Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
HELEN BRAITHWAITE - SALES REPRESENTATIVE
CHESTNUT PARK REAL ESTATE LTD., BROKERAGE
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3
416-925-9191 helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: January 2020 Market Report

January 2020 showed a jump in the of 7.725%  year over year in the average sales price and a sharp rise in the number of sales up 14% year over year. The days on market is under one month as there is a shortage of inventory in central Toronto. The lack of listings is causing upward pressure on prices and we are back to the bidding war environment. The Stress test and basic affordability does help curb the price increases. Under $1 million properties are the most frenzied as you can qualify of an insured high ratio mortgage under $1 million.

For full details on the Toronto Real Estate Market please see Chris Kapches, CEO of Chestnut Park Real Estate Market report in the video below.

Please know I have buyers for quality properties in Summerhill, Forest Hill, Annex and Rosedale. Some of my buyers are willing to renovate and others are looking for a turn key opportunity. Should you wish to quietly sell your property please do not hesitate to contact me. We can easily do a property appraisal for you and decide what a fair value would be for you home.

Best,

Helen Braithwaite

Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited

Chairman’s  Award 2017,2018,2019


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I thought it was important to highlight this mid-century architect, a German-born pioneer of modernist architecture and the final director of  the Bauhaus School, a critical mid-century architecture school. Mies left Germany for the United States in the wake of the Nazi rise to power. They did not condone this modern movement and the school was closed. In the United States Mies headed up the school of architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology (later renamed the Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago.

The reason I wanted to share a bit of information about Mies is because of downtown Toronto’s spectacular TD Centre, a stunning example of his work. Mies van der Rohe was the design consultant for John B. Parkin and Bregman + Hamann, the architects, and Fairview Corporation, the developer. The towers were built between 1967 and 1991. The design integrity has been maintained right down to his iconic Barcelona chairs in the lobbies. I always enjoy heading up to Canoe restaurant to take in the architecture and I had the pleasure of working in one of these towers in my first job out of university.

Mies’ style of architecture was similar to other avant-garde architects of the day. He  worked to assemble his structures using modern materials as efficiently as possible, featuring clean lines and shapes and minimal colour to incorporate the outside into the interior as best he could. 

Mies is also famous for Farnsworth House, a commission for a country retreat outside Chicago. This glass house is raised six feet above the flood plain of the Fox River and is supported by eight simple posts. With this home he played with the relationship between people, shelter and nature. The most unique feature of this home is that no interior wall touches the floor, and walls of glass the create an exoskeleton around the home.  It certainly was advanced for the time it was built, 1947-1957. The house became so famous it was purchased in 2004 for $7.5 million, including the 60 acre property, and turned into a museum that is managed by National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Farnsworth House is said to have been a strong influence for Philip Johnson’s Glass House located near New York City.

Other buildings of significance that Mies van der Rohe designed include the National Gallery in Berlin, the Seagram Building in New York (which is very similar to the TD Centre towers), the Chicago Federal Complex and the Houston Art Gallery.

The Bauhaus movement was all about providing well-designed buildings and furniture for the common man.  So Mies was much like Charles and Ray Eames in his design pursuit. I think many of us have or dream of having a Barcelona chair! Unfortunately, in 2020, this iconic chair has become rather cost-prohibitive.

In his 1981 book about modern architecture, From Bauhaus to Our House, Tom Wolfe called the Barcelona chair “the Platonic ideal of chair”, and wrote that, despite its high price, owning one had become a necessity for young architects. “When you saw the holy object on the sisal rug, you knew you were in a household where a fledgeling architect and his young wife had sacrificed everything to bring the symbol of the godly mission into their home.”

Fun Fact: Ludwig Mies was his original name  but he changed his name to Mies van der Rohe as he made the transformation from tradesman to architect. Mies in German means lousy so by adding his mother’s maiden name to his name it appeased the German elite.

Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe 1927 chrome-plated tubular steel and cane chair currently on display at the MOMA in NYC.


