson). Jason started coming here for development camps with the New York Rangers (who drafted him). We both fell in love with Calgary and stayed. Now we are hanging onto the properties and it’s a great situation. We love it here. It’s a great city, and there’s a lot of draw for people to move here. CPI: How have these properties performed for you, as investments? KL: Great, but as with any house, there are repairs along the way. CPI: How are your tenants? What are some tips on how to find, and manage, good tenants? …continued on page 64 Canadian Property Investor 2016  63

We asked: In terms of condo size, what are you looking for?

One bedroom plus den 29% Two bedrooms 40% Three bedrooms 20%

…continued from page 63

KL: Our tenants are wonderful. We are very fortunate to have them and we have a great relationship. Just make sure as best you can that they are stable. Interview as many people as you need to. You will know when you really like someone. CPI: How has the recent downturn in the economy and housing market affected your properties? KL: Rent is a little cheaper than it normally would be, but it’s okay… it will pick up again. We have confidence in that. CPI: Prices are down in Calgary – might you be thinking of acquiring more properties? KL: Not at the moment. It feels like we have a lot going on right now. But that is why we bought our forever home now – we took advantage of the downturn. CPI: What other types of investment strategies have you considered? KL: We have considered them all – storage units, condos, parking lots – you name it! CPI: What led you to look at the building in Nelson? The location, building and type of investment are very different from your other properties… KL: I’m from Nelson, but my family is no longer there, so it would have been nice to have a tie there again. Nelson is a great place, so quaint. Everyone falls in love with Nelson. (Editor’s note: the LaBarberas backed out of the deal after the building inspection revealed some costly necessary repairs.) 64

ABOVE: Kodette and Jason LaBarbera; sons Ryder, 7 and Easton. 5

CPI: What did you learn from that experience that you can share? KL: Be thorough. We have made this mistake before. Stefanie is very thorough, so that has helped us out in many ways. Get all the information you need to be comfortable with your purchase. CPI: Now that the Nelson deal fell through, what might be next as you expand your property holdings? KL: We’re just keeping an eye out for anything that the four of us feel comfortable with. CPI: On the show, (NHL goalie Jonathan Bernier’s wife) Martine Forget joked that your and Jason’s real estate ventures were inspiring. Have you actually encouraged friends and family to invest? KL: Yes! I only really talk about it with people I am close to, though. It’s not something that comes up in everyday conversation. There are also just some people who enjoy talking about it more than others. CPI: What advice would you have for others thinking of investing in real estate for the first time? KL: Stay within your limits. Even if you get the funding, you don’t want to dig yourself into a

hole. The economy and housing market can shift at any time. CPI: Is Jason still playing? You joked on the show that he is nearing retirement… KL: He’s not! He took a job as goalie coach for the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen. It’s a wonderful situation for us. No moving, great organization and he loves learning. I’m very excited and so proud of him. CPI: What plans do you have now that he’s retired as a player? KL: I’m not sure yet. Probably still do charity events and working with non-profit organizations. CPI: How are Ryder and Easton? They seem like real characters… How do you manage being a mom, hockey wife and real estate mogul all at once? KL: Ryder and Easton are amazing. They are so happy to be home and adjusting well. Ryder keeps advancing every day, as he has been for the last few years. They are hilarious – they make us laugh all day. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful, loving and spunky kids! We have a fun household. I just make a lot of lists. I’m type A – I just get stuff done!

Investor Snapshot


Marnie Griffiths Full-time investor, Calgary

Summary of property holdings 1 triplex in Edmonton 4 duplexes in Calgary and Edmonton 3 single-family houses in Airdrie 2 townhouses in Airdrie and Edmonton Acreage in Calgary

