Toronto Condo & Rent Prices Still Declining

Who ever thought you’d see the day that the City of Toronto actually experiences a decline in their real estate listings? For condo and rent prices, especially in the downtown core, Canada’s largest condo market has seen a decline due to the COVID-19 global pandemic while the suburbs saw an increase in buyers and bidding wars. 


Since COVID-19 put the city on lockdown, immigration numbers have been low, the need for Airbnb has declined, and students haven’t been returning to university. This has lessened the demand for downtown short-term or even long-term housing needs, causing investors questioning whether or not it’s a good time to sell. In a recent report from Toronto Rentals, rental prices in August were down $200-$400 on average compared to this time last year. In fact, the prices reached their lowest in August since January of 2019. This doesn’t take away from the fact there is growth in certain areas though, like Etobicoke, North York and Mississauga. This could partly be because people who are working from home are looking for a place with a larger office space in their unit as opposed to the smaller downtown units that can’t accommodate that as comfortably.


Will this trend continue? 


According to Urbanation, a real estate research firm, this pattern could definitely continue into 2021 and as more newly built projects become available, there could be more than 20,000 available online by the end of this year.


Another reason people are fleeing from the downtown core and condo market to the suburbs?


The Bank of Canada has slashed their interest rates to historic lows, so families are able to upgrade. They stated, “The Bank is playing an important complementary role in this effort. Its interest rate setting cushions the impact of the shocks by easing the cost of borrowing. Its efforts to maintain the functioning of the financial system are helping keep credit available to people and companies. The intent of our decision today is to support the financial system in its central role of providing credit in the economy, and to lay the foundation for the economy’s return to normalcy.”


Earlier this year, Premier Doug Ford, announced that new measures will be taken to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, a ban on evictions was put in place. He said he “doesn’t want Ontario residents to worry about how they’re going to pay for rent this month” and that he wants to make sure that families can stay in their homes during this difficult time without having to worry. However, this ban was lifted as of August 1. A standard eviction for non-payment can take a minimum of 75 days. What will this mean for future reports due to financial hardships and landlords evicting their non-paying tenants especially with unemployment rates hitting a record in May? 


Only time will tell, especially as the economy takes its time to open back up again. 


While some Toronto markets are certainly on fire amidst the pandemic, this isn’t the case for condo and rental prices and they’ll likely continue to decline until more people are able to go to work, and immigrants and university students call the downtown hub their home again. 

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

2020-10-28 11:00:00

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Open Houses Banned Amidst Second Wave In Ottawa, Toronto, Peel & York Region

While open houses were allowed to resume in mid-July, the COVID-19 second wave had a different opinion. Making another appearance and causing numbers to soar again, the Ontario Government announced that as of Saturday, October 17, COVID-19 hotspots will be subject to appointment-only property showings for the next 28 days. Virtual means are to be highly considered instead as the situation continues to be reassessed on a regular basis.


Initially, open houses were shut down back in April mainly due to the urgent requests by the Ontario Real Estate Associate (OREA) when they called on the province to stop open houses and utilize virtual tools instead. President of OREA, Sean Morrison, said, “Back in April, OREA called on the province to stop open houses during the first wave of the pandemic. I am proud that our association was the first to recommend a stop to all in-person business, including open houses – advice that the province later put into law as part of the State of Emergency.”  


He continued, “As we enter this second wave, we are once again asking the government to ban open houses province-wide until the pandemic becomes more manageable.”


It seems like their plea worked as strict rules were put in place in Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and now York Region, which was added to the list on Monday, October 19. This second-wave shutdown comes after Toronto had experienced record-breaking real estate numbers in September. Back in April, any in-person meetings were completely prohibited, whereas now, meetings can still resume but by appointment only, so seeing a decrease in the regions’ real estate trends is unlikely. And, as Morrison said, he isn’t expecting that kind of lockdown again, but just wants the members of OREA to do the right thing and keep everyone involved as safe as possible. With high-quality virtual tools, real estate transactions can still continue to run smoothly. 


