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The price per square foot (PPSF) of a downtown Toronto condo increased more than 10% in the last year according to a new survey from CENTURY 21 Canada.

It found that the PPSF of a downtown Toronto condo rose to $903 from $819 in 2017, while suburban prices were more volatile with a detached house in Markham and Richmond Hill each down 24% to $379 and $445 respectively.

Condos in Peterborough rose to $255, while house prices in Ottawa and Guelph were more stable, rising 4.65% to $225 and 4.5%to $397, respectively.

“It has been an unpredictable year in Ontario housing prices, with the price per square foot rising and falling from community-to-community and even suburb-to-suburb,” said Brian Rushton, Executive Vice-President of CENTURY 21 Canada. “Much like in Canada’s other major centres prices fall rapidly once you are outside the downtown core of Toronto, and homes in those communities remain relatively affordable. Even with an increase of almost five percent Ottawa remains one of the least expensive places to live in Ontario.”

Elsewhere in Canada
The cost of a downtown condo makes Toronto the second highest market behind Metro Vancouver where the PPSF for a condo is $1,345 and a home in Vancouver, West Side costs $1,147 psf.

The top ten most expensive areas also include West Vancouver ($899 psf); Vancouver, East Side ($721); Surrey, BC – condos ($685); North Vancouver ($681); Richmond, BC ($677); and Montreal, Downtown and SW ($603).

Meanwhile, the least expensive markets are led by St. John’s, NL ($137 psf); Owen Sound, ON ($145); and Prince George, BC, and Halifax, NS (both $155).

The survey looks at prices across Canada for the first half of the year and compares with the same period of previous years.

Nearly half of new residential developments in downtown Toronto could be made up of two- and three-bedroom units, a new plan for the core just approved by city council outlines.

The city’s sweeping TOcore plan for downtown growth considers many aspects of living, working and being in Toronto’s core, including expanding and improving parks; fostering walking, cycling and transit, and protecting open spaces from shadow.

The Official Plan Amendment and three infrastructure strategies was considered by council late Wednesday night.

The master plan requires new residential developments with more than 80 units to be made up of at least 40 per cent two- and three-bedroom units.

“It’s something that we’re … hoping for, because we’ve been seeing a steady decline since the 1990s in the size of condo units and in the number of bedrooms of condo units,” said Cherise Burda, executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute.

“At the same time, we’re seeing an increase in the height of condo buildings. And, so, essentially, we’re building small and tall; we’re building small units in tall buildings.”

To create balanced mix of unit types and sizes, the policies approved lay out regulations for developments with more than 80 residential units:

    • At least 15 per cent of units would be two-bedrooms that are at least 87 square metres (936.5 square feet) in size.
    • At least 10 per cent of units would be three-bedrooms that are at least 100 square metres (1,076.4 square feet) in size.
    • An additional 15 per cent of units would be a combination of two- and three-bedroom units, without the same minimum size.
“Making sure that we build a livable downtown means ensuring that we have access to affordable housing, but also means that we have access to family housing, and that means family-sized units,” said Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 20—Trinity-Spadina) before the vote.

“Not just two and three bedrooms where the three bedrooms are closets, but rather two and three proper-sized bedrooms. And that’s what’s key in TOcore; it provides a percentage that’s required for two and three bedrooms, but also the specific square footage that’s required.”

Douglas Young, an associate professor who teaches urban studies at York University, said the policy is a “very interesting” example of the government regulating the production of housing.

“I think, in this country, there’s always been something of a dance between government and the private sector around housing, with sometimes government getting very involved and other times stepping back,” Young said. “So I see this as a point in time where they’ve decided to step forward and get more involved.”

Young said the regulations are an attempt to reverse the trend of smaller condos being built in Toronto, which are more suitable for singles than families or groups. He added the 87- and 100-square-metre minimums for new units are “big” by today’s standards.

Burda said multi-bedroom units will create opportunities for families to remain downtown, but emphasized that affordability remains an issue.

“We need to get way more innovative and figure out how to create more affordable, family-friendly housing in our downtown, and it doesn’t necessarily require a million-dollar, three-bedroom unit,” Burda said.

The plan adds that, “where appropriate,” residential units would include storage space, operable windows, bedrooms with closets, bedrooms with an operable window on an exterior wall and balconies or terraces.

“They’re acknowledging the fact that the standard of accommodation that the private sector is producing is pretty low, where you can have a space without a window and without a closet and you can call it a bedroom,” Young said.

The downtown plan is a 25-year project that directs the scale and location of future growth in the city centre. It’s the first comprehensive update since the 1970s, when the 1976 Central Area Plan introduced policies to encourage residential growth downtown and avoid inner city deterioration.

“Fundamentally, TOcore is about designing a downtown that is livable,” Cressy said. “Another way of putting it: it’s about ensuring we build neighbourhoods, rather than simply building towers. And, so, central to building neighbourhoods is having a range of ages and families and people that live there.”

Cressy called the masterplan “long overdue and necessary.”

By the year 2041, the population of downtown Toronto is expected to double from 240,000 to 475,000.

Recognizing that growth was outpacing infrastructure, city council initiated the TOcore study in 2014.

