Thursday, December 29, 2011

Toronto Real Estate Forecast 2012

Will we have the sky rocketing interest rates? Will the Toronto Condo Bubble Burst? How is our unemployment rate?

The global scandals and economic meltdown of entire nations was not shared by Canadians.

The Canadian housing market has demonstrated tremendous resilience in recent years, but 2011 stands out. Instead of responding to economic concerns both here and abroad with a retreat in sales and prices, residential real estate markets actually experienced an upswing in the volatile third and final quarters. While clearly not impervious to the impact, Canadian consumers are intent on making their moves now, in advance of higher housing values and rising interest rates down the road. Canadians continue to buy houses.

Improvement in both provincial and local economies, is required; The increased deficit in Ontario resulted in a downgrade in Ontario's economic outlook, Rob Ford's first year in office has been acrimonious, especially during the second half of 2011, yet Toronto real estate values continue to defy logic with a projected increase of five per cent in 12.

The economic underpinnings support ongoing demand, particularly as job creation efforts continue and unemployment rates edge down further. 7.9% in Toronto. Nationally, we remain on an upward track, and the confidence consumers have demonstrated in housing over the past decade will prove well founded once again next year. The rising belief in homeownership is key, especially among Generation X and Y—some of whom are making their moves sooner. Boomers and retirees are changing, too. They’re healthier and more active, with longer life expectancy. Overall, we’re seeing an extension of the homeownership cycle, and it’s great news for housing.

What happened to Freedom 55? A Statscan study doesn’t speculate as to why we are seeing such a significant trend towards delaying retirement, but polls and opinion surveys provide some answers. For example, a Harris/Decima poll conducted for Scotiabank and released in earlier this year found that more than two-thirds of respondents said they plan to keep working after reaching retirement age. Of these, 38 per cent will do so because they won’t have enough money to live on. Another survey, this one for TD Waterhouse, discovered that 67 per cent of baby boomers are worried they won’t have enough money to retire, while only 15 per cent feel comfortable about their situation.

While tighter supply levels contribute to steady price appreciation in most major markets across Canada this year, Toronto is approaching 90 thousand units. Condo sales will now account for almost 40% of all units sold.

With houses popping on the market resulting in immediate multiple offers, We are hopeful for an increase in inventory more in line with years previous that should ease upward pressure on average price in the year ahead, but those in the mature market with homes in desirable neighourhoods are holding onto their homes longer...

If you are considering a move this year Call me... and allow me to demonstrate what I do for you. 647 218 2414

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Concerned about YOUR Household Budgets?

If you bought a house in the last 10 years, you qualified for a mortgage at a lending institution [bank or mortgage company] presented your verified gross income to that same bank and budgeted for the mortgage payments you would be making, You understand that you have a predetermined income and only a certain portion is permitted for Mortgage qualification purposes. {GDS TDS} The BANK will not permit you to spend endlessly.

In addition to your mortgage you also have property maintenance either as a condo fee or you do the work / hire someone to do it, paint and upkeep, water, hydro, heating and property insurance. Let's not forget the addition property Tax the Municipal Property Tax Assessment levies against your house or condo. (MPAC)

Some at the City of Toronto feel that spending can go on forever without a limit on how much you can spend every month or every year. I want that VISA card. The never repay the debt card.

As you purchased property, you paid Land Transfer Tax Both Provincial and the newly imposed Miller Tax [have a look at what it costs to close on a Toronto Property Purchase] (rebates may apply for First Time Buyers)

In Canada, your purchase requires a minimum down payment of 15% to SAVE the Canada Mortgage and Housing premiums to INSURE a residential Mortgage (CMHC) plus applicable PST and Title Insurance. Lawyers have their own Law Society Levies and Taxes.

IN good times, Canadians Save for those times that may not be good.

