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Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Brookmount Rd. semi – **LEASED**

October 25th, 2012 Posted by LEASED No Comment yet

It’s not often that homes like this hit the lease market. This gorgeous Beach Triangle family home is large, elegant and includes parking. With four full bedrooms – three big bedrooms on the second floor (one with a gas fireplace, another with a tandem/sunroom space) and the master bedroom (with walk-in sitting room) on the third floor – this one can either accommodate a big family or one that needs separate spaces.

The house features a brand new, eat-in kitchen with exposed brick, refinished hardwood floors, and is freshly painted throughout. The back yard has just been re-landscaped. Located just off Queen St East, this house is walking distance to everything that the Beach has to offer – shops, restaurants, schools, the boardwalk and the TTC.

UPDATE: This gorgeous house has been leased. Contact me today for information about other lease opportunities in the area.

Toronto Community Housing Corp Prepares to List 68 Houses For Sale

October 18th, 2012 Posted by Hot Listings, Housing, In the media, Toronto Community Housing Corporation No Comment yet

Following the sale in 2011 of five vacant houses in the east end, (listed by yours truly), Toronto Community Housing Corporation listed five more on Crawford St in the west end in 2012. Those ‘baby steps’ have now been followed by a big step.

TCHC recently announced that they were preparing to sell 68 vacant houses from their portfolio of 650+ stand-alone houses. They posted an RFP (Request for Proposal) on their web site, asking for qualified Realtors to prepare bids. The bidding window closed on October 2012, so one would expect that those houses will be coming on the market in the not-too-distant future. Money from the sales will be spent on repairs to occupied properties, and will go a long way towards improving conditions. (TCHC faces an estimated $751,000,000 capital repair backlog.) This is great news for residents.

This is also great news for the Toronto real estate market. Although 68 houses may not sound like much in a market with about 20,000 active listings, many of the houses are in the east end (Leslieville/Riverside especially, with a few others in Riverdale, East York and Scarborough), so it could make at least a bit of difference here. As I wrote recently, house buyers are struggling with a shortage of ‘for sales’, so even a small surge in the number of available listings could help take some pressure off buyers.

Also, many of these houses, being vacant and in rough shape, represent a bit of a blot on the local landscape. Presumably, the new owners will put some time and money into improving the houses, which will benefit the block – perhaps the whole street – on which it is located. This is great news for homeowners around those properties.

Stay tuned for more info. I’ll post/re-post news as it becomes available. In the meantime, here’s the list* of houses that have been approved for sale:

109 McClure Crescent
56 Blackwater Crescent
55 Winstaley Crescent
87 Winstaley Crescent
5 Lowry Square
68 Snowball Crescent
52 Horseley Hill Drive
117 Merkley Square

29 Pintail Crescent
22 Murdock Avenue
703 Sammon Avenue
50 Aldergrove Avenue
281 Willow Avenue

350 Riverdale Avenue
90 Chatham Avenue
15 Milverton Boulevard
43 Poucher Street
1 Sawden Avenue

6 Ellerbeck Street
8 Ellerbeck St
10 Ellerbeck St
1544 Dundas Street East
1834 Dundas Street East

1318 Gerrard Street East
176 Eastwood Road
114 Ivy Avenue
56 Hastings Avenue
69 Laing Street

115 Hiltz Avenue
10 Kent Road
12 Rhodes Avenue
12 Bellhaven Road
32 Mallon Avenue

65 Dagmar Avenue
81 Degrassi Street
93 Empire Avenue
22 Wardell Street
257 Booth Avenue

101 Morse Street
161 Carlaw Avenue
118 Heward Avenue
14 Marjory Avenue
115 Jones Avenue

119 Jones Avenue
193 Jones Avenue
319 Jones Avenue
12 Rushbrooke Avenue
13 Trefann Street

311 Arlington Avenue
71 Nairn Avenue
174 Yarmouth Road
96 Marchmount Road
120 Ellsworth Avenue

19 Carling Avenue
598 St. Clarens Avenue
1022 St. Clarens Avenue
12 Mitchell Avenue
29 Noble Street

56 Lansdowne Avenue
161 Indian Grove
6 Hugo Avenue
630 Runnymede Road
406 Davisville Avenue

185 Logan Avenue
4 Wineva Avenue
5 Hubbard Boulevard
6 Wineva Avenue
7 Hubbard Boulevard

*Source: TCHC RFP 16/11

Condos vs. houses

October 10th, 2012 Posted by Buying opportunity, Condos, First-time buyers, Housing, In the media, Market Commentary, Mortgage pre-approval No Comment yet

As I have noted recently – and as has been widely reported in the media – there are two very different markets in Toronto real estate these days: condos and houses. Houses continue to increase in value, due in large part to relatively low supply, but I believe also because they appeal to a broader demographic. Condos, on the other hand, are in great supply (with many new projects situated downtown), often appeal to a different demographic (e.g. folks who can get by in 2 bedrooms or less and don’t want a yard), and have become the ‘whipping boy’ for a whole host of critics (banks, politicians, the media, etc.). It short, it ain’t a great time to be a condo in Toronto!