The study area is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Bathurst St. to the west, the mid-town rail corridor and Rosedale Valley Road to the north and the Don River to the east.

The Ontario government has addressed the province’s housing supply issue by vowing to unlock provincial land for the use of housing.

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, made the announcement in Toronto Wednesday morning.

The plan is to allow for the creation of 2,000 new affordable housing units in Toronto as part of the province’s Fair Housing Plan.

“Our communities are at their strongest when they make room for everyone,” Milczyn said. “By freeing up underused land to build a mix of market and affordable rental housing, more people in Ontario will be able to find an affordable home in neighbourhoods they love.”

The province has earmarked three sites for building; two lots in West Don Lands and one, which is currently a multi-level parking structure, in the downtown core between Bay and Yonge Streets south of Wellesley.

“This is a unique and innovative strategy to transform surplus provincial lands into much-needed rental housing units for individuals and families, a key part of our Fair Housing Plan,” Bob Chiarelli, minister of infrastructure, said.

This new program is one of 16 measures announced by the Ontario government earlier this year to address affordable housing in the province.

“The province is leveraging the value of this land to develop new rental and affordable housing units for individuals and families in Toronto,” the Ministry of Housing said in a release. “This will pave the way for strong neighbourhoods that will feature both market and affordable rental housing, including much-needed family-sized units, with up to 30 per cent of the units earmarked for affordable housing.”

Since the end of April, we have heard many reports on how the [Toronto-Condo-Market-May-2017-New-Legislature-Effect-Toronto-Condo-Market-]Ontario Fair Housing Plan has changed the face of Toronto’s real estate market. We have heard diverse reports ranging from dire as the market has stalled and prices have dropped dramatically, to reports that there has been little impact on the Toronto market other than fewer sales.
I am going to dedicate myself to assist you in sorting out what effect the new legislature has had on the industry. I will not just give you blanket statements like we are hearing from Toronto’s media but focus on each downtown and midtown Toronto condo neighbourhoods so you may be able to see the changes based on the actual sales that have occurred in each area.
The first neighbourhood I will attack is [4a_custpage_109146.html]Yorkville in Downtown, Toronto around the Yonge, Avenue Road and Bloor area. This neighbourhood tends to has higher-end buildings and has been the most expensive condo area in Toronto.
I will breakdown by month beginning with March 21 – April 20 (the month prior to the changes) and moving through the 1st three months of the changes, as well as comparing with the year prior. We will explore the effects in both sales and prices and compare each category so you may see the real picture for this neighbourhood.
If you find this information useful, look for Bay Street Corridor Report next week. In the next few weeks, I will cover all of the downtown areas to give you true numbers for those looking to buy and sell. I think it is critical for all those who are interested in Toronto real estate, including real estate agents and brokers, to understand the changes and how it has affected the market. In fact, I am working towards reporting all this information by building because we are already seeing changes that are unique to each condo building.
It has been very interesting to look at the Yorkville, Annex, Toronto numbers. There has definitely been a decline in the number of sales over this period of time. In 2016 we saw the number of sales in the mid 30’s each month and this was the case prior to the change. However, from May 21st to June 20th there were 24 condo sales in the Annex, from June 21st to July 20th there were 19 sales and July 21st to August 20th there were 28 sales. What I find interesting is that the sales prices have actually increased on average.
The average sales price from March 21st through April 20th (prior to the rule change) was $1,174,126. The first month after the changes (April 21st to May 20th) we saw an increase of 7%, to $1,260,720. The second month (May 21st to June 20th) we saw a decrease in sales price to $1,055,403 but the market rebounded quickly in the 3rd month (June 21st to July 20th) to $2,091,889, an increase of 76%. The month showed a significantly higher increase, but it must be taken into consideration that there were 3 very expensive sales.
July 21st through August 20th saw the average sales price drop back, to $1,058,604, which I consider closer to the norm.  However, it is still up by more than 10% over the same period in 2016.
Prior to the change on April 21st, the price per square foot was $959.02 and we have seen this rise to as much as $1,038. In July-August we saw this figure remain strong at $1,019 per square foot. This is still a 6% increase over the March/April numbers.
Yorkville has remained a very strong market even after the changes. The numbers that truly supports the strength of the market is the average price per square foot and fewer listings. You can have a few high end deals that boost your sales price numbers but the price per square foot will always remain relevant. Over the past 5 months we have seen a rise in this number by as much as 8%.
For those who have been reluctant to sell their Yorkville condo due to what is being reported in the media, now is a great time to sell a Yorkville condos… it is still a strong sellers market!

