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New listing: 71 South Bonnington Ave – large 2-unit home on a great lot, $799,900!

May 15th, 2019 Posted by Hot Listings No Comment yet

Located in Birch Cliff Heights (between Birch Cliff and Cliffside, just north of Kingston Rd), South Bonnington is a quiet street with a real range of house types, from the original local farm house (just across the street), to post-war bungalows, to modern homes. Number 71 was a two-bedroom bungalow, topped up roughly 15 years ago, now featuring two almost-identical two-bedroom flats. Set on a large corner lot, the property has a fully fenced back yard with a deep, kidney bean-shaped pool and pleasant lawns and gardens. Add to that the four-car private parking and it’s all really quite impressive!

Now fully vacant, both flats have large living/dining area, west-facing picture windows, and two east-facing bedrooms that over-look the back yard. On the main floor, the master bedroom has a sliding glass walk-out to the yard, while the upper master has a nice Juliette balcony. The main floor could use some sprucing up, but is absolutely livable as-is. To be honest, though, the upper unit would benefit from a bit more work, e.g. kitchen and flooring. Keep in mind that it’s only about 15 years old, so it’s nothing that a bit of handiwork can’t fix.

The back yard is really where it’s at with this house. The pool has a new liner and heater, and the pump is new-ish, so it’s ready to go! There’s a nice interlock patio around it, and there’s still room for a lawn and gardens – basically, it has it all!

This house would be great for large and/or extended families, or an investor looking for a two or three unit property (the basement has been rented out before, but would need to be renovated to make it suitable for that again). It’s close to schools (Birch Cliff Heights is just at the bottom of the block), parks (Highview Park has a baseball diamond and a soccer pitch), the TTC (#20 Cliffside bus is just three blocks away) and walking distance to the shops and amenities of Cliffside Village.

I’ll be hosting public open houses this Saturday and Sunday (May 18th & 19th), 2-4pm both days. Come by for a look!

April 2019 Market Review

May 6th, 2019 Posted by Affordability, Market Review No Comment yet

If you are active in the market at all these days (buyer or seller) you’ve probably noticed that things have picked up recently. Sometimes, we can feel it before the stats start to show it, and that’s basically been the case over the last couple of months, and now reflected in TREB’s April stats. Sales activity perked up significantly last month, with 9,042 transactions reported, up 16.8% over the 7,744 sales we saw in April of 2018. New listings also edged upwards, hitting 17,205 for the month, 8% more than we saw last April. Still, by the end of the month there were just 18,037 (including listings already on the market at the start of the month), actually down a touch from 18,206 last year. That means that, while new listings increased, the even greater increase in the pace of sales chewed into the inventory, and that usually foretells increasing prices….

Fortunately, prices are up only 1.9% over April 2018, with the average hitting $820,148 – still well below the peak prices we saw two years ago. Keep that in mind the next time you hear somebody complaining about ‘affordability’. Prices in Toronto are not skyrocketing; they are (for now, and for most of the last two years) trending upwards, which is a good thing. That said, if we continue to see tight supply, we’ll see escalating increases through the busy spring months.

The condo market had another strong month. Sales activity in that segment accounted for much of the action in the 416, increasing 2.6%; the average sale price surged 5.8%, to $637,181.

On a different – but related – note, I came across the Ontario government’s housing plan today. It’s basically about increasing supply – which stands in contrast to many of the demand-side moves that various governments have made to ‘cool the housing market’, for example tighter mortgage rules, the stress test, etc., all of which have made it harder to buy. I’ve long believed that dealing with supply is the solution, and although it will take a few years to work through the system, this plan could help….

March 2019 Market Review

April 4th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

This is interesting – the market was almost exactly the same in March, 2019 as it was in March, 2018! Check out these numbers:

Number of sales: 7,187 – just ONE fewer than March 2018.

Average sale price: $788,335, up just 0.5% over $784,514 recorded in 2018.

New listings: the biggest change; 13,996, down 5.1% from 14,753 last year.

Active listings: 15,576, down about 2.5% from 15,971 in 2018.

Condo sales: volume was down 14.1% in the 416, but the average sale price was up 2.3%, to $603,969.

