Investeerder Jelle Prins riep vorig jaar Nederlandse techveteranen op om niet meer op hun geld te zitten, maar dat te steken in startende bedrijven.
De voormalige Uber-adviseur noemde daarbij ook specifiek de namen van Jitse Groen van Just Eat Takeaway en Adyen-topman Pieter van der Does. Die moesten “niet huisjesmelken”, maar “investeren”.
Van der Does is daar niet zo van, gaf hij toe in een interview met NRC. Dat is deels uit zelfbescherming: als hij ergens geld in stopt, wil hij precies weten wat ermee gebeurt. Daar wil hij zijn kostbare tijd niet aan kwijt zijn.
Lees meer: Adyen-miljardair Pieter van der Does repareert het liefst zelf de cv-ketel
En ook bezorgkoning Groen houdt niet van investeren in jonge bedrijven, zei hij tegen Het Financieele Dagblad. “Ik probeer het eigenlijk niet te doen. Want in veel gevallen word je er gewoon hoorndol van.”
Maar hij zei ook: “Soms komt er wat langs dat te aantrekkelijk is om niet mee te doen.”
Dat is nu een aantal keer gebeurd. De 42-jarige internetondernemer dook de afgelopen maanden ineens op als investeerder bij twee veelbelovende Nederlandse bedrijven. Eerder stak hij alleen geld in fondsen als Keen Venture Partners, nu participeert Groen ook direct in startups.
Te beginnen met Mosa Meat.
Mosa Meat wil in 2023 met een kweekvleesburger in de supermarkt liggen
Mosa Meat is mede opgericht door Mark Post, hoogleraar vasculaire fysiologie aan de Universiteit Maastricht. Hij presenteerde in 2013 samen met vleesexpert Peter Verstrate de eerste kweekvleeshamburger.
Het stukje rundvlees groeide “tergend langzaam” in de labs van Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. Het prijskaartje van zo’n 250.000 euro voor de kweekvleesburger loog er niet om.
Met de doorbraak haalden Post en Verstrate de wereldpers. Onder meer Google-oprichter Sergey Brin stak geld in de ontwikkeling van het kweekvlees.
Inmiddels heeft Mosa Meat de technologie verder ontwikkeld en is het bedrijf klaar om de productie op te schalen. In september 2020 haalde Mosa daarom 55 miljoen euro op.
Een van de investeerders was Groen. Hij stak een onbekend bedrag in de kweekvleesproducent. “Op persoonlijke titel”, aldus Mosa’s CEO.
Groen nam zelf contact op met de Limburgse firma, zei hij tegen het FD. “Ik vind het technisch een mooi bedrijf, al weet ik er zelf niet zoveel van. Maar ze kunnen fundamenteel de wereldwijde vleesconsumptie gaan veranderen.”
Mosa wil in 2023 een kweekvleesburger in de supermarkt hebben liggen. Dan kunnen consumenten ze in hun winkelmandje leggen. Of – wie weet – thuis laten bezorgen door de oranje brigade van Groen.
Websuper Crisp bezorgt vers, lokaal eten
Begin maart maakte Crisp bekend 30 miljoen euro aan financiering te hebben opgehaald. De in 2018 door drie vrienden opgerichte onlinesupermarkt richt zich op verse, lokale kwaliteitsproducten. Het bedrijf levert versproducten van ruim 650 boeren, kwekers en andere Nederlandse leveranciers.
Crisp heeft de omzet vorig jaar zien verzevenvoudigen. Net als bij andere onlinesupermarkten zorgde de coronapandemie voor een snelle groei, omdat een deel van de mensen liever niet de deur uit gaat voor de boodschappen.
De 30 miljoen euro zal onder meer worden geïnvesteerd in de uitbreiding van het elektrische wagenpark, het verder uitbreiden van het assortiment en het digitaliseren van de hele leveringsketen.
Het geld is onder meer afkomstig van Groen. Waarom hij instapt? “Crisp is echt een e-commercebedrijf, en daar weet ik wel wat van”, zei de Thuisbezorgd-oprichter tegen het FD. “Ook hoe je het
Waarom het belangrijk is dat Jitse Groen investeert
Dat succesvolle ondernemers als Jitse Groen investeerder worden, is cruciaal om van Nederland een techhub te maken, aldus Uber-veteraan Jelle Prins.
“In Silicon Valley is het gebruikelijk dat succesvolle oprichters aan de slag gaan met de volgende generatie techbedrijven. Door hun kennis te delen, een netwerk te introduceren en geld te investeren. Die cultuur ontbreekt in Nederland.”
Dat beaamde vorig jaar ook Erik Stam, hoogleraar Strategie, Organisatie en Ondernemerschap aan de Utrecht University School of Economics. “De rol van serie-ondernemers is buitengewoon belangrijk, dat zie je bijvoorbeeld in Silicon Valley, Londen en Singapore”, zei hij in gesprek met Business Insider. “Wij hikken daar tegenaan. Het vliegwiel dreigt nu te gaan draaien.”
Dat vliegwiel lijkt nu in beweging. Er zijn duidelijke signalen dat er in Nederland een ecosysteem van superondernemers is ontstaan die zich ontpoppen tot investeerder, rolmodel en mentor.
Zo heeft Prins zich met enkele tientallen ondernemers, investeerders en ex-topmannen verenigd in de investeerdersgroep Operator Exchange. Daarbij zijn onder meer Blendle-oprichter Alexander Klöpping. HackerOne-oprichter Michiel Prins en Ace & Tate-baas Mark de Lange aangesloten.