 
July 21 – August 20, 2017
 
June 21 – July 20, 2017
 
May 21 – June 20 2017
 
Apr. 21 – May 20, 2017
 
Mar 21 – Apr. 20 2017
# of Sales
28
 
        19        
 
24
 
35 
 
 38
Ave. Listing Price 
$1,066,292
 
 $2,256,294
 
$1,055,403
 
 $1,260,720
 
 $1,174,126
Ave. Sales Price 
$1,058,604 (-11%)   since change
 
$2,091,889 (+25%)  since change 
 
$1,058,571 (-11%)   since change
 
 $1,254,492
 
 $1,188,827
Aprox Ave $ per sq. ft.
$1,019.10 (+6%) since change
 
$1,039.94 (+8%) since change
 
$928.11 (-3%) since change
 
 $993.48
 
 $959.02
% of Sold to Listing Price
99%
 
93% 
 
103 %
 
 99%
 
 101%
 
July 21 – August 20, 2016
 
 June 21 – July 20, 2016
 
May 21 – June 20 2016 
 
 Apr. 21 – May 20, 2016
 
 Mar 21 – Apr. 20 2016
# of Sales
 24
 
32
 
33
 
31
 
39
Ave. Listing Price 
 $980,762
 
$916,284
 
$921,586
 
$856,516
 
$793,387
Ave. Sales Price 
 $959,661 
 
$891,469
 
$894,784
 
$840,425
 
$789,891
Aprox Ave $ per sq. ft.
$817.07 
 
$736.02
 
$742.67
 
$600.76
 
$717.34
% of Sold to Listing Price
98% 
 
 97%
 
97%
 
98%
 
106%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 21 – Aug. 20 2017
 
 
 
 
# of Suites 
 
Ave Sales Price 
 
Aprox. Price per Square foot 
Studios / Bachs
 
 
 
 
1
 
$399,999
 
$690.84
1 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
9
 
$596,889
 
$954.41
1 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
6
 
$689,483
 
$960.61 
2 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
6
 
$762,833
 
$913.12 
2 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
4
 
$2,898,750
 
$1,547.16 
3 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
2
 
$1,780,000
 
$911.64 
3 + 1 Bdrm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 –
4 Bedroom
 
 
 
 
 
 
 – 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
June 21 – July 20 2017
 
 
 
 
# of Suites 
 
Ave Sales Price 
 
Aprox. Price per Square foot 
Studios / Bachs
 
 
 
 
 
– 
 
– 
1 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
5
 
$563,980 
 
$906.67 
1 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
 
$580,000 
 
$956.67 
2 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
 
$843,667 
 
$772.23 
2 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
 
 $3,177,500
 
 $1,403.70 
3 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
 
$2,948,333 
 
 $1,101.71
3 + 1 Bdrm
 
 
 
 
 
– 
 
– 
4 Bedroom
 
 
 
 
 
$8,437,500 
 
$2,969.56 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
May 21 – June 20 2017
 
 
 
 
# of Suites
 
Ave Sales Price
 
Aprox. Price per Square foot
Studios / Bachs
 
 
 
 
0
 
 
1 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
9
 
$761,296
 
$997.19
1 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
7
 
$689,514
 
$834.14
2 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
12 
 
$1,247,500 
 
 $986.56
2 Bdrm + Den
 
 
 
 
 6
 
 $1,616,666
 
$1,120.87 
3 Bedrooms
 
 
 
 
 3
 
 $1,541,166
 
$1,196.87 
3 + 1 Bdrm
 
 
 
 
 0
 
– 
 
 –

Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan introduces a comprehensive package of measures to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. The plan includes:

Actions to Address Demand for Housing:

Introducing legislation that would, if passed, implement a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations. Ontario’s economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province home. The NRST would help to address unsustainable demand in this region and make housing more available and affordable, while ensuring Ontario continues to be a place that welcomes all new residents. The proposed tax would apply to transfers of land that contain at least one and not more than six single family residences. “Single family residences” include, for example, detached and semi-detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. The NRST would not apply to transfers of other types of land including multi-residential rental apartment buildings, agricultural land or commercial/industrial land. The NRST would be effective as of April 21, 2017, upon the enactment of the amending legislation.

Refugees and nominees under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program would not be subject to the NRST. Subject to eligibility requirements, a rebate would be available for those who subsequently attain citizenship or permanent resident status as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students. See technical bulletin for further information.

Actions to Protect Renters

Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991. This will ensure increases in rental costs can only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Over the past ten years, the annual rent increase guideline has averaged two per cent. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above guideline increases where permitted. Legislation will be introduced that, if passed, will enact this change effective April 20.‎
The government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to further protect tenants and ensure predictability for landlords. This will include developing a standard lease with explanatory information available in multiple languages, tightening provisions for “landlord’s own use” evictions, and ensuring that tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule; prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed; and making technical changes at the Landlord-Tenant Board to make the process fairer and easier for renters and landlords. These changes would apply to the entire province.

Actions to Increase Housing Supply

Establishing a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply. Potential sites under consideration for a pilot project include the West Don Lands, 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets in Toronto, and other sites in the province. This builds on an agreement reached previously with the City of Toronto to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of residential units within the West Don Lands are available for affordable rental, with an additional 5 per cent of units for affordable ownership.
Introducing legislation that would, if passed, empower the City of Toronto, and potentially other interested municipalities, to introduce a vacant homes property tax to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, to address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant by speculators.
Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. This will encourage developers to build more new purpose-built rental housing and will apply to the entire province.
Introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to further encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. Working with municipalities, the government would target projects in those communities that are most in need of new purpose-built rental housing.
Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities. For example, municipalities could be permitted to impose a higher tax on vacant land that has been approved for new housing.
Creating a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions. As well, a multi-ministry working group will be established to work with the development industry and municipalities to identify opportunities to streamline the development approvals process.

