377 Sammon Ave – detached with private drive ** SOLD**

November 2nd, 2017 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

It took a while, but patience is a virtue and this beauty is now sold! 🙂 Read on for my original thoughts on it.

This is a great two-bedroom house with a private drive (2+ spots) just a few blocks from Michael Garron (formerly Toronto East General) Hospital – so it could be the perfect house for somebody who works there! 😉 The local TDSB elementary school is RH McGregor, which features French immersion – another huge benefit at this great location.

Inside, the super spacious main floor is bright and open, with a neat den/office at the back of the house. It has a brand new, custom built (i.e. with custom cabinetry) kitchen with all new appliances. Note that the home also features two wall mounted heat exchangers. They’re not just air conditioning: on coolish days the unit will actually add heat to the house! Very cool.

The basement is also completely re-done: new concrete pad; water-proofing; a completely new bathroom; two new rooms (e.g. flex and/or rec); pot lights and cork floors. The back door leads to the basement (i.e. there’s a separate entrance), and the laundry room is right at the bottom of the stairs.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is large and has his-and-hers closets. (His has built-ins, hers is a small walk-in.) The second bedroom is plenty big enough, too. The comfortably-sized main bath was renovated by the previous owners; it’s quite nice. Basically, this house is move-in ready (for real!).

In addition to proximity to the hospital and RH McGregor, 377 Sammon Ave is walking distance to the Danforth and all that has to offer: shops, pubs, restaurants, services, and the subway. Fabulous Dieppe

Park (playing field, hockey rink and skating pad) is just two blocks away, and the East York Civic Centre (city services, a great farmers’ market, a library, tennis courts) is just a ten minute walk. And, if you want to drive somewhere, you are mere moments from the DVP (via either Don Mills or Pottery Rd). This is a great location in lots of ways.

View loads more pics here.

 

Big news from RE/MAX Hallmark Realty

October 30th, 2017 Posted by In the media No Comment yet

RE/MAX Hallmark was already the biggest (and best!) RE/MAX franchise in the GTA, and today it’s even bigger (and better)! Ken McLachlan, Broker of Record/Owner, just announced the addition of RE/MAX First Real Estate into the RE/MAX Hallmark family, effective immediately.

RE/MAX First has over 130 realtors in four offices across Durham region, in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Brooklin. In the company’s 25 year history, under the leadership of Broker/Owners Ron Gordon and Brian O’Donoghue, RE/MAX First grew to become a dominant leader in the Durham region. This new chapter not only positions them for more growth, but also equips RE/MAX Hallmark REALTORS to seamlessly represent our clients in the Durham region, and makes us the market leader east of Toronto.

Basically, this gives me four new offices that I can use, all the administrative support we need, and opens up a huge new network of REALTOR colleagues who will make buying and selling easier for my clients. So, if you need a REALTOR in Durham, be sure to give me a call!

 

The Silver Lining to B-20 – Guest Post by Capital Home Lending

October 27th, 2017 Posted by Guest Post No Comment yet

This week OSFI released the latest update to the Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures (commonly referred to as B-20). Here is a LINK to the statement OSFI made in their press release letter. Should you wish to view the entire document from OSFI, it can be found HERE.

Quite a lot has been said about these changes over the past several weeks, and even more in the past few days. It is expected that purchasers affected by the rule change will see their maximum buying power slashed by upwards of 18%. Let’s keep in mind that this is a reflection of the maximum… buyers shouldn’t be aiming for the absolute most they qualify for to begin with and the good news is that most don’t!

Now that the Feds have added an extra measure to try to cool the markets that concern them the most (GTA & GVR), paired with what the Municipal and Provincial initiatives are aiming for, it is widely thought that the cost of borrowing is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future. We can now see that regulatory changes are to be the new lever, not excessive rate hikes.

Lastly, we want to reiterate that these rules apply only to the federally regulated lenders (see HERE). You can see that Credit Unions are conspicuously absent from this list. At present they have not given any indication that they plan to follow these rules of their own volition. The bottom line is that there are a number of options still available for borrowers. Make sure you have a qualified mortgage professional in your corner to help you to make your dreams come true!

