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All posts for the month November, 2019

Record 2018 Population Growth Factoring into Housing Supply in Canada in a Huge Way

Published November 26, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Anyone and everyone – real estate agents in Canada included – would have had to have been living under a rock to not be aware of how there’s a very real housing shortage in major locales in Canada. There’s a whole host of factors that are playing into it, and it’s equally true to say that simply building more housing stock isn’t going to be a be-all, end-all solution.

The simple reality to observe in regard to that is that supply and demand principles are as wholly absolute and inflexible as they’ve ever been. The demand for housing in Canada FAR outstrips the supply, and so much so in fact that any type of realistic goal for new housing starts in the country still isn’t going to shift the supply / demand equation much if at all.

It’s entirely true that Canada needs immigrants in order to maintain it’s economy and the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians. Immigration has enriched this country greatly over hundreds of years, and it will continue to do so as industrious new Canadians work to make the whole of our country better in the same way those that came before them did.

Immigration on such a large scale as what’s been seen in Canada IS, however, contributing to housing shortages in a very real way. This affects nearly everyone, and for realtors it’s in fewer properties and fewer qualified buyers for higher home prices being the reality. Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system in Canada is an excellent way for new realtors to get a leg up on their competitors in what is an increasingly VERY competitive space.

But back to topic – what is to be made of the effects of large-scale immigration on the housing ‘crisis’ that is particularly acute in Toronto and Vancouver.

More than Half a Million New Canadians for 2018

Canada’s population grew by 531,000 from August 2018 to July 2019, and Stats Canada says that’s the largest 12-month increase in the country’s history. This explosive growth is having an enormous impact on the housing market. Nearly 60% of the inflow made its way to Ontario and British Columbia, and not surprisingly it is work opportunities and quality of life that are leading these people to Vancouver and Toronto most notably.

Then when you add in shifting demographics and increasing rents and housing prices, the affordability crisis in Toronto and Vancouver becomes even more real and shortfalls with housing stock in BC and Ontario’s major metropolises could continue for the foreseeable future.

Rental Housing a Pressing Need

A recent economics report issued by the Royal Bank states that the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) will need approximately 9,100 more vacant units to reach a ‘healthy’ vacancy level of 3% or so. It then stated further that the Toronto CMA needs 22,000 new rental apartments and rented condominium apartments per year to satisfy what is the expected demand for housing in Toronto between 2019 and 2023.

The belief is that even if 70% of all new condos are rented, and 4,000 new purpose-built rental apartments are created for the GTA every year, that mark would still be missed. This really highlights the challenge between meeting what’s needed with what is realistically possible.

Failing to do that will mean that rents will continue to rise, and the expectation is that this is unavoidable even though purpose-built rental apartment construction is on the rise and 2021 is expected to be a big year for condo completions in the Greater Toronto Area.

Vancouver Harder to Forecast

The same report indicated that Vancouver needs 3,800 more available units to reach a 3% vacancy rate, along with 9,400 new rental apartments and rented condo apartments per year if forecasted demand between 2019 and 2023 is to be met.

Industry expectations are that 11,000 to 13,000 condo units and about 5,000 rental units are coming to the Vancouver CMA, if housing start data from the CHMC is seen as accurate.

What this could mean then is up to 14,000 new rented apartment units per year, far which would exceed the 9,400 units demanded and potentially taking up the entirety of the 3,800 units of undersupply that would be needed to raise the vacancy rate to the aimed 3%.

The city could then experience flat or declining rent levels. The workings of this are fairly straightforward too – As supply increases, rents decline and greater numbers of people can be housed in Vancouver. Despite this potential success, Vancouver needs much more rental supply and any degree of underbuilding will mean Vancouver rental rates would instead continue to rise.

Rental Availability & Affordability

Montreal is an interesting case study in contrast to those of Vancouver and Toronto. Montreal builds plenty of rental homes and that large supply makes rents more affordable. In Quebec, renting is a more normal lifestyle choice and it’s not stigmatized like the way it is more so in Vancouver and Toronto.

In the Atlantic provinces there really isn’t much of a crisis at all, and the economic slump in Alberta has kept rents from growing too large in Edmonton and Calgary. In Saskatchewan rents are actually declining.

One last consideration is that many baby boomers are now in their 60s and 70s and will soon have different housing wants and needs. Many will soon be downsizing and some will be choosing retirement homes. This is going to have a massive impact on the market, both for homes being sold and new homes that will be bought.

The current trend where so many older people are staying in their homes and not freeing up as many homes for younger people to buy is also playing a significant role in housing shortages in big and popular cities. Essentially it’s causing a jam at the bottom of the market, and what that does is promote high rent levels and high prices for condo apartments and rented condo apartments.

The purpose-built rental market is expected to continue to grow in Canada, as institutional capital and real estate investment trusts become more involved with the sector and aim to intensify existing properties.

