Monthly Archives: January, 2015

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Scholarship program

January 30th, 2015 Posted by Fundraising No Comment yet

These days, a post-secondary education of some kind is as important as ever, but also more expensive than ever. That’s why, back in 2007, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty established a post-secondary education scholarship fund for our clients’ children (and our Administrative Staff). It has been a tremendous success. Since it started, we have awarded $101,000 to deserving young adults.

Last year I was asked to sit on the Scholarship Program review committee for the first time, which was a real pleasure. It was great to see a bunch of keen young adults setting interesting goals – and making their pitch for some of the funds needed to reach them!

This year the Scholarship Fund for first year students starting in the 2015 Fall semester is $20,000, to be split amongst the selected winners.* The deadline for applications is March 31st. I want all of my past and present clients with a 1st year student in the family to consider applying! It’s not an arduous process, but we do have some requirements:

  • The applicant must be a child of a past or present client of RE/MAX Hallmark
  • The applicant must be involved in their community (e.g. volunteering, coaching, etc.)
  • The applicant must submit a completed application, school marks from Grade 9 to current semester, 2 reference letters and a 300 word essay (topic of their choice).

Over the years we have provided dozens of kids with thousands of dollars to kick off their post-secondary education, and I’d love to see one of my own clients participate in the program. Call me if you’d like an application!

*The money will be paid directly to the school on behalf of the student.

December 2014 Market/Year End Review

January 7th, 2015 Posted by Market Commentary, Market Review No Comment yet

As expected, December 2014 turned out to be a relatively busy month in the Toronto real estate market. The 4,446 transactions reported by TREB represents a 9.6% increase in sales volume over December 2013 – no mean feat in the face of 10.4% fewer available listings. That activity drove prices up 7% over the previous December, pushing the average sale price for the month to $556,602 (over $520,189 last year).

For the year 2014 TREB reported 92,867 sales, up 6.7% over 2013, but not quite enough to top 2007 – basically, just as I talked about last month. The average price in Toronto increase by 8.4%, to $566,726. (Note that the annual average is slightly higher than the monthly average for December. That type of small difference is not uncommon for the slower months. The months with the highest average prices in 2014 were May and October, which is fairly typical of the real estate market cycle.)

Regular readers will know that I have been tracking condo sales over the past year or so. In keeping with a fairly consistent pattern, condo sales in the 416 were up 16.1% over the previous December. The average price hit $387,612, up 5.4%. Despite lots of construction, there is no ‘glut’, and there has been no ‘crash’ – nor will there be. Condos represent a great starter home, and/or investment holding. That market ain’t going anywhere. (TREB will publish its quarterly Condo report soon, so I’ll add some details then.)

In terms of 2015, there are already loads of predictions out there. Naturally, most media outlets are (as usual) predicting something bad, but (as usual) I disagree with them. The Toronto real estate market is strong and stable – no matter what happens in Calgary or Vancouver – and will probably stay that way for some years to come. However, anything is possible, and this year has quite a number of interesting variables: the drop in oil prices (good news for most of us); the improving US economy (more good news); and possible movement in Canadian interest rates.

On that last note, it looks like rates will stay close to current levels through much of 2015, with possible smallish increases in the latter half of the year. It has been a good run of super-low rates, and that can’t last forever. However, rates will likely edge up in small increments over the span of a year or two. They won’t be jacked up suddenly; inflation is too low to warrant that. Of course, something could happen to stall or accelerate the increases, but at this point it’s reasonable to expect some kind of movement later this year, kicking of a period of increasing rates. Now would be a good time to look at your mortgage renewal, and/or get a pre-approval for your next purchase. (Get in touch with me if you need help with that.)

All in all, I expect that 2015 will be another busy year in Toronto real estate. Prices will continue to rise due to pressure from buyers. Sellers – who still have to present a fair product to the market, at a fair price – will stay in the driver’s seat. Whatever your move will be this year, I’d be happy to help you. Call or email me any time.

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