It’s important you familiarize yourself with the new stage two restrictions laid out by the Ontario Government which include:


  • Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;

Closing of:

  • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
  • Indoor cinemas, performing arts centres and venues, (except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance subject to conditions, including no spectators);
  • Spectator areas in racing venues;
  • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
  • Prohibiting real estate open houses (permitting in-person showing by appointments only)
  • Reducing the capacity limits for:
  • Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with certain exemptions, including for schools, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
  • Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors with limited exemptions, including for government operations and the delivery of government services; and
  • Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages)  


And, make sure you abide by these protective measures to keep everyone safe:


  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Keep a two-metre/six-foot distance from people you don’t live with, when possible
  • Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wear a mask or face covering when you are in indoor public spaces, as per the City bylaw, and when you cannot maintain a two-metre/six-foot distance outdoors
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces 

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

2020-10-27 14:00:00

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Big Bonus Awaiting REALTORⓇ Who Delivers Buyer Of $13.8 Vancouver Condo

And by “big bonus”, we mean a half-million-dollar bonus for the REALTORⓇ of the buyer. 


$500,000 is one of the biggest, a real estate search website by Holywell Properties, has ever recorded. 


The seller of the $13.8 condo, which is in the Alberni is offering the $500,00 bonus on top of a 3.22 per cent commission on the first $100,000 and 1.15 per cent on the remaining balance. They purchased the unit pre-construction. The 42-storey tower, Alberni, designed by architect Kengo Kuma Architects and Associates, is a unique tower on the corner of Alberni and Cardero that includes intricate designs, an expansive moss garden, a pool, hot tub and sauna, a Japanese restaurant, a 24-hour concierge, and commercial spaces at the bottom of the building. There are currently 21 units for sale, all of which are assignments of contract sales. Construction is set to complete in 2021 with a total project size of 271,859 sq. ft. The builder, Westbank, has more luxurious, unique and high-quality bodies of work in the City of Toronto and Seattle, and Japan that truly bring out the artsy, stylish and natural wonders of each amazing city. 


Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, is considered one of the most significant contemporary Japanese architects and often favours using “alternative” materials including stone, ceramics, bamboo, plastic and vinyl, according to Floor Nature. In an interview with them, Kuma said that while traditional Japanese designs are important, he doesn’t stick to the details of traditional Japanese designs. He also pulls a lot of inspiration from landscape designs.    


Where is the luxurious unit with the half-million-dollar bonus located? On the 39th floor. 3902-1550 Alberni Street measures 4,030 sq. feet. with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a spacious locker, two parking spaces, and a private Japanese-inspired garden on the balcony. The seller is being represented by Angell, Hasman & Associates (Malcolm Hasman) Realty Ltd.; a top-selling luxury real estate brokerage based in Vancouver. 


While the REALTORⓇ of the buyer of this $13.8 condo will certainly be able to add this “win” to their portfolio, so will the owner of the unit. The Japanese-designed unit will overlook Vancouver and remain quite distinctive compared to other luxurious condos on the market thanks to Kuma’s unmatched style. The other units, which there are 188 in total, will range from  843 sq. ft to 2,478 sq. ft.


After all is said and done, the lucky REALTORⓇ of the buyer will walk away with a total of $661,791 as the $500,000 bonus will be added on top of their commissions of $161,791. As the managing broker of Holywell Properties said, this could very well be the record for the highest bonus ever recorded.  

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

2020-10-26 13:00:00

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Are Condo Prices Really Dropping In Downtown Toronto?

It’s no surprise that condos in downtown Toronto are highly sought after. Toronto has Canada’s largest condo market after all, so it’s only natural that as more continue to go up, so do the prices. But in September, Torontonians and the rest of Canada alike were surprised to learn that condo prices and rent were declining and showing signs of strain as data was collected by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board and Urbanation Inc. The president of Urbanation, Shaun Hildebrand, said that in September, the condo listings for downtown Toronto dropped by 24 per cent which is the lowest it’s been since the early 1990s.


Urbanation also reported that there has been a decline in rental vacancies as high as 147 per cent and rent prices decreasing by 14 per cent in downtown Toronto since the same time last year, and may continue to decrease in the next few months. 


