Toronto Real Estate News from Helene Kerr December 2019   

When you put your home on the market, it’s important to specify which items come with the house and which ones don't. This month’s article offers some advice that’ll help you avoid any misunderstandings.

There are also a few tips to help ensure you stay safe on the roads this holiday season, as well as a delicious holiday recipe that your guests are sure to rave about!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general. It’d be great to hear from you!


In this issue...
Toronto Real Estate Market Update 
Home sales up compared to same time last year.

Toronto Real Estate Board President Michael Collins announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,090 sales through TREB's MLS® System in November 2019 – a 14.2 per cent increase compared to November 2018.

On a GTA-wide basis, sales were up year-over-year for all major market segments. Annual sales growth in ground oriented home types, including detached houses, led the way.

New listings entered into TREB's MLS® System in November and the active listings count at the end of the month went in the opposite direction compared to last year, with new listings down 17.9 per cent year-over-year and active listings down 27.2 per cent.

"An increasing number of home buyers impacted by demand-side policies over the past three years, including the 2017 Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the OSFI mortgage stress test, have moved back into the market for ownership housing," said Mr. Collins.

“Based on affordability and stricter mortgage qualification standards, many buyers may have likely adjusted their preferences, changing the type and/or location of home they ultimately chose to purchase.”

As market conditions continued to tighten in November 2019, with increased sales up against an increasingly constrained supply of listings, the annual rate of price growth continued to accelerate. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark increased by 6.8 per cent year-over-year.

The average selling price increased by 7.1 per cent year-over-year to $843,637. Both the MLS® HPI and the average selling price for the TREB market area as a whole experienced the strongest annual rates of price growth for the year in November.

"Strong population growth in the GTA coupled with declining negotiated mortgage rates resulted in sales accounting for a greater share of listings in November and throughout the second half of 2019," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Chief Market Analyst.

“Increased competition between buyers has resulted in an acceleration in price growth. Expect the rate of price growth to increase further if we see no relief on the listings supply front.”

Take it to the Bank! 
The need for donations during the holiday season is greater than ever!

Christmas is an amazing time of year, full of joyful occasions where friends and family come together to celebrate!

That said, there are many people in the GTA who struggle to afford a nutritious meal, and it’s especially difficult during the holidays as celebrations are often centred around the dinner table.

Last year, there were over 1 million visits to food banks in the Toronto region, and over 35% of those in need were children. The demand is especially strong for agencies such as the Daily Bread Food Bank around the holiday season.

There are lots of ways to help out though! For instance, at your next office party or neighbourhood event, offer to organize a food drive and ask everyone to bring a few non-perishable food items which can then be dropped off at your local fire hall.
In addition to food & toiletries, financial donations are especially important as they give the Daily Bread Food Bank the flexibility to buy fresh food items to include in their hampers or to load up on items that are in short supply.
If you have a bit of spare time, the Daily Bread Food Bank is always looking for volunteers to help sort food, assist in the kitchen, provide administrative support and transport donations to the 135 other agencies it supports. This Christmas, let’s all do our part and give back to the community!

A Few Fixture Facts 
Spelling out fixtures early on in the real estate process is key.

Imagine the excitement as you walk through your new home a few days before closing! Your joy however quickly turns sour when you discover the antique chandelier you fell in love with has vanished.

Now imagine you're the sentimental seller packing up the chandelier your grandmother passed down to you when the angry buyer calls to confront its removal.

Unfortunately, this type of scenario plays out all too often, so here are a few tips that’ll help save you from falling into a similar situation:

  1. The Fix is In - A fixture is an item that’s physically attached to the home such as a ceiling fan or curtain rods.

  2. Chattel Challenge - A chattel is an item that can be easily removed without causing physical damage such as a hanging mirror or a fridge.

  3. List It or Lose It - Real estate law isn’t always black and white when it comes to fixtures, so make a list of your exclusions ahead of time.

  4. Sentimentality - Remove any fixtures that have sentimental value before you put your home on the market so the buyer won’t feel like they’re missing out.

  5. Hole in the Wall - There’s usually a bit of damage left behind when a fixture’s removed, so let the buyer know you’ll make the necessary repairs to help put their mind at ease.

Chattels and fixtures can often be subjective. To avoid unnecessary confusion and possible legal action, be sure to proactively specify your exclusions as soon as you put your home on the market.  Whether you’re selling or buying, you’ll want a smooth transaction where both parties walk away happy!

Simple Seasonal Travel Tips 
The holiday season is a busy time of year, especially on the roads!

It goes without saying that the holiday season is a very busy time of year! Here are a few tips to help keep you safe while you’re out on the road:

  1. Fill 'er Up - Top up your fluid levels and keep a bit of extra windshield washer fluid in the trunk for emergencies.

  2. Wipe the Slate Clean - Replace your wipers as it’s important to have a clear view, especially at night when there’s moisture.

  3. Air on the Side of Caution - Check your tire pressure when your tires are cold as it’ll give you a more accurate reading. Don't forget the spare!

  4. Be Prepared - Make sure your car contains a first aid kit, blanket, energy bars, water, candles, flashlight, safety flares and some basic tools.

Now that the roads are filling up with holiday traffic, the best safety tip is to allow a bit of extra time and be aware of other drivers who may be distracted. Properly preparing your car for the winter means you’ll not only be safer, but you’ll also enjoy peace of mind.

Make a Date with Bacon 
Everything tastes better with bacon — even dates!

If you’re looking for a simple yet delicious appetizer to serve your guests this holiday season, bacon-wrapped dates may be the answer!

These unique, sweet, crunchy, bite-sized treats are sure to tantalize even the most discerning taste buds. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • cream cheese
  • 18 pitted medjool dates
  • 6 slices of bacon (cut into thirds)

  1. Stuff each date with cream cheese, wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick.

  2. Arrange the dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan, bacon seam side down.

  3. Bake at 400℉ for 6-8 minutes, turn dates over and bake for another 6-8 minutes.

These tasty tidbits are a real crowd-pleaser, so you should probably create a double batch as your guests will likely keep coming back for more!

PS Are you sick of scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes? Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold? Sit back, relax and let me do the work for you! Just visit my website and check off the features you're looking for. Whenever a home matching your criteria hits the market, it'll be automatically flagged and emailed to you so you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home. This service is free and there's no obligation! Click here to get started.

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.