An insider’s look at the housing market

What drove real estate to record highs in 2022, and what is the outlook from here? For answers, clients and friends of Cumberland were recently treated to a fascinating presentation by Steve Tabrizi, Chief Operating Officer and partner at the RE/MAX Hallmark Group of Companies.

Tabrizi has a truly unique perspective on Canadian housing, with nearly three decades of real estate investment experience, and as a driving force behind the largest independent RE/MAX operation in the world, with over 1,800 agents working out of 78 offices. The last time he visited Cumberland, in 2019, he delivered remarks that proved remarkably prescient.

Among those remarks was the idea that, as Toronto becomes the “New York City of Canada,” the affordability picture may change permanently, meaning not everybody will be able to attain home ownership in the city, as is already the case in Manhattan and many European cities too.

However, during the pandemic, a confluence of factors came to bear: interest rates so low that money was essentially “free,” and a window of time when many had more mobility due to working from home and more disposable income from curtailed travel and discretionary spending, plus COVID stimulus.

The result was a burst in real estate activity as younger buyers in particular seized what many saw as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase homes – some in the city, many pushed by rising prices to a 100km radius of the city, and a surprising amount even extending themselves to buy cottages.

Where we stand now

Today, on the other side of pandemic lock-downs and with interest rates suddenly much higher, media headlines are crowing about the potential for a “historic real estate correction,” but Tabrizi warns against such hyperbole.

Yes, some prices are down year to date, but most regions are still up versus 2021, and any prudent analysis should consider at least a three-year time window. Tabrizi provided further data demonstrating that the current market favours neither buyers nor sellers, and is balanced in terms of the amount of available inventory and the number of sales versus the number of listings.

Looking forward, Tabrizi touched on a few key trends at play:

Interest rates
“If the Bank of Canada pushes interest rates above the neutral zone (estimated at 3-4% based on given historical levels), it will cause a recession. Housing affordability issues will persist either way, because high prices and high interest rates both reduce affordability.”

“Inflation pressure really took off in March, and we will probably go for a 15-month cycle, meaning by next September we will see inflation probably sitting at in and around 4-4.5%. This should set the stage for further engagement of the market.”

“Investors, defined as Canadians who own more than one property, mostly resident in Canada but not exclusively) own more than a third of homes built after 2016. They own 1-in-5 homes overall, and 1-in-3 new homes. These multi-property owners are growing and are closely monitoring the shift of the market saying that ‘In February I was paying for the downtown detached home in Riverdale $1.5 or $1.7 million and now I can buy it for $1.2 million.’ So a number of them are doubling down and actually increasing their investments. Some expect to do so later.

Tabrizi sees a strong employment picture, growing immigration, and a Canadian economy with significantly less housing units per capita than any G7 country. In other words, despite some short-term uncertainty, the fundamental supply/demand picture remains favorable for real estate over any reasonable period of time.

Over the course of the presentation, Tabrizi shared so many interesting stories and noteworthy data points, it’s difficult to capture them all.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us so we can share a variety of the information he provided us. Thanks Steve!


A safe way to preserve your wealth?

In 2013, Levon Barker was part of a small operation that mined a dozen Bitcoins. By the following year, he had sold his coins for a small profit, and his partner’s coins had been stolen in a $450 million raid on Mt. Gox, one of the world’s leading Bitcoin exchanges of the time.

Today, Levon is a US and Canadian Equity Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst at Cumberland and remains a close observer of the evolution of crypto assets. He recently shared his considerable insight on the topic in a presentation to clients and friends of Cumberland. He addressed issues such as:

  • Do crypto assets contain value, like stocks or commodities?
  • How do they work and why?
  • Can they be trusted despite the risks of theft, loss and fraud?
  • Should crypto assets be used to preserve your wealth?

Levon covers these topics and more in a manner that is clear and accessible, even for those who are new to this fast-changing space.

If you would like to view his presentation and the Q&A that followed, please send us a note requesting a link to the recording.

Rebirth of The Gen X Tech Stock

Levon Barker

Microsoft was born in 1975 and went on to become one of the most powerful and profitable companies in history.

Five years ago, it looked like the company’s glory days might be over. Their personal computing business was down 5% and their cell phone division was going broke.

Yet, between 2016 and 2021, Microsoft doubled the growth of the broader stock market.

Watch Portfolio Manager Levon Barker explain the story of rebirth that most analysts missed, and why he believes Microsoft will continue to grow beyond expectations.

Market Hindsight & Foresight

Join Portfolio Managers, James Nickerson, Jason Isaac and Derek VanGenderen from our Calgary office for their reflections on the market, where they think it is going, asset allocation and valuations.  You will also learn how your portfolio is positioned for 2021.

They cover:

  • A review of 2020 (0:47)
  • What’s happening in your managed portfolio (16:22)
  • Their favourite stocks and sectors (21:30)
  • What they see going into 2021 (26:45)

Download the recording by using the three dots on the right to navigate through the sections more easily.

Cumberland Market Review & Outlook

2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways. In our world of investing, in trying to be the best stewards of our clients’ capital, we take great pride in how we have performed. Watch the 30 minute video to gain insight into how we invest, what we are looking at and what we are buying for our clients and for ourselves.

Not All Tech Stocks Are Created Equal

As the Tech Titans and other Technology companies dominate the market, investors can’t help but wonder if this trend will continue – Does a ‘bubble’ exist? And are we about to see it burst?

Last week, Portfolio Manager Phil D’Iorio wrote about US Technology and has now elaborated in a podcast interview, addressing the realities of today’s market, what we have learned from past cycles and what we might see this year and beyond.  

Kipling Strategic Income Fund

Focus on providing a steady income stream through fixed income investing.

Capital preservation while mitigating risk exposure from both an interest rate risk and credit risk perspective.

Kipling Global Enhanced Dividend Fund

A low volatility strategy with a focus on dividend growth, profitability and balance sheet flexibility emphasizing cash flows to shareholders.

Tax and Succession Planning

Wondering how your taxes might change or perhaps you are thinking about succession planning and how tax reform might impact your plan all due to the recently announced Federal deficit?

Listen to our Podcast featuring Sunit Paul, Partner & Senior Tax Advisor from BDO, to discuss some worthy strategies.

Second Quarter 2020 Market Review

Listen to a discussion led by our CEO Charlie Sims and CIO Peter Jackson, on the market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of this year, current market trends and our outlook looking to 2021.