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Posts in Housing

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!