Friday, December 15, 2017

House Hunters: Learn from My Rookie Mistakes

When I bought my first home in my 20s, I had worked hard and saved for a down payment. But I didn't do all the homework a buyer should do. Looking back years later, here are seven financial tips for house hunters today.
Is it possible for you to delve into home ownership without all the facts? YES.
One of my three biggest financial mistakes was buying a home just one year out of college without truly considering all financial implications. Read this article if you're looking to purchase a home and don't want to make similar missteps.
Here are several places where I went wrong when I bought my first home, years ago. I didn't do my homework. I failed to investigate historical housing prices to judge whether the asking price was greater than the true value. I saved aggressively as a young adult and managed to scrimp together 10% for a down-payment on a $150,000 starter home in Saint Louis at age 23. Ideally, you should save at least 20% for a down-payment. Otherwise, you must take out an extra loan or pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). I choose PMI and regret it.
The home was old and charming -- built in the 1920s -- and lacked energy-efficient upgrades. Heating bills easily ran $300 monthly in the winter, and the tiny window air conditioning unit on the second floor did not suffice during hot summers. I poured over $20,000 in renovations to improve my first house and sold it four years later for the same $150,000 purchase price. Ouch!
When you purchase a home, steer clear of traps and focus on these recommendations instead:

1. Improve your credit score prior to the purchase. allows you to access your credit report for free every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Review the report in detail for errors or issues. Here's a full list of tips to repair and increase your credit score.

2. Plan to stay in your home at least five years.

The newly proposed House and Senate tax overhaul bills stipulate that you will need to live in your primary residence at least five of the prior eight years to exclude the gain on the subsequent sale of your home. Right now, the law uses two of the prior five years for the gain-exclusion calculation, but legislators are hoping to expand the look-back period to five years. This should curtail flippers, who move from house to house every two years without paying income tax when they sell. Regardless of whether this bill passes, real estate commissions and other closing costs make it very difficult to turn a profit (outside of rehabbed houses) if you spend less than five years in the property.

3. Hire a buyer's agent who is looking after your best interest.

As a buyer, you don't pay a commission to your real estate agent; that cost is borne by the seller. However, not all real estate agents are created equal. Some are focused exclusively on acting as a seller's agent or buyer's agent. Others run both sides of the table. Exercise caution if your agent is also the listing agent for the home you are most interested in purchasing -- there's an inherent conflict of interest.

4. Do your homework.

If you are looking to buy in an area with young families, school districts are very important for resale value. Explore the price history on sites like Zillow to understand when and for how much the home previously sold. Pay attention to how long the home has been on the market and others like it to negotiate purchase price.

5. Consider "hidden" costs of homeownership.

Have at least 20% available in cash for a down-payment. Without that target percentage, you will either pay PMI until the loan value is 80% of the appraised home value, or you might take out a "piggyback" home equity line at a higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage to make up the difference in order to avoid PMI. Closing costs, moving expenses, new furnishings and appliances should also be considered. Contemplate ongoing costs like real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and utility bills as well.

6. Budget for home improvements early.

Make a list, prioritizing the improvements you want to make and the timeline for completion. Don't focus strictly on aesthetics like new flooring, painting or enhancing an unfinished basement. When will the roof and windows need to be updated? Driveway refinished? Air conditioning unit and furnace replaced? As a woman who spends most of her time inside the house, it's tempting to focus on the interior. Yet the exterior and home systems are more costly projects that should not be ignored.

