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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Home prices are cooling everywhere but red-hot Vancouver, Toronto

JamieSturgeon – Global News

National home prices continue to post bigger-than-expected gains as the still-red hot markets of Vancouver and Toronto skew averages higher, the country’s real estate association said Friday.

Comment: Don’t you mean that the falling markets in Alberta and Saskatchewan are skewing the prices lower?

Most everywhere else, price momentum is slowing and in the case of some markets, has fallen into negative territory.

Comment: Only the oil patch is really dropping. Quebec and the Maritimes are flat, as always. And BC and Ontario are strong, as always.

Total sales of existing homes trading hands last month moved higher by 1%, the Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents agents across the country, said.

The rise was in line with expectations as activity remains brisk in some bigger markets and cools in others, like Calgary where a deep dive in oil prices has taken considerable steam out of real estate demand.

Fueled by buyers tapping ultra-low interest rates that have drifted lower this year, the average benchmark price for a home in Canada however continued to rise at a surprisingly strong pace last month, climbing 6.3%, to $431,812.

Comment: Imagine if you took Calgary out of the mix, how high would the price rise be then?

Bank of Montreal economists suggested before the release prices would rise by about 5%. “Benchmark prices up could rise 5%, led by, you guessed it, Vancouver and Toronto,” BMO economist Sal Guatieri said.

CREA acknowledged that continued strength in the country’s two most expensive real estate markets is driving national averages higher, while regionally, price growth is slowing across wide swaths of the country.

Comment: And the converse is true, where the falling markets in Calgary, Edmonton and Regina are driving national averages lower.

“The national average home price remains skewed by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets,” the association said.

Comment: Why do we ALWAYS have to talk about strong markets skewing the numbers, when the weak markets affect it just as much, in the other direction.

Cooling off

Comment: Nothing is really cooling off, not sure where that subhead comes from.

Excluding those two markets, the average price gain last month would come in at a much tamer 1.5%, to an average price of $326,910.

Comment: And what would it be if we excluded every market with negative sales and price growth?

Calgary, formerly the hottest housing market in the country as higher oil prices bolstered an active market, still saw average prices climb nearly 6% last month, according to CREA. But “the increase was far smaller than gains posted last year and the smallest since December 2012,” the association said.

“In other markets from West to East, prices were up compared to year-ago levels by between 2% and 2-1/2% in the Fraser Valley, Victoria, and Vancouver Island, while holding steady in Saskatoon, Ottawa, and Greater Montreal, and falling in Regina and Greater Moncton,” CREA said.

Comment: So remove the falling markets and let’s see what the numbers are.

In contrast, demand for homes in Vancouver and Toronto remains red hot amid historically low borrowing rates, particularly for detached homes which have seen prices surge well ahead of other housing types in recent years.

“While demand has cooled across much of the country, buyers in these two cities continue to outbid each other for coveted detached homes,” BMO’s Guatieri said.

Comment: Because that is where immigrants move to, where internal national migration heads, where economies are strong.

Home prices rose 7.8% in the greater Toronto area, and were 6.4% higher in Vancouver last month compared to February 2014.

“Is it a bubble? It’s hard to say given that demand reflects more strong fundamentals than rampant speculation. But something’s not right. For most goods, high prices discourage demand. But in these two cities, first-time buyers are fearful of getting shut out of the market. So they keep buying despite worsening affordability, a trend last seen in the late 1980s,” the economist said.

Comment: There you go. It is not a bubble because demand reflects strong fundamentals. Simple. And the late 1980s say people buying on spec, hoping to resell later as prices rose. And with much higher interest rates then – in the 11-14% range – there was a lot more pressure to sell when things went south. I remember the house across from my father’s house. It hit $750,000 in the early 1990s. It took 15 years for the same house to hit a similar value after the fall. So a $750,000 house at 12.5% would have been around $12,750 a month in inflation-adjusted mortgage payments. Let that sink in for a second. Over $150,000 a year just in mortgage payments. Today, that same house would cost $3,325 a month with a 2.59% mortgage rate.

“And that did not end well.”

Comment: But it is different today, you know that as well as I do.

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.


The Changing Landscape of Toronto’s Purpose-Built Rental Market

Demographics and economics may be swinging the development pendulum back towards rental units, analysts say.

Leah Jensen –

With plans for 1,000 purpose-built rental units, the recently released Honest Ed’s proposal defies Toronto’s typical development narrative of condos, condos, condos. But real estate analysts say that narrative could be changing, as a shift to rental accommodations may indicate broader trends for young professionals entering Toronto’s real estate market and for the economics of Toronto development in 2015.

Comment: Mayhaps Toronto is finally growing up and seeing other development avenues as potentials.

With the average cost of a single-family house in Toronto at $606,700 and property values rising faster than income, home ownership is increasingly out of reach for many young adults. Condo prices are on the rise too, with a monthly mortgage payment becoming more consistent with what it might cost to rent. That’s without factoring in condo fees, which can cost an additional $500.

