Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pricing Bubble in Toronto

Is Toronto's skyrocketing price per square foot unsustainable? Are buyers being kept out of the market? Will an interest rate shift (or doubling) eliminate you from the market? How will others fare?

Manhattan Condo Listings Snapshot
Size (ft²) $ per ft² Price
Studio 539 1,103 595,000
1 BR 791 1,079 849,000
2 BR 1,300 1,213 1,595,000
3 BR 1,950 1,459 2,965,000
4+ BR 3,173 1,711 5,675,000
Medians for listings from past 60 days from StreetEasy data. Excludes some extraordinary properties. No representation is made as to the accuracy....

How is the American market dealing with these issues? Has New York City's Value Crashed and Burned? Their Population numbers at 10.5 MM compared to Toronto at 2.5 MM plus our suburbs of Mississauga, Vaughan and Markham. URL to enlarged Image Its worth the Look, See if you can find a landmark in the before and after photo... Some cities in the United States are approaching 14% unemployment rates with an average exceeding 10% nationally.

But we Live in a different Country, With a different banking system, Without Mortgage Interest deductibility. Yes, Torontonians are still buying houses and condos and we are firmly in the grip of a Seller's Market. A market does not become or change over night. It is not a light switch that is flipped from one extreme to the other. It requires time, input, evolution, activity and transactions to develop a pattern that is discernible. The only pattern we can predict is a historic trend. What was before.

The extra factor never dealt with in all this rhetoric is Reproduction Cost New. This is a very simple concept from Accounting and Appraisal. If you built this today, How much would it cost? The construction workmen, the building materials, concrete to tile and flooring plus plumbing, pipe and fixtures, the architects, the planners, the City's portion of levy and assessments, Cranes, Advertising, insurance, financing and the never ending... disputed value of a building lot within the Toronto City limits. OH, and what amenities are included.

If we move (I Hope) to a more Balanced Market that would be ideal. Prices would stabilize and finally everyone would catch their breath. But How does that change the cost of Building it today. I recently came across an ad for a Luxury condo on the waterfront boasting 1031 square feet overlooking the water asking 369K Thats $360 per square foot! Whats the catch? Ahhhh, It's in Midland on Georgian Bay. But the construction cost would the same.

To reexamine the price per square foot debate, in the west end of the City, condos are indeed available at/ or around $400 per square foot. Downtown Toronto has seen $650 psf for units that have a view of the water and one parking. And I understand the prices for affluence are moving nearer to $1,000 per square foot, the higher and larger you go.

So we can debate, we can argue, we can wait and see or you can decide to debate and argue with me as we take this shopportunity for you to find the perfect place in Toronto west. The HST will be introduced in July that may very well shake things up. RE/MAX economic outlook 2010 makes a modest price and activity increase of 2%.

What do you think?

Monday, December 28, 2009

My message of hope for 2010

Relishing the family and friend time between Christmas and New Year's affords the opportunity to look back over the last year for a post game wrap up. Did I do well? What worked? What didn't? What new directions do I need to take? How can I be of better use and focus for my client base?

In this self reflective goal setting, future planning moment lets look at how to construct a future plan. First, Where are we. Second, Where are we going?

What does the NickleBack Video Have to do with Goal Setting? We need to read the lyrics.

Tell me what you want - You need to write and articulate your targets.
Tell me what you need - What tools, skills and assistance do you need to achieve your goals?
So how ya gonna do it? - What are you willing to do to achieve your goals? Have we actually mapped out a plan of where we wish to be; But most of all it needs to done with fun! 'Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars.

Now, How can we do our jobs with more creativity, fun and panache?

What goal would you like to share with me?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ARGH ~ There be Pirates

Morgan Stanley Just Walks Away From Five San Fran Office Towers

Cold Cost/Benefit analysis is the ethic we have chosen.

Steve Waldman at Interfluidity has a post on this issue:

"Businesses walk away from contracts all the time, whenever the benefits of doing so exceed the costs under the terms by which they are bound."

