GTA REALTORS® REPORT MONTHLY RESALE MARKET FIGURES
TORONTO, February 4, 2015 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced a strong start to 2015, with robust year-over-year sales and average price growth in January. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,355 home sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first month of the year. This result represented a 6.1 per cent increase over January 2014. During the same period, new listings were up by 9.5 per cent.
“The January results represented good news on multiple fronts. First, strong sales growth suggests home buyers continue to see housing as a quality long-term investment, despite the recent period of economic uncertainty. Second, the fact that new listings grew at a faster pace than sales suggests that it has become easier for some people to find a home that meets their needs,” said Mr. Etherington.
The average selling price for January 2015 home sales was up by 4.9 per cent year-over-year to $552,575. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite benchmark was up by 7.5 percent compared to January 2014.
“Home price growth is forecast to continue in 2015. Lower borrowing costs will largely mitigate price growth this year, which means affordability will remain in check. The strongest rates of price growth will be experienced for low-rise home types, including singles, semis and town houses. However, robust end-user demand for condo apartments will result in above-inflation price growth in the high-rise segment as well,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
|Summary of TorontoMLS Sales and Average Price January 1 – 31|
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City of Toronto (“416”)
Rest of GTA (“905”)
|TorontoMLS Sales & Average Price By Home Type January 1 – 31|
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The top 10 contemporary homes in Toronto
The top contemporary homes in Toronto serve as a reminder that fans of modern architecture are spoiled for choice in this city. Take a stroll around neighbourhoods like Rosedale and Cedarvale (two areas with residents rich enough to hire a designer and build their own homes) will reveal a dramatic modular home that overlooks a steep ravine, a Mad Men-era mansion, a $30 million palace with a 150 seat concert venue, even a home that looks suspiciously like an iPhone.
Here are the picks for the top contemporary homes in Toronto.
194 Roxborough Drive – Integral House
No list of modern Toronto homes would be complete without a mention of the Integral House, concert violinist and mathematics whizz James Stewart’s massive Rosedale mansion. It has five floors, a 150-person indoor music hall, numerous gadgets, and reportedly cost in the region of $30 million. The best features, however, are on the outside. The curving glass and wood exterior blends nicely with its bucolic surroundings.
18 Thelma Avenue (iPhone house)
Ever thought how great it would to live inside a house that looked sort of like a smartphone? It will cost you $3.2 million, but there is an option in Toronto. 18 Thelma Ave., just north of Spadina and St. Clair, is the iPhone house. Its glossy back exterior and window arrangement make the home look like a giant Apple product poking out of the ground.
95 Ardwold Gate – Richard G.W. Mauran House
One of Toronto classic single dwelling examples of modernist architecture, The Richard G.W. Mauran House at 95 Ardwold Gate was built in 1968 for the founder of restaurant chain Harvey’s on the site of an Eaton family mansion. It still manages to look futuristic at almost 50.
207 Ava Road – Cedarvale Ravine House
A descendent of the Richard G. W. Mauran House, 207 Ava Road has a similar appearance to its 1960s counterpart, but with more glass. Built in 2012 out of impressive cantilevering blocks, this house features polished concrete floors and ceiling-height windows that look out over the Cedarvale Ravine. Architecture critic John Bentley Mays calls it “intelligent, deft and refined.”
48 Heathdale Road
Another modern Cedarvale abode, 48 Heathdale Rd. appears relatively rustic compared to its stark neighbours. Exterior wood paneling, an earth-toned frame, and an uneven roof line lend the two-storey home, which was completed in 2005, a hint of nature. Like the Ravine House, below, 48 Heathdale appeared in the movie Chloe.
375 Shaw Street
The exterior of 375 Shaw St., located a short walk north of Trinity-Bellwoods Park, gives away little of the strangeness within. When it was last on the market in April this year, prospective buyers were no doubt confused by the substantial swimming pool that dominates the kitchen and living area. Step straight from the stove to the giant tub, if that’s what you’re in to.
40R Shaftesbury Avenue – The Laneway House
That any house has been built on a laneway in Toronto is something of a planning miracle, let alone one as aesthetically refined as the Superkül Inc. house. The former blacksmiths workshop on Shaftesbury Ave. has an exterior of artfully rusted metal, a little rooftop patio, and numerous skylights. Amazingly, the footprint is just 83.6 square metres. Perfect for fans of micro living.
