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: March 2019 Market Report

Sales in March remained relatively flat year over year compared to last year. Both sales and new listings were down. The stress test continue to impact first time home buyers and the lack of supply remains a problem. Jason Mercer The Chief Market Economist at TREB predicts a modest paced growth for in Toronto with tight supply support this modest increase even with the government intervention.

I thought I should highlight some of the average sale prices in specific areas of Toronto. Central Toronto had an average sale price of $927,028 with 1158 sales occurring and 2209 new listings

Rosedale/MoorePark/Summerhill  (C09):Average sale price was  $2,540,636  with 11 sales and 34 new listings. The highest average sale price of the Central Toronto areas.

Annex/St Clair/Summerhill (C02): Average sale price was $1,391,611 with 48 sales and 100 new listings

Forest Hill/Wychwood/Cedarvale (C03): Average sale price was $1,435,032 with 32 sales and 73 new listings

Lytton Park/Lawrence Park/ Bedford Park (C04): Average sale price was $1,654,596 with 65 sales and 115 new listings

St Andrews and the Bridle Path (C012): Average sale price was $2,283,368 with 19 sales and 78 new listings

Natalka Falcomer, JD Vice President, Corporate Development of Chestnut Park Real Estate provides a market commentary in the link below.

Chestnut Park Market Report


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New Lease Listing in Toronto’s Dovercourt Neighbourhood

Offered for Lease at $2950, 380A Westmoreland Avenue North provides an opportunity to lease a three bedroom home in the up and coming Dovercourt  area with a walkscore of 81! Popular Dark Horse coffee and Familgia Baldassare are at the foot of the street on Geary Avenue! Ossington station, Loblaws, Fiesta Farms, shops and parks are nearby. The home has been updated with modern kitchen and stainless steel appliances. The three piece bathroom is also renovated with tumbled marble tiles and a vessel sink.  A nice sized garden and parking for one car are a bonus! The perfect home for a couple or young family looking to live in a trendy area that would like a lovely backyard  for summer barbecues in lieu of condo life.
More photos on the website 380A Westmoreland Avenue North


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Luxury Property For Sale: A Sleek Detached Home in Desirable Summerhill Area

76 Roxborough Street West: Offered for Sale at $4,995,000

76 Roxborough Street West Floor Plans

76 Roxborough Street West photo gallery

Looking for a sleek space in the desirable Yonge and Roxborough neighbourhood? This stunning turnkey home designed by Mhouse Inc. is for you!

The Neighbourhood

Roxborough Street West is where people want to be. The home is just steps to all of the wonderful shops and restaurants on the Yonge St. strip. No more Uber trips needed– you can walk up to Sorrel for dinner or stroll down to Yorkville for a lunch on the terrace at Cafe Nervosa. And don’t not forget the summer patio nights at Terroni, one of the best views in the city!

Hopson Grace, Putti, Absolutely, and Thirty Six Knots are nearby with great accessories for the home. For those looking to enhance their wardrobes, 6 by Gee Beauty, Want Apothecary, NYLA and Augustina are just steps away. So is the Rosedale subway station for a quick scoot downtown for work or play!

For those seeking activities Ramsden Park is nearby offering tennis courts, winter time skating, an off leash dog area and a whimsical children’s playground. Toronto Lawn and Tennis is a close by. A variety of gyms are a mere walk away including Totum Life Science, Ultimate Athletics, SpinCo, Roots Yoga and 889 Yoga.

Daily “Parisian-style” shoppers will enjoy having the Shops of Summerhill and the flagship LCBO at their door. Harvest Wagon has a variety of fresh produce and some grocery items, Olliffe Butcher Shop offers top quality meats, Pisces sells outstanding fresh fish, and Nadege’s famous macarons are not to be missed for dessert! The LCBO has an extensive selection of fine wines, spirits and craft beers to  complement any meal.

The Home


This stylish, detached home exudes sophistication right from the beginning, with its contemporary brick, Ipe wood and glass streetscape. As soon as you walk up the stone path to the front steps, you are struck by the impeccably-designed, custom landscaping. The gardens contain Japanese maples, boxwood and tasteful groundcover nestled in Corten steel retaining walls.

Main Floor

The first impression as you walk through the front door is the sense of how much natural light flows through the home. The entire main floor is open-concept, for modern lifestyles, with unifying hardwood floors throughout. The focal point of the living room is a dramatic, modern gas fireplace with a cement-tiled surround and custom built-in cabinetry that provides the perfect spot to set up cocktail hour. There is also a walk-out to the patio from this room to enjoy the wonderful landscaped yard. The floor-to-ceiling windows at both the front and rear of the home truly bring the outside in, yet they are tinted for privacy and have motorized blinds for the evening as needed.