Sinds 2019 bestaat het Dutch Founders Fund dat is opgezet door een aantal Nederlandse serie-ondernemers, onder wie Laurens Groenendijk (bekend van Just Eat, Treatwell en Hiber), Patrick Kerssemakers (oprichter van fonQ) en Bas Beerens (WeTransfer).
En zo zijn er meer initiatieven, zoals Rinkelberg Capital van TomTom-oprichter Corinne Vigreux en het duurzame energie-imperium dat voormalig Booking-topman Kees Koolen bouwt met Koolen Industries.
Jitse Groen draagt nu ook zijn steentje bij om van Nederland de techhub van Europa te maken – en wellicht in hetzelfde rijtje te komen als Silicon Valley, Londen en Beijing.
Australia’s billionaires have thrived during the pandemic year – and some on this year’s Rich List have reaped even bigger rewards from a soaring iron ore price.
Iron ore, property and technology are the three main paths to 2021’s Financial Review Rich List, which has shrugged off the pandemic to be richer than ever before.
For the second year running, the booming price of Australian iron ore has put Gina Rinehart at No. 1; her $31.06 billion fortune up from $28.9 billion in the 2020 list published in November. She is followed again by Andrew Forrest with $27.2 billion, up from $23 billion last time.
Chinese steel makers’ demand for their product means our iron ore billionaires have so far been spared Beijing’s arbitrary tariffs which have dented the fortunes of some coal miners and winemakers on the Rich List.
However, Rinehart admitted late April that the record prices could not last as lower-cost countries with higher-grade resources brought on supply. So Australia’s technology billionaires may yet top the Rich List one day.
Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar have come close in 2021. Their fortunes passed $20 billion for the first time as the remote-work revolution pushed their paying customer base above 200,000.
Another Australian-made software-as-a-service gaining global ubiquity is Canva. Founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht cracked the Rich List’s top 10 as their simplified graphic design platform collects masses of active users on par with the population of Italy.
Feeding all this megabyte consumption is one of the 18 debutants on this year’s list, Robin Khuda, whose brassy bets on building massive data centres across the Asia-Pacific – some with electricity substations – has built his AirTrunk into a $5 billion concern.
Technology has also been integral to the rising wealth of Anthony Pratt and his family, fourth on the list with an estimated wealth just over $20 billion. More shopping from home means more business for Visy and US-based Pratt Industries, which turn the delivery boxes we throw out into new boxes.
No Rich List would be complete without its fair share of real estate billionaires. Property developers have generally fared better this year – other than those heavily concentrated on city hotels and apartments – as low interest rates reinflate a boom that never really went away. Meriton founder Harry Triguboff once again leads the pack, taking sixth spot on the list.
The 200 individuals and families on the 2021 list command a $479.6 billion fortune, up from $424 billion six months earlier. To put that into some perspective, Australia’s gross domestic product is $1.9 trillion; the superannuation sector is worth $3 trillion.
Remarkably, the Rich Listers’ loot would have been even higher had the list cut-off been just a fortnight later than April 19, when the iron ore price was in a slight dip.
By the end of April it had resumed its run towards a record-breaking $US200 a tonne, adding $3 billion to Rinehart’s wealth, almost $2 billion to Forrest’s and further billions for the likes of Clive Palmer and Angela Bennett.
Bennett is one of a record 39 women – 18 per cent of the 220 people on the list (it includes several couples). That’s up from 12 per cent in 2020 and comes after we unearthed more wealth through the inaugural Financial Review Rich Women List, published in March.
Tania Austin, who helped former husband Nigel Austin grow fashion retailer Cotton On, debuts with an estimated wealth of $721 million after success with women’s fashion chain Decjuba.
Megan Wynne joins alongside husband Bruce Bellinge, who owns equity in her APM employment services business. He provided a loan to back her APM growth plans nearly two decades ago. The $1.5 billion business is pushing a global expansion.
Of course for every debutant, somebody must fall off the Rich List. The most spectacular departees this year are Lex Greensill and his family, following the implosion of his eponymous supply chain financing empire.
Also out, for now, are BigCommerce founders Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani. Their e-tail software company popped on its NASDAQ debut last August, but has been on the slide because of profit-taking and lack of analyst coverage.
How the list is calculated
This is the 39th Financial Review Rich List, which ranks Australia’s 200 wealthiest citizens by their net worth. It is also found online at afr.com.
The valuations are undertaken by the Rich List editors and an analyst and are minimum estimates. They are calculated using publicly available data and confidential consultation with the list members.
Listed company valuations are calculated in mid-April. Valuations of private companies are typically determined using profit margins and price-earnings ratios of comparable publicly listed competitors.
Taxation and debt levels are also taken into account, with any assumptions based on the age, history and industries of the Rich List member.
How you too can set up your company for a multi-billion dollar buyout.
By Adrian Falk August 31, 2021
In the hectic, fast-paced world we currently live in, convenience is key. Australians Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen recognized the public’s desire for convenience, creating Afterpay back in 2014 to provide customers a unique and efficient way to make purchases. Following a “buy now, pay later” ideology, users conduct payments through a series of interest-free installments, preventing themselves from spending large amounts of money at once and avoiding pesky credit charges. Afterpay’s success recently caught the eye of Square, an American digital services company that helps people buy, sell, and send money from the convenience of a mobile device, allowing businesses to conduct transactions in a quick and efficient manner. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and the founder of Square, refers to the “shared purpose” of both companies, which has led to a mutually beneficial deal with Square purchasing Afterpay for a whopping $29 billion.
A deal of this magnitude does not happen every day, especially one that has become the biggest buyout in Australian history.
