Category Archives: Issues and Ideas

The human condition… Our thoughts on politics, economics, culture.

Keeping a cool head

Toronto home prices March 2017

If you thought 2016 was a roller-coaster year, 2017 is shaping up to be more of the same. Given the already high prices in Toronto, it’s natural that the lower prices in surrounding communities have drawn off a lot of the traffic, and news reports have now caught up to the boom in 905 and the other parts of southern Ontario.

Our chart (above) shows that the first two months’ of sale prices have already eclipsed the peak moments of 2016. Our dotted-line “projection” suddenly looks highly unlikely. If there are any winners, it may be the older home owners on fixed incomes who now have a chance to make a windfall gain.

For buyers today, the main thing is to keep a cool head and do some serious thinking about what really matters. For many millennials, the imperatives of starting a family are becoming a top priority. Where can they find space to live, commute, and bring up children?

If you’re a buyer, you need to be prepared. With your mortgage pre-approval and a strong understanding of the market, you’ll be able to make smart decisions. You may not win on your first time bidding, but the best-prepared buyers have a strong edge in this market.

If you’re a potential seller, things look easier. But you still need a real estate agent who puts your needs first, ahead of just making an easy sale.

In a rapidly changing market, you need smart, timely advice, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. We’re available to help… You can email us, or ask for James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.


What’s driving the demand?

Toronto home prices 2016

Each new year tends to mark a fresh beginning in real estate, but 2016 is clearly something special. Take a look at the chart above, and you’ll see how the gap in year-over-year prices started widening in March and April, 2015. Since then, double-digit increases have been reported in various categories of the market, both in the 416 and 905 areas.

Which kinds are going up the most?

By 2015, price increases outside the City of Toronto started to be steeper than those within the city. And as of the first half of this month, it’s clear that the greatest percentage increases are in the most affordable categories. In the 416, the average townhouse is 22% up over this time last year. In 905, semi-detached homes are up 15%, and detached homes are up 19%. These are all categories where first-time buyers can hope to purchase a home on the ground, in the broad range of $500,000 to $800,000.

Condo apartments are somewhat different. The mix is changing to include more new units, often smaller than the older ones. Even so, lower prices are drawing more buyers to condos in parts of the 905, with the result that average apartment prices are now rising four times faster in the suburbs, compared to the 416.

In this context, the price increases for detached homes would appear to be levelling off. There are parts of the city, however, which are experiencing the most explosive price increases ever in 2016. Inner suburbs like Don Mills, with bungalows built on large lots in the 50s and 60s, are seeing price increases of over 20% this year. Meanwhile, a shortage of resale homes in the core neighbourhoods of the old city has guaranteed bidding wars on just about any listing.

You need a plan

Whether you’re in the market for a house or a condo, you need a smart team to plan and execute a winning strategy. We’re available to talk… If you’re ready to start a conversation you can email us, or ask for James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.

New down-payment rules

New downpayment rules

The new down-payment requirements will affect thousands of home buyers in Toronto and the GTA.

The new rules affect all home purchases where the down payment is less than 20%, and the sale price is between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Purchases up to $500,000, or over $1 million, will not be affected. The changes take effect on February 15, 2016.

Specifically, a buyer will need to provide a minimum down payment of 5% on the first $500,000 of value, PLUS a minimum 10% down payment on the remainder of the price, up to $1 million. (Buyers of properties over $1 million are already required to provide a 20% down payment.)

As an example, a house purchase of $700,000 will require a minimum down payment of $45,000 (up from $35,000 currently.)

A big deal for houses (condos not so much)

The new rule will have the strongest impact on buyers of low-rise homes. 53% of all low-rise home sales across the GTA would have been in the affected category in 2015. First-time buyers looking for a house in the City of Toronto know how few actually sell below $500,000. Condo buyers will probably not be affected, since only 13% of condo apartments are selling in the affected price range.

Family help

This holiday season, first-time buyers who’ve been saving up for a 5% down payment may want to have “the talk” with family members… Is it okay to stay off the property ladder until you can save up more, or is there a justified case for a little family gifting, to speed up the process?

Contact us if you’d like to get objective advice from a mortgage professional… we can connect you with some excellent people!

There’s lots more to know…

If you’re in the market for a house or condo, there’s lots you should know. We’re available to talk… If you’re ready to start your home-buying campaign you can email us, or ask for James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.


Mayfair in Rosedale Park – May 8th and 9th

Park Sign

Wednesday is the last day to buy Ride-All-Day passes for Mayfair! There will be more rides than ever, including the amazing Cannonball drop ride.

The Ride-All-Day pass costs $40. It’s good for all the mechanical rides at Mayfair. The rides will be running this Friday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, as well as all day Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

You can purchase the Ride-All-Day passes at Summerhill Market, 446 Summerhill Avenue, and at Mooredale House, 146 Crescent Road. You receive a voucher, which you exchange for a wrist bracelet at the park.

For more Mayfair info, call Mooredale House, 416-922-3714, ext 103.

Toronto’s legacy towers

Jane Jacobs was not a believer. She was confident that the futuristic suburban developments of the 1960s and 70s would not produce the kind of connected neighbourhoods she advocated.

Decades later, the concrete slabs have not done well. “Tower renewal” has become the watchword for a branch of urbanism that is trying to grapple with the problems of Toronto’s inner-suburban highrise apartments. “Powers of Towers” is a beautifully-shot 12-minute documentary that profiles some of the best minds currently trying to turn these legacy projects into livable communities.

Moore Park 5-bedroom centre hall home, $1,395,000

This stately 1920’s home in Toronto’s #1-ranked family neighbourhood has been sensitively updated by the current owners. It’s located on an unusually wide lot, with a double garage and a deep private garden.
Go to for details, or click on the photo to see the Virtual Tour – we have some great photos of the staircase and the stained glass!

Mayfair 2014 Ride-all-Day Bracelets

Mayfair rides at night

Mayfair in Rosedale Park will be on May 10th this year. You can get Ride-all-Day bracelets, good for all the mechanical rides, but only during the advance sale period…

April 23rd to May 7th

You can purchase vouchers for the Ride-all-Day bracelets at Summerhill Market, 446 Summerhill Avenue, and at Mooredale House, 146 Crescent Road. The vouchers will be on sale from April 23rd to May 7th only. Then redeem your voucher at the park on Saturday, May 10, when you will receive your bracelet.

Mayfair’s Eve – Bonus Rides

All the rides will be running for four hours on the night before Mayfair, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday, May 9th. You can come to Mayfair on the Friday night, redeem your voucher and try out the rides — then come back Saturday for a full day of fun!

Stay for Friday dinner in Rosedale Park

The whole family’s invited on Friday night! The Mayfair beer garden and BBQ will be up and running Friday May 9th, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We’ll be serving Steam Whistle, and Summerhill Market is bringing their famous gourmet ribs! (Weber’s burgers and Life Choices hot dogs will also be on the grill.) A great time to hang out with friends, at a really big neighbourhood barbecue!