Category Archives: condo fees

Map Charts Toronto Condo Prices By Subway Stop

condo prices ttc stop toronto

When it comes to Toronto condo prices, location really is everything. Sure, buying any unit in the city is going to be expensive, but when you see how prices vary based on the TTC subway map, it’s obvious that Line 1 reigns supreme.

Toronto realtor Davelle Morrison recently put together this map of condo prices by TTC stop, which reveals the area around Summerhill Station as the most expensive place in the city. It’s followed closely by Museum, Bay, Bloor-Yonge, and Rosedale as other high cost areas.

condo prices ttc stop toronto

On the flip side, the most reasonable condo prices in Toronto can be found in less dense areas of the city like Scarborough and the eastern portion of North York, which includes stations like Wilson, Sheppard West, and Lawrence West.

Also interesting are the TTC stops that yield no data. The map charts condo prices within 0.3 kilometres of each station, which means that there are plenty of blank entries because there just aren’t condos within the radius under examination.

When you think about it, that’s kind of troubling in terms of Line 2. There are too many stations that lack the kind of density that urban planners laud as key to successful city building.

Source: BlogTo.com  Derek Flack

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What share of GTA condos are flipped? New report offers insight

gta-condos

Soaring price appreciation in the Greater Toronto Area’s high-rise segment is encouraging condo investors to flip their units more rapidly.

So suggests the latest quarterly report from Urbanation, a Toronto-based real estate consulting firm.

This burgeoning trend is reflected in the 9,932 condo units that changed hands in the first quarter, a 73 per cent increase over activity in the first three months last year as well as a quarterly high.

Looking only at units in condo developments that were completed by builders and registered in the last two years, a total of 1,059 transactions were recorded in the first quarter.

In the first quarter of 2016, condo owners sold a total of 625 units in buildings completed throughout the preceding two-year window.

“The shortening of holding periods for some condo buyers is an outcome of the rapidly accelerating market,” says Shaun Hildebrand, senior VP of Urbanation, in a statement.

The average sale price of a resale condo unit in Q1 this year was $510,000, representing a 24 per cent increase over that period last year, according to Urbanation.

“Following the recent strength in condo price appreciation, Urbanation noted an increase in resale activity within newly completed buildings as well as more units transacting twice within shorter timeframes,” the consultancy’s report reads.

In fact, according to past Toronto Real Estate Board numbers, resale condo prices were increasing annually by a far more restrained 9.3 per cent as recently as September 2016.

With year-over-year appreciation well above 20 per cent now, a relatively recent development, it’s easy to see why some recent homebuyers would be compelled to sell sooner.

However, Urbanation’s Hildebrand notes flipping is not widespread — for now.

“Although the share of short-term condo market participants still appears relatively low, it will be important to monitor the situation closely going forward as market conditions evolve,” he adds.

Source: BuzzBuzzHome.com – 

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Is your condo board above board? Tips for evaluating condo governance

Condominums have proliferated in the downtown cores of Canada's biggest cities.

Condo corporations are effectively a 4th level of government, says one expert

Condominium governance is in the spotlight after an investigation by CBC Toronto reporters unveiled questionable practices at a series of downtown Toronto buildings.

Owners and property managers in those buildings say a group of people have aggressively sought control of the boards and budgets of multiple condos. The allegations include voting irregularities and contentious contracts.

If you’re wondering whether your condo board is operating in a trustworthy manner — or if you simply want to get a better grip on how your condo works — here are a few tips from experts in the field of condo governance.

Learn who runs the place

Not just anyone should sit on the board of directors of a condo corporation, experts say.

“You want people who are financially literate, who have some business experience, preferably,” said Audrey Loeb, a lawyer with Miller Thomson who specializes in condo law.

“You don’t want the board of directors managing the building, you want the board of directors overseeing the manager.”

That property manager should be independent of the board, with a good reputation, Loeb added.

Condo board directors should own a unit in the building, and ideally live in that unit, said Loeb. If not, that’s a potential red flag for owners.

Conflicts of interest on condo boards are another red flag, according to Brian Antman, who audits condo boards as a partner with accounting firm Adams and Miles and serves as a director of the Canadian Condominium Institute’s Toronto chapter.

