Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!



I want to wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!....C U in 2012!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pre-Const​ruction Pricing at The Berwick (only 10% down)


Last week I went to see a new Condominium residences at Yonge & Eglinton - The Berwick.

This 17 floors landmark is located in Midtown's most desirable places to live. Great shopping, dining and entertainment in a modern, sophisticated residence offering spectacular views, spacious suites and first-rate amenities. Prices are very affordable, starting from $271,000 for 1 bed (490 sq ft), $348,990 for 1 bed + den (638 sq ft) and $423,400 for 2 bed (752 sq ft).

The Berwick offers great amenities like: 24 Hour full time concierge, party room, media centre, BBQ and fitness centre with yoga.

And the best part - now you can save $15,000 off the price plus you only need 10% deposit prior to occupancy (June 2013) so whether you are a first time buyer or investor this is a great opportunity for you. Please call me if you need more info or have any questions.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Window Condensation Issues in Winter

What is Condensation?
Condensation is the fog that is evident on the glass of your window. It is actually the result of high humidity level in your home. It generally appears as moisture or ice on the interior lite of glass on your windows.

What Causes Condensation?
The cause of the condensation is extreme moisture in the air. When warm air meets a cooler surface, it condenses. This creates the visible moisture you see on the surface of your windows. Condensation also occurs when the flow of warm air is restricted from reaching window surfaces.

Problem due to Condensation
Condensation is an unsightly problem. The last thing you want on your window is a fog blocking the view. But the problem goes deeper than-if condensation is a chronic occurrence in your home; chances are that you have excessive humidity. If water is accumulating on other harder to see surfaces such as wall and roof cavities. If left uncontrolled, excess moisture can have serious consequences, including:

* Mold or mildew
* Wood rot and warping
* Roof ice build-up
* Damp, ineffective insulation
* Discolored, blistered or bubbling paint
* Damaging moisture inside walls and attic

Preventing Condensation

* Make sure your humidifier is working correctly. Turn it down as the weather becomes colder.
* Vent all appliances and vent to the outside. Vent attic and crawl spaces.
* Cover the earth in your crawl space with a vapor barrier.
* Run exhaust fan while cooking or bathing.
* Open the fireplace damper to allow an easier escape for moisture. Don't store firewood inside.
* As a temporary solution, you may want to try opening your windows a little each day to allow the exchange of colder drier air with warmer more humid air. This should not affect your energy bill in any substantial manner.
* Install energy efficient windows.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MONTHLY RESALE HOUSING MARKET FIGURES

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,092 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in November – up 11 per cent in comparison to November 2010. At the same time, the number of new listings was up by 14 per cent in comparison to last year.

“We have seen strong annual sales growth through the 2011 fall market. The increase in transactions has been broad-based, with strong growth across low-rise and high-rise home types throughout the Greater Toronto Area,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Richard Silver. “The market has also become better supplied, with annual new listings growth outstripping that of sales. As this trend continues into 2012, we will see more balanced market conditions.”

The average price for November transactions was $480,421, representing an increase of almost 10 per cent in comparison to $437,494 in November 2010.

“Despite strong price growth this year, the housing market remains affordable in the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The correct ethod of assessing affordability is to consider the share of the average household’s income that is dedicated to mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and utilities. Currently, this share remains in line with generally accepted lending guidelines. Given this positive affordability picture, average price growth is forecast to continue in 2012, albeit at a more moderate pace.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Makeover your kitchen on a budget

A kitchen is normally one of the most expensive rooms of your home to remodel. Appliances, tile, and granite all add up to an eye-raising cost - beyond most first-time homeowners' budget. But a kitchen needn't cost a fortune or be beyond the reach of your modest budget. If the basics of your kitchen are sound - the cabinets essentially usable though ugly, the appliances in working order, the layout in no immediate need of structural changes - you can make some simple changes and bring your kitchen into the modern era. Here's how:

1. Paint. You have heard it before, but the cheapest way to change a space for the better is a gallon or two of paint. If you stick to neutral colors, you can add accessories, art, or curtains in a striking color as an accent. Neutral colors also sell if you decide to move.

