PERSEVERANCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

One of the advantages of being immersed in real estate is that we are able to recognize that change is inevitable and prepare for it.

Given the current economic and health climate Baker has been able to transition smoothly and continues to be high functioning in these unprecedented times.  We have made significant technological investments over the past few years to ensure we can continue to provide seamless service during this challenging time. We are adopting new ways of providing service and doing business. 

The Government has mandated Real Estate Services as an Essential Service and therefore not closed for business.  We will continue to implement procedures such as working remotely for the health and safety of all concerned.  Presentation Centres may not be open to the public, but we are operational behind the scenes making sure things progress as smoothly as possible.

As the COVID-19 State of Emergency changes at a rapid pace so does the available information. Our pledge to you, our loyal followers, is to continue working diligently to keep you informed and in touch with the latest real estate news and developments.

Together we are strong.  We will do what needs to be done and come out of this stronger than ever.

Stay strong and persevere.

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WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT IN A CONDO – SIZE OR DESIGN?

With Toronto and Greater Toronto Area real estate prices the way they are today, it is easy to understand why developers have addressed the affordability issue by creating smaller suites – sometimes under 300 square feet! By definition, these micro-condos have to be designed in a way that maximizes their square footage like never before. And our developers are doing just that. So are designers around the world. In fact, in some cases, our smallest condos are large in comparison.

Take Manhattan, where a 90 square-foot apartment “lives” efficiently one block from Central Park, and Paris, where an 86 square-foot apartment is equally as cleverly designed. How do they do it? The answer is to incorporate dual- and multi-function elements such as sliding surfaces into just about everything. Open concept takes on new meaning in these compact residences, much like the tiny home movement that has inspired a television show. The ingenious designs of these low-rise homes are amazing, often offering livable surroundings within 400 square feet or less.

2020.03.30 Tiny Condo

This certainly puts a different light on our tiniest condominium suites here. Design definitely rules, along with the wonderful multi-function furnishings available today. Plus, the owners of our most compact condo suites have equal access to each building’s amenities as the most sprawling of penthouses. This translates to expanded living space, so suite size is relative. Condo shoppers do well to consider size secondary to layout. You may be surprised at how well you can live in a compact suite!

MAINTENANCE FEES WELL WORTH THE LIFESTYLE THEY PROTECT

When people choose to purchase new condominiums, they do well to understand all of the costs associated with this type of ownership. Among them is the often-misunderstood maintenance fee. Some buyers do not realize that maintenance fees help to protect their privacy, safety, comfort and investment as a whole, and are worth every penny.

First and foremost, maintenance fees allow for the carefree lifestyle condos offer. Lawn care, snow removal, replacing the roof, cleaning the amenity areas and other time-consuming chores are handled for you because of the maintenance fees. Built-in security elements including concierge service translate to traveling without worrying about your home. When the exterior upkeep and landscaping are maintained, this protects your investment for decades to come.

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You also benefit from the code of conduct your condominium board sets out. It is about the golden rule – treating others as you would like to be treated. Guidelines are in place to keep noise at a minimum, settle disputes fairy should they arise, ensure that what residents do an keep on balconies does not detract from the overall look of the building … that sort of thing. If you live in a low-rise home, you are well aware that you have to pay someone to do this work for you, so look at the fees realistically.

Remember, too, that the people on your condo board who make these decisions are also residents – so they have everyone’s best interests at heart. For a concise yet detailed look at what condominium ownership means, visit CMHC, where you will find the Condominium Buyer’s Guide. https://bit.ly/2uC39zq

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND CMHC TEAM UP TO HELP WITH LENDING

Who isn’t talking about COVID-19 these days? In addition to the current virus threat impacting people physically, it is having a negative effect on Canada’s financial system. The good news is that our government is stepping in to minimize the effects.

2020.03.17 CMCH

On Monday, March 16, the Government of Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced revisions to the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP) to help Canadians and businesses cope through the global COVID-19 virus pandemic. The existing IMPP helped lenders during the recession of 2008-2009. Revisions to aid in the current crisis call for the government to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC. This will enhance stability for banks and mortgage lenders, which translates to their ability to help Canadians shopping for mortgages, whether for low-rise or high-rise homes or other properties. It is, indeed, good news, especially coming after the recent interest rate cut.

CMHC is a Crown Corporation of the Government of Canada that exists, in part, to help Canadians cope with anything that affects our country’s financial stability. You can read more about this news and keep up with details to come soon at https://bit.ly/2vs13T5. In the meantime, stay healthy and keep a positive thought – we will all get through this together!

THINK SPRING AND PLAN AHEAD FOR DE-CLUTTERING

Moving from a low-rise home to a condo sometime in the future? Now is the time to collect up items you no longer want or need and come up with a plan. Your first order of business should be to find out what your children or other relatives would like – but I can tell you that today’s Millennials are not as attached to “stuff” as their Baby-Boomer parents. Don’t be shocked when they say “No” to things you think of as heirlooms.

Then once family is taken care of, you have a number of options, such as holding a spring yard sale. If you Google “how to hold a yard sale,” you will find wonderful tips on how to make the most of your efforts. Or you could enlist an auction representative to help you put items up for sale. Usually, they will come to your home and suggest what will go over well. Another way to make a few dollars is to sell to consignment stores such as Play It Again Sports. Remember, one person’s unwanted items are another person’s treasures. There are also Facebook Buy and Sell groups, as well as the terrific site VarageSale.com – a virtual garage sale organized by area. You can also check out Mom-to-Mom sales in your neighbourhood. Kids outgrow clothing, toys and equipment quickly, so why not sell these things so other families can benefit from them?

