Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Biggest Economic Downturn since the Great Depression

"The forecast has been raised substantially," Dunning says. "For the past three months, resale activity has been much stronger than I had been anticipating."

A $378,700 price is spitting distance of the $379,347 average price recorded at the end of 2008. Dunning says this year's average price could surpass last year's.

Under that scenario, prices would have increased every year since 1996 – a total of 13 straight years.

Not bad, considering that consumers have been repeatedly told this is the biggest economic downturn in North America since the Great Depression.

read the entire source Star article

The Toronto real estate market is being driven by First Time Buyers and by a lack of affordable inventory (homes for sale) geared to first time buyers.

IMHO If there is a doubling of the current interest rates from the below or near 4% range for five year fixed money; there will be two major effects, Shoppers will be eliminated from the Buyer pool and there will be a softening in prices as demand lessens.

We are in the Firm grip of a Seller's Market and no one wants to discuss the lack of inventory.

What do you think will happen next year?

Selling your house for the first Time

So many people see real estate as easy as any monkey filling out a real estate form; pounding a sign in your front lawn and then collecting that huge real estate commission.

Lets touch on a few of these myths.

  • I need to prepare for your listing appointment by being armed with neighbourhood data sold, statistical information, inspected a number of homes in your neighbourhood (Over the last several months) How many homes have sold in your "pocket" recently.
  • Pull your history and Ownership details from Realnet and the Polaris system.
  • The Listing Presentation itself and all your questions.
  • Create your marketing plan and future events calender.
  • Implement the marketing plan, load listing details, take photo's, add descriptions, distribute your information to websites, advertise on line, create your web page, shoot your video, upload.
  • Screen and Interview Buyers from sign calls by price, timing and affordability.
  • Show the property while you are at work or out according to the buyers schedule.
  • Obtain and motivate an offer, presenting the offer and negotiating that offer with you.
  • Explaining the sign back, counter offer, re offer, options available to you.
  • Acknowledge agreement into a formal contract.
  • Deal with all the conditions in the contract being sale of property, condition to finance or inspect.
  • Handle and attend all inspections on site.
  • Usher you to the lawyers office to direct your lawyer as required.
  • Transaction management to closing.
  • Final Inspections prior to closing to insure repairs or promises made are concluded.


On an average real estate transaction it is not unusual to spend 100 hours on your behalf, but many details seem to be hidden from public view. The commission cheque is paid to the Real Estate Broker who maintains Trust Accounts, an accounting department, Full time live answered telephone reception seven days a week, to get your showing appointment booked, and the maintenance of my office in a professional business environment.

I cannot express my HORROR recently when I found a broker using a cell phone as the office contact phone number and their "mailbox" was full. If you were their client and wanted your agent to call or book a showing, What would you say?

I look forward to answering your questions in person and remind you that during the month of September I am holding a listing special. You will need to call for details.

Tell me your Real estate Horror Story and I will tell you mine

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yes! -- tax efficient investing still matters

It’s easy to be short-sighted in these uncertain economic times. Each day, you scan the business section of your newspaper or look online for concrete signs that the recession is receding. And even though the market now seems to be having more good days than bad, it still has some climbing to do. Which means that investment returns and interest rates continue to lag – and that makes it too easy to take a narrow focus on the short term and lose sight of your overall financial objectives.

It’s important to hold fast to the fundamental rules for a successful financial plan because they are proven principles for weathering any economic storm. Among the most important are:

  • Smooth out market cycles by staying invested for the long term.
  • Diversify your investments using effective asset allocation techniques.
  • Select investments that match your appetite for risk and take maximum advantage of the ‘miracle of compounding’.
  • And practice tax-efficient investing – an investing rule that assumes even more importance when returns and interest rates are low.

That’s why you should …

Make the most of your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Your RRSP is an exceptional tax-saving, nest-egg building investment – and you’ll get a maximum tax reduction by making your maximum RRSP contribution each year. Fill up unused past contribution room for even bigger tax savings this year and a much larger nest-egg over time.

