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Cottage Dreams: Turn-Key Family Compound Muskoka Milla, Cognashene, Honey Harbour, Georgian Bay

This exceptional family compound is sited on a massive Canadian shield outcropping perfectly integrating it with its natural environment hugging the shoreline of Georgian Bay. Located in the Bone Island basin on one of the exclusive mega lots at Muskoka Mills, the property consists of 26 + acres of granite, majestic pines and 1449 ft. of granite shoreline leading to the pristine waters of Georgian Bay.

The architecturally designed 2500 sq. Ft. 3 bedroom – 2 bath main cottage is four-season, has all the comfort and conveniences and is furnished to a high standard. There is also a 650 sq. Ft. 2 bedroom / 1 bath guesthouse and a 585 sq. Ft. workshop / dry boathouse on the shore.

The main cottage is an open plan with light-filled principal rooms offering spectacular Georgian Bay views. There are extensive decks for sun and entertaining along with a gazebo. The living room and family room have fireplaces, the office / den has a woodstove. The mechanicals are very well thought out and are state of the art. There is good deep-water dockage and great swimming off the u-shaped dock. Most chattels are included. Only 15 minutes by boat from marinas in Honey Harbour.

Georgian Bay is the northeastern arm of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It’s characterized by rugged bedrock, white pine forests to the north, sandy southern beaches, and 30,000 islands. Bruce Peninsula National Park on its western side includes part of the Bruce Trail along the Niagara Escarpment. Fathom Five National Marine Park is known for preserved shipwrecks, 19th-century lighthouses and Flowerpot Island’s sea-stack rock formations.

Offered for Sale $1,795,000 – Call for a Private Showing

July Is National Ice Cream Day

President Ronald Reagan signed the proclamation making July National Ice Cream month in July 1984. Ice cream brings up many childhood memories for me. I had the great fortune of being born to a Mother and Father who both loved ice cream. Many Friday nights found us at a family favorite Matlack’s, restaurant-style ice cream parlor near my home town that served baskets of pretzel sticks with their bowls of ice cream, or a summertime drive down to Dredge Harbour Soft Serve ice cream near the river in my hometown, or my Mother bringing home a quart of her favorite hand-dipped Butter Almond or Chocolate or Mint Chocolate Chip for us to share.

One adult memory of ice cream surrounds my friend and former boss, Kris Weston. Kris was in palliative care and actively dying at a hospital near Yonge and Bloor. She was a real-life “Sex in the City” character. She also was surrounded by a coterie of single professional women of a certain age who were her support team. They were all there visiting one evening and when leaving to have dinner nearby, someone asked her if she wanted anything.


“Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche Ice Cream”, was the response.


When they returned, they told us that Pusateri’s in Yorkville didn’t have that flavour, so they were sending a pint down from the Pustateri’s on Avenue Road north of Lawrence in a taxi. (“Who does that?”, I thought.)


Sure enough, after they left the cab driver arrived at the hospital room door with the pint of ice cream. I paid him $20 or $25 + tip for delivering it.

Kris savoured her ice cream, enjoying every spoonful. She died three days later.

Toronto has many ice cream choices waiting for you to make your own summertime memories. I’ve sampled all of them. All highly recommended.

June 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report


June 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

As forecast, the Toronto and area residential resale market delivered its third consecutive strong monthly performance. In June 8,860 properties were reported sold, almost 11% higher than the 8,024 properties reported sold last year. On a year-to-date basis, 43,950 properties have been reported sold, a vast improvement over the 39,922 properties reported sold at the midpoint of 2018. At this rate, the Toronto and area residential resale market will report about 85,000 sales in 2019. Last year only 78,023 were reported sold, the lowest number of sales since 2008.

The average sale prices rose by 3% to $832,703. In the City of Toronto, the average sale price came in at $915,481, 10% higher. This is startling when it is remembered that about 50% of all property sales in the City of Toronto are condominium apartments, with an average sale price of only $636,000 in June.

