Archive for January 2018


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Article Month-Year   9 Ways to Increase Your Home's Value July 2014 A Christmas Greeting December 2014 Are You Planning to Sell in 2015? November 2014 Are You Ready for Some Lavender Love? July 2014 Art Show & Sale - David Arathoon - Islands in the Sun April 2015 Carbon Monoxide ( CO ) Alarms Now Mandatory in All Ontario Homes October 2014


Things You Should Be Doing Right Now if You Plan to Sell Your House/Condo This Spring

If you are planning to sell your house this Spring, then you need to get started now. Don’t wait! You are planning for a marathon, not a sprint. As the snow melts, new house listings in your neighbourhood will pop up like daffodils and tulips. They are your competition, so you want your house to stand out from the rest.

Call your agent now. Real Estate professionals also get busy with the Spring market, so beat the rush and get an unhurried house evaluation and a chance to discuss the selling process and what you will need to do to prepare your house for market. I am happy to meet with you to discuss your timeline and individual needs.

Inspect Mechanical Systems. If you do not have regular annual maintenance on your heating and air-conditioning systems, now is the time to call for a check-up. Change the air filters. If service or repairs are required, the service technicians are less likely to be busy before the weather changes. Scheduling replacements will be less stressful and likely less expensive than waiting for them to be discovered during a buyer’s home inspection.

Home Improvement Projects. Incomplete or never started. Take a look around your home. Try to see it through strangers’ eyes. Missing or damaged millwork? Caulking in showers that need replacing? You may want to tackle rooms with extremely personal choices in paint colour or wallpaper with a few gallons of neutral paint. Either do it yourself or call in a professional. You’d be amazed what a professional can do in just a few days while you are at work.

Declutter. Pack away items that may distract from showings or might pose a danger of theft. Things will need to be packed and moved anyway, you may as well get a head start. It’s a good time to decide to call a favourite friend or relative with the good news that you are gifting them that piece of furniture or artwork they always admired, especially if space will be more limited in your new residence. Some of my most treasured pieces have been passed on in a similar way. Don’t forget your closets. If they are overflowing, it might suggest storage is lacking in your home. De-clutter doesn’t mean just moving things around. Don’t pack it all in the garage, rent a storage unit and move it off-site. You want prospective buyers to see how much space you really have.

CleanAs the listing date approaches, your house should shine because it is so clean. That includes the windows, inside and out. What a difference a clean window makes in terms of light coming in and the view that is now easily seen. As you approach the time when showings will commence, consider hiring professional cleaning staff.

– Chip Barkel, MCNE, SRES, REDM, Toronto Real Estate. Extraordinary Service. Top Results. 

Pantone Colour of the Year for 2018 “ULTRA-VIOLET”

The Future is Purple.
Pantone 2018 colour of the year is Ultra-Violet 18-3838.

Purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic. Add some magic to your life in the New Year. Indulge! 

Cynthia Reyes’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle is about loving your own shell. Celebrating what makes you stand out from the crowd and different. Written for ages 3-8, it is a universal story of standing up to bullying and nurturing pride and self-esteem. It is also on CQI Magazine’s List of “Must Read Books” for 2018.
Available through

David Arathoon is a Toronto artist who paints in oils and has captured both creativity and peace in these two florals.

Irises and Cornflowers is an 8” x 10” oil on canvas

Lilac Time is a 20” x 16” oil on canvas

December 2017 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

December 2017 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

We move into 2018 saddled with a number of market factors that make predictions more difficult than they already are for any year in real estate. 2017 was, without doubt, one of the most remarkable years in the history of the Toronto residential real estate market. The year began in the most frenzied fashion possible. During the months of January, February, March, and April, sale prices were increasing in an unsustainable fashion, topping out at 33% on a year over year basis in March.

By April the average sale price for all properties sold in the greater Toronto area had reached an alarming $920,000. That number included all condominium apartment sales, the least expensive housing form available to buyers. On April 20th, everything changed. On that day the provincial government announced the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. Amongst other measures, it imposed a 15% tax on residential real estate purchases by foreign buyers. Technically this measure should have had an insignificant effect on the market – after all only 4% of all homes were purchased by foreigners, as defined by the legislation. But the implementation of the tax acted as a psychological wake-up call, causing buyers to stop, look at the astronomical amounts they were paying for properties, and wait to see what the impact of the tax would be on sales and sale prices.

By May sales of residential properties had declined by more than 20% (with more to come in the ensuing months) and average sale prices began a steady decline. By June the average sale price for all properties sold had declined from $920,000 in March to $794,000. During the first four months of 2017 Canadians had become the most indebted households in the world, carrying 170% debt compared to household income. In the months that followed, and on the strength of the Canadian economy, the Bank of Canada increased rates twice by a quarter point on each occasion. Suddenly buying a residential property in the greater Toronto area became more expensive to service the associated debt. But government intervention was not yet at an end. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced that effective January 1st, 2018 new stress tests would be applied to buyers borrowing

from federally regulated lenders. These stress tests would also be applied to conventional borrowers, that is, borrowers with a down payment of 20% or more (high ration borrows have always been stress-tested). Effective 2018, conventional borrowers will be qualified using the Bank of Canada’s 5-year benchmark rate (which is approximately 5%) or at the current contracted rate plus 2% if that rate exceeds the benchmark rate. A buyer currently approved at 3.5% will now have to qualify at 5.5%.

This brings us to December. Notwithstanding the market upheavals of 2017, December closed the year in a very positive fashion. There were a respectable 4,930 reported sales, only 7% less than the 5,305 sales reported in December 2016. The average sale price came in at $735,000, almost 1% higher than the average sale price during the same month last year.

A deeper analysis of the resale market indicates that the 416 region has fared much better than the 905 region. The average sale price in the city of Toronto remains strong, with detached properties selling for $1,250,000, semi-detached for $903,000 and condominium apartments for $532,000. By comparison detached properties in the 905 region sold for $910,000, semi-detached for $636,000 and condominium apartments for $430,000.

The most dramatic change between December this year and 2016 was the change in the number of active properties available for sale. Last year there were only 4,930 available properties. This December that number has increased to 12,926, a startling increase of 172%. Once again, a deeper analysis indicates that the bulk of the properties available for sale are located in the 905 region, where sales have been slower and prices have declined. Last December there were 2,736 properties available for sale in the 905 region. This year that number has swollen to 9,190 an eye-popping increase of 235%. By comparison last year in the 416 region there were 2012 properties available for sale, this year that number rose to 3,736, or 85%, considerably lower than the increase of inventory in the 905 region.

Considering everything that occurred in 2017, we should take comfort in December’s numbers. Going forward buyers will have more choice, and given the new stress tests, they will need that choice to find the property that best suits their now more restricted debt-servicing budget. Sellers can take heart in that value, for properties reported sold, particularly in the 416 region, have remained strong, with only a slight, and sustainable increase, compared to 2016. All this points to a balanced, sustainable, yet strong residential resale market for 2018. Desirable properties in desirable neighbourhoods will continue to attract buyer attention, generating multiple offers, and over-asking sale prices. What we don’t need is any more government intervention. The market will do nicely without it in 2018.

Prepared by:

Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker