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Real Estate Growing or Declining in Toronto

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Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has been notorious over the years from being the country’s most expensive real estate market, in close competition with Vancouver. But with Canada’s slowly mellowing housing market, it has been predicted that the city could see some changes. One thing is for sure: the Toronto real estate market is not going to be experiencing a significant decline anytime soon. So, what factors are at play and what can sellers and buyers in this market expect in the year to come? Read on for our market insights.

The Greater Toronto Area’s Market: Better for Buyers or Sellers?

According to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report, 2020 will bring good news for those looking to list their property. More specifically in Southern Ontario real estate markets, where Toronto has a significant influence, a strong price appreciation has been seen and is expected to continue this upcoming year. Conversely, though, this means that homebuyers will be looking at an even more competitive market than what was generally seen in 2019.

Why is this the case? As Canada’s largest city, Toronto and the greater area continues to see significant population growth. This fact, coupled with a trend in lowered mortgage rates means that there are many buyers competing for a much smaller number of properties in the area. The result is declining availability and increasing prices.

Who Benefits from Toronto’s Strong and Competitive Market?

The benefits of living in a vibrant city such as Toronto includes access to endless amenities, both essential and non-essential, as well as ample job opportunity and culture make it unsurprising that the demand for real estate is great, especially in comparison to the supply. This makes the market particularly advantageous for some, while others will continually struggle to make the leap into property ownership in the Greater Toronto Area.

BNN Bloomberg is very forthright with who benefits and who, quite frankly, doesn’t from this Canadian city’s current housing market: the baby boomer generation. With the shift in the homebuyer generation changing to millennials while the sellers remain to be an older and much more wealthy population, the housing market will become increasingly unaffordable as a result of reduced supply.

A Hot Market Without Signs of Cooling

Unless there is an increase in housing supply which, as mentioned above, is not likely given the current population demographics, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) expects that prices will continue to increase throughout the year 2020. Our own report indicates that housing prices in the Toronto market are expected to increase by six per cent in 2020.

Despite the effects of the foreign buyer tax of 15 per cent on any property sales to those who are not Canadian residents or citizens, the market still remains strong. That said, CBC reported that the market did see a slight slowdown in the number of properties purchased by foreign nationals buying homes in the Greater Toronto Area. The “slow down” didn’t mean that foreign property ownership in Toronto stopped altogether. As reported by CBC, $1.47 billion worth of real estate in the province of Ontario was purchased by foreign buyers. Another statistic from CBC in regards to real estate sales to foreign buyers in the Greater Toronto Area is estimated to be five to 10 per cent of all home purchasers in Toronto.

In terms of growth over the past year, referencing the Canadian Real Estate Association’s MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark can be a useful tool. According to this benchmark, housing prices were up by 7.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis in December 2019, the result of a steady increase throughout the year, with the most dramatic increase occurring between June 2019 and December 2019.

How The Stress Test Affects Canadian Real Estate

As of 2016, Canada implemented a mortgage stress test that every homebuyer is required to pass before a mortgage can be officially secured. This test is part of a mortgage qualifier test that evaluates whether a homebuyer will be able to consistently make their mortgage payments even with changes in interest rates.

So what exactly is a stress test? A stress test is a way to prove that a homebuyer can afford to pay the mortgage payments with the agreed and slightly increased interest rate as a way to plan for any significant changes in the country’s real estate market. All bank lenders will have their prospective homebuyers complete this stress test before officially offering a mortgage. A stress test asks you to detail the following information:

  • Your prospective property value and related property taxes
  • Your down payment
  • Your mortgage’s annual interest rate
  • Mortgage term and the amortization period
  • Payment frequency
  • Your household gross income and other debts

This stress test is a precaution and a reaction to the housing market crash that happened several years in the United States, which occurred as a result of mortgages freely given to those who were borrowing far beyond their means. However, the stress test is arguably an extreme demonstration of what were to happen should interest rates increase, making it difficult for many homebuyers to even think about a mortgage that would otherwise be attainable.

How does this translate to the growth of the Canadian real estate market? Since implementation, the stress test has correlated to a slower real estate market in Toronto, as reported by the city’s CityNews network video report.