Not only was the number of sales impressive, but also the speed at which sales took place was also impressive. All properties sold in the greater Toronto area were reported sold in only 21 days. In the City of Toronto, sales took place in only 18 days. In some trading areas in Toronto, sales took place even faster. For example, all sales in Toronto’s eastern districts took place in 15 days. Semi-detached property sales in the eastern districts and there were 133 of them, took place in only 11 days, at sale prices averaging 109% of the list prices.

                                          For Lease: 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bath Executive Condo in a downtown boutique building full of amenities:
pool, billiards, squash, rooftop deck, concierge, meeting rooms,
fitness, and party room & parking.
$4,000 / month

Inventory continues to be a concern. In June 15,816 properties came to market, almost 1% less than the 15,876 that came to market last year. The bulk of those new listings were in Toronto’s 905 region. At month end buyers in the greater Toronto market place had 16,655 available properties to view and purchase. Unfortunately, that number was almost 6% fewer than the 20,844 properties available last year at this time.

Urban Researchers Frank Clayton and Eva Shi recently reported that in 2018 the population of the greater Toronto area grew by 125,298 people, second only to Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington, which grew by 131,767. The City of Toronto grew by 77,435 people over the same period, by far the fastest-growing city in North America (Phoenix came in second with a growth rate of 25,288.) All of the greater Toronto area’s growth is immigration driven.

The problem for the city of Toronto and the greater Toronto area is that this growth is not singular. It has been occurring year in and year out for more than 10 years. The compounding effect has put tremendous pressure on housing both from the perspective of availability and affordability. Having only 19,655 properties available throughout the greater Toronto area is simply not enough.

Of particular concern is the impact of population growth on the availability of condominium apartments, the least expensive housing form available to buyers. In June new listings of condominium apartments declined, both in the City of Toronto and the greater Toronto area compared to last June. In the City of Toronto, only 2,546 condominium apartments were available to buyers at the end of June, not nearly enough to satisfy the demand.

The high-end of the market continues to improve. In June 257 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold, almost 9% higher than the 237 reported sold last year. Detached homes, which represent about 90% of these sales, came in at an average sale price of $1,332,639 in the city of Toronto. In Toronto’s central districts the average sale price for detached properties sold was just over $2 Million.

As we move into July, and the summer months we can expect softer sales. By September I anticipate that sales and average sale prices will return to the pattern established in April, May, and June. Sales will be approximately 10% higher than sales achieved in 2018, and average sale prices will continue to increase moderately at 3 percent.



How my SRES Designation Benefits My 55+ Clients

Seniors have specialized needs. Some of them are emotional, some practical, and some physical. Sometimes a senior moves after a spouse dies. The deceased spouse may have been the financial decision-maker or may even have been a primary caregiver, and the surviving spouse is struggling to cope or just lonely. Add age to the mix. It is not uncommon for a senior homeowner to be in their 70s, 80s, or even 90s. Packing is hard enough when you were in your prime; it’s harder and sometimes just not possible in later years.

I am a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), the only senior designation recognized by the National Association of Realtors. If a homeowner hasn’t bought or sold real estate in 30, 40, or 50 years, then the whole process of selling needs to be re-learned, since so many real estate details have changed in those years. I know and expect the process to take longer, and that’s O.K. This move was a long time coming. It is about making the move of a lifetime. You are only going to do this once. You want to do it right.

Seniors bought the family home, raised their children, and stayed put. Their stuff accumulated and so did their children’s. Add age and physical deterioration to the mix and it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed. For some, just coping with day-to-day activities is challenging enough, let alone downsizing and moving. Organizing all of that stuff and disposing and dispersing personal belongings can be overwhelming. Not only do the possessions hold major sentimental and emotional significance, but the amount of work is also often beyond the physical limitations of many seniors.

I understand these emotional and physical parameters and I can recommend exceptional professionals who will help, disperse, dispose, and organize the “stuff”. They can even help you choose what will go on to your next home. I work with my clients, and their families, every step of the way from the moment they decide to sell their current home to completing their transition to their new home.

