Free Toronto Buyers Guide | Complete Guide to Buying a Toronto Condo

The New Toronto Condo buyers guide is NOW available.  This 43 Page Buyers guide is a great starting point for any new buyer thinking of purchasing a Toronto condominium.  If you are new to the Toronto Condo market or just need an update, it is a great resource and answers some very interesting questions you may not have thought of.  Simply send us an email to receive your free copy. 

Topics Covered in the Guide:

1 – Condominium Ownership.
What Is a Condominium? .
What Types of Condominiums Are There? .
What Do I Own When I Buy a Condominium? .
Are Condominium Regulations the Same Across Canada?.
What Rules and Restrictions Might I Encounter in a Condominium?.
Who Takes Care of the Building and Grounds?.
What Insurance Will I Need?.
Can I Rent My Condominium?.
2 – What Type of Condominium is Right for Me?.
New, Re-sale or Conversion—What Are the Differences?.
New Condominiums .
Conversion Condominiums.
Existing/Re-sale Condominiums.
Affordability—How Much Will it Cost? .
Condominium Contributions—What’s Included in My Fees?.
Extraordinary Expenses.
Questions to Ask in Choosing a Condominium.
3 – Getting Help from the Experts.
Who Should I Consult about Buying a Condominium?.
How do I Know if a Condominium is in Good Financial Condition?.
How do I Know if a Condominium is in Good Physical Condition?.
Physical Checklist.
What Information Does the Condominium Corporation Have that Could Help Me? 

 

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If you have an interest in Renting, Buying or Selling in the Toronto area and would like to discuss the current market, please fill out this contact form.

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Strong March Resales -despite 19% decline in listings

President’s Newspaper/Magazine Columns

National Post Column (as it appears in the National Post on the second Saturday of each month)

April 11, 2011 — The first quarter of 2011 ended strongly for the existing home market in the Greater Toronto Area. Resale transactions reported through the TorontoMLS® system in March amounted to 9,262 – the second strongest March on record behind March 2010. There were 19,610 sales reported during the first quarter, representing a 12.5 per cent dip compared to the record pace experienced during the first three months of 2010.

I asked Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB’s) Senior Manager of Market Analysis, to provide some context for the sales figures reported so far this year. He provided both a historical back-drop and a forward looking view: “This year’s first quarter result was slightly higher than the average for the last five years and was in line with TREB’s forecast sales range for 2011. At the beginning of this year, our forecast range for sales through the TorontoMLS® was between 80,000 and 85,000. The actual first quarter result supports this forecast, so we will be making very little if any adjustment to our outlook on sales,” said Mercer.

The average price for March 2011 transactions was $456,147, representing a five per cent increase compared to the average of $434,696 reported in March of 2010. Price growth through the first three months of the year was quite uniform, ranging between four and little over five per cent. I asked Jason Mercer to provide his view on the pace of price growth so far this year.

“The annual rate of price growth in the first quarter was at the upper end of TREB’s forecast range of between three and five per cent. We have not seen as many new listings as expected so far this year. In March, for example, new listings were down by 19 per cent compared to March 2010. This means that market conditions have tightened up and there is more competition between buyers. The result has been continued price growth,” said Mercer.

When considering housing market conditions in the GTA, I think it is also important to break things down in terms of geography and home type. First off, home buyers in the GTA benefit from a great diversity of home types. In the first quarter, a substantial share of home sales was accounted for by the four major home types: single-detached and semi-detached houses, townhomes and condominium apartments. Low-rise home types accounted for approximately three-quarters of total sales, with condominium apartments accounting for the other 25 per cent. Average sale prices ranged between approximately $320,000 for condominium apartments through to approximately 570,000 for single-detached homes.

It is interesting to note, however, that when we break sales down by geography the mix of home types sold can vary quite a bit. In the City of Toronto, 45 per cent of total sales were accounted for by condominium apartments. The regions surrounding the City of Toronto have a much greater share of low-rise sales along with some denser nodes of condominium apartment sales in parts of Peel and York regions.

The existing home market remains on a healthy footing in the GTA. Sales levels remain strong from a historic perspective and the average selling price continues to grow at a strong, but sustainable pace. With the economic outlook continuing to improve, I expect this situation will continue moving forward.

Bill Johnston is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 31,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

Let us help you find that great Toronto Condo! Click here to view condos currently for sale within the GTA. To read more Toronto and surrounding area condo profiles click here

Never Sign in With a Developer

Did you know when your first walk in to a condo sales office and you are asked to sign in, give your information and “register with us” that you are giving up your right to be independently represented at that condo development on any future purchase? Many people do not know this and the front desk clerk taking your information have certainly not shared this with you.

Giving up your right to be represented put you in the hands of the sales people that work for the builder and have no obligation to you or your interests. Protect those interests, the developer pays the fee for you to be represented by an exclusive buyers agent, it cost you nothing.