Q: How did you get started in real estate investing? I saw a TV ad that used the same language as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a book I had just read. My husband, Ryan, and I attended a seminar in Richmond, BC, which eventually led to meeting an amazing mentor. We defined our vision for our lives in 10 years, five years, one year and six months, then how investing in real estate could play a role in those dreams. I recommend doing that exercise. After that, there was homework – cold calls to lawyers, accountants, realtors, mortgage brokers and sellers. Eventually, our mentor guided us to purchasing our first rental properties in Airdrie, Alta. We decided Alberta was the place to be to grow our business and moved to Calgary from Langley, BC a year later. Q: How can you determine what strategy is best for you? If you have aggressive shortterm financial goals, there are

ways to – potentially – produce quick income. If you have longer term goals that allow you to build over time, then buy, hold and rent may be more appropriate. In any case, buying in an area with strong fundamentals, knowing your market and understanding that the results may not always be favourable is essential. Q: What investment strategy has been the most successful for you, and why? Buy, hold and rent has been my only strategy to date – it has proven to be very successful. Through our diligent screening process, we work with respectful tenants. We ensure a percentage of the income is allocated to contingency funds for the inevitable repairs and maintenance. From there, mortgage pay-down and value growth work behind the scenes to build equity. This provides peace of mind, because I’m creating financial options for my life.

Q: What advice would you have for others considering investing? Be clear on your expectations. Why is it important to you? If it’s just to "get rich,” such a goal will likely not be enough to keep you moving through the challenges. Gain perspective from experienced investors. Are your expectations realistic? The perspective will be useful. Write down your vision, short- and long-term. Create a “vision board” with images and words that are compelling and meaningful to you, and hang it in a prominent spot. Do your due diligence – on markets, areas, properties, partners and team members. And lastly – be the turtle! Your timeline is your timeline and there is no race. While you need not wait for the stars to align to move forward (there will never be a perfect time to start), do so steadily, with some solid groundwork and a great team.

Canadian Property Investor 2016  65

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Investor Snapshot


Trevis McConaghy Farmer turned full-time investor, Melfort, Sask.

You need to be absolutely clear on why are you buying real estate. Are you buying it to provide passive income for your family, for experiences (trips, material goods), philanthropy? I also recommend reading and surrounding yourself with great people. A few books are Real Estate Investing in Canada by Don Campbell, and The Wealth Mastery Playbook by Richard Dolan. There are local real estate groups to connect with, such as one led by Rich Danby in Ottawa, Sunil Tulsiani in Toronto, or the Real Estate Investment Network, on a more national scale. Q: You’ve amassed a wide variety of properties in a short period of time. How did you get your start, and how did you expand so quickly? The key is an “aggressive growth” mindset, not letting fear hold you back. Along with this, education and a great team. Without knowledge and a good network behind you, it’s very difficult to move forward. Q: What type of investment strategy has worked best for you? I have done very well in a small stable agricultural market. As a farmer, I invest in my backyard, as I understand my market very well. I love Alberta as well. There are lots of great smaller markets there. Q: What type of investment property has proven the best for you? I love good single-family homes – but they have to be purchased the right way. I follow the rule where I get one per cent of the purchase price per month in rent.


For example, if I pay $85,000 for a home, I get $850 per month in rent. Some say these deals don’t exist. I say, call me and let’s do a joint venture. I’ll show you they do. I love modular homes (also known as mobile homes). As an example, I saw a deal in the north end of Calgary for a modular home listed for $32,000, built in 2002. That was a Saturday night in March. I hopped on a flight and landed in Calgary the next morning. I closed the 26-by-44-ft. house for $28,000. Yes, in Calgary. Yes, this year. I hired a moving company and brought the house to Melfort, Sask. The point is, when you discover a great, distressed asset and you’re an expert in certain areas, you need to take action. Immediately. The four people waiting to see the home Monday never saw it. Q: What first steps would you advise beginner investors, based on your own experiences and lessons learned?

Q: Secondary suites are something you’ve had success with. How advisable is this as a strategy for beginners? I do not recommend secondary suites as a first step. If you are a novice investor, and the property won’t cash flow without the suite, don’t buy it. The best way to learn about renovating and creating a cash-flowing property is to get hands-on experience. Mentor with someone doing it. The leaning could be invaluable in getting you to the next level. Secondary suites have to follow the National Building Code and comply with local zoning and nuances. You need to be aware of what areas secondary suites are approved for, how the heating and electrical systems will be dealt with, if you have proper window sizes… I love secondary suites, but without proper knowledge and a handle on the costs, it is a tough game.