Reduce taxes generated by your non-registered investments by selecting investments that benefit from lower tax rates – for example, investments that generate capital gains or dividends eligible for the enhanced dividend tax credit.

Make an annual $5,000 contribution to a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Your contribution isn’t tax deductible but money and interest inside a TFSA is tax-free and so are withdrawals, which can be made at any time for any purpose.

Make the most of your spouse. Look into income-splitting with your spouse, having the higher-earning spouse contribute to a spousal RRSP, and/or having the spouse with a higher marginal tax rate make a prescribed rate loan to the other spouse in a lower tax bracket. When used correctly these ‘spousal options’ can effectively reduce a family’s taxes.

There may be other tax-reducing strategies that will work for you. A truly effective tax plan must be an integral part of your overall financial plan, investment program and life goals. Your professional advisor can help you put it all together in the best possible way for your unique situation.


John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA,
Consultant - Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
(905) 450-2891 (866) 799-2223 Direct (416) 731-3660


Women make faster home Buying Decisions

OTTAWA — Men and women setting out to buy a house together should know that they will come to a decision to purchase from different angles, according to an international real estate firm, which has uncovered some gender-based differences — as well as some common ground — in their approach to buying.

Among the things the survey commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC showed, women are quicker to make up their minds about whether they want a home they view.

When asked how long it took to decide that their home was "right" for them, 70 per cent of women said it happened the same day they first walked into it. With men, 62 per cent answered this way.

On the other hand, 32 per cent of men said they needed two or more visits to a home before deciding to buy it, compared to 23 per cent of women.

On the issue of location, 55 per cent of women said it was more important that their home be close to extended family than to work, compared to 37 per cent of men.

On the issue of security, 64 per cent of women said concerns about the home's safety would stop them from buying "the home of their dreams," compared to 51 per cent of men.

Asked what they would do with an extra room, both men and women had the same top-three choices for how they would use it: as a bedroom, an office or den.

The survey was conducted for Coldwell Banker by International Communications Research by phone of more than 1,000 U.S. residents in May. The results are considered accurate within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Will the men Rally?

Last weekends open house absolutely enforces the stereo types, women are looking at kitchens, bathrooms then the master bedroom, The husband checking out the basement and garage. Are we that predictable?

Your comments and observations are welcomed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

LetsTalk about Greening our Lives

The City of Toronto is offering money to green our roofs.

I would prefer money to reflect the encouragement to electric car our homes and neighbourhoods.



Drive home from work and plug it in Plug it in. Chevy has one Honda has one Lets GO!

BUT Whataboutthe people living in condo's? Solarregeneration for the whole building? Recharging my carfor free? Absolutely. Would you pay an extra $15,000 per unit (averaging $300K) to be hydro self sufficient?

Imagine a car in your driveway that did not consume gasat$50 per week or a hard start in the winter at $300 per mechanic visit. This is possible in our lifetime.

Add your comments

Monday, August 17, 2009

Will you take advantage of this Shopportunity?

To know where you want to go you must understand where you are, so that you can plan your journey. If there is no planning we are often dissatisfied with the results. In Real Estate that means you will be unhappy with what you bought, because you did not answer the basic questions. Where do you want to live and why?

Lets recap: The Sky has Fallen, The Sky is Falling, The Bubble will Burst, The Bubble has burst, The recession is coming, the recession is over. The World will end with the Mayan Calendar on December 12, 2012. The problem with all of these predictions is just that. They are predictions.

Lets look at actual facts.

Inventory; Available Today (mid August 2009) between $220,000 and $280,000 in Downtown Toronto in MLS Districts C01 or C08 that own/ have one parking; 15

Lets strike out the ones that are conditionally sold, in multiple offer situations, already under contract, preconstruction, or not ready to occupy, we are reduced to 3.