Therefore, this presents a great opportunity to analyze Afterpay’s success for other businesses to emulate similar strategies. Here are five lessons you can learn from these entrepreneurs.
1. Create your own category
Back in 2014, Molnar and Eisen recognized a common struggle for people to make large transactions, inspiring them to explore the process of installment payments. Because Afterpay was a new innovation, the brand essentially stood as its own category in the world of fintech. Now, with Covid-19 hurting people’s bank accounts and emphasizing contactless/online transactions, the “buy now, pay later” system is incredibly handy.
With big-name brands such as Apple and Goldman Sachs expected to launch similar financial plans, it is clear that people are becoming well-versed in installment payments. Because Afterpay was one of the first to introduce such a system, they possess an advantage in understanding what works and what doesn’t, as well as what customers wish to see more of. It is therefore important for businesses to create their own category and stand out from the onset to prevent the market from becoming oversaturated with larger corporations dominating the space.
2. Have a niche
In addition to establishing a distinct category in fintech, Afterpay went further by creating a specific niche. While the service allows customers to purchase a myriad of different items in installments, Afterpay commenced focusing on fashion, beauty and wellness products. Not only was it strategic to hone in on an industry with high purchasing frequency, it also resulted in more customers becoming attracted to this niche. While a wide-ranging, comprehensive platform may seem most efficient in gaining a large consumer base, this runs the risk of becoming too broad and resulting in little attention. It is more beneficial to advertise following a niche in order to target a specific audience that has a high likelihood of reacting positively.
3. Be invaluable to your consumers
Afterpay’s money-saving feature is especially appealing to new customers, an invaluable asset that makes the company stand out. Because its mission is to serve users in terms of convenience and economic benefit, the service has a positive impact on each individual customer. Other businesses can learn from this example, shaping their platform to specifically cater to the public and prioritize each individual customer’s needs and desires. Regardless of what your business entails, the customer comes first and it is your job to be accessible and available.
Furthermore, because Afterpay is Australian and Square is American, their partnership contributes a crucial role in improving customer service by not only expanding outreach, but also providing customers with a wider range of resources and increased global access. Though Afterpay has already existed in the United States since 2018, it is always smart to look overseas for business opportunities and partnerships as it is mutually beneficial for both parties, as well as both consumer bases.
4. Have a personality for your brand
Personality is one of the first things a customer subconsciously notices about a brand. These characteristics not only serve to make a company more human and welcoming, but they also attract a target audience who possess similar personality traits. Afterpay portrays a fun, fresh, and young personality, allowing consumers to immediately identify with the brand. Not only is the company’s iconography visually aesthetic with a trendy color palette, the service itself is appealing to a young crowd, especially those newly financially independent.
It is also perceived as a form of innovation, contributing to the fresh image it seeks to illustrate. Many brands do the same, with Starbucks focusing on a youthful, on-the-go personality, and Nike depicting an active and athletic persona. Having a clear and compelling personality is therefore important in helping your brand stand out and attract a specific consumer base.
5. Have a great marketing campaign
Marketing is one of the key factors to any business’s success as it serves to spread the word and inform the public. Afterpay originated as a small business in Sydney and its payment plan was a foreign concept, so establishing strong publicity was a crucial part of the marketing plan. After using social media to grow its brand, Afterpay sought to take its marketing to the next level by partnering with reputable businesses in the fashion and beauty industries.
Working with brands such as Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty and Urban Outfitters resulted in a multitude of benefits, as their large audiences became exposed to Afterpay and caused loyal shoppers to flock to the company site. People became incentivized to use Afterpay knowing that their favorite brands were more affordable. Furthermore, actress Rebel Wilson recently appeared as a spokesperson in Afterpay’s biggest ad to date, encouraging her fans to support the company. Brand partnerships and celebrity appearances are therefore greatly beneficial in helping businesses gain recognition and help skyrocket to success.
Afterpay’s success story is a prime example of how entrepreneurs can originate a company as a mere idea and eventually transform it into global greatness. And with the company landing itself Australia’s biggest buyout in history, there is no better business to learn from. By following these five tips that contributed to Afterpay’s success, your company as well could be on the radar for a big buyout.
One of this week’s tabloids claims Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth only got married for “tax purposes” following their Malibu home burning down in the California wildfires. The story is both illogical and untrue. Gossip Cop can debunk it.
“Miley & Liam: The Real Reason For Their Quickie Wedding,” reads a headline in the latest issue of Star. An alleged insider tells the magazine, “After their house burned down in the fires, accountants told them they’d be penalized if they bought property together as an unmarried couple. But they’d receive huge financial discounts on home purchases and renovations, as well as taxes, if they wed.”
According to the supposed source, when Cyrus learned she’d receive tax breaks on a new home if she got married, the singer said to her boyfriend, “Let’s finally get hitched then!” The questionable tipster adds, “It was all planned in a matter of weeks.”
Nothing about the tabloid’s story makes much sense. For starters, CNN reported in November that Cyrus and Hemsworth plan to rebuild their Malibu home as opposed to purchasing a new one. Additionally, the couple donated $500,000 to The Malibu Foundation to help others in the neighborhood rebuild their homes. The spouses clearly aren’t worried about getting tax breaks. In reality, the singer and the actor care about restoring their community amid the devastating wildfires.
People magazine, a much more reliable source for celebrity news than Star, reported last month that Cyrus and Hemsworth were planning to get married at their Malibu home before it was destroyed. The reputable publication noted, “They had planned to get married in Malibu over the holidays when all of their families were together. After their Malibu house didn’t make the fire, they have been living at Miley’s Tennessee house.”