2. Cabinets. There are four ways to change your cabinets on a budget.

Change the look - If your cabinet bases are in reasonably good shape, paint the cabinets and add new premade cabinet doors.

The dark side - If you would rather not paint, consider staining the cabinets if the wood is in good shape. A dark stain in cherry or dark teak will update the look. But remember to strip and sand them before you stain. The time spent stripping and sanding will pay off in the professional look of the stained result.

Open them up - After you paint the cabinets, take the doors off the top cabinets entirely to give them an open look.

Add new hardware - Adding updated hardware can do wonders for the look of the kitchen. Brushed nickel or pewter knobs is a modern style can take decades off the style of your kitchen.

3. Appliances. If your appliances are in good working order, you can update their look by painting them. If you are afraid to do it yourself, take them to an automobile paint shop and have them done. It is well worth the expense, which will be much less than new appliances.

4. Countertops. New countertops are available at most home improvement stores in standard sizes. They are precut and ready to install. And they are very cost effective, especially if you chose a color or style that is on sale or clearance.


5. Floor. The new styles of press and stick vinyl tiles look surprisingly high end. And they can be quickly installed. Try the new styles that look like slate - beautiful!


All of these ideas will cost you must less and will be faster than a standard remodel. And most can be done yourself - reducing the cost of labor. The resulting kitchen will enhance your home - and your bottom line!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OCTOBER MARKET FIGURES

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,642 home sales through the TorontoMLS® in October 2011. This represented an increase of 17.5 per cent compared to the 6,504 transactions reported in October 2010.

Monthly sales data follow a recurring seasonal trend that should be removed before comparing monthly results within the same year. After adjusting for seasonality, the annualized rate of sales for October was 97,100, which was above the average of 90,700 for the first three quarters of 2011.

“The pace of October resale home transactions remained brisk in the GTA. This bodes well for a strong finish to 2011,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver. “Home buyers who found it difficult to make a deal in the spring and summer due to a shortage of listings have benefitted from increased supply in the fall.”

The average selling price through the TorontoMLS® in October was $478,137 – up eight per cent compared to October 2010.

“Sellers’ market conditions remain in place in many parts of the GTA. The result has been above-average annual rates of price growth for most home types,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Thanks to low interest rates, strong price growth has not substantially changed the positive affordability picture in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions.”

Monday, October 10, 2011

11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

1) Defective Plumbing: Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways: leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.

2) Damp or Wet Basement: An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it.
It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you around $750 - $1,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could amount to $5,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.


3) Inadequate Wiring & Electrical: Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.

4) Poor Heating & Cooling Systems: Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged - they cannot be repaired.


5) Roofing Problems: Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g. curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.

6) Damp Attic Spaces: Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run over $2,500.

7) Rotting Wood: This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood has been freshly painted.


8) Masonry Work: Re-bricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney which falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repainted.

9) Unsafe or Over-fused Electrical Circuit: A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.


10) Adequate Security Features: More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, smoke and even carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.


11) Structural/Foundation Problems: An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Most Ontarians confused about HST and resale homes

An Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) reveals that 56 per cent of Ontarians mistakenly believe that the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) applies to the full purchase price of a resale home. In fact the HST is only levied on the various transaction fees associated with the purchase of a home that has been previously occupied (i.e. not a newly-built home).

Currently, the average price of an Ontario resale home is around $330,000. Therefore, this confusion leaves the majority of Ontarians wrongly believing that the HST will add more than $40,000 to the transaction cost. There is growing concern among real estate professionals that this misperception about the HST is dampening the Ontario housing market.

“We see it on the front lines every day. Clearly, Ontarians still don’t know what the HST covers and what is exempt,” said Dorothy Mason, President of OREA. “This is not helping the housing market, and it’s not helping the Ontario economy. This confusion means that many buyers think the cost of a resale home is tens of thousands of dollars higher than it actually is.”

The results of the survey conducted earlier this month were consistent across all age groups. However, there were some differences across other demographic categories. For instance, of those surveyed, half of the university graduates, 71 per cent of northern Ontarians, 59 per cent of those living in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and 54 per cent of GTA residents all mistakenly believe the HST applies to the full purchase price of resale homes.

