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Broadview Lofts - 68 Broadview AvenueCheck out this spectacular authentic brick and beam loft in one of Toronto’s most desirable buildings – The Broadview Lofts! Enjoy life in Toronto’s booming Riverside neighbourhood in over 1,300 square feet of hard loft space. Gorgeous 10-1/2-foot wood beam ceilings, original Douglas Fir posts, exposed brick, polished concrete floors and original warehouse doors. Loft has 2 bathrooms, exclusive underground parking and a large locker. Walk to Queen and the new Canary District. MORE DETAILS HERE

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The energy builds along the waterfront

The vast construction site reshaping Toronto’s waterfront lands will create an eco-friendly environment for workers and residents alike

Suzanne Wintrob – National Post

It may take another decade, but if all goes as planned, Toronto could very well hold bragging rights to the world’s most enviable waterfront. Not only that, but those residing a hop, skip and a jump from the water’s edge will be able to boast that they’re truly living green.

Comment: Just look at what is happening even now! From the Canary District to the Pan Am Games site… just wait until it is ALL done.

Take the Aqualina and Aquavista at Bayside condominium buildings in Waterfront Toronto’s East Bayfront neighbourhood as an example. Tridel has two NETZED (net zero energy dwelling) suites up for grabs there that promise the ultimate in green living. The penthouses – at 1,182 and 696 square feet respectively – get their hot water and electricity from the roof’s solar panels during the day and use the building’s energy come nighttime.

Waterfront - Aquavista Condos
It’s all about creating the smallest carbon footprint possible, and Tridel senior vice-president Jim Ritchie couldn’t be more excited.

“The theory is to take it off the grid,” Mr. Ritchie says of the units. “We’re designing it in a way that your electricity, your heating, your cooling and your hot water are all going to be supplied by renewable systems… During the daytime, with a lot of solar gain, [the suite is] going to have more energy than it can use so the energy consumption is mirrored. We actually put that additional energy into the condominium building system. Then at night, when there’s no solar heat, the NETZED’s meter can pull that energy back away from the condo’s grid. So it’s a very interesting concept.”

Comment: And hopefully this is the beginning of a green revolution in condos. I mean, seriously… how hard is it to install some solar panels and grey water recycling?

It’s that kind of thinking that has the folks at Waterfront Toronto smiling. Ever since three levels of government banded together in 2001 to revitalize the lacklustre waterfront, Waterfront Toronto has stuck to its 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of brownfield lands — roughly the size of the city’s downtown core — into sustainable mixed-use communities comprising one million square metres of employment space and 300 hectares of parks and public spaces.

Waterfront - Canary District Condos
With 40,000 residential units planned, developers were charged with abiding by a host of rules including energy efficient systems, renewable energy generation on-site, water conservation, in-suite energy and water meters, green roofs, and sufficient parking for bicycles and electric vehicles.

“Early on, developers were concerned that green building techniques and our Minimum Green Building Requirements would be expensive,” recalls Waterfront Toronto’s Director of Environment and Innovation Lisa Prime. “But they soon realized that good design minimizes, or can eliminate, added costs. …In addition, the market is increasingly finding buyers who are looking for green features, which translates into sales and positive project reviews.”

Currently, Tridel, Great Gulf, Dream Unlimited (formerly Dundee Kilmer) and Urban Capital are the only private developers with projects on the go or in the works in the East Bayfront and West Don Lands areas. And fortunately for residents wanting in, building green is nothing new to these builders. All have long been committed to building homes, condos and offices that are up to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards so buyers can reduce energy, water and waste, improve indoor air quality and temperature and, ultimately, save money.

But if they wanted to be a major player in one the largest infrastructure projects in North America, they had to commit to the process for the long haul. And they have.

Waterfront - The Monde Condos
“A more sustainable building is, arguably, emotionally a better building to live in,” says Christopher Wein, president of Great Gulf Residential, behind the 44-storey, LEED Gold, Moshe Safdie-designed Monde condominium tower adjacent to Sherbourne Common Park in East Bayfront. “It’s like driving a green car. You have an emotional connection to the environment.”

Mr. Wein says there are two aspects to building green. First there’s the construction, which involves using certain building materials and doing on-site recycling and waste management to minimize the environmental impact. The other side is the finished product, with low-flow water fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, glazing with high energy ratings, and the like. At Monde, large cantilevered and flush balconies to maximize lake views give each unit a generous amount of light, while the parking garage is fitted with 540 bike storage spots and rough-ins for 12 electric car plug-ins (in comparison, Great Gulf’s 33-storey Yonge & Rich tower in Toronto’s financial district doesn’t accommodate electric cars).

Urban Capital is psyched to offer a hybrid car-share program at its three-phase LEED Gold River City project in the West Don Lands, reducing the need for individual cars. The company has committed to offsetting approximately 15,000 tonnes of carbon created as a result of construction and first-year operation of the development’s first two phases, and is contributing more than $40,000 to support the New Laos Stove Project in Cambodia.

Green roofs, too, feature prominently in these buildings to reduce the heat island effect, provide effective storm water management, and provide new habitat for birds and insects. At Monde they’re called “sky gardens” featuring gardens, plantings and trees on roof surfaces that Mr. Wein says “are better for the atmosphere, better for the building, better for the residents.” At Dream’s LEED Gold Canary District project in the West Don Lands — incorporating 805 condos at the Toronto 2015 PanAm Games Athletes’ Village and another three residential buildings once the games are over — the planted materials on roofs do environmental duty but also mean residents who look out onto the roof of an adjacent building will have much more appealing views than looking onto asphalt.

Waterfront - River City Condos
“The long-term costs will be less, no question, regardless of what the budget says when they actually acquire [the property],” says Jason Lester, Dream’s chief operating officer.

“They can compare from one building to another over the long term because we have green roofs, because we’ve spent more on the glazing. The long-term maintenance and utility costs will be lower in these buildings than in others in the city.”

All this is great news to Sean Dyke, who travels the world to entice green manufacturers to Ontario.

“Waterfront Toronto is doing a lot of marketing about their project and one of the things that does is it raises awareness for green technology in Ontario,” says the chair of the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance in Street Thomas, Ont. “It lets people know you can have it on the residential side, that you can go green. It’s incredible what they’re doing.

There’s a significant amount of work going on there that hasn’t happened anywhere else in Ontario. We’d hope that other places within Ontario, in Canada and, hopefully, in the U.S. will look to Waterfront Toronto as an example and take some of the ideas from it and apply it to other developments.”

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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.

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Big banks boost condo financing even as unsold units in Toronto hit 21-year high

Katia Dmitrieva – Bloomberg News

The Bank of Nova Scotia is among lenders boosting loans to condominium developers as regulators become less vocal about housing-market risk, according to Canada’s third-biggest bank.

Comment: I guess everyone has finally settled down and realized that the Toronto condo market is safe and stable. Now, if we could only get the media on board…

Scotiabank is financing as much as 75% of a condo project’s value and others are doing the same, according to Chris Milne, vice-president of real estate lending at the bank. That’s up from about 70% in the past, when banks were concerned “there may be a meltdown” and regulators were more vocal about residential market risk, Mr. Milne said.

Toronto condo financing
“The banks are back out there lending in the condo sector,” Mr. Milne said at a Toronto real estate conference Tuesday. “There is a hole that the banks are looking to fill. The regulators were really pounding them a year and a half ago and now it’s quiet.”

Banks are boosting financing to condo developers even as the number of unsold units in Canada’s largest city reached a 21-year high in January. There are about 1,600 unsold units on the market following a record number of completions in January, according to a report from Sal Guatieri, senior economist at Bank of Montreal.

Comment: It would seem that the banks understand that 1,600 unsold condos is meaningless. Out of 31,000+ condo completions over the past 13-14 months, those 1,600 units represent only 5% or less of recently completed condos. That means than 95% or more are sold – plus another 28,000-odd new condo sales in 2014. The units that sell WAY outweigh those that don’t.

