Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report Mid-April Resale Market Figures

TORONTO-April 16, 2010--Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 4,601 sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) during the first two weeks of April.
This represented a 25 percent increase compared to the 3,681 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings increased by 48 per cent annually to 9,512.
"The fact that annual growth in new listings outstriped growth by listing their homes in greater numbers. They are confident they will receive offers in line with their asking price."
The average price for April mid-month transactions was $430,271 - up 12 percent compared to the average of $383,361 recorded during the first 14 days of April 2009.
"The average annual rate of price increase has declined and we are shortly going to see a return to sustainable single-digit rates of growth," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
"As Home Buyers experience more choice in the marketplace, there will be less upward pressure on the average selling price in the GTA."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Many Ways to Cut Energy Costs

April 16, 2010 -- Toronto Star--Tom Lebour,President of the Toronto Real Estate Board.
If there is one thing on which all homeowners can agree, it’s that there’s always something to do around the house.If during these remaining weeks of winter you’re developing a list of improvements to get underway this spring, be sure to include energy efficiency enhancements, which contribute to your home’s overall value while also reducing your energy costs.If you have an older home, renovations such as new windows, extra insulation or an Energy Star rated furnace can sizably diminish your energy costs. You can even qualify for government rebates to help you through the process.There are a number of minor changes you can also undertake to make a big difference to your monthly energy bills. It’s estimated for example, that you can save two per cent on your heating bill for every degree that you lower your thermostat. Replacing your old thermostat with an Energy Star programmable unit that automatically adjusts while you’re asleep or away is therefore, well worth the cost. Consider that adding a little caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows can also have a positive cumulative effect. If you have a traditional fireplace be sure to close the damper or preferably, have a natural gas insert installed so that warm air isn’t needlessly drawn out of your home.Even your approach to landscaping can affect your heating and cooling bills. Situate deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your property to offer shade in summer and coniferous trees on the north and east perimeter to provide a wind barrier in winter. Similarly, consider opening window coverings to allow the sun to warm a room and close them at night to help insulate it.Simple swaps like CFL bulbs or low flow showerheads and toilets will also contribute to your home’s energy efficiency and often come with added money saving rebates. A tankless water heater can save you up to $100 year as well, by only providing the hot water that is needed rather than maintaining it in a cylinder.Where electronics are concerned, shut off energy usage completely by unplugging them and with respect to appliances, replace them where possible with Energy Star rated units. Refrigerators for example, comprise 11 per cent of a home’s energy consumption and today’s units use 50 per cent less energy than those made 10 years ago.Look for self-cleaning ovens because their added insulation means greater efficiency. Use a microwave or toaster oven for smaller meals. Choose front-loading washers, which use 40 per cent less water and 50 per cent less energy than top loading models. Select a dryer with a sensor that automatically turns the machine off when clothes are dry. Most importantly, keep all of your appliances clean and fully loaded for maximum efficiency.Contributing to a better tomorrow doesn’t have to require a large investment. To learn about features that are in demand in today’s housing market, talk to a Greater Toronto REALTOR® and visit www.TorontoRealEstateBoard.com for full details on government programs that are available to help your home function at its best.

Or...Call me, I would be happy to help....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

MLS-Rental Market Report

Toronto Real Estate Board-
"From September through December 2009, TREB Members reported 3,859 lease transactions for condo apartments and Townhouses through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) - Up 12 percent from the 3,433 recorded during the same time in 2008. Condo Apartment transactions, which account for over 90 % of the total, were also up 12 %.
The weighted average rent across all apartment types and all TREB districts for the last four months of 2009 was $1,667 - in line with the 2008 weighted average of $1,672. This reflected the fact that average rents for the two most popular apartment categories moved in opposite directions, with one percent decrease for one bedroom apstments and one percent increase for two bedroom apartments. At district level, rent changes were quite mixed, in some cases changing at rates above or below the GTA average."

For a complete report, email me at jawalker@trebnet.com. I would be happy to send it off to you.

Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report March Resale Market Figures

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,430 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, pushing total first quarter 2010 sales to 22,418 – the best result on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. The average price for March transactions was $434,696. The average price for the first quarter was $427,948.
"The strong rebound in the existing home market was one of the initial drivers of economic recovery," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "While we don't expect to see the same rates growth moving forward, GTA households will remain confident in ownership housing as a quality long-term investment, especially as economic recovery expands across all industries."
The annual rate of growth for new listings continued to accelerate in March. The number of new listings grew by 42 per cent compared to March of 2008.
"The average home price in the GTA will continue to grow this year, but the pace will slow as we move through the spring," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "As growth in new listings starts to outstrip growth in sales, buyers will experience more choice, resulting in more sustainable single digit rates of average price growth."

Information Regarding Energy Retrofit Program

April 5, 2010 -- Be aware of recent changes to the ecoEnergy Retrofit Program. Effective March 31, 2010, the Government of Canada ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program is no longer accepting bookings for pre-retrofit evaluations. The program will continue to be administered until March 31, 2011. If you have already booked an appointment for a pre-retrofit evaluation, have completed an evaluation or applied for re-entry to the program, you remain eligible to apply for a grant. Please check the Natural Resources Canada website for complete details. http://oee.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/residential/personal/grants.cfm?attr=0
Homeowners in Ontario may still qualify for grants of up to $5,000 for energy retrofits through the provincial program. Details on the Government of Ontario Home Energy Retrofit Program can be found at http://www.mei.gov.on.ca/en/energy/conservation/homeenergyon/?page=homeenergy-retrofit

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It Pays to Renovate Before You Sell

April 2, 2010 --Tom Lebour, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board...SUN Column.
If you’re preparing to get in on the Greater Toronto Area’s spring housing market by undertaking a number of improvement projects to your home, you’re in good company.According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, close to $21.3 billion was spent in our country’s 10 major centres on renovations in 2008, an increase of more than $1.6 billion compared to 2007. The majority of those surveyed, 55 percent, indicated renovations were undertaken in preparation for a sale, to update or add value to their homes. Another 33 per cent of respondents pointed to a need for repairs as their primary motivation for improvements.Whether you’re planning a renovation in preparation for a sale, because your house is in need of repairs or simply for esthetics, it’s wise to plan carefully to achieve the best return on investment. Most of us know that kitchens, bathrooms and a fresh coat of paint inside and out, offer the best return on investment. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, you can expect to get back 75 to 100 per cent of what you put into kitchens and bathrooms. Painting will return 50 to 100 per cent of your investment. Not surprisingly, these four types of projects are the most popular among homeowners.Upgrading your flooring and finishing your basement are renovation options that can yield up to a 75 per cent return on investment. Particularly with respect to the latter though, it’s important to consider the preferences of future buyers. A finished basement might not be as desirable in a seniors’ community for example, as in a neighbourhood of starter homes.Perhaps the most sensible renovations you can undertake are those that boost your home’s energy efficiency. They have become more desirable to homebuyers, they qualify for a number of government rebates and they help you save money on heating and utility costs right up to the time you sell your home. These types of improvements, which include replacing your furnace or air conditioner, installing new windows and doors, and adding a new roof, can provide a return on investment of up to 75 per cent. Jason can provide you with details on the many available government programs that offer significant rebates. Before you undertake any renovation though, be sure to seek the advice of Jason Walker, Sales Representative, who can offer advice on features that are in demand in today’s housing market, and an objective perspective on improvements most beneficial to your home

TREB MLS -- AVERAGE Resale Home Price


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist!

The weather is getting warmer, and now is the time for spring home maintenance and repairs; below are some tips to help you prepare for the warmer weather.

