Real Estate Blogs

  • 10 Sep

    GTA home prices increased by 7.5% since last year

    The Toronto real estate market experienced strong year-over-year growth in both unit sales and average price for July 2014. Unit sales were up by 10% coming in at 9,198 versus 8,367 in July 2013. Average price was $550,700 which was 7.5% greater than the same month last year.

    What is Driving the Strength in the Housing Market?

    Population Growth and Household Formation

    Fundamentally, the most important thing driving the housing market over the longer term is population growth and household formation. These factors are very favourable for the Greater Toronto Area given that about 40% of new immigrants to Canada settle in the GTA. This represents a gain in population of over 100,000 people, roughly adding a new city the size of Ajax to the GTA each and every year.

    Over the shorter term, two key factors drive the housing market: employment and interest rates.


    Employment in the GTA has been roughly growing at the rate of the growth in the labour force for some time now. Recently, there was some very positive data relating to the strength in the U.S. economy and the resulting increase in net exports of goods and services, many of which are produced in the GTA; the trade deficit in June declined by over $300 million going down to $468M from May 2014. This is a positive for employment growth and the housing market.

    Interest Rates

    Finally are interest rates. Once someone has a job, they then need to understand how much they can afford in terms of monthly payments. Interest rates, particularly the most popular 5 year fixed term mortgages are at all-time lows. You can now get a 5 year fixed rate mortgage for less than 3.00%. This continues to be a very strong factor in the current housing market.

    Should your mortgage be coming up for renewal in the next while, please call me and I can refer you to a professional mortgage representative to ensure that you get the best mortgage terms possible for your renewal.

  • 22 Mar
    Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

    Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

    Purchasing a home is not only a crucial decision in your life, but also a major financial commitment. If are planning on purchasing your first home, you may be eligible to take advantage of the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit provided by the Economic Action plan.

    The HBTC assists first-time home buyers with the costs associated with the purchase of a home, such as legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes, which are a particular burden for first-time home buyers, who must also save for a down payment.

    You can claim an amount of $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home acquired in 2013, if both of the following apply:

    • you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
    • you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years (first-time home buyer).

    For more information, please read the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit initiative and visit the CRA website.

  • 25 Dec
    What is Ontario HST Rebate?

    What is Ontario HST Rebate?

    Uncertain about the HST rebate for new home buyers? When you buy a new home or condominium, there are rebates for the federal 5 per cent portion of the HST and in Ontario, the provincial 8 per cent portion.

    You can qualify for a rebate of 36 per cent of the federal portion of the HST if the home costs $350,000 or less. If the home costs between $350,000 and $450,000 there is a sliding scale. At $450,000 the rebate ends. For the provincial portion, everyone can apply for up to 75 per cent of the HST paid, to a maximum of $24,000.

    The catch is that in order to qualify, the new home or condo has to be your primary residence, or you must prove that you have rented it out for at least a year. If you move in on closing, the builder often builds the rebate into the sale price and then applies to the Canada Revenue Agency for the refund on your behalf. Before the builder will do that, you have to sign a document saying that you will move in. If the builder suspects you will not be moving in, they have the right to ask you to pay the rebate on closing.

    If you bought the house as an investment and plan to rent it out, you can apply for the rebate immediately as well, but will have to send proof that you closed your deal and a copy of the lease agreement. If you sell the investment property within a year, you have to pay the tax.

    Ontario new housing HST rebate details

    The lesson is that buyers must understand their obligations if they intend to apply for any HST rebate on a new home or condominium. Either you must move into the home as your primary residence on closing, in which event you can immediately apply for the full rebate, or you must rent it out for at least one year and then apply for the rebate. If you are intending to immediately re-sell your home without moving in, then just pay the full HST amount when you buy the home from the builder, and don’t apply for any rebate.

    Please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website for further information and application forms.

  • 07 Apr
    Basic Tips for Investment Properties

    Basic Tips for Investment Properties

    An investment property can be a smart way of increasing your income, if decisions have been made wisely. In the past years property values have doubled and rental prices have increased in the GTA, however there is no guarantee that this trend will continue.

    The major factors in selecting the right property is based on value appreciation and generating a steady income. The basic calculation for the monthly income would be total rent minus operating expenses (such as mortgage, property  tax , insurance and maintenance costs).

    Here are some basic tips to help with the decision-making:

    • First of all, start with your budget. Determine how much you can afford and get a mortgage pre-approval. Keep in mind that the down-payment for a second property is usually a minimum of 20%.
    • Even if you can gain a good cash flow, don’t rely on an income property as your sole income source. There’s always a chance that you have no tenants for a period of time. Be prepared to arrange your mortgage payment for the time your property remains vacant.
    • You can deduct some of the expenses from your income;  such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utility bills, property management costs, maintenance and repair costs
    • Do your research on the local market conditions. Find out about the area’s vacancy rates and average rental prices.
    • Before buying a home, find out legal requirements for a basement apartment. Every city has its own rules.
    • Work with a Real Estate Agent who is a also a seasoned Real Estate Investor. Buying an income property is different than buying a home to live in. An agent with personal experience in investment properties has a broader perspective and can guide you through all the additional details.
    • Get a qualified home inspector to ensure the unit adheres to all existing building and fire codes. An inspector can also discover hidden repair and renovation costs that could affect your budget.
    • Don’t be emotional when choosing the right property: It should be in a good livable condition with a cozy layout, but you are not going to live there.
    • Ask yourself whether you want to be a landlord. This can be challenging since you will have to deal with different people and sometimes tenants can be problematic.
    • You can hire a property manager to manage your property, deal with the tenants and take care of the maintenance.
  • 10 Jan
    What is Home Staging?

    What is Home Staging?

    Home Staging is not just an art of preparing and redecorating a home for sale, it is also a proven real estate strategy. Staging a home can have a significant impact on the appeal of your home and increase its market value. If done wisely, it can turn a cold looking property into a warm and inviting home in the potential buyer’s mind.

    Home staging Tips

    Studies have shown that most buyers make a decision about a house within minutes of walking in the door. Here are some simple tips to make the most effective first impression:

    • Make sure your home is spotlessly clean and eliminate unpleasant pet or food odours.
    • Keep all curtains and blinds open and turn on the lights.
    • Put fresh flowers in principal rooms.
    • Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels and new guest soaps to every bath.
    • Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.
    • Items that do not enhance the decor of the room should be put away or stored off-site.
    • Depersonalize the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos and distinctive artwork.
    • Don’t leave any rooms empty, rent some furniture if necessary.
    • Remove any clutter from the the kitchen counter top.
    • Maintain neat and tidy closets. Storage areas need to look clean and organized.
    • Apply neutral tones if you need to repaint walls or replace carpets.
    • If necessary re-grout the tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. It can make a big difference.
    • The basement should be dry and clean. Use shelves or cabinets to store your materials.
    • Move your lawn and put away toys and yard equipment.

    Creating a positive first impression is crucial when selling your home. A staged home stands out from the competition, maximizes the selling price and sells faster!