Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Chestnut Park Symposium

On Friday, October 19th, I had the pleasure of attending the Chestnut Park Symposium at the Crow’s Theatre, nestled on the ground floor of  The Carlaw, a Streetcar Condo development in the heart of Leslieville. It was a full day of learning with some interesting speakers so I thought I would share some of the insights.

The first speaker was Monica Esteves, Managing Director of the Crow’s Theatre. It was nice to hear the story of how this theatre found its permanent spot in Leslieville. The city of Toronto Planning Act Section 37  states that any Toronto development looking to increase density must provide a “public benefit”. Toronto has benefited from this section of the act extensively through innovative art installations, new parks, playgrounds and dog parks, but a theatre space is very unique.

There was an extensive feasibility study to determine that Leslieville was an under-served market for cultural venues of any kind. With its demographic of the greatest number of people between 30 and 60 years of age, along with the greatest number of households with kids under 6 years of age, Crow’s Theatre felt Leslieville was a great spot to put its roots. The local city councillor at the time was thrilled to work collaboratively to get this cultural space built and introduced Monica and her team to the Streetcar Condo developer. It became clear this theatre was a great match and in fact the developer was so enthusiastic about what a contribution the theatre would make to this condo development they ended up altering the ground floor plans to accommodate it.  Crow’s Theatre provides children’s programs, hosts condo corporation meetings and offers local residents subsidized ticket prices for their shows. It is a true example of a business, developer and government working in unison for one common goal, and they managed to raise $12 million for the project. Gentrification is often seen as a negative, but the introduction of these condo developments into a previously industrial area has brought new life and culture to the community. Note that Leslieville real estate sales and price increases continue to outperform the other neighbourhoods in Toronto and this theatre has become just one of the many selling features for the area.

Dann Conn of Christie’s Real Estate spoke about the significance of the brand and the extensive network of real estate companies that are affiliated with Christie’s Real Estate around the world. I had heard a lot of what he had to say at the Christie’s conference in New York City last month.  One key point to note is that Hong Kong surpassed LA this year as the most expensive city in the world. Another fun fact he mentioned was that LA currently has the first ever billion dollar luxury real estate listing, a parcel that is 157 acres of land.

Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Board (OREA), was up next and educated us on the many changes that are coming to the real estate industry. The industry has already seen a few hurdles along the way, with the introduction of the double land transfer tax in Toronto about 10 years ago. Then the the Fair Housing Act came in spring, 2017, and finally, a new stress test for mortgages came into play this past year in an attempt to curb house prices and protect buyers when they go to refinance in a higher interest rate environment.  The affordability of homes in Toronto is a key issue for OREA and they truly want to address it. Unfortunately, the government intervention seems to have limited the supply of homes and increased rental prices despite the rent control put in place. There are still not enough rental-purpose buildings in the city and developers will not build them as long as there are capped rental rates. It is very simple: increase supply and prices come down in an open market. Many homeowners are staying in place; the transaction costs don’t make moving feasible so they just renovate their existing homes. Interest rates are creeping higher which could curb the market, however immigration of 100,000 people yearly to Toronto, increased road congestion and lack of efficient public transit seems to trump any attempt to curb prices. Demand for central Toronto remains strong.

I did suggest to Tim Hudak that we should abolish the Toronto Land Transfer Tax and instead increase property taxes across the GTA to offset the revenue loss and add the toll to the Gardiner Expressway as pay-for-use tax. To me, this would open housing inventory as people may choose to sell and buy a new property as the transaction costs would not be so daunting when you buy the new house. Tim said Toronto City Council would never agree to it as they are way too dependent on the LTT revenue and it would be politically unpalatable to raise everyone’s taxes (in other words political suicide to do an across the board property tax increase).

