Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just Listed!

14 Woodcroft Crescent

Fabulous Condo Alternative! 1 Plus 1 Bedroom DETACHED Bungalow with 2 Car Parking. Beautifully Renovated White Eat-In Kitchen with Walk-Out to Large Yard. Finished Basement with Walk-Out. Quiet Dead End Crescent.
Call Jason To View!

Just Listed!

46 Western Battery Road # 839

Tastefully Decorated 1 plus 1 Bedroom Condo Townhouse With Parking / Locker and Roof Top Terrace. Desirable Liberty Village, Steps to Everything “King West” Has To Offer!
Call Jason To View!

GTA REALTORS® Report Mid-Month Resale Housing Market Figures

November 18, 2009 -- In the first two weeks of November, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,666 sales – up 84 per cent compared to the first two weeks of November 2008. The average price for these transactions was up 10 per cent year-overyear to $415,066.
Increased Interest in ownership housing has been widespread throughout the GTA and across all housing types," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "However, it is important to point out that we are now making comparisons to the fall of 2008 when we experienced a marked decline in sales and average price."
Year-to-date sales, at 78,233 are up 11 % compared to 2008. Average price, at $393,180, is up by 3%.
"Sales and average price in the GTA this winter will be well above levels reported throughout the fourth quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

President's Toronto Sun Column: There’s More to us than MLS

November 13, 2009 --Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board-- If you are one of the thousands of GTA residents who has made a move to a home more suited to your lifestyle this year, chances are you used the services of a REALTOR® to help you do so.On the surface it may seem that a REALTOR’S® access to the Multiple Listing Service is the most significant reason for working with a real estate professional. While REALTORS® can use the MLS® to match your housing preferences with available properties and help you establish realistic expectations if you’re selling, it is just one of several tools they use to offer you professional advice.They can also for example, access the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s database to provide you with valuable insight into current taxes on individual properties, ownership histories and lot size specifics.Using Teranet’s GeoWarehouse, they can retrieve even more information that is useful in the decision-making process like streetscape imagery, mapped neighbourhood sales, and average local incomes. As well, if you’re considering a newly constructed home, your Greater Toronto REALTOR® has your needs covered through their access to RealNet Canada’s database of new home listings.RealNet reports on 99 per cent of all developments greater than 15 units in size in the GTA. Its database includes more than 35,000 current records, which are updated on a monthly basis. A search of the RealNet database can be conducted by housing type, location, price range and number of bedrooms. Searches can produce an array of details including builder names, lot sizes, condo fees, and quantity of available units. This information can help you measure your preferred builder’s value proposition and more carefully weigh your decision with respect to choosing new versus resale housing.Your REALTOR® can also advise you on government programs that will save you money. For example, if you’re considering a few fix-ups prior to listing, your REALTOR® can provide you with details of programs like the Home Renovation Tax Credit and the Energuide for Houses Retrofit Grant. If you’re wondering whether buying a home is within reach, your REALTOR® can tell you about a program that, with only five per cent down, allows you to apply for mortgage insurance that can facilitate your purchase. As well, if you are a first-time homebuyer, your REALTOR® can advise you of a program that allows you and your partner to each withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSPs to put towards your purchase. Greater Toronto REALTORS® also work tirelessly to advocate your interests on important issues like property taxes, sales tax harmonization and the Toronto land transfer tax. They make direct contributions to GTA communities as well, helping to feed 1900 children in 11 local schools every week through the Children’s Breakfast Program and providing grants to 20 shelter-related charitable organizations this year alone.

President's Toronto Star Column: HST Will Raise Cost of Living, Buying Homes...

November 13, 2009 -- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board--Starting July 1, 2010 Ontarians can expect to pay a harmonized sales tax (HST) rate of 13% on a long list goods and services that were previously exempt from the 8% Provincial Sales Tax (PST). While the impact of the tax will be felt by all Ontarians, the province’s 3 million homeowners and the thousands who buy and sell a home every year will be hit particularly hard by this latest tax grab. As real estate professionals, REALTORS® know how important the dream of homeownership is to Ontario families. Unfortunately, thanks to the forthcoming HST, that dream is going to become much more expensive. After July 1, 2010, every residential real estate transaction in Ontario will face a significant tax increase. Specifically, home buyers and sellers can expect to pay 8% more on legal fees, appraisals, real estate commissions, home inspection fees, moving costs and the provincial government’s forthcoming system of mandatory home energy audits. According to the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Ontarians will pay, on average, an additional $1,449 in new taxes on their next residential real estate transaction. If it’s not bad enough that the new tax will increase the cost of buying a home, then consider the impact on the costs of owning and living in that home after it’s been purchased. Specifically, a HST will add hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars in additional tax on utility bills, such as gas, electricity and home heating fuel, on home renovation labour, the cost of lawn upkeep or landscaping and the cost of snow removal. Moreover, a HST will increase the cost of living with 8% more tax on gasoline, personal and professional services, meals under $4, dry cleaning, cab fares, magazine subscriptions, plane tickets, vitamins and cell phone charges. When added together, the impact of a HST on Ontario family’s disposable income will be considerable. In short, a HST will reduce the people of Ontario’s quality of life by taking more of their hard earned money. While the Government of Ontario plans to compensate homeowners by offering sales tax transition cheques and modest income tax reductions, these measures will in no way offset this new tax. A onetime payment of $1000 (for a family of four) and a modest $368 reduction in income taxes will do very little to offset the burden of an 8% tax increase on a litany of items in perpetuity. Certain basic needs, like groceries, prescription drugs, and children’s clothing, would be exempt from the new tax. Unfortunately, the provincial government is not proposing to provide a similar exemption for home purchasing costs. Having a roof over one’s head is about as basic as needs get, and the government should recognize this by ensuring that the costs associated with purchasing a home are exempt from the new tax. Help oppose this latest tax grab. Write to your MPP and tell them that Ontarians do not need higher taxes on homeownership.

Monday, November 9, 2009

GTA Real Estate Market Soaring

November 9, 2009 -- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board--It has been a red-hot autumn in the Greater Toronto Area resale housing market.In the first two weeks of October, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,631 sales, a 34 per cent increase compared to the same period a year ago. The average price of GTA homes sold during this timeframe also grew, by 17 per cent, to $414,479. Condominium sales increased 23 per cent to 857 transactions, with an average price of $292,439, up 12 per cent year over year.The average price increased most significantly in the City of Toronto while the 905 Region experienced the strongest sales volumes. In the City of Toronto the average price climbed to $455,001, a 21 per cent increase from mid-October last year. The number of sales was up 31 per cent compared to the same period, reaching a total of 1,489 transactions. Condominium sales in Toronto increased 17 per cent from a year ago, to 589 transactions. They sold at an average price of $318,356, up 15 per cent from a year ago.In the 905 Region sales activity soared to a 37 per cent increase over the first half of October 2008, totaling 2,142 transactions. The average price of a 905 Region home was $386,311, up 14 per cent from a year ago. Condominium transactions increased 40 per cent from a year ago in the 905 Region to 268 sales. They fetched an average price of $235,480, up eight per cent from mid-October last year.Year-to-date sales throughout the GTA have increased six per cent over last year, to a total of 69,964 transactions, putting 2009 on track to finish with some of the best years on record. The average GTA house price has also increased two per cent year-to-date, to $389,697.Given that a global recession resulted in a significant decline in sales activity at this time a year ago, it’s reasonable for this autumn’s sales to be strong by comparison. Substantial price gains though, are particularly noteworthy.I discussed this characteristic of the market with the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis Jason Mercer, who pointed to the factors of supply and demand. “Encouraged by record low interest rates and improved economic outlooks, households in the GTA have become increasingly confident in the home ownership market since the spring. With demand for resale homes rising and listings actually trending lower, it has not been surprising to see an accelerating rate of home price appreciation on average.” According to Mercer, the outlook for the spring housing market is also favourable.“Homeowners will react to the strong price increases experienced in the second half of 2009 and we will see the number of listings increase in 2010. I expect to see the average resale price continue to grow at a sustainable rate next year as well.”

