Below are some interesting real estate news articles over the last month that you may have missed, you can click on the title to read the article from the original source.
My favourites include:
- Beach Home for sale, but it will cost you $50 to see it.
- History of the “Bakery Wars” at Ossington and Dundas
- Condos are not subject to rent control hikes that residential apartments are.
- Hey! That Condo ate my dance club. The disappearance of Toronto clubs to condo development
- Semi-detached house missing its other half turns heads
Just a reminder that Mother’s Day is May 12th and Victoria Day is May 20th this year.
Thanks for reading
Market Conditions Promote Price Growth in April
May 3, 2013 — Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 9,811 sales through the TorontoMLS system in April 2013, representing a dip of two per cent in comparison to 10,021 transactions in April 2012. Both new listings during the month and active listings at the end of April were up on a year-over-year basis.
“Despite the headwinds we have experienced in the housing market this year, April sales came in quite strong in comparison to last year. As we move through the spring and into the second half of 2013, the demand for home ownership should continue to
firm-up relative to last year,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Ann Hannah.
“It has been almost a year since the federal government enacted stricter mortgage lending guidelines. It is realistic to surmise that some households, who originally put their decision to purchase on hold, are once again looking to buy,” continued Ms.
The average selling price for April 2013 transactions was $526,335 – up by two per cent in comparison to April 2012. The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark Price was up by 2.9 per cent.
“The condominium apartment segment in the City of Toronto was a key driver of price growth in April, with both the average selling price and the MLS HPI apartment index up on a year-over-year basis. The improved condo sales picture, with Toronto sales down by only one per cent compared to last year, suggests that interest in condo ownership may be improving,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Click here to see Full Report [pdf]
Historic Annual Sales and Average Price [pdf]
Why it’s harder for self-employed to get a mortgage
Vick Vij knows all about the challenges self-employed folks face when they try to get a mortgage.
The Markham-based chartered accountant went through the arduous process a few years back. He also regularly deals with self-employed clients looking to purchase a home. “It can definitely be more complicated for them,” he says.
Where mortgage applicants with steady, salaried jobs can document their annual income with a T4 slip, the self-employed — entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelance professionals with a changing clientele and no regular paycheque — are assessed based on stated income, or the amount the borrower claims to earn, which they must prove with tax returns, contracts and financial statements.
“They don’t have a lot of verifiable pieces of paper that substantiate their income,” Vij says. “So the bank or mortgage broker is going to have to do more due diligence to gain comfort about their numbers.”
Beach home for sale, but it’ll cost you $50 just to see it
It’s a rare and iconic Beach-area home, perched on a cliff with its own steps leading to Lake Ontario.
It’s listed for close to $5 million.
There’s just one catch — a $50 fee simply to see it.
The owner has opted not to have the standard realtor tours and open houses. Instead, agents and their interested clients are asked to make donations to walk the sprawling one-acre property known as Edgemont or, as the sign on the front gate says, 1 Fallingbrook Rd.
The money will go to the SickKids Foundation .
Long before the hipsters invaded Dundas and Ossington, the area was ground zero for Toronto’s bakery wars.
During the last decades of the 19th century, the Toronto bread market was a battleground. Bakers faced resistance from housewives used to making their own loaves and tough battles for customers with an increasing supply of commercial competitors. When teenager George Weston entered the business in the early 1880s, the future food mogul joined nearly 60 other city bakers and nearly 60 more confectioneries.
Another long-lasting bread name who entered the field at this time was James Dempster. Born in Scotland in 1855, Dempster’s family migrated to Toronto and established a bakery at the northeast corner of Argyle Street and Dovercourt Road, later the site of rival firm Ideal Bread. During the early 1890s, James struck out on his own to open Dempster’s Staff of Life bakery, which settled into its permanent home on the north side of Dundas Street west of Ossington Avenue after the turn of the century. Though it remained in the same location for the next half-century, its address changed several times due to expansions and the eastern extension of Dundas Street past Ossington during World War I.
Like other period bakers, Dempster stressed the purity of his products and baking processes, urging customers in a 1915 ad “don’t spoil the meal with inferior bread.” Several years later, the bakery reminded patrons that “when you wed yourself to a particular loaf of bread, do not choose it because of its beauty, but because of its quality and flavour.”