"Individuals must operate in a competitive economic environment dominated by entities constitutionally incapable of overriding self-interest to “do the right thing”. Virtuous individuals can expect no reciprocity from the firms with which they contract. They have two choices: live nobly and get screwed, or adopt the amoral norms of their counterparties. It has taken some time, but we are all coming around to the only supportable view. “It’s just business,” we shrug, even if we never wanted to be businessmen."

David Pylyp; If I buy a home / house /condo and realise some years down the road that I am underwater (over financed) on my Investment or purchase I can merely [GIVE BACK] that asset and walk away from any other financial consequences and personal obligation in Canada.

UMMM... No [They] liquidate all the assets of the borrower to repay all the debts starting with local and municipal taxes, condo management maintenance fees then interest arrears and they will chase you for the balance.

The US markets just paid a horrific price for bailouts and other "LEADER" is continuing in exactly the same vein. Did we miss a lesson?

This sets an incredible example for our children and future generations in that; at any point in time if they do not like the result of their choices, yes choices! they can walk away with impunity. Life without consequences. Is anyone responsible for anything?

What do yo think?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

[QUOTE]I think that the Canadian real estate market especially in the big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary is in a huge bubble due for severe correction anytime now.[/QUOTE]

A Bubble is when there is so much inventory available that No One, No Body, Any one - any longer wants to buy anything and the remaining inventory then needs to slash pricing to sell.

I am not in other cities I am in Toronto. Is a 300K unit affordable for a single person in DT Toronto? UMM Yes. yeah at $1300 pm purchase vs the rental of $1500. If there were so many for sale..... Then the owner's would rent them. If there were so many available..... then the rental price would decrease to meet the available rental pool.

To the [individual] who wrote there are 17,000 units are pending closing in 2010. (Possibly I am not aware how this number was sourced). Yeah! All with 20 % prepaid down payments, All Purchased in 2007, 2008 pricing, with committed financing and people living in them. (either as a rental or as end users) Occupancy dates are 4 - 6 months prior to the Registration of a Condominium Corporation (building).

In 2008 the Toronto Real Estate Board reported 94,000 sales for the entire year. Given that the condo market is almost 40% of all units sold under the $500 K mark, 17,000 units in a given year is not an impossible number to justify in a city (GTA) of almost 4.5 Million people.

The economy and real estate held their collective breath for a potential correction Nov '08 to March '09 and we decided, that we as Canadians, are ok.

People who make blanket statements like this have a woeful misconception of the buying a condo unit process from a builder. Cranes on Site mean the buildings are SOLD. Permit costs have been paid based on the total number of units proposed and Lot Levies committed and assessed.

There is currently an inventory shortage and there are people lined up, coming to large urban centers in Canada. Why? Employment. We have continued immigration for jobs and education. We need more immigration in Canada. We want more immigration and scholars. Canada's banking system was lauded as a sample for the world at the G7 summit. Single women are now a market force buying on their own. Canada is a safe haven for investment dollars. To those that are always yelling the loudest about 5% buyers ending all the loans Canada, You really need to read this; Average Canadians are 1/3 mortgage free and that the average mortgage is at 50% of the property value. Pick one you like.

Everyone has their own opinion and you are all right.

Buyers Market? Seller Market? Balanced Market? Where are we?

If you call or email we can discuss absorption rates (How quickly a price range or type of home/condo is being bought up) We can look at Historic Listing Inventory for the last 18 months. OR the best? READ a copy of the Market Watch Report from the Toronto Real estate Board published monthly. Lets Talk average Mortgage for Canadians.

I am not a proponent of Bubble. I am not screaming Run and Buy before prices skyrocket, I am an advocate of buy what you can afford as a hedge against inflation. You need to live somewhere.

You cannot move into your Tax Free Savings Account!

You decide. but get informed intelligent answers to your questions. What are your FAQ's Add them here and I will try to answer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Employment and Building Coup in Etobicoke

Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios Announces New Film Studio Development

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/15/09 -- Cinespace Film Studios ("Cinespace"), Toronto's 21-year film studio veteran, has announced the acquisition of a 30-plus acre property for the development of their next and most ambitious film studio complex.

"Today we finalized the purchase of 777 Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke, and we are looking forward to redeveloping this site into yet another bustling hub of creative economic activity," announced Steve Mirkopoulos, President of Cinespace.