  • Turn on hose bibs. Before you turn on your hose bibs, inspect pipes between the hose bib and shut-off valve for signs of frost damage or splits in the pipes. Also check for separated joints. Once you've checked that everything is in good shape, make sure your outside hose bib is turned off, and turn on the shut-off valve inside your home. Your outside hose bib is now ready for use.
  • Inspect your roof. Visually inspect your roof. Extensive damage can be caused when shingles become loose or fall off completely. Look for signs of age such as curling, shrinking, or broken or missing shingles. In order to avoid costly leaks, repair or replace damaged or missing shingles.
  • Inspect air conditioning system and change the filter. Now is the time to have your air conditioning system checked by a licensed HVAC mechanic. A yearly inspection by a professional is recommended.
  • Inspect your deck. Winter weather can be harsh on wood, so look for loose nails and boards. Also, check for rotted boards that need to be fixed or replaced.
  • Inspect window and door screens. Inspect screens for holes and tears. You can purchase a screen repair kit from your local hardware store. Remove storm doors (if removable) and inspect the caulking around the window frame.
  • Clean fireplaces and wood stoves. Remove as many ashes as possible and close your chimney flue. Consult the owner's manual for your wood stove for proper spring cleaning.
  • Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts. Ice that may have formed over the winter in gutters can cause them to pull away from the house as well as break seals in gutter joints and downspout connections. Loose or clogged gutters can allow rain to run over your fascia board, and collect near your foundation causing your basement to leak. Gutter cleaning and other roof maintenance generally require using an extension ladder which can present a potentially dangerous situation. If this is beyond your comfort zone be sure to contact a professional.
  • Check drainage system. Inspect the perimeter of your home looking for signs of settling or voids that would allow rain to run down into your foundation. A properly sloped yard has a minimum of a 5 inch fall from the house to 5 feet out in the yard. This should be true on all sides of your home. This is a minimum condition, the greater the slope, the better your chances of maintaining a dry basement.

Spring Time Makeover!

10 things you can do to improve the odds that your home will stand out among the sea of new listings flooding the spring-time real estate market! by Arshad Khan, CHI, P. Eng.

1) Wash windows inside and out / polish all mirrors: Sparkle is free, and sparkle sells homes. A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting but will feel drawn to it if the windows are spotless and your mirrors reflect sunlight. Cleaning is the first step to preparing your home for sale.

2) Rake the yard / trim back bushes: Clean out dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don't let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home.

3) Mow diagonally and edge lawn along driveway / sidewalks: Artfully manicured lawns are edged and tell buyers you pay attention to small details. Diagonally mowed lawns make your yard appear larger.

4) Transplant tulips and daffodils or buy flowers in containers: Yellow flowers stimulate buying urges. After a long winter, everybody is anxious to see the first signs of spring. Yellow tulips and daffodils induce feelings of happiness and contentment. Arrange containers in groups of three or five near the entrance.

5) Clean drapes, curtains & blinds and open every window: Send your window coverings to the dry cleaners or wash, dry and press. Toss blinds into a soapy bathtub for a quick wash. Get rid of all accumulated dust and spider webs. Crisp linens and a spring-time breeze through the windows invites the season inside.

6) Set out fresh-smelling flowers such as just-clipped lilacs branches or peonies: Why not flatter your neighbors and ask if you can borrow flowers from their yards? Natural scents are more appealing than artificial and trigger fewer allergies among those susceptible. Peony vases are designed to hold peonies upright, but wash the flowers first to avoid carrying ants inside. Clever home staging brings color and fragrance indoors.

7) Polish floors to a high gloss: Your hardwood floors should be refinished, if necessary. Make your ceramic and linoleum floors twinkle and shine. Bleach dull grout. Thoroughly clean all area rugs.

8) Utilize towels, throws, pillows in light colors - yellows, pinks, pale blues, lavenders: Even if it means replacing items, towels, linens, throws and sofa pillows are inexpensive accents you can buy. In soft spring colors, they will light up a room. Layer towels on bathroom towel racks and place rolled wash cloths on the counters in a fashionable pyramid.

9) Offer an outside mat for cleaning shoes & put umbrella stand at entrance: No matter where you live, spring weather is often unpredictable. In some states, it can be 72 degrees one day and snowing the next. If it's raining, give buyers a place to stash umbrellas and wipe their feet before entering your home. Some sellers lay down plastic runners across floors for protection, but that tends to ruin the effect of a glittering polish job.