7. Get pre-approved.

Pre-approval for a mortgage gives you a better idea of how much house you can afford. Just because you are pre-approved for a $400,000 loan doesn't mean you need to go and find a home in that price range. Determine your monthly payment and see if it fits into your personal budget. Don't forget about the hidden costs and home improvement projects discussed above. Give yourself some wiggle room. I encourage many clients to stay under the maximum pre-approval amount to meet other saving and lifestyle goals.
This list was not intended to scare you. Rather, knowledge is power. Purchasing your first home or moving into a new home is a big decision, one that makes sense to get some expert guidance on. As a comprehensive financial planner, I help clients reach their big-picture financial goals, and homeownership is an important piece of the puzzle.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

November Sales Show Signs of the Toronto Market Rebounding

December 5, 2017 -- The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,374 transactions through TREB's MLS® System in November 2017. This result was up compared to October 2017, bucking the regular seasonal trend. On a year-over-year basis, sales were down by 13.3 per cent compared to November 2016.
New listings entered into TREB's MLS® System in November 2017 amounted to 14,349 – up by 37.2 per cent compared to November 2016, when the supply of listings was very low from a historic perspective.
We have seen an uptick in demand for ownership housing in the GTA this fall, over and above the regular seasonal trend. Similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane. On top of this, it is also possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decision.
The average selling price for all home types combined was down by two per cent compared to November 2016, due in large part to a smaller share of detached home sales versus last year. On a year-to-date basis, the average selling price was up by 13.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. High density home types continued to lead the way in terms of price growth, with the average condominium apartment price up by double-digits compared to November 2016.
Changes in market conditions have not been uniform across market segments. In line with insights from consumer polling undertaken by Ipsos in the spring, we are still seeing seller's market conditions for townhouses and condominium apartments in many neighbourhoods versus more balanced market conditions for detached and semi-detached houses. We will have more insights to share about consumer intentions for 2018 at the end of January when TREB releases its third annual Market Year in Review and Outlook report. 
For more information on the Toronto Real Estate Market or if you are planning a move and would like to discuss your options feel welcome to call me at 416-856-5408 or email me at
Have a great holiday Season!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 2017 Toronto Real Estate Report

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS reported 7,974 sales through TREB's MLS® System in June 2017. Number of sales were down by 37.3 per cent in comparison to June 2016.

The number of new residential listings entered into TREB's MLS® System, at 19,614, was up by 15.9 per cent compared to June 2016. While this annual rate of growth was sizeable, it represented a more moderate annual rate of growth compared to May 2017, when new listings were up by 48.9 per cent year-over-year.

We are in a period of flux that often follows major government policy announcements pointed at the housing market. On one hand, consumer survey results tell us many households are very interested in purchasing a home in the near future, but some of these would-be buyers seem to be temporarily on the sidelines waiting to see the real impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. On the other hand, we have existing home owners who are listing their home because they feel price growth may have peaked. The end result has been a better supplied market and a moderating annual pace of price growth.

Annual growth rates for MLS® HPI benchmark prices have moderated over the past two months, but remain strong. The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price was up by 25.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in June. June's average selling price for all home types combined for the TREB market area was $793,915, representing a 6.3 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2016. A better supplied market has certainly been a key factor influencing the moderation in price growth.

Recent Ipsos survey results suggest that home buying activity in the GTA will remain strong moving forward. The year-over-year dip in home sales we have experienced over the last two months seem to be the result of would-be buyers putting their decision to purchase temporarily on hold while they monitor the impact of the Fair Housing Plan. On the supply side of the market, it certainly looks as though buyers will benefit from more choice in the second half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

If you are planning a move and would like more information on the Real Estate market feel welcome to call me at 416-856-5408 or email me at

View the Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch Video Below: 

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 2017 Toronto Real Estate Market Report. Listings Up and Market Balancing off in Buyers Favour

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 10,196 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in May 2017, down by 20.3 per cent compared to 12,790 sales reported in May 2016. Sales of detached homes were down by 26.3 per cent. Sales of condominium apartments were down by 6.4 per cent. The supply of listings was up strongly over the same period. Active listings of properties available for sale at the end of May were up by 42.9 per cent compared to the record low a year earlier. The number increased considerably for low-rise home types including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. Active listings for condominium apartments were down compared to May 2016. Home buyers definitely benefitted from a better supplied market in May, both in comparison to the same time last year and to the first four months of 2017. However, even with the robust increase in active listings, inventory levels remain low. At the end of May, we had less than two months of inventory. This is why we continued to see very strong annual rates of price growth, albeit lower than the peak growth rates earlier this year. Selling prices continued to increase strongly in May compared to the same month in 2016. The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark price was up by 29 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price for all home types combined for the TREB Market Area as a whole was up by 14.9 per cent to $863,910. Year-over-year price increases were greater for condominium apartments compared to low-rise home types. This likely reflects the fact that the low-rise market segments benefitted most from the increase in listings. The actual, or normalized, effect of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan remains to be seen. In the past, some housing policy changes have initially led to an overreaction on the part of homeowners and buyers, which later balanced out. On the listings front, the increase in active listings suggests that homeowners, after a protracted delay, are starting to react to the strong price growth we’ve experienced over the past year by listing their home for sale to take advantage of these equity gains.

For more information on the Toronto Real Estate Market feel welcome to call or email me at 416-856-5408 or

Friday, April 21, 2017

Foreign Tax Definition and Rules that apply after April 21st,2017

Non-Resident Speculation Tax

The implementation of the Non-Resident Speculation Tax is subject to the approval of the Legislature.


The non-resident speculation tax (NRST) is a 15 per cent tax on the purchase or acquisition of an interest in residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations (“foreign entities”) and taxable trustees.
The NRST applies in addition to the general land transfer tax in Ontario.
The GGH includes the following geographic areas: Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York.  Refer to the map at the end of the document.

Effective Date

Upon the enactment of legislation, the NRST will be effective as of April 21, 2017.  
Binding agreements of purchase and sale signed on or before April 20, 2017 are not subject to the NRST.

Entities Subject to the NRST

The NRST applies to foreign entities or taxable trustees who purchase or acquire residential property in the GGH.
foreign entity is either a foreign national or a foreign corporation.
foreign national, as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), is an individual who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
foreign corporation is a corporation that is one of the following:
  • Is not incorporated in Canada;
  • Is incorporated in Canada but is controlled in whole or in part by a foreign national or other foreign corporation, unless the shares of the corporation are listed on a Canadian stock exchange; or
  • Is controlled directly or indirectly by a foreign entity for the purposes of section 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada).
For the purposes of the NRST, a taxable trustee is a trustee that is one of the following:
  • A foreign entity holding title in trust for beneficiaries, or
  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a corporation holding title in trust for foreign entity beneficiaries.

Types of Property Subject to the NRST

The NRST applies to the transfer of land which contains at least one and not more than six single family residences.  Examples of land containing one single family residence include detached and semi-detached houses, townhouses and condominium units.  In a situation involving the purchase of multiple condominium units, each unit would be considered land containing one single family residence.  Examples of land containing more than one single family residence that are subject to the tax include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes and sixplexes. 
The NRST does not apply to other types of land such as multi-residential rental apartment buildings with more than six units, agricultural land, commercial land or industrial land.
The NRST applies on the value of the consideration for the residential property. If the land transferred includes both residential property and another type of property, the NRST applies on the portion of the value of the consideration attributable to the residential property. For example, if the purchase price of the transaction is $1,000,000 and contains one single family residence with a value of the consideration of $400,000, and commercial land with a value of the consideration of $600,000, the 15 per cent NRST would only apply to the $400,000 portion.

General Application

The 15 per cent NRST applies to the value of the consideration for a transfer of residential property if any one of the transferees is a foreign entity or taxable trustee.
For example, if a transfer of residential property is made to four transferees, one of whom is a foreign entity that acquires a 25 per cent share in the land, the NRST would apply to 100 per cent of the value of the consideration for the transfer.
Each transferee is jointly and severally liable for any NRST payable. If a foreign entity or taxable trustee does not pay the NRST, the other transferees will be required to pay the tax. This applies even if the other transferees are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
The NRST does not apply when a person purchases or acquires residential property as a trustee of a mutual fund trust, real estate investment trust or specified investment flow-through trust.
The NRST applies to unregistered dispositions of a beneficial interest in residential property. This includes purchases and acquisitions of residential property where section 3 of the Land Transfer Tax Act is applicable.


