BUSINESS OUTLOOK SURVEY Q1-2021
The Bank of Canada
Business confidence across all regions has strengthened. Many firms consider the impacts of the pandemic on their activities to be behind them. Firms’ outlooks for domestic and foreign demand have improved from low levels a year ago, as most businesses are no longer preoccupied with pandemic-related uncertainty. Still, some businesses tied to high‑contact services continue to report weakness in demand.
“One‑fifth of firms do not expect their sales to return to pre‑pandemic levels in the next 12 months. .”
Nearly two‑thirds of firms indicated their sales have reached or exceeded pre-pandemic levels—an increase from the winter survey and a sign that the recovery is broadening further. Half of businesses reported that the second wave of containment measures and lockdowns had a smaller or no adverse impact on their sales compared with the first wave. Firms noted that this is largely because they themselves—and their customers—have adapted to the evolving crisis. For example, businesses now have greater capacity for more online sales, staff are set up and familiar with remote work, and cleaning and physical distancing protocols are in place.
For many businesses, demand from domestic and foreign customers—particularly from the United States—has improved from a year ago. Firms’ sales outlooks are also supported by low interest rates and a shift in consumer preferences to products and services that make it easier for Canadians to stay at home and reduce contact with others. Still, the negative effects of the pandemic continue to weigh heavily on sales prospects for an important group of businesses.
One‑fifth of firms do not expect their sales to return to pre‑pandemic levels in the next 12 months. Most of these firms are tied to high‑contact services, such as businesses in tourism and in pockets of non‑essential retail. Some of these firms indicated their sales outlooks have slightly improved, but from a period of extremely weak demand. A few businesses remain uncertain about their sales outlooks because the evolution of the pandemic is still unclear.
Businesses facing strong demand—especially those linked to housing and household goods—often noted capacity constraints. The most common bottlenecks are related to labour. Many firms reported difficulties finding new workers at the current wage or that their workforce is now fully utilized. Plans to invest more in machinery and equipment relative to the past 12 months are common, especially among firms not negatively affected by the pandemic or whose sales have fully recovered.
Businesses hit hard by the pandemic continue to have muted investment intentions. These firms noted that their cash flow or balance sheet position and uncertainty related to the pandemic are holding back their capital spending plans. Some of these businesses intend to make small increases in their investment expenditures from a low level, while others are further delaying investments they put off earlier in the pandemic. A few firms noted that their planned investment spending on office space is reduced now that their employees are working remotely.
Inflation expectations have increased. Over half of firms expect inflation to be above the midpoint of the Bank of Canada’s inflation‑control target range of 1 to 3 percent over the next two years. These businesses attributed their views to strong demand supported by fiscal and monetary stimulus measures or to expected surges in consumer spending—caused by pent‑up demand—when restrictions ease. As in recent quarters, several firms did not respond to the question, which suggests more uncertainty than usual around firms’ outlooks for inflation.
2022 RENTAL GUIDELINE INCREASE
Ontario has released its rent increase guideline for 2022, setting it at 1.2 per cent on the heels of the 2021 rent freeze. This number represents the maximum most landlords can raise their tenants’ rent between January 1 and December 31, 2022, without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
The rent increase guideline was determined using the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation calculated monthly by Statistics Canada using data that reflects economic conditions over the past year. The guideline applies to most residential rental accommodations covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, and excludes rental units in buildings occupied for the first time after November 15, 2018, social housing units, long-term care homes and commercial properties.
Rent increases are not automatic or mandatory. Landlords may only raise rent if their tenants were given at least 90 days’ written notice using the correct form. In most cases, the rent increase cannot be more than the rent increase guideline. In addition, at least 12 months must have passed since the first day of the tenancy or the last rent increase.
Last year, Ontario passed legislation to freeze rent at the 2020 level for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act as a way to help give Ontarians financial relief from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rent increase freeze will end on December 31, 2021, and landlords wishing to raise rents must send a notice to tenants before the freeze is lifted.
Landlords can also apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for above-guideline rent increases for certain circumstances, including after conducting and paying for major capital work.
More information on the rent increase guideline is available at Ontario’s 2022 Rent Increase Guideline | Ontario Newsroom.
TOILETS CHANGED AND NEW SHOWER HEADS - NOW WHAT?
The Apartment Group
With most buildings sub-metering for hydro and changing lights to LED, water has now become the largest part of your utility bill. With covid and people being home water costs have gone up by over 35% in most buildings. We all are aware that changing toilets to low flush and replacing shower heads will reduce water consumption but after that what else can you do? The Apartment Group has team up with WCC Water Management Services a company that has been in the water conservation space for over 30 years. They search the planet for the newest and most cost effective technologies which will aid in you saving money on your water bill. As they are independent they are not beholden to any one manufacture.
Over the past 20 years water rates have gone up on average 10-15% per year. Aging infrastructure only means these costs will continue to grow. As well, leaks in toilets and piping is also a major concern and a large cause of high volume of consumption. As well a number of floods that have occurred in North America over the past five years has really put a dent in the insurance industry and hence insurance rates are now doubling and tripling in the multi residential space.
Flow Management Device (FMD) - this is a device which is placed no the clients side of the water meter. As water comes into the building is it moving violently and also contain air bubbles. The speed and air bubbles cause the water meter to spin quicker than normal and as such will over estimate the amount of water passing through it. The FMD creates a compression zone behind the meter and compresses the air and makes the water flow by the meter in a more nature form thereby getting a truer reading of the water actually being used. This could save between 10-15% of water costs per year and the pay back is under 2.5 years. Unlike other devices and consultants, WCC will not only prove the savings but will guarantee the pay back.