Board directors shouldn’t have any financial interest in transactions with the property manager or their vendors, Antman said. Directors, he added, should also sign and follow a code of ethics.

Put on your reading glasses

Condo owners ought to take the time to read their building’s declaration, said Antman. (A declaration is essentially a condo’s charter or constitution.) They should also read any bylaws and rules instituted by the board, according to Antman.

Potential owners of new condo buildings need to read the disclosure statement provided by the developer, and should have it reviewed by a lawyer with experience in condo law, Antman said. (For resale condos, a “status certificate” replaces a disclosure statement.)

“It’s probably the most significant purchase they’ll ever make, and they shouldn’t be surprised by anything going into it,” he said. “I see a lot of people who don’t do their due diligence up front, and are surprised.”

Toronto condos

Potential condo owners should be sure to read disclosure documents or status certificates provided by the seller, one expert says. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)

Communicate with the board, and participate

“The best way to tell how well-run your condo is… is to ask for documents, and see if you get them,” said Loeb, the condo lawyer.

Minutes of board meetings are a common record that a board should share.

“If you get them in a timely fashion, ask for the monthly financial statements,” said Loeb. “Any owner is entitled to see that stuff.”

Most condo board meetings are closed, but Loeb said owners should absolutely take the time to attend annual meetings.

If owners can’t attend an annual meeting but still want to vote on condo issues by proxy, Loeb recommends electronic proxy voting, by which proxy documents are emailed directly to owners.

Vancouver condos

Condominium buildings are administered by a condo corporation, which is controlled by a board of directors. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

If a condo owner is concerned about their condo corporation’s board, they can try to shake things up.

​”If they’re unhappy with the board, or a board member even, they can requisition a meeting to replace the board or the board member,” said Antman.

The owner can even try and join the board themselves, if they feel up to the task.

“This is their biggest investment, and if they want it to be run properly maybe they need to get involved,” Antman said.

Be warned, though: sitting on a condo board can be “a hugely time-consuming job, if it’s done well,” said Loeb.

“People have no clue what hard work it is, especially in the first two years of a condo’s life when you’re just trying to figure out what’s going on,” she said.

Make sure professionals are involved

Good condo administration often requires professional expertise, said Antman, an auditor.

“The [condo] corporation should hire a solicitor, an auditor, an engineer who’s doing the reserve fund study,” he said. “And all of these people that you’re hiring should be people that are experienced in the industry.”

A solicitor is especially important when things go wrong, said condo lawyer Audrey Loeb, who described how condominiums have become “very complex entities” over the years.

“My philosophy has always been that the condo is the fourth level of government,” said Loeb. “After the feds, the province and the city, you’ve got your condo [corporation].”

Source: By Solomon Israel, CBC News Posted: May 23, 2017 5:00 AM ET

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Condos are king in the GTA

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Condo sales were up 79% year-over-year in February and far outstripped home sales for low-rise units.

“In the GTA in February, there were more than twice as many new condo apartments sold (as) low-rise units,” the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) said in its latest report. “Altus Group recorded 3,542 sales of condo apartments in stacked townhouses and mid and high-rise buildings, and 1,541 sales of new detached and semi houses and low-rise townhomes.”

Condo sales more than doubled the ten year average.

Toronto led the way in terms of sales (1,661 units), followed by York (1,299), Peel (370), Halton (107), and Durham (105).

A lack of low-rise supply and, indeed, skyrocketing prices, are the market forces driving many buyers to the condo sector.

“Today in the GTA we have a scarcity of single-family ground-related housing that is not just unprecedented – it is almost inconceivable,” BILD President and CEO Bryan Tuckey said. “As a result we are seeing record breaking condo sales and continued price growth.”

That’s also leading to inventory issues in the condo market.

Units hit a new low in February, dropping to 10,342.

Still, that’s much better than the current availability of single-family homes.

Across the GTA, a mere 1,001 new low-rise homes were available in February. And there were only 324 new detached homes available.

10 years ago there were 17,304 low-rise homes and 12,064 detached homes available.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth – by Justin da Rosa27 Mar 2017

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Do You Know the Rules of Condo Living in Mississauga?

