Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Investing in Canadian Real Estate

Warren Buffett often leans on one of his favourite quotes from ‘The Intelligent Investor’ which says that “investing is best when it is most businesslike.” So does this mean emotions are always bad when it comes to making investments in real estate?
Emotional investing can be calamitous. However, once you dig into it, emotions may have some positives when investing too.
Emotionally Charged Investment Decisions
Emotions tend to influence people to act less rationally. This would appear to be at odds with making sound, logical, investment decisions. We see it when home buyers keep on stretching beyond their means to bid on homes as they get caught up in the excitement and competition. We even see it when Canadian real estate investors fall in love with the concept marketing and branding of a pre-construction condo or luxury rental homes, and then vastly over pay, or can’t bring themselves to exit a failing investment when they should.
The reverse is what keeps many investors from making the better, more common sense investment decisions in less fancy property, which may actually be far more profitable.
Fear is one of the strongest emotions. It is also one of the most dangerous for an investor. Fear has been manufactured and managed many times to create substantial sell-offs at discounts when investors should have held. We’ve seen this in the stock market, oil, tech world, and real estate markets, and it looks as though that cycle may soon start again, if people fall for it.
When Emotional Investing Can Be Good
While some would argue that emotional investing can never be good, there are some factors which refute that.
For example, you could say emotional panicked sell-offs of an asset can create an amazing opportunity for those with the bullishness and courage to go against the market or act from a high level of wisdom. If no one invested emotionally then green and eco-friendly building never would have caught on.
Finding Balance
It is wise to be objective when choosing investments and predetermined timeline for selling and holding investments. However, this may follow an investor first emotionally by selecting a country, region or city to invest in, and the type of investment they are most interested in. It is then crucial to put personal bias aside and choose expert third party management that can execute and objectively manage real estate investments daily in order to maximize portfolio performance.

Investment Tips From Frobes Billionaire List

Forbes has released its new 2015 list of world billionaires, which details how the world’s wealthiest investors are doing this year and the valuable insights for individual Canadian investors desiring to follow in a similar path.
The Economy is Just Fine
While some enjoy debating the health of the national and global economy, the data from the new 2015 Forbes Billionaires list shows that the economy is operating fine for those that are willing to make it work for them.
Together the members of the list have seen their net worth grow close to one trillion dollars over the last year and nearly 300 new individuals achieved billionaire status this year as well.
Age is Not One of the Numbers to Dwell on
With 46 billionaires on the list under 40 years old, as well as aging veterans like Warren Buffett, age should not be considered a barrier for Canadians looking to increase their personal wealth. Age may be a motivating factor in demanding more from an investment portfolio or an added advantage for those getting started early and benefiting from compounding returns. It is clear from the list that age is not something that any Canadian investor should allow to hold them back.
The Power of Partnerships
It is incredible to see the vast majority of billionaires on the 2015 Forbes list are self-made, along with it are also two key takeaways Canadian investors shouldn’t overlook.
The first is the power of partnerships. Pick any name on the list and it is hard to see how they could have made it without others. Everyone on the list had help in creating, maintaining and growing their fortunes. This applies to Uber, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, Alibaba and all of the other companies these billionaires have developed into modern day success stories. It also applies to the individual partnerships that investors have formed to invest together.
While it is great to see so many self-made billionaires, it may also be shocking to see that very few billionaires attained their wealth from inheritances. If so few heirs have managed to grow their inherited wealth, Canadian investors should give serious thought to how they will instill good financial principles amongst the next generation, as well as selecting secure investments that can be professionally managed on behalf of heirs.
Passive Income
From the multi-billion dollar valuations of tech companies to the personal investments of these billionaires, the one consistent theme is passive income. These titans of industry create passive income streams and invest heavily in assets that can produce them.
Real Estate
Whether its providing the initial capital to invest, serving as a main investment vehicle, or providing a safe haven for excess capital; real estate is perhaps the one consistent investment and asset that all of these successful individuals have in common.
It doesn’t matter your age or how you start your financial journey. As can be seen by the members of the Forbes Billionaire list, leveraging partnerships and acquiring passive income investments can build great wealth over the long term. By seeking out the investments and embodying these principles, more Canadians can experience greater progress toward their financial goals.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Investing in Commercial Real Estate