Neighbourhood News: Yonge and Eglinton grows up
Nearly five years ago, Sandi and Gus De Camargo reached a point in their relationship where they grappled with one of adulthood’s most pressing pickles: diapers or drinks?
When it was determined they could indeed have both a family and a freewheeling lifestyle, the married couple started scouting real estate. They lived on the Danforth for three years. Then, after becoming pregnant with their second child, they realized good souvlaki should not be the sole motivator for staying.
“With the exception of Jackman Avenue Public School, the Danforth didn’t have exactly what we were looking for,” says Ms. De Camargo, a real estate agent; Mr. De Camargo works in IT. “We wanted the suburban lifestyle that offered excellent schools in the district and we liked being able to walk down the street to go out to dinner — Yonge and Eglinton had the whole package.”
Rent control loophole blamed for rising condo rents
The Ontario government needs to close a loophole that has created a “two-tiered system of renters” — an increasing number of them in new downtown condos where some landlords are jacking up rents as a form of economic eviction, says the head of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations.
The federation has had numerous calls from condo tenants, surprised to discover that apartment or condominium buildings occupied after November 1, 1991 are exempt from rent controls.
Some have been slapped with rent increases three times or more than the 2.5 per cent mandated by the province for older buildings and are shocked to discover they have no legal recourse but to move, says Geordie Dent, executive director of the tenant advocacy group.
TTC riders opt for 12-day closure of Pape Station
TTC riders at Pape say they prefer to have the pain of a station closure delivered in one 12-day dose, rather than over the course of six consecutive weekends.
An online survey earlier this month found about half of the 2,842 respondents preferred a construction closure of 12 straight days over staggered weekend closures or keeping the station open during construction but forcing riders to use a less convenient, second exit.
The work will likely take place in late May or June with most of the construction to be completed by Sept., said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. However, some of the renovations will progress later into the fall.
The $37 million Pape renovation budget includes $13 million for modernization, $12 million for an elevator and $12 million for a second exit
Condo renters pay hefty price for downtown living
Kerri Lynn McAllister was shocked last month to receive notice of an almost 10 per cent increase — $150 a month — on the downtown condo she and her boyfriend had been renting for $1,625.
She was even more surprised to find out the hike — three times what’s allowed for most apartments under provincial rent controls — was perfectly legal.
“I thought this was wrong because we were protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act,” says McAllister, 27, who lives in a 700 square foot condo near Adelaide St. and University Ave.
“I was shocked, and all my friends who live in condos were shocked, to find out that we are powerless,” said McAllister, who works for a Canadian mortgage rate comparison website.
In photos: Cardboard furniture? 7 cool (and eco-friendly) creations for your home
Lured by cardboard’s eco-cred and malleability, many innovative minds are turning the plain beige material into artistic products
HGTV Magazine shares how one couple transformed their drab backyard into an exceptional double-porch sanctuary.
When Sarah and Peter Love moved to Birmingham, AL, in 2008, Peter was set on finding a property with a great backyard like they’d had in their old Charlotte, NC, home, with a nice grassy area for playing with their dog, Grace, and outdoor space for lounging around and hosting parties.
What they found instead was a 1940s cottage with a good layout inside but a sad situation out back. “There was one measly uncovered deck and some seriously spotty landscaping,” says Peter. It wasn’t at all what he had in mind, but he was confident it could become the backyard of their dreams.
Fast-forward five months, two decks, and a lush lawn later….(read on to see for yourself)
Canada’s housing market drawing the big-money crowd
Sotheby’s International Realty is seeing a surge in demand from wealthy Syrians, Egyptians and Europeans looking for a safe and relatively stable place to park their millions — Canada’s softening real estate market.
There has been an uptick in “very significant transactions” in tony areas like Oakville and North Toronto by Europeans, many with young families who originally had planned to settle in the U.S. but fell in love with Canada instead, says Sotheby’s Canada CEO Ross McCredie.
At the same time, Montreal’s exclusive Westmount area has become top of the real estate wish list for high-net worth Syrians and Egyptians looking for a safe haven for their money and families, he added.
