Archive for August 2018


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Aging In Place: 6 Success Factors to Grow Old in Your Own Neighbourhood

About 90% of those 65 or older want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, according to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). In order for that to happen, it’s important to have a plan. Aging in place could mean staying in your current residence or downsizing to something smaller in the neighbourhood. Making a move to something nearby allows you to find alternative accommodation with on-site support ranging from occasional, regular assistance, or chronic care.


1. Explore the Benefits of Staying Put

There are many reasons why aging in place can be a win. It may be financially advantageous. For instance, depending on the situation, staying in your home can be less expensive than moving to an assisted-living community. There are the upfront costs of moving, monthly payments for room and board, which can easily range from $3,000 – $5,000+ a month. Home care could be a much cheaper option.

Even more important are the psychological payoffs of not moving away from one’s established community of friends, medical professionals, and faith community. Though these factors are hard to place a financial value on, they are a vital component of healthy aging. Your social connections will add to a happier, healthier life, which may get lost if you move. You shouldn’t just concentrate on finances.

2. Do a Home Safety Check

The first step in an “aging in place” plan is to run a complete safety check of your home.  There are some hazards that you might take for granted—for example, furniture obstructing pathways or stairs. Walk around the house with an eye for potential hazards that might cause trouble should vision or mobility begin to deteriorate. You can hire a home modification specialist to correct any issues.

Many of the improvements that may make it easier to stay in your house—such as raising electrical outlets to make them more accessible, and installing brighter outdoor lighting—aren’t expensive. Homes can be retrofitted by installing secure handrails alongside the stairs to the front door, switching doorknobs to levers, adding automatic lights to hallways, removing rugs that might become tripping hazards, and placing grab bars in the shower. Some of these options can be done long before your senior years. Having a home that is senior-friendly could make it more saleable when the time comes.
The sooner you start preparing, the better.

3. Assess transportation

Driving may be your lifeline and independence. Eventually, you may come to that  “I don’t think I can drive” moment. It’s tough, but often unavoidable. If you are at the point that you can no longer drive or walk to the grocery store or reach other important services, assess other transportation options.  Is there public transit? Ride sharing with friends or neighbours? Some grocery and pharmacy outlets deliver.

4. Ensure a supportive community or networkcamille5

Isolation is deadly at any age, especially in senior years. Communication and social connectedness are crucial. Do you have a local support network? Are you comfortable communicating via computer or smart phone/tablet? Start to put together a list of people and professionals who can step in and help if you need someone to go along to a doctor’s appointment, or someone to help with errands, or for lunch or dinner dates. If your family doesn’t live nearby, you may want to have a pipeline to neighbours you can call for periodic check-ups. Don’t be stubbornly independent. Let friends help.

5. Look at Options Nearby in the Neighbourhood

Be honest with yourself. Are you happy living alone? Are you lonely? At least look at facilities in your neighbourhood that might range from independent living (with or without a meal option) to assisted-living where support is available for some daily or occasional tasks to chronic nursing care. You may not need chronic care now, but if your centre offers it, you will have first priority should the need arise. Living with other seniors nearby might provide a delightful social community that you didn’t realise you were missing.

6. Make it an Ongoing Process

Once you have a plan, review it regularly by yourself and a trusted family member or friend. Once the home is retrofitted, keep an eye open to see if you are having trouble. What if you experience a health event, such as a bout of pneumonia that requires a lengthy hospital stay, or a fall that affects your cognitive ability or mobility.

Friends and family members may want to look out for any unexplained bruising on the aging person’s arms or legs.  Look around the home when you visit. Is there a pile of mail? Are things in disarray? Is the fridge bare? Is food spoiling? Be willing to reassess the situation to consider and decide whether the plan you put in place is still working.

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

Out in the City: Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

Out in the City: Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

Out in the City: Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

There is an exciting partnership between Casa Loma and the Toronto Symphony. Their Symphony in the Gardens series, with Kerry Stratton conducting, brings a wonderful sensory experience: combining a night out in Toronto at a heritage location, good food and drink, and live classical music amongst the beautifully-planted gardens on a warm summer evening.

Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

For the normal entrance fee ($30 for adults) to Casa Loma, you get access to the building, its grounds, and the musical event of the evening. The Toronto Symphony performs in a tented glass house with excellent acoustics.

Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

Bring your sweetheart or friends and have a memorable evening al fresco with dinner, a glass of wine, tropical sangria, or gelato in the shadow of this important Toronto landmark.

Out in the City: Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

There are two more evenings planned: August 21 st and August 28th at 7:30 p.m., but get there early, because seating is limited. The August 21st program is Screen Classics, music that has defined film and television. The August 28th program is Thank You for The Music, a celebration of Abba!

Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma
1 Austin Terrace

August 21 & 28 – 7:30 p.m.   


Symphony in the Gardens Casa Loma

July 2018 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

Symphony in the Gardens Casa Loma

Chip Barkel Toronto Real Estate Prices July 2018


July 2018 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

There were no surprises as to the market’s performance in July. There has been a consistent improvement both as to sales volumes and average sale prices since January. July saw the most dramatic year-over-year improvement. As compared to last year, sales volumes in the greater Toronto area increased by 18.4 percent, and the average sale price was 4.8 percent stronger than the average sale price last July. In July 6,961 residential resale properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area. Last year only 5,869 properties were sold. The average sale price came in at $782,129 as compared to $745,971 last July. The average sale price in the city of Toronto came in at $824,336, almost 6 percent higher than the greater Toronto average, notwithstanding that the bulk of the property sales responsible for this average sale price were condominium apartments.

168 Bethel Sideroad, Georgina, ON

For the first time since the introduction of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan measures, every housing type saw price increases as compared to last year, including detached properties. The average sale price for detached properties came in at $ 1,350,700, an increase of 3.6 percent. Semi-detached properties increased by 7.4 percent to $935,300, and condominium apartments continued their upward trajectory, coming in at $582,247, an increase of almost 10 percent. The average sale price for condominium apartments in Toronto’s central districts, where most sales take place (65 percent), came in at $653,137. Translated as the cost for space, central district condominium apartments are now selling for approximately $1,000 per square foot.

43 Lakeview, Stouffville, ON

July also saw a recovery in the high-end of the market. The high-end of the market, primarily single-family properties, was dramatically impacted by the implementation of the 15 percent foreign buyer’s tax, the new mortgage stress testing, and three rate increases implemented by the Bank of Canada. For example, during the first 7 months of 2018, realtors reported that

1,247 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more had sold. This number compares very poorly with the 2,625 similar properties that were reported sold over the same period last year, a negative variance of well over 50 percent.

In July this negative pattern was reversed. In July 181 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. All but 16 of these properties were either detached (160) or semi-detached (5) properties. This compares favourably to the 149 similar properties that sold in July of last year, an increase of 21 percent. It should be noted that this improvement in sales volume is due to a combination of buyers adjusting to the various measures introduced by governments, increased mortgage rates and sellers accepting that their expectations as to the ultimate sale price of their properties had to be lowered. This is reflected in the fact that the average sale price came in at only 98 percent of asking price for detached homes, and in districts where Toronto’s most expensive properties are located, at only 96 percent. Even these figures are not entirely representative since they do not account for any price reduction from the original list price of these properties.

2 Wolford Court, Georgina, ON

Inventory levels are a concern. Throughout 2018 they have been declining, particularly in the 416 regions. Of special concern are semi-detached properties and condominium apartments. In both categories, levels are now lower than they were last year at this time. In July there were only 329 active semi-detached properties available to buyers in Toronto, and only 2,583 condominium apartments. Last year there were 2,710 available and that figure was substantially less than the prevailing buyer demand. Due to these shortages, all semi-detached properties sold at 103 percent of their asking price. All condominium apartments sold at 100 percent of their asking price.

23 Cedar Drive, Caledon, ON

Going forward the lack of inventory (semi-detached and condominium apartments) will continue to put upward pressure on average sale prices, but that pressure will be limited. The increase in mortgage interest rates and the implementation of the new mortgage stress testing will limit buyers’ ability to stretch to higher prices as was the case last year. What should result is moderate increases in average sale prices and the number of residential resales. Increases should not exceed 3-5 percent until either interest rates decline, or we see substantial increases in wages and salaries.

Prepared by: 
Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

Featured Photo Credit: Shane Kingerski