Sources:

 

* Contact me if you’d like to speak to a Capital Home Lending mortgage professional.

Market Review September 2017

October 13th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

The most obvious aspect of the September market was the drop in sales volume. Transactions were down 35.1%, from 9,830 last year to just 6,379 this year. At the same time, the number of active listings surged from 11,255 to 19,021, an increase of 69%. This is, broadly speaking, good for the market. For perspective, there were 21,571 active listings in September ’07, and that was down from 26,363 the previous year; the current number is below historic levels. However, it does make for some stark-looking numbers. Still, the average price did manage to eek up 2.6% year-over-year. That means that, despite the wild roller coaster ride that the market experienced in the first half of the year, we are still in positive territory over-all.

The average sale price for the month was $775,546, well down from the fever-pitched levels that we saw in the first quarter of 2017. I don’t usually track same-year stats, but with the way things have gone in 2017, I think it’s warranted. Average price hit a peak of $920,791 in April, and had trended downwards every month since then, quickly giving up the rapid gains seen in the first few months. The August average was $732,292, so September at least showed its usual strength relative to the summer months.

When discussing the condo market, I always make a point of focusing on sales in the 416 area code (separate from sales in the 905). This month, it’s interesting to note the difference in prices for detached homes in the 416. Last month, the average sale price in Toronto was $1,355,234, up significantly from the $1,191,052 average we saw in August. That indicates a strong market, despite the news. In the 905, the August average was $906,592 and rose just slightly to $912,921 in September. Clearly, the decline in the overall average sale price isn’t because of lower prices for detached homes. As TREB noted in its report, “the MLSÂŽ Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 12.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis”, which indicates that the ‘decline’ in prices is more due to the mix of home types sold, which is a healthy reaction by the marketplace.

The condo segment was also interesting. Sales in the 416 volume was down 23.2%, but the average sale price was up 24%, to $554,069. Condos seem to have been acting as a ‘relief valve’ for people finding themselves priced out of low-rise dwellings, and the price gap is narrowing in reaction to that….

So, what does it all mean? Who knows! The real estate market has been under constant pressure from the government for a few years now (several rounds of tightened mortgage rules, with more to come; new taxes; enhanced rent controls, etc.) so it’s hard to tease out what’s actually going on. The ‘fundamentals’ are still in favour of a strong, growing market: decent economy, some job creation, historically low interest rates and a growing population. But, with so much meddling by governments, and the natural confusion that causes, the behaviour of the market is not a reflection of fundamentals. It’s probably safe to say that the fundamentals will eventually show through – meaning a resumption of solid price increases – but we may have to wait for the meddling to recede before we see that…. In the meantime, the market is surviving!  😉

 

 

 

OTM: 147 Maclean Ave – Gorgeous Beach Property

September 29th, 2017 Posted by OTM (Off The Market) No Comment yet

Oasis in the City – Recently featured in the Toronto Star, this beautiful home is a one-of-a-kind Arts and Crafts restoration. Fully finished, it features five bedrooms and four bathrooms over three floors plus a finished basement. There’s plenty of room inside for living and entertaining, as well as several unique outdoor spaces that offer private retreats from the city.

** Check out this awesome 3D interior tour! **

Originally built circa 1917, the home was purchased by the current owners in 2005. With the exception of just the dining room, which was purposely left as the only remaining historically vintage room, the house was taken back to the studs. All of the wiring (including the dining room) and plumbing was replaced, and the home restored using some recovered original woodwork (refinished and put back in place) blended with new, matching woodwork that expanded on the Arts and Crafts style.The restoration project included the addition of a small office on the main floor, plus a third floor/roof (2008) with 2+1 bedrooms and a fabulous, tree-top deck.

Starting at the foyer, every room has character woodwork. The entrance to the living room features oak colonnades, and a massive fireplace and built-in shelving fills the south wall. Nine foot ceilings add to the feeling of size and comfort. The large dining room, with an original built-in Arts and Crafts hutch along one wall, comfortably seats 8, and features an original sun room off the back.