I posed the following question to Shelley Carroll ( Toronto City Councillor ) If the property values decrease or collapse in the fashion that Garth Turner Predicts (The Greater Fool) with PEOPLEnomics and keeping them scared are we not prudent to trim our budgets during goods times rather that SLASHING them during a recession? See for yourself

Ms. Shelley Carroll replied;

Garth Turner? Basing his theory on overly-selective history in Intensified Mega Cities' Fiscal Formuli? Seriously?

Seriously? Buyers are nervous. Spending seems to be out of control. I sell houses. I help families solve their housing needs. I sell houses to families who are comfortable and confidant in their ability to make future payments on a mortgage and pay the taxes related to that purchase. Your confidence requires a local employment and the belief that ownership by choice and commitment will benefit your family. If the values decline, in Canada the way they have in the United States, it would be like the European Debt crisis right here.

Is it possible that we could have a VOTER revolt like they had in California with PROP 13? When they slashed their state budgets the entire government work force was reduced to 3 days a week. School and myriad other programs rippled.

Maybe its time we looked at appointed City Managers. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roncesvalles Revival

The Grid on Roncesvalles

Yesterday, the Grid published an interesting story about “the Roncesvalles revival.” On the surface, the article cheers the arrival of new restaurants to the street, specifically the Ace and the Westerly, but it goes deeper. It raises questions about the role of community in establishing stable, successful main streets, and expresses optimism that Roncesvalles will be able to avoid the excesses of other trendy hot-spots like Ossington or Queen West.

The Westerly’s co-owner, legendary restaurateur Tom Earl, says he was not looking for the latest hot-spot in order to make a quick buck. “We want to be here for a long time, we want to be part of a neighbourhood—we really want to be involved. And that’s what we were looking for and why ultimately we decided Roncesvalles would be perfect.” Ace owners Maggie Ruhl and Gregg Boggs similarly cite the role of community in shaping the direction of their business. Meanwhile, other new businesses like Barque and Pizzeria Defina also balance a certain trendiness with a community-friendly vibe, welcoming local families along with younger professional couples. Why has Roncesvalles managed to get this tricky balance right, when so many other neighbourhoods have faced difficulties?

“Roncey,” writes author Paul Aguirre-Livingston, “has a stronger, smarter sense of community more closely associated with a cultural identity that runs deep and rich. [...] It’s that very pride in community—a blend of preservation and self-perpetuating drive—that becomes a powerful motivator for business owners and their patrons.”

Ruhl specifically mentions the role of community associations, including the BIA, in taking an active role in guiding the development of the street. This guidance is not adversarial or driven by suspicion. Rather, the Roncesvalles community has been able to express itself in a productive way, welcoming change as well as continuity, such that new businesses are better able to fit in. It is unlikely that a big box nightclub would be able to establish itself, says Ruhl. “What happens [in Roncesvalles] is that the associations are so involved that it’s always going to be small, little businesses.”

Let’s hope Ruhl is correct. I imagine everyone would feel better if they knew what was coming to the old Rogers space at Howard Park. But so far, I think this community can take a great deal of pride in how the street is taking shape since the end of reconstruction.

This community is why Roncesvalles remains, in the words of Aguirre-Livingston, “the most perfect corner of Toronto we’ve got left.”

John Bowker
Parking and Beautification Chair
Roncesvalles Village BIA

The Community wants and needs new business. It is the vibrancy and investment of the merchants and restaurateurs that fulfill the sense of community that attracts us to live here. The author talks about a comparision to other streets and their prosperity. I hope that Ossington does well. I hope they create that same sense of community that is felt in Bloor West or Roncesvalles Village.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No one explains How or Who will Pay?

Facing Budget reductions or double digit tax increases? Can we afford the transit we need but have none of the money to build? Who will fund Breakfasts for Kids to Child Daycare subsidies?