24 Heathdale Road – Ravine House
The impressively sectional Ravine House is one of two homes on this list to have appeared in a Hollywood movie, Atom Egoyan’s Chloe. The home, built overlooking the Cedarvale Ravine to designs by Drew Mandel Architects, looks like a space ship that could take off into the night sky at a moment’s notice. Inside, the property is lined with mahogany panels and glass walls. There’s even a rear terrace and “lookout pavilion.”
22 Grange Ave – Pachter Residence
Artist and real estate speculator Charles Pachter’s house on Grange Ave. stands out among its Victorian neighbours like a spacesuited Neil Armstrong would in a line of chimney sweeps. Built in 2005 in place of a funeral home, the combined residence, gallery, and studio space is a neighbourhood landmark. Pachter described in theStar as “clean, elegant and quiet … it is an oasis. It’s a joyful place — a serious Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”
108 Crescent Road
It takes guts and determination to drop an modern home like 108 Crescent Rd. into a notoriously conservative Victorian neighbourhood like Rosedale. The two-storey brick and wood box wasn’t easy to build; neighbourhood and city groups had to be convinced the home would respect its surroundings and, as a result, numerous nods were made to the Rosedale aesthetic, including dark wood cladding and several brick exteriors
When Georgie Aitken and Magda Dominik’s son, Walker, was born in September 2013, they dreamed of having a backyard and more space for him to play in. The 36-year-old leadership consultants were renting the third floor of a 110-year-old house in Vancouver for $1,700 a month.
The average home price in Canada now tops $400,000 but unless you live in Toronto or Vancouver, you’re probably not cashing in on the housing boom
They wanted to buy and were considering spending $600,000 on a home, not an outrageous amount considering that the average price of houses in Vancouver is projected to hit $811,000 at the end of this year. But it is a daunting amount.
“To buy something in our price range would’ve made us house poor,” Mr. Aitken says. “We could’ve afforded a fixer upper but it would have compromised the rest of our lifestyle.”
Instead, the family joined forces with another couple who also had a young child and together in July, they bought a 2,700-square-foot, two-level home in North Vancouver. Located across the street from a wooded park and three minutes from the ocean beach, the home cost about $970,000.
As housing costs rise, many first-time homebuyers are being priced out of the market and unable to save the huge down payment or even qualify for a mortgage. So more people are resorting to other ways to achieve their home-buying goals, including co-buying with friends or family.
Mr. Aitken and Ms. Dominik live upstairs while their good friends, Joe MacLeod, Margaret Shipley and their one-year-old son Levi, live downstairs. Each level has three bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The week that they moved in, Walker, took his first steps and can now explore a beautiful backyard hugged by towering Maple, Cedar and Alder trees.
To buy something in our price range would’ve made us house poor
“We give each other date nights with cheap in-house baby sitting,” Mr. Aitken says. “We just had a big canning session here with us canning tomatoes for the winter.”
The families opted for a mixer mortgage through VanCity credit union; mixer mortgages can be split into separate terms (fixed and variable terms, different amortizations, etc.). “It was born out of necessity,” says Ryan McKinley, VanCity’s senior mortgage development manager. “People have always been able to purchase properties together; but we found there wasn’t a good process for people to co-own responsibly.”
Mr. Aitken says that people deciding to co-buy together need to treat it like a business deal.
“We have a partnership agreement that covers all of the other contingencies: What if we get sick of living with each other? What if a tree falls on the roof?” he says. “Ours is detailed to the point where we have two levels of mediation planned.”
A partnership or joint venture agreement should cover who pays for the purchase and maintenance of the house as well as how the property will be divided if the friends/family decide to separate or if one person dies.
“If one wants to sell and the other doesn’t then [it might say] we’ll do an appraisal, you’ll buy me out at fair market value. If the house is worth $300,000 and my share is 50%, then buy me out at $150,000. If you don’t want to buy me out at $150,000 then we must sell,” Mr. Weisleder says. “Or let’s say you’ve agreed to 50% of all of the expenses. Let’s say one of you loses your job — now what? One thing you could put in the agreement is that one person owes the other person interest on the money. There are some agreements that have penalty clauses: ‘If you don’t put up your share and I have to pay then I get to buy you out at 80% of fair market value.’”
