GTA REALTORS® Release November Stats

TORONTO, ONTARIO, December 5, 2017 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,374 transactions through TREB’s MLS® System in November 2017. This result was up compared to October 2017, bucking the regular seasonal trend. On a year-over-year basis, sales were down by 13.3 per cent compared to November 2016.

New listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System in November 2017 amounted to 14,349 – up by 37.2 per cent compared to November 2016, when the supply of listings was very low from a historic perspective.

“We have seen an uptick in demand for ownership housing in the GTA this fall, over and above the regular seasonal trend. Similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane. On top of this, it is also possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decision,” said Mr. Syrianos.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price was up by 8.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in November 2017. The average selling price for all home types combined was down by two per cent compared to November 2016, due in large part to a smaller share of detached home sales versus last year. On a year-to-date basis, the average selling price was up by 13.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. High density home types continued to lead the way in terms of price growth, with the average condominium apartment price up by double-digits compared to November 2016.

“Changes in market conditions have not been uniform across market segments. In line with insights from consumer polling undertaken by Ipsos in the spring, we are still seeing seller’s market conditions for townhouses and condominium apartments in many neighborhoods versus more balanced market conditions for detached and semi-detached houses. We will have more
insights to share about consumer intentions for 2018 at the end of January when TREB releases its third annual Market Year in Review and Outlook report,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

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IN THE MARKET TO BUY A HOME?

The new mortgage rules require borrowers to pass a new test on their mortgages, where banks qualify them based on whether they could still afford their monthly payments if interest rates were a minimum of 2% higher. These rules take effect Jan 1, 2018.

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REALTRONHOMES.COM
*For informational purposes only. Based on a 25 year amortization. 20% down payment. Actual qualifying rate 3.29% today & 5.29% January 2018. Does not include taxes or additional fees. OAC.

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Exiting through a Window in an Emergency

Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window.

It pays to be prepared for that eventuality. Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit.
There should be at least one on each level.

The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening). Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to  remove those as well.

For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!

Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark.
Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair. According to the National Fire Safety Association, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a
quick exit.

 

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Checklist for WOW-ing a Buyer During a Viewing

Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out.

The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow:

• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.

• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.

• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbor watch them, or take them to a good kennel.

• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.

• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.

• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.

• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)

• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.

• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)

• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway. This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

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Here’s why condo ownership could be your best bet

Condo ownership is picking up speed across Canada. According to the 2016 census, nearly 1.9 million condominiums were occupied by Canadians in 2016. Between 2016 and today, you can bet that number has increased for a number of reasons.

In its most recent Housing Market Assessment and Outlook, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned of a continued “high degree of vulnerability in Canada’s housing market, fuelled by moderate overvaluation and price acceleration.”

While affordability plays a big part in condos’ rise in popularity, it’s not the only reason for their claim to fame.

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affordable condo ownership

Condos are seen everywhere from bustling urban centres to sleepy suburban pockets, but since we’re talking affordability (or lack thereof) let’s see where they fall in relation to their single-detached counterparts in Canada’s priciest housing markets – Toronto and Vancouver.

According to the latest figures reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price of a condo in the 416 was $555,004. While that price was up 20.9 per cent in a year-over-year comparison, it’s still a far cry from your average detached house, priced at $1,287,765.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate board of Greater Vancouver reported the average apartment condo was priced at $642,000 in October, while the average detached house came in at about $1 million more, at $1,609,600.

Any questions?

condo ownership location

Due to their very nature, condos have typically been a downtown mainstay. Their smaller size has always been worth the trade-off when it comes to convenience and the amenities steps from home. And thanks to urban sprawl and urban un-affordability, condos can be seen rising in suburban areas as well, close to transit hubs, shopping and services that make them a great alternative to traditional single-family homes.

According to Statistics Canada, between 2011 and 2016, the growth rate of Canadian households living in condominiums was up 16.6 per cent in Census Metropolitan Areas, defined as areas with a population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more live in the core. Non-CMAs (read: smaller cities and towns) were not far behind, with a growth rate increase of 11.9 per cent.

condo ownership lifestyle

Does the term “turn-key” resonate with you? This is a big draw to condo ownership across all ages and stages in life.

First, there’s the maintenance factor to consider. How do you feel about washing exterior windows every spring and fall? What about shovelling the driveway and sidewalk in the winter? Or mowing the lawn and maintaining gardens through the warmer seasons? There’s no question that some people truly enjoy all the upkeep that comes with home ownership. Bot for those who don’t have the time, ability or inclination for regular maintenance, a condo could be your dream home come true.