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B E A PA R T O F T H E U R B A N V I L L A G E I N S T. A L B E R T P R O J E C T F E AT U R E S »

New 12.85 acres site located along St. Albert Trail


Over 400,000 sq.ft. of retail, food & beverage, medical, professional and residential uses


Offering an engaging experience and an emotional connection at the pedestrian level


An opportunity for “live, work & play”


A unique people oriented development, with a distinct sense of place


Exterior building finishes consisting of stone, brick, glass and metal panels


Surrounded by high-end single family residential developments

L O C A T I O N F E AT U R E S »

Alberta’s 6th largest city with a population of over 64,000


St. Albert Trail has a daily traffic count of over 40,000 cars


The average household income is over $150,000 per annum


Ranked: Best Small City in Canada for 2015 and 2016, #4 place to raise a family, and #9 place for new citizens to settle in a Canadian city for 2016 (MoneySense).

For more details about this exciting development please contact:


Lorraine Bodnarek 780.460.4102

Investor Snapshot


Sherilynn Milsom Full-time investor, Edmonton

Q: You’re a full-time investor... How’s business in Alberta? It's a mixed bag at the moment. There are many people affected by the downturn and potential layoffs are a worry. However, several industries seem relatively untouched, so there are still plenty of people willing and able to pay premium rents for quality properties. Effective marketing is a huge factor in our business because we are competing for a smaller pool of qualified tenants, making marketing costs higher now than they have ever been. Property

management (whether in-house or third party) is critical, both for ensuring properties are in excellent condition and showing well, and for pouncing on opportunities. Q: How good of a time is it to buy investment properties in the province? Many sellers in Edmonton are still reluctant to reduce prices. There are deals to be had from sellers desperate to escape the burden of debt or who are moving to other provinces, but otherwise sellers are holding strong. Edmonton didn’t

We asked: How important is it to have the latest tech features in your condo?


Important 27% Very important 29% Not important 20%

experience the double-digit increases Calgary had before the downturn, so prices here have less room for correction. Regardless of what strategy you use, the two critical factors are: strong positive cashflow and potential for value appreciation. If the property has strong cashflow, it doesn’t matter what happens to the price in the short term, as you can weather the storm. If a property has greater potential for value appreciation, then that storm may be less severe, as the value will quickly recover. The same critical factors apply to condos. For example, a condo close to Edmonton’s new Ice District or within an easy walk to an LRT station could be a solid performer. Q: What have you learned through this downturn that has helped you? It has reinforced my mantra of “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” Having a substantial reserve fund has been our key to weathering the storm. While we have had almost no vacancy in our regular rentals, layoffs have caused a couple of our lease option (rent to own) tenants to walk away.



s townhobmlee availa

Visit our showhomes or for details.

Investor Snapshot


Shelley Visser Flight attendant, Calgary

you know the area and who you're selling to. Most people get too emotionally invested and renovate based on what they want. Q: What investment strategy has been the most successful for you? Buy-hold properties have been the best for wealth building. I focus on properties that need renovations. I love taking ugly houses and making them into beautiful homes. Providing families with homes they can be proud of improves their lives and the neighbourhood. This is a relationship business, and I have great relationships with my tenants. Q: How did you get started in real estate investing? I used to manage a multi-unit condo building and saw the potential of investing. I also had other investments that went south; I invested with a local group that turned out to be fraudulent. I decided I would never put my money into something that wasn’t secure and tangible. It became a value that I would make sure my investors would be protected. Q: How did you determine what strategy was best for you?

When I started out, money was the biggest obstacle. I needed to do a flip to create some quick cash. Then I could move into more of a wealth building portfolio. Q: Many experts say a flip is the riskiest strategy. How would you advise others considering this? I knew there were risks, so I made sure I had backup plans. I overvalued costs, undervalued sales, made sure if the property didn’t sell it would cashflow as a rental or as a rent-to-own. If you're considering flipping, make sure

We asked: What are the most important amenities when choosing a neighbourhood?


