Author of The Condo Bible, a noted consumer advocate, and contributor to various media in US and Canada on the topics of Real Estate and Personal Finance
Consumer advocate, freelance writer, with vast experience in Real Estate Industry for the past 40 years, specializing in condominiums as a former broker, developer and property manager.
Author of the Condo Bible for Americans and Condo Bible for Canadians, published books advising consumers on pros and cons of owning a condominium.
Contributor to WSJ' MarketWatch and Globe and Mail.
Often interviewed by various newspapers and magazines across the US and Canada.
Toronto based but splitting time between Toronto and Miami.
Full contribution to the media can be found on my blog, http://www.danoncondos.com
Notwithstanding foreign buyers, surcharges and tightening qualification measures, it is quite evident that Ottawa has been complacent in allowing foreign buyers to buy up the roofs over our heads. Indeed, with little else to sell, our economy has depended on it.
Today, the ever-changing urban demographics and hot real estate markets occasionally lend people the opportunity to invest in a condominium with the intention of selling it for profit. This practice is also known as speculating. Many ordinary people become speculators during periods characterized by strong demand.
The Liberal Party promised to "undertake a review of escalating home prices in high-priced markets -- like Vancouver and Toronto -- to determine whether speculation is driving up the cost of housing, and survey the policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians." But this may be one of the first promises to fall by the wayside.
If the next Canadian government doesn't take serious pro-active measures to ensure that the cost of sheltering for Canadians becomes affordable, there is a good possibility where, in a not so distant future, foreigners may become major landlords of Canadian homes, dictating their prices and rentals. Effectively, they'll become in position to hold Canadians at ransom in their own country.
The last survey on inaccurate credit data by the Ottawa-based research firm Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) dates back to 2006. It showed that 18 per cent of surveyed consumers felt their credit reports contained inaccuracies, some to the point of affecting their ability to obtain credit.
Encouraging Canadians to enter into an exceptionally inflated housing market where two houses are being built for every new person added to the working-age population may well lead to catastrophic results once the market goes into correction -- as it did in the United States in 2008, when that country's ownership rate reached 69 per cent.
You may think that the present market condition in Canada is great, after reports of record breaking price increases in Vancouver and Toronto. Bear in mind that they are mostly fuelled by foreign Chinese buyers and local speculators, still unloading overvalued real estate to naïve buyers.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has proved time and again that he either does not care, nor understand, the mechanics of our residential real estate prices getting out of reach to the average Canadian. As real estate and the construction industry account for close to one-third of the Canadian economy, he should have known that housing affordability had been problem number one for quite some time.
Global migration trends are changing demographics on a large scale, so if we do not employ the right political safeguards right now, many middle-class Canadians may find themselves unable to equally co-exist with wealthy newcomers.
Buying a condo unit during the preconstruction phase might seem to be a straightforward proposition. However, in real life, buying a unit before it's constructed may work out to be anything but straightforward.
Renters are far more likely to break condo rules regarding noise and upkeep of the common amenities, resulting in the degradation of the complex. A complex that is heavily rented out becomes stigmatized as apartment building, unappealing to potential buyers.
The idea of buying a condo might have crossed your mind, but before you rush into this trendy alternative housing arrangement, keep in mind that vacancies may start climbing later on this year. Here are some basic pros and cons of condo ownership, and compare buying versus leasing a condo unit.
To many buyers and unit owners, condominium ownership may still be ambiguous and convoluted. Since condos aren't based on the same ownership structure as street-level traditional (freehold) homes, comparing condos to traditional homes is like comparing apples with oranges.
A condo unit will remain a viable real-estate ownership alternative for as long as its monthly maintenance fees and realty taxes remain below the monthly rental of a comparable unit in another condo complex or apartment building. Once the condo's maintenance fees and realty taxes exceed the cost of comparative rentals, there will be no demand to buy it.
This year promises to be particularly exciting for real estate investors. For the first time in many years, we may actually see the interest rates creep up from their historical lows. The head of the US Federal Reserve, Ms. Janet Yellen, indicated on numerous occasions that the rates would go up incrementally as their quantitative easing was coming to an end.