Buying or Selling Your Canadian Home in Toronto

While the outlook for buyers and sellers in Toronto isn’t as equally positive for both parties, the lower mortgage rates that have been seen and that are expected to remain, for the most part, steady throughout 2020 make the idea of purchasing property in the Greater Toronto Area more manageable

The best way to make the most of your next foray into the Toronto real estate market is to be aware of the trends and what changes are expected between seasons in the upcoming years. Stay updated on Toronto’s dynamic housing market trends and news by visiting blog.remax.ca. You can also view the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report here.

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Don’t be a stranger! Sooke real estate agent won’t shy away from your questions – Sooke News Mirror

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When you’re buying your first house, you’re likely to have a thousand questions. You may even ask the same questions more than once. The same goes for selling — whether it’s your first sale or your fifth, you’ll likely ask the same questions over and over.

Most real estate agents can answer your questions the first time you ask, but it takes a special kind of ‘people person’ to treat you with genuine compassion the fourth time you ask.

“I want my clients to feel comfortable reaching out to me for anything, even if they’ve asked me before,” says Paula Wensley, a real estate agent with Macdonald Realty Ltd. “My goal is to reduce stress for my clients so they don’t lose sleep — they’ll probably lose sleep anyway, but I can do my best to make the process easier.”

Find the right fit

Paula is relatively new to Sooke but she’s no stranger to southern Vancouver Island, having lived in many Island communities over the years. That local knowledge comes in handy when helping clients find their forever-home.

“I’ve had some amazing experiences with clients who weren’t happy with where they lived, but didn’t know where to move,” she says.

They’d describe their personalities, lifestyles and goals, and ask Paula ‘Where can you see us? What community would suit us?’ Using her knowledge of local communities and her talents for connecting with clients, she’d make a recommendation.

“One client reached out a year after they’d moved in just to say thanks. She said ‘we wouldn’t have found this community without you.’ It’s amazing to have that kind of impact.”

3rd generation in real estate

Paula comes from a family of real estate agents including her grandpa, dad, uncles and cousins, so she draws from a wealth of experience beyond her years. Before real estate she worked as a property manager and commercial sales assistant, so she’s seen the industry from all sides.

“I try to offer a fresh approach — I’m up to date on new negotiating techniques and other strategies,” she says.

Paula finds she connects well with clients who prefer a bit more time and attention to their individual needs. If you have a unique situation or just want a little extra help with your listing, Paula will give you her full attention.

“I don’t see myself in sales, I see it as a service. It’s not just a conveyor belt of clients.”

Follow Paula Wensley on Facebook for her latest insights on the tight real estate market, and visit paulawensley.com to browse current listings from Mill Bay to Sidney to Sooke. Get in touch by calling 250-388-5882 or at pwensley@macrealty.com.

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Real Estate Transactions: Exclusive Use Servitudes Deemed Invalid – Real Estate and Construction – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

While exclusive use clauses remain common in leases, they can no
longer be drafted in the form of servitude agreements in
transactions.

In April 2020, in the case of Société
immobilière Duguay Inc.
v. 547264 Ontario
Limited
1, the Court of Appeal of Quebec
ruled in favour of dismissing a Superior Court
judgment2, thereby granting an application for
declaratory judgment and striking off “exclusive
use
” clauses drafted in the form of servitude agreements
restricting the types of business that could be carried out on a
property. As a result, this case puts an end, in commercial
transactions, to the use of servitude agreements to protect certain
exclusive businesses or commercial uses from third parties in a
given location.

Exclusive use clauses have long been included in leasing
agreements, such as those in shopping centers, to define the
permitted uses of the leased property and prohibit or limit one
tenant from carrying on the same type of business or
principal use” as another tenant. The bottom
line is to protect the market within a property and ensure the
commercial success of all tenants. The Civil Code of Quebec
(C.C.Q.) does not currently define or regulate such clauses
directly; these are usually the result of negotiations between the
landlord and the tenants. Exclusive use clauses have also been used
in commercial real estate transactions, in the form of servitude
agreements. Under Quebec civil law, Article 1177 C.C.Q. defines a
servitude as “a charge imposed on an immovable, the
servient land, in favour of another immovable, the dominant land,
belonging to a different owner
.”