An exemption to the NRST is available to a foreign national who receives confirmation under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (“nominee”). To qualify for this exemption, the foreign national must be confirmed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program at the time of the purchase or acquisition and the property must be used as the foreign national’s principal residence.
An exemption is also available to a foreign national who is conferred the status of “convention refugee” or “person in need of protection” (“refugee”) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at the time of the purchase or acquisition.
A foreign national who has a spouse (as defined in the Land Transfer Tax Act), who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, “nominee” or “refugee” is exempt from the NRST if the foreign national jointly purchases residential property with that spouse.   
However, the exemption does not apply if the Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, “nominee”, or “refugee” and his or her foreign national spouse purchased the property with another foreign national.  For example, if three parties purchase a property as follows:
  • one Canadian citizen and his or her foreign national spouse; and
  • a third party who is a foreign national,
 the exemption would not apply and NRST would be payable. 


A rebate of the NRST may be available in the following situations:
  • The foreign national becomes a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada within four years of the date of the purchase or acquisition;
  • The foreign national is a student who has been enrolled full-time for at least two years from the date of purchase or acquisition in an “approved institution”, as outlined in Ontario Regulation 70/17 of the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities Act; or
  • The foreign national has legally worked full-time in Ontario for a continuous period of one year since the date of purchase or acquisition.
In order to be eligible for the rebates, the foreign national must exclusively hold the property, or hold the property exclusively with his or her spouse.  The property must also have been used as  the foreign national’s (and if applicable their spouse’s) principal residence for the duration of the period.
The rebate will be paid with interest, calculated at the prescribed refund rate under the Land Transfer Tax Act. 
Supporting documentation will be required to substantiate all applications for rebates.

Tax Avoidance and Offences

All transfers of land in Ontario are subject to audit.
Anti-avoidance provisions will be enforced to ensure the NRST is reported and paid as required. This includes examining circumstances where Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as taxable trustees, hold property in trust for a foreign entity or are trustees where a beneficiary may be a foreign entity.  This also includes preventing the use of multiple conveyances to avoid the NRST.
Failure to pay the NRST as required may result in a penalty, fine and/or imprisonment.

Payment of the NRST

NOTE:  All transfers registered on or after April 21, 2017 must contain a statement expressly acknowledging that consideration has been given to the application of the NRST.  Registrants are required to provide one of the following two statements:
The Non-Resident Speculation Tax does not apply to this transfer
The Non-Resident Speculation Tax applies to this transfer and has been paid to the Ministry of Finance, as confirmed by Receipt # *******
For paper registrations, the applicable statement is to be inserted in paragraph 5 of the Land Transfer Tax Affidavit.  For registrations processed through Teraview, the applicable statement is to be inserted in Land Transfer Tax statement 9151 (Other remarks and explanations), which is found under the Explanations Tab.
Taxpayers reporting unregistered dispositions of land to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) must also expressly acknowledge in a covering letter that consideration has been given to the application of the NRST and whether or not it is payable on the reported transaction.

Electronic registrations

For an interim period, Ontario’s electronic registration system (operated by Teranet) will not be able to collect the NRST. During this interim period, to ensure compliance with the legislation, affected purchasers/transferees should pre-pay both the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST directly to the MoF’s office in Oshawa.  Once the MoF accepts the pre-payment of the taxes, the transfer may be registered electronically without further payment of Land Transfer Tax or NRST.
The Ministry will provide a letter confirming receipt of NRST with a receipt number.

Registrations made at Land Registry Offices

NRST payable on registrations that must be made at a Land Registry Office must be pre-paid directly to the MoF.  If the transfer is subject to NRST, both the Land Transfer Tax and NRST should be pre-paid directly to the MoF.
The transfer will be stamped with a direction to the Land Registrar that no further Land Transfer Tax is payable at registration and the MoF will also provide a letter confirming receipt of NRST.