The newlyweds’ decision to get hitched was made prior to the destruction of their house. The wedding may have been a surprise to the public, but it wasn’t a surprised to their families, and they didn’t tie the knot for tax purposes. Gossip Cop also checked in with a source close to the couple, who assures us the magazine’s report is made-up.
It’s worth noting, Gossip Cop busted Star‘s sister publication, the National Enquirer, for wrongly reporting last August that Cyrus and Hemsworth had split because of her “wild ways.” The tabloid and its related outlets clearly have no insight into the couple’s relationship. This latest phony article is yet another example.
Tesla on Monday reported a big increase in profit for the three months ending in June because it sold more than twice as many cars in the period as it did a year earlier.
The company said it made $1.1 billion, or $1.02 a share, in the second quarter, up from $104 million in the same period a year earlier. It reported revenue of $12 billion, up from $6 billion.
Tesla sold more than 200,000 electric cars in the quarter, up from about 91,000 a year earlier, when the coronavirus pandemic slowed sales and production for all automakers. Tesla sold 185,000 cars in the first quarter of 2021.
“Public sentiment around E.V.s is at an inflection point,” Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said Monday on a conference call, referring to electric vehicles. “I think everyone agrees at this point that E.V.s are the way forward.”
A significant portion of Tesla’s profit comes from selling regulatory credits to other automakers that need them to meet emissions standards. In the second quarter, it took in $354 million from the sale of credits. That compares with $428 million in the second quarter of 2020.
“The delivery numbers are good, but a third of the profits still come from selling credits, profits that will continue to decline, not grow,” said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the auto industry. “The company is benefiting from its head start in E.V.s on the big car companies. As the competition ramps up, life will get tougher.”
Tesla has increased sales despite the shortage of computer chips, which serve as the brains for a variety of electronics, including engine controllers and touch screens. General Motors, Ford Motor and other manufacturers have had to idle plants because of the shortage.
Mr. Musk has said the company has managed well during the shortage by switching to the kinds of chips that are more readily available and writing new instructions to be embedded in the chips — known as firmware.
But on Monday he said that the company’s growth would be affected by the shortage and that the company had had to idle some production because it could not get enough parts to make cars. “The chip is the governing factor in our output,” Mr. Musk said. “This is out of our control. It seems like it is getting better but it is hard to predict.”
Last month, he said on Twitter that the “fear of running out” of parts was compelling automakers to order more components than they needed, likening it to the hoarding of toilet paper by many Americans in the early months of the pandemic last year.
Understand U.S.-China Relations
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A tense era in U.S.-China ties. The two powers are profoundly at odds as they jockey for influence beyond their own shores, compete in technology and maneuver for military advantages. Here’s what to know about the main fronts in U.S.-China relations:
Pacific dominance. As China has built up its military presence, the U.S. has sought to widen its alliances in the region. A major potential flash point is Taiwan, the democratic island that the Communist Party regards as Chinese territory. Should the U.S. intervene there, it could reshape the regional order.
Trade. The trade war started by the Trump administration is technically on pause. But the Biden administration has continued to protest China’s economic policies and impose tariffs on Chinese goods, signaling no thaw in trade relations.
Technology. Internet giants have mostly been shut out of China, but plenty of U.S. tech companies still do big business there, raising cybersecurity concerns in Washington. Mr. Xi has said China needs to achieve technological “self-reliance.”
Human rights. Under Mr. Xi, China’s confrontations with the U.S. over values and freedoms have become more frequent, including standoffs over Beijing’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and mass detentions of Muslims in Xinjiang.
World leadership. China’s leaders see signs of American decline everywhere and they want a bigger voice in global leadership, seeking a greater role in Western-dominated institutions and courting allies that share their frustration with the West.
The earnings report comes as Tesla is trying to lay the ground work for a new phase of growth. It is building new factories in Austin, Texas, and near Berlin, and is getting ready to sell the Cybertruck, an angular pickup truck aimed at luxury car buyers. It is also trying to finish developing a long-delayed semi truck. Mr. Musk had once forecast it would be in production by 2019.
In its statement, Tesla said it expected to start making the Model Y, its most popular vehicle, in Austin and Berlin by the end of the year, but it said production of the semi truck would be delayed until 2022 because of limited supply of batteries. It said the Cybertruck would go into production in Austin after the Model Y but did not say when that would happen.
Tesla said its cash holdings of $16 billion were enough to fund its plans. The company said it still believed that sales would grow 50 percent a year on average for the next several years.
The company is also contending with increasing competition from established and start-up automakers that are introducing electric cars. This year Ford started selling the Mustang Mach E, an electric sport utility vehicle that has sold well and taken market share from Tesla. Volkswagen has starting selling an ID.4, another S.U.V. Rivian, a start-up that has drawn billions of dollars in backing from Ford, Amazon and other investors, is expected to start delivering an electric pickup and S.U.V. in September.
On Monday, another start-up, Lucid Motors, became a publicly traded company by completing a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Its stock closed up about 6 percent on Monday.
Lucid is headed by a former Tesla engineer, Peter Rawlinson. The company is taking a similar approach to Tesla by first selling a pricey luxury sedan, and following up with more affordable models. Mr. Rawlinson has said Lucid has made technological advances that will allow its car, the Lucid Air, to travel about 500 miles on a full charge, about 100 miles more than the Tesla Model S.
