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            DARKO MAKIC, MVA 

                "Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying."  W.Clement Stone
 


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OTHER NEWS:  *MARKET WATCH!    *STATISTICS    *REAL ESTATE NEWS!

 
 
 

TORONTO PRICE GROWTH NORMALIZING-AVERAGE HOME PRICE FALLS IN AUGUST, BUT STILL 3% UP FROM SAME TIME LAST YEAR

Toronto’s roller-coaster real estate market took a swoop lower in August, the fourth-straight month that the average sales price in Canada’s largest city declined from a dizzying record high set in April.

The Toronto Real Estate Board says the average price for all home types in the Greater Toronto Area last month was $732,292, down 1.8 %  from July and 20.3 % below April’s astounding GTA average of $919,086.

The Ontario government introduced more than a dozen measures in April – including a 15 % tax on foreign buyers – following a price spike in the first months of the year, which started with an $768,301 average GTA price in January.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says April’s 16-point plan was responding to a “really overheated” market. “It’s had a cooling effect. We don’t know exactly what all of the factors are there, but we’ll be working with the real estate board both in Toronto and beyond to make sure we got it right,” Wynne said Wednesday.

Despite August’s decline to the lowest average price reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board so far this year, it’s still up 3 %  from the same month in 2016.

TREB said that the average price had been affected by fewer high-end home sales last month compared with a year earlier.

After adjusting to recognize different pricing levels for condos, fully detached houses and other types of property, its Multiple Listing Service housing price index for August was up 14.3 per cent from a year earlier. The number of detached homes sold in the GTA was down 41.6 per cent from last year, while sales of semi-detached houses were down 37.1 %. Condo and townhouse sales were down 28 % and 25.7 %, respectively. Nevertheless, fully detached houses accounted for 40.6 % of GTA sales in August and their price averaged $968,494 – about the same as last year overall despite a 1.2 % year-over-year decline in the core 416 area code.

Condo apartments, which accounted for 31.4 % of the volume, had an average price of $507,841 – up 21.4 per cent from August 2016.

The real estate board said the number of new listings last month was 11,523, the lowest for an August since 2010. But the number of active listings was 16,419, up 65 % from August 2016, and the average days on market rose to 25 from 18.

“The relationship between sales and listings in the marketplace today suggests a balanced market,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “If current conditions are sustained over the coming months, we would expect to see year-over-year price growth normalize slightly above the rate of inflation.

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CANADA'S NEW MORTGAGE RULES

 
Homebuyers in Canada now face larger down payment requirements for properties over $500,000. The changes are intended to temper some of Canada's heated real estate markets. Here are five things to know about the new rules:
 
1. Upfront cash: Homebuyers now have to put a down payment of at least 5% for homes up to $500,000, and 10 % on the portion of the price of a home over $500,000
For anyone buying a home for $700,000 — a common list price in Vancouver and Toronto — that means the minimum down payment will rise to $45,000 from $35,000. 
Any home under $500,000 still requires only a down payment of 5 %. 
With new rules, down payment of at least 20% is required for homes above $1 Million if financing is from a federally-regulated financial institution. 
Those new rules might fuel more competition for condos and rare homes under $500,000, and under $1 million, among buyers with limited cash.
 
2. Market Impact: The influence the new rules will have over house prices is expected to be small, some experts estimate, given their narrow reach and higher demand. Those selling their homes in order to size up, especially in cities with hot housing markets, likely won't feel the pain since they've built up equity in those properties. When Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the changes in December, he said they are expected to affect 1 %  or less of the real estate market.
 
Past measures: Five rounds of changes were made to tighten eligibility rules for new insurable loans between 2008 and 2012. Among them are:
1. The maximum amortization period has been reduced to 25 years from 40 years.
2. Home buyers must have a down payment of at least 5% of the home purchase price and starting February 15, 2016, home buyers must add  a further 10 % to their down payment for the portion of the house price between $500,000 and $999,999.
For non-owner occupied properties, a minimum down payment of at least 20 % is mandatory.
3. Canadians can now borrow to a maximum of 80 % of the value of their homes when refinancing, a drop from 95 %.
4. Limiting the maximum gross debt service (GDS) ratio to 39 %  and the maximum total debt service (TDS) ratio to 44 %. These two important ratios are used when calculating a person’s ability to pay down debt. GDS is the share of a borrower’s gross household income needed to pay for home-related expenses, such as mortgage payments, property taxes and heating expenses. TDS is the share of a borrower’s gross income needed to pay for all debts, including those relating to home ownership.
5. Government-backed mortgage insurance is available only for homes with a purchase price of less than $1 millionBorrowers buying homes at or above $1 million will need a down payment of at least 20 % if their financing is from a federally-regulated financial institution.
the minimum down payment was increased to 5%, the maximum amortization period
 
The banks’ prudential regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) has introduced new home equity lines of credit guidelines: 
From June 2012, places limits on home equity lines of credit (HELOC).  A homeowner can borrow no more than 65 % of the value of their property through a non-amortizing HELOC.  Any additional mortgage credit beyond the 65 % of the property value on HELOCs should be amortized.
 
Historically, Canadians have been very prudent borrowers, and the best evidence of this is the mortgage-in-arrears statistics in Canada, which track the number of households that have not made mortgage payments in three or more months, showing that only less than half of 1 % of all mortgage holders with the country's largest banks are 90 days in arrears. This number has been stable for more than two decades, in times of high and low unemployment, high and low interest rates, and a strong or weak Canadian dollar.
 
There are solutions for every specific need and situation. Please call Darko Makic at 416-850-2130 for free confidential consultation.
 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CHANGE TO MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT RULES
 

December 11, 2015 - Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5 % to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. 

The 5 % t minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.

For example, on a $625,000 property (2015 average GTA price), Buyers will now require a minimum of 6% down, an additional $6,250.

  • The minimum down payment will increase gradually with the price of a house, varying from 5 per cent for homes priced at or below $500,000 to 7.5 per cent just below $1 million. Properties priced at $1 million and higher will continue to require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. For example, a person buying a $600,000 property would be required to pay a down payment of 5 per cent on the first $500,000 and 10 per cent on the remaining $100,000, resulting in a total minimum down payment of $35,000, or 5.8 per cent of the total purchase price.

  • The announced measure will take effect on February 15, 2016 and apply to new mortgage loan applications received on February 15, 2016 or later. Any mortgage insurance application received between December 11, 2015 and before February 15, 2016 that does not conform to the measures announced today must have a mortgage in place by July 1, 2016.

  • This measure applies only to new insured mortgage loans. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages will not be affected by this policy change as mortgage insurance is good for the life of any existing insured mortgage.

  • The issue of an increase to minimum down payments is something CREA has effectively and successfully fought against since 2011. CREA has communicated concerns with today’s announcement to the government and will continue to advocate on this issue.

More information is available at the Department of Finance website: News Release: http://www.fin.gc.ca/n15/15-088-eng.asp ;  Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.fin.gc.ca/afc/faq/hdpmeh-mfperpc-eng.asp

 

FIXED OR VARIABLE MORTGAGE? KEEP or BRAKE HIGHER RATE FIXED MORTGAGE? TAKE ADVANTAGE OR RECORD LOW RATES NOW!
 
Rates usually drop leading up to a Federal election! Election 2015 is coming. History tells us that mortgage rates usually drop leading up to an election. And 2015 has followed that trend.   It started in January of this year, when the Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, shocked Economists with his surprise 0.25% Bank Rate cut. Then in July, the BOC Govr did it again..  this time, it wasn’t as much a shock.  The Bank Prime was cut by another 0.25% after months of negative Economist data showed the Canadian economy was slowing. 
But we can not expect the fixed rates to fall much further.  We are now around 2.5% for fixed rate terms of 5 yrs or less.  And Variable rates are around 2%.  
Although, the Bank of Canada can  lower Bank Prime again.., depending on the market, but that might not impact and change the Fixed rates at that time. Historically, the rates tend to stabilize sometime after the election.
 