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in the coming months I encourage you to give me a call. Together, we can make it happen. I am always happy to help.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where to buy: Many untapped areas of Toronto that are both desirable and affordable

October 23, 2009 --Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, With Greater Toronto Area resale housing activity continuing at a strong pace, some homebuyers may view a condominium purchase as their only launching point into the market. While condo living is an excellent choice, there are also many untapped desirable neighborhoods where great prices on single detached homes can still be found.
One such example is the area around Wilmington Park in North York. Located south of Finch Avenue and West of Bathurst Street, ‘50s era bungalows and side-splits on wide lots are prevalent in this area, which has an abundance of greenspace. Here you can find a home that is still close to central Toronto and you’ll save several thousands of dollars by not paying the premium associated with the Yonge Street corridor. In recent months detached homes in this neighborhood have sold for $549,635 on average, that’s compared to $865,467 in central Toronto.
Along the eastern border of North York, but also still centrally located you’ll find Parkwoods - an area dominated by 60s and 70s era detached homes that are currently selling for $503,040 on average. Parkwoods runs east of the Don Valley Parkway between Highway 401 and Lawrence Avenue, offering residents the natural beauty of the Don River Valley at a lesser price than you would pay in Don Mills. Although it has a suburban feel, its proximity to the Don Valley Parkway means that you’re only minutes away from city life as well.
Offering even easier access to downtown Toronto is East York, which runs long O’Connor Drive between Pape and Woodbine Avenues. Established in 1924, East York’s growth occurred primarily between 1946 and 1961 when its housing stock nearly doubled in size. Known as Canada's only Borough (until 1998), this area features well-loved brick bungalows, increasingly being left behind by seniors and snapped up by young professionals. In recent months, a detached home in East York could be found for approximately $493,870.
The southwest section of downtown Toronto is also a popular option. Beaconsfield Village, named after former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who was given the title of Lord Beaconsfield by Queen Victoria, has undergone extensive gentrification in recent years. This area, along with neighboring Little Portugal, is popular with Toronto's arts community, which has gradually migrated west along Queen Street.
Immediately north of this area is Dufferin Grove, a community that has been completely revitalized by improvements to its focal point, the 14-acre Dufferin Grove Park. You’ll find even greater affordability just west of this area in Brockton Village where detached homes have recently sold for $496,911.
Throughout these neighborhoods you’ll find a variety of single and semi-detached homes, which offer a fair price in exchange for some elbow grease.
Further west, in Etobicoke, you can find another gem of a neighborhood in New Toronto. Originally planned in the 1890s as a working town near the rail lines, this area has begun to attract young professionals thanks to its proximity to both downtown and most significantly, the waterfront. Petite detached homes and cottages, currently selling for $382,750 give this neighborhood a cozy feel.
These are just a few examples of neighborhoods that offer affordability all within reach of downtown Toronto.

Call Jason for more information on these areas and he will help educate you, in order for you to be able to make the right decision for YOU.

GTA Realtors® Reporting October Mid-Month Housing Statistics

October 19, 2009 -- In the first two weeks of October, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,631 sales – up 34 per cent compared to the first two weeks of October 2008. The average price for these transactions was up 17 per cent year-overyear to $414,479.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

GTA Housing Market Rebound Continues in September

October 5, 2009 -- In September 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 8,196 sales, up 28 per cent from September 2008. The average price for September transactions was $406,877 – up by 10 per cent compared to the same month last year.“We have experienced an increasing rate of existing home price growth in the GTA as sales have continued outpace 2008 results,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “Consumers have remained confident in ownership housing as a long-term investment.” Year-to-date sales, at 66,437 were up 4.5 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2008. Average price, at $388,417 was up by almost 1.5 per cent.“Existing home sales will finish strong this year, pushing through the 80,000 mark and moving in line with some of the best years on record under the current TREB market area,” according to Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Go site-seeing!

September 11, 2009 - Toronto Sun-- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board...
As a GTA resident, chances are you’ve enjoyed visits to the city’s major landmarks. This summer though, you may want to skip those in favour of a different kind of sightseeing tour.Our city’s new condominium developments offer a glimpse into the height of luxury and modern design. And these steel and glass monoliths aren’t just breathtaking to behold from outside. In an effort to distinguish their projects in this burgeoning market, developers are in a seemingly limitless pursuit to offer the finest features and amenities.You’ll find stunning three storey lobbies that feature an awe-inspiring mix of glass, exotic wood and marble.For a mere $30 million, a luxury 9,000 square foot penthouse on the 55th floor of the Four Seasons Private Residences can be yours.Condos are not a one-room box with a view of the nearest brick wall. Today’s condominium developers are offering two and three bedroom units with panoramic views high atop the city.And when I say high, I mean really, really high. Due to an increased focus on urban intensification in recent years, GTA condos are growing taller, with the some of the highest reaching 65 storeys.Higher density living is of course, beneficial to the environment but again developers haven’t rested on their laurels when it comes to being green. Many have pursued the coveted LEED certification, involving an independent audit of a building’s sustainable characteristics. Condo owners have benefited by enjoying features like suite controls that allow them to monitor and limit energy usage, energy saving appliances and separate bicycle storage. As an alternative to owning a vehicle, many condo owners use the services of car sharing companies like AutoShare.Convenience is a huge factor in condominium living. Several downtown projects are mixed-use developments, with commercial space on the lower levels and in some cases hotels are integrated into the mix. This means that condo dwellers have the opportunity to enjoy the services of the finest luxury hotels like room service, housekeeping and laundry service. Even pet services and grocery delivery are available upon request.While such services aren’t yet widely available, standard features like security, entertainment and fitness facilities have all been taken up a notch. Lush rooftop gardens feature gas barbeques and fire pits. Fitness facilities include current pools and spas. Concierge and valet services are available around the clock. With libraries, theatres, billiard lounges, wireless Internet and more, you never have to leave the comfort of your building.It’s no wonder that a strong sense of community has sprung up around each new development. Developers celebrate the heritage and the location of their communities, each designed with an identity to appeal to specific lifestyles. Owners in fact, identify so strongly with their condo communities that specific groups on social networking sites like Facebook have developed around them.With all that today’s condo have to offer, it’s not surprising that condominium transactions now constitute almost one in every three homes that changes hands in the GTA and 60 per cent of resale transactions in central Toronto.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just Listed! 233 Beecroft Rd. Suite 717

A Rare 2 Storey Loft Style Condo in a Fabulous “One of a Kind” Building in the Heart of North York. Very Bright & Clean with Floor to Ceiling Windows, Hardwood Floors, Lots of Storage, 2 Lockers, 1 Parking Spot. Open Concept Living with an Unobstructed North/West View. Call Jason to View!