This transition for seniors can be very stressful, and often the responsibility of moving a senior relative also falls to another senior family member. These days it is not uncommon for a parent in their late 80s or early 90s to be assisted by a child who is themselves a senior in their 60s or 70s. Seniors can be any age from 55 and up. And the 55-65-year-old children may still be balancing responsibilities of their careers, a spouse who requires attention, and their own children. Much more common today than in generations past: seniors have children, but they live several time zones away. Senior homeowners contemplating a move can benefit from a Real Estate Specialist like me, who understands their needs. Many seniors desire is to “age in place”. Aging in place may mean relocating to something smaller, maybe on one level, but in the same community: near places of worship, friends, and other emotional anchors. There are a variety of options. Understanding these dynamics and being familiar with the professional resources to meet the emotional and physical needs is crucial to dealing with senior clients with the empathy and respect they deserve.

Let’s start by chatting and discussing your particular situation and exploring possibilities. If you are 55+ and looking at making a move to the next chapter in your life, or for someone close to you, call me and let me help you with my skills, knowledge base, and professional resources as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).

May 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report


May 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

For the second month, the Toronto and area market place produced double-digit increases compared to the same month last year. In May 9,989 residential properties were reported sold in the greater Toronto area, a stunning 19 percent increase compared to the 8,402 that sold in 2018. The recovery of the Toronto housing market is due to a number of factors. The mortgage stress testing rules introduced in January 2018 appear to have been absorbed by buyers. More resale properties have come to market, although still not enough to create a balanced market. And lastly, interest rates have edged downward, softening the impact of the new mortgage stress testing.

It comes as no surprise that with the increase in the number of sales, average sale prices have also continued their upward momentum, although not as dramatically as the number of reported sales. In May the average sale price came in at $838,540, 3.6 percent stronger than the $809,305 average sale price achieved last year.

In the City of Toronto, average sale prices were even stronger. The average sale price for all properties sold in the City of Toronto came in at $937,804, 12 percent higher than the greater Toronto average sale price. This is a particularly startling number when it is remembered that it includes condominium apartment sales, the bulk of which are located in the City of Toronto. Almost 70 percent of all condominium apartment sales take place in Toronto (416 region). They continue to be the least expensive housing form available to buyers, although “least expensive” is becoming a relative term.

The increase in the average sale price was driven by an increase in the number of expensive homes that sold in May. This month 293 properties having a sale price of $2 Million or more were reported sold. That compares favourably with the 243 that were sold in 2018, a 20 percent increase. Over the past two years, higher-end sales have been relatively dormant.

In May 19,386 new property listings came to market, an almost identical number to the 19,237 that came to market last year. Unfortunately, the new listings that came to market were insufficient to effectively increase the supply. At the end of May, there were 20,017 properties available to buyers in the greater Toronto area, almost 5 percent less than were available at the same time last year. As the resale market moved into June there were 2.5 months of inventory in the 905 and only 2 months of inventory in the City of Toronto.


Not only did more properties sell in May with rising prices, but all sales took place at lightning speed. All properties sold (on average) in only 19 days. Depending on the type of property and location, the speed of sales was even faster. For example, semi-detached properties in Toronto’s central core sold in only 14 days. In Toronto’s eastern districts they sold in only 10 days, at 106 and 109 percent over the asking price, respectively. Generally, it took much longer for properties to sell in the 905 region, ranging from 25 days in the Halton region to 36 days in Simcoe County. Sale in the York region took 27 days.

In May 2,542 condominium apartments were reported sold, almost 70 percent of them were located in the City of Toronto. The average sale price for all condominium apartments sold was $648,891. In Toronto’s central core, where 63 percent of all reported sales were located, the average sale price came in at an eye-popping $718,455. What may be even more startling is that all these condominium apartments sold in only 17 days and at 100 percent of their asking prices.

Notwithstanding that condominium apartments are now becoming quite pricey, the supply still remains insufficient to meet demand. At the beginning of June, there were only 2,568 condominium apartments available to buyers, more or less the same number as were available last year when the average sale price was $40,000 less than it is this year. To qualify for an average priced condominium apartment in Toronto’s central core now requires a household income of substantially more than $100,000 annually and a 10 percent down payment of more than $70,000.

Looking ahead to June we can anticipate that sales will probably decline from May’s torrid pace to a more moderate 9000 sales, with the average sale price increasing moderately by about 3 percent. Price increases in this modest range are exactly what the Toronto resale market needs in order to remain sustainable.