But  this doesn’t mean you need to jump into a Fixed rate… I think Variable rate can still serve most borrowers well.  
 
Fixed mortgage rates are at an all-time low.  If you have a mortgage that is over 3.09%, then you should consider breaking it, paying the penalty and getting into today’s lower rates. There are several factors to consider, and simple math to be calculated. If the saving is greater than the cost to break your higher rate fixed mortgage, then the answer is obvious.  I can give you some real life examples of clients and their savings if they've chosen to pay their mortgage and the penalty and went into a new lower rate mortgage. You can follow their success stories. Your personal mortgage choice will depend on your own personal situation, your needs,  plans and risk tolerance. Call me to discuss your best options. 416-850-2130
 
 
TORONTO NOW IN THE TOP 10 WORLD'S FINANCIAL CENTERS
 
 
Toronto has risen into the top 10 on a ranking of the world’s most important financial centres.
 
Canada’s largest city is now ahead of Chicago and Boston, becoming the second-most important financial centre in North America, according to the latest Global Financial Centres Index from Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre.
 
Toronto now ranks eighth in the world, behind Zurich and ahead of San Francisco.
 
“Toronto seems to get stronger over last few years. A number of Toronto rivals have opened up subsidiaries there,” the survey quoted an unidentified New York banker as saying. Montreal rose one spot to 17th place, while Vancouver fell three spots to 18th. Calgary, at 39th, is the only other Canadian city on the 84-city list. London jumped over New York to become the world's number-one financial centre, pushing New York to second place. Those two have been fighting it out for top spot for years, with Hong Kong rounding out the top three.
 
The survey combines data from various other surveys calculating five criterias for a financial centre: Business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure, human capital and reputation.
 
Toronto scores highest on reputation, coming in at eighth place. Its worst score is on human capital, coming in at 11th.
 
Successful people are attracted to successful cities and it is perhaps no surprise that these centers are ranked so high by financial professionals. And I would add, this is also bringing additional positive influence to our already successful luxury downtown financial district condominium real estate market.
 

BILLY BISHOP TORONTO CITY AIRPORT PROPOSAL

Porter Airlines is proposing to introduce new service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport using the Bombardier CS100 jet.  This new service requires City Hall approval and a vote has been scheduled for April 1st. 
 
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport can be important element of Toronto’s economy and can represents a significant economic development advantage for Toronto. For this reason, many support plans that will allow this important economic development tool to be utilized to its fullest potential, while respecting the intent of current restrictions that minimize impacts on other waterfront uses.
 
More Information / Action if you also want o voice your support or opposition. More information and opportunities to contact your Toronto City Councillor are available at Porter Airline’s website: www.porterplans.com.
 
CITY OF TORONTO HOME ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM
 
April 1, 2014 - In 2013, Toronto City Council approved a $20 million pilot project water and energy efficiency program for improvements to private single-family residential properties called the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Homeowners may voluntarily apply to the City’s Program and enter into an agreement with the City to undertake qualifying energy efficiency and water conservation improvements.
 
The City then imposes a special charge–equal to the cost of the improvements, plus interest and an administrative charge incurred by the City–on the participating property.
 
Payments to the City are then made over a period of up to 15 years as a special charge indicated on the property tax bill. The payment obligation attaches to the property, not the owner, and is secured by the City’s priority lien status. If a property changes ownership, the new owner would assume the financial obligation and continue to make payments to the City until the special charge is fully paid.
 
HELP is a pilot project only available in specific neighbourhoods in Toronto. If the first three digits of the home postal code are listed below, HELP financing is available:
Black Creek: M3N
Toronto Centre/Riverdale/Beaches: M4E, M4L, M4M, M4J, M1N, M4C, M4K, M5A
Junction/High Park: M6P, M6S
South Scarborough: M1M, M1E, M1C, M1L, M1K, M4B
 
Homeowners may qualify for a low interest loan through HELP if:
- they own a detached, semi-detached, row or mobile home;
- all of the property owners on title consent to the Program;
- property tax and utility payments to the City are in good standing; and
- they obtain written consent from their mortgage lender, if applicable.
For more information on the Home Energy Loan Program, please click here, or contact the Environment & Energy Division of the City of Toronto at 416-392-6063.
 
2014 INTEREST RATE OUTLOOK?
 
Most economist predict interest rates will remain low well into 2016, based on moderate job growth, no apparent inflation expected some time soon, and the economy that is largely dependent on trading with US, while their economy is quite sluggish as well. Good news are: 1.) Low interest rates are making it more affordable to buy a home, but can  continue to drive prices up which concerns the Minister of Finance for some time, and 2.) The Federal Government has recently indicated they are not planning any further tightening of mortgage rules. Although, statistics and data indicate that employment income does not rise as quickly as GTA house prices and it appears that the sooner one can own the property the better. For some time it was apparent that the longer one waited to buy the property, resulted in either buying some inferior property, or moving out to a cheaper area. Currently a $500,000 mortgage is approximately $2,000 per month which is a similar to the price of renting a 2-bdrm condo in Toronto.
 
INVESTORS OWN LESS THAN A QUARTER OF TORONTO CONDOMINIUMS: CMHC Report
 
About 23 % of Toronto’s condo stock was being rented out by investor-owners in 2012, the federal housing agency says in its annual Canadian Housing Observer review, released Wednesday, which places a special focus on the national condo market this year, revealing some interesting details. But the review only looks at condos rented via the MLS system and doesn't’t include investor-owned units just sitting empty or rented via free websites like Craigslist or word-of-mouth.
“We think the number is closer to 50 %,” says veteran Toronto development consultant Barry Lyon. “The data they (CMHC) are using has some shortcomings. It’s only part of the story.” Nobody seems to know exactly where buyers, or their money, is coming from, why they are buying and how they intend to use the condo.
 
Local housing experts, economists and realtors also lack hard numbers, but anecdotal evidence suggests at least 40 % of Toronto’s condo market is investor owned and that the number is even higher — as much as 90 % — in some downtown skyscrapers close to transit lines.
 
It’s widely known that investors have helped drive record condo sales across the GTA the last few years and Laberge says those units have been critical to providing rental housing in a growing region where almost no new purpose-built rental apartments have been constructed in decades.As the CMHC report notes, condo construction & ownership has exploded over the last 3 decades, from just 171,000 units in 1981 to 1.6 million in 2011, a rate of growth more than nine times faster than single-family homes. Some 461,000 of those condos were being rented out in 2011, according to the report.
 
Skyscraping condos dominate Toronto’s skyline far more than any other urban landscape in Canada — accounting for about 70 % of the total stock of condominium housing. But, across the rest of the country, highrises account for just 31 % of all condo types, followed by lowrise condo apartment buildings at 36 %  and townhomes and row houses at 23 %. While condos now attract a broad spectrum of buyers, they remain most popular with seniors and young adults: As of 2011, 19 % of condo owners were under the age of 35, and 29 % were 65 or older. Just 16 % were couples with children, says CMHC. Some 42 %  of condo owners live alone. 28 % are couples with no children. And women dominate sales centers: They made up 65 % of all owner-occupied condominiums in 2011, and accounted for 76 % of owners aged 55 or older.
 
INVESTMENT MORTGAGES - CHANGES
 
Some changes: Approximate 4 out of 5 lenders no longer entertain 80% mortgages on rental properties... particularly for Condominium Apartments. Lenders would now mostly advance mortgages between 65-75% of the properties value, with interest rate premium.  Also, the underwriting criteria for mortgaging investment properties can be significantly different from lender to lender. "Equity mortgages" are no longer allowed. These mortgages were for borrowers that have a large amount of cashable assets but little monthly income. New mortgage regulations insist that all lenders need to clearly document the ability of the borrower to pay monthly obligations with their monthly income regardless of how much money they have or assets they own. Having a lot of assets or cash, but little or no documented income, no longer secures a mortgage in Canada. This is where our expertise is crucial in guiding potential investors through their best mortgage options.
 