More and more Canadian investors are looking towards real estate investments for safety and yield. Below are five different property types available for investors, each with their own benefits and values.
Industrial Real Estate
Industrial real estate covers a wide variety of property uses. In Canada, it is probably most notable in its use by energy and oil companies. This can make it extremely valuable in times when oil prices are high and related companies often secure real estate for their needs years in advance to lock in low costs when property prices are attractive. There are other uses in this category to such as government property, distribution centers and warehouses and manufacturing plants.
Office Buildings
Recent surveys and data show that office buildings have remained one of the most popular types of real estate investment with global investors. Large investment funds and institutional investors flock to these types of investments, often due to its income capacity and the fact that office buildings generally occupy prime central locations. While the relocation of corporate headquarters is often a major indicator regarding the performance of other types of real estate, as jobs and incoming workers lift the local economy, it is also wise for Canadian property investors to keep an eye on remote working trends and its impact on the future demand for office space.
Multifamily Apartment Buildings
Multifamily rental apartments offer Canadian property investors an easy to understand step up from residential single family homes. Experienced and sophisticated real estate investors often prefer multifamily to single family due to lower costs per door, easier management and higher ROI on value add improvements. Canadian investors typically choose multifamily for passive income generation and wealth preservation.
Retail Properties
Canada’s retail property performance is among the best. Choices for investing range from stand-alone single tenant stores to local shopping plazas to super-sized, internationally respected shopping malls. Retail stands out for income investors and those seeking passive wealth buildings.
Raw Land
Raw land can run from small buildable lots in existing residential communities to large plots that could house farms, factories or malls. While land doesn’t generally provide the income and yield that the above commercial properties do, it does offer low maintenance and low holding costs.
Selecting the best commercial property type to invest in really comes down to watching real estate cycles and selecting the right types based on personal goals, while evaluating the individual merits of each property. Dependent upon your goals, your financial needs can be met with a variety of different property types.

2015 Canadian Mortgage Trends

The recent 2015 Bank of Canada rate cut stole headlines and was expected to fuel a new low interest rate as banks and mortgage lenders vied to make more home loans. However, as we approach March, a new trend appears to be emerging – which can take things in the opposite direction.
Bloomberg News recently picked up on Canadian mortgage insurers and lenders pulling back and making new plans in some pockets of the market. Entities including Home Capital Group and Gentworth MI Canada are reportedly preparing to defend against more defaults and losses on loans, as well as tightening underwriting criteria as they fear the fallout of low oil prices.
Between investors withdrawing capital and cash flow interruption, many are expecting high capital rates to fall out of the oil industry as well. These entities want to protect themselves from further losses – possibly making it harder to borrow for regular home buyers and homeowners in regards of qualifying for mortgages and their borrow amount.
Together, current trends can make residential condos and single family homes, as well as industrial property slightly less attractive to investors in the short term. Expect more activity in commercial property sectors such as multifamily and retail, as Canadian investors seek more safety, growth and yield.
Industrial developments like Edmonton airport’s new distribution center may offer exceptions to this, but those that have stalled on buying homes could add to the pool of renters nationwide; increasing performance for apartment building owners.
Domestic and global capital will likely seek out other commercial property investments. Retail in particular may provide some shelter to investors looking for properties that can better ride out any potential dip and bounce back easily when things pick up.