"With the Province's recently enhanced tax credit, Ontario is now one of the most competitive and stable film jurisdictions globally, so the timing of this project for both our company and our industry could not be better. We are able to offer both domestic and international film and television producers exciting new space options in the form of production office suites right away, and film studio spaces in early 2010.", said Mirkopoulos.

The planned multi-acre complex will feature multiple studios with connecting production office suites, ample support space and abundant parking areas. The project will be a natural fit with this area of Etobicoke - an already burgeoning film district with lighting and equipment supplier William F. White, post-production house Deluxe Laboratories and studio facility Dufferin Gate only minutes away. Additionally, the site is an approximate mid-way point to Pearson Airport from downtown Toronto, and an efficient starting point to popular filming locations in Hamilton.

Mirkopoulos added, "We have a well-established track record of developing film production facilities in Toronto, and this will be our most ambitious project yet. We look forward to meeting our new Etobicoke business neighbours, and watching our film industry clients provide them with the same economic spillover benefits that east-end Toronto businesses have enjoyed for well over 20 years. This will be a win-win for our industry and for this area of Etobicoke."

About Cinespace Film Studios: Cinespace is Toronto's leading provider of film studio space, having developed over 1,000,000 square feet of film production space, and this acquisition will make Cinespace the largest film studio in Canada. Cinespace is currently home to feature film projects "Resident Evil: Afterlife" and "Saw 7", both of which are shooting in stereoscopic 3D, as well as successful television series "Flashpoint", "Overruled!" and "Warehouse 13".

David Pylyp Let's Give this a big thumbs up! New Employment, construction, Many highly skilled and trained jobs. reuse of grey lands, within the city center, near existing transportation and transit corridors.

Where was the fanfare?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home Renovation Tax Credit Are you eligible?

As part of the Government of Canada's economic action plan, Canadian home owners will be able to claim a home renovation tax credit ("HRTC") for a portion of the costs associated with renovations to their freehold homes, condominium units and the common elements of condominium corporations.

By way of background, the program provides a 15% non-refundable income tax credit on eligible expenses incurred to renovate eligible dwellings. An expense is eligible if it is incurred in relation to a renovation or alteration of an "eligible dwelling".

Examples of eligible expenses include, among others:

  • renovating a kitchen, bathroom, or basement;
  • new windows, doors, or flooring;
  • building an addition, garage, deck, shed, or fence;
  • a new furnace, woodstove, fireplace, water softener, or water heater;
  • a new driveway or resurfacing a driveway, re-shingling a roof or painting of a house;
  • landscaping – new sod, perennial shrubs and flowers, trees, etc.;
  • swimming pools (permanent – in-ground and above-ground);
  • fixtures – blinds, shades, shutters, awnings, lights, fans, etc.; and,
  • associated costs such as permits, professional services, equipment rentals, and incidental expenses

Examples of ineligible expenses include, among others:

  • furniture, appliances, tools, and audio and visual electronics;
  • routine repairs, maintenance and cleaning (e.g., furnace cleaning, snow removal, lawn care, pool cleaning, house cleaning); and,
  • financing costs.

An "eligible dwelling" must be occupied as a principal residence by the owner, or a family member of the owner, between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010. Further, the work performed or goods acquired must be performed or acquired, as the case may be, after January 27, 2009, but before February 1, 2010.

The credit applies to expenditures in excess of $1,000.00, but not more than $10,000.00. Accordingly, the maximum credit available is $1,350.00 ($9,000.00 x 15%).

With respect to common element renovations, the cost of all qualifying common element renovations is multiplied by a unit owner's percentage interest in the common elements. This product, to a maximum of $9,000.00, is then multiplied by 15% to ascertain the credit a unit owner is entitled to claim. On the administrative side, boards and property managers will soon have to create a detailed list outlining the costs incurred by the condominium corporation in relation to all qualifying common element renovations. Further, as with renovations to freehold homes and condominium units, all required supporting documentation outlined on the Canada Revenue Agency's website must be retained by the condominium corporation. This list and supporting documentation, together with schedule "D" to the condominium corporation's declaration, should be delivered to unit owners in February or March of 2010. The key is to provide unit owners with the required information after February 1, 2010, so all qualifying expenditures are included, but well in advance of the April 30, 2010 income tax filing deadline.