The gourmet kitchen has Aya custom cabinetry with dovetailed soft-close drawers, marble counters and backsplash. The extra-large Caesarstone water fall island with seating is the place guests will congregate while you dazzle them with your cooking skills! There is also large deep double Kohler stainless sink for clean-up time. Aspiring chefs will be impressed with the premium appliances, including a Thermador refrigerator, Wolf stovetop, Arc-Zephyr stainless steel vent hood, Jenn-Air oven, warming drawer and microwave and Miele dishwasher

The dining room is sized generously to accommodate large dinner parties and offers street and garden views through the large dramatic windows as well as a view of the stunning floating staircase in the home.

There is a main floor 2 piece powder room with a vessel sink, Kohler falling water faucet and marble counters.

The custom-designed, glass-panelled floating staircase with lit hardwood treads connects the four levels of the home and allows light to pass through, adding to the airiness of the space.

Master Retreat – Third Floor

The master suite utilizes the entire third floor, providing a true sanctuary at the end of a hectic day. There is a generously sized master bedroom that has plenty of room for a king-size bed, and also features the continuation of the hardwood floors, built-in speakers, a contemporary styled ceiling fan for summer nights and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city with motorized blinds for privacy.

The master en-suite exudes calm with the neutral colour palette., This spa bathroom
touts a spacious glass-enclosed “wet room” that includes a curvaceous free-standing Kohler bathtub in addition to the shower and a glass-tiled back splash wall that provides visual interest. The double vanity has a large vessel sink with double faucets. The vanity has light oak cabinetry and Caesarstone waterfall countertops. After a long day at work or a tiring SPINCO class this is the perfect place to relax and soak in some Saje bath salts!

The bonus to this master retreat is the dressing room area that features custom cabinetry providing generous clothing storage for both hanging and folded items. The master dressing room has a walk-out to a stunning terrace that accommodates the two  large outdoor sofas and coffee table providing the perfect ambiance to enjoy summer evenings. The large windows truly give the feel of indoor and outdoor space. An outdoor fireplace could be added to warm up those cooler spring and fall evenings.

Second Floor

On the Second floor there are three bedrooms as well as a small balcony at the top of the stairs to check the weather. The second bedroom is south-facing and overlooks the street through an impressive wall of glass that also has motorized blinds for privacy. This room is currently being used as a home office. This second bedroom has a contemporary four-piece en-suite washroom with a large glass shower enclosure. This bathroom has light oak cabinetry, waterfall light coloured Caesarstone countertops and a large vessel sink.

The middle bedroom, known as bedroom three on the floor plan accommodates a queen-size bed  ready for overnight guest and comes with a built-in headboard and floating night tables to stow away small items. There is a closet to tuck away clothes and suitcases and the bonus of a built-in desk area. The upper family room is situated overlooking the back garden and has built-in cabinetry for the TV and media as well as additional space for books and collectables. This room could alternatively be converted into a fourth bedroom if required. There is a three-piece bathroom with a large tiled shower enclosure with glass doors, A large vessel sink, light oak cabinetry with Caesarstone Counters to service bedrooms three and four.

Lower Level

The lower level has excellent ceiling height with the main room functioning as a well- equipped gym with a rubber floor, weights and weight equipment plus a TRX system so your personal trainer can come to you! Triathletes in training, do not fear, there is plenty of room for your bike, CycleOps or Peloton! For those with less active hobbies, this area could easily be modified into a theatre or craft room. To the rear of the lower level is a room that is currently used as a spare bedroom with a 3-piece, en-suite washroom. Alternatively, this +1 room could be used as an office or for storage.

The laundry room is very well thought out with two Samsung washers and a Samsung dryer to speed up your laundry process. There is ample cabinetry, a utility sink, a counter that provides great folding space and multiple bars integrated into the area for hanging those fine washables.

The utility room is extremely well organized, which tends to be an indicator of a quality renovation. There is an allocated area in here for a Sonos system to be installed and also room for more storage.

