When a series of tax and mortgage rules was introduced in Canada in 2016 to prevent a housing market bubble, activity slowed down significantly in the years that followed. Given the current circumstances, is it still viable to invest in property?
In a think piece in Macleans, market watcher Romana King said even with fears of a global recession, real estate is still a smart way to invest.
“For investors, the key to making strategically smart decisions is to consider the underlying economic factors that impact your investment,” she said.
King said the housing market could climb out of negative growth forecasts this year. Citing figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association, she said the national sales activity was on target to increase by 5% in 2019 and could expand further by 7.5% in 2020.
“Canada boasts strong population growth, and government budgetary decisions are acting as stimulants for the national housing market, all of which point to a healthy future for Canada’s real estate market,” she said.
Investing in real estate, however, is not without risks. For investors, it is crucial to know some strategies to lessen the potential risks, King said. The first is to be aware of additional debt. Investors must keep an eye on their credit scores and pay bills on time.
“Most investors will require a mortgage to purchase rental real estate. This can alter your debt ratios, which can impact whether or not you get the best mortgage or loan rates. Talk to an advisor before applying for new credit or renewing a current loan,” King said.
Another must-have strategy is budgeting. King said investors need to control how much they spend on maintenance and repairs to ensure that their rental properties are cash-flow positive.
“An investor needs to budget for a contingency fund. If the anticipated monthly rent covers all monthly expenses, including a repair fund, then the property is cash-flow positive, which is fundamental for a good investment,” she said.
Getting insurance could also mitigate the risks of catastrophic events.
“Virtually all insurance policies will cover a catastrophic loss of a building, but as a real estate investor, you must also consider the loss of income due to damage or destruction. A comprehensive rental policy will provide a landlord with income to replace lost rent at fair market value,” she said.
Overall, investors need to treat real estate investing as a business. Citing Edmonton-based investor Jim Yih, King said the key to successful real estate investing is positive cash flow, and not just the purchase price and the potential sale price.
Even daydreaming about traveling off to a faraway island, where the sand is warm, and the water is crystal-clear blue can give people a sense of calm. So, this should make it no surprise that actually sitting next to a pristine body of water actually does come with some pretty fantastic well-being benefits.
According to best-selling author and marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, merely being close to a body of water, be it sea, river, lake, or ocean, promotes mental health and happiness. And he wrote all about it in his book, Blue Mind.
“The term ‘blue mind’ describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water,” Nichols told USA Today in 2017. “It’s the antidote to what we refer to as ‘red mind,’ which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life.”
As Nichols noted, research proves his theory that being near water can help us all achieve “an elevated and sustained happiness.”
That elevated level of happiness happens because, according to Nichols, water helps in “lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism and more.”
Perhaps this is why we are all willing to pay more for a house along the water, or a room with an ocean view.
Moreover, being near water can increase our creativity, including our conversational abilities. But, being near water doesn’t only help us during our waking hours. It can help us in our sleep, too.
“There is some research that says people may sleep better when they are adjacent to nature,” W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution, told Conde Nast Traveler. “No wonder sleep machines always feature the sounds of rain, the ocean, or a flowing river.”
And this gift of Mother Nature’s to soothe us all with a simple drop of water is precisely why Nichols believes it’s so important to protect this precious gift.
Source: SouthernLiving.com – By Stacey Leasca July 19, 2018
The Caribbean has always been a much sought-after destination for purchasing vacation homes and villas. In recent years its allure has increased even more. If you are curious about buying Caribbean real estate and are unsure of which island or type of property would be the right fir for you then perhaps the long-awaited Caribbean Vibrations TV Real Estate Cruise may be the place to start.
Organized and hosted by long time Caribbean Vibrations TV host, Alain P. Arthur, join Caribbean Vibrations on its first ever Caribbean Real Estate Cruise from November 16.23, 2019. Sailing throughout the Southern Caribbean for 7 days aboard the Celebrity Summit from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbados we show you properties for sale on each island that will help turn your dream home into a reality.
During the cruise, you will be immersed in Caribbean lifestyle while having the opportunity to dialogue with key real estate & business leaders at each destination. Experience cultural diversity firsthand during organized property inspection tours while connecting with like-minded individuals interested in investing in the Caribbean.
CARIBBEAN VIBRATIONS PACKAGE INCLUDES:
• Round Trip Cruise departing Puerto Rico on the Celebrity Summit, choice of cabin category
• All Cruise Port charges, taxes, and fees
• All meals aboard the ship
• Welcome Reception in Puerto Rico
• Farewell Reception onboard the ship
• Pre-trip Real Estate Cruise Information Package
• Half Day Property Inspection Tours on 5 islands including land transportation
• Fully hosted by Caribbean Vibrations Ltd. and international real estate/travel agents
• Exclusive CV Luncheon or Reception at each island stop
• Plus, Caribbean Vibrations Special Perks
TO BOOK YOUR CRUISE CONTACT:
Hibiscus Tours International Ltd.