In early February, boards should consider consulting an auditor to review the list of costs and supporting documentation to ensure compliance with the requirements of the HRTC program. In cases where it is not clear whether a particular renovation qualifies for HRTC, boards may wish to consult legal counsel for an opinion.

For further information on the HRTC program, please visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s website at

John Moher is a Solicitor with Fine and Deo Condominium Law Specialists in Vaughan Ontario. John can be reached at 905 760 1800

Condo Purchase Home Closing Costs

I recently met with David Pylyp of RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc. to discuss the problem of surprise closing adjustments and the need for a cap to be negotiated at the beginning of the purchase process. I learned that Mr. Pylyp is one of the select VIP Brokers privy to a cap on the closing adjustments for purchasers of a unit in the newest phase of the trendy California Condos project by Camrost-Felcorp located in Etobicoke’s master-planned Mystic Pointe community. By negotiating such a cap, Mr. Pylyp will inevitably save his clients thousands of dollars and a series of painful headaches in the days leading up to final closing.

Purchasers of new condominium units and freehold homes are consistently shocked when I tell them that they have to pay the developer a large some of money on closing for closing adjustments. It is all too often the case that this is the first time purchasers have heard anything about closing adjustments. For example, let’s assume you signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the purchase of a beautiful two bedroom condominium unit three years ago. A letter is sent to you by the developer stating that final closing will take place in ten days. Excited about the prospect of finally taking title to the unit you have been occupying for several months now, you call your lawyer to arrange a meeting to sign closing and mortgage documents. The day before the meeting, you receive an email from your lawyer attaching a “funds summary” and a “statement of adjustments”. The first thing you look at is the statement of adjustments. All sorts of expensive fees appear on this mystical document, from the TARION enrolment fee to massive development and education levies. The adjustments total over $10,000.00 and you temporarily lose your mind. You then squeamishly look at the funds summary. Your lawyer is actually asking you to bring a certified cheque for $15,000.00 with you to the meeting. This can’t be right you tell yourself and everyone and anyone who will listen. You call your lawyer in a panic and demand an explanation. Unfortunately, the lawyer has an explanation: the developer is entitled to charge a variety of adjustments on closing because of some fine print buried in your agreement of purchase and sale, and, in your case these adjustments total $10,000.00. The other $5,000.00 has to do with land transfer tax and lawyer’s fees and disbursements. The bottom line is that your options are limited to coming up with the money to close or you risk being sued by the builder for failing to close the transaction.

You can easily avoid this type of unwelcome surprise by negotiating a cap on closing adjustments before you enter into an agreement of purchase and sale. Not surprisingly, your bargaining position is nil after you have signed the agreement of purchase and sale. Your lawyer or real estate agent may be able to assist in negotiating a cap on adjustments. In my experience, even a relatively high cap is better than no cap at all as any cap gives the purchaser a semblance of certainty as to the money it will take to close the transaction. In my experience, it is rare to see a builder willing to completely waive adjustments on final closing. Hopefully, real estate agents and builders will take a cue from Mr. Pylyp and Camrost-Felcorp by working together to offer a cap on closing adjustments to give purchasers a sense of financial certainty on final closing.

John Moher is a Solicitor with Fine and Deo Condominium Law Specialists in Vaughan Ontario. John can be reached at 905 760 1800

Monday, December 14, 2009

Positioning with the New Medium the Web

Real Estate has always been a knowing people and telling people business. Actually as someone wisely told me 20 years ago, we are in the people's needs filling business. The home purchase and move is merely a furtherance of helping you achieve that goal.

Lets add to that mix Interruption Marketing; I print Flyers, I take out newpaper ADs, I stuff your door with endless I am the specialist in your neighbourhood, I give you magnets and calendars, I dominate your call blocker and display with things that interrupt your time and take your attention. I door knock your house at dinner time interrupting the family routine.

