MITIGATING WATER DAMAGE
REMI / The Apartment Group
For most people, the word “flood” conjures images of large-scale natural disasters like the Southern Alberta flood of 2013 or the Fort McMurray flood of 2020. While climate change has increased the prevalence of these weather-induced disasters, floods caused by plumbing and appliance failures happen daily—and sadly, they are often preventable.
All-tolled, flooding is the leading loss driver for real estate owners in Canada, making it all the more surprising that the majority of property owners are not prepared for it when it occurs. According to findings from a recent national survey, 57 per cent of Canadians said they have not taken any steps to protect their property in case of a flood, while a similar number indicated they are “not concerned” about the potential for water damage in the future.
"All-tolled, flooding is the leading loss driver for real estate owners in Canada and almost 60% of people do not plan for it."
For apartment owners seeking to renew their insurance policies, the difference between sinking or swimming often comes down to whether improvements have been made to the building’s plumbing infrastructure or whether a water risk mitigation plan has been implemented. In other words, preventing water damage should be high on every apartment owner and property manager’s list of concerns.
A tenant on the fourth floor experiences a flood due to a leaky pipe or a toilet malfunction, and subsequently, every apartment unit below it now has water damage. Costs in this case would add up very quickly. To make matters worse, a majority of Canadians wrongly assume their insurance will cover them. What’s more, the average insurance claim for water damage costs about $10,000—not an insignificant sum. For owners of multifamily buildings, don’t think you’re immune to this scenario. In addition to tenants potentially being negligent, infrastructure problems can create their own risks—from aging pipes and poor water chemistry to improperly installed plumbing systems.
But water damage doesn’t have to be a big deal, provided it’s not an annual occurrence. Insurers look carefully at a property that files annual claims for water damage, and they may either increase insurance premiums or deny coverage outright.
Some losses can be managed through tenant coverage, but the apartment owner and property manager are still responsible for taking care of building-wide issues, such as the plumbing system. Insurers may prefer certain plumbing systems over others, but insurance premiums will depend largely on the size of the deductible (retained risk), and the risk mitigation strategies that are employed.
There are floods and leaks. In apartment suites, the main sources of concern are toilets, dishwashers and washing machines. Toilets can leak and cost not only lost money on wasted water but the damage it will cause on suites below. The same is said of the dishwashers and washing machines (many rental building are now putting these in suites) where the water supply lines can leak or rupture spewing 100's if not 1,000's of gallons of water. In the building, the main areas of concern are the main lines and risers.
Some of the means to mitigate leak and flood include the following:
- Upgrade and or replace troubled lines and areas.
- Put a flood plan program in place.
- Regular maintenance and inspection of the system.
- Regular maintenance of the equipment (ie. dishwasher, washing machine etc.)
- Increase your insurance deductible.
- EMPLOY NEW Technology....
Relating to 6, there are many new products on the market which will help reduce the leaks and floods. Saving you money and giving you peace of mind. These are all state of art high tech devices which have been in use in Europe for years. The first is toilet leak detection. This is a device which measures and monitors the flow of water in the toilets and can identify leaks and stuck flappers (leak inside the toiled no water on floor loss of money) in real time and broadcast this to staff. It also can shut the water off to the toilet should a major leak occur there by mitigating the multi floor flood situation.
There are also now "smart hoses" which are used with washing machines and dishwashers. These strong double lined hoses also have the "intelligence" to sense when a leak of flood event is happening and it will shut down the water immediately. Again mitigating the multi floor flood situation.
This same technology is now available for key water lines and risers in an apartment buildings. The technology can sense a change in PSI and water movement and shut down the pipe at key critical areas to avoid massive and even catastrophic water damage events.
These devices are now available at: Watrtek.com - contact Nando Presciutti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-451-7838
INTEREST RATES MOVING UP
CBC - Pete Evans
When the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in two years earlier this month, it sent an unmistakable message to borrowers that the era of cheap money was coming to an end. While economists expect the bank to gradually raise its rate another half-dozen times or so this year, there's a growing sense that the bank may need to start moving faster and more dramatically than anticipated to rein in inflation, which is already at its highest level in a generation.
Pricing in investments known as swaps suggests there is a good chance the bank will ratchet its rate up by half a percentage point when it meets in April, taking the benchmark rate to 1 per cent. At central banks, caution is a virtue, so they tend to like to move up and down slowly, in 25-point increments, or a quarter of a percentage point at a time. Moving half a percentage point at a time is a sign the bank could be thinking more aggressive action is necessary.
The bank's deputy governor said as much at a speech in San Francisco this week, telling attendees at a monetary policy conference that an uptick of household debt was "worrisome" and that the bank was "prepared to act forcefully" to ensure inflation doesn't run too hot for too long. For Carlos Capistrán, an economist with Bank of America, strong language like that from a central banker is a clear sign that "everything is on the table," when it comes to bringing down inflation.
