is great news for Toronto this month on the international education front! The
University of Toronto placed 18th in the Times Higher Education 2020
World University Rankings. Considering the fact that the ranking examines
approximately 1,400 institutions each year, this is incredibly impressive. The
ranking is three points higher than U of T earned last year. It is the highest
ranked in Canada and one of the highest public universities in the world in
several international rankings.
of T and the other universities in Toronto have a lot to do with the ongoing
immigration to our city, as well as the ongoing demand for new condominiums. We
enjoy such a high quality of life, with world-class education, recreational,
cultural, shopping and sports venues in our boundaries, what who can blame
other people in the world wanting to live here?
Coming soon from the visionary team of Metropia, RioCan and Capital
Developments, 11 Yorkville Residences will offer the ultimate in luxury living
at a prestigious Toronto address. This 62-storey condominium gets high marks
for everything from world-renowned architecture by award-winning Sweeney &
Co to its amazing location. In fact, 11 Yorkville rates a 100 per cent WalkScore®
and a 97 per cent Transit Score. From this iconic building, you can be at
University of Toronto in eight minutes, Ryerson University in 10, and Union
Station in 14.
This pinnacle residence is surrounded by a new community park and some of
Toronto’s most elite retail venues. From studios to three-bedroom layouts,
purchasers will find exquisite suite designs enhanced by elegant features and finishes.
When Miele appliances are standard in the kitchen, you know you can look
forward to sophisticated living. Kitchen appointments also include a marble
hood enclosure, a marble island with waterfall and integrated dining table, and
custom wine and stemware storage. With ceiling heights at 9’, 9’6” and 10’, the
effect of these beautiful designs will be stunning.
Add to that the impressive roster of building amenities, and you have an
irresistible package for the discerning purchaser. Among these are the Wine Tasting/Piano Lounge, Bordeaux Lounge, Theater,
Business Centre, Kids Recreation Centre, Pet Spa, Outdoor
Zen water feature, Outdoor lounge area with BBQ, indoor-outdoor infinity pool
and hot tub surrounded by a fireplace and black
marble, Fitness Studio, Men’s and Women’s Spa
with steam rooms, and a TV Lounge/Chef’s
are being taken for private appointments to tour the fabulous presentation
centre and model suite. Visit https://bit.ly/2kO5TVv
We hear so much
about new home affordability eroding in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area,
and how difficult it is for first-time buyers to realize homeownership – but I
wonder how many consumers realize that the fees imposed by our governments
contribute significantly to the cost. Recently, BILD commissioned a report by
Altus Group to examine government fees, taxes and charges on new homes in the
GTA, and it turns out they are among the highest in North America.
For the average
new single-family home, these charges add $222,000 to the cost, which on a
per-unit basis is nearly double those in other Canadian urban areas, and three
times higher than on average in six U.S. metropolitan areas. Government-related
fees in the GTA add around $124,000 to the cost of an average high-rise condo
suite, which is approximately 30 per cent higher than in other Canadian urban
areas, and one-and-a-half times those in six U.S. metropolitan areas. To say
the charges here are disproportionate is an understatement.
When it comes
to government, transparency is important. Canadians have the right to know
exactly what we are paying in the way of government-imposed fees, and why. All
three levels of government have the responsibility to help hard-working
Canadians, yet the existing new home scenario is counterproductive. At least in
the U.S., the government does not impose sales tax on new homes, whereas here
in Canada, that figure ranges from 5 to almost 15 per cent before applying
rebates. Even worse, our charges here continually increase as new fees and
development charges are imposed, making this scenario difficult to resolve.
extreme charges, the new home market in Toronto and the GTA has been, and
remains robust. Unless our governments at all levels take a more realistic look
at charges on new homes, there is no telling how long this can last. To read
BILD’s news release, visit https://bit.ly/2lX8RY5
Life in the vertical community we call a condominium involves meeting
neighbours on a regular basis in hallways, elevators and amenity spaces. In
order to keep things humming along on a positive note, following the “golden
rule” is paramount. Check the code of conduct your board of directors sets out
and abide by the guidelines. These exist to protect
your, and everyone’s health, safety, privacy, comfort and enjoyment. These may
cover restrictions on pets, what you can place on your balcony, conduct
when using the building amenities, etc.
Disagreements can escalate if not addressed, and communicating with
members of the board is critical. They are approachable and can mediate any
negative situations that arise. After decades in the new condominium industry,
I can tell you that it amazes me how well things run in these residences.
Living in a condo can be a lot of fun – and so can serving on the board of
directors. Board members often become friends, even though they typically hail
from a variety of backgrounds including sales, law, administration, landscaping
and the like.
Remember that your happiness and enjoyment in a condominium is really up to you. To find out more about the rights and responsibilities of condominium owners, check out Consumer Protection Ontario’s website on “Owning a Condo” at www.ontario.ca/page/owning-a-condo. And make the “golden rule” your day-to-day rule.