The Duguay matter is the most recent case in which the
Quebec courts had to determine whether exclusive use agreements in
commercial real estate transactions were valid in civil law. In
this case, the Respondents owned a shopping centre and various
contiguous or nearby lots, which they leased for commercial
purposes. In 1998 and 2000, the Respondents sold two of those lots
to a third party for the purpose of opening a clothing store. The
notarized deed of sale included a servitude agreement stipulating
that the buildings of the shopping centre owned by the Respondents
could not be used to carry on business activities that would
compete with those of the buyer (i.e. a family clothing store),
while the properties acquired by the buyer could not, for their
part, be used for the principal business activities then taking
place at the Respondents’ shopping centre and on the
neighbouring lots they owned (i.e. a grocery store, drugstore,
movie theatre and department store). In 2012, the two properties
were sold by the initial buyer to the Appellant, with the new deed
of sale providing that both properties remain subject to the
exclusive use servitudes set out in 1998 and 2000. Following this
subsequent sale, the Appellant asked the Superior Court to declare
that the “servitude agreement” was not enforceable and to
order its striking out on the grounds that it did not constitute
servitudes, but rather, personal obligations.

The Court of Appeal found that, since the purpose that the
Respondents claimed to be pursuing through these exclusive use
agreements, namely to promote the commercial diversity of their
shopping centre, served largely to ensure that the businesses in
the shopping centre they owned were not subject to commercial
competition, they could not be construed as constituting valid
servitudes under the C.C.Q. The Court of Appeal found that the
rights flowing from these agreements do not relate to the
Respondents’ real estate property, but rather to the
Respondents’ financial and commercial interests.

As a result, although the exclusive use servitude agreements
could be deemed creative in commercial real estate transactions,
the Court of Appeal of Quebec ruled in favour of the Appellant,
finding that such agreements restricting commercial use do not
constitute valid servitudes, as they do not encumber the dominant
land as required by Article 1177 C.C.Q., but only apply to the
servient land. According to the Court of Appeal, these stipulations
must be characterized as personal obligations binding on the first
buyer and the Respondent but not the Appellant as the subsequent
buyer. Moreover, the Court of Appeal found that the Respondents had
not demonstrated that the Appellant agreed to undertake these
agreements as personal obligations when purchasing the
properties.

Footnotes

1 Société immobilière Duguay inc. v.
547264 Ontario Limited, 2020 QCCA 571

2 Société immobilière Duguay inc. v.
547264 Ontario Limited, 2018 QCCS 2099 (CanLII)

Originally published by August-September 2020 issue of
Canadian Lawyer InHouse magazine

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Real Estate and Construction from Canada

Construction Dispute Resolution In Ontario

Miller Thomson LLP

The Canadian Construction Documents Committee (“CCDC”) forms of contract provide for a dispute resolution process that is generally contained in Part 8 of the contract.

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LACKIE: There are signs of a softening real-estate market – Toronto Sun

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How could house-poor Canadians, already saddled with alarming levels of consumer debt, manage their way through this, let alone out the other side?

But they did. And it was, quite frankly, astonishing.

According to CMHC, Canadians deferred $1 billion worth of mortgages per month during the pandemic, while the Canadian Bankers Association reports that more than 760,000 Canadians either skipped a mortgage payment or took advantage of a deferral program.

As of Sept. 13, more than $78 billion had been paid out to Canadians in the form of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Yet, by the time the emergency lockdown restrictions started to relax, the real estate market was in full swing.

The June and July sales figures broke records set a year earlier, and the Toronto market spread its heat to the suburban and rural markets. In cottage country, properties were selling with multiple offers just hours after hitting the market.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

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Could this really just be the result of pent-up demand? Of fundamental changes in consumer appetites? A hunger for more space, more land, less density?

There were tons of theories.

Maybe all along we haven’t fully appreciated the level of demand, I wondered.

Maybe people weren’t as hurt by lost earnings as one might have expected?

Maybe the busy summer was the combined effect of insatiable demand met with people hustling to get set up to more comfortably ride out the fall’s all but guaranteed second wave.

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