The custom kitchen features hardwood cabinetry (3/4 inch solid quarter-sawn oak), marble counter tops, heated marble floors, and professional-grade appliances, including a Wolf stove and a built-in fridge. The office addition has a built-in desk and shelves, and a walk-out to a gorgeous, landscaped back yard. A cosy sitting area set between the kitchen and dining room features a wall mounted TV; a second oak colonnade provides access between the sitting area and the dining room.

On the second floor, the master bedroom includes an Ensuite bath with heated floors, separate his-and-hers closets, and a very private porch – perfect for a quiet morning cup of coffee. The large second bedroom has a walk-in closet with built-in shelving and a window seat with a great view. The main bath also has heated floors – and a laundry chute!

The third storey addition (8’6” ceilings) includes two bedrooms and a third room suitable for storage or conversion to a bathroom. (Pipes are roughed-in.) The deck off the rear bedroom/media loft puts you up amongst the treetops, and really has to be experienced… don’t miss it!

The basement features: a media room with a built-in entertainment unit and a gas convective heat fireplace; an exercise room; a large bathroom (2017), a laundry room, storage; and a recently completed solid oak liquor/wine cabinet with a seating area. Large, south-facing windows allow for lots of natural light, and there’s a separate side entrance offering nanny suite potential.

The custom landscaped backyard features a garden pool and a raised ‘outdoor kitchen’ with a built-in BBQ, stone counter top, sink, a fridge and seating for 8 under a cedar trellis. It’s very private, which is great for relaxing with the family or entertaining guests. With the beach and boardwalk just a few minutes walk down the street, plus nearby parks and ravines, this home doubles as a cottage in the city!

Generous spacing between homes on the street allows for a private drive. At the back of the lot sits a rare detached, double garage with a 10 foot ceiling and parking for one car; the other side is converted to a workshop.

The front of the home has a classic, Beachy front porch – the perfect spot for watching the sunset down well-treed Crown Park Rd and chatting to the neighbours over a glass of wine. The mature front garden with large oaks, flowering shrubs, natural stone walls and flagstone gives the home fantastic curb appeal.

Other features and improvements include:

  • Water supply
  • Drains
  • Wiring (200 AMP panel in 2005)
  • Plumbing
  • Natural gas boiler (2013)
  • Pool heater w/efficient heat pump (2017)
  • Power to the garage
  • Power to the back shed
  • Aluminium shingles (2008)
  • Rebuilt chimney
  • Double brick main floor and plastered frame for second and third
  • Built in cabinets in kitchen, living room, dining room, third floor and basement are all 3/4 inch solid quarter sawn oak
  • Double closets off of entrance hall
  • Upgraded windows maintain the character of the home
  • 5″ solid quarter sawn oak floors in living and dining room, with front hall and hallway as tile/ same wood (2012)
  • Lots of storage both inside and outside (shed, garage, under sun room)

** This fabulous house is no longer listed for sale on the TorontoMLS. **

26 Irvington Cres in Willowdale – ** SOLD!! **

September 19th, 2017 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

This is a great house in a fantastic area. Willowdale has long been known for its comfortable homes on large lots. In recent years, the area has also become known for rapid growth. The nearby Bayview Subway station has been open for about 15 years, and major public transit infrastructure usually spurs economic growth and housing activity, and that’s what’s been happening.
Irvington Cres is tucked away in a little pocket of just four quiet streets accessible (by vehicle) only via Calvin Ave, southbound off Sheppard Ave E. So, with no ‘through traffic’, the area is rather idyllic, considering that the Bayview/Sheppard intersection is actually quite close by. Kids can play ball hockey, and pedestrians usually have the road to themselves. Plus, there’s foot/bike access to Bayview Ave at the east end of the street, which is super convenient for the locals.
The house itself is fairly original, and will benefit from some updating. It got a new roof in 2007 (and the garage roof in 2009), and a new sliding glass door to the back patio just this year. The back addition family room was done in the late 1980s, and features a wood stove for extra warmth in the winter. There’s loads of wood out back, too, from a couple of old elms that were taken down a couple of years ago.