A stabilizing housing market in Canada for September 2021 was rather unbalanced when looking at which Canadian housing markets performed well or were worse off this month. Perhaps a clear divide was seen between the Canadian Prairies and the rest of Canada. The Prairie Provinces, namely Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, were the only housing markets in Canada to only have single-digit growth in average home sold prices for September 2021 compared to the same month last year. Looking at the major cities, the Winnipeg housing market and the Calgary housing market barely stayed afloat in terms of prices with a 3% and 2% annual increase in average home sold prices. Edmonton’s housing market performed the worst out of the three, with average home sold prices being stagnant compared to September 2020. However, the prairies still fared better than the territories, which saw prices decrease compared to last year. Average home prices in Yukon fell by 3.6% year-over-year for September 2021, while average home prices in the Northwest Territories.
Ontario and British Columbia, which are among the most expensive housing markets in Canada, continue to see steady growth in average home prices. Due to the large number of transactions in these two provinces, both Ontario’s housing market and BC have an outsized impact on Canada’s average home price for September 2021. The two major urban areas of both provinces, Toronto and Vancouver, had a combined 12,000 transactions for September 2021, making up a large portion of Canada’s overall number of home purchases and sales. Toronto’s housing market saw average home sold prices increase 18% year-over-year to $1.136 million, but that’s still not enough to beat Vancouver’s housing market average prices of $1.186 million, even with Vancouver’s lower 14% year-over-year increase in prices.
Within Ontario, September 2021 had equally mixed results for individual Ontario cities. Mississauga’s housing market saw the largest monthly increase in average sold prices compared to August 2021, with a 8% increase in home prices. Next up was the Ottawa housing market, with a 5% monthly increase. Hamilton’s housing market and Brampton’s housing market lagged behind in terms of monthly price increases, with a 2% increase and a 1% increase respectively. Interestingly, Hamilton and Brampton still led the way in terms of annual price increases, with a 20% increase and 24% increase respectively. That’s much higher than Mississauga’s and Ottawa’s 14% annual increase in prices, and suggests that September 2021 saw some consolidation and stabilization in home prices.
For other areas of the country, September 2021’s housing market saw more or less of the same annual increases in average home sold prices as those seen in Ontario and BC. Montreal’s housing market saw a 15% annual increase in home prices, which was also reflected for the rest of the province of Quebec, with a 15.4% annual increase in prices. Looking east to Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia saw a 17% increase, PEI saw a 13% increase, and Newfoundland and Labrador saw a 12% increase. The exception to this was New Brunswick, which had a 31% year-over-year change in benchmark house prices. This annual growth in home prices was centered in Moncton, which had a 35% annual increase, compared to Saint John at a 25% annual increase and Fredericton at a 26% annual increase.
Mortgage rates remain stable in Canada. A lending guideline reversal from the CMHC in July abandoned last year’s CMHC changes that increased restrictions for mortgage insurance, namely credit score requirements and debt service limits. This reversal will make CMHC insurance more accessible, with it now being easier for borrowers to qualify for a CMHC-insured mortgage. At the same time, an increase to the mortgage stress test benchmark rate effective June 1, 2021 have now made it harder to qualify for a mortgage, with the stricter stress test’s qualifying rate change expected to further cool Canada’s housing market.
Future rate hikes are expected from the Bank of Canada in late 2022 as bond yields stabilize after doubling in February 2021. The Bank of Canada continues to keep their target overnight rate at 0.25% while scaling down their quantitative easing (QE) program from $3 billion per week to $2 billion per week in government bond purchases. Meanwhile, lumber prices have fallen from their lofty heights, dropping over 60% from lumber’s May 2021 peak.
Breakdown By Region
Residential Property Price Index
The Residential Property Price Index (RPPI) is a housing price index published by Statistics Canada that measures the change over time in selling prices of residential properties. It analyzes both new and resale properties in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria. The national composite is the weighted average of all the areas measured by the index. The index is relative to a standard of 100 set in 2017.
RPPI for All Residential Properties
Prices for residential properties in Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria continue to skyrocket as prices increase across Canada by 7% year over year in Q3 2020. The biggest increases were seen in Ottawa, where home prices have risen by 14.9% compared to Q3 2019. The capital city is expected to remain strong amidst COVID-19 due to its economic stability and high availability of government jobs. Montreal and Toronto also remained hot with 10.2% and 9% increases respectively. Calgary, on the other hand, has faced a decline in home values at least partially attributed to falling oil prices and decreased local investment.
RPPI for Condominium Apartments
Prices for condo apartments in Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria increased by 10.4% compared to Q3 2019. This growth outpaces the overall average of 7% for all properties types. The biggest increases were seen in Ottawa, where prices have risen by 17% compared to Q2 2019. Toronto is second with year over year increases of 14.1% despite the impact of COVID-19. Even Vancouver, where properties stagnated for 2018 and 2019 due to their Empty Homes Tax and Speculation taxes, is experiencing a revival in its condo market. In contrast, Calgary faced a year over year decrease of 6.2% due in part to falling oil prices.
New Housing Price Index
The New Housing Price Index (NHPI) is a housing price index published by Statistics Canada that measures the change over time in selling prices of new residential properties. It is published by Statistics Canada and used by governmental agencies, market analysts, and real estate businesses. The index is relative to a standard of 100 set in 2017.
Real Estate in Canada
Real Estate Transactions in Canada
In 2019, residential real estate transactions in Canada reached 486,800, a 6.2% increase from a five-year low recorded in 2018. The number reflects increased activity in Ontario and Quebec, where activity was up by 9% and 11% respectively.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents in Canada are licensed professionals who help home buyers and home sellers navigate the real estate market and conduct real estate transactions. Most real estate agents are part of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), a professional association that oversees real estate markets nationally. You might be familiar with their trademarks: MLS® and Multiple Listing Service®.