THE QUESTION: FIXED OR VARIABLE MORTGAGES
 
Most of borrowers rely on news, predictions, statistics, worry, or on logic that rates do fluctuate and therefore periodically rise and drop... Financial institutions historically made more profit with a standard 5-year fixed mortgages, and because of that those mortgages are generally highly preferred and more pushed by most banks - lenders. On the other side, the 5-year variable mortgage is based on expectation that changes between rising and falling rates will stay within expected reasonable range, so that on average less interest should be paid to the Bank. By examining and comparing historic data of variable and fixed mortgage rates, it is clear that variable interest rates helped borrowers save more money, and made less profit for the bank. Also, most variable rate mortgages are also "flexible" mortgages, allowig borrower the ability to convert, once, their variable rate mortgage to a fixed term mortgage, choosing a fixed rate offered at that time, with NO penalties, while with fixed mortgages, borrower is locked in with the same rate until maturity, with penalties required for any rate change. But, there are no right or wrong mortgages, as no one really knows the future, and personal preferences of each borrower.
 
REALTORS® RAISE CONCERNS OVER POTENTIAL PROPOSALS TO MAKE FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PAY MORE TORONTO HOME BUYING TAX
 
December 11, 2013 - The Toronto Real Estate Board(TREB) is sounding the alarm over a potential proposal that would see first-time home buyers in Toronto paying more Toronto Home Buying Tax (Land Transfer Tax). TREB is responding to published comments indicating that the City's Budget Committee may consider a proposal to eliminate the Toronto Home Buying Tax on the first $200,000 value of a property, for all home buyers, but to also eliminate the current rebate that relieves first-time home buyers from paying Home Buying Tax on the first $400,000 value of a property.
 
NEW POLL SHOW INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PHASING-OUT LAND TRANSFER TAX
 
November 25, 2013 - In light of the launch of the City of Toronto's 2014 budget-setting process, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released the results of new public opinion research that shows a strong majority of Torontonians, 69 %, support a phase-out of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, up four points from May 2013.
 
U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DRIVING CANADIAN MORTGAGE RATES LOWER, FOR NOW
 
The U.S. government shutdown has had an interesting side effect for Canada: It has held out the promise of lower mortgage rates, and therefore a stronger housing market.
 
Not that the housing market needs much help these days. Housing starts jumped 5.3 % in September, according to data released Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., beating analysts’ estimates. All parts of the country saw rising starts except Ontario, where they fell 15.6 %.
 
September house sales in the two most closely-watched markets, Toronto and Vancouver, are up 30 % and 63.8 % respectively, according to those cities’ real estate boards (though there is reason to doubt those numbers).
 
But the housing market could see even more heating, thanks to the U.S. shutdown. That’s because, with the economic uncertainty, investors are flocking to bonds, driving down bond yields. Fixed-rate mortgage rates are tied to bond yields, so mortgage rates are going to come down as a result, according to RateSupermarket’s mortgage outlook panel.
 
Of course the flipside of lower mortgage rates is higher house prices, and Canadian municipal leaders are getting worried about the erosion of affordability, the National Post reports.
 
In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Claude Dauphn, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, urged the federal government to help address the shrinking supply of affordable housing. “Housing costs and, as the Bank of Canada notes, household debt, are undermining Canadians personal financial security, while putting our national economy at risk,” Dauphin wrote.
 
But all bets are off if the gridlock in the U.S. Congress extends past the debt ceiling deadline on Oct. 17.
 
If the U.S. were to suddenly default on its debt, it would “devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression,” Bloomberg reports, citing dozens of experts. So the good news for mortgages could be short-lived indeed.
 
BEST HOME RENOVATION RETURNS ON THE INVESTMENTS
 
Aug. 15, 2013 - Think it’s all about kitchens and bathrooms? Or maybe you’re focused on the basement suite? Turns out a lick of paint could be the best investment you make for your investment property.
 
It is extremely important to talk to your REALTOR about the renovations you are thinking about, prior togoing down the path of actually doing them. Although some things are simple to do, it's important to know what buyers in your particular area are expecting and mostly exited about, so that if you are thinking of selling, you'll have some insight on what is being looked for in your market, and how to best prepare your home based on that info. Having said that, some of the renovations with the best rate of return on the investment in general, are listed below.
 
If you do only one thing, according to a new report from HGTV.ca and BMO, painting inside and out should be it. That low-cost investment tops the list of key renovations guaranteed to up cash flow for landlords and property values for investors looking to cash out.
Other top performers include the ever-popular kitchen refurb, bathroom remodeling and replacing doors and windows.
 
The latest Annual BMO Home Renovation Report shows fewer Canadians are planning home renovations this year, but they are focused on projects with the greatest returns. Half of Canadian homeowners (51 %) plan to renovate their homes in the next year, compared with 62 % in 2011. "Making home upgrades can add significant value to a home; however, it's crucial that homeowners consider the financial implications involved," says Laura Parsons, mortgage expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Renovation projects come in different shapes and sizes and vary in return on investment."
 
Renovation HIT list:
 
1. Painting: When done well and with taste, applying a fresh coat of paint to the interior or exterior of a home is a simple way to realize gains on your renovation investment. Return: As much as 300 %.
 
2. Kitchen reno/remodeling: A kitchen renovation can be one of the most costly home improvement projects. However, careful planning, budgeting and shopping will help minimize expenses. Consider aspects such as whether or not the project is in line with the style and quality of the rest of the house and neighbourhood. Renovating kitchen can be as simple as painting or refinishing cupboards with new handles, replacing old countertop, adding new modern backsplash, refreshing floor, or just doing complete upscale renovation with new cabinets, granite/stone, stainless staeel appliances.... Return: 68-120 %.
 
3. Bathroom addition/remodeling: A bathroom addition should be a top priority for those looking to add value to a home with only one bathroom. This is particularly true if neighbouring homes feature multiple bathrooms. Additionally, upgrading an outdated bathroom will also bring significant value to a home. Return: 80-130 % for adding; 65-120 % for reno.
 
4. Window/door reno or replacement: Replacing inefficient windows or doors can be an excellent  use of your home improvement dollars, as they refresh the esthetic and also help to keep energy costs down. Stick to standard styles; odd shapes and highly customized arrangements do little for resale value. Also improtant to consider are clean beatiful fresly painted or new main entrance door(s) and front windows. Return: 50-90 %.
 
5. Deck addition/improvement/expansion: Decks are one of the few exterior improvements with any significant return, apart from painting. Most people are into buying homes becuase they like outdoor space either for kids or entertainment. Lovely private yard with nice deck are adding to the emotional purchase. Return: 65-90 %. 

 STRONG SALES AND PRICE GROWTH IN JULY

August 2, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,544 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in July 2013. Total sales were up by 16 % compared to July 2012. Over the same period, new listings added to TorontoMLS and active listings at the end of the month were up, but by a substantially smaller rate of increase compared to sales.

“Last month’s sales represented the best July result since 2009 and was the third best July result on record. Despite recent increases in average borrowing costs, home buyers are still finding affordable home ownership options in the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

“We are a year removed from the onset of stricter mortgage lending guidelines and many households who put their decision to purchase a home on hold have reactivated their search. An increasing number of these households are getting deals done,” continued Ms. Usher.

Reflecting tighter market conditions, the average selling price for July sales was up on a year over-year basis by 8 % to $513,246. The low-rise market segment continued to be the driver of overall price growth.

