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January 2016 Market Review

February 4th, 2016 Posted by Market Review, Uncategorized No Comment yet

January got 2016 off to a quick start. In its monthly Market Watch, TREB has reported 4,672 sales for the month, up 8.2% over January 2015. At a time of constrained supply – both generally, over the last few years, and seasonally – prices shot up 14.1% year-over-year, to $631,092. That was apparently due, at least in part, to more sales of pricier houses outside the GTA. By comparison, TREB’s HPI, which tries to smooth out the average by accounting for type of houses sold, was up a more modest – but still significant – 11.2%.

To illustrate the point about supply, there were just 9,966 active listings last month, compared to 11,600 in Jan.15. That’s a drop of 14.1%. Ten years ago, in January 2006, there were 18,073 active listings (a 3% increase from January 2005), and 4,587 sales (a 10% year-over-year increase). That’s almost double the current supply, and there were fewer sales! It’s no wonder that buyers today are feeling the pressure….

In the condo segment, sales volume in the 416 increased 11.6% over Jan.15 and prices jumped an interesting 8.6%. I say that because we’ve seen decent sales volume in condos over the last year or so, but usually not the same kind of price increases that houses have shown. It will be interesting to see if this keeps up….

In general, I think that the ‘spring market’ will get going sooner rather than later. If you are a buyer, keep your eyes peeled and when we spot something, be ready to pounce! If you are planning to sell in the first half of this year, you should get to work on/around the house ASAP; it’s better to be ready early!

By the way, my Exclusive listing at 58 Brookmount Rd will hit the MLS on Feb 16th. Call me if you would like to see it before then.

 

 

List of Toronto Community Houses to be sold

October 26th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Here is a list containing most of the Toronto Community Housing Corp single family residences that are slated to be sold via the Toronto MLS. Contact me if the house you are looking for doesn’t appear on this list.

Bain Ave. 176 SOLD
Crawford St. 201 To be listed ***
Crawford St. 205 To be listed ***
Crawford St. 221 To be listed ***
Crawford St. 223 To be listed ***
Douglas Ave. 81 To be listed ***
Dundas St. W. 949 To be listed ***
Dundas St. W. 959 To be listed ***
Dundas St. W. 989 To be listed ***
Geneva Ave. 19 To be listed ***
Geneva Ave. 42 SOLD ***
Harcourt Ave. 24 To be listed ***
Havelock St. 112 To be listed ***
Horseley Hill Dr. 52 To be listed ***
Howland Rd. 16 To be listed ***
Logan Ave. 201 To be listed ***
Noble St. 29 SOLD ***
Parkview Gardens 38 To be listed ***
Roslin Ave. 47 To be listed ***
Roslin Ave. 55 To be listed ***
Strathcona Ave. 23 SOLD ***
Sylvan Ave. 2 To be listed ***
Sylvan Ave. 2A/2B To be listed ***
Sylvan Ave. 4 To be listed ***
Sylvan Ave. 6 To be listed ***
Sylvan Ave. 10 SOLD ***
Sylvan Ave. 14 To be listed ***
Victor Ave. 78 To be listed ***
Willow Ave. 304 SOLD ***

 

*** Listed with Freeman Real Estate Ltd

Team Odd Socks Ollie Blood Donors

September 11th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

This past summer my friends’ little boy, ‘Odd Socks’ Ollie, died from JMML, a form of childhood leukemia. In his honour, I have set up a Canadian Blood Services ‘Partners for Life’ blood donation team. If you have ever thought about donating blood, or have done so in the past and just need a reason to get back into it, please consider joining the team.

There’s a clinic at St Aidan’s Church (in the Beach, near my office) on September 25th, plus I organize regular blood drives at the Manulife Centre downtown. More info at our Facebook page.

As you can imagine, this is super important to me. Your support and participation would be appreciated, and very meaningful to thousands of Canadians, including little kids like Ollie, who need blood transfusions due to cancer, surgery, emergencies, etc. Visit www.Blood.ca to sign up now, and feel free to get in touch with me if you need any help.

Thanks!