It's why he's hiked up his rate forecast since Kozicki's speech, to include not just one but three big hikes in quick succession. He's now projecting the central bank to hike by 50 points at each of its next three meetings in April, June and July, and follow those up with smaller ones after that into next year until the bank rate sits at 3.25 per cent. That's almost double the 1.75 per cent the bank's rate was at before the pandemic, and you'd have to go back to 2008, before the financial crisis, to find the last time the rate was that high.
The yield on the five-year bonds topped 2.5 per cent for the first time since the pandemic this week, which is pushing fixed mortgage rates well above three and even four per cent in response.
The Bank of Canada calculates that the average rate on a conventional mortgage at the big banks is currently 4.79 per cent, and according to rate comparison websites rates.ca and ratehub.ca, it's not hard to find a variable rate loan right now for a little over one per cent. If Capistrán's projections are right and the Bank of Canada rate is headed to 3.25, expect variable rates to make a similar leap.
The impact could be dramatic. Right now, an uninsured 25-year mortgage of $400,000 at 1.5 per cent would cost $1,599 a month. But if that variable rate goes up to just four per cent, where fixed rate loans already are, the monthly payment jumps by more than $500 a month for the life of the loan.
INFLATION UP WAY UP
In February, Canadian consumer prices increased 5.7% year over year, up from a 5.1% gain in January. This was the largest gain since August 1991 (+6.0%). February marked the second consecutive month where headline inflation exceeded 5%. Price increases were broad-based in February, pinching the pocketbooks of Canadians. Consumers paid higher prices for gasoline and groceries in February 2022 compared with the same month a year earlier. Shelter costs continued to trend higher, rising at the fastest year-over-year pace since August 1983.
Excluding gasoline, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.7% year over year in February, surpassing the gain in January (+4.3%) when the index increased at the fastest pace since its introduction in 1999. On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 1.0% in February, the largest increase since February 2013, following a 0.9% increase in January. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.6%.
Canadian motorists paid 32.3% more at the pump compared with February 2021. Prices for food purchased from stores (+7.4%) rose at a faster year-over-year pace in February than in January (+6.5%). This is the largest yearly increase since May 2009. In February, shelter costs rose 6.6% year over year, the fastest pace since August 1983. Higher costs for both owned accommodation (+6.2%) and rented accommodation (+4.2%)
Consumers paid higher prices for household appliances (+7.8%), including cooking appliances (+9.4%), refrigerators and freezers (+15.6%) and laundry and dishwashing appliances (+9.1%), compared with February 2021. In addition, prices for non-electric kitchen utensils, tableware and cookware increased 10.4% on a year-over-year basis in February, following a gain of 7.5% in January.
RECENT SALES - Out of the GTA
551 COOPER STREET - SAULT SAINT MARIE - $4,149,500 / $96,575 Per Suite / 5.5% Cap Rate
This is the sale of two neighbouring properties totaling 73 suites on over 2.3 acres. Each building was 4 stories in height and were built in the late 1970's. The suite mix included one, two and three bedrooms which were above average in size. The buildings were fully occupied and were owned by a local investor. It appears that the asset was openly marketed and was purchased by private investor based in Guelph, Ontario.
700 BAY STREET - SAULT SAINT MARIE – $10,320,000 / $290,000 Per Suite / 5.25% Cap Rate
This property comprises a mid rental apartment investment built in the 1980's. There are 48 one bedrooms, 24 two bedrooms and 8 three bedrooms. This project was built to condo specs and has great views of the city and the water. The tenant profile was older seniors and rents were far below market. Hydro is paid by the landlord and huge upside exists in sub metering this. The property has additional development potential as it is 1.5 acres. The property was fully marketed and was purchased by a private investor.
901 LASALLE BOULEVARD - SUDBURY - $27,000,000 / $185,000 Per Suite / 4.25% Cap Rate
This property is located in along a major arterial in suburban Sudbury and comprises a 14 storey rental apartment building on 2.65 acres. In total there are 146 suites and the building has 2 elevators, 163 surface parking space, and 10 washers and 10 dryers. It is a concrete structure with brick exterior walls, double windows, flat roof and balconies. Predominately 2 and 3 bedroom suite mix and additional land for development. The property was fully exposed and marketed and purchased by Panoramic Properties Inc..
945 AND 955 HURON STREET, LONDON - $38,700,000 / $228,995 Per Suite / 4.50% Cap Rate
These are two rental apartment buildings with elevators located in a strong London rental market. The buildings are concrete with brick exteriors, double windows, flat roof and balconies. The buildings were constructed in 1973 and are condo titled. There are a total of 169 apartment, 54 covered parking spaces, 60 underground spaces and 84 surface stalls. The Seller was Starlight Investments Ltd. and the Buyer was Skyline Real Estate Holdings Inc. The buildings were fully marketed.
THE APARTMENT GROUP
Together the team has completed over 1,500 transactions and has sold over $7.0 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