However, the market has still remained healthy despite the decline in downtown condo sales. Toronto suburb sales for detached have been soaring by 42.3 per cent with an average price of $960,772 according to CTV News. So, overall, the Toronto real estate market is actually doing better than it ever has, even amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. So while it’s a great time to put your detached home on the market, it’s not such a great time to put your condo in downtown Toronto up for sale though this may be good news for renters looking for a deal. When deciding to sell, owners are even dropping their prices for their downtown Toronto condo by $20,000, according to the founder of a Toronto brokerage, Realosophy, John Pasalis. He also stated that people are dropping their prices even lower than what they would have gotten two months ago. 


Another factor that’s really affected the Toronto condo market is the low levels of immigration. In a report from the Conference Board of Canada, people coming into the region will drop by over 65,700 so it’s only natural that rentals and home sales will be affected. As for the decline in downtown Toronto condos, it’s kind of up in the air right now as to what we can expect to see in 2021. Due to COVID-19 allowing people to work from home, many are likely to continue to say goodbye to condo living and hello to suburban life. 


“The bottom line is we expect condo prices to weaken in larger markets next year…,” economist Robert Hogue wrote. On September 30, his latest report stated that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is complex and it will evidently “lead to diverging price trends among regions and housing categories”. In turn, this will reduce the interest of investors and continue to drive them away from the downtown core.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

2020-10-23 11:00:00

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What’s Happening With The Commercial Rent Relief Program In Canada?

“Your business matters,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started in a video for Global News in April. “To your employees, and to our country. In fact, it matters to our whole economy. So, a concern for you is a concern for us, too. And that brings me to the question of your rent. Paying rent on your space may be a problem right now. We hear that, so we’re taking action.”


This is where he introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA), a benefit that provides loans to landlords so that they can reduce the rent for small business tenants who have lost the majority of revenue due to COVID-19 by 75 per cent. The government would pay for 50 per cent of the payments while the landlords and tenants each paid 25 per cent. However, this ended on September 30 and no word had been said about what was yet to come. 


CECRA’s intentions may have seemed great, but the program was criticized shortly after it was announced for being too difficult to access, which put a huge strain on Canadian business owners, and employees. The application was lengthy, and landlords weren’t actually completing or sending in their application, leaving tenants feeling overwhelmed and fear getting evicted since they weren’t able to pay rent. 


Restaurants were particularly struggling and will continue to do so. According to Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit association that helps foodservice businesses grow, at least one out of five independent restaurant operators were dealing with a landlord who was not willing to provide rent relief, either through the CECRA program or some other arrangement. Restaurants Canada even published an open letter calling on all levels of government to help foodservice businesses remain viable as they reopen their doors, including with a broader rent relief program. They also stated that while the federal government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy is helping some restaurants keep staff on payroll, those that are now preparing to reopen are concerned about being able to access this support in the coming months. 


So, where does that leave those in danger of closing? Even as COVID-19 numbers start to decline, will restaurants and other small businesses really ever get back to “normal”? 


There are unfortunate predictions stating that more than half of Canadian restaurants will close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in August, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found that 60 per cent of restaurants could even fail within the next three months which was why it was also brought to attention that the government needed to create a relief program specifically designed for restaurants. 


CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty, said that even in good times it can be hard to meet certain margins, so with COVID-19, it’s going to be impossible. “There is simply no way you can make it work no matter how hard you try,” Beatty said.


However, on October 9, Ottawa unveiled a new commercial rent relief program that Trudeau said would be in effect until June 2021 and that it will help directly support Canadian businesses and employees, meaning it will bypass landlords. Called the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, this new program will fund up to 65 per cent of rent or mortgage interest payments for businesses that have declined by 70 per cent due to COVID-19. Businesses that have been temporarily shut down by mandatory orders will qualify for up to 90 per cent rent or mortgage interest coverage. There are currently no updates from the Government of Canada regarding the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, but they’ll likely be announced soon as we head into the last couple of months of 2020. 


“Canadian businesses and workers have shown tremendous resilience in adapting to the challenges posed by the global pandemic. With the country now in the second wave of this virus, our government knows businesses and workers need continued support.  We were there to help businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we will continue to give them the support they need.” – The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate

2020-10-22 11:00:00

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