Dispositions / Unregistered transfers

If a transfer will not be registered on title, a Return on the Acquisition of a Beneficial Interest in Land form, along with the payment of the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST must be submitted to the MoF within 30 days of the transfer of land.  For more information, see Land Transfer Tax and the Treatment of Unregistered Dispositions of a Beneficial Interest in Land

How to pre-pay the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST to the MoF

The following documentation must be submitted to the MoF:
For transfers to be registered and unregistered transfers / dispositions:
  1. Cheque for the Land Transfer Tax and the NRST (certified, if not drawn on the solicitor's trust account), made payable to the “Minister of Finance”
  2. Copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, with all schedules attached
  3. Copy of the draft Statement of Adjustments (if applicable)
  4. If the value of the consideration is based on the fair market value of the land, any appraisals or documentation that is evidence of the fair market value of the land
  5. Any additional documents as may be required to determine the value of the consideration
In addition, for transfers to be registered:
  1. Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative form(s), completed by each transferee
  2. Copy of the Document “in preparation” or three copies of the Transfer/Deed if registration is done on paper
  3. If registration is done on paper, two completed Land Transfer Tax Affidavits.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan Announced Today!

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan introduces a comprehensive package of measures to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. The plan includes:

Actions to Address Demand for Housing:
  1. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, implement a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations. Ontario's economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province home. The NRST would help to address unsustainable demand in this region and make housing more available and affordable, while ensuring Ontario continues to be a place that welcomes all new residents. The proposed tax would apply to transfers of land that contain at least one and not more than six single family residences. "Single family residences" include, for example, detached and semi-detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. The NRST would not apply to transfers of other types of land including multi-residential rental apartment buildings, agricultural land or commercial/industrial land. The NRST would be effective as of April 21, 2017, upon the enactment of the amending legislation.
    Refugees and nominees under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program would not be subject to the NRST. Subject to eligibility requirements, a rebate would be available for those who subsequently attain citizenship or permanent resident status as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students. See technical bulletin for further information.
Actions to Protect Renters
  1. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991. This will ensure increases in rental costs can only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Over the past ten years, the annual rent increase guideline has averaged two per cent. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above guideline increases where permitted. Legislation will be introduced that, if passed, will enact this change effective April 20.‎
  2. The government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to further protect tenants and ensure predictability for landlords. This will include developing a standard lease with explanatory information available in multiple languages, tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions, and ensuring that tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule; prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed; and making technical changes at the Landlord-Tenant Board to make the process fairer and easier for renters and landlords. These changes would apply to the entire province.
Actions to Increase Housing Supply
  1. Establishing a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply. Potential sites under consideration for a pilot project include the West Don Lands, 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets in Toronto, and other sites in the province. This builds on an agreement reached previously with the City of Toronto to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of residential units within the West Don Lands are available for affordable rental, with an additional 5 per cent of units for affordable ownership.
  2. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, empower the City of Toronto, and potentially other interested municipalities, to introduce a vacant homes property tax to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, to address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant by speculators.
  3. Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. This will encourage developers to build more new purpose-built rental housing and will apply to the entire province.
  4. Introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to further encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. Working with municipalities, the government would target projects in those communities that are most in need of new purpose-built rental housing.
  5. Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities. For example, municipalities could be permitted to impose a higher tax on vacant land that has been approved for new housing.
  6. Creating a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions. As well, a multi-ministry working group will be established to work with the development industry and municipalities to identify opportunities to streamline the development approvals process.
Other Actions to Protect Homebuyers and Increase Information Sharing
  1. The province will work to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market such as "paper flipping," a practice that includes entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person prior to closing.
  2. Working with the real estate profession and consumers, the province is committing to review the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions. This includes practices such as double ending. The government will modernize its rules, strengthen professionalism and improve the home-buying experience with a goal to make Ontario a leader in real estate standards.
  3. Establishing a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures in the Fair Housing Plan and any additional steps that are needed. The group will have a diverse range of expertise, including economists, academics, developers, community groups and the real estate sector.
  4. Educating consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
  5. Partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
  6. Making elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
  7. Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan. New provisions will include requiring that municipalities  consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes. This will help support the goals of creating complete communities that are vibrant, transit-supportive and economically competitive, while doing more to address climate change, protect the region's natural heritage and prevent the loss of irreplaceable farmland. As part of the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, enough land was set aside in municipal official plans to accommodate forecasted growth to at least 2031. Based on discussions with municipalities across the region, the government is confident that there is enough serviced land to meet the Provincial Policy Statement requirement for a three year supply of residential units. The Greenbelt provides important protection of natural heritage and farmland, and neither the area of the Greenbelt or the rules about what can occur inside of it will be weakened. The upcoming Growth Plan will promote intensification around existing and planned transit stations and will promote higher densities in the suburbs to support transit.