A changing shade of grey...

September 04, 2009 -- Toronto Sun, Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board...
More than most other descriptors, associations with the word ‘grey’ continue to evolve.In recent years for example, rather than being considered drab, grey has emerged as a chic new colour in interior design.Back in 1981 when 9.6 per cent of Canada’s population was age 65 years and older, ‘grey’ had connotations of a more sedate lifestyle.By the time of the last Census though, in 2006, the senior share of the population rose to 13.1 per cent and associations with the word ‘grey’ began to change. Today, 60 is regarded as the new 50.Toronto seniors incidentally, were tallied in the 2006 census to an even greater number, comprising 14 per cent on the population. Nearly 95 per cent of this group lives in private residences, with a diminishing number living in senior living centres.Given that seniors are more likely than other age groups to own their homes, it’s easy to see that they represent a key component of the Greater Toronto Area real estate market.As a result of low fertility rates, longer life expectancies and our aging baby boomer population, in a little more than 25 years from now, seniors will comprise almost 25 per cent of the national population.In recent years a special designation became available to Canadian REALTORS® to help them prepare for the emergence of our city’s senior population.Recognized throughout North America, Seniors Real Estate Specialists® have acquired unique expertise to counsel clients age 50-plus through major lifestyle transitions such as selling the family home, relocating and refinancing. They can also offer insight into trends in senior real estate transactions, and provide referrals to other professional who specialize senior clientele.Compared to generations before them, today’s seniors are a well-heeled group. Many are seasoned homeowners who prefer to spend their time free on routine property maintenance. Rather than choosing to live with their children or move into a retirement home, our aging population now has more options. Given that in most cases it makes more economic sense to make a purchase rather than rent, many seniors are now choosing condo living with design features and amenities that are catered to their needs.Suites include extra lighting, countertops with rounded edges and wide doorways to name just a few design specifics. Seniors’ condo communities now feature access to on-site healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, nutritionists and massage therapists, allowing owners to remain at home and live life to its fullest. Resort-style luxury is the focus with spas, theatres, cafés and gourmet restaurants included in the amenities. Cooking instructors, personal trainers and dog walkers are often also on hand. Condominium developments for seniors don’t just include standard fitness facilities anymore either; you’ll also find reading rooms, greenhouses and salons on the premises as well. With these attractive features it’s no wonder that condominium sales in the GTA have grown to constitute nearly one third of all transactions. As development in the GTA intensifies, our city’s seniors can look forward to even more condominium communities that cater to their interests. In most every way, grey now suggests a chic lifestyle in which quality is never compromised.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Upgraded Family Townhome! $289,900

Rare Corner Unit With Lots of Windows!
3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, Premium Location close to Gatehouse. High-end Hardwood Floors on Main Level, Skylight over Staircase, Clean Bright White Kitchen With Pass-Thru to Dining Room. Lots of Storage. Close to Schools, Shopping, Parks and TTC at Your Door. Call Jason to View!

Vertical City – Toronto is Growing Up

August 21, 2009 -- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. Torontonians are crazy for condos. Last month there were 2,361 condominium sales in the GTA, an increase of 25 per cent from the previous July.While sales of all housing types have been robust throughout the past couple of months, condominium transactions are making a stronger contribution to the big picture than ever before.In little more than a decade, condo sales have gone from comprising a quarter of all GTA resale transactions to accounting for almost one in every three homes that changes hands. In central Toronto condominiums now represent 60 per cent of resale transactions.As a result of the condo boom the population of downtown Toronto grew by 10 per cent in the last five-year census period, representing the largest five-year population increase in the core throughout the last 30 years.And there’s more to come. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts rose in the Toronto area by 10 per cent in June from the previous month to 24,000 units. This can mainly be attributed to condominiums as multi-family developments were up 15 per cent from the prior month.The popularity of condominiums has skyrocketed because they appeal to people from so many different walks of life. Toronto welcomes nearly 100,000 newcomers to Canada each year from countries like India and China, where high-rise living is the norm. As such, Toronto’s condo market is a natural fit.Well-educated young adults who are on a career path also see condo living as an affordable and convenient option, given its proximity to business and city life. Indeed many from the twenty and thirty something age choose developments that reflect their personality.Whether you’re a media buff, into retro chic or have a penchant for fine art, there’s a Toronto condo designed specifically with your needs in mind.Empty nesters and those who purchase property around the globe are also drawn to Toronto condos, given their spectacular architecture and luxurious features.A recent report by Urbanation substantiates their wide appeal; indicating that in the second quarter of this year Toronto’s new condo sales increased 223 per cent from Q1, to 2,963 units.Even if you’re not drawn to this housing type, our new vertical city has an economic benefit to all GTA residents.It obviously benefits housing industry related professions, but it also has a positive impact on a number of other sectors. In fact, according to a study by the Canadian Real Estate Association, one out of every 100 jobs depends on spending associated with resale housing transactions, on things like renovations, furniture and appliances. This study also found that the average resale housing transaction in Ontario generates more than $47,000 in economic spinoffs. Even the smallest businesses benefit from condominium communities, which provide a steady stream of clientele to their ground floor shops. New housing units also put additional funds into the City’s coffers through property taxes. And intensification offers the opportunity to improve, rather than disperse, city services like transit, waste removal and recreation facilities.As the fifth most populous urban centre in North America behind Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, Toronto is growing up, both literally and figuratively as it matures into a world-class city.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

GTA REALTORS® Report August Mid-Month Resale Market Figures

August 18, 2009 -- In the first two weeks of August, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,832 sales – up 27 per cent compared to the first two weeks of August 2008. The average price for these transactions was up three per cent year-over-year to $383,796.
"The results for the first half of August indicate that many households in the GTA remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term," said TREB President Tom Lebour.
Year-to-date sales, at 54,303 are up slightly compared to 54,138 in 2008. Average price, at $385,603 is down by less than one half of one per cent.
"Strong resale housing demand will contribute to broader economic recovery as each transaction results in substantial spin-off benefits to other sectors of the economy," explained Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Home Away from Home

