2024 Global Investment Conference: Why Canada's Rental Market is Set to Boom

2024 Global Investment Conference: Why Canada's Rental Market is Set to Boom
June 10, 2024

Canada's real estate market is a tale of two cities: ownership dreams dashed by soaring prices in some regions, and a desperate scramble for available rentals in others. This isn't a coincidence – it's a perfect storm brewing for years, and it's about to make rental properties a prime investment opportunity, as highlighted by industry experts at the 2024 Global Investment Conference held in Banff, Alberta.

Population Boom, Housing Standstill

Canada's population growth is outpacing new housing construction by a staggering margin. Immigration policies focused on attracting young workers have resulted in a 3.2% population increase in 2023 alone, pushing the national total past 40 million for the first time. This surge places Canada among the fastest-growing G7 countries, while housing completions remain stagnant at around 200,000 units annually, as reported at the Conference.

The Math Doesn't Add Up

Here's where the problem gets real. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimates Canada needs an additional 3.5 to 5.8 million housing units by 2030 to achieve affordability levels reminiscent of 2004. Shockingly, of this critical mass, a staggering two million units need to be purpose-built rentals. This is a monumental task considering Canada has only managed to add 570,000 new rental units in the past 30 years.

The Squeeze on the Middle Class

The affordability crisis isn't just about finding a place to live; it's about crushing the dream of homeownership for many Canadians. Aaron Pittman, senior vice-president and head of Canadian institutional investment at Equiton, pointed out during the Conference that high interest rates have sidelined many buyers, further squeezing the middle class. The CMHC recommends a debt-service ratio (percentage of income dedicated to housing costs) not exceeding 44%. However, reality paints a grim picture. In major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, housing costs now consume a staggering 88% and 103% of median incomes, respectively. This effectively removes homeownership from the equation for a significant portion of the population, creating a generation of long-term renters.

The Average Renter's Age

The average first-time homebuyer in Canada is now 36 years old. Imagine a young professional in Toronto purchasing a studio apartment – they could be paying for it well into retirement, as noted by Pittman at the Conference.

Landlocked Dreams

Land scarcity further complicates the equation. Roughly 90% of Canadians reside within 160 km of the U.S. border, with 70% living south of the 49th parallel. While vast tracts of undeveloped land exist, areas like Ontario's Greenbelt are protected, limiting developable land and exacerbating the housing crunch, as highlighted by industry experts at the Conference.

The Investment Opportunity

These combined factors point to a clear and compelling investment opportunity: purpose-built rental properties. With limited supply and a growing pool of renters, rental properties are expected to offer strong and stable returns in the coming years. Experts at the Conference also pointed to a potential Bank of Canada rate cut later this year, which could lead to a renewed surge of buyers entering the market, further pushing up already high home prices and increasing demand for rentals.

Investing in Your Future

The B.C. real estate market presents unique opportunities and challenges. At Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, our experienced realtors can guide you through the intricacies of the market. Whether you're a renter seeking a comfortable and secure home or an investor looking to capitalize on the growing rental market, we have the expertise and resources to help you achieve your goals. Contact Coldwell Banker

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