How well this all works out, however, really remains to be seen and it has to be a cause for concern for those who foresee difficulty in finding housing that works for them in the cities where they have their lives and careers. It also promises to be very pivotal for those who’s livelihood is tied to a healthy and robust housing and real estate market.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads that are delivered to you exclusively while you serve as the only realtor receiving them for your own private region of any city or town in Canada. What this service can do for your client prospecting efforts goes without saying, and there’s no shortage of realtors from coast to coast who are very pleased with their decision to get on board with this and grow their real estate business as effectively as possible.

Text Message Communication: 5 Tips for Realtors

Published November 19, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

Smartphones have certainly revolutionized the lives of pretty much all of us, and there was no avoiding the way they were going to spin the business world too. One of the more ordinary but profound differences they’ve introduced for us all is that nowadays it’s often considered poor form to actually call someone, and instead it’s best to send a text message. The reason for this is not too difficult to understand; it gives the recipient the freedom to receive your communication and respond to it on a timeline that works for them, rather than having that decided arbitrarily for them when the phone rings.

Real estate is no exception in this regard, and once you’re in possession of a client’s phone number it’s good advice to be very judicious about how you contact them. As is the case all across the board these days, sending a text message is a better choice than calling nine times out of 10. You likely won’t be stepping on toes if you do call, but surely we can agree that client prospecting isn’t easy and when you do manage to make one you will do everything to keep their provider / client relationship at its best.

Which is what makes Real Estate Leads such a valuable resource for new realtors. Our online real estate lead generation system puts the power of Internet Marketing to work to provide you with a more-direct contact means for being put in touch with individuals and couple who are genuinely looking to either buy or sell a home in the near future. If you’re new to the business, it’s going to be money well spent when it comes to seeing to it that you hit the ground in this business.

But back to our topic here for now. With our understanding that text messages (along with emails) are often a better means of informal communications with clients, what we’re going to do here today is share 5 solid tips for text message communications.

1: Use Texts for Short, Less Urgent / Important Conversations

Real estate texts work well for timely information exchanges, like determining a showing time and place or confirming the due date for paperwork. They are also ideal for brief updates, such as sharing a new listing with a prospective homebuyer (pasting link) or letting them know anything from why you’re going to be 5 minutes late to why it might be a good idea to put awning out over the patio because it’s supposed to rain during today’s open house.

You get the idea. Oppositely, if it’s ‘big news’ or something especially important, that’s when you make the call. But keep in mind here that sometimes sending a text message in advance inquiring ‘is now a good time to call?’ is good practice too these days, whether for business or personal interests.

The last piece of advice here is you’ll want to avoid texting anything confidential, proprietary, or private to your clients. Texts can be forwarded and recorded, so be sure to relay sensitive information over the phone only.

2: Be Courteous

Most often clients will have already agreed to receive real estate SMS messages as per their entry into an agreement with you as their realtor. So even thought they will know who you are, the first tip here is to still begin the first few texts with them by sharing your name – ‘Hi, this is (Name)..’ before continuing with your message. This establishes your professionalism and reminds your homebuyer who they are communicating with at the same time. 

From there, always be especially polite and courteous with everything you say in your texts. It’s entirely accurate to say that you really can’t go ‘overboard’ when it comes to this.

Next tip is to not make assumptions. Just because you are happy to receive text messages from seven in the morning to ten at night, doesn’t mean your homebuyer is. Keep all communications to traditional business hours, unless the client has clearly informed you that ones outside of this time frame are acceptable for them.

Constant consideration of your homebuyer’s preferences is key to maintaining a professional relationship.

3: Be Polite & Professional

Unless you’re a human interaction and communication expert it can be difficult to determine the exact tone of a text. There’s not getting around the fac that many are often misconstrued by recipients. When this is your client, the risks are of course that much higher.

  • To avoid any such miscommunications and promote a positive tone when texting with clients, you should:
  • Avoid one-word responses. Even if you can’t think of what else to say, try something like ‘I think this will be best’
  • Always include a greeting, and ‘Hi’ is of course most natural
  • Include proper punctuation, especially exclamation points
  • Never use shorthand, newspeak, or pop culture abbreviations or slang in your texts – it’s unprofessional
  • Polite phrases like ‘my pleasure’ and ‘thank you’ are as advisable today as they were long before phones and text messaging even existed

4: Always Provide Value

Generally speaking, the key to text message marketing for real estate agents is establishing trust with the homebuyer or home seller. Having them continue to open and reply to your messages is dependent on each text being distinctly valuable. Include information related only to the project you are working on. Market updates, showing scheduling, and quick notifications are among the best examples for this.

As a rule, until the house is sold or your clients buy a home, stick to pertinent discussions within your text messages.

