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luba Beley

Adjusting Expectations - 2017 GTA Housing Market in Review

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Adjusting Expectations - 2017 GTA Housing Market in Review

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) announced that Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 92,394 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in 2017.  This total was down 18.3% compared to the record sales reported in 2016.

But let’s put the 2017 sales into an historical perspective.  Even if we include the record sales of 101,213 in 2015 and 113,040 in 2016 in the equation, the GTA recorded 95,916 sales per year on average over the five year period from 2012 to 2016.  Taking that into consideration, 2017’s results are only off by 3.7% from the 5-year average.  In addition, there has been only one other year (besides 2015 and 2016) when sales breached the 93,000 mark, and that was in 2007, before the “Great Recession”, when the GTA recorded 93,193 sales.

After record sales in all segments of the market in Q1, the pace of sales decline in Q2 and Q3 after the Ontario Fair Housing Plan (i.e. the foreign buyers tax) was introduced. Q4 brought back some strength to the market as some buyers arguably brought forward their home purchase to beat the introduction in January of 2018 of the changes to the federal mortgage lending guidelines (the “stress test”).

Despite the drop of 20,646 annual sales from the 2016 figure, the average sales price recorded in the GTA for 2017 as a whole rose by 12.7% to $822,681, from $729,837 in 2016, although home price growth in the second half of 2017 differed substantially depending on market segment.  The drop was felt primarily in the most expensive detached market segment, where sales dropped by 12,381 homes or 23.0%, but representing almost 60% of the total unit sales decrease of 20,646 units.  The average price of a single detached home in the GTA increased in 2017 by 12.7% to $1,098,951, forcing many buyers to look for less expensive options.  At the other end of the market spectrum, condominium apartments experienced a drop of 2,853 unit sales, or 9.6%, accounting for approximately 13.8% of the total decrease of 20,646 units, but prices in this segment were up 23.1% from 2016 levels to an average of $512,478 in 2017.

These factors also contributed to the shift in relative share of total sales where the percentage of single detached homes decreased by 2.8% to 44.7% of units sold and the share of condominium apartments rose by 2.8% to 29.1% of total units sold.  Expectations are that as more millennials begin to reach the age of home ownership, the trade-off between housing type and location will likely become more prevalent in the future across the GTA and this will also place a significant strain on inventory, turning the process of finding a home into an exercise in adjusting expectations.

According to Royal LePage’s most recent Market Survey Forecast, the company predicts that the aggregate price of a home in the GTA will appreciate by 6.8% by the end of 2018, as many purchasers become acclimatized to the new mortgage rules and continue to compete over low inventory levels, particularly in the condominium market where demand significantly exceeds supply due to the long lead times in building these units. 

If you are curious to know how much your property is worth today or how much you can afford to buy, please feel free to reach out; and if you found this article helpful please hit "Like" and "Share".

 

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Are buyers rushing to avoid the stress?

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Are buyers rushing to avoid the stress?

It appears that home buying activity in the GTA is ramping up for a strong December if the November results are any indication.  The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 7,374 transactions through TREB’s MLS system in November, bucking the regular seasonal trend which usually sees transactions slow in the last couple of months of the year.

It’s possible that the changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January (the “stress test”), have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decisions before their home choices become more limited as affordability will drop when the new rules are applied.

TREB reported that there were 18,197 active listings across the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”) in the month of November, an increase of over 110%  compared to the same month in 2016 and inventory remained stable at roughly 2 ½ month’s supply.

What is more interesting, however, is what happened on a micro level.  In the City of Toronto, for instance, there were 2,978 reported transactions, representing 40% of the GTA total, but with only 5,430 active listings, available inventory was much lower than the GTA average, at 1.8 months.  Another interesting statistic is that detached homes represented almost 60% of the active listings in November, meaning that there is a much greater supply at the higher end of the price range, where inventory stood at almost 3 ½ month’s supply, or an additional 1 month above the GTA average.

Demand continued to be strongest at the lower end where inventories of the more affordable home types were 1.8 months for semi-detached homes, and 1.6 months for condominiums.

The average selling price in the month of November for all homes types combined was $761,757 - down by 2 per cent compared to the month of November, 2016, due in part to a smaller share of detached home sales versus last year.  On a year to date basis, however, the average selling price was up by 13.4 per cent compared to the same period last year, with high density home types (i.e. condo townhouses and apartments) leading the way in terms of price growth.

