Pad to Pad April 2013 Newsletter

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Below are some interesting real estate news articles over the last month, you can click on the title to read the article from the original source.



My favourites include:

  • The Crane operator who takes pictures from 700’ up.
  • Everyone’s favourite colour is blue, but for each can of blue paint we buy, we also buy a swimming pool of yellow – Which is everyone’s least favourite colour.
  • The 33 most beautiful abandon places in the word.  And they’re not all in Detroit.

Just a reminder that even though it snowed on April 1st, spring is coming… soon… maybe.

Thanks for reading,


Average Price up in March and First Quarter

April 3, 2013 — Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,765 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in March 2013 – down 17 per cent compared to 9,385 transactions in March 2012. While the year-over-year dip in March sales followed the trend that has unfolded since mid-way through 2012, it is also important to note that the Good Friday holiday was in March this year versus April in 2012. Generally speaking, there are fewer sales reported on statutory holidays and weekends.

In the first quarter of 2013, sales amounted to 17,678 – down by 14 per cent compared to Q1 2012.

“Home ownership remains affordable for a household earning the average income in the Greater Toronto Area. There are many willing buyers in the marketplace today. While some households have put their decision to purchase on hold as a result of stricter lending guidelines or the additional Land Transfer Tax in the City of Toronto, other households simply haven’t been able to find the right house due to a shortage of listings in some market segments,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.

The average selling price in March was $519,879 – up by 3.8 per cent compared to March 2012. The average price in Q1 2013 was $508,066 – up by 3.2 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012.

“The average selling price and the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up on a year-over-year basis across most home types, especially in the low-rise market segments where supply remains an issue. TREB’s average price forecast for 2013 remains at $515,000, representing a 3.5 per cent annual rate of growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Click here to see Full Report [pdf]

Historic Annual Sales and Average Price [pdf]


Market 707 turns to crowd funding to build patio, new retail space

It’s already proven to be the little community economic development project that could. And it hopes to get even better.

Market 707, comprised of four re-furbished shipping containers housing 12 small businesses — 11 “street food” eateries and a bike repair shop — is partnering with a new “crowd-sourcing” website called, a Toronto-based company that bills itself as “democratizing urban change,” to raise funds to create permanent seating and a portable stage.

In operation since 2011, Market 707 — the brainchild of the adjacent Scadding Court Community Centre — has already begun to turn a formerly dreary corner of Dundas St. W. and Bathurst St. into a thriving community hub.


View from the Top

Toronto Crane Operator, Robert MacFarlane, at the L Tower near Union Station recently has been taking photos from his birds nest above the city.  You can follow him and see his pixs here


Ghost City: 672 Dupont St.

This architecturally preserved building, established in 1915 on the corner of Dupont and Christie, was once home to a Ford plant—complete with a rooftop track.

Employees of the Ford Motor Company likely smiled as 1915 dawned. During a January banquet at the automaker’s recently opened plant at the northwest corner of Dupont and Christie, employees learned they were receiving an across-the-board raise and would soon be joined by a fresh batch of co-workers. There aren’t any reports, however, as to whether workers celebrated by taking extra spins in freshly-built Model Ts on the rooftop test track.

The public was invited to check out the facilities when the plant formally opened during the week of February 22, 1915. Originally bearing the address of 548-558 Dupont St. (it switched to the current street number of 672 later that year), the building’s first floor served as a public vehicle showroom. The second floor contained an unloading area for crates filled with engines, transmissions, and other parts shipped in by train that were required to assemble Model Ts. A repair shop occupied the third floor, an assembly line the fourth. The paint shop on the fifth offered one colour option: black. A freight elevator took finished vehicles to the roof for a test drive, where a four-foot-high wall prevented them from flying off the building. Grand opening celebrations included an open house and the novelty of corporate films.


The world’s top-selling paint colour?  Turns out it’s the world’s least favourite colour

Globally, we buy more of our least favourite paint colour for our homes than we do of our most favourite.