Other Actions to Protect Homebuyers and Increase Information Sharing

The province will work to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market such as “paper flipping,” a practice that includes entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person prior to closing.
Working with the real estate profession and consumers, the province is committing to review the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions. This includes practices such as double ending. The government will modernize its rules, strengthen professionalism and improve the home-buying experience with a goal to make Ontario a leader in real estate standards.
Establishing a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures in the Fair Housing Plan and any additional steps that are needed. The group will have a diverse range of expertise, including economists, academics, developers, community groups and the real estate sector.
Educating consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
Partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
Making elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan. New provisions will include requiring that municipalities consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes. This will help support the goals of creating complete communities that are vibrant, transit-supportive and economically competitive, while doing more to address climate change, protect the region’s natural heritage and prevent the loss of irreplaceable farmland. As part of the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, enough land was set aside in municipal official plans to accommodate forecasted growth to at least 2031. Based on discussions with municipalities across the region, the government is confident that there is enough serviced land to meet the Provincial Policy Statement requirement for a three year supply of residential units. The Greenbelt provides important protection of natural heritage and farmland, and neither the area of the Greenbelt or the rules about what can occur inside of it will be weakened. The upcoming Growth Plan will promote intensification around existing and planned transit stations and will promote higher densities in the suburbs to support transit.

See map “Greater Golden Horseshoe”.

Actions to Date

The government has taken a number of actions over recent months and years in order to support homebuyers, increase supply of affordable and rental housing and promote fairness. These include:

Helping more people purchase their first home by doubling the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund for eligible first-time homebuyers to $4,000. This means eligible homebuyers in Ontario pay no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home.
Modernizing the Land Transfer Tax to reflect the current real estate market, including increasing rates on one or two single-family residence over $2 million. Revenue generated from the increased rates is being used to fund the enhancements to the First-Time Homebuyers Refund.
Making it easier for not-for-profit affordable housing providers to buy surplus government lands.
Introducing an inclusionary zoning framework for municipalities that will enable affordable housing units as part of residential developments.
Amending the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act to support second units, allowing homeowners to create rental units in their primary residence and creating additional supply.
Freezing the municipal property tax burden for multi-residential apartment buildings in communities where these taxes are high.
Collecting information about Ontario’s real estate market to support evidence-based policy development

Appendix: Data and Trends on the Real Estate Market

Ontario’s housing market has seen very dynamic growth in recent years, with prices in the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Golden Horseshoe rising significantly. This has been supported by economic fundamentals, including a growing population, rising employment, higher incomes and very low borrowing costs.

House prices have been rising at a robust pace in the Greater Toronto Area since the end of the 2008-09 recession.

After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 per cent from a year earlier.

See image “Toronto Home Resale Prices”

The Greater Toronto Area showed the sharpest rise in home prices in Ontario over the past two years.

While the growth rate of prices of homes in the Greater Vancouver Area have been slowing since August 2016 after the introduction of B.C.’s foreign-buyers tax, home prices have been climbing steadily in the Greater Toronto Area.

See image “MLS Home Price Index”, “Greater Toronto Area Price Increases Outstrip Other Cities” and “Housing supply in Ontario seems to be aligning with demographics”.

According to Urbanation, the average rent per square foot for new leases in the Greater Toronto Area condo market rose 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier, the fastest pace of growth since at least 2011.

See image “% change, year-over-year, GTA”.

The number of owners with more than one residential property has been rising steadily since 2000.

See image “Number of Owners With More Than One Residential Property in the GTHA: 2000-16”.

There were 1,752 total new home sales in July 2017, with 137 Low Rise sales, down -85% from July 2016 (down -86% from 10yr avg) and 1,615 High Rise sales, down -34% from July 2016 (up +4% from 10yr avg).

The New Home Benchmark Price tracks the average Low and High Rise home or unit price in the Greater Toronto Area for a particular month and compares it to the previous month in the same year and to the same month in the previous year.

As of July 2017, there were 117 active Low Rise sites in the Greater Toronto Area and the total unsold inventory was 1,713 lots. The total number of active High Rise sites was 246, with a total unsold inventory of 6,088 units.

Source : Altus 

No matter where you live, a low-rise home on a quiet suburban street or in the heart of downtown in a 40-storey tower, it’s always important to be respectful of your neighbours. With that in mind, we want to share a list of a few things you should never do when you live in a condo.

If you already live in a condo, you probably know someone in your building that does at least one or all of the faux pas on this list. If you do any of them, stop it. If you plan on moving into a condo for the first time, keep these things in mind so you can live in peace among your neighbours.

1) NEVER flick cigarettes off your balcony

It’s annoying enough to see people flicking cigarette butts on the street, don’t do it off your balcony or out a window. If you must smoke, use an ashtray and either bring the ashtray inside or cover it so the wind doesn’t blows the ashes and butts off your balcony. Throwing cigarettes on the ground or on someone else’s property is littering and it can also be dangerous. Cigarettes that are still burning can melt plastic or start fires.

