Thursday, June 17, 2010

GTA REALTORS Report Mid- Month Resale Housing Figures - June 2010

TORONTO JUNE 16, 2010 – Greater Toronto REALTORS reported 4,139 sales through the MLS during the first two weeks of June 2010.
This represented a 20 percent decrease compared to the 5,185 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. New listings increased by 21 per cent annually to 7,985.
“The pace of existing home sales in the GTA has slowed to more normal levels following a record-setting start to 2010,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour.
“Due to higher mortgage carrying costs, sales in the second half of 2010 will not be as high as what was experienced during the last six months of 2009.”

The average price for June mid-month transactions was $437,039 – up seven per cent compared to the average of $407,716 recorded during the first 14 days of June 2009.
“The seller’s market conditions experienced during the first few months of the year have given way to more balanced conditions. Home buyers are experiencing more choice,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “With more choice in the market place, price growth is starting to slow down.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today's Most Desirable Home Features

Housing trends and styles are changing constantly. Today, more than ever, buyers have a strong sense of what they want in a home.
Today’s desirable home features depend greatly on the type of buyer. Buyers can be divided into two main groups. The first group are first-time buyers which is pretty self-explanatory. The second group are the move up buyers, which are looking to move into a home that addresses the shortcomings of their existing home. They aren't necessarily second-time buyers but they are often people that have out grown their current home. Buyer age is also a main factor in deciding the desired home features.
This article focuses on what is hot in the housing market today. Whether you are planning on renovating, selling, or you are looking for a new home, this information will help you make choices that will contribute to both your real estate enjoyment and investment.

Home Exterior Today, stone and stucco are very popular choices. Brick is the standard material used with mass builders, but the more customized and trendy home builders are using stone and stucco on a more frequent basis.
Floor Layout Bungalows are hot nowadays. Excessive floor level changes are no longer popular as people desire to live on one or two levels.
Room Sizes Room sizes have been gradually increasing for a number of years. Buyers tend to place the most importance on three key rooms: the kitchen, family room and master bedroom. You can expect to see these three rooms continue to increase in size over the next 10 years while rooms such as the living and dining room are likely to get smaller or disappear altogether. Many new homes scrap the living room and instead incorporate that space into the family room or the 'Great' room.
Buyers still, ideally, desire four bedrooms in their home and would like, if possible, two living areas. One of the living areas can be the recreation room in the lower level (basement).
A master bedroom on the main floor is ranked very important for buyers 65 and older. A two-car garage with ample storage area and a main floor laundry area is desirable for move-up buyers.
Kitchen and Bathrooms The kitchen is becoming the hub of the house. The most desired features for the kitchen include: an abundance of counter space, a butler’s pantry, deep drawers and two sinks. Stainless steel appliances are also very popular today, and in the upper end market, appliances concealed as cabinetry are very chic.
Large kitchens with an island and counter tops made of granite or marble are very desirable for move up buyers. However, this must be matched with stylish kitchen cabinets.
Luxurious bathrooms with a separate tub and multiple shower heads; pedestal sinks and large mirrors; an overall spa like feeling; attached dressing rooms and a place to sit are all desirable features. Master suite soaker tubs and whirlpools are still desirable for many home buyers, but not as important as other features.
Energy Efficiency With the green movement becoming more popular, energy efficient appliances, high-efficiency insulation, eco-friendly treatments, and environmentally smart building plans are among the "green" features touted in homes.
Tech-readiness Satellite and internet wired along with multiple phone jacks are what people want in today’s technology world. With today’s busy lifestyles relaying heavily on technology, even a day or two without high speed internet could be a major inconvenience.
Home Office Today, many people would much rather have home office space than a formal dining room. Many employers are seeing the business advantages of allowing employees to work from home. As well, many people are using work from home opportunities to help supplement income because of work shortage or as an opportunity to make money online.
Outdoor Living Space The popularity of outdoor spaces continues to grow. Patios, deck, exterior lights, fenced yard and fire pit extend the outdoor living space at home and make a great extra feature.
Other Notables Some other notable features that home buyers consider very important when buying a home include central air conditioning, recessed lighting, hardwood flooring, energy efficiency and the potential to turn a profit should they decide to sell their home in the near future.
Today’s buyers are looking for a little luxury and features and treatments that are the highest quality their price range will permit.

TREB MLS New Listings--May 2010

TREB MLS -- AVERAGE Resale Home Price--May 2010

TREB MLS --Sales--May 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

GTA REALTORS Report Monthly Resale Housing Figures

Toronto, June 3, 2010-Greater Toronto Realtors reported 9,470 sales through the MLS System in May, representing a one percent dip from May 2009. In comparison to previous years, this was the third highest May sales result on record.

"The pace of transactions slowed in May following record-setting sales in February, March and April," said Tom Lebour, President TREB. "Buyers who otherwise would have been purchasing a home in May moved more quickly this year, likely to get ahead of mortgage rate hikes".

New listings were up 38% annually to 18,940. The average price for May transactions was $446,593 - up 13 % compared to the average of $395,609 recorded in May 2009.