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: December 2019 Real Estate Market Report

The Toronto Real Estate Market finished up the years with a surprising number of sales for a normally quiet month. This has actually gobbled up some of the much needed inventory we require to accommodate demand. What is quite interesting is this lower inventory we are experiencing is only having a slight effect average sales price as affordability remains a real concern coupled with the stress test requirements limit what buyers can pay for homes and condos. It is tricky as sellers do not want to list their homes until they find an new property which is difficult with no listings available.  My Infographic is for the 416 Area of Toronto. Chris Kapches speaks to the entire GTA.

Real Estate Market Dec 2019

Please watch Chris Kapches, President and CEO of Chestnut Park Market Report for full details.

From Chris Kapches:

In December 4,399 properties were reported sold. This is not a record high for the month, but these sales represented more than a 17 percent increase compared to the 3,746 properties reported sold last December. Past Decembers have seen more properties sold during the month, but the 4,399 properties that were sold was a very healthy recovery from last year’s dismal results.

 

The average sale price for all properties sold in the Greater Toronto Area came in at $837,788, almost 12 percent higher than the average sale price of $749,014 achieved last year. Homeowners will no doubt be happy with this increase, but the rapidly rising prices, once again approaching record levels, put a strain on affordability and their longer-term sustainability, especially with salaries and wages increasing by about 3 percent annually.

 

The average sale price in the City of Toronto was even higher coming in at $885,132, an exceptionally high number for the month of December when sales of higher-priced properties decline. This increase was driven by the sale of 465 detached properties sales having an average sale price of $1,363,477, a 19.5 percent increase compared to the number of detached properties that were reported sold in December of 2018.

On a yearly basis, 87,825 residential resale properties were reported sold. This represents a strong 12 percent recovery compared to the 78,015 properties reported sold for 2018. Compared to recent resale history, 2019’s results are still weak. In 2014, 92,782 properties were reported sold. That number jumped to 101,213 in 2015 and then to 113,040 in 2016, before dropping to 92,335 in 2017. The 113,040 properties sold in 2016 remains the record high for Toronto and area sales.

Notwithstanding rising resale prices, 2019 sales results might have been higher had there been more inventory for consumers to buy. Housing data related to inventory at the end of December is seriously concerning.

In December 3,531 new properties came to market. That compares poorly with the 4,309 that came to the market last December. Unfortunately, we witnessed inventory declines throughout 2019. As a result, at the end of the year, there were only 7,406 properties available to potential buyers, a stunning 35 percent decline compared to the 11,431 properties available at the end of 2018. In some trading areas the situation has gone beyond critical. For example: in all of Toronto’s eastern trading areas 49 semi-detached properties were reported sold. At the end of December and heading into 2020 here were only 7 detached properties available to potential buyers. These are unprecedented low numbers. At the end of the year, there were no semi-detached properties available in Toronto’s popular eastern trading areas: Riverdale, Leslieville, and the Beaches.

The inventory shortage has also spread to Toronto’s condominium apartment sector. In December 844 condominium apartments were sold in the City of Toronto. During the same period, only 779 new condominium apartment listings came to market, clearly far less than the overwhelming demand. As for the end of December, there were only 1,148 condominium apartments for sale in the City of Toronto – based on December’s sales that is just 1.2 months of inventory.

Year-end numbers indicate that inventory will play a crucial role in the success of the Toronto area residential resale market in 2020. If sellers decide to take advantage of the near-record sale prices and bring their properties to market, Toronto’s residential resale market will be strong and produce year-end sales that exceed the 87,825 properties that were reported sold this year. Price appreciation should be muted by the fact the average prices are at record highs and restrained from further growth by affordability.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, President and CEO

 


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Charles and Ray Eames

Happy New Year!  Most people who know me know that I love design and architecture. This year, I will be writing about various architects and designers who have made an impact in the design world over the years.

My first designers to highlight are Charles and Ray Eames. The inspiration to write about them was a gift from my daughter, a book called From A to Eames: A visual guide to Mid-Century Modern Design. This book is a great resource for those that want to hone their knowledge of all things mid-century.