“We’re doing our part to inform our clients, but we shouldn’t have to do it alone. We’re calling on the Ontario government to launch an immediate public awareness campaign to educate taxpayers and end the HST confusion,” said Mason. “For average homebuyers, learning that the HST does not apply to the full purchase price means a $40,000 saving they weren’t expecting.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

AUGUST RESALE MARKET FIGURES

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,542 sales through the TorontoMLS® system in August – a 24 per cent increase over 6,083 sales in August 2010. New listings, at 12,509, were up by 20 per cent compared to August 2010. Market conditions remained tight as sales growth outstripped growth in new listings.

"Home sales in the GTA have stood up well despite a less certain economic outlook," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver. "Home sales will be bolstered by low mortgage rates moving forward. The Bank of Canada is expected to be on the sidelines until the second half of 2012 or even into 2013. However, home ownership affordability in the City of Toronto could be further improved with the removal of the City’s land transfer tax. This tax currently represents a substantial upfront cost for home buyers.”

With market conditions remaining tight in the GTA, the average selling price continued to grow strongly in August – up by more than 10 per cent year-over-year to $451,663.

"We remain on pace for the second best year on record for sales. Approximately 90,000 transactions are expected by the end of December," said TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis Jason Mercer. "Major home ownership costs, including the average monthly mortgage payment, remain affordable despite the strong price growth experienced so far this year."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Investing in a second property

If you're thinking about buying a piece of real estate as an investment property, market conditions are definitely in your favour. While the resale housing market has seen a tremendous amount of activity from first-time buyers in the past year, it's also a perfect time for existing homeowners to invest in secondary residential properties.

With record-low interest rates and significantly lower prices it's hard to go wrong - unless, of course you lack the financial means to make the investment. After all, you have to be ready to meet all the obligations that come with owning more than your principal property.

For instance, keep in mind that if you intend to rent out the second property, you'll also have to be prepared to deal with tenants and handle maintenance costs.

Leverage
Secondary home ownership is an attractive investment option because it gives you even more leverage than you have with your principal residence. Leverage is when a relatively small amount of your money controls a much larger asset - like a property.

The more leveraged you are, the greater the financial return on your down payment becomes if the value of your property increases. There are very few other investments which can be purchased with such a small percentage of your own money.

For instance, let's say you acquire a second property for $100,000, with a $15,000 down payment, and during the first year that you own it, the property increases by a value of three per cent for a $3,000 gain. As a result, the return on your down payment of $15,000 is 20 per cent - $3,000 divided by $15,000.

Other Investments
By comparison, let's say you were to buy a term investment of $100,000 (in cash) for one year and it increased by $8,000 over the course of the first year. Since it cost you $100,000 in cash to buy it, the return on your investment is only eight per cent before taxes. Obviously, leveraging is a powerful way to make your money work for you.

Getting Financing
You should be aware that many lenders place non-owner occupied deals in the high-risk category and it's not that unusual to find lenders who will not finance rental units at all - or those who will only finance them if they are insured.

Obviously, lenders will want to know whether the property will carry itself. (Is there sufficient rent to cover the mortgage payment?)

Don't make the mistake of assuming that a rental income of $500 per month will carry a mortgage payment of $500 per month. Only a portion of the rent is used to pay the mortgage; the remainder must cover taxes, maintenance, vacancy, bad debt and expenses.

(Many inexperienced purchasers think that owning rental properties will allow them to "get rich quickly" and when this does not happen, the owner becomes disillusioned and loses interest in the property.)

Costs
You should also be aware that the cost of obtaining a mortgage (for legal and appraisal fees) on a non-owner occupied property can be higher than the cost of obtaining a mortgage on an owner-occupied property, when more than one unit - such as a duplex or triplex is involved.

Interest rates charged on rental properties might also be higher because some lenders view these properties as being a higher risk.

As mentioned above, the main responsibility of having a second property is being able to carry it financially. And if you're like most people, you'll probably have to rent it to someone as a result.

This is also a great deal of responsibility because you will have to maintain the property in addition to your own principal residence, and you'll be responsible for finding tenants who you trust and feel comfortable with.

