1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3 416-925-9191 helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com

Toronto Market Report for May 2017

The May 2017 showed an increased in average sale price year over year of 14.9% with the number of new listings increasing to 25,837 from last May’s 17,356. The number of properties sold however were down to 10,196 from 12,790 Many 2016 with an average of 11 days on Market.

We are beginning to see signs of weakening outside the city core in the 905 area. Central Toronto remains strong and properties well located and turn key continue to attract multiple offers. I have lost out to multiple offers acting for clients this past month. Buyers  however are a little more cautious and many properties seem to be going past their offer dates. Realtors are now pricing homes at a price the seller would be willing to accept rather than risking not getting the number a seller expects on offer date.

The foreign buyer tax coupled with the Home Capital news has had an effect on curbing the market. Please know I have currently have several qualified buyers for premium properties in Rosedale, Summerhill, Trinity Bellwoods, Annex. Do not hesitate to contact me if you would like a discreet sale or if you would like to discuss the value of your home I would be happy to provide you with a Current Market Valuation.

For a full commentary on the May Toronto Real Estate Report please click this link Toronto Real Estate Market Update May 2017 

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A Hidden Home Furnishings Gem in the Heart of North Rosedale.

Interior Couture 424 Summerhill Avenue www.interiorcouture.ca

I have been writing blog posts about a variety of contemporary design stores across the Toronto and realized that I have not yet written about Interior Couture, an interior design store in the heart of my neighbourhood, North Rosedale on Summerhill Avenue. I always feel it is important to shop local and keep retailers vibrant in the community. Summerhill Market is the dominant retailer of Summerhill Avenue and is a wonderful source for groceries but we sometimes overlook other retailers on that street that are certainly worth supporting.

Linda Williams Reive’s was in search for a location for her interior design office and stumbled upon this space in the heart of Rosedale. Loving the option of having some retail space in addition to a workshop this Rosedale location was perfect as it would not be too hectic and would allow time for design work.

I find the style of the store Jonathan Adler inspired with some nice bold colours including a broad selection of Designer’s Guild fabrics. Interior Couture offers full interior design services but also stocks a variety of home furnishing items: throw cushions, coffee table books, candles, soaps, towels, area rugs and other decor.

I always find Linda helpful and she seems to have some unique items I have not seen elsewhere. It is also the perfect spot to find a last minute hostess gift. Linda customizes towels and sheets. Currently there are some fabulous Canada pillows in stock to celebrate #Canada150.

I like to focus on design stores in my blog posts but given that I am writing about my neighbourhood I should point out there are a few other great retailers on the Summerhill strip.

Zoetry clothing boutique carries a nice assortment of quality lines in a quiet and relaxed environment. Owner Josh is attentive to his client’s tastes and keeps them up to date on new arrivals and upcoming sales. Rosedale’s Finest is a new specialty food shop in the neighbourhood offering prepared foods, pizzas, some great breads, cookies and desserts as well as incredible breakfast sandwich. It also provides a spot to grab a cappuccino or gourmet tea to go. It is a refreshing change from Summerhill Market for when you truly just need to pick-up a couple of things. Passion Flowers is a neighbourhood gem with a great selection of fresh flowers, orchids and potted plants. The orchids are so healthy the blooms last an incredibly longtime!

Update as of August 2017: Zoetry will be closing! It is a shame as it is nice to have diverse businesses on Summerhill Avenue. It is important to remember to support small businesses in your neighbourhood! Shop Local!

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April 2017 Real Estate Market Report

The average sale price for Toronto homes continued to rise despite both the increase of inventory and the announcement of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan as part of the spring budget. Do know that the volume of sales overall were down and we are seeing a slight change to the number of multiple offers and with some properties are going past their offer dates. A more balanced market is not a bad thing and will require a slightly different marketing plan.

Please refer to the link for the full market report from Chestnut Park Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate Market Update Apr 2017

If you would like to discuss a strategy for your own real estate needs please don’t hesitate to contact me for a confidential consultation.




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New South Rosedale Semi-Detached 82 Pricefield Road

JUST SOLD on offer date for well over ask!

82 Pricefield Road provides the perfect entry into South Rosedale!

Listed for sale at $2,095,000

Offers gratefully accepted May 2nd at noon for a 1pm review

OPEN HOUSE – April 29th and April 30th – Saturday and Sunday 2pm-4pm

The link below has the full gallery of photos for the property


The Property

Lot size 27 feet wide by 128 feet deep
Mutual drive with legal one car front yard pad parking

The front of the house has tasteful plantings surrounding the interlocking stone with parking generous enough for two cars (legal one car). The beautiful rear garden is easily accessed through a French door walkout from the spacious living room. The lovely tiered deck offers a perfect set up for summer entertaining where you can lounge and enjoy the private, landscaped garden that includes a stunning Japanese maple and a nice mix of deciduous and coniferous plantings for year round interest. For convenience, there is also access to the yard via a locked side gate.

