Senior Vice President, Market Research and Analytics, Fortress Real Developments. Fifteen years of real estate research experience.
Ben Myers is a member of the executive team at Fortress Real Developments, holding the title of Senior Vice President, Market Research and Analytics. Fortress is a leading source of equity capital for development projects across Canada, and Ben provides market and product analysis during the underwriting process. In addition to assessing the revenue assumptions for all projects the stakeholder team evaluates, Ben’s produces research and educational content regarding the conditions of local, metropolitan and national housing markets via robust statistical reports.
Ben has nearly 15 years of real estate research experience, starting his career as a Research Associate tracking the Dallas-Fort Worth new housing market, to most recently acting as Executive Vice President of Toronto’s leading condominium market research firm. During his career, Ben has worked on consulting reports for Canada’s largest low-rise home builder, Toronto’s biggest high-rise developer, and the nation’s tallest residential tower. As a noted housing market expert, Ben has given presentations for BILD, OHBA, and Canada’s major banks, met with mortgage insurers and government agencies to discuss the condominium market, been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Toronto Star and Financial Post, and has appearing on Global, CTV and CP24 discussing new housing activity. He co-authored the most comprehensive report on Toronto condominium investor activity in partnership with The Altus Group, in addition to providing data and content to Brian Persaud’s Investing in Condominiums how-to book.
Since joining Fortress, Ben was named one of the keynote speakers at the ULI Emerging Trends event, presented at MCAP’s breakfast seminar series, appeared live on the Sun News network, and has written regularly for the Toronto Sun, the New Condo Guide, Renx.ca, BuzzBuzzHome.ca and for the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN). Ben and Fortress’ Market Manuscript reports have been featured in the Calgary Herald, the Globe and Mail, the Winnipeg Free Press, BNN, MoneySense magazine, and Ontario Homebuilder magazine.
Ben is a licensed Mortgage Broker with Centro Mortgage Inc. and holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has also studied real estate finance at MIT in Boston.
There is a need for more supply to satisfy this rapidly rising need for millennial housing, but the demographic logjam created by baby boomers is restricting millennial access to prime properties, keeping them under-housed, stuck living with a roommate or confined to their parents' basements.
In late April, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa announced a 16-point Fair Housing Plan to cool the red-hot housing markets in Toronto and southwestern Ontario. A foreign buyers tax, vacant homes tax, and expanded rent control were the most notable measures introduced.
Every five years, statisticians, analysts and economists eagerly await the slow release of Census data by Statistics Canada. In early February the population and dwelling count tables were released. The figures that immediately caught the attention of the public was the difference between the total dwellings and dwellings "occupied by usual residents."
My kids want a back yard (and so does my dog), but I don't want to double or triple my mortgage for a piece of grass and a couple extra feet between me and my neighbours. Many have suggested we move farther afield, but I don't want to uproot the family, take my son out of his school and my daughter way from her friends -- that is the dilemma.
The first time I heard the line "you're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic" I immediately liked it. People tend to ignore their participation and impact on a situation and often believe things are happening to them, not because of them. I wanted to explore this concept as it applies to the Canadian real estate, specifically the Vancouver and Toronto metro area housing markets.
Housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver are extremely hot, and average prices are skyrocketing. Every new data release, real estate report, and housing related comment is scrutinized, debated and analyzed in painstaking detail. A red flag is raised, an alarm bell is sounded, a stern warning is issued or extreme caution is urged by both domestic and international housing analysts and economists almost daily. How does this end?
The most commonly repeated explanation for the price surge last year and into 2016 is an increase in foreign buyers, especially Chinese buyers looking to launder their ill-gotten funds. Anecdotal evidence of this happening is at record high, but actual data to support it is severely lacking.
"Progress" has been replaced by "housing crisis." Many neighbourhoods, municipalities and even metro areas have experienced annual double-digit house price inflation over the past decade, forcing many middle-income individuals and households to make tough choices about where they want to live.
High price-to-rent and price-to-income ratios don't signal overvaluation, an overabundance of property speculation, or impending doom. Perhaps they actually signal the ascension of Toronto and Vancouver into the highest of global ranks.
Warnings of a housing correction are not new, but the frequency has increased. A couple of southwestern Ontario markets (most notably Toronto) and the Vancouver metro area are pricing out first-time buyers. In other major centres across Canada, the flatness or slowing of house price appreciation has dissuaded potential buyers from jumping in.
Do buyers in the GTA housing market have unrealistic expectations? What is fair when it comes to affordability? I remain convinced that a single-detached home will remain beyond the reach of most people in Toronto, simply due to market fundamentals -- so we'll all have to readjust our expectations. This is where we have a problem. If people are not willing to settle on the type of residence (i.e. condo vs. single-family) or the unit size, prospective buyers are going to really feel the sting of unaffordability.
My suggestion to people concerned about housing in Toronto and Vancouver is to stop looking for a scapegoat, stop searching for someone to blame, and start coming up with real, workable plans. The first step is to accept that high housing prices are justified based on supply and demand and devise a workable strategy that can either increase supply or reduce demand based on current market conditions. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
It's true that many of the low-rise homes starting construction this year were sold prior to the oil-related market shift, but it still demonstrates that construction lenders remain confident that these buyers will close on their purchases.
There is no doubt that the energy markets are difficult to forecast, and declining oil prices in conjunction with the prospect of job losses are scary, but it appears many new home builders don't think the housing market will be down for long.
Many buyers are taking a wait and see attitude when it comes to their real estate purchases in Alberta with the last market failure fresh in their minds. Based on historical data and the opinions of the top analysts, it might be much less painful than many anticipate.