The might of the heavy hand of the condo corporation has been in the news lately. Recently, a judge ruled in favor of an Ottawa condo corporation that took legal action against residents who rented out their suite on short-term rental service Airbnb.

The judge ruled that condo corps can indeed forbid owners and tenants from listing their units on short-term rental websites and the ruling has far-reaching implications because it confirms that such organizations can put limits on what owners can and can’t do with their spaces.

But while that’s an interesting case, it makes one question what rules condos have (and are permitted to have) and how residents follow them.

While the Airbnb case is complex, it’s often interesting how people misunderstand rules and, in some cases, plain common sense.

I live in a typical 20+storey condo. It’s challenging living in a place filled with such a diversity of people. But even so, you would expect people to be able to do simple things like dispose of their garbage and enter the underground garage properly.

Recently, our condo management began posting notices about procedures for residents to follow, and when I read them I couldn’t help wonder if they were actually serious. The instructions were rather simplistic and I was surprised that people needed to be reminded to follow them. Here’s a brief sampling, and my own comments pertaining to those instructions:

Garbage must be properly tied in plastic garbage bags (so they don’t break open while being tossed down a chute)

Unless you’re just taking your garbage container and dumping its contents down the garbage chute, I don’t know anyone who isn’t supposed to be already doing this. Maybe some residents are unfamiliar with garbage bags, or are just too lazy to use them?

Please remember that glass items are recyclable and must be taken to the depository on the ground floor

It sounds ridiculous that in 2016, people are still throwing out glass like it’s garbage. Even if glass wasn’t recyclable, don’t people realize throwing glass down a garbage chute, especially if you live on a higher floor, could smash into pieces and injure someone? At the very least, broken glass is a nightmare to clean up.

Please do not allow anyone without a key to enter the building, nor grant access through the entry phone to unidentified individuals

This may sound crazy, but there are people out there who will unlock the front door to the building for just about anybody. All you need to do is make up some story about how you’re seeing a family member, friend or dropping someone off. I’ve seen the police show up at my condo numerous times; people really shouldn’t just let random people in. You never know what might happen.

Please be sure to close and lock all suite and patio doors and windows

As a follow up to the previous point, just because you live in a condo with security in the lobby doesn’t mean some random weirdo can’t access the building. You may feel no obligation to lock your door if you live in the countryside by yourself with your nearest neighbour 10 miles away, but in a condo (as well as standard detached homes in neighbourhoods these days) you can’t assume you’re not at risk.

When parking your car in the underground garage, please ensure that no visible items are in your car, especially your garage door opener

I actually leave my garage door opener in my car, because I can’t tell you how many times I would forget to bring it with me if I didn’t. That said, something like that should be stored in a safe, discreet place in your vehicle if you do leave it in there, so as to avoid the prying eyes of potential car thieves.

When entering the underground garage, please allow the garage door to close behind you before proceeding to your parking space

This one had me baffled, because I literally was not sure what it meant. My underground garage entrance is a ramp like structure, and if I were to wait until the garage door closed behind me, it would be quite inconvenient, especially for any vehicles behind me. That would definitely slow things down for people going in and out of the underground garage.

This isn’t the first time my condo management attempted to convey instructions to their residents. But if they have to issue notices on rather obvious rules to follow, then maybe posting notices isn’t working. One of my neighbours suggested that management host meetings for the residents to go over these instructions and then give all residents a written test that they must pass before returning to their unit.

Okay, I was being facetious on that last point.

But while some rules are a little more complex (no pet policies, Airbnb bans), I understand it must be frustrating for condo corporations and management companies to deal with people being inconsiderate and, in some cases, negligent.

Source: insauga by Alan Kan on December 27, 2016

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Mississauga Set to Welcome Another Iconic High-Rise

The urbanization of Mississauga is continuing with the emergence of another stylish, modern high-rise condominium.

While City Centre has been the focus of most condo developers, some companies are looking beyond Square One to fast growing neighbourhoods in need of sleeker and more urbane skylines. With the Erin Mills area growing fairly rapidly, Daniels has cornered the market and erected three buildings in Erin Mills Parkway and Eglinton region. The brand built the West Tower Residential Condominiums and the Skyrise Rental Residence in the neighbourhood and is about to put its third Erin Mills property — Arc Condominiums — on sale.