Investment Lessons

Legendary investor Warren Buffet made big waves with Canadian and energy sector investments over the past few years. However, financial reporting from his flagship firm Berkshire Hathaway shows the ‘Sage of Omaha’ dumped its entire Exxon Mobil investing (around $3.7 billion) in the beginning of 2015.
According to coverage by The Globe and Mail, this was Buffett’s single biggest bet since IBM five years ago. This dramatic portfolio shift is probably in part due to crumbling oil prices, but also potentially a side effect of his frustration over the Keystone XL pipeline which he said was a “good idea”.
How to Invest Like Warren
Everyone wants to know how to invest like Warren Buffett. Most do it too late. So while the news is fresh, how can more Canadian investors emulate Buffett’s latest bold investment moves and enjoy more Warren style rewards?
The big question is where the legend is investing now.
According to financial filings by Berkshire Hathaway, some of the most notable moves and holdings over the last year have been in services that support retailers like Wal-Mart – which we know has become a major player in Canada. Retail property investments are definitely complimented by current trends picked up by the Toronto Star in February 2015.
A declining Canadian dollar, new stores with better deals and the prioritization of experience and saving hassle has kept more Canadian consumers shopping at home. That bodes extremely well for retail real estate investors and the performance boost applies equally to smaller local plazas as major outlets.
However, more than anything else Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate investments continue to stand out as the ones to watch. Buffett continues to be bullish on real estate which he still names as his best investments. His forays into this arena are widely diversified from personal residences to farms to commercial retail property and mortgage debt, as well as real estate sales.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Investing 2015 - What to Look For

While some have forecasted a bland year for real estate in 2015, others are anticipating an exciting one. With global capital flows, cross-border investing, low interest rates and millennials fueling a buying boom, Canada continues to stand out as a great global destination for commercial real estate investing. However, there is still plenty of uncertainty over which cities will post the best gains. With the information we currently have, these are aspects investors should look for this year.
Professional Management
If there is one factor that Canadian investors can’t afford to prioritize in 2015, it is securing professional property management. The potential of an investment is only unlocked by great management. Seek out a veteran team with a proven track record.
This year will be the year to take advantage of strong leverage. Partnerships with other accredited investors can be a very smart move this year and will allow Canadians to expand their portfolios safely. Low interest rates can’t be ignored and ought to be capitalized upon as well. Combining both of these forms of leverage could prove to be extremely powerful and can afford investors a great opportunity to scale during this optimal time.
Property Types
While most expect oil prices to return to normal before long, industrial properties will probably be less attractive than other commercial real estate sectors in 2015, until confidence returns. Office may remain strong and is normally a favorite with foreign commercial property investors. Multifamily and retail are likely to remain among the most trendy and desirable property types in the short and mid-term.
Until real clarity comes to the market and the media realizes that constant scaremongering filler content is bad for their organizations too (even if it bumps up short term ratings), the best strategies still rely on diversification. The more diversified investors are in geographic location, property type, number of and type of tenants, the better their overall performance should be.
Like Warren Buffett, investing for income and cash flow appears to be the favourite strategy and priority for 2015. Prioritize income and cash flow, desire value, prefer tax liability reducing structures, and price fluctuations won’t be a factor that should make investors nervous, or self-sabotage with rash moves.

Commercial Real Estate Investments in 2015

Analysts and data suggests 2015 will continue to see international capital flows and commercial real estate investments, growing and building upon the last two years. So how much capital is flowing? Where is it going and where are the opportunities for individual Canadian investors?
Factors Driving Global Real Estate Investment in 2015:
  • Geopolitical unrest
  • Failure of BRIC nations to offer safe and appealing CRE opportunities
  • Entry of major sovereign wealth funds
  • Need of pension funds and HNW individuals to make new investments
  • Flight capital to safety and security
  • Low interest rates
  • Need to minimize tax liability
Where the Capital is Coming From
According to Real Capital Analytics, as of November 2014:
  • Inter-regional investment in the Americas had reached $17.4 billion
  • Domestic investment in the Americas had topped $338 billion
  • Asia Pacific had invested $17.4 billion in the Americas
  • The EMEA had similarly invested 8.1% of capital ($17.4B) in the Americas
Where the Capital is Going
According to Preqin data and a CCIM Institute report in January 2015, there is an additional $220 billion in capital waiting on the sidelines, which is poised to be deployed into real estate investments. This is up almost 20 percent from Dec. 2013, which saw almost $700 billion in global commercial real estate transactions (a seven year high).
Oxford Economics forecasts suggest strong investment in North America and specifically retail establishments, which is based on fundamentals and growing global affluence. The CCIM Institute points to an ongoing slowdown in China dragging down Asia Pacific demand, while tight monetary policy in the UK has slowed growth and turned off investors.
Office, multifamily and retail has been and is expected to continue to be the top choices of global investors. Industrial real estate in North America is currently suffering from significant uncertainty due to low oil prices.
Compressed cap rates and peak asset prices in gateway cities are likely to push more foreign investors to destinations that offer cheap leverage and strong secondary cities, which provide more value and a better security cushion for wealth preservation.
For the Individual Canadian Investor
What does it all mean for individual Canadian investors? Individual investors ought to continue to find select opportunities in smaller deals and will benefit from partnerships and low Canadian interest rates. Yield and cash flow will continue to be more important and prioritized over pricing fluctuations and expectations of cashing out in the short term.