In 2003, Michelle Snow and a friend each put down $10,000 to buy a $245,000 two-bedroom condo in Toronto together. It made sense. They were great friends from Wilfred Laurier University’s business program. They both liked to run 10K at 5:30 a.m. before heading off to work.
The condo they bought was just shy of 900 square-feet with two balconies facing the north and south side of the city from the 12th floor. They each paid $330 bi-weekly on their mortgages and were making under $50,000 at their first jobs.
Though they drew up a legal agreement and committed to staying in the condo for three years, two years later, Ms. Snow’s friend wanted out. She wanted to use her down payment and 50% of the increase in the condo’s value to fund a master’s degree in business administration and move to London, Ont.
“I was disappointed when she wanted to leave but because she wanted to leave to invest in herself, you couldn’t be mad about it. I understood it and thought, ‘What are the options at hand?’” says Ms. Snow, now the 34-year-old associate vice-president of retail products at TD Canada Trust. “I said, ‘I still want to live here. I’m not ready to move.’ I took it upon myself to search out another investor.”
They hired an appraiser to determine the increase in value and the sale price to an investor. Family friends decided to buy into the property and Ms. Snow found a stranger to rent the second bedroom. Eventually, Ms. Snow got married and in 2007, she bought a home in Oakville, Ont. with her husband. She still owns 50% of the condo and rents it out.
The former roommates remain good friends — a testament, Ms. Snow believes, to their open conversations and forward thinking.
You need to have a very candid and transparent chat about financial situations. You need to have a plan
Mr. Aitken adds that faith and trust is necessary when taking on this kind of arrangement — a home may be one of the most expensive things that you buy in life. That being said, faith and trust alone won’t cut it.
“You need to have a very candid and transparent chat about financial situations. You need to have a plan,” Mr. Aitken says.
When you buy a home with a partner, both parties should be on the title. “If your name is not on title then you have to prove that you gave money to the property upon break-up,” says Mark Weisleder, a Toronto real estate lawyer.
Pay attention to unbalanced arrangements at the outset. For example, if you’re contributing 100% of the down payment but the two parties will be splitting the expenses, you might want to be clear in your agreement that your down payment should be returned to you upon sale before profits are split, Mr. Weisleder adds.
Regardless of who you’re buying with, whether a friend or sibling or parent, seriously consider consulting a lawyer and drafting legal papers.
“Just because it’s family, things can go wrong,” Mr. Weisleder says. “If people aren’t happy, unfortunately, the only thing you can do is call lawyers and the only people who get rich in lawsuits is lawyers.”
The annual outlook on emerging real estate trends says the move downtown, which has emerged in the past few years, will continue as more Canadians decide to stay in or move back to urban cores.
Much of this is due to changing demographics as young families and millennials forgo the white picket fence and house in the suburbs to take advantage of downtown living, where properties are smaller but offer more conveniences, said the 112-page report released Tuesday.
According to Statistics Canada, the most recent numbers available show that the population of urban centres grew 7.1 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
Frank Magliocco, Canadian real estate leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said there are a number of factors behind the urban growth, including that Canadians are more aware of the environmental costs associated with urban sprawl as well as the cost in time and money of lengthy commutes.
As well, provincial land use regulations that protect green spaces — for example Toronto’s Greenbelt involving about 800,000 hectares of protected land from Peterborough, Ont., to Niagara Falls, Ont. — have made it more difficult to find land to develop and has pushed an explosion of condominium growth in major cities.
But one of the concerns is what will happen to these urban properties once the younger generation grows out of them.
“This continuing urbanization trend has fuelled the condo boom in Toronto and other cities, but some question what will happen as the lifestyles of today’s young urban singles and couples change. Will they move out of the city core in search of larger homes, schools and services, or will they — like their counterparts in other parts of the world — simply adapt to smaller living spaces?” the report asks.
Magliocco said Canadian cities will either go the way of New York, where families are willing to sacrifice space to live in the city, or the way of London, where families are used to living outside the city and commuting downtown for work.
The rapidly growing condo markets in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have also raised concerns about an oversupply of units and whether the boom is overly weighted towards wealthy, foreign investors who lease the units to others.
Meanwhile, an expected rise next year in interest rates from historically low levels may also influence demand in the housing market.
However, among the 1,400 people interviewed and surveyed for the report, which included private property investors and developers, commercial developers and real estate service firms, the consensus was that the Canadian market is strong enough to weather a bump in mortgage rates.
