Toronto Loft Conversions

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Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

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Toronto Real Estate

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Lack of supply drives buyers to Toronto’s outer suburbs

Ben Myers – Toronto Sun

Last month I published my semi-annual Market Manuscript, a robust 50-page report that covers major housing markets in Canada, with a focus on the Toronto housing market. The report was downloaded over 1,500 times by many of the who’s who of local builders, developers and real estate lenders, in addition to “mom and pop” investors. I believe this speaks to the value of the Manuscript’s predictions.

Comment: I wish it were 150,000 downloads. It is one of the only publications that speaks the truth about real estate.

Toronto outer suburbs
One of the forecasts worth noting from the Market Manuscript was the Conference Board of Canada calling for population growth of 1.9% in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in 2015. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider we have over six million people in the Toronto area, you realize the population could increase by 115,000 people this year. And all those people need places to live.

Comment: And the GTA gains 100,000+ new residents every year.

It doesn’t look like we’re building enough housing to match demand, either. The Toronto CMA has expanded on average by over 90,000 people annually over the past 10 years. During that same period, the CMA has built and completed about 33,000 new housing units per year. So if the Conference Board of Canada is correct in their forecast, we are going to need a lot more residential completions to satisfy housing demand from these new residents – perhaps as many as 42,000 units. My current forecast calls for 38,500 housing completions in 2015, so we may be considerably under-building again in the Toronto area.

Comment: And some people still wonder why demand so far outstrips supply. We are create only 30% of the housing we need to house the annual influx of people. Overbuilding? Try UNDERbuilding!

In fact, Urban Futures has forecast the need for 42,000 to 46,000 new homes per year over the next decade to match demographic demand for residential properties. If the development industry continues to under-supply the market, we will continue to see significant price growth, especially for low-rise housing. In 2014, the average price of a new single-detached house in the Toronto CMA was $835,000, an increase of 10.4% over 2013. In the first two months of 2015, that figure has increased to $842,000. And it gets more expensive. If you’re looking for a completely built new home that is currently unsold, you can pick from about 250 of those homes at an average asking price of $1.8 million!

Comment: How about the new infill homes in the 416? They must average $1.5-2m or more.

With these enormous prices, consumers are responding by moving to Toronto’s outer suburbs. We see demand expanding in both the outer suburbs of the CMA, and in areas within a 30 minute drive of the metro area. This includes areas like Burlington, Georgetown, King City, Nobleton, Oro Medonte and Guelph. We are actively looking for more projects in areas like east Durham Region, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Even if you are not looking to move out to the suburbs, the trend of people trading a longer commute for less expensive housing options is an important one. If you are looking to buy a home for yourself or for investment, keep these market trends in mind.

We have many affordable condominium projects in urban settings for those folks delaying the decision to move farther afield, plus many reasonably priced single-detached and townhouse communities in more suburban settings, check out Fortress developments for a selection of our projects.

I’m forecasting another year of positive price growth in the under-supplied new low-rise housing market in the Toronto CMA in 2015. Keep that in mind, and happy house hunting.

Comment: Amen.

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.


End of GTA building boom overplayed: experts

Andrew Seale – Yahoo Finance

Despite a 20% increase in Toronto housing starts in March, TD Economics thinks the Greater Toronto Area’s building boom is coming to an end according to a recent report.

New home construction is far removed from its peak in 2012 hovering near 2008/2009 recessionary levels on a six month moving average with completions accelerating, according to the report, hitting three times their historical average in the first two months of 2015.

Comment: All depends on the cycle of project launches and the size of the projects. Smaller buildings account for fewer sales, we are seeing less big condos. But once the Mirvish-Gehry project on King West goes on sale, that would be a lot of new units. One Bloor West is another mega-project. Or the entire East Bayfront, there are a ton of units on the drawing board for that area. Just because there is a lull in one measure of building, that doesn’t mean much. Especially when other measures contradict it.

Toronto condo building boom
“The completions data we’re watching going forward, as growing excess supply of condos remains the greatest near-term risk facing the market,” says the report. “While new and resale condo sales remain strong (up 13% year-over-year), there are already three condos available on the market for each one sold, compared to the detached home market where there are only 1.5 listings for every sale.”

Comment: But new condo sales are up, condo resales are up, prices for both are up. There isn’t really an excess supply of condos remaining, the 1,600 that people talked about a month or two ago is nothing. There isn’t necessarily too many condos for sale, as compared to houses, there are just not enough houses.

Ultimately, condo prices have flat-lined with resale condo prices rising 3% year-over-year, but TD suspects the kickback from overbuilding will end up driving the prices down. Condos make up 80% of new home construction in the GTA says the report.

Comment: But people have been saying that for years and it just isn’t happening. Yes, price growth in condos is less than houses, but that is because there are enough condos to meet demand. Supply and demand are even, unlike houses where demand far outstrips supply. But condo prices are still rising, developers are still building. People are still buying them, so predicting any sort of drop is way premature.

