Convenience of downtown living leads 2015 real estate trends: report

TORONTO – Homeowners who choose the convenience of city life over the more generous living space in suburbia are driving Canada’s real estate market, according to a new report jointly produced by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers and the non-profit Urban Land Institute.

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.


How to Find the Home of Your Dreams?

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
the transaction.

● 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

Examining Toronto Real Estate Market Trends

KANETIX Examines Toronto Real Estate Market Trends

Toronto boasts a population of more than 2.7 million people and its real estate market is often under a lot of scrutiny from well-known economists and real estate experts says KANETIX. The Toronto housing market is constantly being watched by investors and residents so they can strategically plan their purchase and also take advantage of any declines in housing prices.

Despite rumors of downward pressure, there are several factors that are keeping the housing market relatively stable, balanced and healthy. While many areas in Canada have posted declining housing prices for the last six months, several areas, including Toronto, posted gains in April. With a closer look at the housing market trends in Toronto-trends that include an improving economy and a high-demand for property-residents and investors will see that the market is likely to remain relatively strong in the coming months and throughout 2014. With mortgage rates in Toronto at new lowsit would appear there in no end in sight.

Growing Population and an Improving Economy

Toronto is currently the country’s leader in urban population growth, increasing by 9.2 per cent since 2006 (compared with the average national increase of 5.9 per cent). Stable growth in the economy is expected to continue through mid-2013, and is projected to gain momentum toward the end of 2013 and into 2014 according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). A growing population, coupled with a growing labour force, may help to produce continued gains in the housing sector for Toronto, Canada.

Housing Starts

While Toronto has experienced declines in new housing starts, property in the area remains in high demand. The CMHC reports that one reason for the stall in new housing is due to the large number of apartment complexes currently under construction. More construction, and subsequently more housing construction, is expected to be carried out pending the completion of these units. The Halton area of Toronto has already reported an increase in housing starts for the month of April.

Housing Prices

The average MLS (Multiple Listing Service) price for existing home sales in 2013 is $382,200, though this is expected to increase to $390,000 in 2014. This modest growth is anticipated to keep pace with the low inflation rate, or may fall slightly below the rate of inflation. The rather flat housing prices coupled with low interest rates will continue to make homeownership attainable for those who strive to purchase property in the area.

Increasing prices in certain areas highlights a strengthening market. Single-detached homes in particular show promise, with prices increasing 7 per cent from the same quarter in the previous year.

While some prices remain high in spite of low home starts and sales, the region has also reported “robust employment gains” according to CMHC, which may keep high prices appealing. Despite the fact that the resale market has not shown substantial growth, CHMC asserts that the greater Toronto area remains balanced.

Home Sales & the Demand for Housing

Home sales in Ontario peaked in the first part of 2012 with 196,383 units sold, although this rate was projected to decline to 191,300 units for 2013. With improving economic conditions toward the end of 2013 and early 2014, however, the projection of units sold for 2014 may be as high as 201100. Aggressive Ontario mortgage rates could likely help foster this growth.

While economists and real estate experts projected a cooling market earlier in the year, recent reports indicate the market in Toronto has taken a step forward for spring of 2013. Home sales in May were up 24 per cent from March. While the pace at which housing prices in the area are growing has slowed, housing prices in Toronto were still up 2 per cent in April, marking the average price of a home at $526,335. April reports also indicate an increase in demand for luxury single-detached homes.

What Could Change

It is important to note that different economists have different outlooks on the housing market in Toronto. While analyzing current data and statistics can provide important information about market trends and can help to project trends in the coming year or two, any major changes to interest rates or to the local or national economy could alter these trends.

Currently, housing starts in The Greater Toronto Area are moderately stable and reasonable for the area’s rate of population growth, economy, and employment rate. Additionally, interest rates are expected to remain low for the coming months. Those who are waiting for housing prices to reduce, or who are waiting for the real estate market to decline rapidly may be disappointed if current market trends hold true.

The strength of the Toronto market perhaps truly lies in its location-where the demand for rental units continues to grow rapidly. While part of the increase in leasing is due to new mortgage restrictions, those desperately seeking in-demand property in this popular area are now facing a vacancy rate that is “barely above one per cent,” states to Urbanation’s Director of Market Research, Pauline Lierman. As a result, the Toronto housing market may soon see increases in both existing home and multi-family unit home sales.

For more information on this or any other Real Estate/Mortgage matter, please feel free to contact Kyle Bouchard anytime at 647-287-8744 or


Canadian house prices holding firm

Canadian house prices holding firm

Sales up again as market defies the naysayers

Home sales have been off almost 2.6 per cent this year over last, but average home prices have gone up.


Home sales have been off almost 2.6 per cent this year over last, but average home prices have gone up.

By: Susan Pigg Business Reporter

The Canadian housing market has defied the naysayers yet again — sales rose 3.6 from April to May, average prices went up 3.7 per cent and the market appears poised to return to the 10-year sales norm by 2014, according to a revised forecast Monday from the Canadian Real Estate Association.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter termed the 3.6 per cent sales increase, the third month in a row that transactions have edged up across the country, “snappy.” The fact that house prices are up in 24 of 26 major markets tracked by CREA is “making a mockery of talk of an imminent collapse,” he added.

