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April 2024 Newsletter: Best Fish & Chips in TO - Hot Docs Returns - How to Update a Bathroom Without Buying Anything New

Happy Spring... a time when we're re-energized, renewed and refreshed... and that includes my website. Take a peek at the revamped www.BE-AT-HOME.com and let me know your thoughts!

Scroll down and I've got some market predictions, bathroom upgrade ideas, and places to find the best fish & chips... as well as some exciting new property offerings!

Also below, and despite a little controversy, Hot Docs is set to return at the end of April with a full range of programming, from a film about trans-trendsetter Jackie Shane to films about world politics, and the climate.

As for the market, the unseasonably warm weather this winter led to a busier-than-usual market in March, and with signs pointing to an interest rate reduction coming this year, we anticipate the spring market will continue to be busy as more listings are hitting the market each week!

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New property listed in Cabbagetown-South St. James Town, Toronto C08

I have listed a new property at 103 77 Maitland PL in Toronto. See details here

Welcome to Celebrity Place!! Stylishly renovated, 2 bedroom, 2 baths, "Garbo Suite" (851 Sq Ft as per builder plan) with an open concept modern kitchen, updated baths and an entertainer's dream living space with wood floors & walk-out to a massive private garden terrace. The private second bedroom is perfect for couples that desire a "work from home" alternative or those that wish to cost-share. The suite is flooded with the warmth of natural morning light. This is a very well run, secure and superbly cared for complex where convenience is key, being only steps to all the city has to offer. Transit, shopping, Loblaws, Farm Boy, Metro, Yonge & Bloor, Varsity theatres, parks, great restaurants... who could ask for more!

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New property listed in Church-Yonge Corridor, Toronto C08

I have listed a new property at 706 155 Dalhousie ST in Toronto. See details here

Rare, west-facing Merchandise Building, one bedroom loft with stellar city views. Well maintained, recently painted and ready for you personal touches. An expansive sun-soaked suite with a raised private bedroom (with a ton of storage underneath) featuring massive concrete pillars, soaring ceilings and impressive barn doors. Don't miss the amazing amenities which include, 24-hr concierge, a 5-star gym & an entertainer's dream roof top terrace with BBQ's, party room, kitchen, indoor pool and dog-run. If convenience is a deciding factor in your next home, this location has it all being steps to groceries at the Metro, transit, Eaton Centre, TMU, financial core, theatre, libraries, restos and more. Merchandise Lofts can't be beat!

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February 2024 Newsletter: Best 24-Hour Restaurants - Sugar Shack TO - Behind the Headlines: The Truth about Toronto’s 9.5% Property Tax Surge, TRESA Turmoil, and the Countdown to Interest Rate Announcements
We might be in the shortest month of the year, but the city is brimming with exciting upcoming events. One in particular to keep watch for is Sugar Shack TO... maple syrup enthusiasts unite!! And, if you’re a night owl, the city has got you covered with some fantastic 24-hour dining options.

The Bank of Canada chose to hold interest rates steady at the end of January, but even without a rate decrease, we're seeing more activity in the market, including a return to multiple offers because there are so few properties on the market. If you are considering making a move this year, now is the time to get started!

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New property listed in Church-Yonge Corridor, Toronto C08

I have listed a new property at 2309 281 Mutual ST in Toronto. See details here

Radio City! Fully Renovated "Right To The Studs", Modern, One Bedroom (Approx 600Sf) W/Locker And Expansive Sun Soaked East Lake Views, Oversized Balcony, High-End, Crisp White Kitchen With A Ton Of Storage. Ready For end of May Occupancy. Don't Miss The 5-Star Facilities Including stunning party room, lounge, billiards, Fitness Centre, 24Hr Security, Guest Parking & Guest Suites. Steps To Neighbourhood Shops & Ttc, & Minutes Away To Easy Access To The Dvp.

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Toronto's Post-March Break Housing Surge: Will Listings Translate to Sales in the Spring Market?

In the first three days after March Break, the Toronto housing market was inundated with new listings. Will that translate into sales? We’ll have to wait until the March numbers are released, but one thing to keep in mind is that in February, the average single family home was on the market for 26 days, while the average condo took 41 days.