The layout of the house seems to really encourage air flow; open up the windows on a warm day and a great breeze gets going, right through the house. The long kitchen is bright and roomy, with a nice little eating area right by the back door. There are two bedrooms upstairs, and a full bathroom, while the main floor includes a bedroom/office and a powder room. The basement is partly finished, with an extra bedroom, laundry room and a three piece bathroom. The cold room needs some work, but will be a great place for preserves (and wine!) when that’s done.

The back yard is huge. There’s room for a back patio, the detached garage, piles of wood, a trampoline, and a play structure – and there’s still lots of space! The owners have lived in the house since 2003 and have never used pesticides or herbicides on the lawn, which is great for children and pets.

The Neighbourhood

From Irvington Cres, one can walk to Bayview subway station in 6 minutes, and walk to Bayview Village Mall (Loblaws, Pusateri’s, LCBO, Chapters, Mastermind Toys, and lots more) in about 10 minutes. The Sheppard Centre (Yonge and Sheppard) is getting a Longos and LA Fitness in 2018. Other amenities include a nearby YMCA, places of worship, a ZipCar location and… IKEA!!

Also, there’s a farmers’ market every Tuesday and Friday from May-October just across Sheppard in the People’s Church parking lot. And, there are several parks nearby, including a few within a 10-minute walk: Sheppard East Park, for smaller children, renovated in 2017; Greenfield – Longmore Lands, which is relatively new; and Glendora Park, which has a splash pad and tennis courts. The bike trails of the Don Valley are also easily accessible.

The street is in the catchment areas for Hollywood Public School, Bayview Middle School , and Earl Haig High School. Readers should note that the TDSB cannot guarantee that all local kids will get in to their designated ‘home’ school, due to rapid population growth around some schools. It would be wise to check with the Board before making any decisions!

All the usual chattles are included: fridge, gas stove, Bosch dishwasher; gas dryer, front-loading washer; a gas BBQ and a play structure in the backyard. But, the underlying value is in the lot: 52ft by 150ft. A buyer could renovate the house, or do like so many of the neighbours have done, and start from scratch.

**UPDATE** After a week of marketing, including a busy weekend open house, we received a number of offers on this house on ‘offer night’. The house is now sold to some very happy buyers!

August 2017 Market Report

September 8th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

August was a slow month in the Toronto real estate market, which is fairly typical. TREB reported 6,357 sales, down 34.8% from the 9,748 sales we saw in August of 2016. While that sounds pretty dramatic, it’s more than the 6,418 sales reported in August of 2012 (which I just picked randomly when looking for something to compare this year to).

The average sale price has been volatile this year. For the last decade or so, that number has trended upwards steadily, and only sometimes dramatically. Then, in the first part of this year it spiked way up, mostly due to extremely tight supply. Then, as the ‘spring market’ got going and more supply hit the market, the average price dropped back down to normal. The average sale price in August was $732,292 – well below the April average, $920,791. Still, that number is up 3% over August 2016. Check out the graph (click to enlarge, courtesy my RE/MAX Hallmark colleague Robert Ede). Despite the hysterical headlines about a ‘plunging’ Toronto real estate market, we are still up over last year!

The condo segment had an interesting month. Sales volume in the 416 was down 24.5%, to 1,476 transactions. At the same time, the average price spiked 20.9%, to $540,169. That indicates to me that supply was limiting sales volume, and forcing buyers to step up.

Another number that I have been tracking recently is Active Listings. There were 16,419 at the end of last month, up 65% over August 2016 (9,949). Again, sounds dramatic, but in August 2012 there were 19,043 Active listings. So, when we are looking at what direction the market is going, it’s important to think past the short-term graph (which looks pretty wacky) and try to step back for a broader view. Supply is still tightly constrained, and demand is still strong. Look no further that the latest economic data and we’ll see that the economy and job creation are really picking up steam. That always boosts the real estate market. Also, this week’s Bank of Canada rate increase, and subsequent mortgage rate increases, should act to push more buyers into the market, as they look to lock in a great rate before those rise too much more….

