2019 Toronto Housing Market: A Year of Opportunity?


GTA real estate has entered a new era. Gone is easy money. Gone are many investors, including foreign ones, with the new 15% non-resident speculation tax imposed by Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan. Tighter lending conditions and new mortgage rules including a new mortgage stress test are producing fewer prospective buyers, while rising interest rates are scaring prospective buyers and reducing affordability.

The resulting benefits to prospective buyers haven’t been seen in over a decade!

  • Better choice
  • Better value
  • More time to evaluate and analyze
  • Better terms

Even last spring, most of the residential and investment properties I looked at were not interested in conditional offers. But that’s already changing.

On the other hand, supply of new low-rise housing remains constrained. Immigration levels are high and Canada plans to increase them even further in the next few years, with up to 350,000 new foreign nationals expected to arrive each year in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Rental demand far exceeds supply. Fewer people can afford to buy, which means there’s an increased demand for rentals. Furthermore, Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan expanded rent controls to all private rental units across the province, which will likely result in fewer rental properties on the market as developers move away from purpose-built rental projects for more profitable returns (despite the plan also including a five-year, $125-million program that’s aimed at encouraging the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges).

With the number of units available for rent expected to decrease and immigration rates set to increase, we can expect that in the long-term, the fundamentals underlying the real estate market’s strength and growth will still be very good. Demand will increase and prices will rise again, especially since we’re not significantly increasing the supply of low-rise homes and are not building enough high-rise units to keep up.

To me, this means opportunity! 2019 will be a good time to buy property in the GTA, as the market goes through this micro-adjustment. The long years of the GTA real estate boom are over and there are way more opportunities available for buyers now. But as we saw above, this opportunity may not be around forever – long-term, I expect the market to stabilize and grow again.

Personally, I’m looking around for opportunities, but taking my time. I’ll post my findings in the future.

Facebook Is Changing The Game With Live Video


Facebook has changed the world in many ways. It’s revolutionized the way we communicate with our friends and families. Not to say that they were the first social network ever, but they have ultimately become the most prominent network – and one of the most successful tech start-ups in history. They’ve made some tremendous strides over the past few years, adding new tools to enhance the ability for both brands and individuals to share content, but recently, they’ve kicked things up a notch with the introduction of live streaming video.

Live streaming offers a few exciting options. Firstly, it allows the host to receive comments and feedback simultaneously, facilitating a conversation. Secondly, it delivers notifications to all your followers/fans that you’re going live. This is huge. Lastly, it archives your live content. The significance of that feature is that if – for example – if a builder were to host a live walkthrough of a home, or facilitate a conversation with the staff at a Presentation Centre, they can easily share the video after the fact for potential homebuyers who may be interested in the same community.

This new feature could become an extremely valuable tool for agencies and realtors to keep in their toolbox, as it takes a lot of the costs and third party headaches often associated with live streaming away. All you have to worry about is delivering the best content possible. Evidently, as Mark Zuckerberg is demonstrating with his live chat with astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station, the platform’s possibilities are truly endless.

Facebook Lead Ads


Facebook ads are an invaluable tool for any advertiser to have in their arsenal; however, it’s not ideal in every situation. Dependant on your project/client goals and the depth of available content, ads may draw an audience, but fail to convert properly. Facebook recently rolled out a fantastic solution, Lead Ads. These ads allow users to quickly and easily register without having to leave the Facebook platform – or even their timeline. This ensures that you’re capitalizing on initial interest, and not allowing any potential confusion on the website to sway the registration decision.

The ads feature a call-to-action button, which – when pushed – opens up a full-screen, pre-filled form. As the user is already logged in, the application knows their email, name, and location. There’s also the ability to add additional fields if you require more info. Once completed, the user can either visit the website or just close the form and continue their Facebook experience. This method does have the drawback of generating a lower click through rate, as users are only directed to the website once they sign up. Before setting up a Lead Ad campaign, ensure the potential results fit into your defined measures of success. At this point, the ads cannot be integrated into your 3rd party lead management system, meaning you’ll have to develop your process for gathering and inputting the sign-ups. They can be acquired under the publisher tools on your page, and downloaded as a CSV file.

The ads are currently only available for users who use Power Editor to create and monitor their ads, which means that it’s really for more advanced users at this stage. As well, carousel ads aren’t available with this feature; however, our contact at Facebook has noted that this is something that advertisers can look forward to soon. Early results from our campaigns – and case studies available from Facebook – show a very promising cost per conversion. It will be exciting to see how Lead Ads will affect advertisers, and clients, as it becomes more of a go-to ad unit on the platform.


Instagram Advertising Is Here


It’s no secret that the landscape of social media has become increasingly visual. So – not surprisingly – Instagram has become a behemoth, with a community of more than 400 million active users. When it sold to Facebook back in late 2012, advertisers were excited about the potential for advertising; unfortunately, the gradual rollout of advertising has only been available to large brands, and at an extremely premium price. This was, in essence, to help create some order around how to implement targeted advertising without turning off the user base. Well, Facebook officially announced that it was opening up the platform to all of its current advertisers, regardless of size.

Built right into the current Facebook advertising platform, brands and marketers can now simply select their connected Instagram account as one of the assets when creating their new ads. The ads, which are specifically targeted and appear in a users Instagram timeline, allows the use of a ‘learn more’ button (or similar call to action) and also supports both video (15 seconds) and multi-image carousel ads. Users can then click the call to action button to visit the brand/product online – a feature that wasn’t previously available.

It remains to be seen if this move will open a floodgate of Instagram advertising, and how users will ultimately interact with the ads on the platform, but it does present some interesting new opportunities for brands and agencies to reach new audiences with clever marketing. It will likely also prove to be a great way for builders – and realtors alike – to market new homes to potential buyers.

Ad Blocking Is On The Rise



There has been an increasing amount of conversation regarding ad blocking over the past few months. Ad blocking, for those unaware, is when online users utilize plug-ins and tools to prevent advertising across multiple platforms, including websites and social media. The debate recently took centre stage as Apple launched its new iOS update, effectively allowing mobile users to block all ads on the iPhone’s default browser Safari (if they choose to do so), which currently supplies roughly 55% of all mobile web traffic worldwide.

So what’s the issue at hand?

Well, blocking revenue-generating advertising can be disastrous for brands/entities, like The New York Times or Mashable, who make considerable amounts of capital from ads. It can also affect marketers on a smaller scale, as ad blockers could influence the display of ads, across Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other advertising networks. This means that advertisers/agencies with any active campaigns could potentially be affected by increased adoption of this type of software. You can see how effective these blockers are below.


Should we freak out?

Not yet. Much like the Google mobile-geddon episode we talked about earlier this year, this only pertains to mobile traffic, and to those who choose to enable ad blocking. Thus, depending on your market/industry, you may notice a small difference, or you may not. As well, Apple has already discontinued/removed some ad-blocking tools from its store as they violated privacy issues and did much more harm than good.

Google has realigned its billing structure, and will no longer bill for ads that are undeliverable due to ad blocking. This will help ensure that you can still get the results you’re looking for with your current budget. Also, there are measures you can take to make sure your ads are whitelisted, which means that ad blockers will allow them to display.

Advertising is a good thing, but only when done properly. This whole issue presents an optimistic outlook for the future of mobile advertising, as advertisers are now forced to integrate more creative solutions into their marketing strategies that will deliver better overall experiences. For now, though, it’s business

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