Tim Hudak also mentioned there are changes coming to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) to protect the consumers. The details can be found on

  1. Builders will need licensed sales people to work at their offices stopping the builder loophole
  2. Remove licenses of any fraudulent real estate sales representative
  3. Increase fines for real estate representatives and brokerages that break the REBBA or RECO acts
  4. Prosecute unlicensed operators
  5. Ensure the mandatory update courses for licensed sales representatives rather that the current online continuing education
  6. Allow realtors to incorporate to receive fair tax treatment
  7. The one the got the most news….Allow sellers the option for a transparent bidding process that would disclose such details as price, deposit, close and other details. (I personally don’t think it would change the ultimate sale prices, however I do feel it would make buyers a little more comfortable with the process)

Tim closed his comments by telling us about a website that provides information about how to make homes more affordable to first time buyers. He really wants to see a more generous first time buyer Land Transfer Tax break. For further details on OREA’s work to help first time home buyers go to

Joe Oliver, Chairman of Echelon Wealth Partners, spoke quite controversially about Canada in a Trumpian Era. He had some interesting points about the economic benefits Trump has brought to the US despite his abrasive personality. He is a little worried that Canada should not antagonize the US President as he is extremely sensitive and it could be to our detriment. Joe felt we squeezed through the trade discussions ok, thankfully, but there were a few things buried that he was concerned with, particularly the fact that the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs were not removed. He did say he was not happy with Chrystia Freeland’s line, “No deal was better than a bad deal,” as if it would have been catastrophic had we not come to an agreement. Oliver feels we have a real problem in terms of our oil and gas exports. We currently only ship to the US and the US then ships at higher prices to the rest of the world. Canada is currently subsidizing this industry for the US.

What became quite controversial were Oliver’s comments about the Carbon Tax. He had done the math and felt the benefit to the planet with this Carbon Tax implementation was insignificant to the big picture. Chris Kapches had a great point that Canadians have a moral compass that trumps the fact that the benefit is so small. We should do our part to help the planet.  Oliver did remind us that the bulk of the bad emissions are in the developing world as they are using coal for energy. It is really too bad the developed world cannot provide some innovation to the developing world to prevent history repeating itself elsewhere. We have virtually abolished coal plants in Canada and “smog days” are essentially a thing of the past.

One of the most interesting speakers was Kerry Harris, Principal of Reboot, who gave us the lowdown on branding. It was quite interesting and gave me some insights into how I should work on my brand. It is very hard to separate yourself in this competitive world of real estate, and she had some great ideas.

All for now!

Helen Braithwaite, Real Estate Representative                             Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited.

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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: September 2018 Real Estate Market Report

September was a good month for Toronto Real Estate. We are returning to a more normal and balanced market. The introduction of the Foreign Buyer Tax, increased interest rates and the introcuction of mortgage stress testing seem to collaboratively be doing their job to curb real estate prices. A modest increase year over year of 2.9% shows a maintainable price increase. This is a little more palatable for buyers stepping into the market. The average sale price chart is a great way to track what the market is doing and you can see we are well above the lows of December 2017 but softer than the spring market.

No longer can listing agents just pop a listing on MLS and see multiple offers but rather a more thoughtful marketing plan and professional approach to listing a property for sale is required. When choosing a listing agent it is very important to make sure they will market your property appropriately including professional photography and floor plans. For a comprehensive plan on selling your home do not hesitate to contact me. I will provide a full service approach to selling your home including professional staging. I take care of every listing as if it was my own property.

Chris Kapches, President and CEO of Chestnut Park Real Estate provides a full market report for September  2018 here: Toronto_Report_September2018

Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative
SRS®, SRES®, ABR, ePro Agent®, CLHMS® | Luxury Specialist
Chairman’s Award 2017 | Director’s Award 2016

Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
An Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate
Office: 416.925.9191 | Cell: 416.561.3114
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100Toronto, ON, Canada M4T 1X3 |



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Christie’s International Conference: Economy, Marketing Insights and Recreational Properties

I thought I should highlight some insights from the Christies International Real Estate conference (#CIRE18LUX) held at Christie’s head office at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York. We heard some exceptional speakers and it certainly gave me knowledge to take away to help better serve my clients.


Elliot Eisenberg, PhD gave a very enthusiastic and robust talk about the world economy. I wish he was my professor at university! I was rapidly writing notes and would like to highlight a few of his comments.