August 7, 2009 -- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board...Statistics show that Greater Toronto Area residents are excited about real estate again. July’s 9,967 sales set a best monthly record, up 28 per cent year over year. The previous month also set a record for June, up 27 per cent from the year prior.We’re even seeing signs of life in the United States resale housing market. In July, the National Association of REALTORS® reported that pending home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month. Existing home sales also increased, for the third consecutive month, with available inventory easing and prices remaining low.This means that if you’re comfortable with your residence here at home, now is an opportune time to invest in a vacation property south of the border.Florida alone welcomes hundreds of thousands of Canadians each year, with many snowbirds taking advantage of United States government provisions that allow us to spend up to six months a year there without having to fulfill visa requirements. That’s plenty of time to enjoy homeownership in a warmer climate.While current market conditions are favourable to making a foreign investment, a number of other factors should also be taken into consideration.The exchange rate is another important detail. The value of the Canadian dollar against other currencies changes daily. Whether you’re planning to buy in the United States or further abroad, look for places where the currency is weak or on par with our dollar to achieve optimal purchasing power.Healthcare is also a consideration. If you stay away longer than six months you could lose access to medical coverage here at home. As well, our healthcare system will only cover part of out-of-country expenses for accidents and illness. Short-term travel insurance is inexpensive but long-term coverage can be costly.Depending on the structure of your home, property insurance could also be less accessible, which is a significant issue given that some locales routinely experience severe weather. In certain places abroad, property can come with inherited debt, so it’s important to ensure that you clearly understand all agreements, particularly if they are in a foreign language. Be aware as well, that depending on where you choose to buy, you may pay higher property taxes than local residents. These are just two examples of why it’s important to research the regulatory aspects of the region in which you choose to buy. It’s important to build a team of professionals to guide you through the process, beginning with a REALTOR®.
A Greater Toronto REALTOR® can help you begin the process by providing a referral to a local expert. It’s also important to enlist the services of a lawyer and a surveyor, to be clear on your property rights, and a tax expert, to take full advantage of government programs for homebuyers.Establishing these important contacts will also help you to gauge other key characteristics like the cost of living, attitude toward foreigners and the crime rate. Once your transaction is complete, be sure to set up automatic withdrawal processes in your foreign bank account so that oversights don’t jeopardize your home ownership. Despite the financial planning and awareness of regulatory issues required, buying a vacation property abroad has its share of rewards.Even taking into account the capital gains tax that is payable when you sell your home away from home, buying a foreign property can bring a healthy return on investment and years of enjoyment to your life.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Listed 1863 Queen St E #219

$419,900 An Entertainer's Delight!Sun Drenched 400 sq ft Terrace with South Exposure in “The Heart Of The Beach”. Popular Split Bedrooms, Open Concept with Great Flow, 2 Separate Walk-outs to Terrace. Granite Kitchen Countertops, Pantry, Ceramic Backsplash. Steps to Boardwalk, Lake, Trendy Shops & Restaurants, TTC. Well Managed Desirable Low Rise Building.
Nothing To Do But Move In! Call Jason to View!

The Canadian Dream!

July 31, 2009 -- Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. It’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the busy fall period in the Greater Toronto Area’s resale housing market. In fact, due to current weather patterns, this season could go on record as the summer that wasn’t. It’s important to recognize though, that with every persistent cloud comes a silver lining.Some cottagers who normally make the trek North every Friday have tailored their plans according to the weather this year and in doing so, they may have also re-evaluated their need for a recreation property. That’s good news if you’re thinking of buying a vacation home.There are however, a number of factors to consider if you’re planning to own a cottage or chalet. Fortunately, financing may be easier than you think. Most financial institutions’ mortgage approval criteria remain consistent for both primary and secondary residences. You may for example, be able to finance 95 per cent of your purchase by qualifying for an insured loan. As well, if your primary residence is worth more than your outstanding mortgage, you may be able to leverage some of that equity to buy a recreation property. Making a purchase with family and friends is also an option but in this case, it’s important to undertake a usage schedule and succession planning in advance. While some buyers regard the property as a vacation getaway, others might see it as an investment with rental potential. Be sure that your goals are established at the outset, particularly if it’s a joint venture Bear in mind that since your objectives may change, factors that affect resale value should always be considered. Driving distance is one such factor, as is accessibility. Getting there by water or an unsafe back-road could be less desirable and in the latter case, it’s important to explore potential costs associated with maintaining the road. Identify your proximity to the nearest town and marina, whether the property has access to hydro and telephone lines, and whether you’re within mobile phone reach. Learning about garbage disposal and emergency services is also essential. In fact, many of the basics that we take for granted have to be considered. Learn whether the property has a septic system and if so, whether it is far enough away from tree roots to prevent blockage. If there is a well, be sure it is on higher ground than the septic system and if you’ll be using lake water, be clear on treatment processes. Your mortgage provider may require a potability test to ensure the water quality is safe. Consider the property’s physical aspects too, taking into consideration changing water levels and the potential for erosion, and whether you prefer sun exposure or a wooded lot. If you’re planning to buy a waterfront property, investigate whether it’s a sandy beach or a rock bottom and be sure to obtain a copy of the survey to determine whether others have access to your land. Look into zoning as well, to be clear on the types of land and water uses permitted and to consider the effect of potential development in the future.While you’re considering the long-term scenario, remember to set aside funds for upkeep to ensure the physical structure retains its value. You’ll also need to plan for property tax, insurance and utility costs.Although there are a number of factors to consider, flocking to recreation properties is a Canadian tradition because of the breathtaking scenery our country has to offer. With proper planning and consulting a local REALTOR®, you can own a piece of the Canadian dream and enjoy a healthy return on investment in the long-term.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

“Move or Improve”: Weighing the Benefits of Renovating

July 24, 2009 --Tom Lebour is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. These are exciting times for the Greater Toronto Area resale housing market. Last month, 10,955 properties changed hands, making it the best June on record. While many GTA residents have capitalized on low mortgage rates to make their next move, this year’s federal tax incentive has motivated others to renovate instead. If you are a homeowner, eventually you may have to decide whether to renovate or move on. There are many factors you should consider when weighing both options.The most significant consideration of course, is cost. When you undertake a renovation, costs can escalate due to a number of variables. As well, bear in mind that if you are planning to renovate, the project has to make economic sense. You might really want sparkling granite countertops and radiant floor heating, but consider whether these improvements are advisable in your current location.If after renovations are complete, the value of your home is no longer in line with the value of other properties in the area, it could affect your return on the investment. In other words, if the cost of your renovation outweighs the market value it will add to your home, the wiser decision could be to simply move on.The Appraisal Institute of Canada provides information for renovation planning and not surprisingly, fix-ups to kitchens, bathrooms and paint are the best options, returning up to 100 per cent of your investment. Its recent study showed that energy efficient upgrades, like windows and heating systems, have an average recovery rate of 61 per cent.If you are working towards a greener home though, some of the costs can be offset by a number of government programs.Natural Resources Canada for example, provides a grant to homeowners who undertake renovations that improve the energy efficiency rating of their homes. An EnerGuide for Houses evaluation must be performed prior and subsequent to renovations to determine the change in the home’s rating. Grants are $750 on average, but vary based on the amount by which the home’s energy rating improves as a result of renovations.As well, the federal government’s 2009 Home Renovation Tax Credit provides a 15 per cent credit that can be claimed on a portion of eligible fix-ups between $1,000 and $10,000, a credit of up to $1,350. Another federal government initiative, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program provides financial assistance on renovations that bring housing up to basic health and safety standards, to a maximum loan of $16,000 in the Toronto area.The Ontario government offers a $500 rebate when you replace an inefficient central air conditioner with an ENERGYSTAR® certified system, and a $50 rebate when you have your central air conditioner tuned up by a registered participating contractor. There is also a $75 rebate on the supply and installation of programmable thermostats. The City of Toronto’s WaterSaver Program offers residents $60 cash back plus a chance to win $2500 when they buy eligible high-efficiency washers, and various municipalities, including Toronto, have implemented Residential Toilet Replacement programs, offering cash incentives to replace units with selected water-efficient models.Before you undertake any renovations though, it’s important to recognize the magnitude of inconvenience you will experience. Consider that moving into a home can be accomplished in about 60 days while major renovations can take up to a year. You can choose to live through the chaos or rent elsewhere, adding to your overall costs. When you are confronted by changing needs, the most cost-effective choice is often to move on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Listed! 23 Sudbury St. # 2305