Summer 2015 Market Review

September 9th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

In my June market review I noted that “July is shaping up to be busier than usual“. It already seemed to be the case in the first week of the month, and the rest of the month maintained that pace, once again setting a Toronto sales record. There were 9,880 sales reported to TREB, an 8% increase over July 2014. At the same time, the number of new listings edged down slightly from 15,081 to 14,699, a decrease of -2.5%. The overall number of available listings declined -14.7%, from 19,549 in July 2014 to just 16,673.

Strong sales activity amid declining supply, and a generally healthy GTA economy, combined to drive up the average sale price to $609,236, a 10.6% over last July ($550,625). TREB’S HPI was up by a slightly more modest 9.4%. Both numbers are significant.

Condo sales continued to surge in the 416 (Toronto), with volume up 13.4% over last July. The average price of $394,504 represented a very manageable increase of 4% year-over-year.

August continued the record-setting trend, with sales up 5.7%, to 7,998 (over 7,568 in August 2014). While new listings (12,628) were up 8.3% over last year (11,659), the number of total listings (15,997) was actually down 10.5% from last year (17,882) – which is not surprising given the level of sales activity that we’ve seen throughout the year.

Overall, the average price for the month was $602,607 – down a touch from the previous month, but up 10.4% over August 2014 ($546,482 ). This reflects the well-established intra-annual trends in the Toronto real estate market: surging spring market, sideways summer, followed by another surge in the fall.

Condo sales in the 416 for the month were up 10.1%, and the average sale price was $406,587, up 9.5% over last August. The condo segment is strong, and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Back to school typically marks the beginning of the fall market. There will be plenty of new listings hitting the market over the next couple of months, which is great for buyers. It’s also positive for sellers, and the overall increase in listings draws out more buyers. It’s an exciting time!

Top floor unit at 73 McCaul St ** SOLD **

July 20th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Featuring wood floors, a newly renovated bathroom and a spacious balcony, it’s roughly 730 square feet of downtown living – and you won’t get a better downtown setting than the Village by the Grange.

Steps to vibrant Queen St W, also just a short walk to U of T, Chinatown, the Fashion District and the Financial District, Village by the Grange is a classic mixed-use development, including restaurants, shops and a top-notch food court. If you want to live the downtown Toronto experience, you owe it to yourself to check out VBTG.

This great spot sold in just five days! Call me if you need something similar in the area.

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Blood drive in honour of Ollie

June 5th, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

In December of 2013, Ollie (now 7 years old) was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML).  A big part of Ollie’s treatment these days involves blood (and platelet) transfusions. The blood supply system always needs more donors, so I’m organizing a blood drive, and I’m challenging my friends, family and clients to get out and give a pint!

In fact, I’m offering a pint for a pint: you go to the Manulife Centre and donate a pint of blood, then meet up afterwards at Scallywags for food and beer. The pub is providing the grub, and Creemore is going to kick in some beer. Sounds great, eh? Here are the details:

Thursday, June 18th any time between 1pm and 5pm (contact me to schedule your appointment). Alternate day is Wednesday the 17th, 10am-2pm.

Manulife Centre 55: Bloor Street West – 2nd Floor by the Movie Theatre.

Scallywags – any time after 6:30pm on Thursday (even if you donate on Wednesday).

I’ve been a blood donor for a couple of years. It’s easy – and after your donation you can eat cookies and drink juice in the recovery area. About five minutes later you won’t feel like you just gave away 10% of your blood. Then, we’ll go eat real food and drink some beer. 🙂

There’s FREE PARKING at the Manulife Centre for donors, and transportation is available during the day if you need a ride from/to work. I’m trying to make this easy, so don’t hesitate to ask for a lift.

Pick your time and RSVP to me ASAP. I have to book the appointments with Canadian Blood Services and co-ordinate with Scallywags regarding numbers. Also, please spread the word. The more, the merrier!

FYI, there are some basic eligibility rules (mostly around travel and recent tattoos/piercings), so read the Fact Sheet at the Canadian Blood Services web site. Call/email me if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Simon

Great house in Pickering

March 6th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Check out these photos of a fantastic house that I just sold in Pickering, near Altona Forest.