Some parents with grown children ready to go off to university or college choose to purchase secondary properties for their offspring to live in while they attend school. This gives them an excellent investment and they are assured that the occupants will take good care of the home.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creating curb appeal

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to houses, the exterior can be just as important as the interior if selling or buying.

When selling, it is the outside, or the home's curb appeal that often determines whether the inside is ever seen. How a house 'shows' from the street can tell a potential buyer a lot about what it may be like inside. Even if the inside is the sparkling, charming, structurally sound dream home they've been searching for, a buyer is not going to forget a cracked driveway, fallen shutters, overgrown grass and flower beds.

That's why most REALTORS® recommend a house not be seen for the first time at night. If you have no choice but to view homes at night, always be sure to drive past them during the daytime before making any final decisions.

For sellers, there are many ways to enhance the exterior of a home to achieve the curb appeal necessary to attract prospective buyers. Start by taking a close, objective look at your home from the curb. Be sure to view it from different angles. Ask friends and neighbors for their unbiased opinions. What are the appealing features? What's not so appealing? What can you do to improve its appearance?

Are the shrubs untrimmed? Are there broken doors and windows, loose screens and railings? Does the exterior trim, or entire surface, need a paint job?

The interior may be clean, without a leaky faucet, cracked floor or loose door hinge in sight. But if the exterior roof, gutter, walls, driveway, garage and yard look dirty and untidy, chances are you're not going to get a lot of potential buyers knocking at the door.

Creating curb appeal is making your home inviting from the outside -- where first impressions begin. This doesn't mean spending a great deal of money remodeling and renovating. Adding a new front verandah might add a lot of curb appeal, but so will a couple of wicker chairs and potted flowers by the front door - at a lot less cost.

Here are some more tips for making the outside of your home attractive and inviting:

Clean up the yard
Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, weed the flower beds, get rid of dead trees and shrubs; get rid of any broken lawn furniture; shovel the walk and driveway in winter; rake the yard in the fall.

Repair any problems
If the roof is damaged, repair it. Also repair any doors and windows that have loose hinges or other damage; fix storm doors and window screens; caulk window exteriors; clean and repair sidings and other structural flaws.

Eliminate clutter
If you have yard and construction debris piled up along the side of the house, or elsewhere, get rid of it. The exterior of your home should be as uncluttered in appearance as the interior. This includes cleaning out the garage - a major breeder of clutter. Be ruthless. If you haven't used something in a year, give it to charity or recycle it.

Give siding a fresh new look
Cleaning the exterior surface is all your home may need for a fresh new face. Before rushing to paint siding, try washing it. For painted wood siding and aluminum siding, use a solution of one cup strong detergent and one quart chlorine bleach in three gallons of water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, goggles and other protective garments. Work from the bottom up and rinse thoroughly.

To spruce up vinyl siding, hose it down, sponge it with a mild liquid detergent and rinse.

Use paint to brighten, re-proportion exterior
A paint job can do wonders for the exterior of a home. A low house can look more graceful and tall from the curb by emphasizing its vertical features. Paint elements such as doors, shutters and corner trim in a color that contrasts with the siding material or color. On a high home, emphasize horizontal by using a contrasting paint color on window sills and fascia boards. You can also make a tall house look lower by painting it a dark color, provided that the roof is dark too. Conversely, a light color will make a home look larger.

Co-ordinate the exterior 'look'
The more co-ordinated your house looks from the outside, the more appealing it will be. Co-ordinate the 'look' of your home by painting the garage, tool shed, playhouse and other outdoor structures with the same color schemes as the house. If your house is a mixture of conflicting textures - vertical siding, shingles and brick, for instance - try painting them all the same color, or in two related shades of the same color, to create a harmonious look. Dark tones work best when working with conflicting textures.

Use flower power
Well-placed flowers, trees and shrubs can really make the outside of a home look inviting. Not only does attractive landscaping invite buyers, it can increase the value of a home. Even without major landscaping, flowers can make a yard look colorful and pleasant. Plant them in garden beds, hang them from railings and porch ceilings, add flower boxes to window sills. There is no limit to the power of flowers.