In a City the size of Toronto, in the downtown core there are currently 3. What is the population of Downtown Toronto? Inventory this low can only result in price increases as people compete to make this purchase, in deference to naysayers, people still need a place to live.

So in an effort to enhance your appeal to the Seller; we need to have you prequalified for a mortgage, so that we can bid with confidence (that will close), we need to understand Buyers Agency and who is working for whom in a real estate transaction. All this things need planning and study ahead of time, without the speed and pressure of an offer. We need to arrange for a Lawyer or a Home Inspector if you desire or should you have questions.

We have read a sample Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a resale condominium and have a clear understanding of the process. We have had conceptual conversations about the etiquette of making multiple offers and we understand that we can bid and not win even if we bid the highest amount. We are currently receiving listings by email that fit our criteria so that we can move forward quickly without frustration or delay.

We prepared a two page list of questions for the Realtor and Show up on a Sunday Morning. OH! right! Had someone do that recently.




Take advantage of this user-friendly website offering more than just a list of properties for sale. We also provide a wealth of informative articles and information useful to investors at all levels; from first-time home buyers to seasoned real estate investors or would be landlords.

“The real estate industry is constantly evolving as it becomes more sophisticated and challenging; therefore, you need to work with a professional brokerage to be ahead in the game,” said David Pylyp.

Are you ready for this shopportunity when more listing come on the market in September or will you be on the sidelines. Register now for your private shopportunity interview.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Advice for real estate agents (quit now!)

..you’re not going to be able to make a living by taking orders, by selling houses the way everyone else does, by using the never-ending rise in real estate prices to make sales, then what are you going to do? Whining is not an option.

The opportunity is to reinvent the way you interact with citizens, with prospects, with the mildly interested and with your past clients. The opportunity, in other words, is to stop waiting around for the phone to ring and instead figure out how to do what you do best... connect buyers and sellers in a way that makes them both confident.
Seth Godin

How will I connect with new people? With a new medium. I embrace it. Google and YouTube have enormous reach. We would rather watch and learn than roll up newspapers and periodicals into the recycle bin.




Your comments are always invited.

If you are considering the sale of your property and would like an explanation of Google Marketing for your home I would be pleased to sit and join you for coffee over your kitchen table or coffee table and discuss what I do very differently from others.

Give me a ring at 647 218 2414

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why is buying women's shoes like Home Buying?


Gave this topic some thought, tongue and cheek, and then considered that it indeed home buying could be considered very similar to shopping for women's shoes. Sometimes they are on sale, we always seem to want the most expensive ones and there are literally hundreds to chose from.

Top Ten list for why House hunting is like shoe shopping

1) Looked great in the store but was unsuitable when I brought them home.
2) Was a snug fit I would grow into, but resulted in gross overcrowding when used all day.
3) Always needs maintenence for colour touch ups and repairs.
4) Buying emotionally results in unusable shoes.
5) The heel was very attractive but ultimately impractical.
6) The most expensive have limited time because they are always hidden.
7) The most comfortable ones you want all day long.
8) Sometimes the best fit is not the most attractive.
9) We stare for months at the shoes we want through the window.
10) hundreds of hours can be consumed shopping, trying on shoes without ever making a purchase.
11) Add yours here!

We need a few more to round out the choices. Could you suggest an analogy or one line remark about why shopping for a home is like shopping for women's shoes. Add a comment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sellers Market, Buyers Market, Real Estate Market

What does an agent do for you?

When you are buying there are considerations that may be very different from those that are important when you are selling. Has the concept of the "local neighbourhood specialist" changed with the advent of the internet and specialized search engines like Google Yahoo and Bing?
What does an agent do for you?

When you are ready to sell, a Top agent in the Toronto west market will...