Price 9% Safety 9% Convenience 17% Green Living 9% Entertainment 10%

Q: What advice would you have for others considering real estate? If you want to be an active investor, then you must educate yourself. Read, take courses, align yourself with educational groups in your target market, find mentors, ask questions, know your strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t have the time or desire to do all the work, invest in someone who does. You can be the money partner. This is one of the easiest ways. But it’s not a get rich quick scheme. You must have patience.


Are women investing in real estate? Of course they are. But this wasn’t always the case. Like many other fields that were once male domain, the realm of real estate investing has significantly evolved. Women have edged into the market and you’ll find them in every aspect of the game, from developing and marketing to personal investing. But it wasn’t too long ago that you didn’t find many single women buying real estate on their own. This stemmed from a strong societal norm: women waited until marriage before buying a home. “Now,” explains Melanie Wright, realtor at ReMax Hallmark Wright Group, Toronto, “women aren’t waiting for Mr. Right.” They aren’t putting their financial futures on hold while they wait for the


security of a relationship. Women are a bigger part of the work force and they’re making more money, Wright points out. With careers comes buying power. Women now qualify for mortgages on their own, and are able to get into the market, unattached. With this buying power comes choice. Wright sees a lot of women who are ready to invest in a place to call “home.” “They’re looking for something more practical for their lifestyles. Women do like condos for maintenance and security,” she

explains, but there’s another aspect of the female investor – the one woman who is raising a family alone; the one who is moving up the property ladder without coupling; or the established woman who, perhaps postdivorce, is still in the position to own a home and wants to maintain a lifestyle. Those who may not be in a position to purchase outright are buying homes with a rentable basement as a way for the property to earn a return and help pay the mortgage. Women are also buying

Not only better paid, and not feeling the need to rely on coupling up before buying, women have developed the business acumen to invest in a property – either to assign at closing or to keep and rent out.

duplexes and triplexes with rental income in mind. Being better paid, and no longer feeling the need to marry before buying, women have developed the business acumen to invest in a property – either to assign at closing or to keep it and rent it. With better wages and a change in societal beliefs – just as in any other field that was traditionally male dominated – there are no more prejudices or beliefs that women can’t do this. So why the “pink mortgage?”

Canadian Property Investor 2016  77

If you get money to buy a property, isn’t that just called a “mortgage?” It’s hard to understand the need to create buzzwords, but outdated stereotyping aside, the fact that a term exists to identify a mortgage specifically targeting female purchasers serves to reinforce that money lenders are recognizing a new segment of the market to service, one with enough buying power and growing numbers that they’re creating lending products to accommodate and attract their business. There may even be an appeal to this marketing strategy – but again, it reinforces the perception that female investors have special needs while “regular” mortgage products are aimed at the regular male investor. Renee Wasylyk recalls the time when chauvinist views existed. Wasylyk, partner and CEO of Troika Developments – a land and real estate company based in BC – remembers trying to secure financing and being asked for her husband’s signature on the paperwork. Thought he wasn’t part of the business, it was still uncommon for women to secure big financing. Keep in mind, Wasylyk was a developer and, with her business partner, was already making large transactions and large-scale investments. It wasn’t just a financial aspect, either, it was endemic of the industry. “When I started, I couldn’t find another woman in development,” explains Wasylyk. “Now there are lots more VPs, sales, consulting, marketing, developing, all aspects.” Wasylyk has grown with the industry and the past two decades have made her keenly aware of the challenges women have historically faced in real estate investment – from a personal and professional perspective. She actively promotes the support of women in the industry, shifting into a more balanced environment. As far as the developments she creates, Wasylyk notes that there


are a fair number of female buyers, whether it’s a woman alone or a couple, who make the final decision about the purchase. Amy Médard de Chardon, director of marketing for Vancouver-based Wesgroup Properties, seconds Wasylyk’s point. “We know that we generally (make) our display suites more feminine. The buying decision (between) couples comes down to: unless the woman wants it, it won’t happen. It’s easier to influence the male, as long as the female buys in.”

With increasing numbers of female purchasers – either as end users or investors – a lot of it is also perspective.