At night, highlight garden features with spotlights and floodlights. Well-lit paths and entrances promote safety, discourage burglars and are an added feature to any home. A pretty wreath on the door and a welcome mat will finish things off.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Insurance Coverage Issues Affecting Older Homes

Buying an Older Home -- If you are looking to purchase an older home that has galvanized steel plumbing, 60-amp electrical service, knob and tube electrical wiring, a wood-burning stove or a fuel oil tank, make sure to factor the cost of necessary upgrades into your offering price! Your insurance representative will be able to advise you on what upgrades may need to be completed prior to obtaining homeowners insurance coverage.

Your insurance company's concerns with Galvanized Steel Plumbing -- Galvanized steel pipes, commonly installed in homes prior to 1950, have an average life expectancy of 40-50 years. Over time, the galvanized steel pipes begin to rust or corrode from the inside out, resulting in reduced water pressure and restricted water flow. This presents an increased risk of leaks or ruptures occurring in the pipes and the potential for flood damage. Your insurance company may require you to replace galvanized steel piping with copper and plastic piping before providing you with insurance coverage.

The dangers associated with 60-amp Electrical Service -- Insurance companies are concerned that the 60-amp electrical service, common in homes built prior to 1950, poses the threat of overuse and overheating, potentially increasing the risk of an electrical fire and a subsequent claim. Before providing you with insurance coverage, your insurance company may require you to upgrade your 60-amp electrical service to 100 amps (the standard for new home construction) or install a switching device that allows for the operation of only one major appliance at a time.

The problem with Knob and Tube Wiring -- Knob and tube wiring, also commonly found in homes over 50 years of age, consists of parallel hot (black) and neutral (white) wires, separated by knobs (or insulators) and ceramic tubes. Knob and tube wiring is considered a higher risk than contemporary wiring installations mainly because

*There is no ground wire (in contrast to contemporary wiring).

*Given their age, the wires are highly susceptible to wearing and exposure, presenting a serious safety hazard.

*The unintentional contact of the hot and neutral wires may potentially cause an electrical fire. As a result, you may be required to replace all exposed knob and tube wiring with approved permanent wiring material before an insurance company will provide you with homeowners insurance coverage.

Note: Some insurers may consider covering homes with wiring issues if they are inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority in Ontario and deemed safe. It's best to speak to your insurance representative about your specific situation.

Wood-burning Stoves can be a hazard -- If they are not installed and used properly, wood-burning stoves can pose a serious fire hazard. To reduce potential risk, your insurance company may require that your wood-burning stove be inspected by a certified Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) technician and certified by the Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC), Canadian Standard Association (CSA) before agreeing to provide you with homeowners insurance coverage. Similarly, your insurance company may request that you have your wood-burning stove thoroughly cleaned and inspected by a professional sweep or technician at least once each year, prior to renewing your policy.

Why your insurance company is asking you to replace your Fuel Oil Tank -- Tanks 25 years or older are highly susceptible to rusting, deterioration and leakage and are considered environmental hazards. If a fuel oil leak occurs and goes undetected, the environmental cleanup for such a situation can be immense. A pinhole leak can spill 750 litre of oil in eight hours and have cleanup costs ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. However, it only cost $700 to $1500 to replace an oil tank. If your oil tank is 25 years or older, your insurance company may require that you remove and replace it with a gas or electrical furnace, prior to providing you with homeowners insurance coverage.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Resale Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,922 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in July 2011, representing a 23 per cent increase over July 2010. Total sales through the first seven months of this year amounted to 55,863 – down by 1.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2010. After adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, the July figure continued to point to an annual sales result close to 90,000 – in line with results from the previous six months.

"Strong home sales continued in July, with a substantial rebound over last summer’s slow-down brought about by higher mortgage rates, new lending guidelines and misconceptions about the HST. The greatest rebound was seen in the condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver. "If the current pace of sales holds up, we could see the second best year on record under the current TREB market area."

The average selling price in July was $459,122 – up by almost ten per cent compared to the July 2010 average of $418,675.

