More than half of GTA condo investors losing money on properties: report

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Why interest rates are squeezing real estate investors
Why interest rates are squeezing real estate investors – May 25, 2023

Last year marked the first time that more than half of investors in newly-completed Greater Toronto Area condos were losing money on their rental properties, and authors of the report that reached that conclusion expect the trend to persist.

The research from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and real estate research firm Urbanation found 48 per cent of leveraged condo investors who bought pre-construction units to rent out were cash flow positive in 2022.

For the majority of investors, rent generated by newly-completed units was lower than mortgage costs, condo fees and property taxes.

“This marks a meaningful shift that may potentially signal that a change in investor behaviour is on the horizon,” CIBC’s Benjamin Tal and Urbanation’s Shaun Hildebrand said in their report released Monday.

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They say they expect the shift toward negative cash flow to worsen in the years ahead as increasingly expensive new condos presold to investors in the past few years reach completion.

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They add a reduction in interest rates and further growth in rents will lighten the impact on investors in the years ahead, but won’t be enough to stop their financial situations from getting worse.

However, they said, “a lot depends on the outlook for prices and the credit environment.

“If investors are able to get financing and prices are rising, they may be encouraged to hold in the rental market even with negative cash flow.”

They feel investors have held off selling because housing supply is constrained and not poised to improve by much.

They found developers have the capacity to deliver no more than roughly 20,000 units per year, which represents marginal growth for a condo stock in the GTA that is approaching a half million units.

“Any investor selling will be welcomed by a tight resale market,” Tal and Hildebrand said.

However, if investors become unwilling to buy into presales, new condo demand will shrink along with new construction, deliveries and ultimately rental supply.

Tal and Hildebrand’s report comes after research revealed average advertised rental prices in April were up 20 per cent from pandemic lows in April 2021.

Average rents across Canada were up 9.6 per cent compared with April 2022.

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Average rents for a one-bedroom home were as high as $2,787 in Vancouver and as low as $1,091 in Regina. The national average was $1,811.

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