Tel: 1-866-995-5948 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alain P. Arthur
Caribbean Vibrations TV
Tel: 416-451-8596 email@example.com
Click link to learn more – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1bxT-NGIlg
Most financial choices boil down to simple math. Add up the gains, subtract the costs, and you should get a number that helps you draw a conclusion. Those numbers are particularly useful when trying to make a major life decision, such as whether or not to sell the family home.
Given how hot big city markets like Toronto are these days, the math would certainly make a compelling case to sell. Yet according to the April sales data from the Toronto Real Estate Board, listings are down 27% year-over-year in the GTA. Despite brisk sales and skyrocketing prices, most homeowners living in semi-detached and detached homes are choosing to stay put. (A similar lack of inventory is plaguing Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa and nearly every large city in Canada.)
TREB’s rationale for the dearth of listings? A widespread aversion to the high cost of land transfer. Other people have surmised that the scarcity is a symptom of our fear of paying a premium on the next property. After all, while you may sell high, you’re also forced to buy high—a proposition that leaves some feeling like prisoners to the status quo. But I think there’s another reason people aren’t selling as many homes these days, and it’s buried deep inside our brains. More precisely it has to do with how we process gains and losses.
According to Nobel-prize winning professor Daniel Kahneman, we’re hardwired to overvalue a loss and undervalue a gain. “The aggravation that one experiences in losing a sum of money appears to be greater than the pleasure associated with gaining the same amount,” is how he puts it.
To appreciate what Kahneman means, consider the case of Larry and Laura. Retired for three years, the Toronto couple have a comfortable debt-free life, funded by modest pensions, savings and government income programs. Thing is, they could have more money in the bank if they sold their home—let’s say they bought it 15 years ago for $250,000. But Larry and Laura can’t wrap their heads around selling and downsizing in such a crazy market, even though they could probably sell it for $750,000 or more.
The math says they’d be ahead by as much as half a million. But that calculation isn’t entirely accurate, at least not from an economist’s point of view. To understand how they’re undervaluing their gains, you have to consider the difference between sunk costs and opportunity costs. Sunk costs are anything spent that cannot be recovered. For Larry and Laura, that would mean the money they paid into the mortgage, the time and money it took to maintain their home and the emotional and mental energy they invested in raising a family in the house.
The opportunity cost, on the other hand, is what’s incurred from not taking the next best alternative. This is a fancy way of referring to all the ways Larry and Laura could be spending their time and money if it weren’t tied up in their family home.
Pretty straightforward, right? Only Larry and Laura aren’t as rational as they think. The idea of dismissing all the money, time and energy they poured into their family home feels like the emotional equivalent of losing their investment, a perceived loss that prompts them to overvalue their sunk costs. Economists would say this is irrational. They would explain our refusal to dismiss these irretrievable expenses as a “behavioural error” or an action that doesn’t conform to rational choice theory (a principle that assumes we always make the prudent and logical decision that provides us with the greatest benefit).
If Larry and Laura were truly rational, their real gain for selling their debt-free family home would be closer to $750,000 (the sale price minus transactional costs). Even if they chose to repurchase in the same market, it would likely be something smaller and less expensive; they’d still have money left in the bank to spend on travel, explore new hobbies or give to their kids and grandkids. So does that mean Larry and Laura should sell? Yeah, maybe. Since each person values a future gain slightly differently, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are the intangible and tangible sunk costs so far?
2. Am I willing to accept that these sunk costs will never be returned to me?
3. If so, can I see what I may be missing if I overweight costs that are irretrievable?
4. Finally, what would I actually gain if I were to sell and move now?
It’s totally understandable if you answer these questions and still choose to pass up the opportunity for a large financial gain. Sometimes the math used to determine a home’s value ignores the intangibles—factors that can outweigh even the most compelling balance sheet surplus. But going through an exercise like this will help anyone make a more informed, more rational decision. It’s better than feeling trapped in the status quo, a prisoner in a surprisingly expensive home.
Source: MoneySense.ca – by Romana King
Real estate averages 27 per cent of the investments of the ultra wealthy.
(Sheldon Kralstein/Getty Images)
With markets roiling in 2016 and commodities lingering in low-price limbo, the holdings of high-net-worth investors can serve as indicators of where the rest of us might consider parking our nest eggs. It turns out that a good chunk of wealthy peoples’ investments is in real estate.
“Real estate is generally accepted as an alternative investment [by high-net-worth investors],” says Simon Jochlin, portfolio analytics associate at StennerZohny Investment Partners, part of Richardson GMP in Vancouver.
“It has the characteristics of an inflation hedge: yield, leverage and cap gains. It does well in upwardly trending markets, it pays you to wait during market corrections and typically it lags equities in market declines – it buys you time to assess the market.”
While the definition of high net worth can be flexible, in Canada and the United States it is generally considered to be someone who has at least $1-million in investable assets.
Thane Stenner, StennerZohny’s director of wealth management and portfolio manager, says a good way for determining what the wealthy do with their investments is to look at reports from Tiger 21, an ultra-high-net-worth peer-to-peer network for North American investors who have a minimum of $10-million to invest and want to manage their capital carefully.
