Saturday, December 29, 2007

Things to consider while buying a home

Before you go shopping for real estate in West Toronto or Etobicoke, you should think about what you need and want in a house. While viewing homes, you should make notes about those you may be seriously interested in.

Design issues - renovations, enough yard space, Is there room to grow?

Things to consider should include the following:

  • Is there enough room to live comfortably, including growth of your family and property?
    Does the floor plan suit your family's style of living?
  • What About planning a Kitchen renovation?
    Are there enough bathrooms?
    How do the appliances compare to what would be optimal?
    Make a list of all decor items you would like to change.
    Consider what you may want to do with the yard.
    Ample room for more than one car?
    Location issues - quiet suburb, nearby amenities, good access?

Neighbourhood features you may want to assess:

  • Schools, kindergartens, daycare and parks
    Shopping and business services
    Entertainment and outdoor activities (especially for children)
    Crime statistics/general safety
    Public transport - frequent, convenient and nearby?
    Commuting to and from work/traffic congestion
    Noise levels eg traffic, trains, especially at night
    Pollution eg smog/fumes/smells from nearby traffic/industry
    Ambiance - does the neighbourhood have a good "feel"?
    How are the neighbours looking after their homes and property?

All these issues are kept top of mind when looking at Homes.

Other related reading:

How to Choose an agent

A Guide to Selling in West Toronto

Is a Condo for you ?

How to become a VIP Buyer

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fun Facts about Toronto

One quarter of Canada’s population lives within a 160 km radius of Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s largest retail market
There are 100 + languages spoken throughout the city
Over half of Toronto's labour force has a university degree or college diploma
Toronto is Canada’s number one tourist destination
Toronto is the largest and most important financial centre in all of Canada and the fourth largest in North America. Only New York city, Chicago and Los Angeles are larger.
North America's largest continuous underground pedestrian system PATH, connects about 1200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers, five subway stations, Union Station, six major hotels and several entertainment centres under Toronto's financial core.
Yonge Street is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest street in the world, stretching 1,896 km from the lakeshore in Toronto, north to Rainy River, Ontario, near the Minnesota border.
Toronto is home to the world's tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower standing 1,815 feet (553 meters) tall.
Toronto is the third largest centre for English language theatre in the world, behind New York City and London.
Toronto's public transit system is the second largest in North America and has the highest per capita ridership rate on the continent.
The Toronto Zoo is home to more than 5,000 animals.
Many of today's famous movie stars hail from Toronto and the GTA including Jim Carrey, Mike Myers and Eugene Levy.
About 25% of films produced in Hollywood are actually filmed in Toronto, making it North America's 3rd largest TV and movie production venue.
The Caribana parade is the largest single-day parade and largest Caribbean festival in North America.
Toronto is North America's 5th-largest city after Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Toronto has North America's largest public transit system after New York City. GO Transit moves people in and out of the city, while two airports service the skies above. Toronto gets its water from Lake Ontario, 8th largest fresh-water lake in the world. Above ground or below ground, here are some facts about what's moving around in, on and under Toronto:
there are 10,033 different streets or, 5,365 km of road (streets, expressways, ramps and laneways) covering 27.4 per cent of the city's area
there are 20,371 street intersections in Toronto
the longest street is Lawrence Avenue East at 25 km; the shortest street is Sea Grassway at 9.72 m
there are 7060 km of sidewalks
535 bridges
there are 1773 traffic control signals and 158,890 streetlights
the 337 km of railway, rapid transit rails and hydro corridors make up 2.3 per cent of the city's area
34.8 per cent of the city's area is residential; 7.8 per cent industrial, 2.3 per cent commercial, 7.3 per cent institutional (schools, universities, churches and cemeteries)
8,000 hectares - or 18.1 per cent of Toronto's area - is parkland (ravines, valleys, woodlots, waterfront natural areas, parks and farmland)
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) took over nine existing fare systems and routes in 1920. Today over 2.2 million trips are made on the TTC daily. More facts
GO Transit is the interregional public transit for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Get the facts.
Toronto is served by VIA Rail, the network that provides all rail service throughout Canada. View some Via facts.
Historic Union Station is the hub of Toronto's transportation network. 96 per cent of all GO Train riders pass through its concourse. Learn more.
Pearson International Airport is the busiest in Canada, 4th busiest in North America. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is responsible for air traffic above the Toronto area.
North America's largest continuous underground pedestrian system PATH, connects 1200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers, five subway stations, Union Station, six major hotels and several entertainment centres under Toronto's financial core.
average annual demand of water per day is 1.24 million cubic metres. Enough to fill the Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome) every day, 365 days a year
18 water pumping stations, 10 water storage reservoirs and 4 filtration plants clean and hold that water
there are 10,002 km of sewers (sanitary, combined and storm) under the city
40,460 water hydrants
residential water usage accounts for 52 per cent of water used in Toronto; average household use: 280 cu. metres/year
toilets are the #1 indoor water users; they account for 28 per cent of the total indoor water use or use 100 litres of water/day
Toronto Police Services has 5,028 uniformed officers, including the chief. They patrol the city with 1,228 cars, 138 motorcycles, 19 boats and 25 horses. More police statistics Toronto Fire Services -->
Emergency Medical Services' 850 paramedics respond from 41 stations across Toronto. 65 Emergency Medical Dispatchers take 425,000 calls yearly (forwarded from 9-1-1)
Toronto has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure in terms of access lines with digital switching and advanced signaling technology. Toronto is also located in the largest flat rate calling area in the world, and has the most fibre optic cable of any city in North America.