Toronto - With Toronto's 2012 operating and capital draft budget laid out, more than 300 Torontonians signed up to deliver public deputations in front of the budget committee at city hall. On Wednesday, we got to hear what more than a dozen had to say.
The City of Toronto has held public consultations, hearings and deputations over the past several months. Digital Journal reported in the summer of the 24-hour meeting where hundreds of residents provided their thoughts on the Core Service Review. Last month, Digital Journal reported on the Toronto Transit Commission holding a town hall meeting to receive feedback from transit riders.
On Wednesday, the budget committee, chaired by Councillor Mike Del Grande, gave hundreds of Torontonians the chance to deliver public deputations. Exactly 348 names were listed, but the budget chief said that it looked like that they would not go through the entire list either today or tomorrow.
Prior to the meeting, Del Grande explained that each deputant would be allowed three minutes and then one minute for each question asked by a city councillor. Furthermore, he noted that Wednesday and Thursday’s consultations would run until 9:30 p.m.
City Councillor and Budget Chief Mike Del Grande speaking during Media Availability at the mayor s o...
City Councillor and Budget Chief Mike Del Grande speaking during Media Availability at the mayor's office.
Each person had their opportunity to share their frustrations, suggestions and even accolades to the proposed 2012 operating and capital draft budget that was released last month. The budget, which Mayor Rob Ford labelled as “smart,” includes a 2.5 percent property tax increase, 10-cent TTC fare hike, reductions in library hours, the closure of wading pools and the elimination of 2,300 City staff.

Read the rest right here Digital Journal

Will Rob Ford stand by his committment to eliminate the Toronto Land Transfer Tax on Home Purchases?

If the city drops the tax, how will they make up the extra 400 Million in revenues?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bloor West Village Animal Hospital Community Profile

Our friend of 21 years became ill, lethargic and declined to beat and accost the puppy. Initially we thought nothing of the malaise for a day or two, till we noticed he was not eating. Loss of appetite for a cat, cannot be ignored. A quick run to Dr. Christopher O'Toole at the Bloor West Village Animal Hospital quickly confirmed our fears. The staff and Dr's at Bloor west we're compassionate and respectful. I hope in your time of an animal friend passing you will have similar support.

Bloor West Village Animal Hospital was opened in March 2009, by Dr. Christopher O’Toole and his associate Dr. Eva Chung to provide veterinary service to Bloor West Village and surrounding communities. We are focused on being lifelong learners in both medicine and customer service in order to continually evolve. We consider ourselves a teaching hospital where we strive to educate our staff and our clients in order to provide care to our patients. Bloor West Village Animal Hospital offers wellness programs, digital radiology, acupuncture, surgical procedures, dental procedures, dental radiology and hospitalization on site.

We are located beside Global Pet foods, across the street from Bark & Fitz, and kitty corner to High Park. Chris is really excited to be able to meet all of Oscar’s (his wheaten terrier) friends from the park, and he and his team are excited to be able to care for the animals of West End Toronto. To book appointments please call 416 769 7867. If you have any questions come by and ask one our receptionists for some help.

If you are part of this great community in Bloor west Village, maybe you could recommend other business's and professionals to recommend.

Drop me a line

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Are you on a Toronto Condo Board?

If you are on a Board of Directors for a condo this is well worth the read; Found this within the comments section while looking for square footage costs of other condo building in South Toronto with Lake Ontario access.