“We have very deep roots in this [neighbourhood],” says Daniels spokesperson Dominic Tompa. “We’ve been building there since the 80s.”

When we say Daniels has the market cornered, we don’t mean it simply boasts more buildings than other developers. It has a literal community in the area, known as Daniels Erin Mills. The company calls the area a “mixed use” community designed for residents who want to “live, work, play, grow and shop” in and around their home.

Targeting the growing Erin Mills area is wise. For years, the sleepy neighbourhood was content to be home to Erin Mills Town Centre, Credit Valley Hospital and pockets of family homes. There was ample living space, but not a lot of options for play (unless you count the long-dead EMTC mini-golf course and Montana’s). With EMTC being reinvigorated by a dramatic facelift and more shops and restos popping up in the community, the time to further urbanize the evolving space was ‘nigh.

While some people shake their fists at any new skyscraper, it’s hard to deny that Arc is going to look pretty cool.

“The design is very unique,” says Tompa. “It has a luxury cruise ship feel, so it’ll be unique for the skyline. It has a lot of character. We’ve got 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space and two floors (or 50,000 sq. ft.) of office space [going into the building]. People will be able to work and shop there.”

When Arc is built, the three buildings (Arc, West Tower and Skyrise) will share an exclusive space that will boast an outdoor courtyard, gardening plots, a running track and more.

“It’ll anchor the community,” Tompa says. “We’re bringing in the farmer’s market as well. Backyard Farmer’s Market will be in the plaza area in the base of the Arc.”

In terms of amenities, Arc’s offerings are not dissimilar from other Mississauga high-rises. Residents can expect a full-court gymnasium, fitness centre, outdoor terrace with barbecues, a bookable lounge and meeting space, a smaller lounge with comfy seats and a bookable party room.

As far as prices go, people shopping for affordable condos will be pleased to know that some units start in the low 200,000s. In terms of design, features and finishes are selected by interior design company HOKand the uniquely-shaped suites (which will be influenced by the curvaceous design of the building) will boast nine foot ceilings, laminate flooring, quartz countertops, custom-designed cabinetry with soft-close drawers and stainless steel appliances.

In terms of demand, Tompa says Daniels is seeing a lot of interest.

“We’re just starting to be out there with the building itself and a lot of people are waiting for it to come out.”

Since Daniels has been present in the area for three decades, Tompa has noticed an interesting trend in terms of demographics. Rather than primarily attracting first-time homebuyers or singles, the condos are appealing to long-time residents who are ready to downsize within their long-term neighbourhood.

“It’s really interesting, we had a lot of local buyers who wanted to downsize to West Tower,” he says, agreeing that Daniels has, in this case, sort of been able to follow and adhere to the lifestyle requirements of residents moving through the lifecycle. “You can walk to the hospital, which is good for people who have retired. It’s across the street from the mall and restaurants. It’s a really nice location and even though it’s Mississauga, you could live here and not need a car.”

For those interested in purchasing a unit, registrants can join the Arc Condominiums Inner Circle by visiting the website. Inner Circle members will receive an invitation to attend the first advance sale before the public gets a kick at the can. They’ll also get a more comprehensive selection of suites, floors and views. If you’re interested in joining, expect to pay a one-time fee of $300. That $300 will be applied towards your purchase or, in the event you decide not to buy an Arc suite, refunded in full.

As for the retail space, Tompa says Daniels does its best to curate the occupying businesses to suit resident’s needs.

“We try to curate a community. You need a place to shop and be entertained and play. It’s a place to spend your time. The east side of Arc will have the retail space and it’s a little too early to know who will occupy it. There [will be] a restaurant at the base and a pharmacy. We try to get the right fit for the community.”

As for when units will go on sale, Tompa expects people will be able to start purchasing in late May or early June. The building will offer everything from studio suites to three-bedroom units.

“There’s a growing demand for three-bedroom units. Some people are coming from 200,000 sq. ft. houses and still want the extra space and other [residents] are families with children. We’re recognizing and accommodating that demand.”

Click on link to get more info on this new condo development. 