 

 

 

 

* With thanks to Sutton Group Heritage Realty, Inc., for permission.

 

 

HST Applies to Commission Paid to Realtors

February 14th, 2013 Posted by Commentary, First-time buyers, For Sellers, HST, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Professional real estate services are a ‘service’ like any other: the commission you pay to the service provider is subject to HST. This may seem obvious to some people, but I have been surprised a couple of times over the years to find that some folks didn’t realize that. Of course, we can usually review the facts in a simple, straight-forward conversation, but I think it’s important enough to mention here.

When I first started in real estate in 2001 my services were subject to just the 7% GST (which declined over time to 5%). The old Province of Ontario sales tax didn’t apply. However, when the taxes were merged into the HST, the rate went to 13%. Please note that in this example the tax applies not to the sale price of the house/condo, but rather to the commission paid for representation by a Realtor.

For example, in the case of a sale price of $400,000, a seller with an industry-standard 5% commission contract with her Realtor will pay $20,000 to the listing Brokerage (which will typically pay half of that amount to the co-operating Brokerage that represented the buyer). It’s that $20,000 that is subject to the HST. In this example, the seller has to pay $2,600 HST. The listing Brokerage collects that amount in trust for the Realtor, who then files with CRA and remits his taxes directly to CRA. (As a ‘small business’, I have an HST account, and can claim back some of the HST that I pay out during the course of my business. However, the rest goes to CRA.)

This is all separate from the HST that is payable on new construction. That HST is charged on the value of the new home, and is often built-in to the list price. Some of it is rebated to first-time buyers.

Here’s a bit more information about the HST in Ontario. If you have any questions about HST charged on real estate services, please do feel free to contact me. Either way, don’t forget that you will have to pay HST on the commission you pay your Realtor. 🙂

March 27, 2008 eNewsletter

March 27th, 2008 Posted by eNewsletter, Market Commentary, Uncategorized No Comment yet

March 27, 2008

Spring is here! Well, almost…. In the real estate world, now that we are past March Break and Easter the ‘Spring Market’ is upon us. You will soon notice a surge in the number of ‘For Sale’ signs around town – and weekend Open Houses will be packed with snoopers and buyers. If you are planning to sell this season, start prepping your home. If you are planning to buy, now is a good time to review your financing options, and make sure that I have the up-to-date specs for your automatic listing search. Things move fast at this time of year, so it’s best to be prepared!

What’s happening so far?
Volume down, prices up
The volume of houses for sale in the GTA has been down over the first couple of months in 2008. However, prices are up over last year by 6% in Janurary, 4% in February and 5% so far in March. These increases are consistent both with the past few years, and with recent forecasts for ’08.

The winter months are always slower, in part due to the weather. Near-record snowfall this winter has definitely been a factor. Warmer, sunnier weather will certainly make it easier to cruise open houses! With the seasonal increase in listings we’ll soon see an increase in sales volume. Expect prices to increase in the 5% year-over-year range for the next few months. (Note: that is a GTA average; some neighbourhoods will see a slightly lower increase, some may see a much bigger increase.)

It’s also important to note that supply in Canadian cities is still relatively tight – that’s why prices continue to rise. This is the opposite of what has happened in the States. There, listing volume spiked, causing the market to ‘tip over’. I’m not aware of any major Canadian city that has an excess of supply. At this point, we are miles away from the sort of market conditions they are experiencing. With continuing economic strength and low interest rates, our real estate markets should have another year of solid gains.

Referrals
They mean more to us now than ever before
More than a third of my new business last year came through referrals, up from 20% in ’06. My business plan has always been to work hard for my clients to build respect and friendships that will generate a lifeline of referrals to family and friends. It looks like that is really starting to bear fruit, and I want to thank everybody who has complimented me with a referral. The time I save by NOT having to prospect for new business is time better spent serving the needs of referral clients. I am looking forward to another year of increasing referral business, and building with those clients the same kind of relationships that I have with so many of you. Thank you!