Chris Kapches, President and CEO, Broker

Thinking About Moving? Ned to Downsize? Preparing to Sell?


Have you ever thought about moving and were just completely overwhelmed by the thought? I had those feelings too after 17 years in our last house. So much stuff! Where start? Now, imagine what it would be like after 47, 57 or even 67 years in the same house! Many seniors face this very predicament. They bought the family home, raised their children and stayed put. The stuff accumulated and so did their children’s. Add age and physical deterioration to the mix and it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed. For some, just coping with day-to-day activities is challenging enough, let alone downsizing and moving.

“The good news is help is available. I recently met Laurie Hunt of Toronto Residential Downsizing; a company she started after helping an elderly friend with failing health though the process of downsizing. Through this experience she became acutely aware of the importance and need for specialized services to support those dealing with such life transitions. Laurie provides comprehensive services such as downsizing, estate dispersal and pre-sale preparation, which she expertly tailors to each client’s particular needs. Laurie and her team serve the Greater Toronto Area and beyond – homes, cottages, condos, storage facilities and out-of-town properties.”                        – Chip Barkel, Chestnut Park Real Estate

“It starts with a conversation. We discuss your project, arrange a site visit consultation and prepare the best possible plan that fulfills your wishes and suits your needs. Our goal is to give you peace of mind knowing you project is being handled in a professional and timely manner.”

-Laurie Hunt, Toronto Residential Downsizing 

There are many reasons for downsizing. Most are planned lifestyle changes such as empty nesters and retirees looking forward to lightening the load and simplify their living arrangements or moves to condo or retirement communities. Others may be due to personal and life-altering circumstances such as health issues, the loss of a loved one or moving a parent to retirement/care residence. You may be the Executor of an estate and wonder how you will ever cope with the multitude of tasks required to liquidate the estate or ready the property to be sold under the pressure of a deadline. These are all challenging circumstances that are time-consuming, and can be stressful and overwhelming. Toronto Residential Downsizing is there to help.

Kim’s Story

“Laurie had multiple contacts and managed to sell or dispose of all the contents and cleaned the home to prepare for the new owners. We would highly recommend working with Laurie, she made a sad and tiresome job pleasant and achievable.”    – Kim Shannon, Estate Executor     416.465.2424

Consignment Shops: Around the Block

Moving? Have a lot of stuff that won’t fit in your new place and kids don’t want it? Good stuff that your really don’t want to throw away? Around The Block is a consignment shop for home furnishings. It’s housed in a warehouse-sized showroom and things are priced to sell.

Their model is simple. If you have small things, call for an appointment and bring them in. They will discuss the price with you. For larger items, like furniture, email them photos. The initial price is good for 60 days, after that the item is reduced 10% every 30 days on a published schedule. They have brisk walk-in traffic. I saw two things that interested me on a Saturday and when I went back the next day both of them had been sold.


April 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report


April 2019 Toronto Real Estate Market Report

April’s housing market results clearly demonstrated that the Toronto and area resale market is strong and robust. As indicated in previous monthly reports, any sluggish behaviour by the resale market was due to a lack of inventory, and not to a decline in buyer demand.

In April, for the first time in several months, the number of new listings coming to market exceeded expectations. No doubt improved weather conditions were a major factor. In April 17,205 new properties came to market, 8 percent more than the 15,933 that came to market in April last year. For the first time in many months buyers had choice that had previously been unavailable to them. Notwithstanding this increase in new listings, by month-end the total number of active listings available to buyers was only 18,037 properties, still 1 percent less than the 18,206 available last year. The explanation? Absorption.

April saw Toronto and area realtors posting 9,042 sales, a dramatic 17 percent increase compared to the 7,744 properties that were reported sold last year. It is obvious that buyers were waiting for more properties to become available. They did, however, have to act extremely quickly.