2) NEVER leave bags in the garbage chute room

In most condos, each floor has a small room where you access the garbage chute. New condos have a sorter so you can dump compost, garbage, and recyclables. Occasionally, the chute will be out of service, and what a lot of people do is just leave the stinky garbage in the room and walk away like it’s not their issue anymore. If the chute is not operational, just take your garbage back to your unit and drop it off later! If everyone’s garbage piles up, it gets disgusting.

3) NEVER be too loud after 11 pm

Most condos have their own set of rules, but generally, any noise after 11 pm is unacceptable. It’s the same as on low-rise residential streets. In most new condos, the soundproofing is excellent, but people have the ability to get pretty loud, whether they’re blasting music or hosting a party with a lot of people.

4) NEVER store possessions in the hall or in your parking space

There are a few reasons you should never store your possessions in common areas; your clutter doesn’t look good in any setting, things could get stolen or damaged, and it could be a safety hazard. Generally, your stuff shouldn’t affect other people’s daily lives.

5) NEVER open the door for strangers

You may feel rude doing this, but letting people into the building that you don’t know or haven’t seen before can also be a safety issue. Condos are private residences, so if the person entering doesn’t live there and isn’t visiting someone, what are they doing? If the condo has a concierge, then this is their responsibility. If not, you should politely ask visitors to buzz in, and if they are in fact visiting someone, then that resident will let them into the building.

6) NEVER takeover an elevator 

Some condos only have two or three elevators. If you take one to move a series of items in or out of your unit, then that throws off all the other elevators. You should always reserve the service elevator if you know you’re going to need it. Don’t inconvenience your neighbours with your selfishness!

Overall, you should just be respectful when you live in a condo or anywhere else for that matter. If anything you’re going to do affects someone else negatively, then just don’t do it. Be cool, and live in harmony with your fellow condo dwellers!

This June, we announced $1.25 billion in tri-government funding for Waterfront Toronto to naturalize the mouth of the Don River, provide flood protection and lay the groundwork for new communities. This project, officially called Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure (PLFPEI), will be a vital part of helping Toronto grow in a sustainable way. This includes the $65-million in tri-government funding announced in September 2016 for Cherry Street Stormwater and Lakefilling (CSLF), a component of the larger PLFPEI project. 

This funding allows us to create two new outlets for the Don River, a 1,000-metre river valley and greenway that will safely convey flood waters into Lake Ontario. This project includes new roads, bridges and services, as well as 29 hectares of naturalized area in the river valley, two new parks and 14 hectares of aquatic habitat. The flood protection offered by the new, naturalized Don River valley, along with new infrastructure, public spaces, wetlands and trails will create an area as big as downtown Toronto where people can live, work and play.


What Happens Now?
The PLFPEI project will take seven years to build. The plan is already in place and vetted through a 
rigorous due diligence process. That means we’re positioned to start detailed design right away. Because we received some funding for the CSLF project already, detailed design for the CSLF project began in September 2016 and is almost complete. We will start construction on that component this fall and we will begin digging the river in 2018.

We are currently working with the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments on agreements that will allow funds to flow as needed between now and project completion. We are also in the process of procuring the lead contractor on this project, who will act as our construction manager on both the CSLF project and the broader flood protection project.

Construction on the Cherry Street Stormwater & Lakefilling Project
Construction in the Port Lands will start this fall with the creation of a new landform around the existing Essroc Quay and the re-routing of an existing storm sewer. The landform will create room to re-align Cherry Street and build a new, higher bridge over the Keating Channel to better withstand and accommodate floodwaters. This new landform will also be the base of the future Promonotory Park North. In addition to lakefilling, creating this new landform involves the design and construction of confinement berms, rock armoring and dockwall structures. We’ll also build new aquatic and terrestrial ecological habitat. 


We will form a Construction Liaison Committee (CLC) this fall before construction begins. Once we have details about construction staging and schedule, we will share them through the CLC as well as on our website and in construction notices. We will circulate regular communications related to construction activity and traffic impacts. Access to destinations in the Port Lands, like the Cherry Beach Sports Fields, will never be blocked

The federal housing agency says home construction picked up last month.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 222,324 units in July, up from 212,948 in June.

The annual pace of urban home construction increased by 5.5 per cent to 206,122 units, driven by a rise in multiple urban starts, generally apartment buildings, townhouses and condominiums, while single, detached home starts slowed.

Multiple urban starts increased by 10.4 per cent to 141,950 while single-detached urban starts fell by 3.9 per cent to 64,172.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,202 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates increased to 217,550 in July compared with 215,175 in June.

The data on housing starts came as Statistics Canada also reported the value of building permits issued in June rose to $8.1 billion, up 2.5 per cent from May and the second highest value on record.

The overall increase came despite a 0.9 per cent drop to $5.0 billion in residential building permits in June. Building permits for non-residential structures rose 8.8 per cent to $3.0 billion.

The Canadian Press

source : CMHC

Berkshire Hathaway, led by the renowned investor, says it will take a 38.39% stake in the mortgage lender and provide a $2 billion credit lifeline

Embattled mortgage lender Home Capital just got a lifeline from the Oracle of Omaha.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the multinational conglomerate led by renowned investor Warren Buffett, said late Wednesday evening it has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of the Toronto-based company’s common shares on a private placement basis — giving it a 38.39 per cent equity stake — and provide a new $2-billion line of credit to its subsidiary, Home Trust.