In summary:


  • Powers on at #2 performing economy next to the US
  • Uncertainty is high as 3/4 of exports are to the United States
  • Trump needs NAFTA and free trade
  • Unemployment in Canada is 5.8% which is excellent and is a result of a healthy immigration plan
  • Manufacturing is performing well
  • Migration helps GDP
  • House prices are recovering well


  • Europe is an area that can’t afford higher interest rates as it is not performing as well as the US.
  • Europe’s GDO is 1.6% which is just ok as there are growth problems, e.g. running out of workers with no population growth
  • If Europe’s UE falls any more then Europe will have to raise interest rates
  • France is weak
  • Italy is weak
  • Germany is stronger but has political problems
  • Brexit is really hurting Europe and the UK as they are both in a state of uncertainty.  Brexit must be implemented very slowly and carefully to avoid any drastic upset to the Euro/UK economies


  • US economy is doing fine with GDP up and things are plugging along however not quite as robust as a year ago
  • The biggest cause for concern right now is corporate debt and the risk of higher interest rates coming off a 10-year period of extremely low rates
  • He did say right now the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.  79% of wealth in the US is among 10% of households
  • A trade war is a great concern to the world economy. There is big uncertainty as to what will happen between US and China as well as Canada. With $600 billion of GDP impacted by trade sanctions if a trade war hit it could reduce GDP by 1%.
  • US shipping activity and consumer confidence are at all time highs. Car sales are good but limited in growth as they are so expensive
  • Corporate profits are at an all time record.  Manufacturing sector is having its third best in 20 years.
  • Service industry is performing well
  • Capital goods orders are showing strong growth
  • He noted that tax policy is driving the surge in GDP with a corporate tax cut and a cut in personal tax rate
  • He also pointed out that the large federal deficit seen in this year’s budget is a bit tenuous as social assistance is currently low and the US has the greatest deficit since WWII
  • 3.9% is a remarkably low unemployment rate, noting it was 13% in 2008 but this can become a problem without immigration. Wage inflation may become a problem and the Feds need to keep inflation contained
  • Japan has been in a deflationary period for so long it can’t even imagine an inflationary period
  • Interest rates in the US will rise this month to 2 1/4% to 2 3/4 % and 10 year to 3.25% -3.5%
  • A recession is predicted in 2020 and the question is to what level. This happens when we see an interest rate inversion between long term and short term interest rates. Last seen in 1993 where short term money was 3.5% and long term money was -0.5%
  • US home production is way down because they are under-building. The homes not being built are the entry level homes
  • Foreigners are buying homes in the US but there is no new product
  • Lending is appropriate now vs 2008
  • Home prices are increasing from an average of $400,000 in 2008 to $600,000 now


  • Suffering from both political trauma and trade trauma
  • NAFTA fears have subsided
  • Both the stock market and capital investment are performing ok so they are skirting a recession
  • Caribbean countries are quite weak and Venezuela is in chaos due to political instability


Recreational Properties Sales

There was a panel of four speakers: Michelle Sullivan of Christie’s International Real Estate (CIRE) Aspen, Ricardo Costa, owner of LUXIMO’s Portugal, David Fetveit of PureWest Realty of Flathead Valley, Montana and Ruth Gustafson of Provenance Properties, Cayman Islands. It was interesting to hear about their markets and the creative ways they use the Christie’s affiliation to sell their properties. Each market is quite different.

Michelle Sullivan of Aspen shared her creative marketing ideas and she consistently writes a blog about interesting things to do in Aspen. Aspen combines the best of two worlds. It offers the great outdoors–skiing, fly fishing, hiking–yet also has art galleries and sophisticated shops and restaurants.  She likes to take her clients to enjoy everything Aspen has to offer in addition to just showing properties. Michelle shared that Aspen is quite strong and there is a lack inventory especially in the $5,000,000 zone. Big ticket properties north of $10,000,000 take a little longer.

The Montana real estate market is made up of buyers that are predominantly third home owners and still has not completely recovered from 2008. Things tend to stay on market much longer than other areas. He mentioned that his biggest marketing tool is selling the natural landscape.

Portugal’s Ricardo Costa touted it as one of the safest countries in Europe and said people look to invest there for that reason in addition to the beauty, history and culture.

The Cayman Islands are small and Ruth Gustafson said she sells “the island life” with buyers coming predominately from the US and Canada.

432 Park Avenue

Hearing Matthew Bannister describe the efforts his team at DBox put into the marketing of the iconic 432 Park Avenue   was captivating.  The creativity of marketing for a large NYC development certainly inspires a realtor moving forward in marketing a luxury property. 432 Park Avenue is 1400 feet high and 84 stories of absolute minimalism at its best with a mere six windows across on each side. They picked up on the fact the Empire State is reflected on the side of the building and put that concept to work.  This was a large scale development, though I certainly got tips on how to come up with a marketing plan that will entice a buyer to a unique luxury property on a smaller scale. The marketing video for this property was so impressive, using ballet dancers perched on the floor to ceiling windows and a tight rope walker that walks from the top of the Empire State building to this unique condo, the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere when it was built.  Please be sure to click the link to see the incredible marketing of this building. DBox created a campaign that would entice a sophisticated audience to put down a deposit on this stunning piece of architecture that is minimalism at its best. 

