Toronto Real Estate News from Helene Kerr October 2019   

As always, my newsletter kicks off with TREB's analysis of the Toronto real estate market's past month, along with my on-the-ground view of what's happening in the central core.  Speaking of central core real estate, if you were waiting for the open house on my listing at 380 Macpherson Avenue, I'm sorry to disappoint you ... it sold in 4 days, over asking.  Read more about how I did that in the article below.

Aside from Halloween, the end of the month always brings the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to Toronto ... see below for the dates and a link to all the happenings.

If you’re finding it hard to save up for a down payment, you may have considered purchasing a home with a friend or relative. This month’s article offers some great advice on co-ownership.

There are also a few tips on how to keep your furnace in tip-top shape as well as some cool uses for mismatched socks!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please reach out 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 down compared to same time last year.

Toronto Real Estate Board President Michael Collins announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,825 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in September 2019.

This result represented strong year-over-year sales growth of 22 per cent compared to 6,414 sales reported in September 2018. It is important to note, however, that sales remain well-below the record September 2016 peak of more than 9,800 sales.

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the September 2019 sales level remained in virtually the same as the August 2019 result.

The supply of listings continued to be a concern in September 2019, with new listings down by 1.9 per cent year-over-year to 15,611. We have experienced multiple months this year wherein the annual rate of sales growth outpaced the annual rate of new listings growth, resulting in the overall number of active listings at month-end being well-below last year’s levels. This speaks to tightening market conditions and an accelerating annual rate of price growth.

“Demand for ownership housing increased throughout the spring and summer of 2019 compared to the very slow pace of sales experienced in 2018. That being said, many first-time buyers are still experiencing difficulty finding an affordable home,” said Mr. Collins.

“Federal parties vying for seats in the October election have pledged to alleviate affordability issues hampering first-time buyers with a variety of policy proposals. While these demand-side proposals are important, it is also important that all levels of government remain focused on promoting a sustainable supply of different housing types moving forward.”

The annual rate of price growth in September reached the highest point so far in 2019. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 5.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis in September. The average selling price for all home types combined was up by a similar annual rate of 5.8 per cent to $843,115.

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the September 2019 average selling price was up by 1.2 per cent compared to August 2019.

“It is interesting to note that market conditions for detached homes have tightened over the past year. In many of the regions surrounding the City of Toronto, detached price growth was above the rate of inflation on an annual basis. Consumer polling conducted for TREB over the past few years has pointed out that many intending home buyers are still focused on ground-oriented housing. This points to the need for a greater diversity of housing types to bridge the gap between detached houses and condominium apartments,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

“Statistics Canada’s most recent national population estimate represented the highest twelve month population increase ever recorded. This growth was driven by immigration, of which the GTA was likely a key beneficiary due to its strong regional economy and diversity. As a result, the demand for all types of housing in the GTA – rental and ownership – will remain strong. This fact underpins the need for immediate and sustained action on housing supply,” said TREB CEO John DiMichele.

Helene's View:  It is my view that the Toronto real estate market is definitely a compilation of micro-climates, and that while TREB tries to provide a consolidated picture of the market as a whole, the result is that the view, on the ground, certainly in the central core of Toronto, is somewhat different.  When it comes to detached and semi-detached homes, what I am seeing is a very choppy market, with a number of what I would consider to be good homes, not badly priced, just sitting beyond their offer dates.  On the other hand, I have seen some truly crazy prices being achieved for small, downtown condos ... even ones that do not have parking or even a locker.  In both cases, lack of supply (i.e. choice) is making matters worse ... in the case of condos, it is driving prices further up; in the case of houses, it's allowing picky buyers to remain on the sidelines.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will soon be trotting into town!

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is returning to Exhibition Place on Friday, November 1st and runs right through the week until Sunday, November 10th.

Since its inception way back in the fall of 1922, the "Royal" has become the largest indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition in the world, drawing more than 340,000 visitors each year.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a deep-rooted Canadian tradition where animals are the stars of the show! You’ll be able to check out beautiful horses, expert sheepherding border collies, amazing jumping rabbits and more, all under one roof!

