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Friday News Roundup: May 5, 2017

Here’s a summary of some of the news that caught our eye this week:

More Census data released

We got a little data treat on Wednesday when Statistics Canada released more information from the 2016 census, this time on age, sex, and dwelling type. The big piece? The population of seniors outweighs that of children for the first time in the census’ history. And in between, the portion of the working-age population (15 to 64) declined to 66.5% from 68.5% in 2011.

Most Canadians still live in detached homes, though those numbers are declining, while the number of those dwelling in apartments has risen.

Here’s a nice summary from The Globe and Mail.

Are foreign buyers to blame for hot housing markets?

The Ontario government and Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) are at odds over the impact of foreign buyers on Ontario’s housing market, with each group releasing conflicting data on the level of foreign homeownership and impact on housing in the Greater Toronto Area. While TREB contends that only 2.3% of homebuyers in the Golden Horseshoe between 2008 to April 2017 were foreign buyers, Ontario’s Ministry of Finance has called TREB’s data “unreliable.” The Ontario government has taken an opposing stance on foreign homeownership, having recently announced a 15% non-resident tax as part of a 16-point plan to help cool Ontario’s housing market. And the average Canadian would likely agree with these measures: According to Zoocasa’s Housing Sentiments and Trends Report 69% of Canadians support a foreign buyer tax, and 61% believe foreign buyers are driving up home prices in their city.

Ontario and B.C. housing bubbles bound to pop by 2019

Economists at Desjardins are warning Canadians to mark early 2019 off on their calendars as the time when Ontario and British Columbia’s housing markets finally reach their boiling point. Borrowers are being told to expect a 2% increase in mortgage rates, which could add a layer of stress for Canadians already dealing with high rates of household debt.

Toronto residents take a stance on rent hikes

Tenants living in six apartment buildings owned and operated by one of Toronto’s largest landlords, MetCap Living, went on strike this week by withholding up to $250,000 in rent payments. Tenants are demanding action on building conditions and uncontrolled rent hikes that are pushing lower-income residents out of buildings. This protest is in light of the fact that MetCap recently applied for a number of rent increases in the buildings which exceed provincial guidelines on rent increases from earlier in 2017.

Canadian robo-advisor targets older investors south of the border

Canadian robo-advisor Wealthsimple is taking a different approach to their expansion into the U.S. While the company made a name for itself in Canada as a result of its millennial-focused marketing efforts, skyrocketing levels of student loan debt in the United States has caused the company focus its attention on a slightly older 35-to-45-year-old market. CEO Michael Katchen notes that while reception to Wealthsimple’s expansion has been largely positive (it saw the same amount of growth over three months in the U.S. as it did in 18 months in Canada), American millennials are typically not in the financial position to begin investing their money.

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