Of course, anything could happen, but I expect the fall market to be busy, and for prices to start going back up – although I hope at a more sustainable rate than we saw earlier this year. We’ll know more in the coming weeks!

 

 

Market Review – June 2017

July 7th, 2017 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto Real Estate market continued to moderate in June. The first point to note is that the average sale price was up 6.3% over June, 2016. Somehow, TREB’s HPI was up 25.3%, which may indicate that the unweighted average was brought down by a higher proportion of sales at the lower end of the market (e.g. condos: in June 2016 about 24% of sales were condos; last month is was closer to 30%). Over the last 12 months, the average price of a detached house was up about 10.2%, and the average price of a condo was up about 23%.

Of course, the louder news is that prices are down from earlier in the year. That’s no surprise, given the severity of the price spike in the first quarter – and, again, it’s a good thing. The market cannot sustain price increases in the 20-30% range. A bit of a pull-back was in order. As for the causes, who knows? Some speculate that it’s because of the 15% foreign buyers tax. Foreign buyers were such a small part of the market (maybe in the range of 5%…?) that it’s hard to say if enough of them have backed out of the market to have a measurable impact. Maybe it’s just buyers taking stock and getting the new lay of the land before proceeding. Or, maybe it’s just the usual spring surge in listings taking the pressure off price escalation. Either way, the market has been unsettled for a few months.

Still, it has been good for buyers – although fewer buyers took advantage of these more favourable conditions. The number of sales was down 37.3% from 2016, to just 7974 (and keep in mind that year-over-year the average sale price was up 6.3%). Those buyers had greater selection: the number of new listings was up 15.9% and the total number of available listings at the end of the month (19,680) was up 59.6%. For reference, the number of available listings in June 2007 was 21,789 – and that was down from 25,393 the year before! The current supply is up over last year, but we are still well below historical supply levels.

The market is not “correcting” in the sense that prices are going to go down below previous years. It’s leveling out. *BUT* these conditions won’t last. The Canadian economy is strong, and job creation is at its quickest pace since 2010. With interest rates set to rise, buyers will want to move quickly to make a purchase and secure as low an interest rate as possible. That’s going to fuel a surge in buying. What that will do to prices remains to be seen. Getting back to 5-10% annual increases would be great – healthy, great for investing, but also sustainable.

I think that sellers should hedge their bets and try to sell into this summer market. Things are going to pick up soon, and you don’t want to miss your buyer. Sure, prices may firm up through the second half of the year, but we’ve seen the top prices for 2017 already. Whatever we see for the rest of this year will be up from last year, but probably not by much. And buyers really should get out there and make their purchase ASAP. Whatever prices do, I doubt that the selection will get much better than it is now. The best time to buy is when nobody else is (or few others are) buying – that’s when you can make your best purchase. Lock in a great rate before they start rising.

The bottom line is: don’t miss your chance!

1415-1369 Bloor St W offered at $399,900 **SOLD!!**

June 27th, 2017 Posted by SOLD!! No Comment yet

Are you looking for a great west-end condo?* Number 1369 Bloor St W is a fantastic building, just a block from Lansdowne subway station, and my great new listing in there could be the one for you! 😉

Coming in at just under 600 square feet (generous by Toronto standards!), the layout is open concept, so it’s airy and bright. The kitchen features granite counters, a breakfast bar, custom back splash and black appliances. The flooring is a type of engineered wood with that ‘finger-scraped’ pattern, which gives it a nice texture. There’s a walk-out from the living room to a great little balcony – perfect for enjoying the morning with a cup/pot of coffee, or a summer evening with a glass of whatever suits you!

On that note, just around the corner and down Sterling Rd is the Henderson Brewing Company – and beside that, the new Drake Commissary. There’s a Loblaws nearby, and an LCBO… honestly – what more do ya need? Whatever it is, you’ll find it along Bloor St W.