The House

The three story semi-detached home offers the perfect entry into Rosedale for a young family and is also a great option for downsizers seeking Yonge Street proximity.

4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms
This home has 2,198 square feet above grade living with an additional 785 square feet in the lower level for a total of 2,983 square feet.

Neutral soft white design palette
Glass panel on the stairs creates a light filled stairway
Nine-foot high ceilings on the main floor
Extensive use of custom built-ins
Wide plank oak floors on the main floor and second floor
Contemporary renovated bathrooms
Halogen pot lights throughout
Central air conditioning
Water filtration system
Alarm system

Main Floor

The foyer of this home provides both a double closet and a tasteful 2-piece main floor powder room; two important items on many prospective buyers’ want lists.

The main floor is perfect for a modern family lifestyle, featuring an open concept living room and dining room with a lovely garden view and a French door walkout to the deck and landscaped yard. The fireplace is the focal point of the room, framed by custom built-in shelving on either side with excellent storage for books and collectibles.

The kitchen is located at the front of the home and abundant natural light floods in throughout the day. The south facing windows create a nice breakfast nook with a custom table and built-in cushioned bench seat. The soft white painted custom cabinetry, painted concrete counters, concrete sink, and glass tile backsplash blend together for a tasteful, monochromatic look. The centre island is the perfect spot for food preparation and conveniently contains space for the microwave on a shelf below. There is also a pantry with pull out shelves for storage. The kitchen has two access points, from the dining room and the foyer.

Second Floor

Master Bedroom
As you head upstairs you are met with a spacious master bedroom that has much to offer.A walk out to a south facing “Parisian style” deck with a frosted glass panel for privacy
The south facing bay window with a built-in window seat is perfect for cozying up with your favourite novel. Two walls of built-ins provide ample closet space in addition to extra storage for books and linens. The focal point of the master bedroom is an electric fireplace that is framed by the closets and cabinetry. A spot for your big screen TV is directly above the fireplace so you can enjoy both a nice movie and a warm fireplace at the same time. There is plenty of room for both a king size bed and an additional seating area, creating a true master sanctuary!

Master Bathroom
The 2nd floor five-piece bathroom is generously sized, beautifully finished and private
Limestone tiles
Caesarstone countertops
Double sinks
Deep soaker tub
Heated floors
Separate glass-enclosed shower
Large sandblasted picture window for natural light
Toto Toilet

Bedroom 2
The 2nd bedroom could easily function as an office. The soft white built- in custom low bookshelves can hold books or children’s toys. North facing French doors open as a Juliet balcony for fresh air on those crisp spring days!

Third Floor
Whimsical white shag broadloom throughout the third floor provides great cushioning and is therefore a practical surface for active children.

Bedroom 3
South facing dormer windows
A custom built-in shallow shelving unit on two walls is perfect to display that Lego, car, Barbie or American Girl doll collection
Large walk-in closet with built-ins

Bedroom 4
North facing dormer window
Walk-in closet with built-ins

The 4-piece bathroom serves both third floor bedrooms
A skylight provides good natural light
Caesarstone countertop with and undermount sink
Ceramic tiles
Toto toilet
Heated floors


The recreation room was dug down to provide good ceiling height and has plenty of built-ins, including custom sectional seating and cushions. There is no need to worry as to whether a sofa will fit down the stairs as there is already one there! Ceilings are high enough that the space could also be used as a gym. Practical engineered wood and wood laminate floors.The office area is perfect as a homework nook for kids or a home office.

A 3-piece washroom serves the lower level.

Laundry room has good space for ironing and hanging delicates and has been updated with LG washer and dryer.

Central air conditioning (previous owners)
Furnace new (2017)
Frosted glass panels (2010)
New fridge (2015)
Upgraded security system, currently monitored by Avante (2010)
Landscaping (2010-2017)
Painted concrete counters (2010 and 2017)
Custom cabinetry in bedroom 2 and bedroom 3 (2010)
New electrical panel with 200-amp service (2010)
Water filtration system (2010)

Appliances included:
LG washer (2011)
LG dryer (2011)
Jenn-Air stainless steel oven
Jenn-Air stainless steel 4-burner gas cooktop
Jenn-Air stainless steel built in dishwasher
KitchenAid refrigerator freezer (2016)

Other inclusions:
All cushions for built-in seating (solid pink in kitchen area, solid cream cushions in the basement and master bedroom)
All window coverings
Custom kitchen table for breakfast nook. (not on display)

Kitchen light fixture over breakfast table
All art and furnishings not described in the inclusions

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Hollace Cluny: Sophisticated Toronto Design Store

Hollace Cluny, fine design  160 Pears Avenue Suite 203 Toronto

Hollace Cluny made its debut as an eclectic design store roughly 20 years ago and had their first storefront location on Yonge Street at Roxborough Street.  After establishing a strong client base, they relocated to their current space at Pears Avenue a few years ago in order to gain a larger showroom that better displays the many products and lines that they carry.