There will also be numerous agricultural displays, a variety of kids’ activities, a wide range of culinary events and lots of shopping opportunities, so bring along the entire family for a fun-filled day out!

Co-ownership -- Will Your Friendship Survive? 
Planning is key if you’re thinking of purchasing a property with a friend!
If you’re tired of renting but can’t quite scrape together a down payment for a home of your own, you may need to get creative. One option is to purchase a property with a friend or relative.
Co-ownership makes it so much easier to buy a home, as you’re able to share the down payment and monthly expenses. It’s a partnership you don’t want to enter into lightly though as there are pros and cons.
On the plus side, it’s much more affordable, so you’ll be able to start building up equity instead of constantly throwing your money away on rent.
The drawbacks, however, include a lack of privacy and the potential loss of a valuable friendship. You may like and trust each other now, but things could change once you start living together.
Determine first whether your personality styles are a match. If you’re a neat freak and your friend doesn’t know one end of a vacuum from the other, then problems may arise.
Also, think about how you like to spend your leisure time. If you prefer spending quiet nights at home, but they’re more of a party person who loves to host, it may not be a great match.
If you’ve determined that you're a good fit, the first thing you’ll want to do is visit a mortgage broker to get pre-approved and lock in the lowest rate to protect yourself in case they rise while you’re out house hunting.
Next, draw up a list of essential items such as location and parking. Seemingly small issues, like who’s getting the master bedroom, may create future tension so sort out these types of details ahead of time.
Finally, draw up a contract that addresses potential problems and spells out maintenance issues. This is a business deal, so discuss worst-case scenarios such as death or how to proceed if one person wants to sell, but the other doesn’t.
Building up your financial security through co-ownership can work well for both parties if you have an open line of communication before, during and after you buy a home. A solid plan will help eliminate future problems, so you can enjoy the benefits of co-ownership while remaining friends for life!

Now You See It, Now You Don't 
If you were waiting for the weekend open house to see this fabulous condo in the Casa Loma neighbourhood, I am sorry to disappoint you ... it sold in 4 days over asking.  How did that happen?  The owner and I worked together to execute the marketing plan that I had drawn up ... a plan that included careful analysis of previous sales in the building, fresh paint, new light fixtures, a top-notch stager, professional photography, a comprehensive virtual tour, social media and print advertising, and more.

Let me achieve similar results for you!  Simply click here to arrange for your no-cost home or condo evaluation.

Not Just a Bunch of Hot Air 
Check your furnace now to save on costly repair bills down the road!

When we're poking around in the basement, we don’t give the furnace a second thought; that is until the weather turns cold and it’s time to fire it up!

The last thing you want is for your heat to fail on the coldest night of the year when service calls cost a fortune. Here are a few tips that’ll help keep your furnace in tip-top shape:

  1. All Clear - Keep the area around the furnace clear of dust and obstructions and never store any kind of flammable material nearby.

  2. Fix the Filter - Make sure to regularly clean or replace your air filter, as dirty filters block airflow, which causes the furnace to work overtime.

  3. Seal & Save - Seal up air leaks with caulking or weather strips and always open your drapes on sunny days and close them at night to keep the heat in.

  4. Go Pro - Have your furnace serviced by a licensed technician, as it will run more efficiently and help you avoid costly repairs.

Regular furnace maintenance will increase efficiency, reduce energy use and prevent general wear and tear. Think of it as an investment rather than an expense as it'll help you avoid huge, unexpected repairs down the road.

Knock Your Socks Off! 
These handy home hacks give new meaning to the phrase “put a sock in it!”

We all have those odd, mismatched socks kicking around at home. Instead of tossing them in the trash, here are a few clever ways to put them back into service:

  1. Sock Puppet - Throw a sock on your hand and start dusting. It works especially well on blinds!

  2. Fog is Lifting - Fill a sock with kitty litter and place it in your car to keep the windows from fogging up.

  3. Icebreaker - Reusable ice packs are extremely cold against bare skin, so cover them with odd socks to make them more tolerable.

Don’t let single socks get you off on the wrong foot. Hunt down all those mismatched socks that have been kicking around for years and put them to good use!

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.