One good sign for the market is that the number of active listings is up from 13,284 last month. Also, the average sale price last month was $780,397, so there’s been a bit of movement there, too. I think that those indicators point to a market that’s picking up steam for the spring. The spring usually generates more listings, which gives buyers more choices, thus drawing them into the game. Once that gets going, it usually rolls along until sometime in June, so we’re looking at two or three months of real activity. It’s a great time to buy and sell.

The fact that the market is essentially flat compared to last year contradicts the much-ballyhooed notion that Toronto is rapidly becoming un-affordable. In fact, prices are down significantly from that price spike we had in 2017. In March of that year, the average sale price was $915,126 and still rising. Since the correction that went through to about August of 2017, when the average sale price bottomed out at $732,292, prices haven’t gone up much – just about 7.7%, or a bit above inflation.

Of course, anybody in the market wants to see some price increases, and I expect that we’ll get back to the normal rate of 5-to-7% per year sometime in the near future. That’s both affordable for buyers, and it rewards home-owners for their investment.

 

RE/MAX Hallmark keeps expanding!

March 8th, 2019 Posted by In the media No Comment yet

Check out this big news that came out yesterday! RE/MAX Hallmark just keeps growing and growing!

— News Release —

Breaking News from Barrie and Simcoe County!

Today is an exciting day for RE/MAX Hallmark in Barrie and Simcoe region.

We are thrilled to announce effective immediately RE/MAX Hallmark Realty has partnered with the Number One real estate company in Barrie and Simcoe region – RE/MAX Chay to form RE/MAX Hallmark Chay Realty.

RE/MAX Chay has over 210 realtors and 7 real estate offices in Barrie, Angus, Innisfil, Alliston, Tottenham and Bradford. Under the leadership of Mark, Corrie and Christie – Chay has consistently provided an exceptional growing environment for its many realtors and outstanding client service.

This partnership is important for Hallmark realtors and their clients – now we will have a direct connection to an outstanding growing market!

Hallmark clients are now represented directly in the Barrie region, Aurora, Durham, Ottawa, Boston and Toronto.

Please join me in welcoming the outstanding realtors at RE/MAX Hallmark Chay to our Hallmark family.

Continued success,
Ken McLachlan
CEO, RE/MAX Hallmark Group of Companies

New listing – 80 Glenshephard Dr, ** SOLD **

February 25th, 2019 Posted by Blog, SOLD!! No Comment yet

*Update – it didn’t take long for this great little house to sell! The current owner is looking forward to the  move to his new place, and the buyers are super excited about their first buy. 🙂

Glenshephard Dr is a great little street that makes a ‘U’ shape off Danforth Rd near Brimley Ave in Scarborough. Lined with well-maintained bungalows on wide lots with private drives, it makes for a quiet little pocket that’s close to public transit, shopping and lots of local amenities.

My new listing at #80 is a renovated three bedroom (one currently used as a dining room) home with hardwood floors, a walkout to the new back deck, parking for four and a large workshop at the back of the property. The large, south-facing back yard is open and sunny – a great place for a vegetable garden!

The basement is finished, and has a fully separate unit. It’s not retrofitted and wasn’t built with a permit, so it’s not considered an ‘apartment’. However, it wouldn’t be hard to get the proper paperwork to make it legal.

The local elementary public school is Walter Perry PS, the intermediate is Robert Service Sr PS and the high school is the highly regarded R.H King Academy, with the option to apply to David and Mary Thomson CI. All in all, this is a great area.

 

 

 

January 2019 Market Review

February 11th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

As expected, January was a slow month in the Toronto real estate market. Just 4,009 sales were reported, up a wee bit from 3,987 last January. (For reference, there were 5,188 in January 2017; 4,640 in January 2016; and 4,318 in January 2015, so the last couple of Januarys have been on the slower side.) The average sale price was $748,328, up just 1.7% from $735,874 this time last year. Basically, the market has been flat since then.

New listings increased 10.5%, to 9,456, and total active listings edged up 0.6% to 11,962. Remember, back in early 2017 when we saw the beginnings of that crazy price spike, there were just 5,034 active listings at the end of that January – down from 9,966 in 2016. That really highlights how super-tight the supply was in early 2017 – and it shows how important supply is and what it can do to the market.

