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Posts tagged " Condo "

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 fromĀ 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! šŸ˜‰

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. šŸ™‚

* 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!

 

 

April 2016 Market Review

May 12th, 2016 Posted by Market Review No Comment yet

April 2016 was another record setting month in Toronto real estate. TREB reportedĀ 12,085 sales for the month, up 7.4% over April 2015. Once again, new listings were down, fromĀ 18,038 last April to 16,252 this year, a drop of 9.9%. The decline in new listings, combined with the high pace of sales so far this year, caused the total number of available listings to drop fromĀ 17,182 last April to justĀ 12,554 this year.

Obviously, competition among buyers is fierce, which drove up the average sale price by 16.2%. TREB’s HPI was up a slightly lower 12.6%, indicating that high-priced houses (e.g. large detached homes) are dragging up the average. Still, 12.6% is a significant increase.

I’m still tracking the condo segment – although the condo naysayers are much quieter these days. Condo sales in the 416 increased 17.4% last month, while the average price was up 7%. That’s much less than in the house market, which I say makes condos a decent alternative for first-time buyers. You don’t have to give up the dream of owning a house, but you may be wise to plan for a delay. Get into the market with a condo, start to build some equity, and leverage that into a house down the road. šŸ˜‰

It’s a super-competitive market out there these days. You don’t need to be scared of it, but you certainly will benefit from professional help. Call me any time to talk about your real estate wants and needs, and how to go about fulfillingĀ them.

The King Edward Private Residences – bright 1+1 corner unit! **SOLD**

March 6th, 2014 Posted by Buying opportunity, Condos, For Lease, Hot Listings No Comment yet

The King Edward Hotel is a world famous Toronto landmark. Just three floors of this iconic building have been converted to condos; the rest continue as one of the city’s classic hotels. This relatively small conversion will bring new meaning to the idea of an ‘exclusive’ condo location in Toronto.

Just as you would expect, the finishes inside the condo conversion are fantastic, and the layout is well thought out. One of just a few units with a discrete den, it’s also at the south-east corner of the building, which allows for five windows, making the space extra bright and creating a sense of open airiness.

Downstairs is the opulent lobby, offering elegant common areas, luxury services, and fine dining. Step outside to King St East, and you are right in the heart of the financial district. From here you’ll be able to walk to almost anything – work, restaurants, entertainment, you name it!

While there are a fewĀ unitsĀ on the market now (typical for recently incorporated condominiums), I expect that this building will soon become one of the most sought-after spots in the city. There are fewer than 150 privateĀ residencesĀ in the building; once the initial turn-over is complete, they will be hard to come by.Ā If you are looking for a condo option that could offer you a bit of long-term peace of mind, you owe it to yourself to take a look at The King Edward Private Residences.

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St George St: 1 bedroom condo **SOLD**

May 13th, 2013 Posted by Condos, First-time buyers, SOLD!! No Comment yet

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This great one-bedroom condo flat is located inĀ The Annex, an area famous for its tree-lined streets and grand old mansions. Many were built in the unique ‘Annex style’ (a mix ofĀ Richardson Romanesque and Queen Anne Style), a fact not lost on the developers of Lennox Mews (E.J. Lennox being a famous architect credited with the origin of the style).

The product of a 1997 conversion project, 228 St George St is steeped in the history of the area, with features that reflect the era of its original construction. The exterior is characteristic red brick, the main foyer is rich with wainscoting, but the interior (of unit 5) is modern – while maintaining that classy feeling. East- and south-facing, unit 5 features lots of windows, wood floors and trim,Ā a renovated kitchenĀ and Ensuite laundry.

Located just a few blocks north of Bloor St, 228 St George is walking distance to U of T, Yorkville, museums, the arts, restaurants, pubs, shopping and public transit – perfect for students, first-time buyers and professionals who want to live in the heart of the city and enjoy the charm of old Toronto.

** SOLD **

Awesome condo listing: (Off the market)

March 21st, 2013 Posted by Buying opportunity, Condos, Hot Listings No Comment yet

Last summer I had 510-1 Cole St on the market. That was a bit of a slow time for condos, so the owner leased it for the winter. It is now back on the market!

