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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