Real-estate sales on the upswing in Ontario’s cottage country

Last Friday was a bit overcast in the Muskoka region north of Toronto and an afternoon thunderstorm rolled through. Nevertheless, traffic was bumper-to-bumper in the town of Gravenhurst, Ont.

“It was joyous,” said broker Anita Latner, who dashed across the main street with a big smile on her face. Cottage-country sales never seemed to rebound in 2013 in the area north of Toronto after severe spring flooding and a tornado.

via Real-estate sales on the upswing in Ontario’s cottage country – The Globe and Mail.

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Open the vault: The luxury home market is back

On a snowy day in Rosedale last week, luxury cars lined the antique cobblestones in front of a neoclassical Georgian, and guests lingered near the warmth of a log fire in the main entrance hall.

Five Hawthorn Gardens had just hit the market with an asking price of $15.9-million and real estate agents were eager to view the splendours inside.

via Open the vault: The luxury home market is back – The Globe and Mail.

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House prices and sales keep climbing in Toronto

Neither weather nor warnings that Toronto’s housing market is overpriced managed to dampen a market that continued to defy the naysayers through 2013.

Total home sales were up 2 per cent last year over 2012 — and up almost 14 per cent in December alone, despite a wet spring and one of the snowiest pre-Christmas months in years, according to year-end figures released Monday by the Toronto Real Estate Board.

House prices were up 5.2 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012, with the average selling price hitting $523,036 compared to $497,130 in 2012 as even the closely watched condo sector ended the year on a high.

Resale home prices were up almost 9 per cent across the GTA in December alone, with the average sale price coming in at $520,398 compared to $477,756 a year earlier, says TREB.

via House prices and sales keep climbing in Toronto | Toronto Star.

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Greater Toronto real estate market: Intensification drives prices

Real estate markets respond to the policies put in place by government. And the GTA new home market in recent years has been all about intensification in action.

Consumers can only buy what they can afford, and what builders can sell. In turn, builders can only sell what consumers want and can afford and what the government allows them to build.In the mid-2000s, the Ontario government introduced policies, the Greenbelt and Places to Grow, that have been fundamentally reshaping the growth of the GTA through intensification. In accordance with these policies the region has been growing up, not out.

To appreciate what’s happening in the GTA new home market in 2013, it should be understood that it’s been all about intensification in action.

There were 11,082 new home sales in the first five months of 2013, the second-lowest total in the last decade. The lowest total was recorded in 2009, in the depths of the financial crisis.

The price gap between a low rise home detached, semi-detached, townhomes and link homes and a highrise home reached a record high of $212,000 at the end of May.

Year-to-date highrise sales as of May 31 were down 13 per cent from the long-term average and their prices were down two per cent from last year. Meanwhile, sales of lowrise homes are down 43 per cent from the long-term average, but their prices are up six per cent from last year.

An obvious trend has resulted from the intensification of the housing market: the average price of the homes we’re creating more of highrise is flattening, while the average price of the homes we’re making less of lowrise is increasing.

Intensification is not just affecting the new home market; it will have a significant effect on the overall GTA real estate market.

If you think about it, every home today was at one point a new home, and that home was built under the land-use regulations of the time.

Two important questions emerge here regarding the future of the Toronto real estate market: Will the GTA continue to grow, and will the province continue to promote an intensified approach to development?

If you believe the answer to both of those questions is, “Yes,” then prepare for real estate that will increasingly be taller, smaller, and, unfortunately, more expensive.

via Greater Toronto real estate market: Intensification drives prices | Toronto Star.

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Toronto home prices keep climbing

Housing sales in the Greater Toronto Area were down by less than 1% in June compared with the same month a year ago, while the average selling price was up by 4.7% at $531,374, according to a report by Toronto Real Estate Board.

“In line with the 2013 norm,” June price growth was driven by single-detached and semi-detached houses, particularly in the city of Toronto, the board said in a report Thursday.

Over the same time period, average condominium apartment selling prices remained in line with 2012 levels, it said.

via Toronto home prices keep climbing | Financial Post.

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5 ways to make sure that you are buying the right home

With real estate high season in full swing, homes are moving fast and buyers and sellers are keen to get deals signed, sealed and delivered so that they can enjoy their new home and start their new lives.

Since a home is life’s biggest investment, it probably comes as no surprise that this is an emotionally charged decision. In fact, a recent Bank of Montreal report found that 80 per cent of prospective home buyers know if a house is the right one for them the moment they step inside.

via 5 ways to make sure that you are buying the right home | www.citizen.on.ca | Orangeville Citizen.

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Canada’s housing market drawing the big-money crowd

Sotheby’s International Realty is seeing a surge in demand from wealthy Syrians, Egyptians and Europeans looking for a safe and relatively stable place to park their millions — Canada’s softening real estate market.

There has been an uptick in “very significant transactions” in tony areas like Oakville and North Toronto by Europeans, many with young families who originally had planned to settle in the U.S. but fell in love with Canada instead, says Sotheby’s Canada CEO Ross McCredie.

At the same time, Montreal’s exclusive Westmount area has become top of the real estate wish list for high-net worth Syrians and Egyptians looking for a safe haven for their money and families, he added.

Increasingly, many of these deals — especially those over $10 millionthose over $10 million — aren’t even showing up in MLS sales tallies because of buyers seeking the privacy afforded by private or exclusive deals, or finalized under the cloak of a corporate purchase, McCredie noted.

“The lack of inventory is a big problem in the high-end market,” so agents are having to find their own properties rather than look to the MLS system, said Andy Taylor of Sotheby’s Toronto office, which has done more international business in the last 18 months than in the last six years.

via Canada’s housing market drawing the big-money crowd | Toronto Star.

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At Bank of Canada, all eyes on housing market

When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened home lending standards last year, Bay Street economists shrugged.

It wasn’t the first time Mr. Flaherty had attempted to deflate the housing bubble. Nor was it the second or third. That was enough history to suggest a cycle.

On all previous occasions, sales immediately jumped as buyers rushed to beat the new restrictions. In the next phase, demand cratered when the stricter lending conditions kicked in. Finally, sales popped back up once potential buyers realized that interest rates still were at once-in-a-lifetime levels.

via At Bank of Canada, all eyes on housing market – The Globe and Mail.

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Toronto real estate: GTA housing sales slump 17 per cent in March, but prices continue to climb

Home sales continued their downward slide across the GTA in March — down 17 per cent over the same period a year ago — but prices continue to climb, according to figures released by the Toronto Real Estate Board Wednesday.

Overall, home sales were down 14 per cent for the first quarter of 2013, thanks to a slump in sales that began last summer.

via Toronto real estate: GTA housing sales slump 17 per cent in March, but prices continue to climb | Toronto Star.

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First-time buyers find Toronto real estate market hot as ever

First-time homebuyers Jody and Michael Fegelman have heard a lot of talk over the last year about Canada’s cooling housing market. All the couple have felt is the sting of its heat.

During their 1½-year search for a home for their two young children, the Fegelmans have been on the losing end of three grueling bidding wars. They have paid for a home inspection on a place someone else got by paying $80,000 over the asking price.

via First-time buyers find Toronto real estate market hot as ever | Toronto Star.

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