Business models have been built this way for ages. Make a product, Advertise the product, sell the product, make a profit, Make more product and the cycle repeats itself. That is a traditional sales manufacturing selling model. Who could have foreseen that automakers (and others) in Canada would be facing the financial difficulties with their manufacturing business.

So ..Whats happening?

Business has changed to be Permission based Marketing. With the advent of Social Media; MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, websites and now Vlogs we are able to connect as never before. One person will use your services and recommend you to another, they will tell their friends and so on, and so on. Google will find quality website content and tell all those seeking what you have. One satisfied customer can post their story online and engage a hundred others. One disgruntled patron can post SPAM that gets traction and sticks. Customer Service and Going that extra mile is more important than ever. WEB 3.0 has enabled a new generation now able to connect on their own.

Seth Godin is an Internet Evangelist that I have followed for years to embrace these new and emerging technologies. His writings are thought provoking and stimulating. How will you engage a new generation of customers?

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

Here's the deal: it's free. Download it here. Or from any of the many sitesaround the web that are posting it with insightful commentary. Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. I think it might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or online profile as well. It's a good exercise. Can we get this in the hands of 5 million people? You can find an easy to use version onScribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.

Pass the Ebook along. There are marvelous concepts here. The newest lesson for me. Sharing. I will make a commitment to share the [HOW] of what I am doing online with more people. [contact me directly and lets book an appointment] Radio, TV and Newspaper, traditional media are not being followed. When the Yellow pages arrived on your doorstep this season, did you unwrap and read the newest ads with glee? I open my email on a daily basis with new client prospect inquiries for homes in the GTA. As a realtor, I am pleased with an extra 3-5 prospects per week. Now they need to be qualified.

Will I sell them today? No, Some need credit curing and adjustments, some need refinance, some need to sell their out of town property, obtain employment in [Canada] Toronto, finish out their Mat Leave. Will you sell a home to everyone you meet at an Open House? I am pleased you have contacted me and I will try to be the best information conduit that I can. Maybe your issue is credit repair or How to deal with Elderly parents?

In a previous post, titled I am Not a Lead it talks directly about connecting with people on line. I welcome your inquiries and questions and will endeavor to post more of the FAQ's online in the Blogs. If you need a little humour I did a cameo for people at work who do not have sound and still "surf" online for houses for sale west Toronto. As ever if you are moving to Toronto, or within the Toronto /Mississauga boundaries I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My AGING Mom and Dad

When will you Talk with Mom and Dad about Downsizing.

We have all seen the television commercial that coined the phrase "Help, Help I've fallen and can't get up and the elderly woman reaching for a lifeline necklace to alert an ambulance." The reality is that we have always deferred our decisions to the greater wisdom that our parents possessed.

There will come a time or it is already here that requires you to deal with some direct and vital issues.

You need to ask the serious questions before...
  • Their mobility and memory has been impeded.
  • There has been a catostrophic event - slip or fall
  • There a medical emergency - Heart attack or Stroke

In my personal life, I was recruited to serve my Father, for a period of five years. The episode began begrudgingly but in hindsight provided the best memories of my Dad and happier moments. I did not expect to alter my perspective of asking his advice to changing his diapers within a two year span. Yet the financial realities of elder care and the direct cost of nursing homes or assisted living centers needs us all to reevaluate how we will deal with these issues.

Research the Population Numbers

By 2011, more than 1.3 million Canadians will be over the age of 80. Boomers and their aging parents need to be talking to a financial advisor or planner about their options to ensure financial security in times of death, disease and disability.

By 2021 it is expected that the senior population in Canada will be 6.7 million and 9.2 million in 2041, or nearly one in four Canadians. You need to be talking to your parents now. As a Boomer just reaching -- or about to reach -- retirement, you are probably seeing your children out the door on their way to begin their lives but at the same time you may be now, or in the future, responsible for new dependants -- your parents. Medical and nutritional advances mean that the fathers of boomers can expect to live to 90, while their mothers can expect to live to 95. That means there is every chance Boomers will spend more time looking after their parents than their parents did raising them. Source FORUM, May 2008, Aging Opportunity

So, Who can Help Guide you?