If you are really pressured to fill out the registration form by all means fill it out with your agent’s info, if they do not allow you to do this, well alarm bells should be ringing for you. You may want to think twice about buying from this builder.

Let us help you find that great Toronto Condo! Click here to view condos currently for sale within the GTA. To read more Toronto and surrounding area condo profiles click here

New Condo and Your PDI

So your new condo is ready for occupancy, congratulations! As exciting as this time is you must not for to protect your investment. You may have been waiting up to 4 years for this day and you want to be ready for what lies ahead. This is when you need to schedule you PDI(pre-delivery inspection).A PDI is an important step in new construction ownership and should be taken seriously and conducted carefully.

Basically a PDI is a walkthrough of your new property prior to closing, with this opportunity you and the builder’s representative can observe and list all pre-existing deficiencies (incomplete, missing or damaged items) of the condominium. This list will act as evidence that these deficiencies were pre-existing and did not occur after you moved in to your condo.

Some things to keep in mind while conducting you PDI

  • Be thorough. As you tour your condo look for scratches, marks and damages to walls, ceilings and doors. Run all taps, ensure that hot and cold water work, flush all toilets, pull all handles, open all doors and cabinets. Check all floors are even and that hardwood floors and tiles have no cracks.

 

  • Keep in mind your builder representative will be involved in your requests to the builder/developer ,be friendly and respectful having a good rapport with the representative will be helpful in future dealings. Those being said, don’t let your rep rush you through your inspection. Anything you do not list will most likely not be addressed by builder.

 

  • Remember your APS, an agreement of purchase and sale will list all finishes, features and upgrades you have paid for, ensure that these are all in place.

 

  • Save your Money. Don’t hire a home inspector. Home inspectors are crucial in the purchase of an older home, but this is a new condo and their services would be unhelpful and expensive.

 

  • Bring a friend. For two reasons 1)You may feel more comfortable bringing up concerns to the builder rep and 2)Two sets of eyes are better then one.

 

  • If something is missed there is a 30-day form. If after you take possession you find a deficiency you can go through TARION. Going through TARION is not the easiest route and your time may be better spent getting things done through you builder.

 

Good luck with your PDI!

Let us help you find that great Toronto Condo! Click here to view condos currently for sale within the GTA. To read more Toronto and surrounding area condo profiles click here

Toronto Real Estate Stats | Yorkville Condos

Second Best March on Record

April 5, 2011 — Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,262 transactions through the TorontoMLS® system in March 2011, representing the second best March result on record. The number of transactions was 11 per cent lower than the record result reported in March 2010.

“The strong home sales reported in March and throughout the first quarter of 2011 have been based on a solid affordability picture and improving economic conditions in the GTA and country-wide,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

The average selling price for March 2011 was up five per cent year-over-year to $456,147. The strongest average annual price growth was reported for condominium apartments and semi-detached houses, at approximately seven per cent for both home types.

“Market conditions were tighter in March compared to last year. With more competition between buyers, we have seen a strong but sustainable rate of price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Median Price
In March, the median price was $385,000, from the $370,000 recorded during March of 2010.
Click Here To Read Full Report

First Time Buyer Info | Yorkville Condos

First-time buyers in major Canadian markets

move to get in ahead of higher interest rates, says RE/MAX

Driven by the threat of higher interest rates down the road, first-time buyers are contributing to strong upward momentum in residential housing markets across the country, according to a report released by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX First-Time Buyers Report, highlighting trends and developments in nineteen major Canadian centres, found that low interest rates and balanced market conditions have provided significant impetus in 2011, particularly at lower price points.  Just over 30 per cent of markets are reporting sales in excess of 2010 levels as a result, while almost 70 per cent have experienced an upswing in average price.  Leading the country in terms of percentage increases in the number of homes sold are Western Canadian markets, including Saskatoon (up close to 15 per cent), Greater Vancouver (up close to 12 per cent), and Winnipeg (up just over 11 per cent).  With an average price hike of close to 20 per cent year-to-date (February), Greater Vancouver continues to show unprecedented strength, followed by Hamilton-Burlington (eight per cent), Quebec City (seven per cent), Winnipeg (close to seven per cent), Greater Toronto (five per cent), and Greater Montreal (five per cent). 

Despite homeownership rates approaching 70 per cent, there is clearly room for growth as entry-level buyers make their moves from coast-to-coast, undeterred by higher housing values and changes to lending criteria.  Many purchasers intent on realizing homeownership are scaling back on expectations or are willing to sacrifice location, quality and/or size to make their dream a reality – not unlike generations before them.

Inventory levels, while tight in several larger centres, are more balanced overall, giving first-time buyers a good selection of housing product from which to choose.  Not surprisingly, condominium apartments and town homes have become the first step for many entry-level purchasers, especially in Greater Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, London-St. Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, Greater Toronto, the Island of Montreal, and Halifax-Dartmouth where average prices have risen unabated in recent years.