"The gap between listings and sales has widened, which means there is more choice for buyers," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The annual rate of price growth will slow in the second half of 2010, from the current double digit pace into the single digits."

Summer Maintenance Recommendation from Adam Marzec- Certified Home Inspector

Monitor basement humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 40 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.

Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping, and take corrective action, for example, reduce humidity and or insulate cold water pipes.

Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water. Refill with water if necessary.
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.

Deep clean carpets and rugs.

Vacuum bathroom fan grille.

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.

Check security of all guardrails and handrails.

Check smooth functioning of all windows and lubricate as required.
Inspect window putty on outside of glass panes and replace if needed.

Lubricate door hinges and tighten screws as needed.
Lubricate garage door hardware and ensure it is operating properly.
Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain, etc. and ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.

Check and replace damaged caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house.

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.

Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.

Check for and seal off any holes in exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.

Remove any plants that contact, or roots that penetrate the siding or brick.

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.

Sweep chimneys connected to any wood burning appliance or fireplace, and inspect them for end-of-season problems.
Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.

Repair driveway and walkways as needed.

Repair any damaged steps that present a safety problem.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June1, 2010(Reuters) - The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate on Tuesday, the first G7 industrialized economy to do so after the global recession, but said the European debt crisis made its next move highly unpredictable.

The rate hike, to 0.5 percent from 0.25 percent, is a response to two quarters of extraordinarily strong growth at home. But the bank cautioned investors against betting on an uninterrupted tightening campaign, due to the euro zone fiscal problems and an uneven global recovery.
"Given the considerable uncertainty surrounding the outlook, any further reduction of monetary stimulus would have to be weighed carefully against domestic and global economic developments," the central bank said in a statement.
The rate hike itself was widely expected. In a Reuters poll of 40 analysts, 32 had forecast a quarter-point rate hike.
"No surprise in the decision but the tone was slightly more dovish than we or the markets had anticipated," said Millan Mulraine, economics strategist at TD Securities.
"Of course we continue to mention our bias for them to raise rates at the next few meetings ... It certainly suggests to us that the bank is not positioning for 50 basis point increases, at least not in the near term, as the market at some point may have priced in," he said.
The lack of a clear message on further rate hikes caused the Canadian dollar to ease after the news to as low as C$1.0556 to the U.S. dollar, or 94.70 U.S. cents, from C$1.0498, or 95.26 earlier in the day. It later recovered to C$1.0490 to the greenback.
Yields on overnight index swaps, which trade based on expectations for the central bank's key policy rate, suggest there is a 67.7 percent chance of a 25 basis point hike at the next announcement on July 20.
"I think they did the right thing for a central bank and, given current market and global economic uncertainty, you don't want to show your full hand under these circumstances," said Derek Holt, an economist at Scotia Capital.
"But my own personal belief is we still have the need for a made-in-Canada set of monetary policy conditions and that justifies continued hikes," he said.
Several major commercial banks raised their prime lending rates on Tuesday to 2.50 percent, including Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal.
All but one of Canada's 12 primary securities dealers, surveyed by Reuters on Tuesday, forecast the central bank would raise rates again on July 20. The same number predicted further hikes in September and October.
The Bank of Canada has broken ranks with the U.S. Federal Reserve in the past, but generally the two policy rates move in tandem. But the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to promise to hold its rate ultra low for an extended period, depending on economic conditions.
The European Central Bank, which has cut rates to 1.0 percent, is far from considering its exit strategy as it takes extraordinary steps to ease the debt crisis and prevent it from snuffing out a recovery on the continent.
Canada's profile of a commodities exporter is closer to that of Australia, which held rates steady on Tuesday but had already lifted borrowing costs six times in eight months.
Canada's economy fell into mild recession last year, but its banks emerged unscathed from the credit crisis and jobless rates did not soar as high as in the United States.
Consumer spending and a hot housing market have fueled a faster than expected recovery since then. The economy grew at a surprising 6.1 percent annual clip in the first quarter, and by 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The bank said economic activity was broadly in line with its expectations, and inflation was also matching expectations. The new rate is still highly stimulative, it said.
It said the global recovery is "increasingly uneven," with emerging markets taking the lead while there is a "possibility of renewed weakness in Europe."
The debt crisis in Greece and some other European countries has so far had only a limited impact on Canada through lower commodity prices and tighter financing conditions.
But some countries will now have to cut spending quickly and that, combined with debt reduction by banks and households, could slow global growth.
That could hurt Canada's export-dependent economy.
"Recent tensions in Europe are likely to result in higher borrowing costs and more rapid tightening of fiscal policy in some countries -- an important downside risk identified in the April Monetary Policy Report," it said.
The central bank also said it will gradually reduce the amount left in its overnight settlement system for banks to the pre-crisis norm of C$25 million from C$3 billion.
It said it would make its standing purchase and resale agreement facility with primary dealers a permanent part of its monetary policy framework. The facility was introduced in April 2009 to help the bank manage the overnight market at record low rates.