Other Highlights

We had quite a few other speakers from various firms including Eric Gold of Hilton and Hyland in LA and Robin Milonakis of First Team Real Estate in Orange County giving us tips on achieving success. My takeaways were:

  • Be a contrarian
  • Be original
  • Be valuable
  • Be creative
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Listen to your client’s needs
  • Give back

Because Chestnut Park has an affiliation with luxury brand Christie’s, a common misconception is that we are only working the luxury markets. The best line I heard at this conference was luxury defined as the luxury service I provide my clients! Truly that is how I operate. It doesn’t matter if it is Toronto’s smallest house or a multi-million dollar estate. I  provide you with LUXURY service from beginning to end, and always a follow-up after closing.

One final highlight of the trip was dinner and cocktails at the Rainbow Room at the Top of the Rockefeller Plaza. The views of the city were incredible as was the space and, of course, the company of the many fabulous realtors that make up Christie’s International Real Estate. If you are thinking of buying outside of Toronto, please let me know and I can put you in touch with one of the many exceptional realtors that work in the area that interests you.



Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative
SRS®, SRES®, ABR®, ePro Agent®, CLHMS® | Luxury Specialist
Chairman’s Award 2017 | Director’s Award 2016
Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
An Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate
Office: 416.925.9191 | Cell: 416.561.3114
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100Toronto, ON, Canada M4T 1X3 |

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Christie’s International Real Estate Conference NYC: Art and Property tour

I have just returned from the Christie’s Real Estate Conference and thought I would share some of the insights I gained. It’s always exciting to visit New York and enjoy the outstanding restaurants, museums and bustle of the city that never sleeps. The Whitney, MoMA and Cooper Hewitt were my museums of choice this trip but I always leave wishing I had seen more. This was my first time visiting Christie’s at 20 Rockefeller and it was a pure treat. Enjoying a pre-conference breakfast while surrounded by extraordinary artworks that are part of the Post-War to Present auction taking place this week was an added bonus as many of the works were museum quality. The works of Anish Kapoor and James Turrell were two that stood out for me.My two favourite pieces were by James Turrell and Anish Kapoor

The conference actually began on Sunday with a property tour of four listings for sale with Christie’s in New York. My photos don’t do these properties full justice. Please click the links to see the full listings.

  1. 100 Eleventh Avenue Apartment 5C: Designed by architect Jean Nouvel and built in 2007, this building is very contemporary. Apartment 5C is a 1240 square foot 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, 1-powder room pied-à-terre in a fabulous location bordering the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and the Hudson River Park. The modern, angular layout is quite striking and the kitchen is predominantly stainless steel with some frosted glass cabinets and quartz countertops. The open concept gives a spacious feel and the space includes a coveted outdoor terrace! I feel it represents good value at US$1,975,000
  2. 551 West 21st Street, 15th floor: This West Chelsea building in the heart of the Chelsea Art District and steps to the High Line exudes sophistication. It was designed by Foster + Partners and completed in 2011. This stunning 15th floor  suite is over 8300 square feet and is actually two suites combined, bought directly from the builder and intended for multi-generational living. The suite touts 360 degree views over the Hudson River, Chelsea Piers and also some of the lovely city skyline. This unit is the epitome of sophistication and the furnishings are exquisite. Seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, direct elevator access, oak herringbone floors and custom millwork throughout. Eleven-foot ceilings and nine-foot doorways. Most importantly there are over 400 linear feet of wall space for that coveted art collection.  It truly is turnkey, high-style luxury living! US$36,500,000
  3. 8 East 63rd Street: This unit is all about great bones and old world charm including high ceilings, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two powder rooms and six fireplaces, each with stunning mantels. This is all hidden behind a handsome brownstone facade providing a beautiful streetscape. The house is currently set up for a business and two duplexes but could easily be transformed into a stunning home just steps from Central Park.  For those looking for the Upper East Side lifestyle this is the place. Offered for sale at $35,000,000, based largely on its coveted location close to Central Park and many galleries.
  4. 17 East 65th Street: This property is known as the Sherman Fairchild House and is touted as one of the first mid-century townhouses in Manhattan. Designed by architects William Hamby and George Nelson, it’s literally a piece of history. The fun fact of this property is that the owner was friends with Andy Warhol and there are commissioned pieces hanging in the home. This home is waiting for a rebrand but has lots of potential. The location alone justifies the $35,000,000 price tag.