The townhouse segment was the only one to see an increase in the number of sales year-over-year (+4.4% in the 416), and it also had the highest average price increase (+12.3%). At the other end of things, fully detached houses saw the biggest drop is number of sales (-8.6%) and the only decline in average sale price (-8.8%). Taking into account the various types and weighting the averages, the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark price was up by 2.7% – still basically in line with inflation.

We are still in a time of year when the market is less busy – and the weather can have a real impact. (Think of the last few weeks: cold, snowy, warmer and now cold and snowy again!) Even one or two bad days can slow down sales and make it look like market activity has dipped. February will probably be similar to January. However, for my part, talking to my buyer clients and to other agents, it seems like there’s a lot of demand out there, and lots of folks impatiently waiting for the spring market to get going so that they can buy something. Some of the sale prices I’ve seen reported in the MLS (well over asking) seem to support that. We’ll have to wait and see what happens over the next few weeks and months, but I think we’re in for a busier year and higher prices in the Toronto market.

 

 

December 2018 Market Review

January 11th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

December was a quiet month in the Toronto real estate market. TREB reports just 3,781 sales for the month, down 22.5% from the 4,876 reported in December, 2017. For reference, there were 5,338 sales in December, 2016, and 4,917 in December, 2015, so sales last month were well below what we have seen in recent years. The average sale price for the month was $750,180, up 2.1% from $734,847 in December, 2017.

TREB also released the annual stats, which deserve some comment. In comparing 2018 to 2017, it appears that the market is ‘down’ year-over-year. But, while the average sale price for the whole year declined 4.3% (for the whole of the GTA), that’s not because the market is trending downwards. Rather, it is because of the massive price spike that occurred in the first quarter of 2017, when prices surged roughly 30%, only to drop right back down to almost exactly the pre-spike level by mid-year. When those super-high sales are averaged over the whole year, they obviously draw up the average.

A more helpful approach is to look at what happened *within* 2018. The average sale price in January, 2018 was $736,783. By June it was up to $807,871, and then down to $750,180 by the end of the year. (That pattern is fairly normal: in January, 2017 the average sale price was $768,351; by June it was up to $791,929 and then down to $734,847 by December. This is generally due to the seasonal cycles of the real estate market.) So, while the market was definitely flat (which has its pros and cons…), it was not ‘down’.

By the way, if we back a little further, we see that while the market was at $730,472 in December, 2016, meaning we are up just about 2.7% in the last two years, the average price a year earlier was just $608,714, meaning we are still up 20% over the last three years. Clearly, 2017 and 2018 were unusual, but the longer-term trend is still strongly positive.

Part of the reason for the on-going strength of the Toronto (i.e. 416, excluding the 905) market is demand for condos. Although sales volume in that segment was down 23.9% from December 2017, the average sale price was up 11.4%, which is a significant amount. In fact, the only segment that saw a decline last month was fully detached homes, which has been a recurring theme this year. It looks like buyers have easily made the shift away from the most expensive home type, and found options among semi-detached, townhouses and condos.

There were just 4,308 new listings last month, a decline of 31.5% year-over-year, and just 11,431 listing on the market at the end of the month, down 11.6%. I think that we’ll continue to struggle with that kind of low supply in 2019. We can certainly expect that this month we’ll see a fair few listings that were taken off MLS in December come back onto the market, but it’s too soon to tell if we’ll get the kind of supply that we used to get. Either way, it’s usually a couple of months into the New Year before the listings start to tick up for the spring market.

Also, the Bank of Canada decided this week to keep rates steady for now, and that’s probably a good thing for the economy (which has some issues) and the real estate market. Unless (and/or until…) something external happens, the Toronto real estate market should keep humming along this year. With price increases at the low end of what we have seen in the last 15 years or so, buyers should be able to meet their needs; and with continuing demand, sellers will be able to sell. Overall, that’s what a balanced market looks like. 🙂

 

 

November 2018 Market Review

December 11th, 2018 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto real estate market had a slow-ish November, with sales volume dropping 14.7%, from 7,326 in November 2017 to 6,251 last month. At the same time, the number of new listings dropped 26.1%, from 14,260 to just 10,534, and the total number of listings dropped 9.8%, from 18,197 to 16,420. This dynamic (fewer sales, but with fewer homes available to buyers) resulted in a slight increase in the average sale price. The November 2017 average was $761,410, and that edged up 3.5% to $788,345 – a little above the Consumer Price Index (AKA ‘inflation’), which was 2.4% in October, 2018 (the most recent available number).