I have had the privilege of visiting their iconic Eames House (Case Study House  no. 8) in the Pacific Palisades. Art and Architecture magazine commissioned several architects and designers to create progressive modest homes in the Southern California area from the 1940s through the 1960s. Charles and Ray used the building as both their home and studio space. I was surprised how set back this home was, given it is a full ocean view lot, and at how shaded it was. It shows us how design has evolved, but the home itself is brilliant in its simplicity. I find the home reminiscent of the well-known plywood shelving they designed.

Probably the most recognizable pieces of furniture that Charles and Ray Eames designed were the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. A timeless, classic pair that blends form and function together seamlessly.

Charles worked collaboratively with Eero Saarinen to mold a single piece of plywood into a chair creating the Organic Chair. It won an award but could never be mass-produced at that time. Recent improvements in manufacturing have allowed for the chair to be mass-produced and it is available once again. 

Another signature creation is the Molded Fiberglass/Plastic Chair, part of a line that now includes bar stools and rocking chairs. They come in a variety of colours and again blend form with comfort. Perfect for kitchen tables and children’s desk chairs! They were originally manufactured in fibreglass but Herman Miller and Charles discovered that fibreglass was a hazardous, non-recyclable material so they switched to plastic in 1989. They have just now started manufacturing on a limited scale and higher price point in a fibreglass that is more sustainable than the previous fibreglass of over 75 years ago.

Office furniture was a big part of their furniture collection. There is a large selection of plywood storage units to fit any space with both open shelving as well as compartments to stow the clutter away. They also created a simple plywood and wire desk that complements the storage units.

The soft back office chair is one of my favourites. I have one at our kitchen desk as well as in my office and they are extremely comfortable.

The couple also created some fabulous accesories. The Eames Elephant is great for a child’s room. The elegant design of the Eames House Bird looks great on a shelf.  Another favourite piece of mine is the Walnut Stool that looks like a spool of thread.

The Eames Molded Plywood screen was created so long ago; Charles and Ray were ahead of their time in thinking of dividing open space into cubicle areas.

I am a strong advocate for buying original designs. Please be mindful as there are many knock-off companies that are creating pieces that look identical to Eames originals but are not authentic. I am all about quality over quantity. When searching for any Eames product, be sure you are buying from an authorized dealer. There are many Toronto stores that carry Eames products: Quasi Modo, Hollace Cluny, Design Within Reach, just to name a few. For the real purists out there who want only vintage pieces, there are quite a few local stores that carry them, such as Studio Pazo, Vintage Home Boutique, Decade Five Furniture, Vintage Furniture Hut and Mid Century Modern Toronto

Stay tuned for more highlights of exceptional designers and architects and happy 2020!


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Lease Listing: 29 Draper Street


Draper Street is one of Toronto’s best kept secrets!
Tucked away in the heart of downtown in the King and Spadina area known as the Garment District, Draper Street is a protected heritage community lined with Victorian cottages that were built in the late 18oos. The street exudes charm and many homes boast historic plaques. Draper Street is unique as it managed to survive the industrial revolution intact when much of the area was taken over by factories and warehouses. Hence the City of Toronto has taken action to protect this unique street and its history by declaring the street a  heritage conservation district.

29 Draper has it own unique history. The home was built by Richard Humphries in 1881, and the first resident was Charles Clothe, a machinist. This home was also the birthplace of Lincoln M. Alexander in 1922. 

It isn’t often a unique rental home comes to market in downtown!

  • Fully renovated
  • High ceilings
  • Coveted two car parking
  • Three bedrooms and one washroom on the second floor
  • One bedroom and washroom on the lower level in addition to a laundry room and lower living room
  • The backyard is nicely tucked away with space for backyard summer entertaining and has a potting shed that could be converted into an office or workshop

Offered for Lease at $5500.