My predictions?  Look for a more active than usual December month as buyers continue to speed up their home buying decisions to “avoid the stress” that will be caused by the new mortgage lending qualification rules and the likelihood of further interest rate hikes in 2018.  The first 90 days of 2018 will probably lead to a slowdown in transactions as buyers navigate the new regulatory landscape and inventories will likely edge up to slightly more than 3 month’s supply on average for the next few months.

Wishing you happiness, good health and prosperity in the New Year!

If you are curious to know how much your property is worth today or how much you can afford to buy, please feel free to reach out; and if you found this article helpful please hit "Like" and "Share".

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Signals of a Healthy GTA Real Estate Market Continue

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Signals of a Healthy GTA Real Estate Market Continue

There were a total of 7,118 residential sales reported through TREB’s MLS system in October, compared to 9,715 transactions a year ago.  Even though the number of transactions was down by 26.7% year-over-year, the jump of almost 12% in residential sales reported between the months of September and October in 2017 was more pronounced than usual compared to the last 10 years, a clear signal that market momentum is picking up.

Active listings were 78.5% higher than a year ago, an indication that supply and demand are continuing to balance out as inventories settled at 2.6 months of supply in October, down marginally from the 3.0 months of supply in September, but still much healthier than the scant 1.1 months of supply experienced in October, 2016.  There is, however, a continuing lack of quality listings in core GTA neighbourhoods and there are early indications that offer dates are reappearing as homes are being underpriced to generate bidding wars, although this has yet to manifest in the overall selling price to list price ratio which is currently holding at 98%.

While the average selling price for October transactions was $780,104 – up by 2.3% compared to the average of $762,691 in October 2016 -  the continuing low supply of, and high demand for, condominiums fuelled a 21.8% increase in prices in that segment of the market.

Expectations are that market activity will pick up further in the next 6-8 weeks as buyers rush to obtain mortgage pre-approvals and submit offers before the new stress tests announced by OSFI last month are implemented at the beginning of 2018, further reducing buying power as the pre-qualification hurdle rate increases to the higher of the 5-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or your negotiated contract borrowing rate + 2%.

Do you remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?  When Goldilocks arrived at the bears’ house in the forest there were three bowls of porridge on the table and she was hungry. The first bowl of porridge she tried was “too hot”, the next one was “too cold”, but the third one was “just right”.  Well, this just might be a “Goldilocks” moment in the GTA housing market!

If you are curious to know how much your property is worth today or how much you can afford to buy, please feel free to reach out; and if you found this article helpful please hit "Like" and "Share".

 

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Renting or Buying? New Regulations Are Making Affordability More Difficult

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Renting or Buying? New Regulations Are Making Affordability More Difficult

Beginning January 1, 2018, if you are buying a home, even if you have equity of 20% or more, a new regulation announced this week by OSFI (the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Institutions) could make it more difficult for you to qualify for a mortgage.

The revised Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures include several key changes that the regulator says is part of its expectation that federally-regulated mortgage lenders remain vigilant in their underwriting practices, the most significant of which is a new “stress test”.

One fear hitting the headlines today is that the impacted borrowers will turn to unregulated lenders including credit unions and caisses populaires, which are not subject to the new rules.

 If you stay with the same institution, banking competition will be even further restricted as those renewing mortgages will not have the ability to shop around. Great for the banks!

In order to qualify for an uninsured mortgage the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%.  So if the Bank of Canada five-year rate is 5% and you are able to negotiate a lower rate from your financial institution – say 3.5%, then the stress test will mean that you would otherwise have to qualify for a 5.5% rate mortgage in order to be approved.  Alternatively, if you were only able to negotiate a 50 basis point reduction from the posted rate, or 4.5%, then you would have to show that you would qualify for a 6.5% rate mortgage of the same amount.  What this will likely mean for most borrowers, is that they will not be able to afford the home that they thought they could before the change in regulations.

For example, as reported by TREB (The Toronto Real Estate Board) the average price of a semi-detached home in the GTA in September, 2017 was $752,379.  A buyer with a 20% down payment would need a mortgage of approximately $600,000 in order to purchase this “average” home.  Let’s say that the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark rate is 5.0% and that this purchaser was able to negotiate a rate of 4% with their financial institution.  Therefore, the purchaser would have to demonstrate that they could afford the payments on a 6% mortgage of this amount (roughly an additional $350.00 per month or $4,200.00 per year on a monthly pay mortgage amortized over 25 years), otherwise they would only qualify for a smaller mortgage.  If they could not come up with that extra income to show that they would qualify for a $600,000 mortgage under the new regulation, then they would have to settle for a mortgage of $545,000, meaning that with their $150,000 down payment they could only afford a home priced around $695,000, or roughly 8% less than the price of the average semi-detached home selling currently in the GTA.