Outstanding Value! $347,700.00
3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Stacked Condo Townhouse in Trendy King West Village. South Facing Essex Model With Huge Rooftop Terrace. Open Concept Living/Dining/Kitchen. Neutral In Décor!
A Must See!!
Call Jason to View!

Just Listed! 78 Harrison Garden Blvd.#611

Incredible Value!
2 Split Bedrooms, 2 Baths, Unobstructed South / West Views, Modern Open Concept Kitchen with Granite Counter Tops, Laminate Floors, Very Bright and Spacious. Tridel Skymark Avondale. Million Dollar Facilities!!!
Call Jason to View!

“Weathering the Storm”: GTA market is holding it’s own in tough times

July 17, 2009 --Tom Lebour, President, Toronto Real Estate Board-- In last week’s article I explained that the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recorded a record 10,955 sales in June. We also experienced the first annual average price increase since August 2008, with the average price rising two per cent to almost $404,000. This week, I want to talk about why the Greater Toronto Area housing market has remained resilient over the past year and also why we should continue to see steady growth in the housing market over the longer term.So, how is it possible that during a recession we saw record existing home sales last month? TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer, points to affordability: “With prices leveling off, mortgage rates at or near historic lows and earnings continuing to grow, the average home became more affordable for the average household this Spring.” Mercer also suggested that “many households were in a holding pattern during the winter months, waiting to see how they would be positioned during these slower economic times. Moving into the spring, households confident in their employment situation moved quickly to take advantage of heightened affordability.” Last week a report released by RBC confirmed that affordability improved over the last quarter in the GTA.Low mortgage rates have clearly been a factor in keeping the housing market buoyant. This is in stark contrast to the recessions we experienced in the early 1980s and early 1990s, when home buyers were faced with double-digit mortgage rates. According to Mercer, “the Bank of Canada kept inflation in check over the past decade, so they had room to aggressively drop interest rates to help stimulate economic recovery. This wasn’t an option in previous recessions.”Home ownership will continue to be a wise long-term investment in the GTA because of our steady population growth. This region is the single greatest beneficiary of immigration into Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the GTA has the highest percentage of foreign-born population compared to all other major metropolitan areas around the world. Newcomers have been attracted by the diversity the GTA offers: certainly ethnic and cultural diversity, but also diversity in terms of jobs. Over the long term, people have been able to find employment in almost every sector of the economy. This means that this region is attractive to people from many different walks of life with many different skill sets. At the end of the day, all of these people require a place to live. Some of these newcomers will purchase a home right away; others may rent or live with family or friends before purchasing a home at some point in the future.When we think about the health of the GTA housing market, we have to take a short and long-term view. We may not experience record sales or price growth this year. But, when we look back on 2009, we will definitely be able to say that the region’s housing market fared very well in the midst of a global economic slow-down. The housing market follows cycles over the short-term, but if we look forward not one or two years, but instead a decade or more, the future looks very bright indeed. Steady population growth will prompt sustainable long-term growth in sales and home values.
Tom Lebour is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 28,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

Monday, July 6, 2009

GTA Resale Housing Market Posts Best June on Record

Market Watch...July 6, 2009 -- In June 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported a record 10,955 sales, up 27 per cent from June 2008. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales in June was 100,700.1“The record result in June is testament to the fundamentally sound housing market in the GTA,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “An increasing number of households have been confident in purchasing a home in the region’s affordable and diverse resale housing market.”The average price for June transactions was $403,972 – up by two per cent compared to the same month last year.“The re-emergence of seller’s market conditions has exerted upward pressure on home prices,” explained Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Look for sales to remain high relative to listings in the second half of the year. This will keep home prices growing.”1Seasonally adjusting TREB MLS® data removes recurring seasonal trends observed each year. For example, MLS® sales are highest in late spring each year and lowest in the winter months. Removing the recurring seasonality, allows for the analysis of a meaningful trend reflecting actual changes in market conditions. By multiplying the monthly seasonally-adjusted figure by 12, creating an annual rate, we can compare how the current month relates to historical annual figures.
Median Price
In June the median price was $345,000, from the $335,250 recorded during June of 2008.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Listed! $276,000

1050 The Queensway Ave. Suite 114

WOW! This 1 + 1 Bedroom Shows Beautifully! Outstanding Layout in 850 Sq Feet of Luxury Plus 200 Sq Ft Terrace! 2 Level Loft Design With Open Concept. Main Floor Walk Out To Huge Terrace. Main Floor 2 PC Bath. 2nd Level Master Retreat With Ultra Modern Ensuite Bath. Den Could Be Used For a 2nd Bedroom. Pet Friendly Building! A Must See! Call Jason to View!!!

Just Listed! $349,900

83 Watkins Glen Crescent

Terrific EXTRA WIDE End Unit Freehold Townhome!
One of the Largest Lots in Bayview Greens Community!
3 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths with Thousands Spent on Upgrades. Very Bright & Spacious, Tastefully Decorated, Open Concept, Professionally Finished Basement. Nicely Landscaped with HUGE DECK, Perfect for Entertaining!
Call Jason to View!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summertime House Maintenance

I am passing on a list of Areas to Address for Summertime House Maintenance From A Local Professional Home Inspector...

  1. Monitor basement humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 60 per cent. Use a dehumidifier to maintain safe relative humidity. Clean or replace air conditioning filter, and wash or replace ventilation system filters if necessary.
  2. Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping, and take corrective action, for example, reduce humidity and or insulate cold water pipes.
  3. Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water. Refill with water if necessary.
  4. If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, for example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
  5. Deep clean carpets and rugs.
  6. Vacuum bathroom fan grille.
  7. Disconnect the duct connected to the dryer and vacuum lint from duct, the areas surrounding your clothes dryer and your dryer’s vent hood outside.
  8. Check security of all guardrails and handrails.
  9. Check smooth functioning of all windows and lubricate as required.
  10. Inspect window putty on outside of glass panes and replace if needed.
  11. Lubricate door hinges and tighten screws as needed.
  12. Lubricate garage door hardware and ensure it is operating properly.
  13. Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain, etc. and ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.
  14. Check and replace damaged caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house.
  15. Inspect electrical service lines for secure attachment where they enter your house, and make sure there is no water leakage into the house along the electrical conduit.
  16. Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.
  17. Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.
  18. Remove any plants that contact, or roots that penetrate, the siding or brick.
  19. Climb up on your roof, or use binoculars, to check its general condition, and note any sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic. Note the condition of all shingles for possible repair or replacement, and examine all roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.
  20. Sweep chimneys connected to any woodburning appliance or fireplace, and inspect them for end-of-season problems.
  21. Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.
  22. Repair driveway and walkways as needed.
  23. Repair any damaged steps that present a safety problem.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homeowners in line for 15% Rebate on Home Renovations

