Toronto Home Sales Quickly Decline + Airbnb Seeks Government Help

Toronto: The real estate market comes to a stop as the city takes new measures to halt the coronavirus spread. Elsewhere: Airbnb seeks government bailout in Canada, the case for a rent moratorium in the United States, and Portugal takes bold steps amid state of emergency. 

See our post last week for a round-up of real estate & Coronavirus info & tips


Toronto's Real Estate Market Hits the Brakes (Move Smartly)

Toronto real estate market sales have dropped sharply in the third week of Ontario's state of emergency due to Coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has pushed Toronto home sales off a cliff, but they’ll come back strong: realtors (Toronto Star)

COVID-19 has pushed Toronto area home sales off a cliff. But while prices may stall while people stay home from work, many real estate experts are predicting they will pick up where they left off once the crisis passes.

COVID-19 could mark the end of Toronto’s Airbnb era, and good riddance. Here’s how to keep it that way (The Star)

As a prime example, take a look at the ICE Condo complex at York Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, where more than 20 per cent of its 1,341 units have been listed on Airbnb. Last year, it took the crown as the property to have received the most complaints related to short-term rentals. Now it’s seen more than 50 units go up for rent in the last two weeks, as landlords scramble to replace revenue streams and find long-term tenants. The condo board has also decided to ban all short-term rentals until the state of emergency is resolved. A ghost hotel busted.

Airbnb asks government to bail out hosts in Canada (ThinkPol)

Airbnb Canada’s public policy director Alex Dagg wrote a letter to Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland requesting government handouts for “regular Canadians who share their homes to earn extra income.”

Tenants wanted April rent relief. Some got it, others didn’t (The Globe and Mail)

For weeks, April 1 has loomed as a financial pressure point for renters across the country. More than two million Canadians filed for unemployment benefits in the last half of March because of company shutdowns amid the pandemic, while some forms of financial assistance have yet to start paying affected workers. Leading up to Wednesday, many tenants were expected to withhold payments or seek deferrals.

B.C. is offering up to $500 a month for renters during the COVID-19 crisis. Ontario has no such plan (The Star)

“Let’s say hypothetically my rent is like $1,100 and I have $850 in the bank because my hours have been cut this month. What’s the math that Doug Ford wants me to do there? I know the math my landlord’s going to want me to do, which is $850. And then I’ll owe the rest next month. That’s the situation that tenants are being put in.”

Coronavirus is forcing Toronto to confront the rental housing crisis like never before (NOW)

Coronavirus has laid bare the realities of Toronto’s housing crisis, and the fact that nearly half of renters in Ontario are a paycheque or two away from losing their homes. The hope is that the pandemic – whenever it’s over – will force a re-evaluation of the inadequacies of our current system and prompt the kind of change that views housing as a fundamental right. For now, however, it’s pitting tenants against landlords.

Three luxury condo projects in downtown Toronto go into receivership (The Star) 

Three large luxury downtown condo projects by developer Cresford Group have been placed under court-ordered receivership following a claim by creditors that the company failed to pay construction trades and hid its precarious financial standing from investors.


Once Roaring, Canada Home Sales Brace for 30% Drop on Virus (Yahoo) 

What was a roaring start to the spring house-hunting season has ended in a whimper. By the time the dust settles on what’s likely to be months of disruption, Canada could see resales plunge 30% to a 20-year low and the first nationwide drop in prices since 2009, according to Royal Bank of Canada.


Small landlords struggle as renters either can’t or choose not to pay amid coronavirus layoffs (CNBC)

There are about 8 million individual landlords in the United States, meaning those who typically own between one and 10 properties. They own and manage half the rental properties in the nation and house about 48 million renters, according to Avail, a software company that sells them the type of online rental platforms used by larger landlords.

The Case for a Rent Moratorium (NY Times)

This would be a bailout for people — for the countless families already facing difficulties making their next rent payment and who soon will face the real prospect of eviction. If we do not act now, people will lose their access to housing. The social impact of evictions on individuals, families and communities will be brutal.

The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike (City Lab)

With the nation in dire straits — and with relief from Congress still distant on the horizon, and a reprieve from the virus nowhere in sight — why not just nix the rent altogether? For that matter, what about scuppering the mortgage, too, to help homeowners and make sure landlords aren’t ultimately responsible for bearing the cost of the pandemic?


Portugal Suspends Rents, Worries Surface Over Post-Pandemic Housing Crisis (Reuters)

The measure suspends rents until a month after the state of emergency ends. After that, renters are expected to repay what they owe in monthly installments for up to a year.

In blow to Airbnb, EU court adviser says solving housing shortage is priority (Financial Post)

European cities cracking down on short-term rentals of private homes like those on Airbnb got a boost on Thursday after an adviser to Europe’s top court said they have the right to vet such rentals to tackle the shortage of long-term housing.

Top Photo Credit: Getty-istock/Brian Senic

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