It should be noted, however, that the average condominium apartment price was also up by more than the rate of inflation on an annual basis. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was also up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types.

 

“We are forecasting continued average price growth for the remainder of 2013 and through 2014 as well. Months of inventory for low-rise homes remains near record lows, suggesting that sellers’ market conditions will remain in place in the second half of 2013.

An increase in listings in 2014 would lead to more balanced market conditions and a slower pace of price growth next year, albeit still above the rate of inflation,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

 
 
SIMPLIFYING THE HOMEBUYING PROCESS - ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES
 
August 2, 2013 - If you have bought or sold a home in recent years you have probably noticed at least a few of the many technology advancements that have been developed with your needs in mind. You can now view properties from your mobile phone, receive offers and other documents via email, and receive the most up-to-date information on new listings and other real estate info tailored to your individual interests from your REALTOR®.
 
One step in the process that still needs to be undertaken the traditional way however, involves signing the forms required in every real estate transaction.  Current Ontario legislation precludes the use of electronic signatures on agreements that create an interest in land.
 
Fortunately, Greater Toronto REALTORS® in conjunction with our professional and national associations have been laying the foundation so that homebuyers and sellers in our province may soon enjoy the same convenience as other homebuyers and sellers in Canada, and sign their Agreements on their or their Realtor's iPad, Iphone, Blackberry, Laptop, Computer...
 
As a result of tireless lobbying activity, a proposal by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) to amend the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 was included in the recent budget. If passed, it will provide electronic agreements of purchase and sale with the same legal protections as other forms of e-commerce. A section of the proposed amendment also gives the government time to talk with various stakeholders, including OREA, about potential measures to provide for the utmost security in your transaction.
 
Once the ability to use e-signatures in real estate transactions throughout the province becomes a reality, the transition to doing so should be swift thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).  It recently announced that it has finalized agreements with two providers, DocuSign and Authentisign, that will enable you and your REALTOR® to include your signatures on forms that are completed securely online, known as WebForms, which are editable and always up to date with the most recent changes to real estate documentation,
 
This technology allows you to easily sign documents anytime, anywhere, without the time-consuming process of printing, faxing, or arranging meetings simply to provide signatures. In a world where efficiency is key to successful outcomes and where we all need to be more conscious of our carbon footprint, we anticipate that e-signatures will be a welcome alternative for Greater Toronto Area homebuyers and sellers, and will keep you posted with new info on the subject.
 
GTA COMMERCIAL REALTORS® REPORT FOR JULY
 
TORONTO, August 2, 2013 – Toronto Real Estate Board Commercial Division  Members reported a total of 50 industrial, commercial / retail and office sales reported sold through the TorontoMLS system in July for which pricing was disclosed. This sales result was down by 12 % compared to July 2012. While industrial property sales were down on a year-over-year basis, commercial/retail and office sales were up. Average selling prices per square foot were down for industrial properties and up substantially for commercial/retail and office properties. Much of the change in average selling prices per square foot was due to changes in the type and location of property sold this past July compared to July 2012. “A pick-up in leasing transactions moving forward would likely point to an increase in sales in some segments of the commercial real estate market as well. Businesses preferring to own their premises and investors seeking quality long-term returns on investment would be the foundation for this sales growth,” said TREB Commercial Division Chair Cynthia Lai. continued Ms. Lai.
 
Toronto Real Estate Board Commercial Division  Members reported 681,000 square feet of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office space leased through the TorontoMLS system in July (space leased on a per square foot net basis for which pricing was disclosed). This result, which was driven by the industrial market segment, was 55 per cent higher compared to July 2012. Year-over-year growth in average lease rates reported on a per square foot net basis  was mixed in July. Average industrial and office lease rates were down compared to  last year, whereas the average commercial/retail lease rate was up. “The July leasing numbers were a very good start to the third quarter and it is especially  encouraging to see the industrial market segment leading the way. According to the  Bank of Canada’s latest Business Outlook Survey, firms are expecting to increase their capital expenditures and employment levels over the next year. In many cases, this should translate into increased demand for space moving forward as well,” continued Ms. Lai.
 
NEW CITY OF TORONTO ZONING BY-LAW IN EFFECT 
August 2, 2013 - The City of Toronto has enacted a new zoning by-law. 
Details (including Searchable Online Map)
The City of Toronto’s zoning by-law website  -  http://www.toronto.ca/zoning/  -  provides complete details of the new zoning by-law, including:
 
1. An interactive map searchable by address; 
2. City-wide maps;  Zoning by-law text;
3. Information regarding transition provisions; 
4. City Staff presentations, explaining details of the new zoning by-law.

POSITIVE START TO 2013

February 5, 2013 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,375 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in January 2013. This number represented a slight decline compared to 4,432 transactions reported in January 2012.  The average selling price for January 2013 sales was $482,648 – up by 4.3 % compared to $462,655 in January 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark price was up by 3.8 % over the same period.

“The January sales figures represent a good start to 2013. While the number of transactions was down slightly compared to last year, the rate of decline was much less than what was experienced in the second half of 2012. This suggests that some buyers, who put their decision to purchase on hold last year due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, are once again becoming active in the market. It is interesting to note that sales were up for many home types in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto. This is due, at least in part, to the additional upfront land transfer tax in the City of Toronto,”said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

“There will be enough competition between buyers in the marketplace to prompt continued growth in home prices in 2013. Expect annual average price growth in the three to five per cent range this year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

CONDO MARKET WELL SUPPLIED

January 11, 2013 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,830 condominium apartment sales through the TorontoMLS system during the fourth quarter of 2012. This number represented a decline of 23 % compared to 5,005 sales during the same time period in 2011. The average selling price for condominium apartments in the fourth quarter was $332,410 – down by 1 % compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

“The condominium apartment market was the best supplied market segment in 2012. Strong condo apartment completions in 2011 and the first few months of 2012 resulted in a substantial number of new listings on the TorontoMLS system last year. With more units for buyers to choose from, the annual rate of price growth moderated,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

In the condominium apartment rental market, transactions rose by almost 13 %t year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of units listed for rent increased by over 17%. Average rents were up on a year-over-year basis for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

“While some first-time buyers put their decision to purchase on hold in the fourth quarter, many of these people chose to rent a condominium apartment instead. Similar to the ownership market, strong new condo completions prompted a considerable increase in the number of investor-held units offered for rent. However, there was still enough competition between renters to prompt upward pressure on average rents,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

UNDERGROUND FUEL OIL TANKS: GET THE FACTS

Did you know that as of May 1, 2007, all existing fuel oil storage tanks (aboveground and underground) and associated appliances must undergo a comprehensive inspection? In addition to the requirement for annual maintenance (maintenance should also be in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions), a comprehensive inspection must be performed on all existing fuel oil storage tanks and associated appliances, at least once every 10 years; otherwise fuel oil distributors cannot supply fuel oil. Fuel oil distributors are required to prepare a report of each comprehensive inspection performed on a fuel oil storage tank and associated appliance(s) and to keep a copy of the most recent report.

GOVERNMENT WARNS INSULATION MAY CONTAIN ASBESTOS
Product may have been used in untold number of homes
A close up of Vermiculite in an attic. 

Health Canada is warning that attic insulation in some homes may contain a form of asbestos that is a known cancer-causing agent. The insulation in question is a form of vermiculite produced from the Libby Mine in Montana from the 1920s to 1990, and sold in Canada as Zonolite® Attic Insulation. It may have been sold under other labels as well. The mine accounted for most of the world’s supply of vermiculite until it was closed in 1990.

The product was used in Canada from the 1920’s until the mid 1980’s. No breakdown of geographic use or installation is available.

Health Canada’s advisory says vermiculite produced from that mine might contain tremolite asbestos. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in the lungs, which, over time may result in lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. The advisory says there is no evidence of risk to your health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboard, or isolated in an attic away from the inside of a home.