China property prices climb as cities defy government policies to cool housing market
All real estate markets are local, says the industry axiom, one that China’s central government is painfully aware of as its efforts to rein in home prices are undermined by uncooperative municipal authorities.
Former Premier Wen Jiabao, in his final endeavour to make housing affordable, set an April 1 deadline for higher down payments and interest rates for second-home loans in cities with “excessively fast” price gains and ordered stricter enforcement of taxes on sales. Thirty-five provincial-level cities responded with measures insufficient to curb prices that climbed 150% from 2003 to 2012.
“The local governments are just making a gesture to show they are following the orders,” said Ding Shuang, a senior China economist with Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. “Some of the targets are almost like jokes. The government’s enforcement of policies will be compromised.”
Ontario Place Redux: a Unique Plan for a Unique Destination
Scott Dickson wants to pitch you an exciting idea that he calls, Ontario Place Redux. Imagine having a ‘Caribbean’ style waterpark at Ontario Place, coupled with the creation a 60 acre, floating, car-free, village over Lake Ontario. Dickson says the technology is there. But can a city like Toronto find it in itself to embrace such a radical vision?
Don Jail has done its time: After 150 years of controversy, notorious Toronto facility to be shut down
The Don Jail is full of ghosts.
Ghosts of the executed, of the murdered, of the suicides; ghosts of their countless victims, whose legacies are forever tied to these men. The terrible history hangs heavy in the hallways, reveals itself in the etchings on cell walls, still preserved beneath layers of thick paint.
But after casting its shadow over east-end Toronto for a century and a half — surviving a raft of controversies and repeated calls for reform — the city’s most notorious jail is preparing to ship out its final inmates and shut down for good. The oldest section, featuring the iconic limestone image of Father Time above its entrance, has already morphed into administrative offices for the new Bridgepoint hospital next door, which begins treating patients this weekend. The rest of the Don, attached to the east end of the original building, will be decommissioned and torn down once the province opens its replacement, the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke, this fall.
Four ways to make your home more appealing
When you are preparing to put a home on the market, there is always a great deal of preparation involved in making sure that the property is in good shape. Any necessary repairs must be addressed, fresh paint jobs are often encouraged, and of course houses must be fully cleaned.
However, if you want to maximize your home’s potential on the market, there are also several little steps you can take to make it more appealing during viewings. Here are 4 quick tips for ways to make your home stand out, and to give potential buyers a real glimpse of just how nice the property can look.
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 projexity.com, 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.
Who says the smallest room in the house can’t pack the biggest punch? Check out these 30 stylish bathrooms.
With clubs disappearing, where will Toronto dance?
The bright aisles of the Shoppers Drug Mart at King St. West and Strachan is an orderly and Muzak-filled place, a big change from the incredibly loud, dark, and crowded nights this space housed from 1996 to 2000 when it was Toronto’s legendary Industry nightclub.
Legendary because it was one of those rare nightclubs where a bunch of cultures met without fuss — gay, straight, white, black, suburb, downtown — around a shared love of dance music. When a club works the way Industry did, it is alchemy. Social barriers fall away as people dance together in a sweaty heap.
“Clubs are where people meet and intersect; it’s so much more than just about drinking,” says Denise Benson, a DJ who writes about the history of Toronto’s clubs in a bi-monthly Grid magazine column. “It’s where people can define themselves culturally and where new sounds and art forms come from.”
The top 10 cleaning mistakes you’re making
It’s that time of year again … spring cleaning. And while you’re busy dusting, mopping and sweeping every nook and cranny in your home, it’s easy to do it wrong. Here are the top 10 cleaning mistakes experts say most people make.
Semi-detached house missing its other half turns heads
The 120-year-old residence at 54 ½ St. Patrick St. bears the scars of a development battle.
The Victorian row house was awkwardly severed from its neighbour in the 1970s when the owners refused to sell, and it lacks the symmetry of another side.
It is literally “half a house,” says its current owner, Albert Zikovitz, laughingly from his adjacent office in the Cottage Life Magazine building. “Everybody looks at it.”