Many developers are appealing to female buyers specifically through kitchens and ensuites because these ranks high in homebuyer polls. “It’s never too feminine to the point where men walk in and say ‘I can’t live here’ when they visit,” Médard de Chardon points out. While builders have longknown who they have to appeal to, the market has finally caught up. With increasing numbers of female purchasers – either as end users or investors – a lot of it also has to do with perspective. Manjit Minhas, co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Breweries and Distillery, follows a principle she learned from her family: “As far as real estate goes, I was brought up to believe you should always own everything you use.”

A Millennial who started up a very successful business and is now one of the featured Dragons on the highly acclaimed reality show Dragons’ Den, Minhas is also busy collecting real estate assets. With a formal education in engineering, she was accustomed to a male-dominated sphere. “How many girls were in my first year, never mind my second?” she quips. When Minhas started investing in real estate, she didn’t to the sexism in the industry. “I bring a different approach,” she explains. When it comes to investing in real estate, commercial real estate is a different ballgame. Ramona Ursu, vice-president of corporate development and brokerage services at SVN Canada, still sees some uneven ground that needs to be leveled. Ursu says there’s a perception that commercial real estate is a more male-dominated experience. “It’s an industry that’s hard to get in, but once you’re in, you have to keep proving yourself but are able to move up.” Ursu works with a lot of overseas clients and sees many women making investments and handling large amounts of money. And it’s not just North American markets where women wield strong investing power. As a member of the board of RICO Canada, Ursu believes that the way to improve and level the investor playing field is through education. “A lot of people have ‘fallen’ into real estate – not trained for it. With real estate programs like the one at Ryerson starting to create real estate education,” people are coming to the investment table with credentials instead of just experience. They will continue to progress and the industry will become stronger. With women active in every segment of the real estate industry, there’s no need to identify them as “female investors,” when what they really should be called is: investors.

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Canadian Property Investor 2016  79


Think ‘customers’ – not ‘tenants’ n By Don R. Campbell

A more personal approach will go a long way to your property standing out – and your business succeeding STRATEGIC INVESTORS understand that the old “landlord and tenant paradigm” is no longer a successful formula. The new strategy is to eliminate tenants from your rental business, and by doing so your investment portfolio will begin to perform above average. This seems quite counter-intuitive, but here’s why it works. First, you must understand a foundational truth about residential real estate investing: you are in business to make money by providing a “product.” Your product is rental space, your revenues are called rent. Like other businesses, you have operating and management expenses, taxes and financing. As a landlord, if your product is poor, your income will be lower; if it is priced right and is of higher quality, your income will be higher. Your “market” will quickly judge you by the rent they are willing to pay. In other words – you don’t have renters, you have customers for your rental business.

Quality and loyal customers When you view your tenants as customers, you must also focus on attracting and keeping quality, loyal customers who are willing to pay a premium price. Your job is to treat your good customers as any longterm successful business would. If your customers are paying $1,000 per month for your product, they are paying you more than $12,000 per year. In business, that makes them a great customer who deserves special treatment.

Focus on customer loyalty, not rents We’ve all been loyal to businesses that made us feel special and rewarded us for our loyalty. Once we became loyal, price became a lower priority (think of what Starbucks drinkers did to the cost of a cup of coffee). We can all learn from our loyalty experiences by analyzing what made us loyal in the first place. Pay more attention to why you return to the same store or service provider, then transfer these strategies into your real estate business. For instance: ¡ Does it seem like they intuitively know what you need? ¡ Do they listen to and address your concerns? ¡ Do they make dealing with them an enjoyable experience? ¡ Do they do little things to thank you for your loyalty? ¡ Does it feel like they appreciate your business? Once you begin to acknowledge your best customers and find ways to keep them and attract more like them, your operations, renovation, turnover and advertising costs will all decrease. And on the revenue side, you will discover that, over time, these customers will be willing to pay a premium (again, think Starbucks) to rent your property just because you are filling their needs. Long term, premium-paying tenants who treat your properties well – it doesn’t get much better than that. And all it takes is a slightly different view of the landlord-tenant relationship. Think happy, loyal customers, not tenants.

n Don R Campbell is a real estate investor, educator, author and founding partner and senior researcher at the Real Estate Investment Network.


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