There are some really great resources out there. I was in contact with Dr. James Watzke, a gerontologist and Christine Flegal, a gerontologist in the Living Laboratory at the B.C. Institute of Technology who have assembled a Guide both for you as the aging Boomer but for you to initiate the conversations with Mom and Dad while you are home over the holidays.

BCIT's Mobility Now You're Going Places Program, Christine Flegal/BCIT Funding for the BCIT Mobility project was provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada, BCIT, in collaboration with Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

The Region of Peel has taken a different step in that they are outlining and explaining the different options that are available to you locally; from adding a room within your own home,

A Guide to Housing Options is available through my office or can be downloaded at

When you are next home for a visit; take a look around. You may need to nail down a few carpets that could make them trip, discuss a more suitable walker or cane. Ask where the Wills and Power of Attorney Documents are kept and if they are up to date.

Crisis management does not permit forward thinking.

Call me for a personal home visit and discussion. How can I help you?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking to Purchase Private from Owner

As a real estate agent in the west end of the city I am always looking for how people are connecting in the internet with new technology and ways to communicate. I recently found this on Craigslist dot com site. The category was Housing Wanted /Needed.

I re read the ad a few times and had a few questions;

Looking to Purchase Condo in Michael Power Towers in Toronto west Etobicoke (Kipling, Dundas /Bloor)

Looking to buy 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom condo in the Michael Power Place (11,15, 17, 7 , 9 and 5 Michael Power only) with parking ...If you interested in selling your condo in a PRIVATE sale then please respond as soon as possible looking to close b/w December/09 - February/10.
[I'm not looking for a real estate agent to transact....]
Thank you.

So someone wants to buy Private. Why? The bank may not finance you if you are not conducting an at arms length transaction. No MLS data exists to; verify the ownership of the participants to the sale, or to establish market value. Yeah, Yeah He's an agent they all say that.

Here's the real one; We are firmly in the grip of a Seller's market with an incredible never before seen inventory shortage. Does this person want to give you the most for the condo? Does this person have your best interest in mind? or are they looking for a deal for themselves?

So many sellers become preoccupied with the process rather than the outcome. Let me look after the details, You just decide where we are going. Let's have a look at the specials I have right now in these Etobicoke Communities.

The question should be what does a Realtor do to market your property?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Debt control -- the gift that keeps on giving

Especially at this time of year, it’s easy to get in over your head and end up handling more debt than you’re comfortable with – and that not only adds stress to your life, it can also cause severe injury to your long-term financial health. So, in the spirit of the season, here is the gift of a few short- and long-term strategies to help you make better use of your money.
Card control Don’t get caught in the trap of buying more than you can afford just because you have a high credit card limit or a line of credit. If you spend more than you are able to pay off each month, you will be charged interest – often at very high rates of 20 per cent or more – on the balance. So those gifts will end up costing you a lot more than you thought – and for much longer than you expected.
On the other hand, if you do intend to pay off your credit card balance each month, credit card reward points can be, well, quite rewarding. They do add up and you can use them to purchase gifts instead of ramping up your credit spending.
Impulse control It really is the thought that counts – so don’t feel compelled to buy every expensive gift you see. And, for next year, consider planning ahead by setting aside a little money each month in a savings account dedicated to Christmas gifts or purchasing gifts throughout the year.
Cash flow control Purchase gifts out of your cash flow – and if your cash flow is tight, look for cost-effective ways of restructuring your debt to free up more dollars on a regular basis.
Life control Think about your future and establish a realistic strategy for saving toward your most important life goals.
Good starting points:
Reduce ‘bad debt’ (credit cards) first and explore debt consolidation and a monthly debt reduction plan.
Establish an emergency reserve perhaps in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).
Protect your income and family with life, critical illness, and disability insurance.
Use Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to fund your children’s education.
Add to your retirement fund with investments that are Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) eligible and you can even pay off some of your debt or add to your savings with the tax refunds that result from your registered investments.
Whether your goal is debt control or saving more, your professional advisor has the tools and expertise you need to help you achieve financial security.