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If you would be happy to simply say good-bye to things without concern for money, consider donating them to thrift stores or shelters. And if you have books, keep in mind that libraries often take donated books and then hold book sales themselves. Then again, if the “stuff” you have to get rid of is of no real value to anyone, look up junk removal services.

When you move into your beautiful new condo suite, you want to bring only those items that will fit well and enhance your lifestyle. I know it’s hard to believe as we trudge through snow and ice, but spring is just around the corner. It’s a great time for de-cluttering and preparing for a fresh new start.

ACT NOW AND SAVE BIG AT 11 YV Condos

Now over 80 per cent sold, 11ǀYV (11 Yorkville) Condos has proven extremely popular. The residence at Yorkville Avenue and Yonge Street was the Toronto success story of 2019, having launched in September with 593 suites. The dynamic development team of Metropia, Capital Developments and RioCan is now offering the remaining suites for only a 10 per cent deposit! Act quickly, and you can take advantage of this incredible opportunity to own a piece of Yorkville at this coveted 62-storey condominium.

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Barbara Lawlor and 11YV team members at the launch of 11YV Penthouses

 

Toronto’s prestigious Yorkville neighbourhood features exclusive world-class shopping  at the doorstep, including Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Holt Renfrew and Gucci. Imagine having those elite retailers as your neighbours. And with a perfect Walk Score of 100/100, so is an enviable array of other amenities such as museums and galleries. Plus, active Yorkville residents can walk to Toronto’s downtown and financial district. And if that’s not enough, Yorkville has a Transit Score of 96/100, so getting around the city is a breeze.

 

Live the ultimate lifestyle! Visit https://11yorkville.com/

BLUMONT A NATURE-LOVER’S DREAM-COME-TRUE

The Presentation Centre is now open for Blumont, Primont Homes’ extraordinary collection of 60’ estate homes steps from vibrant Blue Mountain Village and Monterra Golf Course. Cradled in a tree-filled valley, these elegant detached homes feature a fresh take on chalet-style living. Residents will live a short walk, drive or shuttle ride to golf, beaches, dining, nightlife and more, and of course, it’s a skier’s paradise in the winter.

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During the rest of the year, there are 285 km of hiking trails in the area, as well as parks, rivers and lakes. Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay create glorious surroundings for anyone who loves the outdoors. Primont’s homes offer four-season resort-style living for discerning purchasers. Prices begin from $890,000 for homes in sizes from 1,887 to 4,535 square feet.

If you are looking to elevate your lifestyle, visit the Presentation Centre at Primont Place, 9130 Leslie Street, #101 in Richmond Hill. You can also send an email to Blumont@bakersales.info or call 905-597-0370. Primont’s Blumont website is at http://www.primonthomes.com/communities/blumont

BANK OF CANADA INTEREST RATE DROP GREAT NEWS FOR NEW CONDO BUYERS

New condominiums are already the choice of a phenomenal number of home buyers across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area – and now, potential purchasers can look forward to even more value in a new condo suite. On March 4, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 1¼ per cent, to help keep inflation on target (https://bit.ly/38sZwcZ). That may sound minor, but trust me, over the course of mortgage amortization, it translates to thousands of dollars for home purchasers.

2020.03.06 Bank of Canada

Oh, and April 6 is just around the corner – when the mortgage stress will be eased. If that happens as planned AND the rate cut holds, potential home purchasers will definitely have more buying power. These monetary policy adjustments will enable more people to jump on the new condo bandwagon. I always say that if you’re thinking condo, buy now rather than later, and this week’s announcement by the Bank of Canada is another reason why.

PROCEDURES IN PLACE TO PROTECT NEW HOME AND CONDO BUYERS

If Ontarians have issues with a builder or developer that remained unsettled even after efforts to resolve them, they can turn to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) to plead their case. This tribunal handles concerns over numerous land use matters, heritage conservation and municipal governance. Among the many issues LPAT deals with are development charges, subdivision plans, minor variances, official plans and how tall developers can make condo towers. It is part of the Environment and Land Division of Tribunals Ontario, which was established on January 1, 2019 and reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

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By adjudicating disputes regarding municipal council decisions (relating to Ontario’s Planning Act), LPAT is an example of the ongoing work the government and new home industry do to keep things vibrant and fair. Anyone preparing a submission can turn to the LPAT Citizen Liaison for explanations and guidance. The Ontario Government’s website https://elto.gov.on.ca/tribunals/lpat/about-lpat/ contains extensive information on the process.

Overall, our new home and condominium industry works remarkably well, but it is important to have the ability to question practices. LPAT is yet another organization that protects home buyers and other stakeholders in Ontario.

ALTUS GROUP STATS FOR JANUARY BODE WELL FOR INDUSTRY

The Greater Toronto Area new home and condo sales saw a busier than usual January, with overall sales up 65 per cent from last January, and 14 per cent above the 10-year average. Condo sales alone were up 33 per cent from last January, and 12 per cent above the 10-year average! Last year’s momentum is continuing, boding well for the months to come.

2020.02.28 Toronto

Adding to that momentum is pricing – the benchmark price for new condos was $925,209, which is up 15.1 per cent over the previous 12 months. Also, January was typical in that very few new projects launched, meaning remaining inventory decreased even more.

Overall, if you are thinking of purchasing a condo in the GTA, NOW is the time to do it, before prices go up again – which they will, considering demand exceeds supply. To read the entire BILD release, visit https://bit.ly/2uB5evB