  1. Provide a Comparative Market Evaluation for your property to determine an appropriate asking price.
  2. Discuss and explain the Current Market Trends and Conditions that effect your selling price.
  3. Market your home to the most qualified buyers who will find your listing postedonline with video and dedicated web pages and websites, promoted locally and to millions online at RE/MAX.ca, MLS.ca & REALTOR.com
  4. Sell your home as quickly as possible for the best available dollars.
  5. Negotiate offers and guide you through inspections; conditions fullfilment in the contract and there related deadlines, prepare a timetable for closing and net Seller's Worksheet.
  6. Provide you with written and Video references
When you are ready to buy, a Top agent in the Toronto west market will...

  1. Help you select a home and community that's just right for you, ensuring a good environment for your family and sound financial investment.
  2. Determine an appropriate sales offer strategy and present your bid.
  3. Negotiate the final contract.
  4. Attend to all inspections and contract conditions.
  5. Guide you through inspections; conditions that need to be filfilled in the contract and their related deadlines, prepare a timetable for closing and net Buyer's Worksheet; prepare you for
  6. Land Transfer Tax, Appraisal and Mortgage costs.
  7. Ensure you have all available Rebates.
  8. Provide you a Satisfaction Guarantee
Think all Real Estate Agents Are the Same?


10 or 15 years ago when you had something to say you took out an ad in a newspaper and broadcast that message to your target audience. Now with First Time Buyers, Tech Savvy Buyers and even Seniors embracing internet searches, we are able to connect with Buyers who are from different cities, even different countries, that are looking for your specific home. These Buyers are very targeted in their investigation online and look for key areas in the marketplace.

With targeted advertising through various internet portals, numerous real estate directories and websites, your listing will be found by Inquiring Minds that want your property. This will drive pre qualified, financially capable people in for showings rather than the old school method of splaying out some open house signs and praying that they will walk or drive by.

Internet advertising combined with video is an absolute must.

If your agent cannot deliver there things to you.... well, Its like Yellow Page Advertising that was highly effective 10 or 15 years ago, but now when the book is delivered, we don't even unwrap the plastic cover. Would doubling the Yellow Page Advertising help you to be seen?

Decide for yourself.
Ask me over for a conversation at your kitchen table or across the coffee table so that I can explain what I can do for you.
Experience is not Expensive... It is priceless

Your Power of Attorney may be invalid

The existing signed Power of Attorney you're using might not be acceptable for your upcoming closings.

The five Toronto area Law Offices of Stephen H. Shub recently experienced several situations where an existing signed Power of Attorney has not been acceptable for a current closing.

Be aware that if you use a Power of Attorney now, one of the two witnesses must be:

a) a lawyer or attorney or equivalent

b) a notary public
or

c) a local government official with an official stamp


Futher, if a Power of Attorney is being used to close a purchase with a new mortgage, the mortgage lender must pre-approve in writing the use of a power of attorney prior to closing.

For a seller, the law office must receive a legible copy of an unexpired photo ID. Alternatively, for the purchaser's mortgage the law office must receive both a legible unexpired photo I.D. for the person who granted the power of attorney plus a secondary ID.

READ and print the rules and forms for "Power of Attorney" page on our law office website at www.home-legal-cost.com.

Stephen H. Shub Professional Corporation now has 5 Toronto area law office locations to serve you with 28 staff (speaking 12 languages) providing legal services in residential real estate closings. We have NO voice mails and only live personal service at 416-520-6120 to 11 pm 7 days. Quotations for legal fees and legal disbursements are available on our website for any residential sale or purchase up to $1,500,000.00.


STEPHEN SHUB
Stephen H. Shub Professional Corporation
Barrister, Solicitor, Notary 5799 Yonge St. #803, Toronto, Ontario M2M 3V3
Tel: (416) 222-1882 • Cell: (416) 520-6120 to 11pm 7 days

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Worried about your Pension Plan?


Are you worried about the stability of your company-sponsored pension plan? You’re far from alone – but just how worried should you be and is there anything you can do about it? Here are some answers that may allow you to look forward to retirement with the assurance that it can be exactly what you’ve always dreamed.