David Pylyp I was very impressed with the fact that Toronto's Path System is the largest in the world for underground access and shopping.

Friday, December 21, 2007

GST takes growing bite out of housing market: study

The federal government is raking in some $2 billion a year in GST on new homes, driving up the cost of housing and making home ownership more difficult for many purchasers.That’s the conclusion of a new study being released today. It found that GST on the average-priced new home in Canada is now approaching $20,000 -- almost double what it was in 1991.

Even if the GST is reduced to 5% next year, homebuyers will still be paying about $16,500 on average.“That’s a huge amount of money for anyone to have to pay, and it is especially onerous for young families and first-time buyers,” says Phillip Rubinoff, chairman of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), which commissioned the research.

The study, conducted by Will Dunning Inc., explains that the growing tax-bite has come about because the federal government has not adjusted the rebate thresholds since the GST was introduced in 1991.When the tax was implemented, buyers of new homes were entitled to a rebate of 36% of the GST on homes costing up to $350,000. The rebate declined for houses priced between $350,000 and $450,000. For homes priced at $450,000 and above, a rebate was not available. But in 1991, only 4% of new homes fell into this upper category and were taxed at the full GST rate.Seventeen years later, house prices have increased considerably while the rebate thresholds have remained the same. This has put a greater percentage of homes over the upper threshold. Today, more than one quarter of all new homes are taxed at the full GST rate. The study notes that when the GST and the rebate structure for new homes were introduced in 1991, the federal government made a commitment that it would review these thresholds at least every two years and adjust them as necessary to ensure that they adequately reflected changes in economic conditions and housing markets.“That commitment has not been met,” the report states. It cautions that the effective GST rate on new homes will continue to rise in the future unless the rebate thresholds are adjusted upwards. RESCON is urging Ottawa to bring the rebates back into line by raising the thresholds by the full amount of the change in the average price of new homes since 1991, and thereafter by indexing the thresholds to the annual percentage increase in these prices. Based in Toronto, Will Dunning Inc. is an economic research firm specializing in housing market analysis.

December 18, 2007 -- On October 30, 2007, the Government of Canada announced in its Economic Statement that it proposes to reduce the GST rate by one percentage point from 6% to 5%, effective January 1, 2008. To facilitate the transition to the lower rate, the Economic Statement also proposes transitional rules for determining the GST/HST rates applicable to transactions that straddle the January 1, 2008 implementation date.This info sheet reflects the proposed amendments to the Excise Tax Act. Any commentary in this publication should not be taken as a statement by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that these amendments will be enacted in their current form. See Info Sheet [PDF*]

David Pylyp Will this encourage commuting or is this an exodus from Toronto (416 to the 905) with the new Land Transfer Tax? Are you aware of the Home Buyers Grant for Peel?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two New Records Set In First Two Weeks of December!