After the property tour we cleaned ourselves up and headed out to Mahwah, New Jersey for a cocktail party at the Darlington Mansion. We disembarked the bus to walk through this exquisite property with a pool, fountain and extraordinary grounds which were a real contrast to the bustle of NYC.  We entered this fine residence and congregated in the great hall that was something to behold with its newly restored 1906 Aeolian pipe organ, massive six-foot fireplace, walk-outs to a grand terrace overlooking the garden and thirty-foot ceilings.  We were given a guided tour of this grande dame, and were grateful as one could easily get lost in a 50,000 square foot home on over 12 acres! This mansion has been restored including all the extensive hand-carved wood and each bathroom features its own unique tile. The main floor has a stunning marble and wood kitchen server with marble steps leading down to the commercial basement kitchen that also has the original marble sink with a wonderful patina telling the story of its long history. The main floor also has a formal wood-panelled dining room to seat 50 of your nearest and dearest for dinner! The library has hand-carved details that include restored, embedded brass images of philosophers. There was also a stunning, bright main floor tea room with a custom table that matched the ceiling detail!  The basement was as impressive as the above grade space, completely redone and includes a card room, wine room, cigar room, gym, spa, steam room, sauna, massage room, theatre and locker room. Don’t worry if you didn’t see a billiard room listed, it’s on the upper floor.  For those wondering about furniture, it is included in the sale, yet there is still enough space to add your own in many of the rooms. The second floor has a double master wing, both with their own en-suites. There are more spacious bedrooms on the third floor as well as a billiard room. We all left thinking this grand residence should be transformed into a Relais & Chateaux, however zoning is an issue and would need to be thoroughly investigated prior to making that offer. It truly was something to see and is currently on market for just below US$40,000,000. Interesting how all this grandeur is not much different in price from some of the much smaller places in NYC! My old geography degree kicked and I was reminded of the famous “location, location, location” adage! However an an introvert who likes the quiet could happily settle into the Darlington Mansion and never leave. Don’t worry, there are plenty of staff quarters on the property so someone is always nearby to fulfill your every wish.

I did leave thinking a bit of furniture from B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau and even Knoll and Herman Miller would add a nice juxtaposition in this magnificent old mansion.

We left this grand residence to get home for the early start for the conference the next morning. My next article will highlight some of the insights from the speakers at Christie’s International Real Estate Conference NYC.

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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: August 2018 Real Estate Market Update

The Toronto real estate market performed well in August. There was both an increase in average sale price and the number of properties sold even with the much needed increase in the number of new listings. August is typically a quiet month for real estate and last August was particularly bad after the implication of the foreign buyer’s tax. This month sales in the 905 area showed a strong improvement  year over year. For full details on the market performance  please read Chris Kapches’, President and CEO of Chestnut Park August 2018 Real Estate Market Report

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Luxury Toronto Real Estate: Small space living

In an overheated Toronto real estate market, many buyers are prioritizing location over size, and landing up with smaller units. It can be a daunting task trying to furnish a small space and the key is to be as efficient as possible. Here are some tips to help make smaller spaces beautiful, practical and functional:

