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Archive for the ‘Toronto Market News’ Category

Average Toronto house price hits $921,000

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Here’s a strange anomaly for you: Even though more homes were for sale this April compared to one year ago, home prices were up by as much as 24.5 per cent that month compared to a year earlier.

If you’re still in the market for a house you may have noticed that significantly more homes – 33.6 per cent to be exact — were for sale last month compared to April of 2016. But the greater supply did little to stem the upward flow of the city’s house prices, according to figures released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Based on TREB data, the average cost of a home in Toronto climbed to nearly $921,000 last month, up almost $200,000 from last April’s average house price of $739,762.

April also saw sales nudge down by 3.2 per cent compared to a year ago, a sign, say some, that the Toronto real estate market is finally cooling off.

Any which way you look at it, more listings will inevitably signal a positive note for the Toronto real estate market, says a TREB economist.

“It was encouraging to see a very strong year-over-year increase in new listings,” said Jason Mercer, director of market analysis. “If new listings growth continues to outpace sales growth moving forward, we will start to see more balanced market conditions.”

Still, the board is not expecting any downturns in home prices. In fact, Mercer says the spring and summer months will see the growth of house prices well above the rate of inflation.

A greater housing supply could be a reaction to the market’s big year-over-year price jumps and the province’s newly implemented Fair Housing Plan, though it’s too early to tell.

Another indicator that the market is cooling showed in sales of detached homes, which slipped slightly from March to $1,205,262 from $1,214,422. Semi-detached homes also dipped a bit last month, while condo prices increased by 4.3 per cent.

Vacant Homes Hit All-Time High

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

You may have read the story about that vacant home in the city’s west end that’s been empty for more than 25 years. Neglect and suffering centre on that tale of woe but that’s not the kind of unoccupied homes we’re talking about here.

Newly released 2016 Census numbers from Statistics Canada show that 99,236 homes in Toronto are not regularly occupied. Again, that’s nearly 100,000 dwellings in the city that are left empty for the most part. These numbers are identified by the owners of the residences.


According to Better Dwelling, this represents 4.5 per cent of all homes in the city, and a 10.5 per cent change over the past 5 years. The general population grew by 4.5 per cent during the same period, which means this trend appears to be accelerating.

A large part of the city comes in with dwelling vacancies under five per cent. However, a few concentrated areas skewed up the numbers such as the Concord area of Vaughan, which showed unoccupied dwellings at 35.27 per cent.

The downtown averaged higher than the rest of the city. South of Bloor Street, east of Roncesvalles Ave. and west of Yonge Street showed an average of 8.79 per cent unoccupied. King St. West, also known as the fashion district, showed 21.81 per cent or 3,316 units not regularly occupied, while the stretch going up Yonge Street also had a higher than normal concentration compared to the rest of the city.

While you might think foreign buyers are responsible for the vacancies, remember that the numbers comes from census takers, who are Canadian residents and not offshore investors. Some believe owners are using their properties for short-term rental uses such as the type you might list with Airbnb or a pied-a-terre. Still others believe they are owned by speculators who are waiting for the right time to sell.

According to the Census released in February, Canada is home to 1.3 million temporarily unoccupied residences. That’s enough to house 3.2 million people. The Toronto numbers have tripled since the 2001 census. They are followed by Montreal and Vancouver.

But it is smaller cities, towns and rural areas that lay claim to having the most empty homes percentage-wise with St. John’s, Saskatoon, Halifax and St. Catharines leading the pack.

In 2015, Paris implemented a tax that has since tripled to 60 per cent on vacant dwellings. And last year, Vancouver issued an empty home tax aimed at making properties available for lease in a city that has near-zero vacancy rentals.


Foreign Ownership in the GTA

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Throughout history when a scapegoat can be conveniently blamed for something negative it’s human nature to point a finger. When that scapegoat is foreign, even better goes the thinking. Far-off culprits are much easier targets thanks to distance and unfamiliarity.

Could that thinking be behind the GTA’s high house prices?


It depends who you talk to. For some time, foreign investment in real estate has been blamed for the rising cost of housing in the Toronto real estate market. Fuelled in large part by the Vancouver market, offshore investors were slapped there last year with a 15 per cent tax. The result of which has been a big drop in foreign buying.

So the question is, is the same true of the GTA market? The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently released new research refuting that theory. The TREB information showed that fewer than five per cent of the 113,133 residential real estate transactions in 2016 involved foreign buyers. The data showed that more than half were buying homes for themselves or family members. According to a November Ipsos survey of TREB agents, about 25 per cent of the homes purchased by non-Canadians were rental investments.