December 19, 2007 -- The Greater Toronto resale home market reached two new heights during the first half of this month Toronto Real Estate Board President Maureen O’Neill announced today.

“The 2,868 transactions recorded during the first two weeks of December have made this the first year that sales have exceeded 90,000,” said Ms. O’Neill. This activity also represents a 3 per cent increase over the 2,783 sales recorded during the first two weeks of December 2006.
This year’s record activity has been matched by record prices. “The average price is now $404,707, which is the first time it has exceeded $400,000,” said Ms. O’Neill.

The current average price has increased 3 per cent since last month and 19 per cent compared to the same time frame a year ago.

In the Danforth area (E03) transactions are up 24 per cent compared to mid-December 2006, as a result of strong semi-detached sales.

New Toronto transactions (W06) are up 43 per cent compared to the same timeframe a year ago, as a result of strong condominium apartment sales. Condominium apartment transactions Downtown (C01) also pushed overall sales in that area up 28 per cent compared to the first half of December 2006.

In North York (C14) detached home transactions led to an overall sales increase of 34 per cent in the area compared to mid-December 2006.
“The two new precedents set in the last two weeks is certainly positive news, said Ms. O’Neill. It’s shaping up to be a busy holiday season for homebuyers and sellers alike.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Are you on a fixed income and need structural repairs?

Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program — Homeowner RRAP

The Homeowner RRAP offers financial assistance to low-income households who own and occupy substandard housing to enable them to repair their dwellings to a minimum level of health and safety.

Who is eligible?

Homeowners may apply if:the value of their house is below a specified figure; and their household income is at or below established ceilings (limits) based on household size and area.

Properties must be lacking basic facilities or require major repair in one or more of five categories:

  • structural;
  • electrical;
  • plumbing;
  • heating;
  • fire safety.

Assistance may also be available to alleviate overcrowding.
Other criteria may be applicable.

What assistance is available?

Assistance is provided as a forgivable loan. The maximum loan amounts available vary according to the three geographic zones. Additional assistance may be available in areas defined as remote.

Maximum Total Loan
Zone 1:Southern areas of Canada
Zone 2:Northern areas of Canada
Zone 3:Far northern areas, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Labrador and northern Quebec
IMPORTANT: Work carried out before the loan is approved in writing is not eligible for funding under this program.

Other CMHC programs are available to assist eligible Canadians with repairs to substandard housing, accessibility modifications and adaptations for persons with disabilities and seniors.

In some areas of Canada, funding for these or similar programs is provided jointly by the Government of Canada, and the provincial or territorial government. In these areas, the provincial or territorial housing agency may be responsible for delivery of the programs. Program variations may also exist in these areas.
Contact Information

Friday, December 14, 2007

McGuinty government invests $3 billion to support a competitive Ontario

QUEEN'S PARK, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is taking immediate action to strengthen Ontario's economic advantage through a $3-billion packageof business tax measures and investments in skills, training andinfrastructure announced today.

This package moves forward on the government's five-point plan for economic competitiveness and will particularly help people and communities facing economic challenges. "The Ontario economy has proven resilient in an increasingly challenging global economic environment. However, certain key sectors, such as manufacturing, forestry, agriculture and tourism, face serious challenges,"said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. "We are helping these sectors adjust to a changed economic environment." Ontario's economy has been challenged by external factors, including aslowing U.S. economy, record-high oil prices and a stronger Canadian dollar. In response, the McGuinty government proposes a package of tax measures andinfrastructure investments to enhance competitiveness, strengthen Ontario'scommunities and create jobs.

In the 2007 Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review released today, the government is proposing $1.1 billion in tax reductions for business over three years that would support manufacturers and other sectors, including:
  • eliminating the Capital Tax on January 1, 2008 for corporations primarily engaged in manufacturing and resource activities;
  • providing a 21 per cent Capital Tax rate cut for all businesses retroactive to January 1, 2007, on the way to full elimination in 2010;
  • increasing the small business deduction threshold to $500,000 from $400,000 - retroactive to January 1, 2007. The package introduced today would also provide:
  • $1.4 billion in new funding to build strategic infrastructure;
  • almost $300 million over three years to expand the Land Transfer Tax Refund Program for First-time Homebuyers to include purchases of resale homes;
  • $150 million to strengthen competitiveness and help cattle, hog and horticulture farmers;
  • $50 million in strategic investments in innovation;
  • $40 million to provide skills development and rapid re-employment services for laid-off workers through the $1-billion Employment Ontario training system;
  • $30 million to expand the Ministry of Tourism's successful festivals and events promotion and marketing campaign in the domestic and international markets.

In spite of external factors, the Economic Outlook indicates Ontario'seconomy is on track to outperform the 2007 Ontario Budget forecast. Ontario's continued economic strength allows the government theflexibility to implement targeted measures, particularly for manufacturers,and to invest in our communities through improved infrastructure. Despite inheriting a structural deficit of $5.5 billion in 2003-04, theEconomic Outlook confirms that the Province's budget is balanced. If thereserve is not required, a $750 million surplus is projected for 2007-08. Despite weaker projections for economic growth in 2008 and 2009, Ontario is ontrack for continued balanced budgets. "The people of Ontario want us to be prudent fiscal managers and to pursuereal progress at the same time," said Duncan. "The people of Ontario are counting on us to move Ontario forward. That is what our plan is about."


News Release December 13, 2007 Government of Ontario Ministry of Finance

First-time buyers of resale homes to benefit from new tax measure
The McGuinty government is giving all first-time homebuyers a break on land transfer tax by proposing to expand the Land Transfer Tax Refund Program to include purchases of resale homes, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced today.
"Expanding this Land Transfer Tax refund is an important part of our government's commitment to helping Ontarians buying their first home," Duncan said.
Effective midnight tonight, first-time buyers of resale homes, as well as newly constructed homes, would be eligible for a refund from the provincial government of up to $2,000 of the Land Transfer Tax paid.
The expanded Land Transfer Tax Refund Program for First-time Homebuyers is part of a package of new tax initiatives announced in the 2007 Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review that would provide $1.4 billion in provincial tax relief for business and people over three years. The government is making strategic investments in people, communities and infrastructure to strengthen Ontario's economic advantage and help manufacturers and other sectors challenged by current economic conditions.
For more information please visit:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How will you select your new neighbourhood?

The intrinsic Charm of Bloor West Village or the draw of High Park and the Roncesvalles Village Community is strong with shopping, restaurants, the Revue Theatre and an abundance of coffee shops and delicatessens. If you would like to stroll a few minutes from your residence and find hidden gems within your own enclave there are many choices. Enjoy evening walks along what is becoming known as Humber Bay Shores, with the revitalized Boardwalk along the Lake Ontario Shoreline.

My favourite walking paths are along the Lakeshore at Parklawn Rd., where Condo developments surround the boardwalk with a background of condominiums, yet just across the water is the core of Downtown Toronto with it’s beckoning lights and magnificent office towers. Toronto Walking Tour Map of High Park and Boardwalk.

West Toronto has many neighbourhoods that would showcase elegant stately homes; Markland Wood, The Kingsway, Princess Rosethorn or more correctly Princess Anne Manor and Princess Gardens. These homes reflect the achievements that you have worked for with open spaces and parkland. James Gardens is a favorite for wedding photographers. A neighbourhood search can be made here of Etobicoke’s enclaves.

Moving to the west further we enter Mississauga, itself growing as a vibrant community of almost 1.0MM people and 6th largest in Canada. Mississauga hosts many Company’s head offices and thereby its employees. [It] is conveniently located on the north shore of Lake Ontario with access to Pearson International Airport, good vehicle access via the QEW, 401 & 403 series highways. Higher profile neighbourhoods include Mineola West, Watercolours in Lorne Park, Clarkson, Sherwood Forrest and its own millionaires row along Dalton Drive.

Feel free to create your own search to view Elegant Homes in West Toronto.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Next Step in Ontario's Growth

On June 16, 2006 The Ontario government released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, which establishes a comprehensive 25- year vision and sets the policies for the development of more complete and vibrant communities, with the right mix of housing, jobs and community services.

The growth plan requires the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, in consultation with affected municipalities, to verify and delineate a built boundary for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The built boundary will define the built-up areas in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and will serve as an important tool for implementing the Growth Plan's policies, as well as monitoring the Plan's effectiveness.