Not all vermiculite produced before 1990 contains asbestos fibers. However, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that if a building has older vermiculite-based insulation, it may contain some asbestos.

Health Canada estimates that four per cent of the existing Canadian housing stock made use of the insulation. By comparison, it is estimated that one per cent of the housing stock, or 60,000-80,000 homes, had UFFI insulation.

Health Canada advises that if properly installed and sealed, and if left undisturbed, the vermiculite insulation poses very little health risk. If the insulation is disturbed, releasing asbestos fibers into the air, the risks are more serious, and get worse with increased exposure.

Residents and those visiting buildings with the insulation are advised to make sure children don’t play in the attic, and should not use the attic as storage space if it will disturb the insulation. Residents should not disturb the insulation or attempt to remove it themselves.

The advisory does not apply to vermiculite used in potting soil or other horticultural products.

More information on the vermiculite insulation, including full-colour pictures which may be useful in identifying the product, can be found on Health Canada’s website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/iyh/products/insulation.html , and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s asbestos page at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/burema/gesein/abhose/abhose_ce03.cfm .

SALES DIP IN NOVEMBER WHILE SELLING PRICES INCREASE

December 5, 2012 - Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,793 sales in November 2012 – down by 16 % compared to November 2011. The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year. 

“Transactions have been down on a year-over-year basis since June, after being up substantially in the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. Some buyers pulled forward their decision to purchase, which has impacted sales levels in the second half of 2012. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines, including a reduced maximum amortization period and a purchase price ceiling of one-million dollars for government insured mortgages, have prompted some buyers to move to the sidelines. This situation has been exacerbated in the City of Toronto because the additional upfront Land Transfer Tax takes money away from buyers that otherwise could be used for a larger down payment,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price was up by 1.6 % annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 % compared to last year.

“The moderate annual rate of price growth compared to previous months was largely due to a different mix in detached home sales this year compared to last, particularly in the City of Toronto. The share of detached homes that sold for over one-million dollars was down substantially, which influenced the overall average price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The MLS® HPI detached benchmark price, which tracks the price for a home with the same attributes over time, was up by almost six per cent in Toronto, suggesting that market conditions for low-rise homes remain quite tight despite a changing mix of sales,” added Mercer.

STRONG AVERAGE PRICE GROWTH IN SEPTEMBER

October 3, 2012 - Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 5,879 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in September 2012. The average selling price for these transactions was $503,662, representing an increase of more than 8.5 per cent compared to last year.

September average selling prices were up compared to last year for all major home types. Price growth was strongest in the City of Toronto, including for condominium apartments with 8 %  year-over-year growth. All benchmark home types included in the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) experienced year-over-year price increases, with substantially stronger increases for low-rise home types.

The number of transactions was down by 21 % in comparison to September 2011. However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012 compared to September 2011. The majority of transactions are entered on working days. On a per working day basis, sales were down by 12.5 % year-over-year. “While sales have been lower due to stricter mortgage lending guidelines, we continue to see substantial competition between buyers. The months of inventory trend remains low from a historic perspective, which explains the strong price increases we are experiencing,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

“Barring a major change to the consensus economic outlook, home price growth is expected to continue through 2013. Based on inventory levels, price growth will be strongest for low-rise home types, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and town homes,” said TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer.

INCREASED CHOICE RESULTS IN FLAT CONDO PRICES IN Q3

October 16, 2012-Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,541 condominium apartment sales through the TorontoMLS system in the third quarter of 2012. This result represented a 20.5 % decline in transactions compared to the third quarter of 2011. Over the same period, the number of new listings was up by more than 6.5 % to 11,456.

“The condominium apartment market was the best supplied market segment in the third quarter of this year. Strong condominium apartment completions in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 resulted in many investor-held units listed for sale. At the same time, sales dropped off relative to last year as some buyers moved to the sidelines as stricter mortgage lending guidelines resulted in increased costs of home ownership,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price for condominium apartments in the third quarter, at $334,204, was flat in comparison to the same period last year.  “With more listings to choose from and fewer sales, condo buyers have not been as aggressive with regard to offers, and sellers have had to price their units competitively. The result was little upward pressure on the average selling price compared to last year. Given the supply of listings currently in the market place, the average rate of price growth for condo apartments should continue to lag price growth for low-rise home types over the next year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

MORTGAGE RULES CHANGING

June 21, 2012 - The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced four measures for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 %:
 
  • Reduce the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 years.
  • Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow when refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent of the value of their homes.
  • Fix the maximum gross debt service ratio at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent.
  • Limit the availability of government-backed insured mortgages to homes with a purchase price of less than $1 million.
The new rules will take effect on July 9, 2012.  For more detailed information, please visit www.fin.gc.ca 

TIGHT MARKET PUSHES THE AVERAGE PRICE ABOVE $500K
Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,032 sales in February 2012 - up 16 % compared to February 2011. New listings were also up over the same period, but by a lesser 11 % to 12,684. It is important to note that 2012 is a leap year, with one more day in February. Over the first 28 days of February,\sales and new listings were up by 10 % and 6 % respectively.

"With slightly more than two months of inventory in the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) market area, on average, it is not surprising that competition between buyers has exerted very strong upward pressure on the average selling price. Price growth will continue to be very strong until the market becomes better supplied," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

"It is important to note that both buyers and sellers are aware of current market conditions. This is evidenced by the fact that home s sold, on average, for 99 % of the asking price in February".

The average selling price in the TREB market area was $502,508 in February - up 11 % compared to February 2011. The Composite MLS® Home Price Index for TREB, which provides a less volatile measure of price growth compared to the average price, was up by 7.3 % compared February 2011.

"If tight market conditions continue to result in higher than expected price growth as we move into the spring, expectations for 2012 as a whole will have to be revised upwards," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manag

er of Market Analysis. "While price growth remains strong, the average selling price remains affordable from a mortgage lending perspective for a household earning the average income in the GTA."

HST WILL NOT AFFECT RESALE HOMES

July 9, 2010 - As of July 1st, the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will be in effect and Ontario consumers will be hard-pressed to avoid this so called “tax on everything”.   While that less than flattering nick name for the HST may be pretty close to the truth, it’s not completely accurate, especially when it comes to real estate, where the HST applies differently depending on the type of real estate, whether it is resale housing, newly constructed housing, or business properties.

Anyone who has ever purchased a home or has considered purchasing a ho1me knows that budgeting for taxes is an important part of determining what they can afford.  Whether it is the on-going cost of property taxes, or the upfront cost of land transfer taxes, the cost of taxes on housing can add up.

With that in mind, one of the most important things to know about the HST is that, fortunately, it will not increase the tax burden on the purchase price for homebuyers who purchase resale housing.  That’s because resale housing, which was never subject to Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or the federal Goods and Services Tax, will continue to be exempt from both taxes once they are combined under the HST.

The same is not true for newly constructed homes, which will be hit with additional tax under the HST.  Newly constructed housing has always been subject to the GST, meaning thousands of dollars of tax for home buyers choosing this option.  Now, with the HST, new housing will also be subject to PST, meaning thousands of dollars in added costs for home buyers of new housing.

There is a silver lining for new housing: the provincial government provides a rebate of 75 per cent of the PST on the first $400,000 of a newly constructed home, or a maximum of $24,000. For example, someone purchasing a new home priced at $500,000 would face $40,000 in additional tax from the provincial portion of the HST, which would be reduced to $16,000 with the rebate.  Obviously, the rebate softens the blow, but an extra $16,000 of tax for a newly constructed home is nothing to laugh at.

Fortunately, home buyers choosing to purchase a resale home don’t have to worry about paying HST on the price of their home.  That’s money that they can keep in their pocket, or use to keep their mortgage costs down. 

