Daily Market Update

Vancouver mayor calls for action on affordability
Gregor Robertson, the mayor of Vancouver, has called on provincial lawmakers to take action to tackle the issue of housing affordability. He wants an overhaul of rental legislation, saying that more than half of the city’s households are renters and low vacancy rates are making rents unaffordable. Robertson wants a review of the Residential Tenancy Act with the aim of giving renters and low-income households more protection. There has also been a rise in the practice known as ‘renovictions’ where renters in older properties are forced out so that landlords can renovate ageing buildings. Not only does this displace tenants, but the rents increase post-renovation so many of those forced out can't afford to move back, and of course it takes lower cost rentals out of the market. Vacancy rates in parts of Vancouver are as low as 0.7 per cent with rents for a one-bedroom apartment in the West End averaging just short of $1,200 per month. Read the full story.
Alberta heading for more than $7 billion deficit, says report
Alberta could be heading for a much larger deficit in its budget than previously predicted, according to a TD Economics report. The estimated shortfall of $7 billion was based on the price of West Texas crude averaging $65 a barrel through this year; it’s currently just above $43. TD expects the average to be around $52 a barrel this year and $68 in 2016, and on that metric it says there will be another $1 billion added to the deficit.
Tech start-ups want a different kind of workspace
Commercial Realtors who want to attract clients from the fast-growing tech space should keep their eye out for more unusual workspaces. The Financial Post reports that tech start-ups are looking for something out of the ordinary, as far as possible from the kind of corporate property that many traditional businesses want. Marc Shewchun is head of operations at a story-sharing website run by Wattpad Technology in Toronto. It’s not based in a modern hi-tech tower, but in a red-brick former cigar and whiskey shop. Shewchun says: “The space encourages openness and a lack of hierarchy. You can make it into whatever you want. It’s much more important than properly working plumbing and even floors.” The space being sought by companies in the tech sector are likened to college dorms; perfect for the typical millennial who is running the firm. Where there’s demand there is value, and CBRE data shows that since 2007 there has been a 26 per cent increase in rents for brick-and-beam property in Toronto’s east end and 49 per cent in the west end; compared to a rise in towers in the financial district of just 6.4 per cent over the same period. Read the full story.

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