Source: Insauga.com by Ashley Newport on February 24, 2016

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2016 to bring more condo projects to fruition in Hamilton

For years, big wooden signs have advertised the advent of the condo on Hamilton’s downtown scene. A few projects have gone up, like the lofts at Stinson School, the Pigott building and the Witton Lofts.

But for the slew of large, high-profile projects, signs of progress beyond banners and billboards are finally appearing. This week, traffic was detoured from Main Street West so the crane could be disassembled safely from the 150 Main condo project. The city estimates construction will be finished there by next summer.

The pressure-washing and construction at the Royal Connaught on King Street East has beenperhaps the most eye-catching. Construction continues on the iconic hotel-turned-condos and the developers expect people will be able to move in, in 2017.

“It’s still a small piece of the Hamilton market, the downtown condo, but it’s a vital piece for the rejuvenation of downtown” said New Horizon developer Jeff Paikin, whose third phase of his City Square project in Durand is on hold while he waits for word on development incentives from the city.

Condo calendar

CBC Hamilton has covered many of the projects as they’ve moved forward, but here’s a sampling of timelines for under-construction, for-sale condo projects around town.

Keep in mind, developers are an optimistic bunch when it comes to timelines. Most dates below are estimates provided by the city’s planning department:

  • Acclamation, James Street North: 71 units. Expected to start construction early 2016, and finish in 2017.
  • 150 Main West: 142 condo units. Began construction in 2015. Expected to finish construction in the second quarter of 2016.
  • Royal Connaught, King Street East: Began construction on first and second phases (of five planned total phases) in 2015. Expected to finish those phases in late 2016 with occupancy in 2017.
  • Beasley Park Towns, Wilson Street: 6 units. Expected to finish construction in 2016.
  • Vista, Charlton Street East: 152 units. A big sign went at the site formerly used as a bowling alley and transportation depot in the fall. Construction is expected to start early 2016, wrapping up mid-2017.
  • The Connolly, James Street South: 259 units on the site of a Baptist church. Expected to begin construction in the last quarter of 2016 and finish mid-2018.

Residences at Acclamation on James Street North has been in the works for years.

Since inception the project has changed, said Patricia Roque, whose family owns a roofing company and is developing the site next to their restaurant of the same name.

The project will be eight storeys with 71 units.

She said some financing pieces are being finalized and the project could go to sale early next year, but she was hesitant to put a firm date on it.

“This has been six years in the making,” Roque said. “This is going to be our legacy, my father’s legacy.”

A bit further off:

Some projects are still moving slowly.

  • Tivoli, James and Hughson streets: 106 units on the site of the historic Tivoli theatre, expected to be restored as part of the project. No site plan yet. Construction timeline unknown.
  • 101 Locke Street: 80 units. No site plan yet. Construction timeline unknown.
  • Tiffany Square, Bay Street North: 164 units. No site plan yet. Construction timeline unknown.
  • Gibson School Lofts, Barton Street: 100 units (and eight townhouse units nearby). Developer Harry Stinson is expecting site plan approval from the city soon; estimated to take up to two years to build.
  • City Square, Robinson Street: 102 units. Project on hold pending a city decision on waiving some development fees.

Many developers in the core, especially, find contaminated soil from dry cleaners or other commercial uses in the previous decades. Cleaning it up takes time. That’s what’s happening at the Tivoli project, said Domenic Diamante, a member of the family behind the Tivoli project.

“A lot of things are unknown at this point,” Diamante said. But Diamante said he expects the project to break ground in 2016.

Beyond condos, there are also a few rental projects in the works:

  • Templar Flats, King William Street: 25 apartments. Began construction last spring, estimated to finish early 2016.
  • 140 Main West, 322 apartments. Expected to finish construction in 2016.
  • 220 Cannon, 100 apartments. Construction equipment has been working on site through the fall. Unknown completion date.
  • 220 Dundurn Street South: 124 apartments. Construction has begun but unknown finish date.
  • The William Thomas Residence (formerly known as Artizen condos), James Street North: 173 apartments geared to students. No site plan submitted yet, construction expected in 2016.

Source: By Kelly Bennett, CBC News Posted: Jan 03, 2016 3:47 PM ET

For information on financing your condo purchase, contact the Ray McMillan Mortgage Team or visit www.RayMcMillan.com