Part of condo ownership is paying a monthly condo fee – a portion of which goes to the above-mentioned services. This makes condos ideal for busy professionals, jet-setters, snow birds, the young and the restless, and those who flat-our refuse to lug garbage to the curb.

condo ownership amenities

We mentioned the condo fee – a portion of which covers your use of (and maintenance of) the building amenities. The best part? You won’t have to leave the comfort of home to enjoy them. With condos gaining popularity, many developers are including five-star level services to make your home sweet home that much sweeter. Think concierge service and a-la-carte options like home cleaning and laundry (at a cost, of course); spa, salon and massage; a fully equipped gym with fitness classes; pool, hot tub and sauna; games room, party room, board room, library, film-screening theatre, even a guest suite available for overnight visitors. The list is long and luxe.

Depending on the age and amenities offered in your condo building, your fees will vary. But just think about what a rooftop pool, a home theatre and butler service would cost you in a your detached home!

condo ownership investment

We started our Top 5 list with money, and we’ll end it with money. There’s a reason it’s referred to as “the bottom line.”

Investors have always sought out small condos in urban centres as great money-makers. Particularly if you plan to hold the property over the long-term, you can rent it to a tenant and use the rental income to pay off the mortgage. Once you have that monkey off your back, you can reap the rewards of owning a really cool downtown crash pad, sell it and pocket the profits, or continue renting to tenants – and earn!

Here are some things to consider for in a great investment opportunity:

  • Vacancy rates
  • Population growth
  • Employment opportunities
  • Average income
  • Infrastructure developments
  • Public transit projects

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5 Sustainability Features To Look For In a Home

There are many things to consider when looking for the right home; one of those considerations should be sustainability.  A sustainable home is not only better for the environment, but it can also save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

We asked our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates throughout Canada—what sustainable features are the most important to look for when buying a sustainable home.  They responded with features that will help you conserve resources and save costs on heat, water, and electricity.

“Buyers need to determine what space heating system is in place, this is the highest monthly cost and best ROI for a homeowner. Depending on the climate, heat pumps are the best but high efficiency gas furnaces are likely the best choice,” says Rob Grey, RE/MAX of Nanaimo (founder of Real Estate Energy Efficiency Program (REEP).

“They also need to see what level of insulation is installed as this compliments space heating and is one of the least expensive improvements in single family energy efficiency.”

Grey adds it’s very important to check if the home has had an energy assessment (EnerGuide rating), which is an extensive examination by a certified energy advisor who calculates the energy performance of a home, and is LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building was built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas, such as: water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Windows

More than half of our influencers mentioned the importance of windows when it comes to energy efficiency. The quality of windows installed in a house greatly impact heat conservation. New double or triple pane, argon-filled windows provide extra insulation and better noise reduction for your home.

Properly insulated windows are a must for keeping heat from escaping during the cold winter months. However, the orientation of the windows to the sun should also be considered, as south-facing windows allow radiant heat from sunlight to enter the home each day.

Heating

Tied for second place along with water-saving features, a home’s heat source and heat conservation are also very important. A high-efficiency furnace, automated climate control, high value insulation, and heat recovery ventilation are must-haves among others.

South-facing windows, geothermal systems, and active solar energy systems are great sustainable features for heating a home. A geothermal system utilizes the stable ground temperature to regulate a home’s temperature, whereas an active solar energy system gathers heat from the sun.

Water

It is very important to conserve our freshwater supply. Sustainable homes utilize features that minimize water usage. Features like low-flow toilets, sinks, and showerheads, automated sprinklers, rain collectors, and xeriscaping go a long way in water conservation.

Solar

One-third of our Influencers spoke about the importance of utilizing the sun’s rays when considering sustainability. Solar panels, solar water heating, and orientation to the sun for natural heating are all ways we can effectively utilize solar energy.

Electricity

It can be difficult at times to keep up with advancements in technology. Our influencers suggest looking for LED lighting and programmable energy-efficient appliances in a sustainable home.  If the home is equipped with a solar panel array, ask for a comparison of the home’s electric generation and consumption.  Is there a charging outlet in the garage for a potential future electric car?

 

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Top 10 reasons to visit a Home Show

Planning to buy a home? Sell a home? Perhaps you’re looking for the latest and greatest products, or some ideas and inspiration? Mark your calendars! Coming soon to Toronto and Ottawa, here’s why a day at a Home Show is time well spent.

We all know that keeping a home current can increase its value. Whether it’s changing the look and feel of your space, gathering design tips or learning about the latest in home technology, the Toronto and Ottawa Home Shows are the place to be. Features and exhibitors have the tips and advice to help make a house a “home” while increasing its curb appeal and overall market value.