“The increase in the supply of condos on the market is expected to push condo prices down by a moderate 3% to 4% over the next two years,” says the report. “Some of the weakness in the condo market will flow into the single-family home market as move-up buyers find it more difficult to move from a condo to a single-family home – we still see growth in single-family home prices but at a more moderate rate.”

Comment: Condo prices will NOT be 3-4% lower in April 2017 than they are now. I bet my license on it. As house prices continue to rise, it will only push more people into condos. If interest rates rise, it will make houses harder to afford, pushing more people into condos. As more and more people move to the GTA, there just aren’t enough houses for them to buy, pushing them into condos. There is no scenario out there that exerts negative pressure on the condo market.

But Dana Senagrama, principal GTA market analyst at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is timorous when it comes to relying on construction starts to forecast the market.

“I think construction, while it is a good indicator of demand, you’ve got to look at new home sales as a leading indicator of how the market is performing,” Senagrama told Yahoo Canada Finance. “Construction only happens once a sale has taken place – with the condo market you’re looking at a two year lag.”

Comment: And you have to look at it over a longer period. Compare years to years, as individual month’s data is too variable and subject to too many influences. One large project launch and sales are through the roof one month, then no new launches in the next month and sales slide. One large project starts in a month and it shows starts rising, then falling the month after when there is no large project launch.

On the flipside, she does agree with TD’s forecast for condos trumping single detached home sales.

“Where we do expect somewhat of a pullback in the next couple of years is in the low-rise categories, particularly in the single detached market just because there are some real concerns with the lack of land and of course the price of units,” says Senagrama. “You’re looking at paying on average over $850,000 for a single detached home in the GTA and that’s not the price point that a typical first time buyer will be able to get in at.”

However, the best indicator that housing demand, and therefore starts, won’t be seeing a dip anytime soon is bottom barrel mortgage rates – which she doesn’t anticipate a change in over the next year.

“That’s been the primary driver of demand for the last decade in Toronto,” she says. “With the rates being so low, we’re still going to see demand for housing (which) will translate into construction starts going forward.”

Immigration will also bolster demand says Murtaza Haider, an associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management.

“Because of immigration, the population has been increasing in the GTA over several years,” he says. “That increase is the real reason for demand for new housing.”

He further eschews TD’s prediction of the building boom coming to an end.

“I see greater inertia in the GTA market then elsewhere where I see things slowing down like Calgary and Saskatchewan,” he says. “But the GTA market surprises me, ridiculous things happen in Toronto – I’d stay on the fence before calling an end to the boom.”

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.


This Is What First-Time Home Buyers Are Paying Across Canada

Daniel Tencer – The Huffington Post Canada

If you’re a first-time home buyer trying to get into the market, you probably get knots in your stomach when you hear a single-family home in Toronto now averages more than $1 million, or that Vancouver’s housing market is even more insanely competitive following a 53.7% hike in sales last month.

But those numbers reflect all the buyers in the market, from wealthy investors speculating on land to Baby Boomers upsizing to luxury homes. For the first-time home buyer, things aren’t quite that daunting. Not yet, anyway.

Private mortgage insurer Genworth Canada has put out a survey showing what first-time home buyers are paying in different parts of the country, and not surprisingly there are some big variations.

First time buyers
One surprising result is that Torontonians are paying more — slightly more, but more — than Vancouverites for first-time homes. The median price of a first home in the Toronto area was $425,000 in Genworth’s survey of 1,800 Canadians, versus $420,000 in the Vancouver area. This despite Vancouver having the second-least affordable housing market in the world, by one measure.

Comment: And that measure must be wrong. Think about New York, London and Hong Kong. For Vancouver to be 2nd, it would have to be more expensive than 2 of those cities. Does anyone really think Vancouver real estate costs more than New York AND London?

The survey generated instant accusations of hypocrisy against Genworth, as it concludes that first-time home buyers “are doing their homework and making responsible financial decisions entering the housing market.” But just days ago, Genworth hiked its mortgage insurance rates by 15% for home buyers with small down payments.

The survey “appears to contradict its latest move to increase costs for those same buyers,” Mortgage Broker News wrote.

Comment: How? If first time buyers are saving money, buying homes and not defaulting on their mortgages, then they are “are doing their homework and making responsible financial decisions entering the housing market”.

Indeed, the survey found that the average down payment for a first home is 12% nationally. It falls as low as 8% in Atlantic Canada. In Toronto and Vancouver, where down payments average 21 and 20%, respectively, buyers are getting help from parents more than in other markets, Genworth said.

Comment: And if people are putting down 20% or more, then that is proof of first time buyers being financially responsible. They are getting conventional mortgages and avoiding the mortgage insurance altogether.

And the survey appears to confirm what many suspected: First-time home buyers today are wealthier than average.

Nearly a third of first-time home buyers in the survey had a household income above $100,000, the survey found. In Toronto, 40% of first-home buyers had an income above $100,000, followed by Calgary at 39%. That falls to 24% in Montreal and 21% in Atlantic Canada.

The survey of 1,800 Canadians was carried out by Environics between Feb. 5, 2015, and March 4, 2015.

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.