So for many, the alternative will be to look for a smaller home to purchase, perhaps a less expensive condominium, rent or move out of the city.  And sadly, the news does not get much better with those alternatives, due to the shortages of available units in both the sales and rental markets for condominiums.  And affordability is becoming a real issue as the focus of buyers and renters alike has shifted to condominiums, bidding up prices both for units for sale and units for rent.

Urbanation just released its analysis of this year’s third quarter and found condo rents averaged $2,219 a month for units averaging 743 square feet – a $232 year-over-year increase. It also found that newly signed leases in the third quarter, at 7,761, hadn’t much changed in a year.

A new report commissioned by the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario says the Liberal government’s Fair Housing Plan has negatively impacted the province’s rental housing supply. Before the introduction of the government legislation, 28,000 rental units were in the planning pipeline, but since the new rules were introduced 1,000 of those units have been cancelled or converted to condominiums. The report estimates that if 6,250 new rental units are not built per year in Ontario supply will continue to drop and naturally drive the demand up and the prices.

A lot of factors have conspired to put relentless pressure on the rental market – the astronomical cost of homeownership, stricter mortgage qualifications, high migration and the Fair Housing Plan, among others – but none has been more pronounced than the supply shortage.  Moreover, the reintroduction of rent control has provided tenants increased incentive to remain in their dwellings, stunting the turnover rate.

Tim Hudak, CEO of OREA (The Ontario Real Estate Association) recently had this to say about the latest regulation. “It’s time for governments to hit the brakes on more demand side policy interventions and take a wait and see approach. Ontario’s housing market is too important to the provincial economy to move ahead with unnecessary regulation that will hurt the dream of home ownership.”

If you are curious to know how much your property is worth today or how much you can afford to buy, please feel free to reach out; and if you found this article helpful please hit "Like" and "Share".

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2017 INVICTUS GAMES, TORONTO

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2017 INVICTUS GAMES, TORONTO

2017 INVICTUS GAMES, TORONTO HIGH PARK

THEY ARE UNCONQUERED!

The word “Invictus” means “unconquered”.  It embodies the fighting spirit of these “warriors” and what they can achieve through their tenacity post-injury. The Games are about much more than just sport. Invictus captures hearts, challenges minds and changes lives. The motto for the games is "I am".

The Invictus Games are Prince Harry’s sporting event for the wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.  Perhaps you’ve seen His Royal Highness on the news this week. On Wednesday he was right in our own backyard - in High Park - to give out medals to the athletes!

Once again, we are so fortunate to live in such a great city! If you have a chance this week get out there and cheer these courageous people on and join the movement, started by Prince Harry in 2014, to help generate a wider understanding and respect for those who have sacrificed so much to serve their country and their people.

Enjoy!

If you liked this post, please hit like and share.

Luba, xo


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A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER!

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A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER!

2017 TERRY FOX RUN WAS A HUGE SUCCESS

HIGH PARK, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017


From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your participation! I know you all lead busy lives but yet you took the time to make a difference and it means the world to me. Our goal this year was to raise $15,000 towards this worthy cause and we surpassed our expectations.

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As a Team, this year we raised $17,423 and the donations are still coming.

The High Park Run raised $109,130

The Terry Fox Run as a whole raised $3,675,624 this year and counting..

To date LUBA BELEY TEAM raised $75,544.

Thanks to your generosity, cancer research in Canada continues to forge discoveries that Terry could only have dreamed about. None of this would be possible without you. 

WE LOVE TERRY!

Terry Fox is truly my Canadian hero who so positively touched lives of so many people. Terry was only 18 when doctors amputated his right leg 15 cm above the knee and not long after losing his leg to cancer, Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. He ran from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, covering 5,373 km in 143 days, but was forced to halt his Marathon of Hope when cancer invaded his lungs. He died shortly before his 23rd birthday.