“Until recently, it seemed that the only debate on Canada’s housing market was whether the landing was going to be of the soft or rough variety. Well, it appears that housing may not be so keen on landing at all at this point,” said Porter in a statement Monday.

In fact, almost all the economic indicators have left housing watchers — not to mention home owners and potential buyers — both confused and deeply divided about where the market is heading.

It’s been an unusual and unpredictable spring market. Transactions are off 2.6 per cent year over year, but the average price of a Canadian home was $388,910 in May, up from $375,062 a year earlier.

The month-over-month increase in home sales was the biggest gain seen in more than two years, according to CREA.

“The increase lifted national activity almost to where it had been just before new mortgage rules came into force last summer, marking the first noteworthy increase in the past nine months,” the national real estate association said.

In Toronto, prices hit a record $542,174 in May, up 5.4 per cent from May of 2012.

CREA expects sales activity to reach 443,400 units by the end of this year, down just 2.5 per cent from the 454,573 home sales recorded in 2012, rather than down 2.9 per cent, which the national real estate association had predicted earlier this year.

Alberta and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces where sales are expected to actually increase year-over-year in 2013, according to CREA.

The association also revised its sales forecast for 2014 and now anticipates some 464,300 houses and condos will change hands, a 4.7 per cent jump in sales that’s more in line with 10-year sales norms.

Scotiabank Economics warned in a note Monday morning that what’s more worrisome now isn’t the resale transaction numbers, but “that the correction has now migrated into the new home sales market.”

It points out that new home sales were down 38 per cent in April year over year. Some 43 per cent of that decline was in single-family low-rise homes, and 33 per cent was in new high-rise homes, where developers have been putting the brakes on new condo projects.

“This matters much more than the resale correction that began over a year ago because of the value added in construction of new home sales as opposed to resales, that are mostly just paper swaps with a few added services to facilitate the transaction,” says the note from Scotiabank.

For more information on this or any other Real Estate/Mortgage matter, please feel free to contact Kyle Bouchard anytime at 647-287-8744 or

Construction cranes are intensification in action

As you move around the GTA, you’ve no doubt noticed all the condominium buildings under construction.

By:  Real Estate

As you move around the GTA, you’ve no doubt noticed all the condominium buildings under construction. Does it seem like there are more of them going up today than ever before? And that they are being built in places they’ve never been built before — no longer just downtown, but throughout Toronto and across the 905?

Welcome to intensification in action. The provincial growth plan for the region — put in place back in 2006 — mandated a “grow up, not out” approach to development in the GTA. The implementation of that plan has meant there is less development of traditional single-family homes and more development of high-density homes, such as apartment condominiums.

As of Feb. 28, 2013, there were a record 229 projects under construction across the GTA, accounting for 61,048 units.

Many market watchers worry about who is going to buy those units. In fact, though, 89 per cent of all the units currently under construction across the GTA have already been pre-sold with deposits of at least 20 per cent.

Since the early 1990s, the industry has put in place a number of risk-management practices — such as pre-sale requirements — in order to maintain stability.

Does that mean we’ll have 61,048 new condos flooding the market next year? Definitely not. It takes several years to build a highrise. And it’s not unusual for a larger building to take between three and four years to complete. In the past, with work at full capacity, the industry has not been able to deliver more than 15,000 to 16,000 units in a given year.

But when those units do get delivered, don’t be surprised to find them a bit smaller. The units that will be delivered in the next two to three years are those that were sold after 2009. Since that time — following the introduction of the HST — the index size of a new condo has shrunk by approximately 120 square feet. That’s the equivalent of taking a 10-foot by 12-foot room out of an average condo.

Of course, all of those buildings under construction not only provide a significant benefit for the local economy, they ultimately supply the homes that will house a growing population under the growth plan, albeit in a more intensified form of taller and smaller dwellings.

Investing Scam: Diversify and Invest for the Long Term

I read this article written by one of the leading economists of our time, Robert Kiyosaki, and thought it would be helpful to reveal this info to my valued clients.  Real estate is an investment, just like stocks, bonds and businesses.  Don’t be fooled by some of the terrible investment advice out there!  Read this short article to learn more.  –KB

Rich Dad Scam #8: Invest Diversely in the Long Term

Written by: Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Scam #8: Invest Diversely in the Long Term image

This is the final post I’m writing in a series on what I call Rich Dad Scams, scams designed by the rich to keep you in your place. They are the “rules” you’re supposed to follow that will keep you an employee and keep you from getting rich while the rich get richer.

The reason why so many people buy into these scams is because some of them, like working harder and saving money, used to be viable. If you followed them, there was a reward, but not anymore.

As we’ve seen in other scams like paying off debt, living within your means, and saving your money, the Rich Dad Scams I’ve identified keep you from truly putting your money to work. They keep you from turning your money into more money. In other words, they keep you poor.

Today, we’ll take a look at Rich Dad Scam #8, “Invest for the long term in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.”