The spring market traditionally begins after Easter, but because we’ve had the warmest winter on record since 2009, house hunting has become more appealing and with the exception of March Break, it’s been a busy month!

One thing is for certain - there’s less emotion in the market than there was before, especially for condo buyers. Buyers are confident that they’ll find what they want. Last month there were about 4,400 condos on the market, including 2,237 that were listed in February.

There also doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency around units that are usually in high demand which is adding the amount of time properties are staying on the market. Add to that, a lot of listings are being terminated and then relisted either at the same price or at a lower price which increases the "property days on market" even more.

The reason this is happening is people are still testing the market looking for a deal. When it comes to condos, if they are looking to purchase, they are being careful and waiting patiently for the right opportunity.

Case in point, a unit at the Massey Harris lofts (not my listing!). It shows beautifully and they don’t come up very often, but after three weeks, the price was lowered. It went from $1,149,000 to under $1M and as of this writing, it’s still on the market.

Single family homes are a different story. One thing I’m noticing is that so many sales are significantly over asking (like hundreds of thousands of dollars), which could partly be due to underpricing, but also people are expecting an interest rate drop and they’re trying to get ahead of the expected uptick in the market because of lowered rates.

I think when we get the March stats, we’ll see the price of condos remain fairly stagnant, but there will be price growth in the single family home market.

The media is also driving the market. If you read the headlines, you see things like “First-Time Buyers Are Bringing On Bidding Wars And Closing In On $1M Listings”

“What will Toronto's spring housing market look like? Experts say first-time buyers are back — and prices could jump 6% this year”

I often am asked when is the best time to make a move and my answer is always the same. You can try to strategize the market and time it perfectly, but it's rare that one ever hits the bottom or the top of the market. Those that succeed most in real estate, are those that ride allong the middle over time. Quite, honeslty, it always comes down to making a move at the time that’s best for you.

I can’t predict if there will be a substantial difference between what’s happening in the market now and what will happen later this spring. Even if the Bank of Canada decreases the interest rate, it’ll be a quarter of a percent, which will give people some positivity. It may drive a few buyers forward, but I don’t know whether it’ll be substantial.

If you’re curious about what’s selling in your neighbourhood or just want to talk real estate, give me a call!

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New property listed in Waterfront Communities C1, Toronto C01

I have listed a new property at 427 75 Portland ST in Toronto. See details here

Tranquility In The Midst Of Covetable King West . Yoo Design By Philippe Starck. All White interior palette w/ refinished wood flooring creates a soothing, spa-like aesthetic. in this one bdrm plus den condo. Modern, Scavolini Kitchen w/ the cleanest of lines, an enviable prim. bdrm w/frosted glass doors & massive closet, and a party-sized balcony with bbq hookup will definitely move this suite to the top of your list. If convenience is in your cards then this neighbourhood can't be beat. Restos, lounges, parks, transit, shops, Queen West, financial core all only steps away!

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New property listed in Waterfront Communities C8, Toronto C08

I have listed a new property at 1909 33 Mill ST in Toronto. See details here

Pure Spirit Condos! If You're Looking For A Stunning Urban City View, This Is It! Well Laid Out One Bedroom Plus Den Suite With Parking And Locker And An Awesome Urban view. It's Gorgeous! In The Heart Of Historical Distillery District, Steps To St Lawrence Market, Theatre, Restos, Park, Transit, The Lake & Beach, Shopping & Lcbo On Queens Quay Or The Market. You Can't Ask For More!

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New property listed in Cabbagetown-South St. James Town, Toronto C08

I have listed a new property at 103 77 Maitland PL in Toronto. See details here

Welcome to Celebrity Place!! Stylishly renovated "Garbo Suite" (851 Sq Ft as per builder plan) with an open concept modern kitchen, updated baths and an entertainer's dream living space with walk-out to a massive private terrace. The suite is flooded with with the warmth of natural light. This is a very well run and superbly cared for complex where convenience is key, being only steps to all the city has to offer. Transit, shopping, Yonge & Bloor, Varsity theatres, parks, great restaurants... who could ask for more!