The deal with Berkshire, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Columbia Insurance Company, gives the alternative mortgage lender a much-needed cheaper funding arrangement. It also serves a major endorsement as Home Capital recently faced a crisis of confidence from investors and depositors amid allegations of misleading disclosure.

“Home Capital’s strong assets, its ability to originate and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its leading position in a growing market sector make this a very attractive investment,” said Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer in a statement.

Berkshire’s proposal was chosen by Home Capital’s board after “considering numerous alternative proposals,” the company said, including those that “would provide the potential for a sale of all of the shares.”

Home Capital board member Alan Hibben told analysts on a call Thursday morning that more than 70 parties signed non-disclosure agreements with the company as part of its process to explore strategic and financing options.

The board decided that the deal with Berkshire will provide Home Capital’s shareholders with “the best available combination of transaction certainty and the potential for enhanced shareholder value,” the company said.

Brenda Eprile, chairwoman of Home Capital’s board of directors, said this was a “very important moment” for the company.

“This is a strong vote of confidence in the fundamentals and the long-term value of our business… It is the right transaction with the right partner,” she told analysts. “I believe that when people look back on the events of 2017 at Home Capital, they will see this as a turning point.”

Berkshire agreed to make an initial investment of more than $153.2 million to acquire more than 16 million common shares of Home Capital at $9.55 per share, followed by an additional investment of more than $246.8 million to acquire nearly 24 million shares at $10.30 per share.

Upon closing, Berkshire will own 40 million common shares at an average price of approximately $10 per share, or roughly a 38.39 per cent equity stake in Home Capital, both companies said in a statement.

Shares of Home Capital in Toronto closed at $14.94 on Wednesday. The stock rose as much as 15.4 per cent to $17.25 early Thursday.

Berkshire agreed that for as long as it owns more than 25 per cent of Home Capital’s outstanding common shares, it will only be entitled to vote a maximum of 25 per cent of the company’s equity, unless it obtains the required regulatory approvals.

The new $2 billion credit facility will be secured against a portfolio of mortgages originated by Home Trust.

This new loan will replace the costly emergency credit line Home Capital secured from a syndicate of lenders led by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) as a backstop after its deposit balances — which help fund its lending — began plummeting at the end of March amid allegations of misleading disclosure and executive departures.

Home Capital has said that the terms of the HOOPP loan would make it hard to meet its previously announced financial targets.

“This transaction positions us to move beyond the liquidity event of earlier this year and get back to running this business in a long-term way,” Hibben told analysts.

Since March 28, Home Capital has seen depositors withdraw roughly $1.9 billion or 94 per cent of the high interest rate savings account balances at its subsidiary Home Trust. Those balances stood at $111.8 million as of June 20. Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), which make up a larger portion of its mortgage funding, has also fallen from $13.06 billion on March 28 to $12.02 billion as of June 20.

On Tuesday, Home Capital announced its subsidiary had entered into a definitive agreement with KingSett Capital to sell a portfolio of commercial mortgage assets valued at approximately $1.2 billion, giving the company some much needed liquidity to pay down the credit line.

Home Capital said Wednesday it will draw on this new loan facility to repay all outstanding amounts on the existing loan.

The new loan facility, which expected to be effective on June 29, has similar terms to the HOOPP loan, with some exceptions. The new loan will have an interest rate on outstanding balances of 9.5 per cent, down from 10 per cent. After Berkshire completes its initial investment, that will drop further to 9 per cent. Other differences include a lower standby fee of 1.75 per cent, reduced from the current 2.5 per cent, which will drop further to 1 per cent after Berkshire’s initial investment.

“(The standby fee) becomes important as we reduce reliance on the credit line and pay it down,” Hibben said. “As we have stated, the Company expects to have sufficient liquidity over the coming months to repay all amounts outstanding under the new credit agreement through other sources of liquidity currently under consideration.”

This announcement comes one week after it said the company and three of its former executives agreed to pay a total of $30.5 million to settle allegations of misleading disclosure by the Ontario Securities Commission and a class-action lawsuit. Canada’s biggest securities regulator had accused Home Capital and the former executives of misleading investors for months about an internal probe in 2014 and 2015 that led the company to cut ties with 45 brokers over falsified income documentation submitted for some loans.

Canada’s Wonderland Won’t Be the Only Thing Defining Vaughan’s Skyline Anymore

442 acres of land is being redeveloped, that’s approximately 300 football fields! They’re creating a downtown core that Vaughan has never seen before set with tons of skyscrapers (well, 30 storey skyscrapers). This plan transforms the current sub-urban area into an urban hub for transit, entertainment, and much more.
The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is projected to have a population of 25,000, 12,000 homes, 11,500 employment opportunities, and major transit additions including the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre TTC Subway Station.
There has been incredible success for the condos that have already launched in the VMC! Transit City Condos sold out its first two towers in under two weeks.

I’m delighted that City Council approved my colleague, Councillor Mike Layton’s plan, to turn vacant land at 28 Bathurst into a brand new 2-acre park. This is tremendous news, and a great win for our shared downtown neighbourhoods.