Upcoming Home Shows:

GTA Home & Reno Show presented by RE/MAX taking place on Family Day weekend (Feb. 16 – 19, 2018) at the International Centre in Mississauga. Visit the GTA Home & Reno Show for innovative products and great advice from real pros including HGTV host Scott McGillivray presented by Thomasville Cabinets.

The National Home Show presented by RE/MAX and co-located with Canada Blooms takes place over March break (Mar. 9 – 18, 2018) at the Enercare Centre in Toronto and is the largest North American display of innovative products, new ideas, and great deals for all things home and garden. Check out more than 800 retailers and industry experts.

The Ottawa Home & Garden Show takes place March 22-25, 2018 at the EY Centre in Ottawa. Visit the Ottawa Home & Garden Show for the latest tips, landscaping ideas and interior design options for your home.

Top 10 reasons to attend a home show:

1. Learn about new products and companies. See the latest from hundreds of exhibitors.

2. See and interact with products in person. The internet is a great tool for researching upcoming home projects, but nothing beats getting hands-on and talking to a person about if it is what you are looking for.

3. Source inspiration for a specific project. With experts, exhibitors, and features within steps from you, you’ll be more prepared than expected for your next home project.

4. Get advice from experts & celebrities. Learn from industry home experts, this is your source for inspiration!

5. Special deals. With so many exhibitors, visitors are sure to find special promotions only available at the show.

6. Helps in the decision process of which home project to pursue. Bring your sketches and get renovation or design advice on upcoming projects.

7. Attend demonstrations or workshops. This is the opportunity to walk away from a home show with a newly acquired skill that you can use at home.

8. Shop for specific products or services. Do the research online on the Exhibitor Directory and make a list of all the exhibitors you want to visit to make the most of your limited time at the event.

9. Discover new home tech. Get familiar with some of the latest in smart home technologies.

10. Something for everyone. No matter what your age, there is something at the shows for everyone to enjoy!

Contact your RE/MAX Agent today to receive your complimentary tickets to any of these shows

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Quick & Easy Organization Hacks

Whether the seasons are changing and it’s time to pull out the boots, put away the flip flops, or grab some gift wrap—there are some quick & easy organization hacks you can take advantage of to make more use of your space and become more efficient in your home. If you were at our most recent Toronto Fall Home Show you may have seen some of these organization ideas on display!

Organization hacks with hangers

organization hacks DIY hat organizer

DIY Hat Organizer

Create an easy solution to hang and organize your hats. The hangers can or simply store with easy access in your closet or hang on the wall if you run out of closet space. This is the perfect way to organize your hats.

What you need: Hanger + Shower Curtain C-Hooks
How to Prepare: Place the shower curtain c-hooks onto the hanger, and just add your hats!

Jewelry Organizer

Create a place to hang and organize jewelry with a few wooden hangers and some small screw hooks. Adding the small screw hooks gives you places to hang necklaces, bracelets and even hoop and dangle earrings. This is the perfect way to organize jewelry and keep those chains from knotting. The hangers can hang on the wall to add to your décor.
What you need: Hanger + Small Screw Hooks (find at dollar store or hardware store)
How to Prepare: Place small screw hooks into the hanger bar, since the hanger is delicate be gentle! Hang jewelry on the small hooks.

organization hacks DIY scarf organizer

Hanging Scarf Organizer

A hanger and shower curtain hooks will help you to create a great place to hang and organize your scarves. Affix the shower curtain hooks to the hanger by slipping them on and then hang your scarves. You can put as many hooks as you need on each hanger or use a couple of hangers if you don’t want your scarves to be too crowded.
What you need: Hanger + Shower Curtain C-Hooks
How to Prepare: Place the shower curtain c-hooks onto the hanger, and just add your scarves!

organization hacks DIY gift wrap holder

Hanging Gift Wrap Organizer

Gift wrap, gift wrap, everywhere! Not anymore with this clever organization hack! Use any garment bag, the sturdier the more gift wrap it can hold.
What you need: Hanger + Garment Bag
How to Prepare: Place the hanger in the garment bag. Add gift wrap, organize however you like!