The investment illusion

If there’s anything to be learned from the last few years of financial mess, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. And that includes all the long-term investments that your financial planner will encourage you to buy, such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.

It’s worth noting that financial planners didn’t exist until about forty years ago, when people were forced to take control of their own retirement funds through vehicles like the 401(k). Financial planning is an industry created by the banks to make money off the financially illiterate. It takes only thirty days of training to become a financial planner. You have to go to school for more than a year just to become a massage therapist.

Nearly every financial planner will tell you that in order to be financially secure, you must diversify. By this they mean to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Unfortunately, this is not true diversification. Rather it is diversification in only one asset class, paper assets—the class where banks make big money in the form of fees. Virtually ignored are the other asset classes, real estate, commodities, and business.

The diversification trap

But, you say, my financial planner helped me plan wisely. We invested in lots of different things, so that if one company’s stock or one mutual fund takes a hit, there are others that will go up. This is one of those scams that make sense on paper. Of course, the more spread out you are, the more protected you are from losing money.

Except for the fact that everything you’re invested in is still on paper, it’s based on the same fragile economy, and the same investment model. When the stock market goes down, it goes down everywhere, not just in certain places. Investing in Microsoft and McDonald’s won’t make any difference if the market tanks and everything goes down. Widely investing in different mutual funds spreads that risk around even more, but the risk is still the same and the hit will be the same when things go south.

True diversification is investing across different asset classes, not different stocks. This holds true with any of the asset classes. If I’m invested in condos, apartments, and houses, my portfolio looks diverse, but they’re all still real estate assets. So I have real estate assets, commodities assets like gold and silver, business assets like my companies, and yes, some I have some paper assets as well. But I know they’re not going to make me rich.

Taking control

The real issue here is that by buying paper assets at all, you’re putting control of your money in someone else’s hands. A CEO makes a bad decision, and you’re left holding the bag for his mistake when the stock drops. The only control you have over paper assets is to sell them. Holding on to them, you’re just playing a waiting game and crossing your fingers. And it’s even worse if you put those paper assets into a 401(k), you have even less control, they’re locked in, and you’re penalized for taking those funds out or borrowing against them.

True diversification requires financial intelligence, which comes from financial education. If you don’t have the desire to increase your financial intelligence, then by all means continue using your financial planner and investing in only paper assets, as those investments are set up so that even a monkey could do them. If, on the other hand, you want to be rich, I encourage you to ignore Rich Dad Scam #8, “Invest for the long term in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds,” and instead increase your financial education and begin working towards true diversification.

After reading this I realized I have mostly real estate in my investment portfolio and need to add some other asset classes as well.  So my question to you is, how well diversified is your portfolio?  Do you only have paper assets?  If so, and you would like to buy your own home, upsize to a larger home, and/or add income producing real estate to your investment portfolio for true diversification, contact me today!  Let’s work together to reduce your investment risk and increase your gains in wealth!  Call me at 647-287-8744 or send me a quick email right now at

Real Estate Prices Move Higher in Toronto

Real estate prices move higher in Toronto: report

2013 The Canadian Press
File photo of a real estate agent puts up a sold sign in front of a Toronto house. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
File photo of a real estate agent puts up a sold sign in front of a Toronto house. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Toronto, the country’s most populous city and often considered the second-most expensive after Vancouver, followed the national trend to higher prices in all three types of housing, according to a report released Thursday.

The Toronto two-storey average in the first quarter was $671,252, the bungalow average was $565,700 and the condo average was $359,671.

Average prices for three common types of housing were up year-over-year in most Canadian markets in the first quarter, national real estate company Royal LePage said Thursday.

Royal LePage said the average price for a standard two-storey detached house was up 2.2 per cent in the January-March period compared with a year ago, while the national average price for detached bungalows rose 2.4 per cent.

The average price for condominiums rose 1.2 per cent from first quarter of 2012.

Some local markets didn’t fit the national pattern, however.

For example, Vancouver, Victoria and Saint John, N.B., had year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter price declines in all three categories.

According to the Royal LePage survey, the national average price for a two-storey house was $407,044 in the quarter, the bungalow average was $364,857 and the average price for a condos was $246,071.

Vancouver remained by far the most expensive market in Canada with the average price for detached two-storey houses and bungalows above $1 million while the average condo price was $481,250.

Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper says the Canadian housing industry is in a very unusual situation.

“The combination of very low mortgage rates and flat home prices, against a background of general economic improvement across the nation, is not something we’ve seen before,” Soper said Thursday.

“Typically one of these variables is moving hard in an opposite direction.”

Soper acknowledged that there have been warnings of impending market upset and dramatic price decreases but said there’s no evidence of that.

“The current environment is very supportive for housing,” Soper added.

The survey’s findings of continuing, but slower, year-to-year price increases in most markets is consistent with other real estate reports.

However, Royal LePage also found that in most cities there were also increases between the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 — in contrast with some reports that have shown month-to-month decreases since last summer.

For up to date honest advice on where the real estate market is headed, contact me today! Join Me on Facebook or call me directly at (647) 287-8744