DISCOVER PRESTIGE PLUS AT 11 | YV

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. 

11 Yorkville Condos will offer the ultimate in luxury living at a prestigious Toronto address. Enjoy exquisite architecture, outstanding features and sumptuous amenities.

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 Kitchen. Registrations are being taken for private appointments to tour the fabulous presentation centre and model suite. Visit https://bit.ly/2kO5TVv

GOVERNMENT FEES ON HOMES IN GTA AMONG HIGHEST IN NORTH AMERICA

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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.

An Altus Group Report for BILD shows that government fees, taxes and charges on new GTA homes are among the highest in North America. Transparency is important. Our governments must accept responsibility for their role in eroding housing affordability.

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.

Despite these 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

THE GOLDEN RULE: KEY TO HAPPY CONDO LIVING

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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.

Being a good neighbour takes on a deeper level of importance in the vertical community we call a condominium.
Being a good neighbour takes on a deeper level of importance in the vertical community we call a condominium.

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.

AN INTERESTING LOOK AT MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

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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 mortgage amortization.

Even a percentage of a point higher can cost you thousands over the course of the amortization.

Let’s look at a few examples, using a $300,000 mortgage over a 25-year amortization, paying monthly for the full 25 years.

  1. Mortgage interest rate of 3 per cent:  $1,422.63 per month = $426,789  total paid at 25 years
  2. Mortgage interest rate of 3.1 per cent:  $1,438.29 per month = $431,487 total paid at 25 years
  3. 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.

INNOVATIVE PROGRAM OFFERS YOU THE AFFORDABLE OPTION OF LIVING AT THE HUMBER, IN THE CITY SURROUNDED BY NATURE!

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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 Humber
The Humber, can be yours through an innovative program that boosts a 5 per cent down payment by 10 or 15 per cent, interest free, until you sell/move. Live in the city in the midst of nature.

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 e-cigarette devices.

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/

BANK OF CANADA OFFERS STRESS RELIEF!

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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.

The Bank of Canada has lowered the mortgage stress test 5-year benchmark qualifying rate.

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 condominiums.

It seems that we have a good news story all around. Now, if we could just get the Bank of Canada to restore 30-year mortgages!

JULY NUMBERS FROM ALTUS GROUP SHOW ROBUST CONDO SALES

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The Altus Group statistics released by BILD show that in July, Greater Toronto Area new condo sales were up 22 per cent year over year and 42 per cent above the 10-year average! In fact, that was the second-strongest July on record for new condos. In addition, of the 2,863 homes sold in the GTA in July, 2,297 were condos, making this type of housing the preferred choice once again. Of those, 1,565 sales were in Toronto, and coming up close behind, 1,295 were in Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions.

Altus Group stats for July show GTA condo sales were up 22 per cent year over year and 42 per cent above the 10-year average – the second-strongest July on record.

There was less inventory available in July, as there are typically fewer openings in summer. You will still find a wonderful selection of suites available in pre-construction projects, buildings currently under construction and completed residences.

OH, and in July, condos also saw a benchmark price increase to $838,824, up 8.3 per cent over the last 12 months. The moral of the story is, as I have said many times, the best time to buy a new condo is NOW. Here’s to a great fall season – watch for exciting openings in phenomenal locations!

TORONTO LOOKS UP TO ANOTHER NORTH AMERICAN RECORD

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You don’t have to crane your neck to see that Toronto once again holds the record for the most construction cranes of any city in North America! We saw similar headlines in August 2018, and in January and March of this year. Now, the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index reports that in July, we had 120 active cranes in the city, ranking us as having the most real estate development on the continent. That is 16 cranes more than we had in January, and 23 more than 2018. In fact, we have twice the number of cranes than the next cities on the list, Seattle and Los Angeles, which tie for second place with 49 each. It is no surprise that in Toronto, the peak has largely to do with high-rise condominiums.

Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area are growing concerns when it comes to new home real estate. Condos remain the most attainable choices, and sales are on the upswing this year since a slower first quarter. Now, with the Bank of Canada stress test rate being changed in favour of buyers, we should see increased sales and even more cranes up in the near future.

Toronto once again holds the record for the most construction cranes in North America!

JUNE A SOLID MONTH FOR GTA CONDO SALES

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The Altus Group statistics for June 2019 released by BILD show that sales for new condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area were up 14 per cent from one year ago, and only 5 per cent below the 10-year average. In addition, the benchmark price of new condos increased slightly from May and were up 3.9 per cent over the past year. Interestingly, the total number of condos sold in June was 2,420, and only 1,214 were in Toronto. The 905 areas of Durham, Halton, Peel and York accounted for 1,206 of those sales. Of the 932 new single-family home sales in June, only 6 were in Toronto. The rest were in the 905 municipalities.

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Sales for new condominiums in the GTA were up 14 per cent from one year ago.

A lot of this success has to do with overall inventory. In June, there were 19,062 new homes for sale, which was up over 25 percent from the year before. A full 14,377 of these were condos, up over 39 per cent over the same time period. Of the 3,352 new home sales in June 2019, 2,420 were condos – meaning once again, condos are king in the GTA!

CONDO MARKET IN FULL SWING AGAIN!

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The Altus Group statistics are in for the GTA new home market for May 2019 (https://bit.ly/2IO7Lqk), and the news is wonderful. BILD has posted the stats, which show that the slowdown in the first quarter was temporary. The market exploded in April and May. In fact, in May, total new home sales were up 94 per cent from 2018 and up 27 per cent from the 10-year average. Sales of new condos were up 76 per cent from May 2018 and 64 per cent above the 10-year average. In addition, the benchmark price of new condos increased from April to $779,687.

There were a near record number of condo units launched in April, which accounted for much of the success. Perhaps the strongest factor in the upsurge in sales, however, is the fact that interest rates are holding steady. After a series of increases in 2017 and 2018, for the fifth consecutive time recently, the Bank of Canada left key rates unchanged. This is encouraging for both end-users and investors, and people are obviously finding ways to cope with the stress test imposed by the federal government. 

Some experts are calling our current robust market our “new normal,” and I agree. When is the best time to buy a new condo in the GTA? The answer will always be NOW!