First-time homebuyers nowadays may
not realize how good they have it, with current mortgage interest rates as low
as they are. Just ask anyone who purchased a home in the 1980s and paid
double-digit rates. I still wonder whether people entering the homeownership
marketplace understand how significant the rate is over the course of the
Let’s look at a few examples, using
a $300,000 mortgage over a 25-year amortization, paying monthly for the full 25
Mortgage interest rate of 3 per
cent: $1,422.63 per month = $426,789 total paid at 25 years
Mortgage interest rate of 3.1
per cent: $1,438.29 per month = $431,487
total paid at 25 years
Mortgage interest rate of 3.2
per cent: $1,454.04 per month = $436,212
total paid at 25 years
Going from 3.0 per cent to 3.1 per
cent costs you $4698; from 3.0 per cent to 3.2 per cent, you pay another
$9,423. Even a fraction of a percentage point lower can save you thousands in
the end – and who can’t use thousands of dollars at any stage of life?
Now, keep in mind, usually you are
working with a limited-year term, which changes the amounts slightly. If you
want a more detailed calculation, the Government of Canada’s mortgage
calculator (https://bit.ly/2zvHjMD) takes
the term into consideration.
The moral of the story is to buy NOW
as opposed to later, when rates are likely to go up, is a wise decision. The
one thing holding back first-time and other buyers is the mortgage stress test
imposed last year, which begs the question as to whether it is in everyone’s
best interest. However you look at it, buying sooner rather than later will
save you money in the long run.
At Baker Real Estate Incorporated, we are
excited about representing Options for Homes’ new condominium, The Humber,
where developer Options for Homes offers the most powerful homeownership
program in Toronto – a Down Payment Loan Program that is payment free until
buyers sell or move!
Options for Homes will boost a down
payment of 5 per cent by 10 or 15 per cent of the purchase price of a new condo
at The Humber to help qualified buyers secure a conventional mortgage.
Purchasers can own homes sooner than expected, and take advantage of lower
monthly carrying costs. They will also enjoy some of the lowest maintenance fees
in Toronto. The loan is available to anyone who has a 5 per cent down payment,
who qualifies for and secures a mortgage from a primary lender, and who plans
to live in their Options home. First-time buyers may be eligible for an
additional $60,000 to boost their down payments!
The opportunity is outstanding. Located at
10 Wilby Crescent in the up-and-coming Weston Village neighbourhood on the
banks of the Humber River, The Humber boasts an idyllic setting with 13 km of
trails and parks at the door, and with local conveniences and restaurants just
a walk away. These include access to GO Transit, UP Express and the future
Crosstown LRT. UP Express gets residents to Union Station in 15 minutes, and
Pearson International Airport in 12.
This pet-friendly modern building features
a social lounge and party room with a kitchen, rooftop terrace and social
lounge on the 7th floor, outdoor barbecue patio, indoor bicycle
storage, plus numerous green features for environmental sustainability
including five electric vehicle spots. The Humber is also Toronto’s first
smoke-less condo, limiting smoking in private suites to vaporizer or
How can Options for Homes do it? The
organization develops high-quality condominiums with building partners, takes
what would typically be the developer’s profit and offers it as down payment
support. Once Options buyers move, sell or pay off their primary mortgage, the
loan is paid back with some appreciation – money that is rolled into Options’ next
development project. Talk about paying it forward!
Baker is proud to be associated with this
mission-driven social-enterprise organization that has operated for 25 years
without government funding! Register for The Humber at https://www.optionsforhomes.ca/the_humber/
For the first time since 2016, the Bank of Canada has lowered the rate
that mortgage stress tests use to determine qualifying for purchasing a home –
and it’s a good news story! The five-year
benchmark qualifying rate was 5.34 per cent, and is now down to 5.19 per cent,
meaning more people will be able to purchase homes, or purchase larger homes
than they anticipated, to the tune of $4,000 more.
The stress test has been a
highly contentious issue that has hurt the real estate industry on many levels,
especially for first-time and move-up buyers. Perhaps the only ones not affected
are the Right‑sizers who are traditionally not borrowing, or borrowing less. The
initial stress test ruling did soften home sales across the country, which was
its goal. Many people who would have bought homes sat on the sidelines waiting
for relief – which is now in sight.
New condominiums have been less
affected by the test, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, where sales are
strong after the temporary slowdown in Q1 2019. Sales exploded in April and
May, and according to the June Altus Group statistics from BILD, condo sales
were up 14 per cent from 2018 and only 5 per cent below the 10-year average. In
addition, the benchmark price of new condos increased slightly from May. Even
at the higher stress test levels, people have been finding ways to purchase new
It seems that we have a good
news story all around. Now, if we could just get the Bank of Canada to restore