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The state of real estate in Toronto

5 numbers that may surprise you

Kendra Mangione – CTV News

A housing boom in the Toronto area is masking the growing challenges to the market, according to a report from TD Economics released Monday.

The report said experts have been distracted by a housing boom in the Greater Toronto Area, with resale value increasing steadily over the past 10 years.

The 20-page report was prepared by together by TD’s Deputy Chief Economist and Vice President Derek Burleton and Economist Diana Petramala. Read the full report online.

More people are moving to the GTA, leading to an increase in demand for homes. And it’s that increase in demand that is also partially to blame for the raise in housing costs, the report said.

Comment: It is that demand that is almost entirely responsible. Combine that unfailing demand with ever decreasing supply (in the low-rise market) and you have the Economics 101 reason for rising prices.

But that boom also created jobs in the area. TD estimated that about 25% of jobs created in the last decade were in some way related to the housing boom.

Comment: Sure, if you say the people working at IKEA selling furniture for condos are in some way related to housing, then sure.

However, the report said that media coverage of the boom has overshadowed growing challenges to the market. Many can’t afford to own homes, and there are very few options. The report also criticizes public transit in the Toronto area.

Comment: Not really… The fact that prices are high and people cannot afford things is in the media Every. Single. Day. And yet home ownership rates have risen from 50% to 70% over the past 20 years. Obviously a lot of people can afford homes.

Real estate in Toronto
Here are five numbers from the report that may surprise you:

1. Nearly half of GTA renters are spending 50% of their pay cheques on rent. TD looked at earners in the bottom 40%, and found that average rent was about half of their annual income.

Comment: That has nothing to do with the price of houses. And that is selective data if ever I’ve seen. They purposely chose the bottom instead of all renters. That is spin at its worst.

TD also found that those with higher income levels and homeowners are also spending similar amounts on housing.

Comment: The banks won’t lend to people if housing costs are 50% of their income. TD itself has a 40% limit. So I have trouble believing that.

“What’s more, rising costs have been instrumental in driving up average debt-loads in the region, leaving households vulnerable to any unanticipated negative economic shock,” the report said.

2. Likely as a result of the steady growth in resale value, more Torontonians own houses. Approximately 20 years ago, the number of renters and owners in the GTA were split about 50-50. In 2011, the home ownership ration tilted, with about seven in 10 choosing to own.

Comment: Meaning it is obviously not too expensive for a lot of people. Home ownership jumped 40% in 20 years? Obviously the entire system is working well in that case. And mortgage defaults have not risen, so people are not having trouble paying for the homes they own. This is a wonderful stat.

3. In the 1990s, approximately 25,000 new households were created each year. Since the early 2000s, the average has been closer to 36,000. TD also said that the number of single women owning homes has increased by three percentage points during that period.

Comment: And we aren’t building 36,000 new housing units each year, we are not keeping up. This is why demand is constantly higher than supply, creating sellers’ markets and pushing prices up.

4. In the late 1990s, about 40% of new homes built were condo units. By 2014, 80% of new households built were condos, and half of them were built downtown.

Comment: Because the entire market is shifting away from the suburbs and urban sprawl. It is a fundamental change in the way people view housing.

5. Condo market and Toronto Community Housing Corporation estimates suggest that approximately 40% of condo units currently under construction will be used as rental properties.

Comment: And many others estimate it to be half that. The CMHC estimates it at 5%. I put it in the 20% range, more generally in the 10-25% range. Truth is, we have no idea.

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.


Downtown Toronto condo for $380,000? It really does exist

Rosemary Westwood – Metro

Some buyers are finding sweetheart deals in the downtown core amid predictions of another pricey year for real estate in Toronto.

The basic message from agents: Look southeast.

Comment: I have been saying that for years! That same unit would have been $350,000 a year or two ago. And under $300,000 from the builder. But they won’t stay low for long…

Regent Park condos
A two-bedroom condo in a building that’s part of the Regent Park redevelopment project, for example, sold for $380,000 last week — $4,900 less than the asking price in a city where bidding wars have become the norm. In the same area, a two-bedroom condo with a south-facing terrace will soon be on the market for $399,000.

Both are far cheaper than the average downtown two-bedroom condo, which went for $558,986 in the third quarter of 2014, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

“The same condo in King West would be $579,000,” said David Fleming, a realtor with Bosley Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage and the listing agent for the $399,000 unit. “The same condo in the St. Lawrence Market area, which is maybe three blocks south, three blocks west, would be $499,000.”

“There’s tremendous value in that new revitalized Regent Park area,” he added.

Comment: As the area is only going to go up. Once it is 100% complete, the area will be just like Liberty Village. Add in the West Don Lands, Pan Am Games and Canary District to the south and Toronto’s east end is going to see huge new life in the future. Then there are the Port Lands and the East Bay Front. Get in now, trust me.

Canary District Toronto
A Royal LePage forecast released this week showed Toronto’s condo and home prices are expected to continue their climb in 2015.

That makes the Regent Park development somewhat of a diamond in the rough, said Regent Park Life real estate broker Lamis Dantas.

“Whoever’s moving in here is coming to an area which is still a work in progress, so the prices reflect that,” she said.

Comment: Not as much as it was a couple of years ago. It is much more polished than it was. And in 5 years it will be completely gentrified.

Buyers tend to be “city people” she said, empty-nesters, first-time buyers and young families.

Derek Boswick is one of them.

Boswick bought a two-bedroom condo a few years ago. Other condos he looked at in the Wellesley and Yonge area, for example, were priced tens of thousands above his Regent Park unit.

“It saved me $30,000 so I guess I shouldn’t complain,” he said. “It’s a neighbourhood that’s changing, and it’s just going to get better.”

Comment: And he is going to see a nice appreciation over the next handful of years.

Toronto East Portlands

How many areas are still undervalued in Toronto when it comes to real estate?

Outside the southeast side of the downtown core, “there’s not a whole heck of a lot,” said David Fleming, a realtor with Bosley Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage.

West Don Lands and St. James Town are about the only others, he said.

Developments in St. James Town are a few years ahead of the southeast side, making them slightly more pricey.

Some buyers are worried about oversupply with a massive new development in the West Don Lands area, he noted, but added that new parks, basketball courts and a skate park all point to an area on the rise.

Comment: The whole east end is the place to get into now. Like I said above, from the East Bay Front to the Port Lands, north though the West Don Lands and Canary District, up into Regent Park – even the Danforth is seeing condo development.

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.


Four Predictions for the 2015 Toronto Real Estate Market

Nathan Dautovich – Huffington Post

2015 promises to be a year of transition for the Toronto real estate market. While 2014 resembled the previous years with house prices continuing to increase, and high demand in the condo and rental market, there are some factors that may change things in the upcoming year. Here are 4 predictions for real estate in Toronto in 2015:

Comment: Probably not. 2015 will most likely be the same as 2014. There are no agents of change coming. Possibly lower mortgage rates, that is about it.

Toronto real estate market 2015
1. House prices will finally peak

Many analysts have been calling for a price correction for several years, but this is the year prices will finally hit their peak. There are two key factors that will make this happen. First are rising interest rates. For a long time I have been advising home owners that the market in Toronto will stay on its current path until interest rates go up. We finally have some predictions that the historically low interest rates could rise later this year. This will start to cool the market even before rates actually go up. The second key factor is that we have hit a ceiling for what most people can afford. With an average sell price of over $1 million for a house in a desirable neighbourhood, we’ve hit the maximum of what the majority of people can afford. Salaries are not rising to match these sale prices, and the fact is vey few people can afford homes over $1 million. When fewer buyers can even get approved for a mortgage, there will be less competition to buy these homes and prices will stop increasing.

Comment: That is so wrong as to be laughable. There are no more houses being built, they will continue to be in greater demand than supply can satisfy. Even if house supply doubled or trebled, they would all sell – and push prices UP. The BoC just lowered their overnight rate, so mortgage rates are likely to GO DOWN. That will create more room for prices to increase. Real estate prices, no matter what people want or predict, will continue to rise in 2015. And for the foreseeable future as well.

2. Sold prices may become public

Currently the Canadian Competition Bureau is in a lawsuit against the Toronto Real Estate Board in an effort to allow the public access to data that previously only agents had access to – in particular sold data. There is an argument that this data belongs to the public, and having it available will increase competition and benefit the consumer. Imagine if you could go to a website and automatically see every sold price in the neighbourhood before even setting up a showing. If this happens, we may see a situation similar to what has happened in the United States, where sold data is public, and the MLS is only the 5th most popular real estate website. Other technology based companies have stepped in offering a better solution. This is one more step in opening up competition in the real estate industry and making the 5% commission model obsolete.

Comment: They might. But so what? Personally, I don’t really like the idea of anyone at all being able to see what I paid for my house. None of their business. You want that information, ask a realtor. Information doesn’t cost anything. Call me any time, or email me, and ask what the most recent sale prices on your street were. I will tell you. There you go, now you have the information that everyone thinks is such a big deal.

3. Larger condo units will be in higher demand

Have you noticed more strollers patrolling the streets of downtown Toronto? Get used to this, as many families are deciding to raise their children in the city instead of moving to the suburbs. Toronto is a safe and vibrant city, and with house prices both in the city and in the suburbs unrealistic for many parents, condos are an attractive alternative. Right now, a typical semi-detached home in a desirable neighbourhood can sell for around $1 million. A condo that is the same size can sell for 30-50% less. As parents look for houses and are scared away by the high prices, larger condo units will be an option many of them consider.

Comment: Yup, already are. They are becoming the new family home for urbanites.

4. It will be a buyers market for homes above $1.5 million

When I look at properties that sell for around $1 million versus properties that sell for above $1.5 million, I find the difference amazing. Houses that sell for above $1.5 million are often mansions with large lots, amazing upgrades, and are in exclusive locations. Houses that sell for around $1 million often are not really special in any way at all. As I mentioned above, this is due to peoples’s salaries, and the fact that most buyers have to stretch themselves to afford prices of around $1 million, with no room to pay any more. There are very few buyers for properties above $1.5 million, and many of these luxury homes have been sitting on the market for months waiting for buyers to come. I know that for most people buying a house for over $1.5 million may not be realistic, but for the lucky few who can afford it, they may be able to get a good deal.

Comment: Wrong again. Sotheby’s released a report in the past few weeks. The sub-$1 million market has become the norm. Detached houses average almost $1m and semis are at 3/4 of a million. There is a lot of action in the $1-2 million segment now. Sales were up 38% for houses over $1 million in 2014, while $2-4 million home sales rose 40%. Condos in the $1-2 million range rose 53% last year. And listings are down in those segments. So yeah, it will NOT be a buyers’ market for any portion of the Toronto housing market.

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.