Home Features:
Relative Space smoked hardwood floors
LED pot lights throughout the home
Architectural tiles in bathrooms and on fireplace wall
Heated floors throughout
Two forced-air gas furnaces
Two air-conditioning units
Sun Project motorized blinds throughout
Solid core doors
Built-in speakers ready for a Sonos system to be installed.
Floating staircase with sleek tread lighting and glass side panels to allow light to pass through
Floor-to-ceiling tinted glass windows
Toto Toilets
Kohler fixtures
Alarm System currently monitored by Renpark Security (assumable)

The Gardens

What makes this home the ultimate turnkey property is the extensive, custom landscaping. The stone and Ipe wood walkways and patios are thoughtfully designed to make full use of the rear garden. The yard is fully and tastefully fenced using horizontal cedar panels. The extensive plantings provide both winter and summer interest. The rear yard is the perfect retreat from city living and for enjoying the summer BBQ season. The rear garden leads to a two-car garage that features heated floors as well as an alcove for storage of bikes, ski gear, etc. To have a two-car garage in this area is a true bonus! The garage is accessed from the rear laneway.

Lot Size 25 feet by 150 feet

Taxes     2018 $15,665.21  2019 $16,805.00

Inclusions:, Jenn-Air oven and warming drawer, Jenn-Air microwave, Thermador refrigerator, Wolf cooktop, Arc-Zephyr vent hood, Miele dishwasher, wine fridge (lower level), all electric light fixtures(with the exception of the dining room chandelier), all built-in cabinetry, two Samsung washers, Samsung dryer, all outdoor furniture

Exclusions: All artwork and dining room chandelier

A selection of the artwork is provided by Michael Klein of gallery MKG127 and is for sale. Please refer to the price list.

A Carson Dunlop Home Inspection is available for review and no significant issues were found. A testimony to a quality renovation.

Offers graciously accepted anytime.

Please stay tuned for photos.

Helen Braithwaite, Real Estate Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, A Christies International Real Estate affiliate.


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: February 2019 Market Report

February real estate market statistics are in for Toronto Real Estate Board. These statistics include only properties that sell on the MLS system so please know other sales do take place that are not included.  I have decided moving forward to focus on 416 statistics and Central Toronto Statistics as that is where the bulk of my business takes place.

Average sale prices for Central Toronto were as follows: Detached home $1,963, 298 Semi-detached $1,341,742, Condo Townhome $830,141 and Condo Apartment $694, 942.

My Infographic is now based on all properties within the 416 area code with does include portions of the East and West communities that are an integral part of the Toronto real estate market.

You can see that the sales for the most part show an improvement year over year.

Average sale Price for the 416 area code properties: Detached homes $1,294,936, semi-detached $1,087,363, condo townhouse $764,569 and condominium apartment $612,488. The East and West areas perform a little below the central market hence the difference in average sales price. Condo apartments were up 7.4% year over year as that is where the affordability is. Detached homes were up a mere 0.08% year over year by comparison however semi-detached homes climbed 10.5% year over year!

This Chart provided by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) shows the discrepancy between the 905 an 416 area codes.

Toronto Homes Sales Statistics 

Chris Kapches February Market video for a full report

 


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate Market Tops Sales for 2018

I thought I should highlight some of the top sales in Central Toronto neighbourhoods for the year 2018. It has been an interesting project for myself and I realize how lucky I am to have preview most of these signatures homes! Why I love my job. There have been a few off-market properties that are not part of these MLS sales. Only properties listed on the MLS system are included in the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) sales statistics.

ROSEDALE:

Rosedale saw a sale of a signature home boasting a double lot on Highland Avenue for over $18,000,000 which shows there is still strength in the luxury market. The grounds were both vast and well landscaped with a pool. There was underground parking for 10 cars and large principal rooms for entertaining. It had been on the market for over 1 year.  This home has currently been gutted for a full renovation!

A stately home overlooking the ravine on Inglewood Avenue just south of St. Clair also sold for over $12,000,000. It was a stunning house but truly needed a few updates for today’s lifestyle. There were interesting features and hidden passageways that made you feel you as if you were in a castle in Europe. It truly was a special property.

There were 6 Sales between $5 million and $10 million. A complete land value property on Crescent Rd fetched over $6 million. This property  had extensive approved plans to add a garage and complete renovate this heritage property. A stunning home on Binscarth sold for $8.6 million in a bidding war but it checked many boxes with a gourmet kitchen with double island, beautifully finished principal rooms, 5 bedrooms, finished basement with custom walnut built-ins, wine cellar and bar as well as a coveted heated drive. A Glen Road home that was 20 years new sold for $8 million after a price reduction,  required an update but had a great floor plan and was extremely well built. A perfect condo alternative sold  for over $6.5 million on May Street after a price reduction. The May Street home was very contemporary and well built just 10 years ago.  81 homes sold in Rosedale between $2,000,000 and $5,000,000. In December an “off-market” property on Crescent Rd with laneway parking sold for just under $4 million. It  will require a complete top to bottom renovation to bring it up to today’s standard so the sale price surprised many in the industry.