“The improvement in the U.S. economy indicates that higher rates could be coming, but the economic stability in Canada and the United States will continue to attract foreign capital,” said the report. “In addition, retiring baby boomers are likely to flood the market with private capital as they look to turn stock options and retirement packages into stable, income-generating assets.”
Overall, the report sees developers responding to the needs of downtown dwellers by building more mixed-used properties, which include residential and retail space.
“Looking ahead, we can expect to see more and more retail and services along the streets of Canada’s city cores and along major transit arteries, especially where new developments predominate. Major brands are likely to move into these new spaces, too — though with new formats and smaller footprints,” said the report.
The report also noted that Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, will see the most residential growth in 2015, a trend that has been helped by more jobs becoming available in the West than in Central Canada, while Calgary and the Greater Toronto Area will hold the most potential for retail growth.
Investors themselves are suggesting the phenomenon of rents outstripping mortgages has more to do with market forces more than landlord ambition.
The poll found that 38 per cent of respondents blamed landlord excesses for this phenomenon, while 25 per cent of respondents said that exorbitant multi-family prices were to blame, which led to renters carrying the costs for the landlord.
Another 38 per cent pointed to the scarcity of rental units as the top reason. The end result, for many investors, is obvious.
Nick Bachusky, a mortgage agent in Ottawa, says: “Many landlords of mine look to at least break even on mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and maintenance – and then they look at the other market rents in the area and will adjust accordingly. If it is not favourable for them they will usually keep looking until it is favourable.”
In downtown Vancouver, for instance, investors are able to ask for a very high rent because the location is so favourable.
Kelly Hudson, a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres, describes a familiar scenario. Her friends pay $2,300 a month to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver’s popular neighbourhood of Kitsilano.
“They will never be able to afford [to buy the property] unless they win the lottery,” she says. “But they are willing to pay a high rent for the location and, due to high demand for some locations, the landlords can command a high rent.”
The dollars and cents argument hold sway across the industry, although it’s one many consumers fail to take into consideration, argue mortgage financing professionals.
“This, in part, is a very simple equation that has been around forever,” says Phil Butler, a mortgage broker at Centum. “Supply and demand; supply is short and demand is great, so people will pay higher rental rates.”
For more information on finding a cash-flowing income property in the GTA, or if you are a tenant looking for the perfect home contact Kyle Bouchard your local Real Estate Broker @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Found the Home of Your Dreams?
Finding a home that has the qualities you want and is
within your budget is no easy feat. But there’s lots more to
do before you move in.
Before you make an offer
These to-dos can be completed before or after you make
an offer, but getting ahead of the game is a good idea.
● Obtain a mortgage pre-approval to give you a good
idea of how much you will be able to finance for your
● Hire a real estate lawyer in case you have legal
questions and so you’ll be ready when it’s time to
close the deal.
After your offer is accepted
These items should be added to your list once your offer
has been accepted.
● Satisfy any conditions included with your offer,
like conditional financing or a satisfactory home
● Confirm financing by providing your lender with the
signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Your lender
may conduct an appraisal on the home.
● Ask your real estate professional, family or friends
to recommend a home inspector. There are also
associations for home inspectors that can refer you.
When selecting a home inspector, ask about their
training, experience, certifications and approach to the
home inspection process.
Here’s your to-do list.
If there is an issue with any of your conditions, you will
need to speak with your real estate representative and your
lawyer about your options.
If all the conditions are satisfied, you will have to sign
documents stating that each of the conditions are either
waived or fulfilled. The offer will then become firm.
● Once the deal is firm, your lawyer will help you close
● You might need to prove you have home insurance
before your lender will release the mortgage funds.
Planning your move
● If you’re renting, you’ll need to provide notice to your
● If you alreadyown a home, it’s a little more
complicated. Ideally the move-in date for your new
home will align with the date you move out of
your existing home. If not, you may need to get a
storage locker and stay with friends or family, or rent
temporarily while you’re between homes. You might
also need to talk to your lender about bridge financing
if you will own both homes for a period of time.
Throughout this process, your registered real estate
professional is a great resource. Make the most of their
expertise as you work through these to-dos. Just remember,
at each step of the way, you’re getting a little bit closer to
your dream home.
You can read this entire article and more in Reconnect magazine for free here: Reconnect Magazine Online