Despite calls for a foreign buyer tax like the one in Vancouver, TREB believes such a move would be misguided. Should a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax be implemented in the GTA, TREB fears the move may hike real estate prices outside of the GTA, where the tax doesn’t exist. It also warns that such a tax could reduce the already limited supply of rental housing and discourage immigration to the GTA.

But not everyone buys the TREB findings. Some say the TREB figures are not a true picture of foreign ownership in the GTA because the numbers don’t account for new construction sales, which could up the figure from TREB’s estimate of 4.9 per cent by another five to 10 per cent.

The Vancouver tax seems to have worked. In January, sales were down about 40 per cent from the same time last year. But Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said that the province will not follow British Columbia’s move to introduce a tax on foreign homebuyers.

Meanwhile, don’t look for price relief in the near future. TREB reported that the average home price in the GTA skyrocketed at the end of 2016. The average home price hit $730,472 in December, which is a 20 per cent increase compared to December 2015. Prices are estimated to rise again substantially in 2017 with hikes in the neighbourhood of 10 to 16 per cent.


5 Reasons Why Selling Early Means you’re a Wise Owl

Friday, February 10th, 2017
  1. Inventory, what inventory?

Your home will be the belle of the ball in the current market which is crying for stock. It’s pretty simple economics: when supply is low, with high demand, you are in the most enviable driver’s seat imaginable. Given the bevy of buyers on the market, competition for your house will be fierce. So worries about keeping your home ship-shape for weeks or months on end while strangers roam through need not concern you.

  1. Mortgage rates

Too bad there wasn’t a crystal ball that could tell us what was coming. For years, forecasters have been crying about a rise in interest rates and rightly so. They really don’t have much room to go the other way so up seems a likely option. The question is when? When rates rise it will impact consumers’ buying power. Putting your house on the market while rates are low is a smart move as more buyers will be attracted to your property than if rates rise a point or two. More interest means more competition and more competition usually always means more money for you.


  1. It’s urgent

You could say that about buyers in February and March. Who else wants to trudge through snow, ice and cold, bundling up and unbundling with each new viewing? Those are some determined purchasers. Maybe they’re the result of a job transfer or an inheritance. Who knows? Just know that they’re more motivated.

  1. It’s speedier

In wintertime, many of those who support the housing industry are not nearly as busy as at other times of the year. We’re talking about banks and lending institutions, mortgage brokers, lawyers, home inspectors, contractors, realtors, surveyors, architects. Finding the professional for the task or service you need will be easier and quicker now as, quite simply, they’re not as swamped.

  1. House prices go up, up and away

High demand and low inventory add up to one thing: higher housing prices. That’s good news if you’re selling. Since you likely plan to buy another home, though, it may be best to sell now so that you aren’t affected by rising house prices or mortgage rates. Waiting could cost you more.


Brexit & Canadian Real Estate

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Instability in the UK in the wake of the recent Brexit vote could actually crank up the heat on Toronto’s real estate market, say experts.

The uncertainty in global markets thanks to England’s decision to leave the European Union could serve to fuel Canada’s red-hot housing market because interest rates will likely remain low, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns.

“In that event, the Fed will remain on ice even longer and Canadian rates will again probe all-time lows, keeping mortgage rates at an extremely low ebb and thus further fanning the flames in the domestic housing market,” said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter and senior economist Robert Kavcic.

The pair issued the warning in their latest report, which dealt with the various factors driving the out-of-control price increases in Vancouver and Toronto.

Brexit could be good news for those interested in investing.  According to Mortgage Broker News, there is a phenomenal amount of capital looking for commercial real estate and those foreign investors think an investment in Canadian real estate is a sure thing. Expect foreign investment in Vancouver and Toronto to continue.

As for how Brexit will impact mortgage rates, Toronto’s mortgage planner David Larock suspects the vote would not have any damaging effects on Canadian borrowers, at least not for the foreseeable future.

“Over the longer term, while the Brexit heightens global financial risks and raises the potential for increased volatility in financial markets, any related flare ups should trigger a capital flight to safety that would be expected to put downward pressure on our bond yields and therefore our mortgage rates,” the analyst wrote.

Given the state of Canada’s economy, which the Bank of Canada warned will push the country back into a recession in the second quarter, it’s very likely interest rates will remain at historically low levels.

“As we’ve grown to expect, rock bottom interest rates are expected to keep mortgage lenders busy for the foreseeable future,” wrote Sam Bourgi at www.canadianmortgages.ca


January is the Right Time to Sell

Monday, January 18th, 2016

It`s hot. It`s cold. It`s slumping. It`s smoking.

Each of those descriptors has described the Toronto real estate market at one time or another. And while it`s important to pay the market its due, know also that if you`re thinking of selling your home now is probably one of the best times to do so.