FOREST HILL:


Forest Hill had one sale north of $10,000,000 on Old Forest Hill Road. It was fully renovated by designer Lori Morris and landscaping was done by Ron Holbrook. 8 homes sold in Forest Hill between $5 million and $10 million. One of my favourites was a beautiful Warren Road home that managed to retain the old work charm however it was beautifully renovated with a white kitchen and marble countertops yet some of the principal rooms had bold colour to add some visual interest. Quite a few homes on Dunvegan came up for sale this past year with  3 homes fetching over $5 million and one achieved a sale price of over $7 million. My favourite was 179 Dunvegan as it presented as the perfect family home and sold within 3 days on market!  There were 45 sales between $2,000,000 and $5,000,000.

ANNEX, CASA LOMA AND YONGE ST. CLAIR AREA:

The Annex did not have any home sales over $10,000,000 however there were 13 sales over $5,000,000. One sale to note was a $5,000,000 land value purchase with plans on Roxborough Street west. It has a lovely city view on the south side of the street. Roxborough Street West is one of the most desired streets in the city right now based on walkability to the TTC, fantastic shops and restaurants.and the stunning Victorian architecture. Many have been completely renovated into contemporary interior spaces. MacPherson saw a record sale for a renovated detached home that on a coveted 50 foot wide lot that cleared over $6mill  and has been re-renovated!  Woodlawn Avenue (Yonge-St Clair) saw a signature home with amazing bones sell for over $6 million. Farnham (Yonge-St. Clair) saw two sales over $5,000,000. 111 Sales took place in these area between $2,000,000 and $5,000,000. These areas are where everyone wants to be as it is close to everything including the subway!


BRIDLE PATH:


The Bridle Path caught Toronto’s attention when Drake purchased a mid-century bungalow, tore it down to build his massive Chateau designed by Oakville architect Ferris Rafaul Design who also designed his private club at the ScotiaBank Arena. There were two sales over $10 million. One sold for over $17 million on High Point Road that certainly checked all the boxes for those looking for a glamorous home with a huge property over 314ft by 360ft and 36,000 ft of living space! The other property was located on The Bridle Path. It sold for $11,0000 and was  a dated bungalow on  a 244ft by 353ft lot which was predominately a land value sale. There were 18 sales over $5 million within the Bridle Path, St Andrews and a section of Lawrence Park that is for real estate mapping is considered Bridle Path and St Andrews. 103 Properties sold in this area for between $2 million and $5million.

LAWRENCE PARK AND LYTTON PARK:


There were two sales in Lawrence Park and Lytton Park between $5 million and $10 million. One on Lytton Blvd and one on Dawlish Avenue that were both signature homes of newer construction. This area continues to be desirable because of the school districts and both Lytton Park and Lawrence Park are great family neighbourhoods. 103 homes sold between $2 million and $5 million

CONDOS:

I am doing my commentary on Condos based on the entire Central Toronto Region. Most of the luxury condo sales occur in Yorkville, downtown and Yonge Summerhill. On the MLS system not one condo sold for over $10 million however there are many sales that occur in the luxury condo market off MLS. 2017 saw the off-market sale of the Four Season’s Residences penthouse listed at $36 mill. The buyer of that property is completely renovating to suit his own taste! There were only 8 condos that sold over $5 million dollars last year however please know many are selling through builders as pre-construction. The Shangri-La had 2 significant sales of which one was over $8 million. The Ritz Carlton saw a sale over $6 million and the newly transformed St. Regis saw a sale over $8 million. I provided the buyer for a condo in One St. Thomas that was north of $5 million however on a price per sq. ft. of just over $1400 was an excellent value for a signature Robert Stern Building in Yorkville. Scrivener Square in Rosedale is now seeing units selling at $2000 price per sq. ft. with work still required as people want the Yonge Summerhill corridor. 146 condo units sold in central Toronto for between $2million and $5million.

For those looking for the ultimate in a luxury condo here are two options available listed by Jimmy Molloy of Chestnut Park Limited. The first is Suite 1400 in my favourite building  155 Cumberland listed for $28,750,000 .

The second listing is Suite 5401 in The Four Seasons Residences at 50 Yorkville Avenue listed for sale at $12,900,000

What we currently have is a lack of condo inventory. There is demand for luxury larger condo units however not many come to market as people love the turn-key life style and location.

