In an announcement made by Toronto Real Estate Board President Mark McLean last week, GTA REALTORS® reported 7,385 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System in November 2015 – a 14 per cent increase compared to November 2014 and a record number for November sales to date.
Toronto’s real estate market saw 96,401 sales for the first eleven months of this year. There is no doubt that 2015 will go down in history as a year Toronto real estate made the record books. High housing prices, the number of homes sold, and benchmark indexes as well as a low number of active listings, average days on market and the amount of square footage you get for a dollar–not to mention the value of the Canadian Dollar itself. However, as the year winds down, people are turning their focus away from the red-hot real estate market and putting themselves in gear for the holiday season.
Credit: Toronto Real Estate Board
December is often an interesting month in for the Toronto real estate market–sometimes, buyers bid to get into the market right before the new year while other years they wait for the fresh listings that often arrive in January. Mr. McLean remains optimistic for December, as well as the upcoming year. With one more month to go until 2016, we’ve still managed to set a record in for home sales in the TREB market area for an entire calendar year (the previous record set in 2007 and reflected all 12 calendar months).
McLean believes the widespread demand for homeownership is a priority for families in the GTA and attributes it to real estate being the best long-term investment. Despite rumours of a housing crash, Toronto continues to prosper and doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping. The other question remains–if there is no crash, will there be a correction? Will the market get out of control?
The federal Department of Finance wants to step in and increase the minimum down payment for a home from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. With stiffer borrowing rules, the market has a better chance of cooling without a drastic crash. An increase will also alleviate the taxpayers exposure to insured default losses and possibly boost sales in the condo market. First time home buyers who are only prepared to put a 5 per cent down payment must either wait until they have twice the amount of money they initially had or settle for a condo. While all these pros sound fantastic for markets like Toronto and Vancouver, other markets in the Country, especially cities that have already experienced losses in the housing market, will suffer. When will these proposed changed come into effect? We can expect the Federal Department of Finance to present the motion for additional 5 per cent on down payments to the Minister of Finance as early as January 2016.
With what seems to be a very small window to decide whether to toss the whole idea of buying a home, borrowers looking to put a smaller down payment on a home should seek the advice of a mortgage professional and reassess their budgets realistically. Increase or not, the New Year is the perfect time for families to analyze their finances to ensure sound decisions in the future.
Landlord Tip: Do NOT rent to this guy.
They make up a small percentage of renters and as much as we’d like to think they don’t exist, tenants from hell are out there and you need to know how to avoid them
You’ve heard about them and may have had one, or two yourself – late rent payments, excessive partying and noise that disrupts the entire neighbourhood, and let’s not forget the ones who through plain negligence destroy your property, resulting in hundreds to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, not to mention the headaches and legal fees that come with evicting them. The Tenants from Hell – a landlord’s worst nightmare.
Recently, a Toronto couple’s story made headlines when they discovered that their four-bedroom Victorian home in the Dundas and Ossington area was turned into an illegal boarding house while they were working abroad. Journalists Wilf Dinnick and Sonia Verna rented their home to a man who said all the right things – he was a successful business development executive at a Toronto tech company, drove a Range Rover, had over $44,000 in his chequing account and even offered to pay $4,000 per month in rent — $400 above asking to secure the lease when other potential tenants showed interest.
The tenant, Jesse Gubb, created a number of partitions in the house and illegally sublet the rooms, housing up to 16 people at a time, charging each person up to $560 per month in rent. Upon inspection, nine violations were logged resulting in over $50,000 in fines that the landlords were responsible for. Luckily, the fines were dropped due to their cooperation in the investigation leading up to Gubb’s fraud conviction. They also later discovered he was no stranger to the law, having been convicted on previous fraud and drug possession charges.
We’d like to believe that up to 99% of tenants are good people, however, there is that lingering one percent that you’d need to watch out for. Although the boarding house incident was an extreme case, it still serves as a resounding wake-up call to landlords and property investors. Properties don’t run on autopilot and damages don’t pay for themselves. One must be knowledgeable about the legal intricacies involved in renting out a property as well as the work involved. Hiring a reputable property manager to deal with everything from background, reference and credit checks, to repairs, routine maintenance, inspection and rent collection gives investors security and peace of mind, knowing that their property is being cared for and has not secretly turned into a circus venue.
The Toronto Stock Market Talent Show
The Bears have come out to bite at the TSX!
What does it mean to be rich?
What does it mean to be rich? Is it a fancy car parked in your driveway? Maybe a six or seven figure salary? For many Canadians, wealth is measured monetarily—the amount in your savings and chequing accounts, RRSPs, investments, and value of your assets. It seems as though people are on a constant chase for financial gain, seeking new ways of building capital even if it means sacrificing time that could have otherwise been spent with loved ones, in order to fill your bank account. Some people are so preoccupied with chasing financial wealth that it impacts their physical and emotional health, as well as their relationships. Wealth or “being rich” is truly a relative term, and the way you define it can determine the actions you take to achieve it. If you believe your life currently lacks abundance and happiness, will a $1 million cheque change your outlook? Not likely.
What if there was a long-term investment that provided an abundance of socio-emotional wealth? An investment that would appreciate in value, however, didn’t require time away from your family. In fact, it could provide a base for your family to grow, and could possibly pass on to future generations.
According to a study performed by TD Bank, nearly 40 per cent of investors believe real estate is an investment in which they will always see a financial benefit, with 74 per cent of respondents viewing their own home as a real estate investment. When compared to other sectors, real estate is considered an investment that people are confident will provide future returns, ranking second behind the financial sector.
Investing in property provides both financial and socio-emotional benefits. For Canadians, there are opportunities for a number of tax deductions and exemptions for homeowners. Not only is a home an asset that could be part of a portfolio, it provides a shelter for your family and can be a place to foster the of positive relationships. By teaching your children the long-term financial and emotional value of real estate early, you can help instill a mindset that understands the various forms of wealth. While traditional savings accounts may not be considered risky, they provide a low return. Instilling lessons regarding real estate as a long-term investment could lead to a rewarding path for your children, as well as future generations. Your home is one of the most valuable assets you will have in your lifetime, bring both emotional and financial return on investment. The peace of mind knowing it will provide security for your retirement, and also for your children even after you pass is something you can’t put a price on.
Questions about real estate, investments, or property management in Toronto? Contact us! We’d love write about it in an upcoming highgateproperties.ca blog post.