Lesson on Crowdfunding

Fueled by technology and lots of media hype, crowdfunding became very popular a few years ago. It seems to have performed well for socially minded campaigns and funding new tech gadgets. As the technology behind crowdfunding platforms has grown, at least a dozen services have popped up providing easy plug and play options for launching new crowdfunding portals. Those interested in real estate have seized on this to throw up a variety of real estate crowdfunding websites vying for dollars over the internet.
However, a recent pitch by a new real estate crowdfunding startup on the reality TV show Shark Tank saw the concept taking a beating from some of the world’s most respected and wealthy venture capitalists, savvy investors and real estate and technology experts. In fact, they not only refused to fund the project, but literally laughed the founder off screen.
So what’s not to like about crowdfunding?
The first and most notable issue which was repeated by the entire panel was that it lacked the credibility and trust that investors really need. The panel including Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Mark Cuban highlighted how individuals, including themselves look for and need to invest with other reputable individuals that have a proven track record.
The second criticism was that these systems were really designed to take advantage of elders and non-accredited investors, by marketers that were unproven in their ability to deliver results. In other words; under experienced developers and managers backed by less experienced investors putting their only meager savings into the pot was seen as a poor recipe.
So what do these sophisticated investors like investing in and how?
The ‘sharks’ and other legendary investors have proven time and again that in addition to technology they have done very well investing in real estate, and have retained and grow their wealth by pooling money and diversifying.
To emulate their success, and successful investments individual accredited investors will seek out real estate opportunities and diversify into multiple income producing properties. However, they will do it through smaller and tighter partnerships with other accredited and qualified investors, in projects organized and managed by those with proven track records of success.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Canadian Fundamentals Keep the Country's Property Market Growing

Low interest rates aside, Canada has many underestimated fundamentals working in favor of its property markets, which will help fuel the Canadian property market and real estate investment portfolios through 2015.
While some have proclaimed the Canadian property market has been growing too fast and imply it relies on oil prices too much, the statistics and fundamentals indicate otherwise. The latest data and headlines shows from Edmonton to Toronto, the Canadian property market continues to move ahead with confidence in 2015.
Data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) shows that property prices have actually been growing at a steady and sustainable rate, even as investors continue to net globe topping yields on income producing investments. According to CREA, national home prices only nudged up 3.8 per cent between Dec. 2013 and Dec. 2014.
There is far more to the Canadian economy than oil prices. While the focus recently has been on the luxury, urban core real estate in parts of Canada, 90 per cent of the nation does have affordable real estate. This is creating a new foundation of strength, while allowing for more growth.