Unit 1415 offers a gorgeous, east-facing view of the city. Off to the south is the downtown core – which is walk-able, if you have 45 minutes or so…. The building has great amenities: a theatre, gym, sauna, party/meeting room, an outdoor pool and a fully fenced dog run! Not many buildings offer one of those….

 

This one comes with an underground parking spot, a locker and Ensuite laundry. It’s the complete package! We are on the MLS now and plan to market the property for one week before looking at offers. However, we are keeping our options open in case something irresistible comes along before that. If you are in the market, don’t delay. The condo segment remains strong, and we have a competitive price on this one. Two of my recent listings got multiple ‘bully’ offers, and I won’t be surprised if that happens here, too.

More pics here. 🙂

* After less than 48 hours on the MLS we received a strong ‘pre-emptive’ (AKA ‘bully’) offer and sold this great little place. That’s the real market these days – still very active and competitive for listings in certain price ranges. It’s a great time to buy and sell in this market!

 

 

Market Review – May 2017: Double-counting of ‘new listings’ confounds data

June 16th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

Much is being made (e.g. in the media) about the ‘decline’ in sales in Toronto. As I have been saying (writing) for years, it’s one thing for the pace or volume of sales to decline, and another for prices to decline.

It’s true that the volume of sales in May 2017 was lower than sales in 2016. That said, 10,196 transactions is typical for a busy month in the spring market. The number of sales in May 2016 was 12,931, an all-time record for that month. So, we saw fewer sales than the record set last May. Do we have to set a record every month?! I don’t think so.

Also, the average price in May 2017 was $863,910, up 14.9% – or about $112,000 – still a very high increase. It was down from April (which was basically the same as March) because the market was so crazy in the first quarter, and that drove prices up quite dramatically. I’m glad to see that those super-high price increases are behind us.

Much is also being made of the increase in the number of new listings. As noted in the headline, that number is faulty: TREB has double-counted (and in some cases triple-counted) some new listings. Here’s how: a new listing is posted with an eye-catching price. The home-owner wants competition that will drive up that price. Then, due to the slowing activity that we’ve seen in the last six-to-eight weeks, ‘offer night’ comes and goes without a sale. The Realtor cancels the existing listing and posts a new listing with a higher price. TREB (through no fault of its own) can’t yet track that, so that property has appeared twice in the system and gets counted twice. You can imagine that this could easily happen a couple of times with the same property, and it happens all the time across the city. There could be hundreds, if not thousands, of double-counted properties in that “New Listings” number. Clearly, it’s not what it seems.

The better number to track is Active listings, which hit 18,477 last month, up 42.9% over May 2016. This is a good thing! The market has been trapped in a low supply situation for years, and if a bunch of new listings can take off some of the pressure, that would be great. Ten years ago, in May 2007, TREB reported  23,739 active listings (which was down from 26,220 the year before). The city population is higher now, and we are still nowhere near that volume of available listings for all the eager buyers out there. Why would anybody start ringing the alarm bells in conditions like this? My guess is sensationalism. Fear sells, doesn’t it? :/

The supply issue is perhaps more easily understood if one looks at the number of active listings added to sales. That number would provide a sum of the real estate activity for the month. In May 2007 (which I chose as a nice, round ten years ago), there were 23,739 active listings and 11,146 sales, which adds up to 34,885.

Last month there were only 18,477 active listings left at the end of the month and 10,196 sales, which adds up to 28,673, only about 82% of the activity recorded in 2007. With a rising population, solid economy, good job growth and continued low interest rates, we still have less real estate activity now than we did ten years ago. In this supply-constrained, competitive environment, what would cause a correction? There’s certainly a fear factor infecting the market these days, but underneath all that is the relentless supply shortage, and that should absolutely preclude a correction (beyond the simple re-balancing we’ve seen recently).

By the way, looking at the 11,146 sales in May 2007, from that ‘selection’ of 34,885, it’s clear that buyers had a lot more choice then; prices were up a manageable 5% that month. That was a strong market, and we would be lucky if our supply were to increase steadily over the next few months to get us back to that level.