many older buildings (1970s, early 1980s) who ignored the 10 year grace clause in the 2001 Act about having their reserve fund catch up, and now they are handing out huge increases. It also seems that the number of Boards who are finding their owners unmanageable and are forced to go to the Superior Court of Justice, under S 130 of the Condo Act (1998) to have a court appointed Inspector take control of the building. This is an ugly and desperate process, but dysfunctional Boards, or uninformed Board members sometimes force the issue. When the Inspector waltzes in, compliance is NOT an option. When he/she hand out a 45% increase, they are in no mood to work out a payment plan. They will be merciless with costs and expenses, and they will try to fire everyone in sight. Not pretty.
Most older buildings pool their utilities and that is a nightmare as utility costs escalate. Some building managers stand by the lobby cameras to intercept laundry being brought into the building because (generally renters) with ‘free’ utilities invite their nearby friends and family to do their laundry.
Newer buildings with their 5-star hotel amenities are going to regret them one day. The good news: you will need an 80 or 90% vote of ALL owners to get rid of those expensive toys. Good luck with that. Getting quorum for a meeting or a 51% vote on what kind of pizza to order for a meeting is a chore.
Most Board members are not educated, and owners most certainly are not. The Condo Act does not say ‘shall,’ it says ‘must’ a heckuva lot. D & O insurance will not cover directors who ignore Reserve Fund studies, nor will spiteful owners be rewarded by voting directors (or Managers) off the island just because they are doing their due diligence.
If your building is rotating Managers or Management companies like a revolving door, then know something is wrong with the building, not the management companies.

I’ve often thought that anyone who eagerly wants to be on a Board should automatically be disqualified under the Act: after all, there is no pay and there is no glory, so other than revenge, a personal vendetta, or the misapprehension that they will gain experience and have some ‘fun,’ why else would any rational person want to be on a condo Board?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Real Estate information you can use Toronto

Lets listen to whats really happening in Toronto Real Estate.

How are your maintenance fees? Condo Life

When we purchased this unit facing Lake Ontario we were assured that the maintenance fees would be minimal based on the services and amenities available within the building. Each unit is separately metered for individual power consumption. (Remember that extra $200 create new account charge from Hydro ** Don't forget to call and get your deposit back)

The Marketing Materials in 2007 indicated that the proposed occupancy fees would be between 37 and 43 cents per square foot and this would be stable because separate meter and efficiencies of being a new structure. Concrete Slab construction with Glass Exteriors is the preferred method of construction both for speed, efficiency and thermal savings. Most Condominium and Office towers in Toronto employ this method of construction. Most of the Toronto Condos and Humber Bay Shore employ this design to maximize the window size if not floor to ceiling glass.

Move in- the adjusted budget proposed from the builder to the management company the fees were re evaluated to 54 cents per square foot. [This in itself was a 35% increase - proposed at 40 now 54 ] Are these revision sufficient to offset the HYDRO increases, and water and sewer charges that have changed in

During the first actual year of operation a Condominium Building must accomplish a number of items. (and prior to the end of 12 months)
  • Performance Audit of Construction*
  • Tarion Warranty Submissions*
  • Reserve Fund Study*
Contracts entered into by the Builder / Developer have resulted in acrimony and lawsuits between the two parties. This resulted in case law and legislation that prevents the Developer from giving his cousin "SAM" a sweetheart deal for the landscaping garbage cable etc.

After almost a full year of operation the new Budget is Proposed and now you are at 62.5 cents per square foot. That is a large and unexpected increase from the foretold expense only 3 years ago. Where are the individual line items that have skyrocketed? Some expenses are one time only, others are building cleaning, interiors and exterior glass; heat pump ventilation cleaning and filter replacements, but largest of all are the service contracts required for all your mechanical systems.

How have the maintenance fees in your building changed over the last few years?

When you moved in to when they had their first operating year was the increase expected?

Is the glass and concrete building method falling out of favour?

*1. Performance Audit is an independent review by the engineering firm you hire to read and interpret all the shop drawings and blueprints to verify that what you commited to as a purchase was delivered. The Audit goes on to test the quality of materials and construction to calculate the component's remaining economic life.
*2. Tarion Warranty is the home builders warranty program that all builders must belong to. Provides a mediation and compliance for the builder to complete or Tarion contracts to make the repairs itself. Every builder in Ontario is (should be) a Tarion Member.
*3. Reserve Fund Study The condominium corporation establishes a Reserve Fund Study within the year following the registration, and periodic planning to determine whether the amount of money in the reserve fund and the amount of contributions collected by the corporation are adequate to provide for the expected costs of major repair and replacement of the common elements and assets of the corporation.