As our city grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods rather than just adding density. As we all know too well, parkland development downtown has not kept pace with the level of growth in the population of our communities. I look forward to working collaboratively with our communities on these initiatives, like 28 Bathurst, new parkland at The Well and Rail Deck Park, in the coming weeks and months, and to continue building our neighbourhoods together.

The Canadian Press has learned that the Ontario government will place a 15-per-cent tax on non-resident foreign buyers as part of a much-anticipated package of housing measures to be unveiled today.

The measures are aimed at cooling down a red-hot real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa have said the measures will target speculators, expedite more housing supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices.

Sousa says investing in real estate is not a bad thing, but he wants speculators to pay their fair share.

He says the measures will also look at how to expedite housing supply, and he has appeared receptive to Toronto Mayor John Tory’s call for a tax on vacant homes.

Sousa has also raised the issue of bidding wars, and has suggested realtor practices will be dealt with in the housing package.

The Liberals have also said that the government is developing a “substantive” rent control reform that could see rent increase caps applied to all residential buildings or units. Currently, they only apply to buildings constructed before November 1991.

Distinguished economist Benjamin Tal says that rentals “must be part of the solution” to the GTA housing problem

Report Summary:
  • The GTA is not a normally functioning market due to a history of legislation failure, as well as a severe lack of land;
  • House prices, while always on the rise in the GTA, have followed a “predictable path” until 2016, when the average-home price increase spiked by 17.3% and is currently at over 20%;
  • Unexpectedly, condo prices followed suit to almost parity, rising by 16% in the fourth quarter of 2016;
  • Contrary to the perception that there are “too many condos”, condo sales increased by a record 34%, while the supply was down by 6%;
  • The demand for housing in the GTA is not only strong but “stronger than perceived” due to “undercounting of the number of non-permanent residents”;
  • Government intervention to prevent the house prices to grow at this rate, such as foreign tax policy and new mortgage rules do not make a significant difference in an atypical market such as the GTA.

 

Report Conclusion:
  • An increase of supply of rental units is desperately needed in the GTA for a “real and lasting change”;
  • The GTA’s rental market has “never been hotter” with average rent rising by a record of almost 12%;
  • The new wave of renters (young families) will need “stability of long-term renting”;
  • For builders in the 416 area, the gap between the profitability of condos and profitability of purpose-build is very narrow; on surplus land, it makes even more sense to favour purpose-built;
  • Incentives from the government on new rental projects will make the difference between an “affordable and an unaffordable GTA housing market”: expediting the approval process for purpose-built projects, allowing higher intensification rates and cutting the HST will ultimately encourage builders to complete purpose-built projects before a full-blown affordability crisis.

New Apartment Construction in the GTA from 2002-2017.
*Dip in 2017 is due to unit numbers yet to be announced.*

Toronto rental rates fastest growing in Canada

Toronto’s rental housing market is downright scary right now, and there are few signs that affordability will improve in the near future. After significant price gains over the last two months, March rental rates show the highest percentage increase so far this year.

According to data complied by apartment listings website Padmapper, the median cost to rent both a one and two bedroom apartment in Toronto has increased by 4.9 percent in March. That compares with 4.5 percent (one bedroom) and 4.6 percent (two bedroom) last month

In January, the rate of increase was 3.3 and 3.7 percent, respectively. To start the year, the median price of a one bedroom in Toronto was $1,550 and a two bedroom came in at $1,970. Now Padmapper has those prices at $1,700 and $2,160, respectively.

Do you see a troubling trend? Rents were already way up last year, and the numbers are only climbing.

Despite these increases, Toronto has yet to become the most expensive rental market in Canada. That title still goes to Vancouver, though its rate of increase flat lined over the last month. The median price of a one and two bedroom stayed at $1,900 and $3,130.

Other cities also experienced major price increases for March. Kingston’s one bedroom apartment stock jumped 5.3 percent to $990 but its two bedrooms were a bit cooler at 3.6 percent growth for a median of $1,180.

 

growth study in GTA prices

While a 27-storey, two billion-dollar house for six people in the most poverty-stricken area of India might seem a tad bit extravagant to most, the richest man in India and sixth richest in the world, Mukesh Ambani, seems to have missed the memo. And that’s precisely why there is a towering skyscraper that reaches 550 feet with over 400,000 square feet of interior space against the Mumbai skyline.

 

 

The opulent residence that completed a four-year construction process in early 2010, was designed by American based architects on 48,000 square feet of land in downtown South Mumbai.

In its initial days, and even after its completion, the ostentatious display horrified Indian residents. Considering more than half live on $2 a day, and the building overlooks an overcrowded slum, it’s not hard to see why.

 

 


We have a quick mortgage update for you. As you may have heard, CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) just announced it will be increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017.

When we heard about this update, we sat down with Mortgage Specialist, Tyler Schwende from SAFEBRIDGE Financial Group to get some answers. Check out our interview below:

ULG: Why does CMHC need to raise premiums?  Don’t insurance companies already make enough money?

TS: Due to the recent mortgage rule changes handed down by the federal government as of January 1st it now requires mortgage insurers like CMHC to hold additional capital to buffer against potential losses.  CMHC believes this helps ensure the long term stability of the lending system.