On November 20, 2007, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal released a Technical Paper titled Proposed Final Built Boundary for the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe 2006. The technical paper outlines the final methodology developed by the Ontario Growth Secretariate in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders to define a built boundary, as well as maps that depict the proposed final built boundary for each upper- and single- tier municipality in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The technical paper is available on the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal's website at .

To briefy summarise the opening statement, Ontario's population is expected to grow by approximately 4 million people in the next 30 years.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Vancouver Real Estate survey says:

Elegant Homes in West Toronto

December 2007.

Survey of Buyers and Sellers The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has just released a report of a survey it commissioned of 2006 home buyers and home sellers in the Greater Vancouver region. 1,000 people were polled, and there are some interesting results. Among the highlights:

• Just over half of respondents (54%) both bought and sold a property in 2006. 44% only bought and 2% only sold a property.

• Approximately one-third of buyers are first-time home owners.

• First-time home buyers are more inclined to be young (under 45 years of age), with children, and from Asian countries in comparison to repeat buyers.

• Approximately six-in-ten of buyers and sellers are female.

• The majority (over seven-in-ten) of buyers and sellers are married or living common-law.

• Buyers tend to be younger than sellers with just over half of buyers being less than 45 years of age whereas just over half of sellers are 35 to 54 years of age.

• The average household size of both groups is 2.7.

• Approximately one-in-ten work from home and an equal size group do so at least part of the time.

• A total of 7% of home buyers bought a new home. Among these, approximately six-in-ten purchased the home pre-completion.

• Just over one-quarter of homes were bought or sold in the City of Vancouver.

• The Tri-Cities, Richmond and Burnaby each accounted for approximately 10-16% of transactions.

• Approximately 20% of buyers and sellers, most between 45 to 64 years of age, own more than one home.

• An average of just over 50% of the purchase price was financed, this proportion being relatively consistent across the Greater Vancouver region.

• Proximity to such amenities as shops, grocery stores and medical facilities is the most common factor considered in selecting neighbourhoods, particularly among condo, townhouse or duplex buyers.

• Furthermore, approximately one-third of buyers report to have paid more for their home to be closer or within walking distance to such amenities as public transit, shops and schools.

• In terms of factors considered in the selection of their home, apart from price, the style of home, followed by the size (with the majority desiring a larger home) are the most common considerations. The location and condition of the home are other important considerations.

• A total of 94% of both buyers and sellers used a Realtor.

• MLS listings on the Internet were most commonly used to market homes for sale, followed at some distance by Realtor client lists, open-houses and print ads.

• The Internet, followed by a Realtor are the most useful sources of information about homes for sale. In fact, almost nine-in-ten rate the Internet as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ useful.

• Email at 61% is the most commonly preferred method of receiving information by buyers who used a Realtor. Telephone calls and in person are the next most preferred ways.

I think that we are very similar in Toronto to Vancouver in terms of demographics and groupings. I am not currently aware of a similar survey for Toronto.

Courtesy of The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver & enews

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Best November Ever, Best Year Ever!

Toronto December 05, 2007

A record breaking November saw 7,313 sales, driving year to date totals to 88,965 sales TREB President Maureen O'Neill announced today. " We have already exceeded the 84,145 sales recorded during 2005,which was our record year" said the President. " By the end of December we will have crossed the 90,000 sales mark for the very first time. As 2007 winds down, the GTA resale home market is looking as healthy as it has ever been."

Prices were almost unchanged in November, with the average at $393,747, down marginally from the $394,646 recorded in the previous month. It was up 11 per cent over the $355,727 recorded during November 2006. Meanwhile, days-on-market came in at 32, and the list-to-sale price ratio was 98 per cent.

Breaking down the total, 2,725 sales were reported in TREB’s 28 West districts and averaged $362,272; 1,529 sales were reported in the 14 Central districts and averaged $519,841; 1,354 sales were reported in the 23 North districts and averaged $417,967; and 1,705 sales were reported in TREB’s 21 East districts and averaged $311,738.

Abridged West Toronto Homes for Sales Report here

If you are considering the sale of your home and would like a Market Evaluation please click here; Are you an Owner? Etobicoke Condos, If you own a unit in these buildings and you would like to sell your condo, click here and get a free condo value analysis.