29 Draper Floor Plans

For a private showing please do not hesitate to contact us. mphillips@chestnutpark.com  or helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: The Season of Giving

As we are coming into this holiday season I thought I would share with you the charities that are dear to me and that I have chosen to support. I will be making a donation to each of these charities to honour this season of giving.

 

Camp Ooch

I have seen Camp Ooch in action during my many years as a cottager on Lake Rosseau. They provide a camp environment for those who are fighting or have overcome childhood cancer. Cancer robs kids of a lot of their childhood when they are burdened with hospitalization, chemotherapy and dealing with their own mortality. To witness a boat full of Camp Ooch kids heading off to waterski and wakeboard is a wonderful thing. The camp used to occupy Lake Rosseau College grounds but soon outgrew that space and required an exclusive camp so the former Camp Hollyburn grounds were purchased and renovated to accommodate their needs. Every summer I run the Muskoka Rocks 10k and all money raised goes to this camp. This fall it was announced that Camp Oochigeas and Camp Trillium are merging to create efficiencies. I will continue to support this worthy cause.

Mind over miles

Mental health is dear to my heart and it seems to strike so many families. I have decided this charity appeals to the runner in me as well as the need to raise awareness about mental health.

Mind Over Miles (MOM) is a Toronto-based run club raising funds and awareness for mental health.  It was founded by Virginia McKinnell and inspired by her own journey with bipolar disorder. The run club is all about fostering a community dedicated to understanding mental health, and creating a positive space where anyone can share their story and ask for help. On Facebook, MOM releases videos of people sharing their stories. Each video ends with a screen that reads, “Join the Conversation.” The hope is that as more people talk about it, the easier it becomes to continue the conversation about mental health.

All of MOM’s fundraising goes towards the construction of the new Murphy Family Centre for Mental Health at Sunnybrook Hospital. This is a new, state-of-the-art 27,000 square foot space within the Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre where mental illnesses will be treated with the same dignity, respect and understanding as other brain disorders like stroke or dementia.

Oceana logo

We are all inundated with worries over climate change and I do feel everyone should donate money to try to tackle these issues. Having grown up on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean I have a love of the sea. Oceana is a great initiative to protect the oceans from both over-fishing and pollution.

Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, with an ocean surface of 7.1 million square kilometres, or 70 per cent of its landmass. Oceana believes that Canada has a national and global obligation to manage our natural resources responsibly and to help ensure a sustainable source of protein for the world’s growing population.

Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. They work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future.

Oceana Canada’s current campaigns are: Rebuild Ocean Abundance, Break Free from Plastic, Stop Seafood Fraud, Protect Marine Habitat and Save North Atlantic Right Whales. Join Oceana Canada by becoming a Wavemaker and stay up-to-date on their campaigns. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share your love for the oceans with friends and family.

Those that know me know how much I love of animals. We are currently raising our 5th Golden Retriever, Stanley. I chose to support Coveted Canines as they look after dogs that are not as fortunate as the dogs we have had.  Coveted Canines  believes that there is the right home out there for all the dogs in their organization and they take pride in matching  rescue dogs to the right people who can provide them “furever” homes. Coveted Canines is a not-for-profit organization that is wholly run by unpaid volunteers. Everyone on their team donates their time and expertise, all for the love of dogs! Coveted Canine dogs are placed in loving foster homes where they feel safe to bloom and can learn important socialization skills before being adopted.

Dalhousie University Faculty of Architecture and Planning: Kirsty Bruce Bursary

A few years ago an aspiring young architect named Kirsty Bruce passed away in the prime of her life.  Kirsty had helped me on a number of projects and I was so impressed with her capabilities; she truly had a gift. To honour this talented young woman I worked with Dalhousie university to establish a bursary in her name that has now become an endowment. Each year an architecture student within the faculty receives this award and I receive a thank you letter from the recipient. I have been very impressed with the talent from this school and feel this is the perfect way to honour an incredible woman.

Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity is a fabulous organization that helps those who need assistance to achieve home ownership. I have helped on build sites in both Scarborough and Brampton and also donate money each year to this cause. Affordability in Toronto is a huge issue so to be able to help a few families gain home ownership is a great feeling.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season, how ever you may celebrate.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukhah, Happy Kwanzaa to all!

Helen Braithwaite* and Michelle Phillips, Sales Representatives

Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited

*Chairman’s Award 2017,2018

               

                                                                                                                                                                   


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: October 2019 Market Update

The Toronto October real estate market showed strength in both the number of sales and the average sales price year over year. Semi-Detached homes have shown a 7.1% increase year over year outperforming detached sales (+1.1%) significantly. Condominium Apartment were up 4.4% as that is the most affordable form of housing in the central Toronto. The bulk of those condominium sales taking place in downtown Toronto.

There have been a few significant luxury sales in both The Annex and Rosedale neighbourhoods, some of which sold off the MLS system. We continue to have a shortage of quality product in Rosedale, Annex and Forest Hill putting upward pressure on those prices. The buyers are looking for turn key with good walkability. For further details on these recent sales do not hesitate to contact me. I am happy to provide a Current Market Evaluation to understand the value of your home.

Please watch Chris Kapches, President and CEO of Chestnut Park Real Estate October 2019 Market update for further details.


Best,

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

Chairmans’s Award 2017,2018


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Draper Home For Lease

Dapper on Draper! 

For those looking for an executive downtown Toronto rental this pristine 3+1 Bedroom renovated heritage house is a rarity! The house sits steps to Le Select Bistro and close to the action of King Street West!  The main floor has an open concept living and dining room has hardwood floors. The main floor kitchen touts granite counters and stainless steel appliances with a view to the rear garden. The upper floor contains three nice sized bedrooms and a spacious four piece bathroom. The lower level has excellent ceiling height and provides lower living area, bedroom, three piece bathroom and lower laundry room. A back shed  is located in the rear of the private garden that is untapped potential for an office or studio space with electricity. Please note this property has a coveted private driveway with room for two cars. For a private showing of this property please do not hesitate to contact us. Offered for lease at $6000 per month

Helen Braithwaite helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com

Michelle Phillips mphillips@chestnutpark.com


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: Know your countertops!


The options for countertop surfaces are more plentiful than ever today, with new products coming to market all the time. I’ve put together a rundown of countertop choices with a short description of each type. Hopefully this will help you educate yourself fully on the differences before making a selection. 

Natural Stones

Granite:

In terms of durability and cleaning, this natural stone surface is the hardiest of all. The biggest issue is that you have to make sure you see the actual slabs that will be installed as each piece is unique. I had granite for years and loved it. The environmentalist may not favour granite as these gorgeous slabs come from the ground and require large quarries in natural settings to extract the stone. The variety is extensive from veiny to speckled in numerous shades from browns to greys and even pinks. I used a simple marble and stone cleaner on mine and they cleaned up beautifully. You can just use soap and water for daily cleaning.

Marble:

Marble is another natural stone option. Both Calacatta and Carrara are very popular right now such that prices have gone up and the availability has become limited. There are many other types of marble, though, and colour and pattern options are plentiful. Marble is stunning but maintenance is required as marble is far more porous than granite and can stain. Some people are very happy with letting their marble become patinaed as it will tell the story of their life, while others want to keep its pristine look. Regular sealing will protect from staining. My feeling about that is that it somewhat defeats the purpose of choosing a natural product. Marble and stone cleaners do work well on this surface as do daily soap and water. 

Quartzite:

Quartzite is a natural stone that is often confused with quartz, a composite countertop material. Quartzite has very bold and busy patterns that don’t appeal to everyone, but in the right application they can look fabulous. Quartzite is much more tolerant to heat than quartz countertops, which is an important feature for many. It should be sealed as it can stain but it is a hardy surface. 

Limestone:

Limestone is a softer surface that is extremely porous so if you are planning on placing these counters in a high traffic area you may want to think twice. They will stain more easily than marble. It is suggested that you use a neutral pH cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean. 