Hollace Cluny has always been a favourite of mine as they have a healthy mix of established design companies including Knoll, Carl Hansen & Son, Bocci and De La Espada, along with home-grown talent such as Martha Sturdy, a Canadian designer that works with resin to create beautiful bowls and tables. Martha Sturdy bowls make excellent housewarming gifts!

I recently purchased some unique Walter G cushions at Hollace Cluny. Walter G is a company owned by two young Australian designers who have fresh, textured textiles with an airy, coastal feel to them. There’s nothing like new pillows and cushions to instantly refresh a room! Hollace Cluny also carries a wonderful assortment of unique ceramic accessories that make a perfect housewarming or wedding gift.

This mainstay of the Toronto design industry carries much more than accessories, though. You’ll also find contemporary lighting, outdoor furniture, storage units, office pieces, bedroom furniture and much more.

I was originally disappointed that this gem of a store had relocated as I loved the Yonge and Roxborough location, but after visiting the new space it is clear to me the new location works well for them. It is open, bright and spacious and there is always a well-informed staff member happy to assist you. It is definitely worth checking out.



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An Opportunity for Value in Older Condo Buildings

Not everyone heading to a condo wants to live in a massive multi-unit high-rise. I suggest that condo buyers don’t overlook older buildings in their quest for new ownership or a nice downsize.

This past summer, while looking for a condo for a young, first-time buyer, I decided to inspect a sleeper property that had been on market for over a year. The unit was in a boutique building that has just 10 units. There had been a few small price reductions along the way but for a few reasons that I will touch on later, the unit was still available in Toronto’s very heated real estate market.  When I entered the unit, I noted and was pleasantly surprised by how spacious it was. It also had an excellent layout and good light and I saw how a few changes could increase its potential.

Its location, just steps to shopping and transit at Yonge and Roxborough, was ideal. The old adage–location, location, location—definitely resonated with me! To be able to buy a condo in the Rosedale-Summerhill corridor, below its newer and questionably finished price-per-square-foot downtown equivalent, really appealed to my client.

My client also saw the unit’s potential; so we drew up the offer and—presto!–she owned her first piece of property. We did put in a home inspection condition on the offer, which is prudent, particularly for older buildings. A condo inspection is as important as a home inspection as there could have been water damage, plumbing or HVAC issues over time. The home inspector gave the unit an excellent review and did point out a few concerns, such as a fan that had been decommissioned, but nothing that was too daunting to deal with.

Once the conditions were waived (all condo purchases should have a condition on the review of the status certificate unless the seller has provided it to you ahead of time and you have had a lawyer review it), the next task was updating the unit to suit the client’s needs. The property management company must be contacted regarding any alterations to a condo unit to ensure the board approves the work. Also be sure to use a competent contractor who has the patience to deal with myriad condo rules, etc. for renovations. There are guidelines in terms of times work can take place, waste removal, etc., particularly in a smaller building, as everyone knows what is going on.

The unit had no individual thermostat, and no air conditioning, which had likely turned off prospective purchasers. After a consultation with an HVAC expert, my buyer created a plan to add a thermostat and also to add a Mr. Slim ductless air conditioning unit. The board approved it, and it is tucked away unobtrusively at the side of the building. It is ultra quiet and much more attractive than a window unit. Step one done!

Strangely, the kitchen was covered in mirrors! At first the buyer thought she would keep them as they made the space feel bigger and renovating costs were mounting. However, the contractor convinced her that the mirrors needed to go. What a difference! A quick reface of the cabinets and some tile to match the bathroom and the place really came together without spending too much money.

The original floor was an out-dated parquet, which was removed and replaced with a top quality Moncler white oak engineered hardwood. The difference the floor made to the look of the unit was unbelievable, and one of the best investments in the project.

The original bedroom had a cedar closet within another closet. By removing this interior cedar closet the space was opened up to create a very generous walk in closet. California Closets designed a comprehensive system to maximize space in a finish that matched the floors.