ULG: How does this affect my mortgage payment?

TS: This depends on how much you have available for down payment.  On average though for a $350,000 mortgage this will increase your monthly mortgage payment by $11.50.

ULG: Will this affect me when I renew or refinance my mortgage?

TS: No.  Default insurance is only applied when you purchase a home generally with less then 20% down.

ULG: Will the other default insurers like Genworth and Canada Guaranty also increase their premiums in line with CMHC on March 17th?

TS: As of yesterday, Grenworth also announced an increase in their premiums. It is highly likely that Canada Guaranty will follow suit, as they are required to be following the same federal capital requirements as CMHC.

We hope this help clarify the changes implemented. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to reach out!

The average rent for a condo in downtown Toronto rose almost 12% to $2,134 a month in 2016 as supply of units shrank for the first time in five years.

Research firm Urbanation Inc. says shrinking condominium inventory in the high-rise sector, driven partially by landlords selling to would-be homeowners, helped drive the highest annual rental rate the firm has ever seen.

Urbanation, which has been tracking the condo sector since 1981, said Monday in its yearend report that condo rental rates jumped 11.7 per cent in 2016 with the average rental rent in the fourth quarter reaching $2.77 per square foot per month.

With the average lease size in the Greater Toronto Area 719 square feet, that puts the average monthly rent for condos at $1,990 per unit. In the former city of Toronto, which includes all of the downtown core, the average rent reached $2,134 per month.

“The undersupply of rentals in the GTA continued to worsen throughout the year, causing rents to surge alongside home prices and further deteriorating housing affordability across the region,” said Shaun Hildebrand, senior vice-president with Urbanation. “While less pressure on rent growth may arrive in 2017 due to a temporary rise in new apartment completions, it’s become clear that more attention needs to be paid to building rentals over the longer-term.”

The real estate company said the number of condo apartments leased through the multiple listing service system (MLS) in the GTA dropped by two per cent from a year earlier to 26,602 units in 2016 — the first decline since the company started tracking those sales in 2011.

Urbanation chalked up the drop in rental activity to delays in condos under construction being finished and less rental turnover of existing stock, but also an increase in resale activity.

“With resale prices for condos up 15 per cent over the same period, more owners have become enticed to sell their units as opposed to holding onto them as rentals,” the company said in a release. “At the same time, existing tenants have become less willing to move due to
the high cost of renting in the open market.”

The surge in demand for rental units comes amid an acceleration in housing prices. The Toronto Real Estate Board said this month that existing home prices across all housing stock rose 17.3 per cent in 2016 from 2015 with December prices up 21 per cent from a year earlier.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association says supply continues to dry up in the region which drove the average new detached home to $1,230,961 in November, a 27 per cent increase from a year earlier. But the new condo sector has seen a drop in supply too, leading to 10 per cent increase in prices from a year earlier to an average of $493,137 in November, the group said.

Urbanation noted a shift in the landscape that saw the share of the total inventory of condos that was leased last year drop to 8.5 per cent from 9.3 per cent a year earlier, while the share of total units resold jumped from 7.1 per cent to 8.1 per cent during the same period.

There is a bump in purpose-built rental coming with applications for new units reaching 27,812 units in 2016, increasing by 7,586 units in the past three months. Vacancy rates in the purpose-built segment of the market dropped to 0.6 per cent in 2016 from one per cent a year earlier.

The availability rate — units that are vacant plus those where the tenant has given notice — was 1.6 per cent, the lowest level over the past two years. The company says rates continue to climb in that segment of the market too, reaching $2.49 per square foot per month in 2016 for a five per cent annual increase.

The Bank of Canada is holding its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per cent as economic conditions move along largely in line with its expectations.

In making the scheduled announcement, the central bank says while the global economy has strengthened, international uncertainty has negatively affected business confidence and investment among Canada’s trading partners.

The bank says Canada’s growth performance has also been close to its expectations, including a strong rebound in the third quarter.

It says Canadian inflation, which it carefully analyzes when making rate decisions, is slightly below what it had anticipated in large part because of lower food prices.

The decision to maintain the rate was widely anticipated by experts and comes ahead of an announcement next week by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is expected to raise its key interest rate.

In October, the Bank of Canada downgraded its growth outlook and governor Stephen Poloz said its governing council actively discussed cutting the trendsetting rate before deciding to keep it on hold.

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area were up 16.5 per cent in November compared to a year earlier with 8,547 sales through the MLS system of Toronto Real Estate Board.

Meanwhile, prices continued to soar as low inventory tightened the seller’s market. The average selling price rose 22.7 per cent year-over-year to $776,684.

All home types across the region saw gains with townhomes and condos especially strong.

TREB’s director of market analysis, Jason Mercer, said that tackling rising prices has been the focus of recent policy changes but supply is where there is a desperate need for action.

“Going forward, more emphasis needs to be placed on solutions to alleviate the lack of inventory for all home types, especially in the low-rise market segments,” Mercer commented.

Toronto’s 416 area code continued to show a sharper rise in prices than outlying neighbourhoods. A detached home in the city rose 32.3 per cent in the 12 months to November 2016 to reach an average $1,345,962.

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