After selling two condos last month (not bad for February!) – one of which got competitionĀ –Ā I believe that the condo market is showing signs of life. As I often say, price is super important, no matter what the product: it has to be right. By slightly reducing theĀ price for this unit I believe we are offering tremendous value to a market that is still somewhat wary, but also showing confidence in the quality of the offering. In short, I think this is a fantastic unit, in a great building, at an excellent price.

Check out the listing page for full details, and call me if you would like to go see it!

Junior 1-bedroom at 33 Lombard St SOLD!

February 19th, 2013 Posted by Condos, First-time buyers, Hot Listings No Comment yet

The Spire condo at the corner of Church and Adelaide is a fantastic place. Rich with amenities, it retains an air of modesty (dare I say class) that is sometimes lacking in downtown Toronto condominiums. In a town thick with condo towers, The Spire managed to impress one local critic. He describes it in the most appropriate terms.

This unit is high enough to offer a truly impressive view of the city (and to make me just a bit weak in the knees…). While there seems to be an almost-obsessive urge among condo buyers to seek out the south-facing condo, the north view is stunning and dynamic – especially at night. From The Spire one gets a really neat view straight up Church St all the way to distant Bloor St. Most local buildings don’t challenge The Spire’s height, so one can enjoy gazing eastwards towards Leslieville and the Beach, or west towards downtown for a different kind of impressive sight.

Gorgeous St James Cathedral and park are just across the street.Ā The St Lawrence Market is a short walk south, as is the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Union Station and the Eaton’s Centre are also within walking distance, and TTC options abound. I used to work just a block away, so I can also assure you that there are plenty of pubs, restaurants (and shops) all nearby as well šŸ˜‰

A junior one bedroom with a full-sized balcony, the unit features wood floors, stainless steel appliances, floor-to-ceiling windows, a full 4-piece bath with a soaker tub, his-and-hers closets and Ensuite laundry. It’s perfect for the urban first-time buyer (or someone looking for a pied-a-terre…).

**UPDATE** The Toronto condo market isn’t as gloomy as some folks think. We received two offers on this great little unit. Pricing and presentation are super important – always. Call me if you need help!

 

October 2012 Market Review

November 6th, 2012 Posted by Condos, Market Commentary No Comment yet

The Numbers: The breakdown provided by TREB is pretty interesting:Ā 6,896 sales (7% fewer than October 2011); average priceĀ $503,479 (up 6.2% from October 2011).Ā More specifically, the average price for a fully detached house was up 5%; the average price for a semi was up 7%; the average price for a condo was down 2%. (More on condos below.) The new-ish Home Price Index, which compares prices for similar houses over time, is up 5.1% from the same month last year. All in all, quite sustainable.

My Thoughts:Ā Well, what to say about the Toronto housing market! I can’t tell you how many times I have written something like this: volume down, prices up. As has been the case for some years now, the market is limited by supply. Even in the face of trimmed demand (whether due to tighter mortgage regulations, the time of year, or because of endless ‘the-sky-is-falling’ nonsense from the media), there is still more demand in the Toronto market than there is supply. Thus, prices go up.

Interestingly, the average price of a condo has held up reasonably well over the last few months. The list below shows the average price for the given month, with a plus/minus number (percent change) relative to the same month last year:

June +2% $364,598

July -1% $347,996

August -4% $349,489

September +8% $377,422

October -2% $358,741

The variation in price month-to-month is a reflection of the intra-year variability in the market, which sometimes yields higher prices in the busier times of year (e.g. June and September), and probably also reflects the mix of sizes and types sold from one month to the next. By the way, the 905 has been more stable over the last few months, but with a much lower average sale price. If you want to buy a condo, we are probably getting into a good time to do that. If you own one that you were thinking of selling, but don’t have to sell, you might do better to hunker down for the next couple of quarters, or if you don’t live there, rent it out.

Houses are a totally different story than condos. That price appreciation is strong and steady. If you are a seller, there’s probably no need to fret – not through November, anyway. Once we get in to December the market will slow right down like it does every year. That said, there will be 3000-4000 sales in December, so it’s not like nothing happens. I usually make a sale in December, so if you do have to sell for some reason (e.g. you bought a great new place!), we’ll get it done.