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New property listed in Niagara, Toronto C01

I have listed a new property at 711 90 Stadium RD in Toronto. See details here

Bright And Open Suite, Very Functional Layout. Beautifully Finished With Granite Counter Tops, Stainless Steel Appliances, Light Laminate Floors In Living Space And Warm Broadloom In The Bedroom, Juliette Balcony Looking Towards The City With View Of The Cn Tower. Excellent Location Down By The Water. Ideal For Walkers And Sports Enthusiasts. Very Easy Access To Lakeshore And The King West Area, Ttc Just Around The Corner.

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New property listed in Niagara, Toronto C01

I have listed a new property at 805 18 Stafford ST in Toronto. See details here

Prime King West Village One Bedroom Private Corner Suite With Sun-Soaked South West Views From Every Room, Open Concept, Wrap Around Balcony, Huge Open Concept Cook's Kitchen, Large Principal Rooms, Wood Floors. Kitchen cabinets to be painted a neutral colour prior to occupancy. Includes Parking And Locker. Steps To Shops, Queen West, Parks, And Easy Access To Highways.

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Behind the Headlines: The Truth about Toronto’s 9.5% Property Tax Surge, TRESA Turmoil, and the Countdown to Interest Rate Announcements

There’s a lot of talk about what’s happening with housing in Toronto and the real estate market in general, so here is my take on the property tax increase, TRESA, and interest rates.

It was recently announced that the city was proposing an increase to property taxes of 10.5%, or even as much as 16.5%, depending on how much help the Federal government was going to give the city. In the end, it’s understood the property tax increase will land around a 9.5% increased… still a big pill to swallow for some.

Although an almost double-digit increase sounds like a lot, it will work out to about $30 more per month for the average Toronto homeowner and likely something that most homeowners will be able to absorb. For those with variable rate mortgages currently feeling the pinch, a potential interest rate reduction later this year may save more than that.

Toronto homeowners pay some of the lowest property taxes in the region.

Here’s a good piece from the Star with come clear explanations of how property tax is calculated.

TRESA, aka the Trust in Real Estate Services Act will affect buyers and sellers. If you want to know everything about the changes, click here.

However, the one change that will affect buyers and sellers is that both sides now have the ability to have open bids. Before, in a multiple offer situation, the only person who knew the details of each offer was the seller.

I don’t have a problem with this in theory, because buyers have some protection. They can insert a clause in their offer that says if the seller discloses any details of their offer, they have the opportunity to revoke the offer within an hour of finding out that the details of their offer were being made public. I don’t know why any buyer wouldn’t want to have that clause, because even if a buyer wants their information kept secret, they can still see what’s in the other offers.

The problem is with all the options sellers have. Not only can the seller pick and choose which parts of the offers they receive to be transparent about (deposit, closing date, offer amount), they can also remove those options if they send bidders back to sweeten their offers.

One reason a seller might want to be open about the offers: the bidder with the highest offer may have a closing date that doesn’t work, which gives the seller an opportunity to give the next person in line, who’s closing date does work, the ability to match the other offer.

A disadvantage to being open could be that one bidder wants the property so badly they offer significantly more than anybody else. Without transparency, only the seller knows the difference between the top two bids. But with open bidding, a seller could receive less – the top bidder may offer only a few thousand more than the second highest.

The benefit for buyers would be the knowledge of how close their bid was and whether it makes sense for them to continue, or if they’re so far below the other offers they should drop out.

We’ll see how this plays out. The advantage of having the legislation come into effect now is, with the market being less competitive than it was, there are fewer situations with multiple offers, so it won’t be chaos across the city.

Finally, let’s talk about interest rates. Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage, doesn’t think it’ll be interest rate reductions that spur on the market, it’ll be consumer confidence that the price they pay for a home will increase. I hate to disagree but as I mentioned last month, I think even a small decrease in the overnight rate will make a difference in the volume of homes listed and sold this spring. The first announcement was on January 24 and the rate held. There will be further announcements on March 6 and April 10. My prediction is Toronto’s real estate market will rise again…. but it may be a few months before we see some serious movement.

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