Every quarter the network surveys its members, who number about 400 members across Canada and the United States. Some of the participants are billionaires, and most have a keen eye for business, Mr. Stenner says.
Though the Tiger 21’s Asset Allocation Report for the fourth quarter of 2015 found that its members were becoming cautious about Canadian real estate, they still on average put 27 per cent of their investment into real estate, the largest portion of their allocations. The next largest were public equities (23 per cent) and private equity (22 per cent) with smaller percentages going to hedge funds, fixed income, commodities, foreign currencies, cash and miscellaneous investments.
The real estate portion declined by 1 percentage point from the previous quarter. “While this is the lowest we have seen this year, it is at the same level observed in the fourth quarter of last year, which consequently was the high of 2014,” the report said.
“Real estate is very popular and one of the reasons, in my opinion, is that investors can actually see and touch their investment,” says Darren Coleman, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Raymond James Ltd. in Toronto.
In his experience, real-estate investors, wealthy or otherwise, seem to behave with more logic than those who focus on markets. “For example, if you own a rental condo, and the one across the hall goes on sale for 30 per cent less than you think it’s worth, you wouldn’t automatically put yours on the market and sell, too, because you think there is a problem. Indeed, you may actually buy the other condo,” he says.
“And yet when a stock drops on the market, instead of thinking of buying more, most people automatically become fearful and think they should sell.”
Real estate also allows for considerable leverage, Mr. Coleman adds: “Banks love to lend against it. Over time, this lets you own a property with a much smaller investment than if you had to buy all of it at once.”
At the same time, Mr. Jochlin says there are disadvantages to real estate that investors should beware of. Property is not particularly liquid, so if you need to sell you could be stuck for a while.
“It’s also sensitive to interest rates and risks from project development,” he says. There are administrative and maintenance costs, and an investor who buys commercial rental property will be exposed to the ups and downs of the entire economy – look at Calgary’s glut of unleased office space, for example.
“Timing is key. You do not want to chase the performance of a hot real estate market,” Mr. Jochlin says.
“Buying at highs will significantly reduce your overall return on investment. You want to buy in very depressed markets at a discount. In other words, look toward relative multiples, as you would an equity.”
As to how one goes about investing in real estate, Mr. Jochlin says it depends. The factors to consider include determining whether your investment objective is short- or longer-term, your liquidity requirements, your targeted return and whether you have any experience as a real estate manager.
“Sophisticated high-net-worth investors have a family office, and thus a specialist to manage their real estate assets,” he says.
How the rich buy real estate
The wealthy don’t necessarily buy and sell real estate the same way ordinary investors do, says Mr. Stenner. Ordinary people buy something and hope that when they sell it they’ll get a better price. Meanwhile, they like to do things like live on the property or rent it out, whether it is residential or commercial. If it is vacant land they might build something. Not always so for high-net-worth (HNW) investors, Mr. Stenner says. While everyone who invests hopes their investment will rise, Mr. Stenner says that in real estate, HNW people tend to fall into four categories:
“The real estate developer is looking for substantial returns from individual/basket real estate projects, typically 30-50 per cent IRRs [internal rates of return],” Mr. Stenner says. Developers are highly experienced investors who often take big risks, looking at a raw, undeveloped property and envisioning what it could look like with, say, a shopping mall or office tower. This requires lots of access to capital and a strong stomach, as there can be huge delays and setbacks.
“These HNW investors typically look for a stable, secure yield, tax-preferred in nature and structure if possible, with modest capital growth potential,” Mr. Stenner says. They take the same businesslike approach to property as the developer-types, but they’re more conservative, focusing on cash flow and long-term profit as opposed to getting money out after a development is complete. Often they’re building a legacy that they hope to pass down through generations. Mr. Stenner says lower net worth people can emulate income investors, for example, through REITs that are based on apartment buildings.
These HNW investors tend to look for more short-term higher risk, higher return “asymmetric” payoffs. Income from the investment or project is secondary — they’re in it for the quick buck. Often they see real estate in contrarian terms – investments to look at when the market is low and to sell on the way up, rather than hold. After 2008, many HNW investors bought up depressed-price housing in the U.S. Sunbelt. The sizzling Vancouver and Toronto markets might be the opposite of what they’re looking for right now; commercial property in the stagnant Canadian economy that can be purchased for low-trading loonies right now might be more interesting.
This refers to HNW investors who lend capital to developers or opportunistic investors, for a fixed return, plus as much asset coverage from the property as possible. They fund mortgages, invest in real estate financing pools or put money into companies involved in this type of investment. “Because wealthier investors tend to have more liquidity, this also creates more optionality to deploy capital in various ways, while using the real estate as collateral or protection,” Mr. Stenner says.
Being a lender is a way to diversify. In addition, money lent in this way puts the lender high up in the creditor line if something goes wrong. If things go right, it generates income as the mortgage is paid back to the HNW investors or the funds they buy into.
Source: DAVID ISRAELSON Special to The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016