Federal regulators have eased warnings on the real estate market compared with the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, Mr. Milne said. Mr. Flaherty backed several mortgage rule changes that tightened scrutiny of the so-called Big Six banks while Mr. Carney often commented on the risk of record consumer debt.

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. no longer insures loans to developers to construct condominiums. The federal housing agency said in June it would drop coverage as it seeks to distance taxpayers from the risk of falling home prices.

Comment: But they don’t need to if banks are funding 75% of the project. Insurance is not needed when there is 25% or more put down.

Spokesmen for the Department of Finance, Bank of Canada, and Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which oversees federally regulated firms including banks, did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Lenders require a building to be 65% sold before making a loan, Mr. Milne said. A developer would need to inject more of their own equity into the project if a bank were to finance a building less than 65% sold, he said.

Comment: I thought it was more in the 70-80% sold range.

“Sales are not where they were in late 2007 where you can sell a high-rise condo in a week,” Mr. Milne said. “Now it takes a while.”

Comment: But they do sell, that is the point. If completed buildings are 95% sold, then there is no issue. And the rate gets up to 98.5% by the time the condo corporation is registered. It may take time, but the condos are selling, there is no doubt about that.

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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.

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Unsold condos pile up in Toronto, hit 21-year high

JamieSturgeon – Global News

As far as statistical outliers on charts go, the Bank of Montreal produced a dandy on Tuesday that should get some attention from condo market watchers in Toronto.

According to BMO economist Sal Guatieri, there were 10,368 condominiums completed by builders last month in Toronto – a record high. That’s a “whopping” eight times more than the average for the past decade, with only two other months coming even close to that total, in the spring of 2011 and summer of 2012. And even then, not that close.

The BMO economist chalked last month’s record completions up to “construction delays” that had builders playing “catch up” to finish units that were sold in 2011 – a record year for sales, Guatieri noted.

Comment: Right, so they should have been more spread out, but delays caused them to all end up completing in January. Without delays, 2014 might have had 25,000 completions (instead of 20,804) and January only 6,000. Still a lot, but we do need these things in context.

Unsold Condos in Toronto
Rising high

The burst in completed units in Toronto comes as other Canadian cities confront mounting inventories of unsold condominiums. Centres like Winnipeg, Montreal and Moncton are grappling with surpluses, a report from the Globe and Mail said Tuesday.

In Saskatchewan, the number of unsold housing units in Regina and Saskatoon hit a 30-year high, according to the report, citing the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. The majority of them condos.

In Quebec, Montreal had a backlog of nearly 3,000 unsold condos last year.

Comment: Almost double Toronto’s inventory.

Warning call

In November, CMHC’s chief economist warned condo builders in certain big cities they need to sell more existing units before planning new ones. Specifically, Toronto and Montreal were singled out.

“The number of units under construction is elevated in these centres,” the CMHC said. “This could develop into overbuilding if these units are completed but not sold.”

In Toronto where demand remains strong, most of the newly completed units have already been sold, Guatieri said, but the burst in completions has left 1,602 units on the market — a 21-year high.

Comment: Now now, again we need context. Take the almost 21,000 completions last year and 10,000-odd in January. That means only 1,600 of 31,000 did not sell. Of completed condos. Add in another 20-25,000 new condo sales last year and you are talking about 1,600 out of 50-55,000 – less than 3%. The ratio is in line with historical averages, it is just that with more condos being built, the absolute number is rising. Sure, 3% of 10,000 is more than 3% of 1,000, but the ratio does not change. But the 97% that are sold, that is what we need to concentrate on.

“This will slow the increase in new condo prices,” the BMO economist predicted.

Comment: No, it won’t. Those are large units (which are hard to sell), units that have bad views, ones where the original buyer backs out for some reason. There are any number of reasons why those units did not sell. And when you have the overwhelming majority selling, there is no reason for the developers to lower their prices. Even if they give those last 1,600 units way for free, they have made their money and are on to the next project. Why is this even a story? Trying to make bad news out of nothing… as usual.

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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.

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