5: Review Every Message Before Sending It

This tip may be the last on our list, but it may be the most important when it comes the working realities of what you should do when texting with a client. Even though it should not be this way, some clients will even see spelling errors or a lack of proper punctuation as a sign that you’re not as professional as you should be.

More importantly, however, just be looking over what you’ve written and correct it as necessary based on the preceding points here.

Before you send an SMS message, ensure that:

  • The message is entirely positive and professional
  • There is nothing in your text that is of a level of importance that makes is something that should be discussed in a phone call or face-to-face meeting
  • Dates and times are accurate
  • Words are spelled correctly and sentences are grammatically correct

As a last consideration here, it may be useful to create templates (available in some business text messaging platforms) for you to have and then edit as necessary for certain often-occurring communications between you and clients.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered to you – and only you – for your similarly exclusive region of any city or town in Canada. You’ll be the only realtor to receive these leads, and that region is also yours for as long as you stay with us. It’s a nearly-guaranteed way to get more out of your client prospecting efforts and build your real estate business that much more quickly.

Fundamentals Driving Demand in Canada’s Apartment Market

Published November 12, 2019 by Real Estate Leads
Follow That Line – Condo Development Tails Expanded Rapid Transit Infrastructure

Realtors and Civic Planners may have entirely different lines of work, but the decisions made by civic planners have a great deal of relevance for realtors and how they’ll be conducting their business. As it regards civic planning, it’s been said that if you’re a in a metropolitan area then having the majority of your inhabitants living in multi-family developments then you’ve done well in crafting the growth of your region. Not surprisingly, it is true that the majority of people in heavily populated urban centres in Canada are in fact living in condominiums or rental apartments.

Now no realtor will need to be convinced of the need for a healthy rental housing market, as it serves a very pivotal role in the progression from young people starting out in life to future qualified homebuyers. Without it fewer of them reach the point of being qualified prospective buyers and it’s true that there’s too few of them to begin with. Finding new clients for a real estate business is challenging for many reasons, and it’s for this reason that here at Real Estate Leads our online real estate lead generation system is such a good choice for those new to the business.

But back to topic, it’s good to see that the demand for rental housing in Canada is being identified and received in the manner it should be.

Challenges and Opportunities

Population growth, demographics and housing affordability are currently fuelling the strong demand for apartments in Canada. These factors, together with insufficient and constrained rental supply, are making existing housing challenges more severe. The fact that there is a growing imbalance between housing demand and supply shouldn’t come as a surprise, and neither should the apartment market in Canada remaining strong for the foreseeable future.

Apartments have always been a vital part of the housing solution for many Canadians. That’s true whether they are entering the rental market by choice, or out of necessity. It’s true that most immigrants who enter the country and do not have the capital to own a home remain in the rental market for 10 years or so  before home ownership becomes a viable option.

Demographics

What’s most interesting to note is that there is a trend in our population where people are increasingly opting for an apartment-rental lifestyle that is not related to affordability.

As the children of baby boomers move on, those aging baby boomers usually downsize from single-family homes.

This then factors into an increased demand for rental properties in familiar, desirable communities which provide convenient transportation and amenities. As millennials – the children of these baby boomers – come to reach the usual age for making their own independent households, more of them are now choosing affordable urban apartment rentals over purchasing houses in the suburbs.

A recent study indicated that there are about 730,000 millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who may be planning to move on from living in their parents’ homes and from sharing a dwelling with roommates in the next 10 years. This has the potential to create 500,000 new households. Based on this stimulus we are likely going to see a significant housing shift in major urban regions, as this large wave of millennials start to look for a place of their own.

Then add the estimated 100,000+ new residents that come to the the major cities every year and we really do have the makings for different housing crises.

The challenge for millennials planning to move out of their parents’ homes and into the rental market will be in saving up enough for a down payment – while still paying current, escalating rental rates. In Toronto and Vancouver in particular, these rates are both exorbitant and debilitating for many people.

Housing Affordability

Across Canada, the provincial and federal government have made efforts to control housing prices, and these prices are expected to appreciate modestly throughout the last bit of the year here. The federal government has tightened rules for mortgages even further, implemented new restrictions on government insurance for low-ratio mortgages, and issued new reporting rules for capital gains exemptions on primary residences.

While the underlying objectives are appropriate for the present situation, these initiatives are probably not going to solve the housing affordability crisis on their own.

The cost of breaking into the housing market makes home ownership challenging and Canadians will continue to have to weigh an apartment rental as an affordable – and perhaps smarter – option. It’s interesting to note in relation to it that demand for rental housing is outpacing home ownership for the first time in many decades.

Municipal Governments need to be extremely proactive in developing rental housing on a very large scale, and there’s not time for delays and inactivity with this. It’s essential for the maintenance of a healthy housing market, which stands to benefit both individuals and those whose careers depend on it.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered exclusively to you and for your privately-served region of any city or town in Canada. It’s your region, they’re your leads only, and you will be the one to benefit in a big way when it comes to building on your client base. Put the power of the Internet to work for you and build your business that much more effectively!