If you want to sell in the New Year we’ll have to give January a few weeks to get a feel for what’s happening then.Ā However, I think that we are in for a fresh round of economic recovery in the New Year. No matter who wins the US election today, the simple fact is that the nation and the markets will have some direction for the next few years. I spoke to a TD rep today who said that they are predicting a round of spending by American businesses (which have been sitting on about $2 trillion in savings). That will have a strongly positive impact on the Canadian economy, which may perhaps impact Canadian interest rates, etc. Any movement in our interest rates will likely spur a round of real estate buying as purchasers act to lock in record low interest rates. That would put more pressure on the market, and likely drive prices up again next year. Basically, more of same. šŸ™‚

 

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! šŸ˜‰

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!

Home Seller Tips – Fall 2012

September 26th, 2012 Posted by For Sellers, Toronto Real Estate No Comment yet

Last week I posted an updated set of recommendations for home buyers. Today, I’m doing the same for a “sellers’ tips” blog I posted a few years ago. Not a whole lot has changed, but enough to warrant an update. Here goes!

Homes sell in any market. Regardless of overall conditions, each home is judged on its own merits. If you want your home to sell promptly, for a good price and with good terms, you have to properly prepare it – and yourself – for sale. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1) Understand the market: As has been the case for quite some time, the Toronto real estate market is experiencing a low supply of houses (as opposed to condos; there are lots of those on the market). This has resulted in significant price increases since early 2009. For example, last week TREB reported that house sales for the first half of September (2012) were down in volume by 15%, but up in price by 9.5%. Condo sales dropped in volume by 28% – which seems like a lot to me – but prices in the 416 still managed to squeak up 5%. Condo prices in the 905 were actually down 2%, which limited the GTA average price increase to 3%. So, when you hear about ‘the housing market’, keep in mind that there are different segments of that market – not to mention different locations. If you intend to sell this fall, we’ll talk about local market conditions – there’s lots to consider.

2) Your expectations must reflect the market: The market has been going upwards for over three years (since the post-recession bounce began in early 2009). However, despite a steady (if somewhat sluggish) economy, decent employment levels and slightly rising incomes, there is still some negative pressure on the market: mortgage rules have been tightened again recently, the global economy is still wobbly, plus politicians and the media carp on incessantly about real estate. It’s perfectly rational that buyers would want to be cautious.

Plus, there has been some talk in the industry that buyers are less willing to get in to competition for a house. That’s not to say that we aren’t seeing competition this fall; we are. However, we are also seeing great houses sit on the market past ‘offer day’, with no obvious explanation – other than the possibility that some buyers are playing it a bit more safe these days. For sellers, that means being more realistic with pricing, and being prepared to negotiate. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, so we’ll put some time and effort into preparing our marketing strategy to reflect that current reality.

3) Get your home ready: Your listing is/will be in competition with similar listings in your neighbourhood. You need to stand out somehow.Ā Home preparation and presentation (together with pricing) are key to a successful sale. By now, everybody knows about ‘de-cluttering’ and staging. The money you fork out (cleaning, patching, painting, putting extra stuff into storage, etc.) is money well spent. It will help capture the interest of potential buyers, and helpĀ overcome the objections that naturally arise in almost every case. In short, making a good first impression is just as important as ever!

4) Stay out of the way: Once your home is on the market, be sure to get out of the house/condo during showings. Viewers want to be able to comfortably wander around to get a feel for the place, and speak openly to each other or their Realtor. That’s hard to do when the owner is sitting right there – or worse, following them around. Tidy up before you leave for the day to make sure that your home shows its best, then make yourself scarce! šŸ˜‰

5) Let your agent work for you: Like most Realtors, I’m a full time real estate professional. I know how to market your home; I have the knowledge and experience to determine who is a real buyer (as opposed to a tire kicker or low baller); and I know how to deal with other Realtors – which is extra important during difficult negotiations. Everybody has that friend or family member who wants to advise them.Ā Take their advise for what it’s worth (your call), but choose for yourself a Realtor whom you trust, then let him/her (me!) do the job. After all, that’s what you pay us for.

As with the short list of buyer tips, there’s much more that you need to know about selling your home – this is just a primer. Follow me on Twitter for ongoing tips and commentary. As always, if you have any questions about market conditions or the home selling process, please feel free to get in touch with me. If you are ready to sell, call me today and I’ll put my continuous marketing strategy and commitment to success to work for you!