Soapstone:

Soapstone is a very durable choice for a countertop as it is a softer stone that is flexible and therefore is less prone to chipping. Be aware that soapstone darkens over time so if you are looking for a light counter this would not be a good choice.  A neutral pH cleaner and microfiber cloth are suggested along with soap and water for daily cleaning.

Porcelain:

When this product first came out, I was very impressed with it. The surface is hard, non- porous and can tolerate a hot pot. It comes in a variety of styles including a marble look. The problem with a surface mimicking a natural stone is that there is a lot of repetition in the pattern in contrast to the natural stone where each piece is unique. My other complaint with porcelain is that it can chip quite easily, just like a coffee mug, and cannot be repaired. This is not a choice I would recommend. 

Synthetic Stones

Quartz:

A quartz is engineered with the same quartz crystals found in quartzite, but a man-made process binds the crystal with resin, pigments and other materials such as bits of glass. Within the past few decades there has been a huge trend toward these counter surfaces. They are sold as durable, low-maintenance and non-staining. There are a few things I need to point out, however. They are sold as a quartz composite, which is true, but what the consumer also needs to know is that different manufacturers have different levels of quartz in their products. Caesarstone is a very popular brand that dominates in the synthetic countertop market; however, they have a very low natural quartz content (roughly 3%) and are actually almost all synthetic. Silestone another Quartz brand is on the other end of the spectrum with 95% natural stone but has a more limited selection of colours.  Quartz is a newer product so there are a lot of misconceptions about the durability. Caesarstone cannot have any acidic or abrasive cleaners used on it and it cannot tolerate any heat unlike a natural stone surface. Caesarstone touts that its surface is more heat-tolerant than natural stone, however they do caution not to put a hot pan (300°F) on the Caesarstone surface. My personal experience is a large crack on the counter near the coffee maker that only heats the coffee to 200°F. I spoke to a cabinetmaker that had attended a Caesarstone seminar and they were told these counters are not heat resistant. If you choose this surface understand you need to use a potholder for hot pots, cookie sheets, coffee carafes, etc., for if you do not protect this surface from heat it will crack. Unfortunately, contractors, designers and cabinetmakers were not all privy to this information and the product is sold as durable and heat safe. Hot water and Palmolive cleans stains very well, in addition to good old elbow grease. Abrasive or acidic cleaners should not be used.

One more important point about these synthetic counters I discovered while doing research for this blog article is that there is a huge health risk to factory workers manufacturing these surfaces. The silica content of these countertops gets airborne when the counters are being manufactured and workers are developing a lung disease known as “Silicosis” from breathing in this fine silica particulate. It is important to know where these countertops are manufactured and to stick to a reputable North American brand that takes the proper precautions for their workers.  Frustrating news, as you’d think by choosing a man-made product you are saving the earth from further depletion of natural stone. There are pros and cons to everything.

One more thing to note is that, much like the porcelain, the patterns imitating natural stone have a repeat to them. With a small surface it isn’t a big deal but on a larger surface it becomes a little redundant. 

Corian:

This is a Corian counter top with a marble back splash. A practical choice as Corian doesn’t stain and patina in the way marble does.

Corian is the first generation of synthetic countertops and it is having a renaissance. Architects love this surface as you can make an entire island, inclusive of the sink, with this product. Corian is not heat resistant at all, so trivets to protect the surface are very important. Corian can scratch but scratches can also be buffed out quite easily, and it is low-maintenance in that you can actually scratch out stains that occur. For a bad stain on Corian the manufacturer does suggest bleach but not to keep in on the surface for an extended period of time. Bar Keepers Friend is a useful product that works quite well to remove coffee and tea stains.  

Laminate:

This was the mid-century suburbia countertop of choice with Arborite being the industry leader.  This surface is still used for those on a limited budget and for areas such as the laundry room. It is heat-sensitive but is quite resistant to staining. This surface is a thin veneer over plywood or MDF so extreme humidity can cause it to delaminate.