What is causing the current concern about pension plans? A series of factors that some experts have dubbed the perfect storm: An aging population is increasing the need for pension plan payouts during this time of low interest rates and a stock market downturn. At the same time, companies are being squeezed by shrinking sales, markets and margins, making it more difficult for many of them to maintain employer pension plan contributions at previous levels and/or to set aside enough money to fund future obligations.

What does this mean for me? It really depends on the relative health of your company’s pension plan. Companies are required by law to honour pension agreements as long as they remain in business. But even if your company should fail, all funds remaining in the pension fund are distributed to eligible employees in a manner that the Court determines is fair.

What about the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)? It’s in good order, according to a report earlier this year from the federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance who are joint stewards of the plan. This triennial review found that CPP remains on sound financial footing and is well positioned to weather the current market turbulence.*

Changes to the plan will be phased in beginning in 2011 that will provide greater flexibility for those choosing to receive CPP benefits before age 65 by allowing them to continue working while receiving the benefit and to continue participating in CPP to increase it.

What can I do? First, try not to do what many people have done during this economic downturn – and that is, take a short term view and act too quickly. Instead, you should make every effort to boost your personal pension plan contributions – especially inside your tax-saving, tax-deferred, Registered Retirement Savings Plan where compound growth works to your best advantage, even in sluggish markets -- and to stay the course with your other investments. Remember, you haven’t actually lost any money on your registered or non-registered investments unless you lose focus on your long term financial objectives and cash them out when the market is at a low ebb instead of waiting for the inevitable upward cycle that history tells us usually comes to the market.

When you prepare adequately for the long term and maintain an investment portfolio that fits your appetite for risk and life goals, you’ll get where you want to go, even in the face of pension plan and other economic storms. Your professional advisor can help you navigate to calm waters and a clear future.

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA,

Consultant - Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
Wealth Management & Financial Planning

(905) 450-2891 (866) 799-2223 Cell(416) 731-3660


* Finance Canada News Release: Finance Ministers Indicate Canada Pension Plan is Financially Sound, www.fin.gc.ca/n08/09-51-eng.asp


Friday, August 7, 2009

Toronto Waterfront What's Happening?


Toronto Western Waterfront today consists of a chain of under-developed public parks and beaches that line the water’s edge between the Humber River and Ontario Place. These public spaces are cut off from the surrounding City – including two significant public open spaces (Humber Valley and High Park) and two long-established urban neighbourhoods (Swansea and Parkdale) – by a major transportation corridor comprised of The Queensway, CN Rail Corridor,
Gardiner Expressway, and Lake Shore Boulevard.

What area are we actually talking about? Two trails, namely the Martin Goodman and Humber River Valley Trails, Three City beaches, namely Gzowski, Sunnyside and Budapest Beaches, collectively known as Sunnyside Beach, Five City parks, namely Marilyn Bell Park, Lake Shore Boulevard Parklands, Budapest Park, Sunnyside Park and Sir Casimir Gzowski Park.
The area also features important historic sites, including the Joy Station, (remember the boarded up Gas station that has now been surgically replanted to the south side of LakeShore at Windermere) Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and Palais Royale, and is home to a number of private recreational clubs, including the Boulevard Club, the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club and the Argonaut Rowing Club.

As a destination, the Western Waterfront will provide extensive public open space along the water’s edge, just minutes from downtown Toronto and steps away from the long-established neighbourhoods of Parkdale and Swansea. For the City as-a-whole, the new Western Beach will mirror The Eastern Beaches in both framing the Central Waterfront and providing large-scale public windows onto the Lake itself. The Western Waterfront will comprise a series of expanded
and refreshed beaches, with improved beach water quality and opportunities for water-based recreation. These beaches will be anchored by a handful of year-round facilities, which will serve as service and recreation hubs for the park. Connections for pedestrians and cyclists to the Western Waterfront will be dramatically improved, with five dedicated links from the neighbourhoods to the north providing direct access to the water’s edge.