Five per cent of respondents to a 3o+-country survey done for Dulux, the paint company, said they prefer the colour yellow. Thirty-six per cent said they prefer blue. Yellow sells best worldwide.

So how does it happen that the cheery hue that made funky submarines and Post-It Notes famous outsells all other paint colours by volume despite being so low on the popularity poll?

Dulux Brand Director Martin Tustin-Fuchs says yellow works well in the home because “it’s a warm, happy colour that represents renewal and brightens spirits.” Blues tend to the cooler end of the colour temperature spectrum, so they may be popular for smaller feature walls or accents rather than full rooms.

“For every can of blue paint sold,” Mr. Tustin-Fuchs says, “you can almost fill an Olympic-size pool with the yellow paint that’s purchased over the counter.”


A guide for the first-time gardener

Your first home and the chance to make your first garden.  It will be a sweet, rewarding and satisfying experience, and an easier one if you get the right tools, some choice plants and a good design. Here’s a starter kit of gardening tips.

Ten tools or less can tackle most jobs. As the garden grows, you can add specialty tools, but you won’t need them right away. If you can afford it, buy the best tools possible. Good tools will last a lifetime, and will be a joy to work with, the handles will be comfortable, the steel strong and the blades sharp.


The hot new reno for urban dwellers: designer sound-proofing

Hundreds of people have been lining up at the Ideal Home Show in London every day for the last two weeks to get inside a house.  Its chief feature? It’s quiet.

Billed as the world’s first Quiet House, the building features the quietest appliances available on the market – silent fans, a “whisper light” hair dryer, quiet shower pumps – and other solutions, like soft-close toilet seats and wake-up lights instead of alarms, to quell unwanted noise.


First-time buyers find Toronto real estate market hot as ever

First-time homebuyers Jody and Michael Fegelman have heard a lot of talk over the last year about Canada’s cooling housing market. All the couple have felt is the sting of its heat.

During their 1½-year search for a home for their two young children, the Fegelmans have been on the losing end of three grueling bidding wars. They have paid for a home inspection on a place someone else got by paying $80,000 over the asking price.

They’ve felt heartache, disappointment and fear that their children Jack, 5, and Lilly, 2½, would be renters for life.

“My parents just kept saying, ‘Wait. Prices are going to come down,’ says Fegelman. “But the truth is, there is a boom going on in Toronto. I don’t think things will change or bidding wars will stop.”


Echo kids are moving on — from their parents’ homes to downtown rentals

Baby boomers rejoice.

All those twenty-something echo “kids” who have been living at home in the wake of the 2008 recession seem to be finally moving out of their childhood bedrooms and into the real world now that job prospects are looking brighter.

Only problem is, they are fuelling some of the most intense demand for rental accommodation seen in Toronto in the last 20 years.

“Huge pent-up demand” among 25- to 30-year-olds, combined with more people opting to rent rather than buy since the condo market started softening last summer, is putting significant pressure on Toronto’s rental market, says Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation market analyst Shaun Hildebrand.


The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places In The World

The pictures speak loader.  My favourite in number 25 “House of the Bulgarian Communist Party”



Ghost City: 1677 Wilson Ave.

Once upon a time, Toronto’s biggest and most swing’ lounge could be on Wilson near Highway 400.  No, really.

Everyone told Jack Fisher he was crazy. Observers thought the veteran entertainment promoter lost his marbles when he opened a downtown-quality night club in North York. Especially in a location whose nearest landmark was the interchange of highways 400 and 401. Fisher proved the naysayers wrong when he packed the house nightly at the Beverly Hills Motor Hotel.


This home could be yours for $100, and one persuasive essay

Calvin and Diana Brydges own a thrift store on the main drag of Aylmer, Ont., population 7,151. They sell vinyl LPs by Johnny Cash or Gladys Knight & the Pips for $5 or less. A cream-coloured armchair costs $10; an autographed picture of Lenny Kravitz goes for $45.