The bedroom had some very dated glass doors that were permanently fixed to act as a wall. The prior owner had used Mactac to create a faux frosted glass door look on the glass, which I’m sure had scared more than a few purchasers away! The doors were removed and replaced with one large frosted panel to separate the bedroom from the main area. This allows light to pass through while providing privacy to the bedroom. Entry to the bedroom is via a sliding and space-saving matching frosted glass door. A sliding closet door was also installed to maximize space and offer a contemporary feel.

A few photos of the finished space…



Before photos….

Despite working within a relatively tight budget, it’s possible the buyer may have over-improved the unit for short-term resale but over the next five years I am confident this will be a great investment. I do believe a property is both an investment and a home. Invest, within your means, into a property so you enjoy your home and not think of it purely as an investment.

When the renovations were complete I dropped by to visit my client and witnessed the biggest smile on her face as she settled in to her new condo, done exactly to her style and taste.

A few things to know about older buildings:

  • Maintenance expenses are generally higher than new construction. New construction, however, often sees a quick rise in maintenance over the first years, especially if builders were less experienced
  • Some older buildings are co-ops, which are a slightly different type of ownership. You own shares rather than your unit. With co-ops the maintenance includes the property tax. Monthly fees may seem high but be aware that tax is included
  • Co-op units can’t be rented out and they also expect a higher percentage for the down payment and board approval prior to purchase
  • Older condo buildings are often in premium locations. Newer construction frequently have to choose less desirable locations to find the land to build
  • Most older condo buildings include parking. Many new construction units have no parking attached to the unit and parking spots can be quite pricey to purchase.



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January 2017 Real Estate Market Report

The Toronto Real Estate Market continues into 2017 with a shortage of new listings. The Statistics show new listings down from 8,906 for January 2017 to 7,338 for January 2017 with the number of properties sold up to 5,188 in January 2017 from 4,640 in January 2016 which creates an even thinner market.

Seasoned investors of real estate and other investment know that to make a profit it is best to be a contrarian. With so few new listings now is probably a could time to buck the trend and list your home for sale to benefit from this limited housing inventory. Please contact me for a comprehensive package on how to list your home for a prompt and profitable sale. I do have buyers looking to purchase in Rosedale, Yorkville, Forest Hill, Moore Park, Riverdale and Leslieville at this time, preferably renovated turn key properties.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update Jan 2017

The full details on the Toronto Real Estate Market for January can be found on the link above.

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Happy New Year! Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017

One of my favourite things to do toward the end of a year  is pick out my new journal for the year. In this world of technology, iCloud, iCalendars, Dropbox, AppleWatches it is nice to cling to a good old journal that reflects my style. There is something about the written word and the tactile nature of writing your appointments and plans on paper. This year I went a little more Whimsical and I feel it suits the vibe that 2017 brings. It is a new year with a lot of change for all of us. A new controversial President soon to be sworn into office has made things colourful to say the least. We have a frothy Toronto Real Estate Market with such slim inventory buyers are getting restless. Higher rates and some tax increases including a increase to Land Transfer tax should hopefully curb the house price surge a little but Toronto is still a highly desirable place and foreign investors have fallen in love with the stability that Canada brings.

It was a whirlwind end of the year for me with but an exciting one as I was busy with buyers and a few listings that left me with happy clients which is always nice.  I started 2017 with purchaser visits and I must say the best part of being a Real Estate Representative is seeing the excitement in a buyer when they visualize themselves living in their new home and planning decor. Always a feel good moment you have done your job.

I enjoy working with first time buyers. This summer I had a first time buyer client that chose to renovate a condo in an older boutique building located in an excellent neighbourhood rather than buy in a highrise building downtown. December was move in and it was wonderful to see how a stale unit was given fresh life with a few changes and contemporary furnishings. Stay tuned for a blog post on the transformation.

One thing to note this month is all of the furniture stores have their big sales in Toronto now so if you have been waiting for an opportunity to buy a nice sofa or find that perfect piece for the corner of the living room you should head to some of furniture stores to get a quality item for a good price.

The Interior Design Show on January 19th to 22nd at the. Tickets for opening night are $56 online and proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. Please go to  InteriorDesignShow.com for more details.

Toronto Design Off Site is worth investigating also to see some edgier design and  emerging designers and it runs from January 16th- 22nd please got to  todesignoffsite.com

The Toronto Boat Show is on January 20th-29th for those pining for summer at the cottage. It is a smart time to go look at boats if you are in need of an upgrade and there are always some fun new products. My favourite item last year was Muskoka Surfbaord. For more details go to torontoboatshow.com

In any event Happy New Year!  Please do not hesitate to contact me for any real estate inquiries. The New Year brings New Listings and please know inventory is extremely low so if you are thinking of selling don’t wait for the spring market, it is best to come to market now as your home will attract more potential buyers and a higher sale price.



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