Well, Thats the Plan And it truly does explain why the Humber Bay Shore Community is in such demand for living and playing within the city. Bicycles, Pedestrians, Rollerbladers and Strollers all converge on the Boardwalk between the Argo Rowing Club and the landmark Humber Bay Bridge. All are struggling to compete for 660 parking spots along the Lake Shore and are within 300 feet of a street car stop. (But it would be way more stylish to have a NEW LRT)

Best July Ever for Toronto Real Estate

Toronto’s housing market has followed a record-breaking June with its best July ever and real estate experts say sellers will have the advantage with the current limited inventory and prices edging higher.

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, homes sales in the Greater Toronto Area last month rose 28%, to 9,967 from 7,806 homes sold a year ago.

It was the best July for sales since the board started tracking the numbers in the mid-1960s. And the average sale price was $395,414, up 6% from a year earlier.

“We have seen the increase across all different housing types. It’s not just first-time buyers coming into the marketplace,” said Jason Mercer, the real estate board’s senior manager of market analysis.

“At the end of 2008, we saw a steep dropoff in sales. Those people who became confident, you’ve seen them move back into the housing market and interest rates moving down to historic lows helped that out.”

These summer months stand in contrast with the market environment last fall when sales plummeted.

Back then, Candace Kaszas, a sales representative with Keller Williams Advantage Realty, listed a two-storey detached brick house in East York with a free car to attract buyers. In Rosedale, one of her clients dropped the price of a two-storey, five-bedroom home in Rosedale from $2.4-million to $1.9-million.

But today Ms. Kaszas said: “Things are looking up.”

“February right through, it hasn’t stopped,” she said. “Right now, it is a seller’s market ... We’re constantly in multiple offers. Recently, a two bedroom bungalow, with no parking and an unfinished basement had four offers. It was listed at $329,000 and it sold for $375,000.

“Consumer confidence has come back. The media has stayed out of it; for the past month it has been all about garbage and nothing about real estate and we’ve been selling up a storm.”

Christine Martysiewicz, spokeswoman for RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc., said most GTA neighbourhoods saw decreases in the price of detached homes and condos in the first six months of this year.

“Consumers got very scared with all of the negative news,” Ms. Martysiewicz said. “A lot of people did not; they got into the market and got the best deals that we’ve seen in a long time.”

Buyers can still get a good deal, she added.

“That’s not going to last. Those prices will go up if inventory does not come on the market,” she said.

Last month, 36% fewer homes were listed for sale than a year ago. New listings were down 18% from last month compared to July, 2008.

“Inventory is very, very low. The demand is quite high. What that does is cause increases in the prices of homes. Prices will be on par, if not exceed, 2008 levels by year-end,” Ms. Martysiewicz said.

Mr. Mercer said people will likely list more houses as sales and prices climb. Though year-to-date sales are still 1.2% lower compared to this time last year, he predicts that the market will continue to do well, maybe even surpass 2008 figures.

David Pylyp: Inventory for sale is almost non existent in downtown condo's under $300K or west Toronto /Mississauga Townhouses with a double garage below $400K. The average detached house is $390 thousand. Historically the summer months have generally been slower for sales.

Is there a ceiling?

If you would like to read the Market Watch report it is available here

Thinking about Selling your place? Let's get you a number.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Open Letter to Premier of Ontario

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty

Premier of Ontario

Room 281, Main Legislative Building

Queen’s Park

Toronto, ON M7A 1A1


Dear Mr. McGuinty:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Directors and residents of our Condominium Corporation in Mississauga to express our concerns regarding the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

As a board we will be advising our residents of the financial burden the proposed HST will place on them. We have prepared a table for our residents to help them understand the financial impact on their condo fees. This table represents our current year’s budget with the comparative numbers if the HST were in place today.