The courage and determination of this young man have inspired millions of people around the world and we are so proud and happy to keep embracing Terry's legacy.
In 1981, Terry said, "Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue. It's got to keep going without me." Every day we are moving closer to his inspiring dream: a world free of cancer.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION & YOUR PARTICIPATION!

Here are some photos from our 2016 & 2017 High Park Terry Fox Run


TORONTO UKRAINIAN FESTIVAL

BLOOR WEST VILLAGE

SEPTEMBER 15 - 17, 2017

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Did you know that Toronto Ukrainian Festival was celebrating its 21st year in the Bloor West Village this year? Today it is the largest Ukrainian Festival in North America.

The Festival's organizers describe its vision "Is to offer the largest celebration of Ukrainian spirit in the world – showcasing the best of Ukrainian arts and culture and thereby strengthening the multicultural fabric of Canada. The Festival takes pride in turning its spotlight on contemporary professional and amateur artists and performers from North America and Ukraine, and in celebration of Toronto’s diversity, invites a local performing group representing another culture to bring its talents to the main stage each year. Throughout its history, the Festival has hosted prime ministers and other politicians from all levels of government." 

And we are so lucky that it all happens in our backyard.

In the last 21 years, I don't think I ever missed one. In previous years I participated in the Festival at a different capacity. This year I decided to showcase my real estate business by hosting an information booth.

It provided me with an excellent opportunity to reconnect with so many of my fellow Ukrainians, as well as meeting people from the Bloor West Village neighbourhood, neighbourhoods across the GTA and visitors from around the world. 

Visitors to my booth had an opportunity to be photographed in traditional Ukrainian costume,  and enter into a draw for a chance to WIN a $200.00 pre-paid Visa card. I would like to thank each end every one of you who stopped by to say hi and greeted me so ever warmly.

This was great fun, and once again I truly appreciate your continued loyalty and support.

For more information, please visit the 2017 Toronto Ukrainian Festival website here.

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Toronto Real Estate Market Returning to Balance

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Toronto Real Estate Market Returning to Balance

After an overheated performance for much of 2016 and 2017 which saw most homes selling at sky high prices, often well over list, and with multiple offers, the Greater Toronto Area real estate market is returning to balance as the summer closes.

Don’t believe what’s in the newspapers and media reports that Toronto’s real estate market is reaching a point where the bubble is going to burst.  It’s not supported by the facts.

The Toronto Real Estate Board reports in its latest figures, for the month of August, that sales of all homes recorded on MLS across the GTA were 6,357, down 34.8% year on year and that the average price only increased 3.0% to $732,292.

However, averages don’t tell the whole story, and there are pockets of real strength, particularly condominiums, where although sales were down 28.0% (mostly due to lack of supply), prices averaged 21.4% higher across the Greater Toronto Area.

Economic indicators are also pointing to fundamental strength, with real growth in the economy up 4.5% in the second quarter of 2017 and employment growth in the Greater Toronto Area of 1.3% during the month of July.  The impact of the recent (generally expected) Bank of Canada interest rate increases have yet to play out, but it's possible that they will not have a significant lasting impact on buyer sentiment, as the extreme “heat” that was being felt in the market has cooled somewhat as it returns to a more healthy balance of supply and demand.

Also, prior to the introduction of the Ontario Government’s Foreign Buyers tax last April, housing inventories in the Greater Toronto Area were running at some of their lowest levels in history, at or below 1 month’s supply, and this was reflected in the lofty month on month price increases experienced in what was truly a “sellers” market.

With the introduction of the new tax measures in April, active listings have begun to rise while sales have tapered off.  As a result, supply of homes has increased to a more healthy balance of 2.6 month’s supply in August, although down slightly from 3.1 month’s supply in July.

Typically though, during the summer months many sellers as well as purchasers are on the sidelines and activity wanes, while people are on vacation and out enjoying the good weather.  With summer drawing to a close, there is some optimism building, now the Greater Toronto Area real estate market has returned to a more healthy balance, that activity will pick up once again in the Autumn months.

When compared with other major Canadian cities, the Greater Toronto Area still has the lowest monthly inventory of homes, well below Montreal (7.8 months), Edmonton (5.5 months) and Calgary (4.1 months), and slightly lower than Vancouver (2.9 months),  meaning the Greater Toronto Area is still the strongest housing market in Canada.

If you are curious to know how much your property is worth today, please feel free to reach out and if you found this article helpful please hit "Like" and "Share".


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