Other countertop options

Wood:

For those looking for a rustic look this is a great and practical choice as you can chop and cut right on the surface. It is prone to staining, however, and too much water can cause warping and deterioration of the wood surface. You can’t put a hot pan on it as it could burn the surface.  I would never suggest an entire counter in wood, but a section makes a great prep area. Mild soap and water for daily cleaning; oil it regularly to protect the surface. 

Bamboo:

Bamboo is becoming an eco-friendly countertop choice. It is durable; however, it is not heat-resistant and is prone to scratches and warping from water. Bamboo is technically a grass and therefore is very renewable, so it’s a good choice for the eco-conscious. 

Metal:

Many find the look of a stainless steel countertop a bit industrial, but it does have its place in certain homes. It is also very practical from a health perspective as it is very easy to keep clean. If you do install stainless steel counters, do know that they show everything and will scratch easily. You must really wipe well to get the streaks off them. Simple hot water and soap with a microfiber cloth will clean up well until the next fingerprint arrives. Stainless can tolerate the heat of a pot.

Glass:

Glass counters are non-porous so they are not prone to staining, but they can scratch over time. I have seen some lovely glass countertops installed but you need to ensure you have a qualified company that is manufacturing the correct glass for a countertop application. There is a new product called White Glass that only comes in pure white. White Glass is heat tolerant, unlike the Simple White Caesarstone countertop that requires protection form extreme heat to prevent cracking. 

Concrete:

Concrete countertops are becoming very popular. They are very durable and heat-resistant if the proper finish is done. They make concrete in many different colours that can work with any palette.

Over the years, my countertops have included: honed granite, stainless steel, wood, laminate, marble, Corian, porcelain and Caesarstone quartz. My experience in living day-to-day with these surfaces puts granite at the top of my list of favourites in terms of durability and ease of maintenance. The issue is that sourcing a nice granite is becoming more difficult as quarries become depleted. Marble is my next favourite as I am ok with a little patina, but again the stone is becoming depleted. If I do put a quartz product in my home again, I will ensure that all measures are taken to protect it from heat as well as make sure it was manufactured in a factory that is taking the necessary measures to properly protect their workers. As much as I want to support an eco-friendly product l don’t think I could deal with the maintenance of bamboo on a countertop.  I am willing to explore concrete as I think it has become much more aesthetically pleasing now that there are colour options. 

In my research I found a great website:

countertopspecialty.com that gives a full rundown on care for the variety of counter surfaces. For further details this is a great resource. 

 

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

Chairman’s Award 2017,2018 Director’s Award 2016


Read more >

Toronto Luxury Real Estate September Market Update

September Toronto real estate average sales price for the entire Toronto Market including the GTA rose 6% which is a little disturbing as wage and salary increases are only 3.5%- 3.8% which causes concerns about affordability. The Central Toronto Market (416) rose only 4.3% which shows that the 905 area has corrected to the point that value is seen in those areas.

We continue to have a lack of inventory down 4% year over year with just 17,254 properties listed for sale in the GTA which is just 1.9 months of inventory.  The average days on market for properties listed  is just 23 days in the GTA and just 19 days in Central Toronto (416) area.

It is also interesting the the Toronto Average Sale price is getting quite close to Vancouver and actually the average sale price for condominium apartments in Toronto and Vancouver are virtually the same $650,000 in Vancouver and $636,000 in Toronto ($719,00 in the central core). Semi Detached command a higher average sales price in Toronto $1,069,119 versus $767,000 in Vancouver. Detached homes in Vancouver are just a hint higher at $1,406,000 vs $1.360,623 in Central Toronto (416). Toronto will soon have the most expensive real estate in Canada!

There have been quite a few significant sales in the Rosedale, Leaside, Annex and Forest Hill, Lawrence Park areas. If you would like an update on recent sales in your area I am happy to provide full details for you and some have traded off market that I am aware of.

Helen Braithwaite

Chestnut Park Real Estate, Sales Representative

Chairman’s Award 2016, 2017


Read more >