Creating Listing Descriptions That Draw Genuinely Interested Homebuyers

Published November 7, 2019 by Real Estate Leads

It’s been said that real estate is very much one of those professions where the expression ‘you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.’ That’s very true, but it’s also true in regard to the way that interested homebuyers who are looking at homes on the market will make very quick and lasting judgments about any home on the market based on the listing description they see for it.

That’s obviously a disadvantage – even if the listing description is well written – and unfortunate as well, because there’s always so much about a home that can’t be conveyed right without seeing it and experiencing it in person. But in the same way people will draw conclusion on you as a realtor based on their first few minutes with you, they’ll do the same with your listing based on the first few lines of the description.

It’s true that some homes really do sell themselves, but the vast majority of them do not. It’s usually a challenge and that’s why your expertise as a realtor makes you worthy of their business. What is ALWAYS a challenge, however, is prospecting a sufficient number of clients so that your own real estate business continues to be a viable way for you to earn a living for yourself.

With that understood, our online real estate lead generation system here at Real Estate Leads is an excellent choice to put you in the those ‘pivotal first impression’ scenarios much more reliably. Harnessing the power of Internet marketing is rarely if ever a bad thing.

But returning to our topic of choice today, how does a realtor write strong listing descriptions that serve to further the readers interest in their listing, especially if that reader is a genuine prospective homebuyer?

It’s not that complicated, and you can do it too. Read on.

Experience, Relevance, and Smart Wording – The Best Formula

The first mindset that you need to take on in advance of beginning this task is to understand fully that this is someone’s future home, and not just another house. It may not be the future home of every single person that reads your listing description, and in fact that’s the most likely scenario. However, with the chance that it may be, you need to form your ideas with the understanding that someone who reads this may be doing so as the first part of the process that ends with them buying the home from your clients.

So you need to make sure your property descriptions attract attention and create a captivating scene, and do so even before potential buyers visit the home.

  • Focus on the Experience

It IS important to mention how many bedrooms and bathrooms a home has, but it’s even more important to showcase how lifestyle meets utility perfectly in this home. For example, if your client has a home with a great family room with a fireplace, your aim should be to make buyers feel like they will love that room long before they even see it. Another example could be if you the home is in a growing-family type of neighborhood and it’s most likely a couple with children will be buying the home then you can talk up the family bonding experiences that can happen in that superb living area.

Something like this – “This expansive family room features soaring 11-foot ceilings as part of an overall design creation that’s intended to promote families creating ever greater numbers of cherished family memories. Whether that’s piling the couch with pillows and blankets on a cold winter day, or enjoying a movie night by the fireplace, or hosting a lively birthday gathering filled with friends and family, this room will likely be the heart of the home.”

  • Keep it Relevant

Going overboard with descriptions is the most common misstep with listing descriptions. They shouldn’t be overly personal or customized to the current owners. The better approach is to keep statements more general, so that any type of buyer can relate to them. It may not seem natural, but you’re going to appeal to a much wider cross section of prospective buyers this way.

Have a look at this example – “This neighborhood has it all. Restaurants and entertainment are close, but not too close, and the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood is just as assured as it only taking you a short trip to enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment. Whether it’s a night in or a night out, both are going to be very appealing based on how doable one or the other will be.”

  • Emphasize the Right Adjectives

There’s no getting around the fact that words like ‘charming’ and ‘cozy’ are used way too often in listing descriptions. They’re classics, but fact is they’re really just far to indeterminate and impersonal these days. They can sound appealing, and when you’re dealing with a bigger proper in the luxury space adjectives like these can actually make the house seem small.

The point here is that it’s best to cater to the appropriate crowd when you’re choosing your words, and based on the type of property you’ve listed.

Compare these examples – “This restored five-bedroom, four-bath historic Colonial has an opulent foyer that blesses it with the grand entrance you’ve been searching for”

“This charming three-bedroom cape, perfect for entry-level buyers, has a cozy sitting room where you can sip your coffee and read a good book.”

The majority of your buyers will be unassuming and not particularly receptive to flowery language, and surprisingly this is even true of most wealthy buyers. Definitely something to keep in mind. The principle here is that each description should be unique to the property, but still being neutral enough to entice a variety of buyers.

Keep may different types of prospective homebuyers in mind when choosing your words and you’ll likely find yourself naturally gravitating towards a communication style that’s much more conversational and natural, and much less pretentious and assuming of specifics related to them as people.

Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated buyer and / or seller leads that are delivered exclusively to you once you’re signed up and have claimed your region of any city or town in Canada. The advantage – and a BIG one at that – is that once you’re signed up and have your region reserved for you, then you’ll be the only realtor to receive those leads!

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