If you are thinking of waiting for warmer temperatures when the blooms on the daffodils and forsythia cast a gorgeous golden glow on your home and invite prospective purchasers far and wide, think again. Springtime is when the bulk of homeowners will also decide it`s best to sell their homes. Yes, your blossoms will look pretty, but your house will have much more in the way of competition if you wait for spring.

While January may not seem like the ideal month to show your home, there is much less inventory on the market right now so your real estate is apt to stand out more. Besides if buyers are house hunting in January, they are likely very serious and motivated purchasers and not your run-of-the-mill tire-kicker types. Would you trudge through cold temperatures, ice and snow just to check out someone`s mudroom reno? Didn`t think so.

Bear in mind, too, that if you list your home in January, it will be viewed as a debutante, of sorts. Much of your house`s competition will be older listings that came on the market in November and December so with your house being the new kid on the block, that`s sure to drive and generate even greater interest.

Because there`s less inventory in January and February, bidding wars can be ferocious. And naturally, as the seller, that`s good news for you.

Predictions on the Lighter Side of Real Estate for 2015

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Put your hand up if you’re tired of hearing about bursting bubbles. My, there are a lot of you out there. Is it any wonder? untitled untitled1

Prognosticators have long been predicting that the sky is falling. For years, we’ve heard doom and gloom about rising interest rates and the dire consequences that will have on Toronto’s smoking hot real estate market.

As lifelong realtors who have been there, done that and just about seen it all, we’d like to offer our thoughts on what we think should take place in the real estate sector for 2015. Keep in mind that we make these suggestions with our tongues firmly planted in our cheeks.

Tip Your Realtor: That’s right, we said it first. You tip your hairstylist, your doorman, your newspaper delivery person. You offer gratuities to wait staff, taxi drivers and gardeners. If you feel you’ve received top-drawer service from your realtor why not give them a little extra? Or perhaps tickets to a theatre or sporting event or a weekend away at your cottage? We’d probably fall over but your kindness would be most appreciated.

Stop Talking about Rising Interest Rates: We’ve heard it for years and now it’s simply annoying. This reminds us of the self-proclaimed trendsetter who prides himself or herself in repeatedly saying red is the new black until – several years pass – and finally it is. We propose a new rule when it comes to making forecasts: the act of making predictions is punishable by death unless uttered six months before said incident is to happen.

You Drive: Clients would be better behind the wheel as that would allow realtors more opportunity to sweet talk you into a deal you hadn’t bargained for. While the realtor would naturally help navigate (turn left at the light, for example), clients, it could be argued, would begin to warm up to certain houses and neighbourhoods much sooner by experiencing the feeling that they are driving ‘home.’

Only Lookers Need Apply: Realtors will no longer be unattractive as this can be repugnant and off putting to some clients. Instead, they will have movie-star good looks with smooth skin, big bright eyes and a full, glossy head of hair. This rule will be implemented by January, 2016, which gives agents who no longer fit the bill a full year to find other work.

Full-Service Realtors Expand Horizons: Full service shops will really give discount brokers a run for their money in 2015. They will do so by offering a multitude of services that assist the prospective home buyer or seller. In addition to looking after your traditional real-estate needs, agents, depending on their speciality, will also offer feng shui, house cleaning, psychotherapy and home repair services. To get your business, others may throw in hair cuts for the whole family, dog walking and even violin playing. This may even prompt a trend in which clients begin picking realtors based on what they did in previous careers.

Just Cause it’s Cold Outside Doesn’t Mean a Deep Freeze for the Housing Market

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

We naturally understand that the holidays place a huge stress on our time given all the commitments the festive season creates. Yet we’ve always believed that real estate should carry on like usual though many consumers opt to put the brakes on the buying and selling of real estate during the holidays.

We’ve said it here before that those who continue shopping throughout the festive season are more inclined to realize a good buy as opposed to those who wait till winter’s thaw.

And it appears that our message is starting to get through.  According to a survey by Ipsos Reid, two-thirds of prospective home buyers in Ontario are planning to continue their search for the perfect home over the holidays. A majority of buyers feel that shopping for a home during the holiday season could mean less competition among potential buyers and, possibly, a better deal on the price of a desired home.

With the thought that potential sellers could be worried their home will sit on the market while prospective buyers are enjoying the holiday season with their families, a majority (55%) of likely buyers believe that sellers are more willing to negotiate on the price over the holidays, compared to two in ten (19%) who don’t believe sellers will be in a negotiating mood over the holidays.

If you’re a seller, less competition is a good thing for you. You are competing in a much smaller inventory over Christmas and New Year’s so that means more buyers’ eyes on your property. Ensure that your house is priced well and that your home is always ready for a viewing.