There is also encouraging news when it comes to real estate for businesses.  Although the costs of purchasing or renting a commercial property are subject to HST, businesses are allowed to claim tax credits to offset these costs.  Even better, when purchasing a commercial property, the business can claim the tax credits immediately so that no upfront costs are incurred for the HST, and cash flow is not impacted.

It won’t be long before the HST is a reality in Ontario and taxes on a long list of goods and services will increase. Although it would be nice if HST didn’t apply to any real estate transactions, luckily, there is some encouraging news, especially for homebuyers of resale housing, who won’t see the purchase price of their home increase due to HST, and businesses buying or renting commercial properties, who will be able to offset their HST costs. 

NEW HST TAX TRANSITION RULES 

The provincial government has provided rules/guidance on how it will transition to the implementation of the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax.

Background - The provincial government has passed legislation to combine the eight percent Provincial Sales Tax with the five percent federal Goods and Services Tax, creating a 13 percent Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
* The HST is NOT YET IN EFFECT. The HST will come into effect beginning on July 1, 2010; however, note transition rules below.
* HST will not apply on the purchase price of re-sale homes.
* HST would apply to services such as moving cost, legal fees, home inspection fees, and REALTOR® commissions.
* HST will apply to the purchase price of newly constructed homes. 

However, the Province is proposing a rebate so that new homes across all price ranges would receive a 75 per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the single sales tax on the first $400,000. For new homes under $400,000, this would mean, on average, no additional tax amount compared to the current system.

Transitional Rules for New Housing
Generally, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before June 18, 2009 would not be subject to the provincial portion of the single sales tax, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010.
The tax would also not apply to sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into after June 18, 2009 where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.

Additional Transitional Rules - Where services straddle the HST implementation date of July 1, 2010, the tax charged for the service may have to be split between the pre-July 2010 and post-June 2010 periods. However, the HST will generally not apply to a service if all or substantially all (90% or more) of the service is performed before July 2010.
Four key timelines are important (see below). All are based on the earlier of the time the consideration is either due (In general, an amount is due on the date of the invoice or the day required to be paid pursuant to a written agreement), or is paid without having become due. If consideration is due or paid,
Before October 15, 2009, HST will generally not apply (however, see above transition rules for new housing).
From October 15, 2009 to April 30, 2010, certain business that are not entitled to recover all of their GST/HST paid as input tax credit may be required to self-assess the provincial component of the HST with respect to goods or services supplied after June 30, 2010.
From May 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply for services supplied after June 30, 2010.
After June 30, 2010, HST will generally apply. An exception to this rule would be where ownership of the property is transferred before July 2010 or the invoice relates to services provided before July 2010.
With regard to the lease or license of goods, including non-residential real property, HST will generally apply to lease intervals or payment periods on or after July 1, 2010 and the general rules noted above will apply. However, where a lease interval begins before July 2010 and ends before July 31, 2010, it is not subject to HST.
With regard to the sale of non-residential property, HST is due where both possession and ownership of non-residential property occurs on or after July 1, 2010.
More Detail - Additional detail on the transition rules is available by calling the provincial government enquiry line at 1-800-337-7222.

GOVERNMENT GRANTS OF UP TO $5,000.00 FOR ENERGY IMPROVEMENTS

To help hoeowners save energy, save money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Ontario government has created the Ontario Home Energy Retrofit Program. With spring renovation season heating up, take a look at any energy-related projects that may qualify you for government grants.

The program provides homeowners with grants of up to $5,000 for home energy improvements.

Your efforts to make your home more energy efficient will help you conserve power and lower your electricity bill. You are also helping Ontario cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is predicting at least 3% growth in real estate prices for the Greater Toronto Area. You've maybe heard this lately; that there's more economic indicators that rates will come down this year, and for that reason many buyers are gravitating to the convertible/variable mortgages.

The U.S. subprime mortgages and real estate crisis is not expected to have more negative impact here in Canada. Many do not realize that almost 80% of sub-prime mortgages are performing fine, and for that reason sub-prime will be back soon but will have better underwriting criteria. We want the sub-prime mortgages to come back so that the U.S. housing market will grow, as well as re-establish consumer confidence which has an overall effect on the entire health of our economies!

PROVINCE EXPANDS PROVINCIAL LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE

December 13, 2007 - The provincial government has announced that it is expanding the PROVINCIAL land transfer tax rebate for first-time buyers to include re-sale housing, something which REALTORS® have lobbied for.

  • First-time buyers of BOTH re-sale, and newly constructed homes, will be eligible for a rebate of the provincial land transfer tax of up to $2,000.

  • Effective for first-time buyers who enter into Agreements of Purchase and Sale AFTER December 13, 2007.

  • This change is being implemented by provincial legislation introduced on December 13, 2007. The Ministry of Finance has indicated that, until the legislation is passed, first-time buyers of re-sale properties eligible for the rebate can submit their applications for the refund and they will be processed once the legislation has passed. It is not known when the legislation will be passed. Buyers can consult with their lawyers if they have concerns.

  • The provincial land transfer tax rebate applies in all Ontario municipalities. In Toronto, the provincial rebate is in addition to City rebates of the Toronto Land Transfer Tax. See details of Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

More Information: Ministry of Finance Land Transfer Tax Section 905-433-6361General Inquiry 1-800-263-7965 transfer tax are available

 

 

here or by calling the City of Toronto at 416-338-0338.

 
TORONTO AMONG TOP 5 MOST DESIRABLE LOCATIONS FOR INVESTMENT PROPERTY

August 24, 2007 -Altus-Insite Investment Trends Survey respondents continue to rank Tier One Regional Malls as the best property type for investment purposes. This ranking has not changed since the second quarter of 2006. Meanwhile, Edmonton was ranked as the most desired location in Canada. Calgary was second, and Vancouver rounded out the top three spots. Toronto was ranked as the 4th most desirable location to purchase an investment property in Canada.

OTHER NEWS:  *MARKET WATCH!    *STATISTICS    *REAL ESTATE NEWS! 

Single Women are Diving into Home Market

Although traditionally considered less inclined to buy homes than other demographics, single women of all ages are continuing to knock down barriers by purchasing real estate and tackling home repairs in droves. According to the new Royal LePage Female Buyers Report, 30 % of single, never-before married women own their own home. For divorced or separated women that proportion is 45 %, and for widowed women it’s 64 %.

Poll results found that of the single, never-before married women who are not yet homeowners, 31 % say they will potentially purchase their next home within 3 years. More than half (56%) of women who intend to purchase in the next 3 years are shopping for a property in the $150,000 to $350,000 price range, while 10 % have slightly fatter pocket books and are looking for a property priced above $350,000.

Of the women polled who intend to purchase a home in the next three years, 56 % are willing to participate in bidding wars, in comparison to only 49 % of men.

What’s more, the Royal Lepage survey found that, of women intending to buy in the next 3 years, 25 % said they are looking to purchase a ‘fixer-upper’ and plan to renovate it themselves. Only 9 % intend to hire a contractor. Research shows that women in Toronto, Halifax and Regina are the most likely to undertake renovations.

According to the survey, the biggest factor driving women to buy homes is that it makes more sense to them than renting. Other important factors include making a good investment, cited by 22 % of female homeowners surveyed, and pride of ownership, by 13 %. Simply put, women today are more financially astute than previous generations, and appreciate real estate as a long-term investment.   (CREA 17/04/07)

Government Programs for Home Buyers

  • CMHC to Insure 30 Year Mortgage on Pilot Basis (Mortgage Amortisation)          
  • CMHC Purchase Plus Improvements Program (Include Improvements/Renovation in your mortgage)
  • RRSP Home Buyers' Plan
  • 5% Down Payment Program
  • GST New Housing Rebate
  • Land Transfer Tax Rebate program

Government Programs for Property Owners

  • EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Grant
  • New Smoke Alarm Requirements
  • City of Toronto - Residential Washer Program
  • City of Toronto - WaterSaver Programs for Commercial, Industrial and Multi Unit Properties
  • Residential Toilet Replacement Programs
  • Residential Rehabilitation Assisstance Program
  • Rent Increase Guidelances
  • 2nd Suites in Toronto

NATIONAL HOMEBUYING INTENTIONS Are UP - RBC Survey

TORONTO, March 2 /CNW/ - Based on home-buying intentions, 2005 should prove to be another banner year for Canada's housing markets. And the group most likely to lead the charge to the moving van will be 25 to 34 years of age (46 per cent).