Actions to Date
The government has taken a number of actions over recent months and years in order to support homebuyers, increase supply of affordable and rental housing and promote fairness. These include:
  • Helping more people purchase their first home by doubling the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund for eligible first-time homebuyers to $4,000. This means eligible homebuyers in Ontario pay no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home.
  • Modernizing the Land Transfer Tax to reflect the current real estate market, including increasing rates on one or two single-family residence over $2 million. Revenue generated from the increased rates is being used to fund the enhancements to the First-Time Homebuyers Refund.
  • Making it easier for not-for-profit affordable housing providers to buy surplus government lands.
  • Introducing an inclusionary zoning framework for municipalities that will enable affordable housing units as part of residential developments.
  • Amending the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act to support second units, allowing homeowners to create rental units in their primary residence and creating additional supply.
  • Freezing the municipal property tax burden for  multi-residential apartment buildings in communities where these taxes are high.
  • Collecting information about Ontario's real estate market to support evidence-based policy development
Appendix: Data and Trends on the Real Estate Market
Ontario's housing market has seen very dynamic growth in recent years, with prices in the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Golden Horseshoe rising significantly. This has been supported by economic fundamentals, including a growing population, rising employment, higher incomes and very low borrowing costs.
House prices have been rising at a robust pace in the Greater Toronto Area since the end of the 2008-09 recession.
After two consecutive years of double-digit gains, average house prices in the Toronto region reached $916,567 in March 2017, up 33.2 per cent from a year earlier.
See image "Toronto Home Resale Prices"
The Greater Toronto Area showed the sharpest rise in home prices in Ontario over the past two years.
While the growth rate of prices of homes in the Greater Vancouver Area have been slowing since August 2016 after the introduction of B.C.'s foreign-buyers tax, home prices have been climbing steadily in the Greater Toronto Area.
See image "MLS Home Price Index", "Greater Toronto Area Price Increases Outstrip Other Cities" and "Housing supply in Ontario seems to be aligning with demographics".
According to Urbanation, the average rent per square foot for new leases in the Greater Toronto Area condo market rose 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier, the fastest pace of growth since at least 2011.
The number of owners with more than one residential property has been rising steadily since 2000.

See image "Number of Owners With More Than One Residential Property in the GTHA: 2000-16".

Thursday, April 6, 2017



April 2017 Toronto Real Estate Report

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 12,077 residential sales through TREB's MLS® System in March 2017. This result represented a 17.7 per cent increase compared to the 10,260 sales reported in March 2016. For the TREB market area as a whole, annual sales growth was strongest for condominium apartments and detached houses.
The number of new listings also increased on a year-over-year basis, at 17,051 – a 15.2 per cent increase compared to March 2016. The strongest growth in new listings was experienced in the detached market segment. While new listings were up strongly compared to last year, the rate new listings growth was still lower than the rate of sales growth. As a result, GTA market conditions continued to tighten.
It has been encouraging to see that policymakers have not implemented any knee-jerk policies regarding the GTA housing market. Different levels of government are holding consultations with market stakeholders and TREB has participated and will continue to participate in these discussions. Policy makers must remember that it is the interplay between the demand for and supply of listings that influences price growth.
Strong competition between buyers continued to cause high levels of price growth in all major market segments. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark Price was up by 28.6 per cent year-over-year. For the TREB market area as a whole, the average selling price was up by 33.2 per cent, with similar annual rates of growth in the low-rise and condominium apartment segments.
Annual rates of price growth continued to accelerate in March as growth in sales outstripped growth in listings. A substantial period of months in which listings growth is greater than sales growth will be required to bring the GTA housing market back into balance. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Listed this Great Liberty Village Condo For Sale

