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Exclusive Canadian Apartment Blog

Derek's Blog

My name is Derek Lobo, and I am the CEO for ROCK Advisors Inc., a boutique apartment brokerage that is an Ontario-based commercial real estate firm with an exclusive focus on apartment brokerage services. We take a unique approach to buying and selling apartments, we cooperate with other brokers, we leverage the Internet and technology, and, we focus on buyer representation and seller representation depending on the client's needs. I have been a leading Apartment Marketing Specialist across North America for over 20 years. I am available to consult and speak and I have spoken at Real Estate Forums, PM Expos, Ontario Real Estate Association, Multi-Housing World, the National Multi-Housing Council and at trade shows and conferences across North America. I offer practical strategic solutions and proven industry specific techniques for increasing occupancy and asset value in the multi-residential industry.

Rock Advisor's Blog

How to Manage Student Housing

Posted by on Jun 04, 2014

Student housing is a specialized market. Developers need to be aware of the unique characteristics of this market before they invest. They should not assume that they only need to build conventional rental housing and then market it to students. If they do this, they will find that they will not receive the return on their investment that they were hoping for.

Rental Apartment Resurgence - The Star Takes Notice

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014

Toronto Star business writer Susan Pigg has been doing fantastic work highlighting the gains the purpose-built rental apartment sector has made in the past seven years. She's written another article which appeared in Saturday's Star that's well worth a read. I was quite pleased to help out as I could.

Five Reasons Six-Storey Wood Construction is Booming

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014

A new construction technique promises to revolutionize the construction of apartment buildings in cities across Canada. Applying wood frame construction to six-storey mid-rise apartments offers developers, cities and residents opportunities for increased density housing at more affordable rates. Here are five reasons why this technique promises to change the face of our cities.

Toronto Apartment Developer Sees Double

Posted by on Apr 09, 2014

Construction progresses on 23-storey extension of downtown residential high rise. A 1970s era apartment building on Isabella Avenue is about to be twinned!

Introducing the National Student Housing Group

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014

Rock Advisors Inc., Brokerage is very proud to announce the creation of its National Student Housing Group. This group brings together a team of brokers with long experience in the realm of purpose-built student housing. The members of the National Student Housing Group are excited about the student housing marketplace, and are looking forward to conveying the opportunities in that marketplace to the purpose-built rental apartment industry.

Student Housing Advice: Furnished Apartments vs. Unfurnished?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014

Private off-campus student housing is an exciting marketplace within the purpose-built rental apartment sector, full of opportunities, but investors need to be aware of its unique features that challenge managers of such developments. When designing student housing developments, one question an investor should consider is whether to provide furnished apartments, over the more conventional unfurnished models.

110 Years of Purpose-Built Apartments in Toronto

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014

Hard though it is to believe, it's only been around 110 years since the first purpose-built rental apartment building in Toronto opened its doors to tenants. People had rented rooms before, but these tended to be boarding houses, or portions of subdivided homes. These places did not have the best of reputations, so the new St. George Mansions was a bold experiment, catering to middle class professionals including lawyers and doctors.

LINK: The Most Expensive Place to Rent in America

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014

How would you like to rent a place in Willison, North Dakota? In addition to wide prairie views, an "entry level" apartment can be yours for just $2,394 per month. New York's entry level apartments come in at $1,504.

Three Reasons Why Apartment Living is in Fashion

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014

We've already talked how apartments are in fashion for aging boomers and young urban professionals alike. Looking to the future, it's clear that these factors aren't going away anytime soon. As boomers get older, the empty-nest phenomenon is going to increase. As for young urban professionals, they are likely to look towards starting families in the next few years, but trends indicate that families are having fewer children, and families are waiting longer to have children.

Should Condo Developers Lead the Way in Launching Ontario’s New Apartment Market?

Posted by on Feb 04, 2014

Toronto is the fifth largest city in North America, and it and the province of Ontario have approximately 25,000 apartment buildings. By population and market size alone, Ontario is a major player in the North American economy. And yet most of Ontario’s apartment stock was built prior to 1975. Toronto has one of the oldest and most run-down rental apartment stock on the continent. It does not have to be this way. A long history of punitive rent controls has ended, and new apartment buildings are not rent controlled.

Welcome to the New ROCK Website

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014

Welcome to the New ROCK Website. After countless hours of effort, our folks in IT have put together something wonderful. It's attractive, bold, and (in my opinion) much easier to navigate. And it is loaded with a lot of useful information. That was our intention from the start...

My Son-in-Law, Garnett Genuis, Running in Albertan Election

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

I've been proud to campaign for my son-in-law Garnett Genuis in the upcoming Albertan election. And I'm not just saying that because he's married to my second daughter, Rebecca, though that's important too. I have been impressed at Garnett's skill and dedication. He has been campaigning as the Wildrose candidate in Sherwood Park for the last eight months and has, I think, knocked on over 22,000 doors. That's the way to reach out to the people. I was there earlier this year, I helped him knock on doors, and the response was phenomenal.

Stable Markets in Peterborough and Belleville

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

In examining the apartment market of Eastern Ontario, Kingston and Ottawa tend to draw the eye, and why not? They're the largest markets in the region by far, with surprising strength, low vacancy rates and high average rents. But they're not the only places to invest. If you want to park your money in a centre where you'll know it will keep, then there are two centres which offer stable investments. These are the centres of Belleville and Peterborough, on the extreme eastern end of the Greater Toronto Area.

As Expected, the Buck Stops in Ottawa

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

Continuing our samples from the Rock Report, we come to the star of Eastern Ontario, the nation's capital, Ottawa. It's no surprise that Ontario's second largest city, with its large base of people looking for temporary accommodation, has a strong apartment market. The presence of two nationally prominent universities means a strong demand for student housing. But Ottawa has some surprises as well:

Eastern Ontario: Kingston Surprises With a Large and Heated Market

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

As I reported earlier, Eastern Ontario has two major markets. Everybody knows about Ottawa, and it's no surprise to find activity there quite heated, especially in the furnished apartment niche. But Kingston often surprises people. In spite of its size, it has a substantial market, and in spite of its market, vacancy rates are among the lowest in Ontario. The presence of a large student market only tells part of the story, I think. Here's what we said about Kingston in the ROCK Apartment Report:

Six Sales in Ontario this Week!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

Like many real estate brokers, we at ROCK Apartment Advisors subscribe to RealTrack. Information is the life blood of this business, and RealTrack provides us with a valuable and ongoing window on the sales activity going across the province. This information, along with other sources, helped us to put together the ROCK Apartment Report and the upcoming ROCK New Construction Report.

Eastern Ontario: Not Just About Ottawa

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

Well, a lot of it is about Ottawa, but there are other centres worth investing in. In the ROCK Apartment Report, we devoted a few pages to the opportunities that existed in Eastern Ontario. Here's what we had to say by way of introduction...

How to Reposition Your Apartment Building

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

DALA often hears from industry operators that it’s hard to get a good return from rental apartments given prices these days. In other words, it costs so much to buy apartments for investment that returns typically only 5%, little better than GICs. So, why buy new apartments? Why not spend money on what you already own?

Why Rent? Here Are a Few Reasons

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

It's generally known that housing prices have gone through the roof in Canada, especially in the hot markets of Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, but until you see some of the items on sale, this doesn't quiet hit home.

Opportunities in the Sault

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013

Closing out our examination of the opportunities in the purpose-built apartment industry in northern Ontario, consider Sault Ste. Marie. It's a border town and its a resource town, but like the rest of northern Ontario, the economy and the local apartment industry has picked up thanks to the rising commodities sector. Here's what we had to say in the ROCK Apartment Report