  1. Choose furniture pieces that provide more than one purpose.
  2. Closet space can go a long way! It pays to invest in a closet organizing system. Whether it be professionals from California Closets or DIY pieces from IKEA or Walmart, organize your closet to maximize function and space.
  3. Baskets can be your best friend! They allow things to be tidied up and put away and out of sight or even tucked under a bed.  I’m personally quite fond of the Muuto baskets that are made from recycled plastic water bottles. 
  4. Don’t overwhelm your kitchen with appliances. Choose wisely and only have appliances that you truly will use. Consider all aspects of space: a 30″ fridge door is a space hog, but switching to a French door LG fridge will be more space efficient with its smaller door swings. 
  5. Cutlery dividers and drawer organizers are key. You would be surprised how much more space you have when things are all neatly in their places.
  6. I am not really a fan of a Murphy bed as I find most people tend to leave the bed out all day anyway. My choice is a daybed or sofa bed, in keeping with my multipurpose theme. I also saw this great ottoman that converts to a bed at BoConcept.
  7. If you are not permanently in your place make sure you choose furniture that could potentially work in another space. I love the EQ3 modular Tobi units and the Muuto modular clip system units for a higher end option. These boxes can be recreated in a different configuration elsewhere and you can add to them if needed.
  8. Once you are set up, follow the rule that for every new item that comes into your home you get rid of one thing to maintain the balance of a cluttlerless space.
  9. A small space should not have a carpet that is too small as that will actually make the room feel smaller. The carpet should fill the room and the illusion of space will be created. Check out this really cool rug company I found online: Cold Picnic
  10. Choose light colours as the lighter the walls the larger the space will feel.
  11. Mirror details can actually create the illusion of more space.
  12. Sliding doors can help conserve space in lieu of a standard door.
  13. A sexy sectional in a small space with a token chair is all you need! It allows for a place to entertain and doesn’t waste a corner. 
  14. Don’t forget to make use of vertical space on the wall. Think floating shelves, tall book shelves, hanging baskets.
  15. Every space needs a hint of green; a succulent or an orchid add a touch of light to any space. 

With Toronto emerging as a massive urban city it truly makes sense to choose a location close to your work and with excellent walkability to enhance your quality of life! A smaller space in a premier location trumps a remote larger property that could add stress through lengthy commute times or lack of nearby services. Also with these smaller spaces the amenities within the building often provide other options for ways to spend your leisure time.


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Luxury Toronto Real Estate: Home Insurance Program for Buyers

In this heated Toronto real estate market, home inspections often get brushed aside. I feel it is important to do a home inspection if possible, even on a condominium. This way there are fewer surprises for a buyer.

When suggesting home inspection services for my clients, I tend to prefer Carson and Dunlop as they have professional engineers performing the inspections. Home inspections can be extremely helpful for either pre-listing or home purchase situations.  A general home inspection speaks to the condition of a roof, the plumbing and electrical wiring of a home. Carson and Dunlop are very thorough, and may suggest a further inspection for mold, swimming pools, septic tanks, termites etc. and can organize those too.

I am pleased to announce that Carson and Dunlop has introduced a home protection program. This program is one-year insurance policy with the option to renew for a further year. I think it is a fabulous idea and it provides a little accountability should something go wrong after a completed home inspection states that things are in good working order.  As a buyer’s agent it is always frustrating when things fail shortly after purchase for our buyers or if in fact things were not in good working order as per the purchase and sale agreement. As a seller it is always smart to give full disclosure of any latent defects to avoid litigation. Even with the risk of litigation it is shocking to me how many sellers do not do the right thing by having all their chattels and fixtures in good working order or disclose any shortcomings of the property.

This new insurance will give added comfort to a home buyer proceeding with a property purchase. Going forward,  I will add this insurance policy as part of my service to my clients. If a Carson and Dunlop home inspection has not been done I will organize one so that we can then take advantage of the home protection program.

If we have to make a decision to move quickly to avoid the losing a property then I may not be able to line this up and I will have a discussion with my clients regarding their level of comfort with not having an inspection. Of course, there are always exceptions. For example, if a home is going to be extensively renovated an inspection at this level isn’t really necessary.

Full details about the program can be found here Carson Dunlop home protection program

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling please do not hesitate to contact me. As part of my premium service, I will ensure a Carson and Dunlop inspection, including one year home protection, is done ahead of time.

Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative
SRS®, SRES®, ABR®, ePro Agent®, CLHMS®
|     Christie’s Luxury Real Estate Specialist
Chairman’s Award 2017 | Director’s Award 2016
Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage
An Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate
Office: 416.925.9191 | Cell: 416.561.3114
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100Toronto, ON, Canada M4T 1X3 |

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Luxury Real Estate: July 2018 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

The Average sale price though down from June 2018 it is up 4.8% year over year. The summer months do generally have a seasonal slow down as people focus on vacations and cottage life. Inventory is down significantly from last July however a greater number of properties sold. We do have an inventory problem in Central Toronto which will continue to put upward pressure on prices. The average sale price for a  detached homes in Central Toronto was $1,350,750 for July 2018. Chris Kapches, President and CEO of Chestnut Park outlines what is happening in the market in the Market Watch video. Scroll down to see the average sales price chart and July 2018 Infographic.