Leak Technology - this is a device that is placed on all the toilets and monitors leaks in real time. This monitoring is sent to a back office which the client has access too. Alerts can either be send to the on site staff so they can immediately fix the problem. It can also monitor all leaks and bundle them at a critical stage and issue workers as well. All toilets will leak whether old or new. A stuck leak can cost over $2,000 in one month alone. There is an up front cost for the equipment and installation and an ongoing monthly fee for monitoring and back office. Again pay back here is under 2.5 years.
Water Sub-metering - in the past it was very expensive to sub-meter buildings for water - given piping and plumbing costs. In today technological world sub-metering is much easier and now is cost effective. This like Leak is done in real time and sensors are placed at junction point where water is entering the suites. Bluetooth technology records and sends the consumption to a back office monitored by WCC and WCC issues the Tenant a monthly bill which they pay to WCC. The Landlord continues to pay the bulk water bill and will receive quarterly repayments for water by WCC. A building we are selling right now has a water bill of around $1,400 per suite per year. At a 3% cap rate each time a suite turns over and water is an increase in building value of about $45,000 per suite.
Flood Detection Prevention - similar to Leak this is a series of bluetooth devices placed in strategic areas to monitor leaks early before a major episode occurs which can cause major damage. There is also technology whereby shut offs are place in certain parts of the water line so that when something large occurs the line is shut off immediately thereby mitigating huge damages and costs. We are in discussions with insurance providers to see what discounts will be availed to owner who install this technology.
For further information contact:
3434 Eglinton Avenue East - Scarborough - $61,500,000 / $282,210 Per Suite / 2.9% Cap Rate
This property was sold by The Apartment Group and consists of a single 16 storey rental apartment building in the east end of Toronto walking distance to Lake Ontario. The 3.37 acre site is improved with a building constructed in 1960's containing 218 larger suites and includes a daycare centre on the main floor and out door pool. The building was professionally managed and owned by the same company for over 25 years. Rents were 50% below market. The property was not marketed and The Apartment Group represented the Purchaser a private investor in this case.
920 Inverhouse Drive – Mississauga – $33,000,000 / $347,370 Per Suite / 3.0% Cap Rate
This property too was sold by The Apartment Group and is 8 storey concrete rental apartment building constructed in 1965 to condo specs. The building has a brick exterior, double windows, balconies, flat roof and elevators. There is a single level under ground garage. The asset has 95 suites which are larger and many have en-suite bathrooms and large storgage. Heating is gas fired hot water and the asset sits on almost 2 acre of land. The building has been is the same ownership for many years and the rents were far below market (65%). The Apartment Group represented the Seller and the property was fully exposed on the market and was purchased by a InterRent Apartment Inc. There were multiple offers.
385 Melvin Avenue - Hamilton - $3,300,000 / $165,000 Per Suite / 3.4% Cap Rate
Yet another deal closed by The Apartment Group in east Hamilton. The Apartment Group represented the Purchaser who came to us looking to expand their holdings in the Hamilton market. Our team went to work and uncovered this property which is two storey walk up rental apartment building dating from the 1950's with low rents. It was in good condition with monies being spent on the asset over the last decade. Mostly 2 bedroom suites with an average rent of only $900 per month. The property was not marketed and was purchased by a private investor.
404 Spadina Road - Toronto - $14,250,000 / 3.35% Cap Rate
This property comprises a mid rise mixed use building with retail at grade and rental apartments above dating from the 1920's. There are a total of 31 apartment suites in mostly one bedroom styles and 4 retail tenants in the hear of Forest Hill Village. There is a brick exterior, double windows and flat roof and elevator. Heating is via a hot water gas fired system. The asset was fully marketed and exposed. The Buyer was a private investor.
2893-2897 St. Clair Avenue East - East York - $7,000,000 / $300,000 Per Suite
This property comprises of two walk up rental apartment buildings with 12 suites each for a total of 24 suites. The site is around 0.40 acres and the buildings comprise mainly of one bedroom suites. Built in the 1950's the buildings are heat via a hot water gas fired system and there is surface parking only. The buildings were maintained to an average level and was in the possession of the Seller for many decades. These are typical brick and box buildings with double windows, flat roofs and no balconies. It appears the property was not marketed and was purchased by Starlight.
THE APARTMENT GROUP
Together the team has completed over 1,500 transactions and has sold over $6.5 billion in apartments and development land. Put us to work for you and see the results. NO ONE has sold more buildings then our group. Experience, knowledge and professionalism will insure you get the right deal or the highest price if you are selling.
The Apartment Group is a dedicated team of professionals specializing in the sale of multi-residential investment properties. With over 40 years of combined experience, the team brings together their strengths including strong negotiation and sales skills along with highly technical market analysis and appraisal methods.
We are a boutique Brokerage but have the capabilities of the larger houses without the overhead. We have: an internal database of over 10,500 active apartment and land Buyers; a list of all apartment building owners in the Greater Toronto Area; our web site gets over 50,000 hits a month; we highlight properties for sale through our newsletter which reaches 10,000 investors monthly.
President & Owner,
LORENZO DIGIANFELICE, AACI
Broker of Record, Owner