There are XXX townhouses in our corporation, therefore, the $XX,371 dollar increase equates to an increase in each resident’s maintenance fee of $333.71 annually! Many of our residents are seniors and on fixed incomes. The additional cost burden will likely mean some could lose their homes as a result of this additional financial burden. It should be noted that our townhouse owners pay for their own utilities and service contracts for maintenance and repairs to the inside of the units. Accordingly, the impact noted above is only part of the total increase our residents will face, as a result of the proposed HST, when these additional expenses are factored into the annual carrying costs of their homes

We understand and appreciate the benefits and advantage of blending the GST and PST, however your proposal goes well beyond this and proposes to apply the provincial tax to those items not presently subject to PST. Some have already argued this is a provincial “tax grab: coming at a time when many citizens are facing job losses, loss of investment incomes and a continued weak economy. If we understand correctly, your government is not only harmonizing the two taxes but applying an additional tax to items not subject to the current 8% PST. We hope we have grossly misunderstood the HST proposal and we ask that you immediately commence a process to truly “harmonize” the taxes without obscene tax increases.

We respectfully await your response.

Sincerely,

President

On behalf of the Board of Directors

David Pylyp; This type of lament is becoming more common as people realise the impact that Harmonized Sales Tax will have on the overall expenditures of everything that is purchased, sold or serviced and even insured.


Weather is cool but Sales are HOT!


GTA REALTORS® report resale record in July

TORONTO, August 6, 2009 - In July 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported a record
9,967 sales, up 28 per cent from July 2008. The average price for July transactions was
$395,414 – up by six per cent compared to the same month last year.

"Households confident in their positioning within the current economic environment have taken
advantage of housing affordability in the GTA," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "The real
estate sector has been one of the sectors making a positive contribution to economic growth in
the GTA, not to mention Ontario and Canada more broadly."

Year-to-date sales, at 50,632 are down 1.2 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2008.
Average price, at $385,808 is down by less than one-half of one per cent.

"The steep drop-off in sales experienced at the beginning of the year has all but dissipated,"
explained Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "With five months left to
go in the year, it is probable that total existing home sales in 2009 will be at or above last year’s
level."

David Pylyp; Trying to find listings to show eager buyers is getting very challenging and leads us to think and act outside the box. What are your thoughts on where this market is going?



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why you need a line of credit

Every responsible financial planning expert stresses the value of minimizing the use of credit – and you know that, too. It’s why you stay away from high-interest credit cards and use credit wisely. So, why should you arrange a line of credit (LOC)? There are some good financial planning reasons to have a LOC available to you.

A LOC is an arrangement with a financial institution that allows you to borrow money up to a pre-determined limit. When you apply for a LOC, your lender will set your LOC limit based on your income, current level of debt, and your bill-paying and debt-repaying record.

The benefits of a LOC

Gives you better control over your finances because you are able to borrow whenever the need arises without having to apply for a loan every time you require financing.

  • There are usually no set-up, monthly or annual fees.
  • Make withdrawals at any time for any purpose, including emergencies.
  • Pay interest only on the amount of your withdrawals – this can be especially beneficial when money is required in stages, perhaps to fund a home renovation.
  • You choose when and how much to apply to a principal repayment – your only required monthly cost is a minimum payment to cover accrued interest.
  • A good tool for debt consolidation – use a low-interest LOC to payout higher interest credit cards or personal loan
  • A secured LOC – one that is guaranteed by an underlying asset such as the equity in your home – carries a significantly lower interest rate than an unsecured LOC but any LOC typically features interest rates that are lower than credit card, personal loan or short-term loan rates.
  • Can be paid off at any time without penalty.

The drawbacks of a LOC

  • Your interest rate could go up.
  • You could spend your entire LOC and be unable to pay it back. Limit your LOC to an amount you can afford.
  • You should establish a LOC when you have a stable income and good credit rating so that, in the event of a job loss or medical issue, your access to credit won’t be affected. LOC interest rates and other terms vary – so shop around for your LOC.
  • A LOC can be a low-cost, flexible credit option. Ask your professional advisor if a LOC makes sense as part of your overall financial plan.