In Canada, there are over 130,000 real estate agents across all the provinces and territories. Ontario has the most agents out of any province with 79,000 agents across 38 local rea estate boards. Of those 79,000 agents, over 56,000 are part of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TREB). British Columbia is second with 23,000 real estate agents and 11 real estate boards.
Real estate agents are regulated on a provincial-level. Each province has their own regulatory board that sets regulations for and oversees the conduct of real estate agents in the province. In Ontario, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) regulates real estate transactions and helps resolve complaints against real estate agents. In B.C., the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) regulates real estate transactions and helps resolve complaints against real estate agents. Other notable councils include RECA (Alberta), SREC (Saskatchewan), and OACIQ (Quebec).
Other Real Estate Statistics
Homeownership Rate: 67.8% (2016)
Vacancy Rate: 3.2% (2020)
Housing Starts: 63,720 units (Q4 2020)
Housing Under Construction: 292,109 units (Q4 2020)
Housing Completions: 50,938 units (Q4 2020)
Investment in Residential Construction: CAD $11.1 billion (Q4 2020)
Investment in Non-Residential Construction: CAD $4.4 billion (Q4 2020)
Average Rent for a 2-Bedroom Unit
As reported by Statistics Canada and the CMHC
Glossary and Definitions
MLS® HPI: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is an index by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that tracks the prices of homes in a neighborhood. It allows Canadians to quickly compare home prices across Canada and between periods of time without having to account for specific features of a property. Unlike market prices, which can fluctuate from month to month based on seasonal dynamics, the HPI provides a stable view tracks trends across a longer period of time. The HPI is reviewed every year in May to adjust for changes in the real estate marketplace.
MLS® HPI Benchmark Price: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark Price is the HPI translated into a real-world price number.
Strata Insurance: Strata insurance is insurance used by a strata like a condominium to covers damages to common areas and assets and liability to the strata. It can also include fixtures built or installed as part of the original construction of each unit, even though these may not be common structures. The insurance can cover:
Buildings and structures associated with the strata including common areas such as the roof, parking garages, driveways, gyms, pools, etc.
Liability for any property damage or bodily injury suffered on strata property
Any fixtures that are part of the “standard unit” or original construction of each unit
Strata insurance does not usually include personal items and appliances that are part of a condo unit. It also does not cover the damages made by individual unit owners, such as in the case of water damage caused by a unit owner. These are usually covered by personal condo insurance.
Detached home: A detached home is your standard single-family home. It is a residential building that stands alone and is separately titled or legally a single unit.
Semi-detached home: A semi-detached home is similar to a detached home, except it shares a wall with another home. This pair of homes must make up an independent building and each should be separately titled or legally two separate units. There can only be two homes in a semi-detached building.
Townhouses: A townhouse is the middle between a detached/semi-detached home and a condo apartment. Like detached and semi-detached homes, they are often single-family units that have their own land and may be attached to other units. However, like condo apartments, they typically have to pay co-ownership fees for maintenance and may share some common features with their neighbors.
Condo apartment: This category includes all apartments and condominiums. These are complexes of residential units with common areas such as hallways, parking lots, stairwells, etc. They can be low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise buildings. Unlike townhouses, there are no parts of the lot (the land of the building) where access is reserved for only one owner or occupant. There can be privately owned units and spaces inside the building.
Plexes are multi-story buildings with two to four individual units, usually one on each floor. They are a mainstay in Montreal and other cities in Quebec. Each unit is usually individually accessible via an external entrance with higher floors connected by staircases.
Freeholds: A freehold is any property where the owner owns both the house and the land it is built on. Common freehold property types include: detached, semi-detached, some townhouses, and farmland.
Condominiums: A condominium or condo is any property where the owner owns the home (or unit) but shares ownership of the land and other improvements with a condominium corporation. Common condominium property types include condo apartments and some townhouses.
Will ultimately bring unemployment, reduced salaries, transfer of jobs abroad and an underclass of employees
Howard Levitt Publishing date: Nov 26, 2021 • 4 minute read
On my Sunday Newstalk 1010 show, a caller complained that while his employer was permitting him to continue working from Costa Rica, it was cutting his pay by 25 per cent.
He was unhappy with my advice.
Remote working is at a tipping point. Close to two years ago, most employers were legislatively required to close their offices and employees, those not laid off, were required to work from their homes.
Many Canadians seized upon that to move to their cottages or relocate to less expensive areas, whether rural Canada or not in Canada at all.
The implicit understanding was that, when matters normalized and offices could reopen, they would return to work. My firm shut for all of two months from March to May 2020 and has been going at full tilt, in the office, ever since. But we are an anomaly. Our office building is largely empty as are most of the towers of Corporate Canada. Despite much talk about returning to the office, it has, by and large, not yet taken place.
Soon enough, and it may have already occurred, employees asked to return to their offices will be able to argue that that is a constructive dismissal since they have now been working remotely beyond the time that was legally necessary. My advice to employers is to get ahead of this issue now and require employees to either return or execute a contract permitting the employer to require them to return in the future on one month’s notice.
Work-from-homers, lobbying to make work-from-home permanent … should watch what they wish for
As for my caller, as long as the employer is prepared to let the employee return to the office in Toronto at full salary, it can allow him the choice of working remotely at a lower salary. It could even, as some U.S. companies are doing, designate a different pay rate depending upon where the employee chooses to work. So there might be a 10 per cent pay cut if the employee works from their Toronto home, no pay cut if they move to New York City, but a 50 per cent reduction if they move to India or Costa Rica. This is permissible only if the employee has the option of returning to the office at full salary. Otherwise, reducing their salary is a constructive dismissal.