51 East Liberty St unit 601, Toronto. 

Offered at $395,000

Fabulous Condo In Vibrant Liberty Village Downtown Location. Just Steps To All Amenities & Ttc. Great Unit With 570Sq Ft Of Living Space + 84 Sq Ft Balcony With Good View. Features Include 9Ft Ceilings, Upgraded European Style Kitchen With Mosaic Backsplash,Granite Counters & Stainless Steel Appliances, Laminate Floors Throughout, 2 Baths With Upgraded Granite Counters & Tiles,Stand Up Glass Shower, Good Size Balcony With Nice Southwest Exposure.
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 2017 Toronto Real Estate Report

The Toronto Real Estate Board announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS reported 8,014 residential sales through TREB’s MLS System in February 2017. This result was up on a year-over-year basis by 5.7 per cent compared to 7,583 sales reported last year. The February statistics tell me that many Greater Toronto Area households continue to view home ownership as a great long-term investment.

The high demand for ownership housing we’re seeing is broad-based, with strong sales growth for most low-rise home types and condominium apartments. This makes sense given the results of a recent consumer survey undertaken for TREB by Ipsos, which found an even split between intending first-time buyers and existing homeowners who indicated that they were planning on purchasing a home in 2017. According to the recent Ipsos survey of intending GTA home buyers, first-time buyers will continue to account for much of the demand for ownership housing in Toronto and the surrounding regions. For the GTA as a whole, 53 per cent of likely buyers indicated that they would be first-timers – up from 49 per cent a year earlier. First-time buying intentions were highest in the City of Toronto, where 64 per cent of likely home purchasers indicated they would be first-timers – up from 56 per cent a year earlier. The higher percentage of first-time buyers in the City of Toronto likely relates to the prevalence of condominium apartments, which are a popular entry point into home ownership.

There has also been much speculation, both in the media and among government policymakers, about the amount of foreign buying activity in the GTA. A recent Ipsos survey of the TREB membership on foreign buying activity suggests that the impact of foreign buyers in the GTA marketplace has been somewhat overblown. GTA-wide, the number of transactions accounted for by foreign buyers was less than five per cent. Furthermore, the great majority – 80 per cent, to be exact – of foreign buyers were purchasing a home as a primary residence, a home for another family member to live in, or as an investment to rent out to a tenant, which is helpful in a tight rental market.

To date, the provincial government and municipal governments have resisted the implementation of a foreign buyer tax in the absence of empirical evidence. The Ipsos survey of TREB Members should further solidify the argument that the solution to strong rates of price growth and related affordability concerns lies not with taxing foreign buyers more, but rather with addressing the supply of homes available for sale, or lack thereof.

While the demand for ownership housing grew over the past year, new listings entered into TREB's MLS System in February were down on a year-over-year basis by 12.5 per cent to 9,834. This continues a pattern we saw throughout much of 2016, with the sales trend pointing up while the listings trend has been down, which has resulted in a contraction of the inventory of homes available for sale.

The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments. Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue.

The average selling price was up by 27.7 per cent year-over-year to $875,983. Annual rates of price growth continued to be strongest for low-rise home types, particularly detached houses. Growth rates for condominium apartment prices were also in the double digits, likely a result of strong demand from firsttime buyers.

Over the past year, we have reached a point where government policies that target only the demand side of the market, whether we're talking about foreign buyers or further changes to mortgage lending guidelines, will not be enough to balance market conditions and moderate the pace of price growth, policymakers at all three levels of government must turn their attention to the supply of homes available for sale. They should consider revisiting land-use designations in built-up areas to allow for a greater diversity of home types, streamlining development approvals and permitting processes, and looking at ways to incentivize landowners to develop their land.

For more questions on the Toronto Real Estate Market or if you are looking to buy or sell a property or have a friend who may be looking to buy or sell a property feel free to contact me at 416-856-5408 or by email at