According to RBC Royal Bank's 12th Annual Homeownership Survey, this spring will be another busy house hunting season. Three in ten Canadians (29 per cent) - up three points from 2004 and the highest level since 1997 - say they intend to purchase a home or another house over the next two years; 13 per cent say they are "very likely" to do so. Another positive indicator is that 10 per cent (up two per cent from last year) of those who plan to buy within the next 2 years, expect to buy a home in the next six months. Of those who are likely to purchase within the next two years, 41 per cent are currently renters.

Owners versus Renters
Twice as many current renters (20%) as current owners (10%) are "very likely" to purchase a home within 2 years. However, current owners are more likely to buy new homes than renters (25% vs.34 % ). The average planned down payment is approximately 46% for owners and 19% for renters.

Popularity of trading up
For homeowners who are planning to purchase a home, in the next 2 years, trading up is still the most popular reason given for the pending move. However, the number of homeowners wanting to downsize has increased considerably. 41% of homeowners (down 6 points from 2004) are planning to buy a bigger home than the one they live in now, while 30% (up 10 points) say they plan to purchase a smaller house, almost the same proportions (29%) who prefer a house of similar size (down 4 points from last year).

New versus Resale
The majority of people who plan to buy in the next two years prefer resale homes to new (63% vs. 29% ). Women are more likely than men to prefer resale homes (65% versus 62% ). The 18-24 year old crowd are the most likely to prefer new homes while those age 35-44 are the most likely to purchase resale property (35% vs. 67% ).

HOUSE STAGING

Preparing a house for sale using cost-effective and non-invasive methods, most consider house staging techniques as part of their selling and buying criteria. House staging can also be referred to as house fluffing. "House staging, a tool used by successful real estate agents for decades, is the best way to make a dramatic impact without having to spend a lot of money."

TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - With the busy spring housing market right around the corner, Canadians are contemplating home improvements to help entice potential buyers. Creating the illusion of space and neutralizing your house are two important aspects of house staging. Eliminating clutter is an easy way to accomplish both.

The 2005 Royal LePage House Staging Poll (conducted by Maritz Research) illustrates that 54 % of Canadians think that $2,000 or more is the appropriate amount to spend in preparing a house for sale, with a surprising 25 % willing to pay over $5,000.

According to the poll, the top 3 interior features when selling a home were freshly painted walls (30%), flooring (29%) and organized storage space (20%).  The poll also shows that 75 % of Canadians would classify the style of their house as "current" or "somewhat current." These findings are counter to house staging specialists, who maintain that although the majority of homes in Canada are in need of updating prior to sale, a significant difference can be made with as little as $1,500.

HOMEOWNERS ENJOY BIG ASSET GAINS
Study says value of homes up sharply

Canadians saw the value of their homes shoot up sharply in the last five years, according to a survey by Century 21 Canada, and none cashed in more than those in Ottawa.

The survey of Canada’s 20 largest housing markets looked at the percentage increase in house prices over five- and 10-year intervals, and also looked at the return on a $20,000 down payment on an average-priced house.

Ottawa homeowners saw their investments appreciate the most over the last five years, the survey says. On an average home, purchased outright in 1999 and sold this year, value increased a total of 103 % .

For comparison, the S&P/TSX composite index would have offered a 131 % return over the last 10 years.

The survey defined the price of an average home as the average price of all single-family residence, including condos and recreational properties, but excluding farms, vacant land, and commercial property.

“But that’s not how most people invest in real estate,” says Donald Lawby, Century 21 Canada’s president. “People gather as big a down payment as they can, and then they buy a house – leveraging their investment by borrowing money from the bank. So, when they sell their house, they don’t just earn a return on their down payment, they earn a return on the full sale price of the house.”

The survey cites as an example a $100,000 home bought with a 10 % down payment. The purchase would leave $10,000 of equity in the purchaser’s home. If the home was then sold for $110,000, and the $90,000 mortgage paid off, the net cash-in-hand would be $20,000, or a 100 per cent return on the initial investment.

Century 21 Canada took the example of a home purchased using a $20,000 down payment, then added the total of mortgage payments that would be paid on a typical 25-year mortgage. The average amount of rent paid monthly on a two-bedroom apartment in the area – which amounts to equivalent rental housing – was then subtracted from the total in order to get the complete return on the investment.

Using those numbers, Ottawa homeowners saw a whopping 512 % return on their $20,000 down payment over the five year period from 1994-2001. According to the latest MLS® results for the month of May, home prices in Canada’s 25 major markets are up 12.9 % from May 2003 levels, the 5th consecutive double-digit increase and the third consecutive month in which it set a new monthly record.

The survey notes that the large urban centres often showed a wider range on returns, driven by sudden increases in home values and larger costs required to service mortgages. (CREA 23/06/2004)

REAL ESTATE ATTRACTIVE INVESTMENT FOR IMMIGRANTS  
New Canadians buying homes faster than ever
 
 

A survey released by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce shows new immigrants to Canada have more confidence in real estate as an investment than other Canadians, and they are buying homes sooner after their arrival than ever before.

The CIBC/Decima poll found 62 % of immigrants who came to Canada after 1980 strongly agreed they were more likely to put money into a home than the stock market. That compares to just 53 % of Canadian-born respondents.

The survey also found among immigrants who are current homeowners, those who arrived prior to 1980 took, on average, 15 years to purchase their first home. This time frame has shrunk to less than six years among immigrants who have arrived since 1980.

"The dream of home ownership has become reality sooner for new Canadians who currently own a home," said Paul Mims, vice-president of CIBC Mortgages and Lending. "We also found that the older immigrants are when they arrive, the sooner they are able to purchase their first home."

Immigrants who arrive in Canada between the ages of 18 and 34 take an average of 8.9 years to purchase their first home. In contrast, it takes less than half as long (just over four years) for immigrants who arrive between the ages of 35 and 49 to purchase their first home.

The survey results also show that immigrants are more likely to be planning to move or purchase a new home in the next year (22 %) than their Canadian-born counterparts (14 %).

The poll based on a randomly selected sample of 1,267 English- and French-speaking Canadian adults (1,017 current homeowners and prospective homebuyers, and 250 status quo renters). The results are considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. (CREA 19/04/04)

The majority of Canadians don’t consider their mortgage a debt, but see it as an investment, according to a recent CIBC/Decima poll. 75 per cent of respondents saw their mortgage as an investment, and 83 per cent of respondents said they’d rather invest money in their home than in the stock market.

“The vast majority of homeowners has a healthy attitude towards their mortgage by looking at it as an investment -- but they still want to be mortgage-free faster," said Paul Mims, vice-president of CIBC Mortgages and Lending. "Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of homeowners and prospective homebuyers seem to be in a rush when it comes to paying off their mortgages."

According to the survey, holding a mortgage does not have a major impact on the homeowner's purchasing power. The majority (78 per cent) of homeowners and prospective homebuyers surveyed said that they could afford the things they want, even though they have a mortgage. Among those earning more than $80,000 per year, the figure jumped to 93 per cent.

The survey also found one in five Canadians currently renting plan to purchase a home in the next 12 months.