I pointed out to this caller that there was something else he had not considered. If the employer became comfortable with his job being performed remotely, what was to prevent it from hiring a Costa Rican or from anywhere else, to perform their job at a fraction of even their reduced salary. The Bank of England warned of precisely this situation months ago.
The work-from-homers, lobbying to make work-from-home permanent (and most Canadians who are doing it wish it to continue, at least part of the time), should watch what they wish for. The unintended consequences of working from home will be multifold and worrisome for Canadians.
Let me take the example of a fictional Alice, a loyal employee of many years of a fictional employer. Over time, this employer got to know her and her family and helped her through various life difficulties.
Alice grew older and her work deteriorated. But the company did not fire her because it knew the burden that would place upon her and her family. Instead, it allowed her to work out her remaining time until she chose to retire. Alice is a common story. I have acted for many employers and heard about their Alices.
With employees working from home, there is no longer the human connection creating the loyalty which employers show to their Alice. And employees, who never got to know and socialize with their employers in the hallways and at company functions, have less loyalty to their employers in turn.
Dismissing becomes more anonymous. I have spoken to employees who have been hired in the last two years and never once met their managers or coworkers outside of a Zoom call, often with the video off or with an avatar as their representation. Another aspect of that anonymity is that employers are less likely to see an employee’s benefits to the organization and, as result, more likely to find them disposable in any cost reduction.
Without the personal rapport, and comfortable with employees working remotely, companies can recruit new workers anywhere in the world at a fraction of the wages.
And smart recruitment agencies are expanding their searches to meet those demands. In the same way, they might not even wait until they need a new employee but replace existing employees with less expensive ones.
Financial planning questions often revolve around investing and retirement planning, but it’s not often someone takes a keen interest in integrating life insurance into their financial plan unless they have come across a particular strategy.
Here are some things to think about when it comes to insurance and financial planning beyond the basic need for life insurance.
Substitute term insurance for mortgage insurance : If you have mortgage insurance with a bank or trust company, compare the premium cost to owning a term life insurance policy with a life insurance company.
You pay a fixed premium for the life of the mortgage when you buy mortgage insurance. As you pay down the mortgage, your premiums stay the same, but the insurance coverage reduces. If you pass away, the mortgage is paid off.
Compare this to purchasing term insurance with an insurance company. For example, if you and your spouse purchase two individual term insurance policies, the combined cost is often about the same cost as the mortgage insurance.
What is the advantage? With a $500,000 mortgage, you would each take out a $500,000 term policy. Should one of you pass, the other would receive $500,000 in cash with the option to pay off the mortgage. If you both pass — say, in an accident — your children would receive $1 million, the proceeds of both policies. Isn’t that better than leaving the kids a house without a mortgage?
Don’t let your term policy renew : Ten or 20-year terms are common if you own a term life policy, so it’s best to review and possibly replace the policy before it renews. This may be a three-month process so give yourself time.
Here’s why: A $250,000, 20-year term policy for a 25-year-old, non-smoking female is $14/month. Fast forward 20 years and the premium will jump to $75/month at renewal.
Today, a 45-year-old female can purchase the same policy for $32/month, a $43 difference. If rates remain the same 20 years from now, and you are still healthy, it will likely be cheaper to replace the existing policy with a new policy.
Purchase insurance based on your need : There’s term, whole life and universal life insurance, so which one should you buy?
Term insurance is inexpensive, and ideal when you are starting a family, buying a home, have debt and money is tight. Eventually, term insurance expires late in life or you will cancel it because the increasing premiums get too costly.
Whole life, on the other hand, is relatively expensive, the premiums never change and the policy will never expire. It also comes with a growing cash value and death benefit. It is ideal for estate planning purposes. A $250,000 whole life policy for a 25-year-old female is $235 a month, which is more than the $14 a month for the term policy, but it offers the longer-term benefit that your premium will not increase throughout your lifetime.
I have seen people buy small whole life policies because they like the idea of having a cash value, and yet they need a lot more coverage. Your survivors will be more concerned about the money they receive rather than the type of policy you had. Purchase a policy you can afford that gives you the coverage you need.
Whole life cash values (CVs) and death benefits grow over time. The accompanying table is a current projection from a major life insurance company. Keep in mind these numbers are not guaranteed and the actual results will be different.
Notice the rate of return on the cash value after 30 years, at age 55, is about four per cent. After 30 years, a good portion of that cash value will be taxable if you cancel the policy and take the cash, while the CV is tax sheltered in the policy.
The death benefit is projected to return five-per-cent tax free if death occurs at age 90, which isn’t bad in today’s financial environment. Inflation is the concern when projecting over such a long time frame.
Borrow to invest : Although you can borrow directly from your insurance cash value, some trust and insurance companies will give you a line of credit secured against your cash value. You can either borrow up to 100 per cent of the total cash value (and make interest payments), or you can borrow a lesser amount and allow the interest payments to accumulate inside the policy.
The minimum loan will be in the $35,000-to-$50,000 range with an interest charge of about prime plus one per cent, depending on the lender. If you borrow against the policy to invest, the interest will likely be tax deductible.
Similar to a reverse mortgage, you can also borrow against your insurance cash value to receive tax-free deposits into your bank account.
Corporate insurance : Purchasing an insurance policy inside your corporation can be very tax efficient. For example, a person living in Ontario with a $1,000 monthly insurance premium has to earn $2,150 before tax to have $1,000 left to pay the premium, assuming a 53.53-per-cent marginal tax rate.