In an effort to stimulate the sagging economy, the Government of Canada recently introduced a new Tax Rebate on home renovations done in 2009. Following the recent announcement of the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC), tax taxpayers can claim 15% of their home improvement bills for work done between January 27, 2009 to February 1, 2010.
The tax credit, which is available for homes or cottages owners, is effective immediately. Taxpayers can claim renovations on their 2009 tax returns on costs over $1,000, but not exceeding $10,000 for a total tax break of $1,350 maximum.
Eligibility for the HRTC will be family based. A family will be allowed a single credit that may be shared within the family. If two or more families share the ownership of an eligible dwelling, each family will be eligible for their own separate credit (i.e. each up to $1,350) that will be calculated on their respective eligible expenditures.
If you own a home and a cottage, eligible expenditures incurred for both properties will normally qualify for the HRTC. However the maximum amount you can claim in respect of the HRTC is $10,000 per family.
The list of eligible expenses for the tax credit includes:
* renovating kitchens, bathrooms or basements
* new carpeting or flooring
* building additions, decks, or retaining walls
* installing furnaces or water heaters
* interior and exterior painting
* driveway resurfacing
Home furniture, appliances, tools, home cleaning and routine maintenance are excluded.
The home renovation program would appear to involve considerably less red tape than some existing initiatives that encourage investment in the home. Programs that involve rebates for investment in the energy efficiency of a house, for example, require a government auditor to approve the changes made to a home to ensure energy efficiencies have been realized.
The HRTC, however, requires homeowners to apply for the tax credit directly on their income-tax returns. The only demand is that the taxpayer save the appropriate receipts in case of a future audit by Revenue Canada.
Also on the home front, the government will put an extra $300 million over two years into energy retrofits, raise the amount first-time homebuyers can borrow from their RRSPs to $25,000, and provide up to $750 in tax relief to help with their purchases.
The federal government said the incentive will provide about $3 billion in tax relief to some 4.6 million families.
For more information about the HRTC program please visit:

Market Watch - May 2009

Housing Sales Increase for the Second Month in a Row!

For the second month in a row, the Canadian housing market has recorded an increasing number of sales in most areas around the country. “Conditions in the resale housing market have improved markedly this Spring,” according to TREB President Maureen O’Neill. “Home purchases have increased as households have taken advantage of low interest rates and slightly lower home prices.”While April sales remained lower than last year, the housing market gained momentum on a month-over-month basis.Paul Penner, President of the Fraser Valley real estate board, says current conditions have created one of the best buying opportunities in years. “REALTORS® have successfully communicated to their sellers to be more realistic with their prices, which is why we’ve seen a 29% increase in sales from March to April.” Penner also attributes the increase to all-time historically low interest rates and still relatively high inventory for Fraser Valley, although it is dropping rapidly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fabulous R*E*N*O*V*A*T*E*D 2 Bedroom Suite in High Demand North York Location

Offered at $167,500
Thousands Spent in Upgrades. Tastefully Decorated in Neutral Décor. Huge Storage/Laundry Room, Double Bedroom Closets, Well Managed Building. Close to Shops, Schools, TTC, Parks, HWY’s. Nothing To Do But Move In!
Call Jason to View!

Beautiful Freehold Townhome!

Offered at $349,900.

This 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bathroom, Family Room with Walk-Out, Open Concept Living.

Very Rare South Facing Yard Backing Onto Park! Extremely Bright & Spacious! Neutral In Decor. Steps to R/T, Shopping, Parks & More! Call Jason to View!

Ownership Housing Plays Important Role

Maureen O’Neill, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board
May 22, 2009 -- A couple of months ago, I focused this column on the affordable housing strategy that the City of Toronto was developing. This is an important issue, so I want to update you on where this strategy stands.After almost a year of consultations, a final version of the strategy was released by the City last week. Although it is not perfect, the document does make some encouraging commitments, the most important of which, I believe, are the targets that it sets for affordable ownership housing. Before I get into the details of this aspect, it is worth mentioning that the simple fact that the City’s strategy includes actions on affordable ownership housing is a considerable accomplishment. In the past, government action on affordable housing almost always focused exclusively on rental housing. For years, REALTORS® have been telling governments that ownership housing has an important role to play in affordable housing policy. This is exactly what we told the City, and I was encouraged to see some of our formal input included directly in the final version of their strategy.As we noted in our input to the City, while rental housing plays a critical role in addressing Toronto’s affordable housing challenges, ownership housing can have distinct advantages, including.
helping to ensure long-term financial security for low-income households by allowing for asset-building and the creation of equity;
creating pride of ownership, which promotes urban renewal and ultimately benefits the entire community; and,
helping to ensure rental vacancy rates remain healthy by freeing up rental units when renters make the jump to ownership.
While recognizing the role of ownership housing is critical, the actions taken to make it happen are just as important. In that regard, one of the most important commitments in the City’s strategy is the plan to extend City incentives, which are currently restricted to rental housing, to affordable home ownership initiatives. This means that the City could be offering breaks on things like property taxes, development charges, and other fees or taxes, which will help to encourage the creation of new affordable ownership housing and help people to afford the homes that they currently live in. It is expected that City will begin working on a by-law to implement this action in the fall and REALTORS® look forward to working with the City on this.Although I am encouraged by the City’s affordable housing strategy, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some concerns over City policies that contradict the laudable objectives of this plan. I remain concerned about numerous recent City decisions that, in fact, are adding to the cost of home ownership, specifically the unfair Toronto Land Transfer Tax, property tax increases at twice the rate of inflation, and increases to costs such as garbage pick-up and water use. With this in mind, I hope that the City’s new affordable housing strategy will help to re-focus City Council’s priorities in a way that benefits home owners and buyers.Adequate housing is a fundamental need. REALTORS® understand this, which is why we will continue to work with the City, and all levels of government, to ensure that home ownership remains attainable for as many people as possible. “Greater Toronto REALTORS® look to this conference as a source of information on all of the latest tools and trends in the profession,” said Ms. O’Neill. “It is an excellent example of REALTORS’® ongoing commitment to provide quality service to their clients.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

In The Trenches In Toronto...