For those reasons, it’s understandable that buyers have become wary of condos. However, if a condo suits your lifestyle, and if you see the investment value (building equity, capital appreciation, potential income holding down the road) you shouldn’t allow yourself to be scared away. You know (at least, you *should* know…) your financial and life situation better than anybody else, so you can make your own call. Look at this period as an opportunity.

The market is somewhat ‘sideways’ these days – not going up, but not likely to go down much, either. Perhaps at some point we’ll hear about a construction project being cancelled, all the talking heads will say “I told ya so”, and the supply will adjust – and thus shall balance return! 😉

In the meantime, buyers can shop for value. Be extremely careful about your financing, as lenders are apparently getting skittish about condos. Some are afraid of a significant correction, and that’s their prerogative, ’cause it’s mostly their money. Be sure that your lender knows you are shopping for a condo, and ask if that affects the down payment they require as a term of your pre-approval. Whatever your max mortgage load is, be sure to spend a comfortable bit below that. Look for value in the market, and try to negotiate a better price.

These opportunities don’t happen very often in Toronto – the last one was in late 2008-early 2009 – and this one is limited to condos. We figure it will last 3-6 months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was shorter.

What if you are a seller? People sell for a million different reasons, many of them forced (e.g. job or relationship change). If you really have to sell it’s important to price properly. It really doesn’t matter what a comparable unit sold for 6 months ago. What sold last week – last month at the most? Price to the current market.

Of course, if you don’t really have to sell now is not the time to ‘test the market’. By doing so you are wasting your own time (inconveniencing yourself, or perhaps a tenant) and contributing to the current supply situation. Perhaps you could try again next year….

Whatever happens in the next few months, I am certain of this: the condo sky is not falling. I don’t know why so many people freak out whenever there’s a market correction. Every market (from condos to oil to pork bellies) goes through periodic corrections. As long as we stay within our means (which most of us do), and plan for contingencies, we’ll all be fine. After all, this isn’t exactly the Zombie Apocalypse, ya know!

September 2012 Market Review

October 3rd, 2012 Posted by Market Commentary No Comment yet

The Numbers – TREB reported 5,879 transactions through September 2012, with an average selling price of $503,662 – an increase of more than 8.5 per cent over 2011. Despite an uptick in supply, the number of transactions was down by 21% compared to September, 2011. (TREB pointed out the following in their report: “[T]here were two fewer working days in September 2012 compared to September 2011. The majority of transactions are entered on working days. On a per working day basis, sales were down by 12.5 per cent year-over-year.”)

My Thoughts – September was a bit of a frustrating month. Despite on-going negative media (and political) noise about the Toronto real estate market, the ‘on-the-ground’ reality in Toronto is that it’s still hard to find quality houses for my clients to buy. Even with tighter mortgage rules (which are actually good for the market long-term) and bad press, we have more buyers than we have sellers (i.e. more demand than supply) and the result is higher prices.

Supply is an interesting topic (to me, anyway). I have been saying for a while that we are still well below pre-recession levels. Take a look at this:

Active Listings by Month/Year (TREB stats)

September 2004 – 23,353

September 2005 – 22,875

September 2006 – 24,367

September 2007 – 20,626

September 2008 – 27,277

September 2009 – 14,771

September 2010 – 18,305

September 2011 – 18,793

September 2012 – 21,621

In the period 2004-2006, before any hint of an upcoming recession, we saw robust supply in a range of 22,000-24,000 active listings in the month of September, the typical start of the ‘fall market’. Supply spiked in 2008, as buying activity dried up, then plummeted in 2009, as homeowners took their listings off the market (or simply waited out the recession – which is why we didn’t experience a collapse in prices). Since then, the supply has increased, but still hasn’t recovered fully. I believe that explains much of the price increase we have seen in the Toronto market since ’09: demand exceeds supply.

Despite the general challenge of low-ish supply, I have noticed some caution in the marketplace. Perhaps it’s due to all that negative talk. Either way, not every house is selling on offer day, and some of those that do get only one offer – although there are often other willing buyers waiting in the wings. (That said, many buyers are still making strong moves on attractive properties. One house in the Beach sold for about $105k over asking. That may reflect a bit of an “oops” price, but it still indicates strong demand.)

If you want to buy in today’s market, my advice boils down to this: be ready! Start with my recommended prep. Then, when you find a house that you like, pounce on it. You have your mortgage pre-approval, you know your budget, you’ve seen an inspection report, so make an offer on offer day! If you wait, you may find yourself battling other buyers who also sat out offer day – ’cause you’re not the only one being a bit extra cautious these days. If you step up on offer day you may get a clear shot at the house, meaning you can make your offer conditional on financing, which will make your lender happy.

Be ready – and call me if you need professional real estate help! 😉