A corporation in Ontario taxed at the small business rate of 12.2 per cent would have to earn $1,139 before tax just to make the same $1,000 premium payment. That is about a $1,000 difference, which also happens to be the insurance premium.
When you pass away and the insurance pays out, then almost all, if not all, will flow out of the corporation tax free through the capital dividend account. You can also use the cash value as security to borrow against the cash value and use it to fund retirement.
Two other ways to use whole life include making charitable contributions or to equalize an estate if you have assets such as a business, farm, cottage or rental properties. The insurance provides cash in an estate so one child can take the cash while the other keeps the property.
I have briefly touched on a few strategies and skipped the details, but insurance is an interesting product because of its tax-sheltered growth and tax-free death benefit. There is a cost to owning and implementing some of these insurance strategies, and there are often alternative solutions.
Before implementing a strategy, model it out with everything else you are doing. Like many strategies, they can sound good on their own, but not always when integrated with everything else.
Justin Trudeau’s platform admits that the ultra-rich are using loopholes and deductions to avoid paying their share of taxes. Instead of closing those loopholes, the Liberal plan lets the highest earners pay the lowest tax rate:
“Create a minimum tax rule so that everyone who earns enough to qualify for the top bracket pays at least 15 % each year (the tax rate paid by people earning less than $49,000), removing their ability to artificially pay no tax through excessive use of deductions and credits.”
This means Trudeau’s plan officially condones billionaires paying a lower tax rate than middle income Canadians.
People in the top income tax bracket are supposed to pay 33%. Why does Justin Trudeau think they should pay less than half their share?
“Justin Trudeau says the right things at election time, but he has no intention of doing them. He voted against our plan to make big corporations and the wealthiest pay their share. And today his plan confirms he’ll keep letting billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than most Canadians. People can’t afford Justin Trudeau’s free ride for the ultra-rich.”
2021 already a record year for Canadian home sales
Ottawa, ON, November 15, 2021 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales have already set a new annual record in 2021.
National home sales rose 8.6% on a month-over-month basis in October.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) monthly activity was down 11.5% on a year-over-year basis.
The number of newly listed properties climbed by 3.2% from September to October.
The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 2.7% month-over-month and was up 23.4% year-over-year.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price posted an 18.2% year-over-year gain in October.
Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems were up 8.6% between September and October 2021, marking the largest month-over-month increase since July 2020. (Chart A)
Sales were up month over month in about three-quarters of all local markets, and in all major cities.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in October 2021 was down 11.5% on a year-over-year basis from the record for that month set last year. That said, it was still the second-highest ever October sales figure by a sizeable margin.
On a year-to-date basis, some 581,275 residential properties traded hands via Canadian MLS® Systems from January to October 2021, surpassing the annual record of 552,423 sales for all of 2020.
“After a summer where it looked like housing markets might be calming down a bit, October’s numbers suggest we might be moving back towards what we saw this Spring, with regards to current market demand and supply conditions,” said Cliff Stevenson, Chair of CREA. “That said, one month of data is not a trend, so we’ll be watching how the balance of this memorable year plays out closely. And remember, in what is still a rapidly changing landscape, your local REALTOR® can provide much more granular and timely information and guidance about what is going on in the neighbourhoods where you live or where you might like to in the future,” continued Stevenson.
“2021 continues to surprise. Sales beat last year’s annual record by about Thanksgiving weekend so that was always a lock, but I don’t think too many observers would have guessed the monthly trend would be moving up again heading into 2022,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist. “A month with more new listings is what allows for more sales because those listings are mostly all still getting gobbled up; however, with demand that strong, the supply of homes for sale at any given point in time continues to shrink. It is at its lowest point on record right now, which is why it’s not surprising prices are also re-accelerating. We need to build more housing.”
The number of newly listed homes rose by 3.2% in October compared to September, driven by gains in about 70% of local markets. With so many markets starved for supply, it’s not surprising to see sales go up in months when more properties go up for sale.
With sales up by more than new listings in October, the sales-to-new listings ratio tightened again to 79.5% compared to 75.5% in September and 73.5% in August. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.8%.
Based on a comparison of sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, more markets have been moving back into seller’s market territory this fall. As of October, about two-thirds of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio being more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean.
There were just 1.9 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of October 2021, down almost half a month from three months earlier and back in line with the all-time lows recorded in February and March of this year. The long-term average for this measure is more than 5 months.
In line with some of the tightest market conditions ever recorded, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) accelerated to 2.7% on a month-overmonth basis in October 2021. This trend has been quite broad-based with most parts of the country participating.
The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 23.4% on a year-over-year basis in October, a larger gain than in the three previous months. (Chart B)
Looking across the country, year-over-year price growth has crept back up above 20% in B.C., though it is lower in Vancouver, on par with the provincial number in Victoria, and higher in other parts of the province.
Year-over-year price gains are in the mid-to-high single digits in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains are currently at about 10% in Manitoba.
Ontario saw year-over-year price growth closing in on 30% in October with GTA really surging forward. Greater Montreal’s year-over-year price growth remains at a little over 20%, while Quebec City is now at 13%.
Price growth is running a little above 30% in New Brunswick (a little higher in Greater Moncton, a little lower in Fredericton and Saint John), while Newfoundland and Labrador is now at 10% year-over-year (a bit lower in St. John’s).
The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends because averages are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price was $716,585 in October 2021, up 18.2% from the same month last year. The national average price is heavily influenced by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation in October 2021 cuts over $155,000 from the national average price.