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Luxury Real Estate: Heritage Neighbourhoods in Toronto

229 Douglas Dr

Georgian Architecture

I live in Rosedale, a designated Heritage neighbourhood within the City of Toronto. People are often a little cautious about buying in a Heritage-designated area but there is no reason to be. It is nice to have the architecture and historical character of a neighbourhood preserved and, contrary to what many people think, Heritage status does not prevent renovations and improvements. In fact, you can even apply for a grant to assist with the costs of restoring a Heritage property. There are four levels of Heritage ratings for homes in Rosedale: A, B, C, and NR (Not Rated),  all based on the architectural significance as well as the age of the home. Questions such as, “Was there a named architect involved?”, “What architectural style is the home?” and “Was there a significant historical figure that lived in the home?” are all factors towards a home’s designation.

Victorian Architecture

Architectural styles in Rosedale are a mix of Edwardian, Georgian, Victorian and Tudor, with a few mid-century homes interspersed. Many of the mid-century homes are not rated which is a bit of a shame as we are now losing the few mid-century bungalows we have to builder homes.  There will soon be a large townhouse development on Dale Avenue as a result of the not-rated status of the current dwellings. Not-rated homes can be torn down but need to be rebuilt to suit streetscape. True Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian homes would be rated and therefore cannot be torn down which would be classified as A or B. C rated heritage home scan in fact be torn down but it is a little more challenging.

A mid-century Ron Thom designed residence in North Rosedale

Here is the exact wording from the South Rosedale Residents’ Association as to what can be done:

According to Heritage Act, 5.3.4 Guidelines for Demolition, in general demolition is to be discouraged but it is acknowledged that the impact of demolition may vary depending upon the heritage evaluation category of the building in question: Demolition of a building in the “A” or “B” category is to be vigorously opposed through the utilization, if necessary, of all heritage preservation protections afforded by law. Demolition of buildings in the “C” category is generally considered appropriate only if the proposed replacement building, as shown in the issued building permit, is equally able or more able to contribute to the heritage character of the district and is acceptable under these guidelines and the zoning by-law. For further information is found on

City planning for South-Rosedale  and City of Toronto Heritage Preservation plan

Before buying in a Heritage neighbourhood, make sure you know the status of the property you are interested in so you know what you are up against if you wish to renovate.   The rear of the home can be altered and extended since Heritage preservation rules apply purely to the “look of the neighbourhood”. There have been some phenomenal renovations in Rosedale that have maintained the architectural integrity of the exteriors while the interiors have been transformed into contemporary spaces with kitchen and family room additions that suit today’s lifestyles. Of course, any significant renovations require the proper permitting through the City. If your home is going beyond the buildable lot parameters a Committee of Adjustment hearing is also required. It is a process, and Heritage is just one more step along the way.

Heritage isn’t the only constraint in the neighbourhood. The City of Toronto also has protection for both trees and ravines. Tree removal requires a permit if the tree has a trunk circumference of more than 30 cm (12 inches). Buying a ravine property means you have the Toronto Ravine Conservation Authority (TRCA) to contend with. There can be no new construction too near the top of slope and even in the landscaping process the TRCA needs to be consulted to ensure the correct indigenous plantings are there.

There are two different home owners associations in Rosedale. The North Rosedale Residents association (NRRA) and the South Rosedale Residents Association (SRRA) both  have great websites about our community as well as a link to the Heritage Act that designates houses. This is a good start to understanding this Heritage, signature neighbourhood in Toronto.

For those with an appetite for architecture Architecture Conservancy Ontario is a great organization and the website highlights significant historical properties. The website provided me with the photo of the Ron Thom residence above.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on condo purchases, renovations and small space living.


Helen Braithwaite, Sales Representative

Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, A Christies Real Estate Affiliate

Christies Luxury Real Estate Specialist, CLHMS and Guild Member at the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, ABR, SRS, SRES, MCNE, Epro

Chairmans Award 2018, Directors Award 2017

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Luxury Real Estate: June 2018 Toronto Real Estate Market Update

June showed a positive variance in the average sales price year over year with more properties sold year over year also. This shows the market has absorbed the crush of the fair housing plan and buyers continue to view the Toronto Real Estate as a good investment. The Chestnut Park Real Estate Market Report and Video summarizes the market performance for June 2018.

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