Strategies for Investing

Oil prices continue to decline, and despite rumors of the Keystone XL pipeline making progress, the US reports it already has record oil reserves. Most analysts expect oil prices to bounce back by the end of 2015, but in the meantime many investors are searching for the strategic moves to preserve wealth and keep yields high.
  1. Accelerate Property Acquisitions Ahead of the Surge
Data shows a significant surge in individuals searching to buy Canadian property at the beginning of 2015. This is no doubt in part thanks to the interest rate cut, but also due to oil prices and the continued excitement and confidence in Canadian property markets. Until oil rebounds and proves reliable, interest rates are raised substantially, there is no reason for this activity to wane. This suggests at least several quarters of strong buying activity.
  1. Go Retail
Both low interest rates and low oil prices benefit the retail sector. Transportation and store inventory tends to become less expensive, all while reducing the cost of capital.
For retailers, it’s a win-win situation on both sides, with lower operating costs and increase in sales.
  1. Diversify
Canada continues to boast one of the soundest and best performing real estate investment markets. For Canadian income investors, this might be the best time to scale with inexpensive leverage and diversify across a broader section of the nation’s property markets. Invest in traditional urban strongholds, in rapidly growing trendy cities and branch out into new secondary and tertiary markets. Invest in multifamily, retail and mixed-use.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Target Canada's Leave Will Mean to Canadian Investors

Target recently announced its set to close all 133 Canadian locations. Shoppers interviewed by the media say they are sad to see them go, but it is clear that Wal-Mart stores have been far busier.
The Canadian arm of the giant retailer reportedly racked up $2 billion of losses in less than 24 months. While some might argue that the store just wasn’t competitive enough, others would debate the company just moved to fast.
Many landlords say they made sure Target’s main US headquarters guaranteed leases, so do not expect to take losses on leases which were expected to last an average of another 12 years. There will be some disparity in how these spaces fill up, but there is still no shortage of demand for retail space in booming hubs like Edmonton. If it isn’t Wal-Mart absorbing the space, it could be their competitors such as Loblaws, smaller luxury retailers, innovative discount stores or local startups that are now spreading their wings.
Together with the recent Sony closures and the pull back of Google Glass, Target’s story is a reminder for investors to seek out a good mix of retail tenants and leverage strong partnerships in investment properties. In order to be safe and to command top yields, investors need to look to ideal locations, tenants and leases before getting into the commercial retail market.

Edmonton vs. Calgary

Calgary and Edmonton have been going head to head for the position of best real estate market in Canada for a number of years. Calgary has consistently generated consistent commercial real estate returns, even as property prices have risen dramatically and luxury home prices have shattered record after record.
On the other hand, Edmonton has offered better value for years. It was expected that last year Edmonton would officially seize the crown. Most data published showed that both Alberta cities are still neck and neck. However, some expect the recent oil price plunge to decidedly tip conditions in Edmonton’s favor.
Many reports proclaim Calgary’s reliance on energy.  According to Statistics Canada and a senior economist at the Bank of Montreal pointed out the decline in building permit value and a dramatic 42 per cent rise in Calgary’s property inventory shows that recent concerns over oil prices are already taking their toll.
It can sometimes be difficult to peg the real differences between the two markets but Edmonton saw a 40 per cent rise in sales, while Calgary just piled properties onto the market. Double digit single-family home price increases in at least five Edmonton neighborhoods also beat out Calgary’s average of less than 10 per cent. Still the big deciding factor for Canadian real estate investors is going to be sustainability in growth and velocity.
Edmonton also has another advantage, contagious optimism. The current building and development boom in Edmonton has created an environment and vibe that has a lot of unquenchable energy. Right now, it seems no matter which direction oil prices, foreign economies and other Canadian real estate markets head in the months ahead; Edmonton will only continue to grow.
Whether it is individuals looking for a smart investment in a home, companies looking for the right location or Canadian commercial real estate investors seeking attractive and sustainable returns, Edmonton is proving to be a stable and steady choice.

The Luxury Housing Market in Canada

The rapid plunge in oil prices has certainly been a shock to many and has fueled the media with lots of speculative talk. But there is a good chance it could be all overblown. While one Saudi prince has predicted we’ll never again see $100per barrel oil, Moody’s has predicted it could return to close to that by the end of 2015.
Still, in the short term the media tends to fuel frenzy. Panic can set in and investors and individuals that aren’t looking at the big picture can make rash moves. This certainly could mean that some in the luxury housing market may hold off on buying and may be motivated to sell instead.
Certain destinations will definitely benefit more from these trends and movements than others, especially those which are more affordable like Edmonton, Alberta. No matter which direction oil prices go later this year and beyond, it appears there is very attractive window for Canadian investors to acquire in other property investments right now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Investing Forecast