In April all properties sold (on average) in only 19 days, an astounding number when it is considered that this number represents the sale of all properties in the greater Toronto area, including condominium apartments. In some neighbourhoods, the pace of sales was even faster. For example, all semi-detached properties in the neighbourhoods of Riverdale, Leslieville and the Beaches sold in only 8 days, a pace not seen since the frenzied period leading up to April 2017. In fact, all semi-detached properties throughout the entire 416 area of Toronto sold in only 10 days, and for average sale prices of 107 percent over asking.

Condominium apartment sales were just as resilient. All condominium apartment sales in the City of Toronto took place in only 17 days and for an average sale prices of 100 percent of the asking price. This was also true in Toronto’s central districts were more than 60 percent of all Toronto condominium apartment sales are recorded. What is a troubling about these results is that for the first time the average sale price in the central core exceeded $700,000.

The once affordable alternative housing is now becoming quite pricey in Toronto.

With sales happening at these speeds throughout the greater Toronto area, it is not surprising that the average sale price also increased In April. The greater Toronto average sale price came in at $820,148, almost 2 percent higher than last April’s average sale price of $804, 926. In the City of Toronto, the average sale price was even higher, coming in at $904,000, once again a number similar to the one that caused the provincial government to implement various measures to try to cool the resale market, including the implementation of 15 percent foreign buyer’s tax. It should be added that that number includes condominium apartment sales, which account for 50 percent of all reported sales. If condominium apartments are removed for this calculation the average sale price for detached and semi-detached property sales in the City of Toronto comes in at $1,193,000.

In April we saw some improvement in the number of higher-end sales. April saw 250 reported sales having a sale price of $2 million or more. This compares favorably with the 233 that were reported sold last year, a 7 percent increase. These numbers were one of the first increases recorded in this price-point in some time. Although most of these sales were represented by detached properties, it is worth noting that almost 10 percent of the sales reported in this price-point were condominium apartments. Only 8 of these $2 million or more reported sales were semi-detached properties.

It is clear from April’s data that the resale market has recovered in the City of Toronto, but continues to lag in the 905 regions of the greater Toronto area. In the 905 regions sales took place at a slower pace, and average sale prices are substantially lower. As indicated earlier, the average sale price for all properties sold in the City of Toronto came in at $904,000, including condominium apartments. In the 905 region the average sale price was only $820,000, almost 10 percent lower. Similarly, all sales in the City of Toronto took place in only 17 days and at 101 percent of asking prices. In the 905 regions sales took 19 days and at only 99 percent of asking prices. As April came to an end the 905 regions had 2.6 months of inventory, whereas the City of Toronto was reduced to only 2 months of inventory.

The looming concern in all this good news is affordability. It is exciting and invigorating to see how resilient the greater Toronto area resale housing market is, however with average sale prices approaching $1 Million in Toronto and $820,000 in the 905 regions, buying a property in the greater Toronto area may soon be beyond the reach of most first-time buyers.

Prepared By:

Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

206-55 Huntingdale Blvd Royal Crest III Condo

206-55 Huntingdale Blvd
Royal Crest III

Finch and Pharmacy
Coming Soon

Offered For Sale By Chip Barkel


Spacious Tridel Condo

This spacious condo, currently used as a 1 bedroom plus den and family room, could easily be converted back to a 2 bedroom.

Approximately 1,500 sq. ft. of space.

2 bathrooms + ensuite locker + parking + balcony

Great amenities in the building:

pool, party room, meeting room, tennis courts

Maintenance fee includes heat, hydro, water, cable

Call me for a private showing

Bennington Heights Ravine Executive Home For Sale

Bennington Heights Ravine, Toronto
421 Heath Street East

Offered For Sale By Chip Barkel

Executive Home in a Secluded Mid-Town Enclave

Open House Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 2-4 pm

This beautiful, updated ravine home in the heart of Bennington Heights boasts 4 bedrooms, including two master suites, 3-1/2 bathrooms, and 2 fireplaces. This is a great home for entertaining, both inside and out.  The living room and kitchen with a separate formal dining room form the hub of the home, but the real star is the ravine in the backyard. You will have a front row seat to watch the seasons change, from the picture windows across the back of the house, while entertaining on your two-level deck, designed and built by Earth, Inc., or nestled up to your outdoor fireplace on cooler evenings.

This home is like a piece of the country in the heart of the city.

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