“Tight market conditions have boosted the annual rate of price growth this year. However, the listings situation is starting to improve. A better supplied market later this year and into 2012 would lead to a more sustainable rate of price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Monday, June 6, 2011

May Resale Housing Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,046 sales in May 2011 – up six per cent compared to May 2010. This result was the second best on record for May under the current Toronto Real Estate Board service area. The number of new listings in May, at 16,076, was down 15 per cent compared to last year.

“Positive economic news and low borrowing costs led to strong sales through the first five months of the year, including the increase in May,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Bill Johnston. “At the same time, the market has become much tighter compared to last year, due to a substantial dip in new listings.”

Homes were on the market for an average of 23 days and sold for an average price of $485,520– up nine per cent compared to $446,593 in May 2010. The strongest rate of price growth was experienced for single-detached homes sold in the City of Toronto.

“We have seen clear-cut seller’s market conditions emerge over the past two to three months,” explained Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The robust price appreciation that we have seen will hopefully prompt more households to list, resulting in a more balanced market later this year,” continued Mercer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mid-Month Resale Housing Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,138 sales during the first two weeks of March 2011 – a five per cent decrease compared to the first two weeks of March 2010. The number of new listings also dipped – down by 15 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"A positive economic outlook for the Greater Toronto Area, including steady growth in jobs and incomes, has kept households confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

The average price for transactions during the first 14 days of March was $460,196, representing a 4.6 per cent increase compared to the first two weeks of March 2010.

"Market conditions are tighter compared to this time last year, resulting in more competition between buyers and sustained upward pressure on the average selling price. The annual rate of price growth is expected to range between three and five per cent in 2011," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Monthly Resale Housing Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,266 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in February 2011. This result was 14 per cent lower than the record sales reported in February 2010.

While not representing a record, February 2011 sales were 50 per cent higher than the number reported in February 2009 during the recession and slightly higher than the average February sales over the previous ten years.

“Continued improvement in the GTA economy, including growth in jobs and incomes and a declining unemployment rate, has kept the demand for ownership housing strong,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

The average selling price for February 2011 transactions was $454,423, which was more than five per cent higher than the average selling price reported in February 2010.

“Market conditions remain quite tight in the GTA. There is enough competition between home buyers to promote continued price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mid-Month Resale Housing Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,084 sales during the first two weeks of February 2011 – a 13 per cent decrease compared to the first two weeks of February 2010.

"We are on pace for a strong sales result in February, but transactions will come in lower than the record result reported last February. Sales remain strong because the GTA resale market contains a diversity of housing types catering to a wide array of home ownership needs," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

The average price for transactions during the first 14 days of February was $451,257, representing a five per cent increase compared to the first two weeks of February 2010.

"Average selling price growth for existing homes is expected to range between three and five per cent this year. Tighter market conditions over the last four months have pushed price growth to the top end of this range," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Residential Summary market

Watch the latest Residential Summary market report at

Market Watch January 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monthly Resale Housing Market Figures

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,337 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in January 2011. This result was 13 per cent lower than the record result reported in January 2010.

“While off the record pace experienced a year ago, the GTA resale market has started the year on a solid footing. Home buyers in Toronto and surrounding areas continue to benefit from a diversity of housing types for sale at many different price points,” said TREB President Bill Johnston.

The average selling price for January 2011 sales was $427,037, representing an increase of over four per cent compared to the average of $409,058 reported in January 2010.

“The average selling price is expected to grow at a moderate pace in 2011. Growth rates in the three to five per cent range will be sustainable from an affordability perspective,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Third Best Year for Existing Home Sales

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,395 existing home sales for the month of December, bringing the 2010 total to 86,170 – down by one per cent compared to 2009.

"Market conditions were anything but uniform in 2010. We went from super-charged sales activity during the first four months of the year, to a marked drop-off in transactions in the summer and then in the fall saw sales climb back to levels that are sustainable over the longer term," said TREB President Bill Johnston.

"New Federal Government-mandated mortgage lending guidelines, higher borrowing costs and misconceptions about the HST caused a pause in home buying in the summer. As it became clear that the HST was not applicable to the sale price of an existing home and buyers realized that home ownership remained affordable, market conditions improved," continued Johnston.