Investing 2015

Given all the warnings about the stock market, global unrest, fears about the security of the technology sector, many are turning towards alternative investment opportunities such as real estate.
In fact, real estate, especially in Edmonton is showing great promise of increasing in value and delivering above-average returns.
Edmonton is only starting to reinvent itself as one of the most buzz worthy cities on the map. This means growth, as the demand for these properties increases and yields continue to grow.
For the bullish Canadian investor, the availability of leverage great opportunities to scale while the sector is still ripe. Whether it is mortgage leverage or partnerships, this means being able to catapult growth at the perfect moment where value turns into gains.
It’s true that commercial real estate is a big sector, but there are obvious niches which stand out for both novice and professionals such as retail.
So whether you are extremely optimistic about the global economy, or just learning about it, it’s worth taking a look at commercial real estate investment opportunities in Alberta.

What Should You Invest In: Mega Malls or Local Shopping Centres?

Dec 29 - Investing Mega Malls vs Local Shopping centtres

Once you’ve decided to invest in commercial real estate, the next big question follows: do you go for the large and famous malls or try out local shopping plazas?
Large and famous malls have the obvious appeals of being well-known and having favourable tenants. However, most of Canada’s largest commercial properties are tied up by super-sized funds and are restricted by availability.
Small retail centres on the other hand tend to draw in more local tenants, allowing them to follow shopping trends quickly. And while they require less financial commitment than mega malls, they still have strong equity growth potential, yield growth and long-term performance.
In the end, Canadian real estate investors should feel extremely confident in their retail acquisitions, regardless of their decision. Both mega malls and local shopping centres are sound, secure options.

Edmonton Attracting Investors From All Generations

 Why Millennials Richard Crenian

Millennials are loving commercial real estate investment in Canada. Although, their reasons may be very different from their parents and grandparents, Alberta’s new vision for Edmonton is drawing many young investors to this asset class.
Not Just Millennials
Generation X and boomers are also both returning to the commercial real estate market in big ways. While they have different motivations, for Gen X and those approaching retirement, commercial real estate remains a stronghold for wealth protection and reducing tax liabilities. It’s a top pick for those that can’t afford to gamble with their financial future, while at the same time providing ongoing income.
CRE is in for Gen Y
Edmonton’s rapidly transforming skyline has a lot to offer Millennials. Many young entrepreneurs are pioneering a new revolution back towards bricks and mortar opportunities, such as local shopping centers. While freedom of lifestyle may still be among their top priorities, surveys show they care about their communities and are more emotionally invested in them than their previous generation.
Although Gen-Y may not be big on owning their own homes, they appreciate real estate. In fact, many are as bullish on real estate as Generation X was at the beginning of the 2000s. This makes commercial investment property the perfect investment pick, as the passive income it produces also fuels more freedom to pursue other passions and provides investors the ability to travel, explore and live.
This surge in interest in Canadian commercial property is only going to help drive values and yields higher, making it an increasingly profitable sector for years to come. So whether you are on the threshold of retirement or just months out of school, it’s worth looking at what commercial real estate can do for you.

Winning Industry to Invest in 2015

 Investing Local Richard Crenian

Commercial real estate has been demanding the lion’s share of the attention among experienced investors recently. Canada’s leading cities Calgary and Edmonton have been competing for globe topping commercial property investment returns for several years and while Edmonton is expected to continue to edge ahead, the outlook remains bright for all Alberta investors for the foreseeable future.
Alberta’s commercial property market is quite sizable and everyone wants to know which property type is the absolute best. To help us assess that, we can look at factors currently taking place.
The current energy predicament isn’t likely to last, which will minimize losses in industrial properties. Concerns about overbuilding in the office sector will likely be negated as more head offices and start-ups move in. Lastly, retail will remain a strong front-runner as more luxury stores continue to expand into Canada.
Despite the media’s coverage of the current issues concerning retailers, such as e-commerce, the sector isn’t slowing down. There are large bidding wars over Edmonton’s retail space, which is driving up rent, property values and investment returns.