Comment: Um, no. Average PROPERTY (condos and houses and everything) price is $620,106 as of mid-March. Single-family homes, detached homes, are a couple bucks under $1.1-million now.

New rental buildings
“In the last couple years, especially 2014, we’re seeing pockets in the city where purpose-built rentals are being built, with amenities that are more comparable to the condo market. We’re seeing more luxury rentals, where prices are higher,” says Dana Senagama, principal of market analysis for the GTA at the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Comment: It is time, we do need more rentals. Having private people supply all the new stock for decades is not the right way to go. It turns condos into private REITs, in a way… benefiting the investors, but not necessarily the owner-occupiers.

In the last 15-20 years, the city hasn’t seen much construction of purpose-built rentals, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t renting. “If you’re looking for a rental unit that was completed over the last few years, you’ll more likely be looking at investor-owned condominiums or apartments,” explains Jason Mercer, director of market analysis at the Toronto Real Estate Board.

With new purpose-built rental apartments, like those proposed for the Honest Ed’s site, young professionals or millennials are able to live close to downtown, in comparable conditions to a condo, without having to commit to monthly mortgage payments or long-term time commitments.

Comment: And that is good for the city.

High job turnover plays a factor in this lack of commitment, as there’s an increasing need for temporary housing types among young professionals. “Millennials don’t stick around in the same job for 20 years – they job hop and move around,” notes Senagama.

A CMHC report shows that as of last September, the number of rental units under construction was 2,212 – nearly double the amount that were built the previous year.

At the end of last year, the condo vacancy rate was 1.3%, and it has been consistently low for the past five years. But the economics could be adjusting with the demographics. Pre-construction sales for condominiums used to be around 70% before developers could secure construction financing, but now it’s closer to a more prohibitive 80%.

Comment: That isn’t all that prohibitive, not looking at all the cranes out there. Or thinking about the historical 98.1% purchase rate at registration of condos for the past 10 years. Even with the rash of completions of late, the sold rate is still 96.7%.

Long-standing condo developers, like Rockport Group, are transitioning into the purpose-built rental market, an example being their new 27-storey apartment building going up at Yonge and Eglinton.

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.


Toronto condo sales falter over winter, but new home sales are healthy, report says

Duncan McAllister – Metro

As we head into the spring season, real estate’s busiest time, Metro looks at what’s in store for the Toronto market for highrise and otherwise. One report has GTA condo sales down 25% in January, and the price gap between highrise and single-family homes continues to widen as the city-wide demand for houses outpaces supply.

Comment: Um, what? Condo resales in Toronto rose 11.2% in January, powered by a massive 23.3% rise in 905 region condo sales. New condo sales were lower, mind you, down 32.5%. But new condo sales were up by 2 sales in December, then rose 8.6% in February. Let’s not take one measure of one segment for one month and try to turn it into something it is not.

Toronto new condos
The latest report from RealNet Canada says that new highrise sales in the GTA fell 25% in January. Is this a bad omen for unsold condo inventory? No need to panic: RealNet says the new home sales are healthy, as they’re in line with historical averages.

Comment: Especially since they went up in December and then again in Februaruy. January was a slow month, it happens. I guess people bought resale condos instead, as their sales jumped 11.2% that month.

It’s a different story if you factor in single-family homes. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), GTA home sales actually surged nearly 15% in the first half of February. That’s based on sales of existing homes in the first two weeks of February, a 14.9% jump over the same point in 2014.

Comment: Wait, you can’t suddenly jump from new condo sales in January to resale freehold sales in 2 weeks in February. But the point is solid, Toronto real estate is strong and not slowing down.

And nationally, it’s a different story altogether, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Home sales across the board in Canada fell 3.1% between December and January. The average reflects weakened activity in oil provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, although the weakness in these markets is not believed to affect other Canadian markets at this stage.

What say the agents? Re/max sales representative, David Batori works in Toronto’s Forest Hill North area. “January and February this year have exceeded my last year, which was one of the busiest years for my business in the 25 years I’ve been doing this.”

Like many real estate agents, Batori is optimistic that Toronto is headed into a strong housing market this year. “There’s been continued negativity from different analysts and different individuals in the Economist magazine, the World Bank, all these different organizations are basically stating that Toronto is 20, 30, 40% overvalued. That may be the case, but in the meantime, inventory levels remain low and there are still more buyers than there are listings, so that continues to prop up our prices and continues this ongoing strength.”

Harvey Kalles sales representative Jennifer Greenberg is cautiously optimistic. “I think it’ll have a similar strength as we saw last year. Every year things increase in value, so that doesn’t surprise me that we’ll see slightly higher sale prices than what we saw from last year.”

Comment: I think we are actually going to have higher numbers this year. Which scares me. But listings are flirting with rising, they are not down every time we measure. Mortgage rates have gone down. With strong demand, a little more supply and lower interest rates – the stage is set for surging numbers.

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.