Or, for $100 and a few pages of inspired writing, you can have their house.


Condo Culture: Budget for condo fees to climb after one year

Q  We just purchased a new condo eight months ago and I hear our condo fees may increase significantly once the developer’s budget ends this year. Why would we need any significant increase when everything is so new and doesn’t need significant repairs or anything? I can understand a small increase but not a significant one. Your comments please!


New kitchen for less than $4,000

A brand new kitchen (including all appliances) for four grand. Is this really possible?

So your kitchen, decoratively speaking, is dying. No amount of paddling, even if administered by George Clooney’s electric touch — as witnessed during his early ER days — could tempt the rickety wreck back from the depths of designer demise. You face facts. It’s an elderly fit out; it’s had a very good run.

Reality settling, you wipe your eyes. Your family, gathered in the ominously grave space, weeps silently, lamenting the past. The air is still, save for the intermittent beeping of an ancient stove clock which slowly arrests. And then stops.


The Salons that time forgot

Despite changing trends and encroaching gentrification, these old-school haricut hang-outs have managed to survive for several decades.  We learn the secrets to their success.

Every established neighbourhood from Parkdale to Rosedale has one: the old-school hair-dressing salon that was in business back when your mom was still in pig-tails. You know them by the sun-bleached posters of vintage hairstyles displayed in the window; by the enormous hair dryers that look like space-age torture devices; by the discounts offered on perms. (Or the fact that they still offer perms). How the heck do these quaint throwbacks, independent and mostly run by women also raising families, keep the lights on year after year? We visited a random handful—and yes, we know we missed a million others—for clues. One thing we learned definitively: If you ever have an hour to kill and want to hear a fabulous true story told by someone who’s been amassing them for decades, go get yourself a trim.


The psychology of buying a home: Why do we love one place and not another?

You’d buy a sweater on impulse, but when it comes to buying a home it’s all about calm deliberation, right? You might be surprised.

Price, square footage, location: “All that can be trumped by the visceral reaction of seeing a home,” says June Cotte, who teaches marketing at University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business.

“Smells, colours, sounds you can hear inside or from the outside — you might not be aware of them, but they can have an influence.”

The layout may even subliminally remind you of the home of a former boyfriend, Ms. Cotte says. That can have a positive or negative emotional impact on how you perceive a home.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Advertising Research in 2002 said emotions can be twice as important as knowledge in consumer buying decisions. Subsequent research has determined that the role of emotion in buying situations varies by individual and circumstance, but there’s no doubt that, overall, it’s a critical factor in consumer behaviour.


The Chinese [in mainland China] are so desperate about the new property taxes they are divorcing in droves to avoid them

SHANGHAI — At Shanghai’s Zhabei District marriage registration centre, officials divorced a record 53 couples in a single day this week – that’s about one every five minutes – as couples rushed to untie the knot to avoid tougher tax laws on home sales.

There were similar scenes in Wuhan, Nanjing and Ningbo as married couples opted for ‘quickie’, uncontested divorces – costing just a few yuan – that would allow them to split ownership of their properties and sell without having to pay capital gains tax of as much as 20%.

Beijing last week signalled it wanted local governments to be tougher in implementing rules to curb property speculation – the tax on gains from selling second homes has been in place for almost two decades but never strictly enforced. Chinese tend to park much of their wealth in real estate as they have few other alternative investment options, and home prices in the biggest cities have risen for 9 straight months.


First look inside new Bridgepoint Hospital set to open in June

Ontario, Health minister Deb Matthews, along with local media got their first look Wednesday at Bridgepoint Hospital, a $60 million health facility built on the site of the former Don Jail. To be officially opened in June, the hospital is targeted towards patients living with chronic disease and disability and “is the largest health care facility of its kind in Canada,” according to official press materials.

Key parts of the original pre-confederation Don Jail have been preserved by the redevelopment, which Bridgepoint officials dubbed as a move “from a site of incarceration to a site of innovation.”