In the last couple of weeks, it seems like the Real Estate market ALL OVER TORONTO has been extremely HOT. Detached, Semi's & Freehold's that are in average to above average condition and are priced competitively, seem to be selling fast.
This is a true testament that today's affordability continues to possitively drive the market in TORONTO.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gated Victorian Mansion In The Republic of Rathnelly

300 Avenue Road Suite #4.


Outstanding & Quite Unique 2 Bedroom, 3 Bath, 2 Level Unit Which Has Been Tastefully Upgraded Through Out !! Along with Your Private 20' X 20' West Facing Deck. A True Entertainer's Delight! If You Are Looking For That Special Place in the City...Call Me at 416-443-0300.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

March MLS Numbers Indicate Real Estate Bottom**NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY

Toronto -April 6, 2009

In March 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 6,171 sales - down 7% from March 2008, representing the smallest year-over-year decline in the last five months. The average price for March transactions was $362,052 - down less than 5 % from the same month last year. "The Greater Toronto housing market has stood up very well given the challenging economic times the world has experienced in recent months," commented TREB President Maureen O'Neill.

"In fact, over the past two months, the situation in the housing market has improved."

"Sales in March incresed at a rate over and above what would be expected from the normal spring-time bump," said Jason Mercer TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "A greater number of households have taken advantage of incresed affordability in the housing marketplace"

MORE positive news is that the 'days on market' fell from February 2009--45days to March 2009--39 days. This is the largest positive indication of recovery...the number of days for a property to sell.

With prices down a little from last year and interest rates at historical lows, it is 20% cheaper to own real estate in Toronto. NOW is THE TIME to BUY. Prices will not stay lower and interest rates will go back up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's a Good Time To Buy:Poll

Toronto Sun, Mar. 15, 2009. The economy hasn't slowed down Canadians' intensions to buy a home. In the 16th annual RBC Homeownership Survey, released last week, 65% of Canadians think it's a buyer's market, and more than a quarter of Canadians(27%) say they intend to purchase a home over the next two years, up 4 points from 23% in 2008- largest single year increase since 2001.
In Ontario, the response is even stronger: 30% said they were likely to purchase a home within the next two years, up from 21% in 2008.
"The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians' overall confidence in the housing market," said Karen Leggett, head of home equity financing for RBC Royal Bank.
According to the survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, a majority of Canadians(83%) remain positive that home ownership is a good investment.
"Low Mortgage Rates and favourable housing prices are influencing home purchase intentions this year and may be the reason more Canadians are poised to purchase over the next two years", added Leggett.
Indeed, among those who intend to buy, three in ten say favourable price is a major reason.
The primary reason stated by homeowners not planning to purchase a home is that they are content with the home they have (60%). Job loss/employment factors (8%) as well as general concerns about the economy (6%) also influenced people'd decision not to buy a home.
Almost all respondents (96%) indicated that buying a home with low energy consumption was important to them, and 81% said the same about environmentally friendly features.

Monday, March 16, 2009

First Time Buyer's Dream!

Affordable Home Ownership in this Terrific Newer Freehold Townhome! Whitby.

Unique Open Concept Main Floor with "Great Room". Neutral Decor, Tastefully Upgraded. Fully Fenced Backyard with Access to Garage PLUS Direct Entry From Garage. Extremely Clean & Well Kept with over 1,500 Sq Ft. Close to Schools, Parks, Shopping & More! $249,900

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If You Are Currently Renting...

Investment Chart
For Wealth Creation!

Year 1..........................................................Year 20

Buy................$200,000.....(Use Zero Inflation)...$200,000
Down Payment....$40,000.....(rent pays mortgage).............
Mortgage........$160,000.......................Clear = $160,000

You have $160,000 free & clear more than you have today (not taking into consideration interest, tax w/off, home repairs etc.

Index to Inflation:
@ 3 1/2 % inflation doubles in 20 years = house worth $400,000 ++

If you take positive cash flow and put back into the mortgage you may realize full return in less than 15 years.

$40,000. Down
$10,000. in Annual Rent
= 25% Annual Return on Cash Invested

If you are currently renting, then your Landlord gets these benefits.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Unsure Where To Put Your Money???

GIC's? RRSP's? TFSA's? RESP's?

Try Real Estate!!!

Is This The Right Time to Buy an Investment Property??
Many of you have asked me that question recently. Now is a good time for me to share with you some unprecedented realities on this subject. The real estate market conditions are very good right now for Buyers and Investors to take that step forward.

1. The Market has cooled down from previous years which means instead of a Seller's Market (More Buyers than Sellers), we are seeing more of a Buyer’s Market (More Sellers than Buyers) now. There are many good opportunities out there now from a pricing standpoint.

2. Mortgage rates have NEVER been as LOW as they are right now. Prime Rate is 3% and “best” 5 year rates are sitting at 4.34%.. Historically when we have seen an adjustment in the Real Estate Market, the interest rates have actually risen. That is not the case now.

3. The Rental Market is currently very robust. Toronto is not only a very diverse city which attracts many corporations and industry, there are very healthy rental market conditions.

4.When looking at building your Portfolio which includes multiple property ownership, we need to focus on monthly carrying costs more than purchase price. Reason being that the key to success here are the carrying costs.

Sample Investment Costing Breakdown

Investment Property Price: $300,000
Downpayment: $30,000
Mortgage Amount: $270,000
CMHC Fees: @2.4% $6,840
Total Financing: $276,840

Principle & Interest @ 4.34% 5yr Term, 35yr amortization .........................15,315.00 /yr... 1,276.30 /month
Property Tax............................ 3,000.00 /yr... 250.00 /month
Total Payment..................... 18,315.00 /yr... 1,526.30 /month

Refinancing of Existing Property

Downpayment for Investment Property........... 30,000.00
Land Transfer Tax ......................................5,700.00
Legal Fees for refinance .................................200.00
Legal fees for Investment property Closing........ 1,300.00
Total.................................................... 37,200.00

Additional Principle & Interest Payment @4.34% 5yr Term 35yr Amortization....................... 2,058.00 /yr... 171.50 /month
TOTAL MONTHLY CARRYING COSTS.............1,697.80/month

This looks like a substantial monthly commitment, Right?

Let’s now look at Potential Income.

Typical 2/3 Bdrm Upper Unit Income..13,200.00/yr...$1,100.00 month
Typical 1 Bdrm Lower Level Income.....10,200.00/yr..$ 850.00 month
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME.............................. $1,950.00 month

In this Sample “Investment Cost breakdown” you will see that there is a surplus of $252.20 monthly. This amount could be used to Offset your Existing Mortgage on your Principle Residence or Potential Maintenance or simply treating yourself to an Evening Out.

This Sample Investment Cost Breakdown is just an example using average Dollar amounts, ie property price, property tax, etc. Every situation is different so looking for the right property/scenario is important. Feel free to give me a call and I would be happy to help you further your property portfolio.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Do Mortgage Rates Today Compare to One Year Ago?

From the desk of Carolyn Dunlop, Senior Mortgage Specialist, Dominion Lending Centres Edge Financial...