The average home selling price in 2010 was $431,463 – up nine per cent in comparison to the 2009 average selling price of $395,460. In December, the average annual rate of price growth was five per cent.

"At the outset of 2010, we were experiencing annual rates of price growth at or near 20 per cent. This was the result of extremely tight market conditions coupled with the fact that we were comparing prices to the trough of the recession at the beginning of 2009," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

"Balanced market conditions in the second half of 2010 resulted in more moderate home price appreciation," continued Mercer. "Expect the average selling price to grow at or below five per cent in 2011. With this type of growth, mortgage carrying costs for the average priced home in the GTA will remain affordable for a household earning an average income."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The flu and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning share many symptoms: headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion and fatigue. However, while CO poisoning does not come with a fever, the flu does. If you have flu symptoms, but no fever, remind your physician about the possibility of CO poisoning.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that over 200 people a year die, while thousands more are treated for CO poisoning by hospital emergency rooms and private physicians.

How can you prevent becoming an annual statistic from CO poisoning?

* Have all gas burning appliances inspected and serviced annually by a professional technician.
* Have all chimneys and flues checked annually for loose connections, blockage, corrosion, etc. Also, make sure you properly open the flue on any wood burning appliance or fireplace when using them. (To avoid fire danger, make sure you have the chimney flue inspected and cleaned, each year).
* Make sure your heating systems have an adequate intake of outside air.
* Never use appliances such as a clothes dryer, range, or oven to heat your home.
* Don't leave cars running in garages, even with the door open.
* Never, never burn charcoal in a confined space.
* Finally, install CO detector/alarms in your home. These detector/alarm are similar in concept to the smoke alarms that are prevalent in today's homes.

There are two types of CO detector/alarms available: hardwired (using household current) and battery powered. Hardwired sensors usually purge themselves and resample for CO at a preset period of time. Battery powered sensors usually react to prolonged exposure to CO.

Ceiling mounted detector/alarm should be installed in the following areas:

* One on each floor of the residence (the detector/alarm should be placed in the hallway near each sleeping area)
* One in the vicinity of each major fuel burning appliance (but not within five feet)
* One in the garage.

Consult the manufacturer's installation instructions to ensure the right placement of the detector/alarm in each area.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Monthly Resale Housing Market for December 2010

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,395 existing home sales for the month of December, bringing the 2010 total to 86,170 – down by one per cent compared to 2009.

“Market conditions were anything but uniform in 2010. We went from super-charged sales activity during the first four months of the year, to a marked drop-off in transactions in the summer and then in the fall saw sales climb back to levels that are sustainable over the longer term,” said TREB President Bill Johnston.

“New Federal Government-mandated mortgage lending guidelines, higher borrowing costs and misconceptions about the HST caused a pause in home buying in the summer. As it became clear that the HST was not applicable to the sale price of an existing home and buyers realized that home ownership remained affordable, market conditions improved,” continued Johnston.

The average home selling price in 2010 was $431,463 – up nine per cent in comparison to the 2009 average selling price of $395,460. In December, the average annual rate of price growth was five per cent.

“At the outset of 2010, we were experiencing annual rates of price growth at or near 20 per cent. This was the result of extremely tight market conditions coupled with the fact that we were comparing prices to the trough of the recession at the beginning of 2009,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“Balanced market conditions in the second half of 2010 resulted in more moderate home price appreciation,” continued Mercer. “Expect the average selling price to grow at or below five per cent in 2011. With this type of growth, mortgage carrying costs for the average priced home in the GTA will remain affordable for a household earning an average income.”

Home sales in the GTA were spread across a number of different housing types in 2010. Detached homes accounted for 49 per cent of total sales. Condominium apartments accounted for an additional 25 per cent per cent of sales. Other housing types including townhomes and semi-detached houses accounted for the final 26 per cent. In some areas like TREB’s central districts the mix was quite different, with condominium apartments accounting for 61 per cent of total sales.

“Ownership housing is available in a diversity of types and price points across the GTA, allowing plenty of choice for first time buyers and experienced home buyers alike. This housing diversity is one factor that continues to make the GTA a popular choice for households and businesses,” concluded Johnston.

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