With the Canadian economy on firmer footing overall, residential real estate is well-positioned moving into the traditionally busy spring market.  Consumer confidence is climbing in conjunction with economic performance, and concerns over a secondary recession fade with each passing day.  The mood is cautiously optimistic, as first-time buyers enter the market.

Changes to recent financing criteria have not created the anticipated run up in activity in most markets.  From a financial standpoint, most rookie home buyers remain quite prudent.  Those making the leap are not doing it lightly, buying within their means.  While this most recent round of policy tightening will likely have a negligible effect on demand, the message is getting across. 

Affordability remains a growing concern in most markets, and—aside from first-time purchasers—no one is more in tune with that than housing planners and developers.  In fact, the growing demand for reasonably-priced product is creating a shift in the country’s housing mix.  That trend is expected to gain traction in coming years, as builders look to create greater options for those seeking to realize homeownership.    In recent years, builders have helped ease the move to homeownership by concentrating on intensification—condominium buildings with smaller suites and small-lot subdivisions offering detached, compact homes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional single-family home.   On the flip side, the affordability factor is also breathing new life into tired older neighbourhoods, and that, in turn, is contributing to rising values. 

As prices escalate, first-time buyers are indeed spending more—some out of necessity, but others are simply in a position to do so.  Unlike in years past—a greater percentage of today’s first-time buyer pool is comprised of dual-income, college or university-educated couples with solid earnings.  They’re spending close to average price or slightly more to secure—in most cases—a better location or a home that will grow with them.   Yet, the fact remains that those on a tighter budget can get in for considerably less, with reasonable choices in every major market across the country.   While some may feel discouraged by eroding affordability levels, the underlying confidence in the concept of homeownership is rising.

While market conditions are one thing that influences first-time buyers, few things trump the fundamental belief in homeownership.  Today’s entry-level buyers are steadfast in their mindset.  They know they have to live somewhere, but they simply don’t want to pay someone else’s mortgage.  Savvy or practical, they remain a driving force.  The bottom line is that the demand for entry-level product will remain steady.  The role of starter homes in the marketplace is becoming ever more vital.

164 Cumberland St – Yorkville Condos

Renaissance Court
164 Cumberland Street

164 Cumberland St:  Renaissance Court:   Yorkville Condos

Renaissance Court was developed by Bramalea about 1982 at 164 Cumberland Street. With only 32 units, this condominium is more private than many and the price is far below the $500 per sq. ft. average of most other Yorkville properties. Suites are built over a three storey retail and office complex and vary from 1155 sq. ft. to 1800 sq. ft. within the upper four storeys. They include 24 hour concierge service.

3 McApline – Yorkville Condos

Domus
3 McApline

3 McApline:  Domus Condos:  Yorkville Condos

Although Domus was completed by Diamante Development Corporation in 2003, this relatively new condominium has already combined or altered units. It now offers 20 three-level townhomes, and 69 new loft style units dispersed over 10 floors. A short distance northeast of the Bay Street and Davenport Road is where you’ll see the modern eclectic design of the Domus condos.

One of the highlights of these lofts are the 16 ft. ceilngs and most lofts come with a balcony or terrace. Townhomes range in size from 930 to 1297 sq. ft. while the suites vary between 645 to 2752 sq. ft. Some of these homes are expensive costing as much as $500 per sq. ft. but the facilities are many and include 24 hour concierge, party room, exercise area, a guest suite, and a beautiful private garden.

99 Avenue Rd – Yorkville Condos

99 Avenue Road
99 Avenue Road

99 Avenue Rd:  Yorkville Condos

99 Avenue Road is a wonderful enhancement to the Yorkville/Bloor area. This prestigious neighborhood was built by Max & Company Development Inc. It’s brick and stone exterior is complimented by the meticulous landscaping and this condo houses 80 units in 14 storeys.

The impressive facilities include a gym and steam bath, tiered seating and stereo sound with a large screen in the theatre, a guest suite, and for your meeting needs there is a business centre.

Enjoy 10 foot ceilings in any of the 714 sq. ft. to more than 2100 sq. ft. units which average about $500 per sq. ft. After walking to the classy Yorkville shops, you’ll appreciate the entering the elegant lobby of 99 Avenue Road.

4 Lowther Ave – Yorkville Condos

4 Lowther Avenue

4 Lowther Ave:  Yorkville Condos

In the heart of Yorkville, on the west side of Avenue Road and just north of Bloor is where you’ll find 4 Lowther Avenue condominium. This spectacular residence is a 7 storey structure with 41 suites ranging in size from the unusually large studios and one bedrooms at 1100 sq. ft to over 3000 sq. ft. for the penthouses.

Each unit includes a fireplace and 9 foot high ceilings with the typical suite being 2000 sq. ft. with an additional 900 sq. ft. terrace. From $650 per sq. ft. to $775 per sq. ft. and above, these condos are priced high. However, amenities do include valet parking, party and fitness rooms, concierge service, and a small indoor pool.