Veronica Thompson
Mortgage Agent  Mortgage Alliance  Accumetrix  (lic # 12036)

416 410 1150

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Women prefer real estate

Women Prefer Real Estate More Than Men As Investment

A study, Barclays Wealth Insights: Prospects for Real Estate, showed that wealthy investors have a renewed appetite for real estate. When comes to real estate, a significantly greater proportion of women than men prefer investing in real estate.

The survey of more than 2,000 high net worth individuals, with assets ranging from $800,000 to in excess of $48 million. Respondents are based around the globe, with the highest numbers of respondents in the United States, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Monaco. The survey took place between August and September 2009.

Women Favor Real Estate

According to the study, a greater percentage of women than men are keen on investing in real estate. When it comes to real estate, nearly half - 49% - the women surveyed say real estate is a less risky investment than stocks, whereas only 37% of men agree with that view.

Similarly, while 44% of women find buying real estate more enjoyable than investing in other asset classes, just 28% of men feel the same way.

Women also tend to favor investing directly in bricks and mortar more than men. While 34% of men are likely to invest in real estate indirectly through a fund, REIT or liquid investment in real estate, only 14% of women would prefer to go down that route.

David Pylyp This seems to be more accurate every year. I have seen a larger population of educated, employed single women that are purchasing early in their careers, realizing that real estate purchases add equity to their investment and retirement portfolio.

Not only do you have a place to live but you are also adding to a nest egg for later in life. Most popular choices seem to be focused on access to transit. The Michael Power complex is very popular as is the California Condo in Mystic Pointe.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

TTC Metro Pass is Now included

Without debate the Toronto City Council has decided that Metro passes must be included for each new unit in a condo development. The policy states the cost of the metropasses cannot be passed on to the condo buyer.

How does this help future resales when people have a car and need to decide if they will or will not use the TTC?

How does this Not become a forced annual tax on each unit to buy the TTC metro pass at $1400

Will we get a discount if we return the Metro Pass?

If I Give up my car I save the $60 living in Toronto Extra Tax If I pay the $1400 tax right?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Toronto Real Estate Astounds Everyone!

December 3, 2009 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,446 sales in November – slightly more than double the November 2008 result when GTA home sales had dipped markedly due to the economic downturn. Year-to-date sales were up 14 per cent compared to the first 11 months of 2008.

“This year in the GTA home sales will be in line with the healthy levels experienced between 2004 and 2006,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “Increased resale home transactions in the Toronto area and country-wide played a key role in pushing the Canadian economy out of recession in the third quarter.”

The average price for November transactions was up 14 per cent year-over-year to $418,460. The average price year-to-date was up four per cent to $394,464.

“Very strong annual growth rates for sales and average price should be expected through the first quarter of 2010, because we will be comparing the current recovery to the housing market decline experienced last winter,” according to Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As we move into the spring, growth rates will move to more sustainable levels.”

We expected November would be near 8,000 sales. November 2009 ended up being the highest November in history for number of sales reported to TREB with 7,435 sales.

The Sellers Market continues with inventory levels are continuing to fall. (Fewer Homes for Sale) As of November 30th there were only 13,344 homes for sale. To put things into perspective, compared to 2007 which was a “hot” market, we had slightly more sales this November but currently there are 27% fewer homes for sale vs. November 2007 (18,309). Lets forget last years gutt renching price ride. Those who jumped while others held their breath made 20%.

Look again at the graph above. Seasonally adjusted hmes for sale really drop off in December. The next few weeks are when many sellers traditionally put off plans to list their homes until after the holidays. There is still a strong pent-up supply of HOT buyers right now and in many cases, they are competing over a supply of homes that is dropping everyday. Right now is probably the best time possible for anyone to list their home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Banned Advertiser and Naughty words

This caught my eye recently about a Realtor's plight in being banned from a number of local publications and boards for his "creative and descriptive" use of the English language.

Jules Bending of the Real Ralph Bending, an estate agent in Glastonbury, has been banned from advertising in a local paper and taken down from property websites Rightmove and for an unconventional approach to marketing properties. Here are some examples of his style:

• "Lease available for what can only be described as a prime piece of retail crumpet."

• "Three bedroom former school house with everything except the randy old teacher and fag butts down the loo."

• "Cheap but not particularly cheerful ground floor apartment."

