10 Comments
Nov 3, 2023Liked by Generation Squeeze, Andrea Long

The supply argument is so tricky! Most people have the correct sense that vacancy rates have a lot to do with rental prices, which makes it seem like more construction (of anything) should always be better than nothing. But it was harder for me to see the ways that projects all competing for the same 'stuff' (mostly land but maybe labour too) mean that lots of speculative demand can make it harder to get the right kind and amount of supply in the first place.

I was recently surprised to learn (from a CMHC report) that, despite high rents, purpose built rental doesn't pencil out in many cities mostly because of high land costs. Those land costs are supported by alternative uses like condo construction, with a lot of speculation involved. So I was happy to see some measures (like HST rebates and financing initiatives) to make it relatively more attractive to build purpose-built rentals rather than buy up existing supply, but I'm not sure that aspect has totally made it into the rhetoric about investors. Realistically we need private investment to get enough supply fast enough (although non-market housing is also important). It seems tricky politically to balance the message that we need investment to get market supply built with the message that investment has been really bad for bidding up prices on existing housing (including buying up existing PBR) and even distorting the market for getting new stuff built.

Expand full comment
Nov 30, 2023Liked by Kareem Kudus, Generation Squeeze

Great post. Trudeau often says the right things. However there is rarely any depth. Canada gave him a super majority in ‘15 because of 4 commits, one of which was solving the escalating cost of housing. Until very recently, he’s done absolutely nothing to address it. In fact, with poorly planned immigration he exasperated it.

I agree, housing should be a savings account not an investment vehicle. Sadly. Canada’s silly approach to mortgaging has created a FOMO market of ‘amateur ’ real estate investors. It sucks people in to aggressive buying and then is used to haul billions out of the economy.

Just remember, actions speak louder than words. So far, his words are rarely backed up with actions and effective consequence planning.

So, when politically expedient statements are made, we must push for details before falling into the ‘15 trap we found ourselves paying for.

Expand full comment
author

Check out this great new op ed on the topic of housing investors by Jon Shell from Social Capital Partners: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-housing-crisis-residential-home-sales-investors/

Jon argues that the impact of limiting investment would be "both immediate and dramatic. It would open up about 75,000 homes next year". Despite this potential, the reason there's been little action to date is "largely political. The biggest investors – by far – in residential real estate are individual Canadians, or so-called “mom-and-pop” investors. According to Statistics Canada, they own 23 per cent of all condos and 11.2 per cent of all houses in Ontario, which is more than both corporate and foreign investors combined. Other provinces have similar rates." The article points to several policy levers available to curtail investor demand - and to polls suggesting that many Canadians want to see more action. Let's hope governments are listening.

Expand full comment

This is great news for Generation Squeeze! It is also great to read something so positive about our Prime Minister. Trudeau lies low in the polls and there is constantly so much disdain expressed about his government. He will get the youth vote if he backs his words with actions.

Expand full comment