February 26, 2009. Given recent decreases in activity in the real estate market it may be prudent to examine how falling mortgage rates are affecting potential purchases for clients today. Believe it or not it is actually much more affordale to buy a home now as opposed to one year ago.
In February 2008 the best 5 year mortgage rate was 5.79%. For a client with a $250,000 mortgage this translates to a monthly payment of $1,568 based on a 25 year amortization. Over the course of this 5 year term the client would pay interest on this mortgage of $68,026.
Compare this to today's best 5 year rate of 4.00%*. The same $250,000 mortgage will now cost the client $1,315 per month based on a 25 year amortization and will result in interest of $46,537 over 5 years. The interest savings to the client over 5 years is $68,026 - $46,537 = $21,489. But that's not all...the client also saves on the monthly payment. Payment savings are equal to $1,568-$1,315 =$253/month x 60 months = $15,180. So the total savings to the client is $21,489 + $15,180 = $36,669!!!
The remarkably low rates could also be used to help purchase a more expensive home. If the client was able to pay $1,568 per month for a $250,000 mortgage one year ago at the 5.79% rate, they could now purchase a home for $48,000 more for the same payment. With a rate of 4.00%* they now qualify for a mortgage of $298,000 at the same payment of $1,568.
Perhaps this is a bright spot in our present economy....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TREB President's Column as it appears in the Toronto Sun

Toronto Real Estate Board to Feds: More help to Homebuyers
January 23, 2009
-- It was encouraging, and inspiring, to see the optimism surrounding the inauguration of President Barack Obama earlier the week. Considering the importance of the U.S. economy to the world, I, like many, hope that the President will move swiftly and decisively to address his nation’s economic challenges; but while U.S. action is critical for the global economy, action is needed by all governments, including Canada’s. This is why next week’s federal budget announcement in Ottawa is receiving so much attention from all circles, including REALTORS®.
The federal budget has one simple mission: take action on the economy. To do so, there are various areas that it can, and should focus on, but there is no question that the housing sector is, always has been, and always will be, one of the most important parts of the economy. A recent study conducted for the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) determined that every time a consumer purchases a re-sale property in Ontario, they pump approximately $33,000 into the economy on things like furniture, renovations, and appliances. Nationally, in an average year, re-sale housing sales generate approximately $16 billion of spin-off spending for the Canadian economy, including over $2 billion for the Toronto area alone.
This spending translates directly into jobs and should be encouraged. With this in mind, one of the things that REALTORS® have been telling the federal government it can do is to increase the amount that home buyers can borrow from their RRSP’s, under the Home Buyers’ Plan, to put towards the down payment on a home.Under this program, individual home buyers are allowed to withdraw up to $20,000 ($40,000 per couple), tax-free, from their RRSP, to put towards the down payment on a home. The funds must be deposited in their RRSP at least 90 days before being withdrawn under the program. This makes the Home Buyers’ Plan one of the best ways to save for a down payment because home buyers get the added benefit of a tax deduction for contributions made to their RRSP. Under the program, home buyers are required to repay funds into their RRSP, but repayments are not required to begin until the second year after the withdrawal, and can be made over 15 years.
Since 1992, an estimated 2 million Canadians have used the Home Buyers’ Plan to purchase approximately 900,000 homes, making the program a huge success. Unfortunately, as time has passed, the usefulness of this program has eroded because withdrawal limits have not been adjusted. For this reason, REALTORS® are calling on the federal government to use its upcoming budget to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $25,000 and adjusting it for inflation every five years.
Governments across the world have been taking bold action to address the economic challenges we face. In this regard, next week’s budget will be an important opportunity for Canada’s federal government to show that it understands the critical role of the housing sector in the economy.
Maureen O’Neill is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 28,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Federal Budget Helps Home Buyers and Owners

Federal Budget Helps
Home Buyers and Owners
It is always rewarding when hard work produces results.
That’s why REALTORS® are proud of the work they did
to make sure that the recently announced Federal Budget
recognized the importance of the housing sector to the
economy. I’m happy to say that these efforts helped to
produce a Budget that puts more money in the pockets of
home buyers and owners.
One of the most important announcements in the Budget
was a change to the Home Buyers’ Plan that REALTORS®
have long been calling for. Specifically, the Budget proposes
to increase the maximum amount that individuals can
withdraw, tax-free, from their RRSP to put towards the down
payment on a home, from $20,000 to $25,000. REALTORS®
worked hard to ensure that the government understood that,
while this program has been extremely successful since it
was first implemented in 1992, its usefulness to home buyers
was deteriorating because the withdrawal limit had not kept
pace with inflation. The increase in the limit announced
with the Budget addresses this concern.
Another important Budget announcement for home buyers is
a tax credit that will help to offset the closing costs associated
with housing purchases. Closing costs can include things
like legal fees and land transfer taxes. They can represent
a significant cost for many buyers. The Federal Budget
recognized this and includes a First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax
Credit of 15 per cent on up to $5,000 of costs associated with
the home purchase. This means that first-time home buyers
could be eligible for a tax credit of up to $750.
The Federal Budget also includes an initiative that helps
both current home owners and home buyers considering
properties that may benefit from renovations. The Home
Renovation Tax Credit provides a 15 per cent credit that
can be claimed on the portion of eligible home renovations
exceeding $1,000, but not more than $10,000, which means
that home owners could be eligible for a tax credit of up to
$1,350. This credit would apply to eligible home renovation
expenditures, after January 27, 2009 and before February
1, 2010, on one or more of an individual’s personal use
While it is encouraging to see the federal government take
action to help home buyers and owners, it is important for all
levels of government to do their part. This is especially true
in the City of Toronto, where the Toronto Land Transfer Tax
discourages home ownership. Like the federal government,
Toronto City Council should recognize the importance of the
housing industry to the economy, and the best way it can do
this is to roll back the Toronto Land Transfer Tax.
By helping to create thousands of jobs, buying or improving
a home is not only an investment in a property; it is also an
investment in the economy. REALTORS® are encouraged that
the Federal Budget recognized this reality and will continue
to work hard to represent the interest of home buyers and
owners at all levels of government.
REALTORS’® interaction with governments occurs in many
forms, but probably the most critical is the work they do to
ensure that politicians consider the impact of their decisions
on home buyers, home owners, and real estate markets.
With this in mind, REALTORS® and their professional
associations such as the Canadian Real Estate Association,
Ontario Real Estate Association, and the Toronto Real Estate
Board are constantly monitoring government proposals and
actions, and are ready to spring into action.
Maureen O’Neill is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board,
a professional association that represents 28,000 REALTORS®
in the Greater Toronto Area.

Finding a Needle in a Haystack

There are hundreds of homes on the market in the area where you might choose to live. But very few of those homes will have the features that are on your top 10 list and the price you can afford. Sifting through the pile to narrow down the best choices takes time, experience, and a complete listing of all For Sale homes in the market area. Without the right tools it can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
While some folks enjoy the challenge of exploring the real estate market on their own, it never hurts to team up with a network of professionals who know the market inside and out. Finding the right home for you has little to do with luck and everything to do with hard work and perseverance!
Choosing me as your real estate professional will provide you with:
* The knowledge of an experienced REALTOR to steer you through the twists and turns of real estate transactions.
* Straight answers to your toughest questions.
* An area-wide multi-list of Homes For Sale. Since more sellers list with REALTORS® than “do it yourself” selling, you have a much larger selection of homes to choose from.
* Up to date information on property values in the area of your interest.
* A complimentary market analysis of your current property—even if you aren’t ready to move yet, this is a useful tool to have.
I would be honored to serve you now or in the future.