If you’re looking for a home over the holidays, you’re obviously very motivated.  Since time constraints from seasonal commitments and miserable cold weather make people want to hibernate, sellers need to be flexible about showings.

Festive decorations can make a home look merry and bright. Just don’t overdo it. Christmas lights are pretty but not in the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation way. When strangers traipse through your home they want to feel cheerful and comfortable so don’t assault them with stinky food smells, ugly décor and too much clutter. Bake gingerbread and light a fire to add to the warm and cozy feel.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid, a leading public opinion researcher, on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).


How to Compete in Multiple Offers

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Have you been searching for your dream home for months, maybe even a year or two or three? Maybe you’ve lost out on a bidding war in which multiple buyers all vied for that exact same piece of the rock. Are you starting to feel a little desperate or doomed?

Don’t even go there.

Multiple offers are pretty much a side effect of a hot seller’s market. But that doesn’t have to mean the seller has Oz-like power and might. As a buyer you can employ certain tactics and strategies that will make you stronger and more competitive. Let’s look at how you can stand out from the crowd:

Clean offers – those with fewer conditions – are best. A clean offer with pre-approved financing, especially in a multiple offer situation, shows the seller that you are serious.  Conditional sales and offers that hinge on financing aren’t acceptable when there are other offers on the table.

Sell your house first.  You don’t want to include selling your house as a condition as this will serve to weaken your offer by making your bid more complicated and less desirable.

Don’t wait for an open house. If a house interests you based on its online photos, make an appointment to see it before the weekend open house. That way your offer can be entertained before the open-house feeding frenzy.

Use a trusted local broker.  The more well-known and respected your agent is, the better odds they have at enticing listing agents. In a bidding war situation, the offer presented by the known broker will be more attractive to the listing agent and increase your odds especially if the two offers are close.

Get a home inspection – quick. The idea here is to signal to the seller that you are prepared to act quickly. Having to wait ten days for a home inspection that might prompt the buyer to drop a deal, isn’t very appealing for the seller so get this done ASAP.

Be flexible. Believe it or not, but this attribute can make or break a deal. If a seller has already purchased and you meet their closing date that could net you the house over a higher competing offer. Also, to stand out from other offers, don’t ask for the moon when it comes to extras such as window coverings and appliances. Simply ask for what is offered in the listing. Also on this point, try not to nit-pick on minor repairs and instead offer to purchase the property as is.

Pull out the big guns.  Offering a large deposit shows the seller you’re serious. Put down as much as you can afford. No need to worry as it goes toward the balance owing on the property or, if the deal falls through, you get it back.

What the Experts Predict for 2014

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Canada’s largest real estate association is calling for a strong year in sales for 2014.

The Canadian Real Estate Association projects sales to reach 458,200 units across the country for the year. While this represents a slight increase of eight tenths of one per cent over last year, growth in sales projections are looking upward for the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

“Most housing markets are well balanced, including many large urban centres,” says CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. “Housing price gains are always stronger in places where supply is tight relative to demand, such as we’re seeing in Calgary and in parts of southern Ontarioincluding the low rise market in Toronto.”

In 2014, national activity is forecast to climb to 475,000 units, which represents a hike of 3.7 per cent. Most of the increase reflects the weak start to 2013, which is not expected to happen again in the early part of this year.

In Toronto, where dire predictions of a housing bubble and a pricing collapse have been bandied about for years now, expect the opposite. According to Central 1 Credit Union, the city’s rising population combined with land supply restrictions will see house prices doubling over the next 25 years.

Expect Ontario house prices to rise about four per cent a year through 2016. The credit union says higher mortgage rates over the next three years will hold back housing sales in Ontario
generally, but will not cause a market correction.

It also predicts the Toronto condo market will slow as builders delay new construction in the face of weaker demand. The uncertainty facing the condo market is driven in large part by the
belief that investors own a large chunk of the market and that speculation in condos could halt if investors get scared. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation says about 23 per cent of Toronto condos are rented out, while others say that figure is likely closer to 50 per cent.

Central 1 also predicts Ontario’s overall rental apartment vacancy will hold steady at 2.6 per cent through 2014, before declining to less than two per cent in 2016.

In terms of the national picture, British Columbia is expected to post a strong increase in sales at 8.4 per cent for 2014, most provinces will show gains of two to four per cent.

CREA says the national average home price is set to rise by 5.2 per cent to $382,200 with similar gains in the Prairie provinces, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. Smaller gains are
projected for the other provinces.

In Toronto, where the average selling price for December 2013 sales was $520,398 – up by nearly nine per cent compared to the average of $477,756 in December 2012, expect smaller gains of about 1.5 per cent, says CMHC.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.