Sales volume for all types was down, but average price was up for all types except townhomes. The average sale price for semi-detached houses increased the most (17.2%), which could be an indicator that buyers continue to adjust to the high price of detached homes by choosing less expensive semis (which would increase demand in that segment and drive up prices). Condos had the second-highest increase (7%), which I think bolsters that argument, and suggests that the market can adjust to price spikes all by itself – no government intervention required! 😉

Regarding the number of available listing, it was down about 2500 from the previous month, which is typical for the last few months of any given year – things sort of peter out as we head into the Christmas/New Year season. Following that, the chill of winter can keep a lid on things for another month or two – it’s amazing how much bad weather can impact the Toronto market – but keep in mind that, although the market slows down, it never stops. If you really want to, you can certainly put out a listing now; and if you find something to buy, you have the choice of listing your current home immediately, or waiting ’til the New Year.

Check out TREB’s handy chart: MarketWatch_infographic_November

October 2018 Market Review

November 5th, 2018 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

October was another solid month in the Toronto real estate market. TREB reported 7,492 sales, up 6% from October 2017. The average sale price (across all home types) edged up 3%, to $807,340. As I mentioned last month, prices have been relatively stable over the last six months or so, making now a good time to buy.

That said, it’s clearly not a ‘buyers market’. The number of listings just hasn’t increased enough to put us into that territory. New listings actually declined 2.7% to 14,431, while total available listings at the end of the month was up just barely (0.4%), to 18,926. Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis, put it this way in the monthly Market Watch report (my source for all these numbers I quote in my monthly Market Review): “Annual sales growth has outstripped annual growth in new listings for the last five months, underpinning the fact that listings supply remains an issue in the Greater Toronto Area.” So, regardless of other, outside, influences like the OFSI stress test or rising mortgage rates, the Toronto real estate market has it’s own internal supply and demand pressures that keep driving prices up, a point I have stressed many times.

The 416 condo market (i.e. not including the 905 region) saw a slight increase in sales volume of 2.8% and a price jump of 8.6%. I’ve said it many times – condos are a great option!

The ‘fall market’ usually continues through November, so we’ve got plenty of time left in 2018. Of note, I was out showing houses on the weekend and bumped into four other Realtors at one house – a sign that there’s lots of action out there! Exciting times…. 😉

 

September 2018 Market Review

October 12th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

September was a decent month for real estate in Toronto. TREB reported 6,455 sales, up 1.9% over September 2017. I’d call that basically flat (i.e. stable). The average sale price hit $796,786, which was up 2.9% year-over-year. That basically the same as the inflation rate (the August rate was 2.8%). Note that the average price is basically the same now as it was in the spring: in April it was $804,584, and in May it was $805,320. Put another way, affordability – much talked about these days in the media and among politicians – is not running away from buyers this year.

The number of new listings dipped 3.1% to 15,920, and by the end of the month there was a total of 20,089 listings (of all types) available, up 5.6% over September 2017. We haven’t seen this many listings in the month of September in the GTA since 2013, when we had 20,194. After that year, September supply declined to a low point of just 11,255 listings in September 2016. Low inventory meant rising prices – the average sale price that month was up 20.4% year-over-year. The current level of supply is better suited to a balanced market.

Condo sales volume in the 416 area dipped 5.5%, but the average sale price jumped 11.7%. As I keep saying, condos are a good investment, either for living in or holding/renting out….

Sales volume and average price increased for townhouses and semis, too – but detached houses actually took a bit of a hit, going down 1.4%. Such a small change could be a reflection of the variety of houses sold; take out a few multi-million dollar sales and the average could come down slightly. We’ll see if anything significant happens over the next couple of months.

For now, it looks like a good time to be a buyer: there’s a decent supply of options and prices are stable. That’s not to say that it’s a bad time to be a seller. (It’s not as good as spring ’17 – but so be it.) A balanced market is good for sellers, too, as they can rely on a steady stream of optimistic buyers for their property. One of them will be the right fit. And, since most sellers are also buyers, a balanced market allows those folks to make the move they want/need to make, too.

The fall is usually a great time to ‘do’ real estate. If you’ve been thinking about it, get in touch with me and let’s get it done!