I could carry on with a summary for many more Toronto neighbourhoods however I will overwhelm. If you would like specific information on your neighbourhood  and the sales taking place or a neighbourhood of interest then please contact me and I would be happy to assist in preparing a comprehensive package for that neighbourhood. An educate buyer or seller is very important!

Warmest Regards,

Helen Braithwaite


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate:November and December 2018 Market Reports.

The end of 2018 was a whirlwind for me which is why this post includes both November and December market infographics, my apologies. It is actually helpful to see them side by side as you can compare the month over month in addition to the year over year.

We are definitely seeing a market slowdown as a result of the government intervention with the introduction this year of the Affordable Housing Act coupled with the rise in interest rates. The strength in the market continues to be condominium sales as condos are more affordable and people are choosing urban living to the suburbs.

As you can see the December Infograph has changed this month with the addition of important sales information for the Central Toronto Market. It is a helpful tool to understand just how much stronger the Central Toronto Market is relative to the rest of the GTA. The average sales price at the end of December was $1,145,892 vs $750,180m for the entire GTA.

You can see comparing the December sales to November sales they were down just over 4% month over month however we should take note that is partially a seasonal phenomenon as sales do cool in December when people are busy with their festivities.

It was helpful to hear today that the Bank of Canada feels they should hold interest rates steady right now and not have a further increase as they feel the housing market could not sustain a further rate increase. If their long term plan is continued rate hike is must be done gingerly.

I am here to help if you require my assistance. I am right now coming through the Market Watch report looking a sales within particular neighbourhoods. Stay tuned and I am excited to see the spring market unfold. Next week we shall see a lot of new properties listed as people have settled back into routines after the holidays.

Chris Kapches December 2018 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

Happy New Year Wishing everyone a fine 2019!


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Toronto Luxury Real Estate: October Market Report

The month of October showed a an increase year over year in the average sale price and the number of new listings has declined year over year which is a concern.  Yonge and Summerhill continues to attract multiple offers on properties. I have noticed some higher end properties are longer days on market. Boutique condo buildings continue to show  very strong sales but the larger condo complexes downtown are no longer running over their asking prices as was the case.

The strategy now with properties is listing without an offer date or the willingness to accept a pre-emptive offer as buyers are a little less tolerant of the offer date process.


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Warmest Wishes for the Holidays Toronto!

My warmest thoughts and best wishes for the holidays and a peaceful new year to you and your family. Enjoy the season!

Here are some activities to enjoy in Toronto during the holidays.  Skating is always fun for the whole family! Don’t forget you can now go skating on the Bentway in addition to all the other rinks in Toronto. Here is the Rosedale Park skating schedule for those wishing to stay in the neighbourhood. Evergreen Brickworks Winter Village is another popular family event. Taste delicious treats from food trucks and local vendors, shop unique gifts at their Holiday Market or skate on their newly reopened skating rink. For those looking outside the city, Arrowhead Provincial Park is probably one of the most scenic skating venues around. It does get busy so be sure to go early!

However you choose to enjoy the season I wish you a safe and enjoyable time.

Helen xo


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Carpets and Coffee: A New Luxury Design Store Comes to Summerhill

As  a design enthusiast, I’m always excited to see a new design store and thrilled to see a new carpet store come to Toronto to provide a new option for consumers. Thirty Six Knots opened their doors last week with a focus on unique, handmade area carpets. They took over the space of Decorum, a design store in the Yonge-Summerhill area that shut it doors over a year ago. Fun fact: the store’s name is derived from the oldest rug in the world, Pazyryk, discovered in a remote area of Siberia and created with 36 symmetrical knots per square centimetre. Thirty Six Knots respects ancient rug traditions but also pushes boundaries and works with a series of designers to create unique luxurious rugs. They also sell an array of home decor and accessories. Helpful and attentive staff assist clients in choosing the perfect rug or item for their luxury home.

Within Thirty Six Knots there is also an equally discerning coffee shop that serves great cappuccinos brewed with a choice of two quality blends of coffee beans. They also have a selection of healthy food options, squares and muffins. The store opens at 7am to cater to those who want to grab a coffee before heading to the subway or office and I suppose also for early-bird carpet browsing. What a smart strategy to create a cafe to enhance income and provide traffic into the store plus add another early morning option besides Starbucks in the area! There can never be too many coffee choices in the Yonge-Summerhill area, especially for early-risers!


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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 rebbareform.ca

  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 keepthedreamalive.ca

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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