• "Characterful as a vegetarian's fart, this Victorian beauty hums to the rhythm of a well soaked mung bean."

It may not be to everyone's taste and there's a touch of innuendo, but how offensive is it? It's not obscene, racist or classist; it doesn't attack people with disabilities. And none of it contravenes the Property Misdescriptions Act – claiming a tenant could "stare out of the window at Morrisons superstore in sheer delight" is a matter of fact. Well, maybe not the delight part.

Rightmove says Bending's listings on its site were removed after "public complaints", although it's a bit confused over the nature and number of them, as well as what sort of appeal Bending was offered against the decision. Of course, these "members of the public" could be rival estate agents. Whoever they are, should they have the right to ban slightly colourful language in a world where bland is the norm?

Whether they are offensive or not is not for me to decide. They have their own council and standards. The point that strikes me is that a REALTOR's purpose is to fill you housing need. This does include getting your property noticed. Has this realtor been effective? Absolutely. Impact advertising does get noticed on Google. You can search for yourselves or click here.

Its not the common place event that gets the noticed; Remember Talk is cheap.

If you would like some help getting noticed Give me a call.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Domestic Contract Prenup? or Receipe for Break Up?

Not just for the rich and famous

The engagement party has come and gone, the wedding date is looming and your head is full of thoughts about flowers, vows and first dances. This is already a stressful period and would be the worst time to deal with a complicated prenuptial agreement, right?

Or perhaps you’ve been living with your partner for a few years now. Your relationship is becoming serious and you’ve discussed a future together. Despite being committed to one another, you don’t believe that marriage is your next step, which means a marriage contract wouldn’t apply to you, right?

Maybe you were recently married. In the excitement of the wedding planning and honeymoon, you and your spouse didn’t get around to meeting with lawyers to write up a prenuptial agreement. And now that the wedding is over, it’s too late to sign anything, right?

Wrong. In the three circumstances listed above, a domestic contract of some type may not only be appropriate, it might also be smart financial planning. In fact, 37.9% of new Canadian marriages will end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversary*; a marriage contract is simply like taking out an insurance policy in case a marriage ends.

Often known as prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, or marital agreements, domestic contracts are written because one or both partners do not want the standard rules concerning family property, the family home, spousal support, and pension rights to apply to them. Instead they establish a contract that specifies what each partner is entitled to in the event of a breakdown in the relationship and/or the death of one of the parties.

In what circumstances should a domestic contract be considered? A domestic contract is often recommended for a person who owns a business or has a large net worth they wish to protect that would otherwise be shareable, by statutory rules, at the time of separation. Nowadays though, more people are entering into these agreements for other reasons. Whether it’s to protect future earnings or an expected inheritance, domestic contracts are not just for celebrities anymore.

At what point in a relationship can you enter into a domestic contract? The most commonly mentioned domestic contract is a prenuptial agreement which, by definition, is signed well in advance of the wedding day by a couple planning to become legally married. There are other domestic contracts though, such as cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts that are applicable for common-law couples and in some instances, couples who are already married.

When is a domestic contract valid? To be enforceable, domestic contracts should be in writing, signed by both parties, and witnessed. Each of the parties should have received independent legal advice. As well, each party must provide complete financial disclosure of assets and income.

What about common-law rights? The rights of common-law partners who do not have a written domestic contract vary quite dramatically across the country. In the majority of provinces common-law partners don’t have any right to a division of family property, and even where they do, it is never too late to enter into an agreement – the parties can generally agree to release their family property rights. To find out about the rules that apply where you live, it’s best to consult with a lawyer in your home province.

What do I do if I want a domestic contract? To reduce legal costs, complete a full inventory of individual assets, income and financial obligations including debt, prior to consulting with a lawyer. Your first step should be to call us to get a complete picture of your financial plan.

*Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Vital Statistics, Divorce Database and Marriage Database

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA, Consultant - Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

200 - 24 Queen Street East, Brampton, Ontario L6V 1A3 Wealth Management & Financial Planning

Phone: (905) 450-2891 X529 Toll Free: 1 (866) 799-2223 x529 Cell (416) 731-3660 Fax: (905) 450-9747