Organization hacks for cables

Cable Wall Art

Why hide your cables and cords when you can turn them into wall art? Instead of trying to make them disappear, display them on your walls. Be creative and you’ll find a way to perfectly integrate them in the décor.

organization hacks cable cord hider

Cardboard Box Cord Hider

Don’t want to display your cords where everyone can see them? Then hide then away in any cardboard box. A decorative one will look the nicest, but an old napkin box will do too.
What you need: Cardboard Box + Desired Cables to Hide
How to Prepare: Take a cardboard box, cut out two canals on the sides and hide the cables inside.

organization hacks receipt holder

Receipts Drop Box Hack

Stop loosing receipts and keep them all in one place. This organization hack will keep you and your receipts organized!
What you need: Tissue Box + Receipts to Organize
How to Prepare: Decorate the tissue box or purchase a box that is already pretty. Start adding receipts!

organizing hacks missing socks

Organization Hack for Missing Socks

Tired of trying to track down the missing half of all your pairs of socks? This easy organization hack will keep those pairs together!
What you need: Clothes Pins + Sign + Hot Glue
How to Prepare: Write “Missing Socks” on sign with marker, or chalk. Hot glue the clothes pins onto the sign, start pinning up the single socks.

organizing hacks plastic bag holder

Plastic Bag Holder

Are plastic bags taking over the area under your sink? Keep the clutter away with this super simple organization hack!
What you need: Empty Lysol Container or Tissue Box + Plastic Bags
How to Prepare: Using the empty containers, fill with plastic bags, and the clutter goes away in a snap!

Organization Hacks for Garbage

garbage organization hacks

Easy Shelf with Buckets

The best way to organize the garage is to make use of random things that you already own in your garage. If you already have a shelf, grab a few buckets, and all you need are labels! These buckets will help keep your space organized and make it easier for you to find essentials you may just need to grab and go!
What you need:3 Empty Buckets + 3 Labels + Wooden Shelf + 3 Metal Hooks + 6 Screws (may vary depending on the hooks you have)
How to Prepare: Using a screw driver, make a hole into the wooden shelf and screw 3 hooks into the shelf. Add labels onto the three buckets, and hang onto the hanger. Start filling these with items that match the labels!

car organization hacks

Garbage Can for the Car

On long journeys you may need a little storage for trash, especially with kids around. This easy hack will keep your garbage in one spot and look good while doing it!
What you need: Cereal Container or Other Container + Decorations
How to Prepare: Decorate the container to match your car, and place it in a spot so it’s ready to start collecting the trash!

organization hacks tic tac organizer

Tic Tac Organizers

These little containers are perfect for organizing all those small things that end up loose at the bottom of a bag or on the floor. Some of the small things we like to have organized include: ribbon dispensers; bobbi pins; spices; safety pins; spare buttons.
What you need: Tic Tac Containers + Small Things (see list above)
How to Prepare: Fill your empty containers with the small pieces and place in drawers, shelves or anywhere you require them!

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7 Green Upgrades That Will Reduce Your Home’s Footprint

Looking for ways to make your home greener and more energy efficient not only helps the environmental, but also reduces your monthly bills. From the basement to the roof, there are plenty of sustainable home improvements to reduce your footprint and catch the eye of green-minded buyers.

Energy efficiency and environmental considerations are becoming more important to homeowners in Canada. Considering how you can enhance your home to save energy and reduce your home’s environmental impact is a savvy move that will not only help you save on monthly bills but make it stand out in the market.
You may also like 9 Eco-Friendly Home Improvements Guaranteed To Save You Cash in the Long Run on HGTV.ca.

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Canada’s National Housing Strategy At A Glance

The National Housing Strategy is the first of its kind in Canada, which was established to help reduce homelessness and increase the availability and the quality of affordable housing.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), 1.7 million Canadians are in need of core housing.

National Housing Strategy: Overview & Goals

“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call ‘home,’” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. “Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy is a once-in-a-generation vision to reduce homelessness, support community housing and shelter spaces, and address challenges of housing affordability.”

 We took a major step forward on housing today, and we will continue to deliver initiatives that strengthen the middle class and lift more Canadians out of poverty. –The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The strategy was developed by the Government of Canada through consultations with Canadians who have encountered obstacles with respect to quality affordable housing, experts, stakeholders, as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments.

“Our Government is establishing a federal leadership role in housing,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for CMHC. “The National Housing Strategy will create a new generation of housing in Canada. It will promote diverse communities and will build housing that is sustainable, accessible, mixed-income and mixed-use that will be located near transit, work and public services.”

Part of the National Housing Strategy includes the $4-billion Canada Housing Benefit, which will be funded jointly by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Launching in 2020, the Canada Housing Benefit will put funds support into the hands of Canadians living in social housing, those on a wait-list and those living in private residences but struggling financially. The Canada Housing Benefit will deliver an average of $2,500 per year to approximately 300,000 households across Canada.

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