Posts tagged " RealEstateSimon "

January 2018 Market Review

February 14th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

You may have heard that ‘sales were down’ in January, with the implication that that’s a bad thing. As anyone actively involved in the Toronto real estate market knows, the market is not ‘down’ at all. In fact, it’s crazy busy out there.

The first thing to note is that January 2017 set a record for sales activity with 5,155 sales. So, anything short of a new record would be down, right? I have said before that we don’t have to break records every month to have a great market, and this is another such example; 4,019 sales is decent. For comparison, January 2013 saw 4,375 sales – way below last year, and not much above this year. I’d say that January 2018 looks fine.

The next thing is that January is a relatively slow month, compared to May or October, so fluctuations can be exaggerated. Having 22% fewer sales sounds dramatic, but it’s only about a thousand sales – easily made up at any point throughout the rest of the year.

The good news that I see in the January 2018 stats is the big increase in supply. At the same time last year there were only 5,034 listings on the TorontoMLS. This year we had 11,894, which gave buyers more choice. Looking again at 2013, there were 14,231 active listings in January of that year, so supply could easily go up and still be below past levels. If this year’s increased supply can be maintained – and improved upon – throughout the year we could see a more moderate market, which would be a nice change….

Speaking of moderation, the average sale price dipped by about 4.1%, to $736,783. However, TREB’s weighted average was UP 5.2%, reflecting the number of sales of condos compared to houses i.e. more condos (which are cheaper than houses) sold. Moderation in the price of single family detached (the most expensive type, and the only one that saw a price decline), combined with price increases in other housing types, shows that the market has naturally adapted to high prices for detached houses. I doubt that government intervention had anything to do with that…. 😉

The condo market is nuts these days. Not only did my own condo listing get swamped (over 130 showings in a week, and 11 offers on ‘offer night’), but showing condos to other clients is a gong show. Getting appointments is sometimes tricky, and it seems there’s always at least one other agent poking around the same unit, meaning we sometimes have to wait to get in to see a place. The activity is reflected in the average sale price going up 15.1% last month, despite fewer sales. The condo market remains an attractive segment.

This week precedes a long weekend (Family Day), so we probably won’t see much action, but I expect the market to keep chugging along next week and for the rest of the spring market. If you want/need to buy or sell, feel free to get in touch. 🙂

 

1113-231 Fort York Blvd **SOLD!!**

February 6th, 2018 Posted by Condos, SOLD!! No Comment yet

Update: We had over 130 showings booked for this great starter condo, and generated 11 offers! The property sold ‘firm’ on offer night. The condo market is hot!

***

The amount of development around Fort York in recent years has been amazing. Not only have loads of great condos gone up, but the area is also benefiting from other projects. For example, there’s a new Fort York Visitor Centre, and most of us have heard about the new Bentway skating trail that runs under the Gardiner Expressway.

Number 231 Fort York Blvd (‘Atlantis Aquarius’) is right across the street from all that action. Unit 1113 is a well laid-out one bedroom unit with a cute little balcony and a great view. (As the western-most building of the project, it has an unobstructed west-facing view of the city, the waterfront and the lake off in the distance.) Features include laminate wood flooring in the living/dining room, stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar – great for casual eating or entertaining. The unit comes with an owned parking spot, and extra rental parking spots are sometimes available, too.

The building has some great amenities, including a games room, mulit-purpose room, and the Oasis Club – the fitness room, salt water pool, large Jacuzzi, etc. It all makes for comfortable living. And if you want to get out for a run or a bike ride, Coronation Park and the waterfront trail are right across the street.

It’s a short walk to the streetcar (board at Fleet Street, just down at the corner with Fort York Blvd), or the bus; they’ll take you to Union Station or Bathurst Station – and points in between. Or, pop down to the Lake Shore to hit the Gardiner. There are lots of transportation options from here!

This great little spot is perfect for the first time buyer(s) or small investor. Judging by the showing action so far, it’s a hot commodity! If you are interested, or know somebody who might be, don’t hesitate to call me.

 

 

December 2017/Year End Market Review

January 9th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Market Review No Comment yet

The Toronto real estate market survived a roller-coaster-like year in 2017. The first quarter (Q1) saw wicked price increases, followed by a hard rebound in prices in Q2, which in turn was followed by a period of relative calm in Q3, then a surge in sales activity in Q4. When the dust settled, the December year-over-year average sale price was up just about 0.7%, but the average price for the year 2017 ended up 12.7% higher than 2016, at $822,681.

Most of that annual gain happened in Q1. That’s when super-tight supply squeezed buyers into making very aggressive bids. Then, the Ontario government gave the market a kick in the teeth with their ‘Fair’ Housing Plan (an Orwellian use of language, as seems to be the style these days…), which scared buyers to the sidelines with speculative talk about ‘foreign buyers’ – the Boogie Man in the Liberals’ pitch. As the TREB report says: “Research from TREB, the provincial government and Statistics Canada showed that foreign home buying was not a major driver of sales in the GTA.” Still, they needed a reason to Do Something, and foreign buyers fit the bill. When buyers retreated, prices plopped back down to where they started the year, and we were into a bit more of a balanced market.

That balance started to shift back towards the sellers’ favour in December. I think that the year-end surge was fuelled by two things: 1) buyers realised that foreign buyers were not behind the steady rise in GTA prices, and the new tax wouldn’t really change anything long-term (after a period of adjustment); and 2) more government intervention, this time in the form of new federal ‘stress test’ rules for buyers in 2018, meant that many folks wanted to get their purchase locked in before those new rules kicked in.

Basically, the wild volatility throughout the year was largely due to government intervention in the market. As mentioned, we’ll see more of that this year, but hopefully less, and with less of a destabilising effect.

TREB also noted that in the second half of 2017, the buyer market shifted away from the most expensive housing type – fully detached homes – to semis, towns and condos. Clearly, the market has the capacity to offer buyers options, which naturally mitigates the need for government intervention, but whaddya do…? Sales activity in the detached segment was down 13.4%, and the average sale price was down 2.1%, to $1,250,235. At the other end of the spectrum, while condo sales volume in the 416 dipped 8.8% in December, the average price was up 14.1%, to $532,700.

So, what does 2018 have in store for us? Life goes on, in spite of policy changes, and lots of folks plan to move for various reasons, so I figure there will be lots of sales this year. The 2017 end-of-year available listing volume sat at 12,926, way up from just 4,746 at the end of 2016. If that can be maintained we might be able to settle in to a ‘liquid’ marketplace that offers buyers choice. There’s no structural shortage of buyers – they just get shooed away by governments from time to time – so more supply will allow more buyers to succeed. With some luck, price appreciation will be lower, which is more sustainable long-term.

What are your plans this year? Feel free to get in touch with me to talk about that! 😉

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 MLS® 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!