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Qu├ębec – a Financial Services Firm), presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact a financial advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA, Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)

Wealth Management & Financial Planning

Investors Group

Tel.(905) 450-2891 X529 Toll Free: (866) 799-2223 Cell: (416) 731-3660

Email: john.scholl@investorsgroup.com

Humiliated Enough?

This past holiday weekend, while many were out BBQ'ing and playing by the water, I was out with a single Mom, looking for a condo in the Michael Power, Islington and Bloor (Kipling) location. We found a suitable unit, prepared an offer for full asking price and proceeded to line up at the offer presentation table.

Our offer was unsuccessful as one was all cash and ours was conditional only on financing for three business days. (The minimum requirement for a CMHC hi ratio approval.) The Buyer was disappointed and we will see in a few days what the unit actually sold for. To bid differently would not have been prudent with this Buyer.

This morning, Tuesday, after the long weekend, I prepared my 11 x 17 inch Tablet Sign, and attended at the condominium complex, to stand at the gauntlet of morning commuters and beg for a opportunity to buy their condo. They stepped around me like David Miller and the garbage strike.

Within the two hour period that I had allotted (starting at 6:45 AM) I had actually spoken to approximately 100 people who exited from the buildings and asked a) If they would like to sell their unit b) if they made eye contact, would they like to check out my websites. Handed out about 40 business cards.

Is this the right way to find business? 100 People said NO to me before 9 AM, and made me feel like a politician on the huskings for your vote. But in reality even after 20 years in the real estate business, and a strong website presence I need to meet and greet fresh new faces. This client wants these specific buildings. I need to meet the residents of Michael Power. Telephone canvassing is no longer a viable choice as people have signed up for do not call lists, but in reality with different home telephone service providers we no longer have a comprehensive telephone listing directory that is cross referenced to address.

Door Knocking inside Condos is strictly forbidden and the security once alerted would quickly SHOO me from the premises. So How best to contact these owners who may wish to sell?

The Michael Power complex fronts onto the Bloor Street, immediately adjacent to the Islington Subway station. Park Royal Place now has the final building under construction. There are 5 municipal address groupings, 5 Michael Power, 7 and 9 Michael Power and 11, 15, 17 Micheal Power Place. Last sold details are available at the website for the previous six month period.

Given the size of the complex. some 6 buildings, there have been only 51 sales in the last 6 month period. Given the malaise that was encountered in the Jan - March timeframe, the lack of inventory is disturbing to many Buyers and causing some price silliness.

If you live here and would like to move, Today I actually DO have a client that is interested.

What would you suggest as the best method to contact condo dwellers? Tomorrow morning weather permitting, I will yet again be in the same place but this time blocking vehicle traffic rather than pedestrians.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Working while retired

I was surfing and found an excellent piece in the Financial Post about the walking retired population of 50 somethings that are still working part time in some fashion to suppliment their income, lack of pension or savings. With the stock market adjustments of late, many investors have seen their dividend incomes disappear.

In 2002, it was found that just over one-fifth (22%) of recent retirees said they had done some paid work. Another 4% said they had unsuccessfully looked for work. In 2006, the year Ms. Neal retired, there were 2.1 million Canadians nearing "retirement" (aged 55 to 64) who were either employed or looking for work -- more than double the total in 1976.

But that was economic light years away from today's nagging recession. The decline in equity markets, the shrinking of home values and the increase in household debt have placed new emphasis on the "work option" as part of retirement planning. Half the respondents to a 2009 RBC Wealth Managemenet-Ipsos Reid study said their view of retirement has changed as a result of the current economy. About 26% said they may have to work longer than expected and 14% said they will have to do more retirement planning. More

What I found interesting is that this article is on the heels of a letter to Dalton, our Provincial Premier that outlines how seniors and those on fixed incomes will be additionally impacted by the increase in maintenance fees brought on by the Harmonized Sales Tax.

Your comments are invited and appreciated.