Mortgage / Life Insurance - Peace of mind http://www.futurelinkfinancial.com/eng_frameset_ins_life.htm

 
HOMEOWNERS THINKING RENOVATION
 
 
Almost 40 per cent will renovate in the next year

A survey by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce shows that the renovation market will be strong for the next two years. A total of 48 per cent of homeowners in a national survey conducted for CIBC said they had completed renovations in the last two years, while 39 per cent planned renovation in the next 12 months.

"The real estate boom of the past few years has spurred a renovations boom," said Paul Mims, vice-president of CIBC Mortgages and Lending. "Homeowners are turning their houses into the homes they've always wanted -- and many of them are taking a 'do-it-yourself' approach."

Almost half (43 per cent) of the homeowners who renovated in the past two years opted to handle the renovations themselves. Among homeowners who are planning renovations, exterior renovations (roofing, windows and siding) are the most popular, at 34 per cent, followed by the kitchen (21 %), bathroom(s) (19 %), landscaping (17 %) and basement (17 %).

The poll results show that homeowners who are planning to move, prospective homebuyers, and past and potential renovators believe kitchen (89 per cent), bathroom (71 per cent) and living room (46 per cent) renovations add the most value when reselling a home.

While the average homeowner who has done renovations in the past two years planned to spend $11,600 on home renovations, those with incomes of more than $100,000 set aside, on average, $23,900 to pay for renovations.

"While just over half of homeowners who have renovated in the past two years said the actual cost of the renovation was about the same as they had planned, more than a third went over budget by about $8,800," said Jeannie Stamkos, a CIBC branch manager. "So the lesson is to be prepared for a price tag that can be higher than expected." 

 
 
 
INSURANCE COMPANIES TAKE A BITE OUT OF COVERAGE
Homeowner’s policy not renewed because of pets

An Alberta man has found himself without home insurance after his company failed to renew his policy because he keeps dogs his insurance company considers dangerous. Emmanuel Gionet, a Calgary resident, received a letter from Allstate Insurance advising him his policy would not be renewed after he disclosed to the insurance company that he owns a Rottweiler-Burmese mountain dog-Labrador crossbreed and a German shepherd-Labrador crossbreed.

"The policy no longer meets our underwriting guidelines due to unacceptable dog breeds in the household," the letter said.

Certain types of dogs will trigger cancellation or non-renewal of the policy, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers, and any crossbreed with a significant portion of those dogs in its ancestry.

Allstate spokeswoman Karyn Toon said the policy change was not a spur-of-the-moment decision.  "We won't transfer the risk of those dogs that can be trained as guard dogs. We never wrote them as guard dogs (for businesses), so we're not going to write them in personal property situations," Toon said.  Allstate conducted a risk review in mid-2003 on dog liability and found the four breeds were high risk, she said. They instituted the policy prohibiting those dogs a short time later. Toon said pet liability is nothing new.  "We have certainly for many years asked what pets people own. Pets can incur loss," she said. "The liability can be as high as $1 million for one dog bite."

In 2002, the property/casualty insurance industry in the U.S. paid out US$345.5 million in dog-bite liability claims, up from $250 million seven years earlier (these numbers only account for liability claims from homeowners' or renters' policies).  Although the Canada Safety Council says Canada has no national data on the canine population, dog-related deaths and injuries or which breeds cause the most harm, it estimates that dogs bite 460,000 Canadians annually. 

"My fear is that these dogs and any dog with these breeds will be banned by insurance companies and then won't be adopted from shelters. It's a total knee-jerk reaction," Gionet said. (CREA 25/03/2004)

 
 
HOUSING A GOOD INVESTMENT!
 
The vast majority of Canadian homeowners and renters believe that purchasing a home is a good investment, according to a report released by RBC Royal Bank. In its annual homeownership survey, the bank says 89 per cent of Canadian homeowners and 79 per cent of renters think homes are a good investment.

The number of potential buyers who plan to make a purchase in the next two years dropped slightly in this year’s survey, down two per cent to 11 per cent of all Canadians. The survey also found eight per cent of those planning to buy in the near future expect to make a purchase in the next six months.

Albertans, with 36 per cent of respondents making plans, were the most likely to buy a home in the next two years. B.C. residents came in second, with 35 per cent, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents at 26 per cent, Ontario at 24 per cent, Quebec at 20 per cent, and Atlantic Canada at 19 per cent. Alberta and B.C. were the only provinces to post gains over last year’s survey, with the number of potential buyers declining slightly in all other provinces except Ontario, which remained unchanged.

The survey also found that Canadians aged 25-34 are most likely to buy in the next two years, with 42 per cent of respondents saying a purchase was likely. Those aged 35-44 were the next most likely to make a purchase at 33 per cent, followed by the 18-24 group at 27 per cent, and those in the 45-54 range at 22 per cent.

The majority of people who plan to buy in the next two years prefer resale homes, with 64 per cent of those planning to buy looking at the resale market. An even 75 per cent of prospective buyers are looking for a detached or semi-detached house, while 10 per cent are looking at the townhouse market, nine per cent at condos, four per cent at apartments, and one per cent at lofts.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid during the first two weeks of February, polled 2,000 Canadians, and is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. (CREA 17/03/2004)

 
 
 
OTHER NEWS:  *MARKET WATCH!    *STATISTICS    *REAL ESTATE NEWS!
 
 
 

 

YOUNG ADULTS ARE SNAPPING UP REAL ESTATE

Compared to the previous decade, the percentage of homebuyers between the ages of 18 to 34 has more than tripled since the year 2000, according to the results of a CIBC mortgage poll conducted by Decima Research. This age group represented just 10% of homebuyers in the 1990s, but they comprise 36% of purchasers in the past four years.

"More young people are getting into the housing market because financing is much more affordable," said Paul Mims, Vice President, CIBC Mortgages and Lending. "Homeownership has become a reality for many 18 to 34 year olds because their mortgage payment can often be the same amount as their rent."

The average age of a Canadian homeowner has fallen from just over 48 years old in the 1990s to 41 years old since 2000. In comparing homeowners who purchased since 2000 with those who bought their home in the previous decade, the average mortgage size has risen 26% to $120,000, from $95,000 in the 1990s, likely reflecting the rise in home prices during that time period.

The poll results also show that condominium purchases have nearly doubled since the 1990s, representing 11% of home purchases in the past four years, compared to 6% in the previous decade. Meanwhile, the percentage of single-family detached homes among home purchases fell, accounting for 66% of home purchases since 2000, compared to 74% in the 1990s.

"Even with today's low mortgage rates, it is still a good idea for most people to put down as large a down payment as they can afford to minimize the insurance and interest payable," said Jeannie Stamkos, a CIBC Branch Manager.

TARION DOUBLES WARRANTY PROTECTION

Total warranty coverage for new homes in Ontario will increase to $300,000 from $150,000 for all purchasers who take possession of a new home on or after July 1, 2006 regardless of when the purchase was made. The increased coverage "is a significant benefit to new home buyers and builders in Ontario that reflects the robust housing market and the increasing price of new homes," said Greg Gee, president and CEO of Tarion, adding that while most buyers will never need this amount of coverage, the boost gives buyers more confidence that there will be funds available if a major repair is required. Warranty enrolment fees will not change from their current rates. For more information, visit tarion.com.

The poll surveyed 1,267 English- and French-speaking Canadian adults (1,017 current homeowners/prospective homebuyers and 250 status-quo renters). The results are considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. (CREA 21/04/2004)

Life / Mortgage Insurance is a way to protect your survivors and dependants against financial hardship. A life insurance contract or policy is a legal agreement between you and an insurance company that guarantees payment of cash, the face value of the policy, upon death.
A valuable feature of life insurance is that the benefit paid to your beneficiary is almost always tax free. Please feel free to call for a list of Insurance Agents/Options. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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