Tag Archives: condo living

The future of homeownership is female

The future of homeownership is female 

Girl power is growing in the real estate world.

61% of first-time and repeat homebuyers in Canada were female, according to the 2019 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Consumer survey. This is backed up by statistics coming out of the US as well. Single women made up 17% of homebuyers in 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors, while single men accounted for about 9%.

“I’ve definitely seen a shift, with more women showing interest in buying a home. The whole concept of waiting till you’re married to own a home is not as strong as it used to be,” said Rakhee Dhingra, CEO of Mortgage Savvy.

After having a negative experience buying her first home, Dhingra decided to get into the mortgage business herself and created Mortgage Savvy in 2016. Since then, she has been committed to changing the transactional nature of the mortgage process. She is specifically interested in helping the growing number of women homebuyers become more confident in applying for mortgages through different initiatives like hosting homebuyer events and seminars.

“More single women are buying homes and even women in relationships are applying for mortgages as the more-significant income earners. Women are showing up as very strong from a financial standpoint,” she said. On top of that, Dhingra has also noticed in the case of couples going through a divorce, there’s a rising number of women who are buying out their male counterparts so they can stay and own their primary residence.

Not only is she focused on helping women into their dream homes, Dhingra also wants to encourage other female professionals to consider mortgage as a career option. Even though it’s a historically male-dominated industry, she believes her emphasis on building real relationships and the ability to connect with her clients has really been the key to her success. She believes the industry needs more of that.

“I always make an effort to be available if a new professional reaches out for coaching or support. Several women who were part of my team have grown their career and eventually moved on to build their own business, and I really support that,” she said. Dhingra said while she hopes to be a mentor for many young women in the mortgage business, she didn’t really have that opportunity when she was starting out not too long ago.

Dhingra is known by her team and referral sources for calming demeanor and her ability to ease people’s anxiety during the intimidating process of either buying a home for the first time, doing a refinance, consolidating debt or going through a divorce.

“If I can provide concrete information in a digestible manner for clients, and keep them calm through the process, that’s the key. We keep communication timely and detailed, which helps eliminate a lot of the stress,” she added.

In 2019, Dhingra was chosen by CMP as a Women of Influence. The recognition has been incredible positive for her and her business, but what she is most proud of is being able to show her daughter her success.

Dhingra also puts her money where her mouth is. Fifty dollars from ever transaction at Mortgage Savvy goes toward supporting local causes in Toronto, including the Red Door Family Shelter which assists families, refugees and women who are fleeing violence.

In the future, Dhingra hopes to help promote a stronger balance in the mortgage industry by bringing more women in.

“There needs to be more opportunity for collaboration and networking for not just women, but the industry as a whole. There needs to be a safe place for people to share information and knowledge without being seen as competition or a threat.”

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These homes just sold for under $500,000 in Mississauga

If you’re hoping to purchase a home—especially as a first-time homebuyer—in 2020, you will face a challenging market defined by low inventory and high prices (which appear to be climbing higher).

But you’ll also enjoy low interest rates and, if you qualify, help from the federal government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.

Penelope Graham, the managing editor of real estate brokerage and website Zoocasa, says that the current dearth in housing supply (just 335 homes hit the market in December 2019) has driven the average home price up to $799,593 in Mississauga.

While the supply and demand imbalance is tough, there are homes available for under $500,000 in the city.

Here’s a look at some affordable homes that hit the market in late 2019.

All info and images courtesy of Zoocasa


906 – 3145 Queen Frederica Drive

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 500+ square foot unit just sold for $285,000 after being listed for $275,000. The suite, which is good for investors or first-time buyers who don’t mind giving the place a little TLC, offers a large balcony and proximity to shopping and transit.


113 – 5100 Winston Churchill Boulevard

This approximately 499 square foot bachelor suite offers one bathroom and no parking space, but it’s a pretty rare find in the city. The unit just sold for $325,000 after being listed for $354,900, and it offers ensuite laundry, a back door exit to the patio, low condo fees and a pretty prime location.


13 – 605 Shoreline Drive

This 599 square foot condo boasts one bedroom, one bathroom and one parking spot. It sold for $364,000 after being listed for $361,000, and it features an open-concept living, dining and kitchen combo and additional cabinets in the kitchen.


407 – 2900 Battleford Road

This two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit boasts up to 799 square feet of space and two parking spaces (which is rare). The unit sold for $373,000 after being listed for $375,000, and the building features a gym, party room, tennis court, sauna, outdoor pool, children’s playground and visitor parking.


27 – 4620 Guildwood Way

This one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit spans about 599 square feet and offers one parking spot. It sold for $380,000 after being listed for $395,000. It offers laminate flooring, ensuite laundry, a modern kitchen and double sinks.

 

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Toronto to enforce new Airbnb regulations after tribunal rules in favour of stricter bylaws

Short-term rentals were technically not permitted in Toronto while the proposed regulations were being appealed. But the rules were not implemented due to multiple appeals made to the province’s Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

Bylaws were held up for nearly 2 years after lengthy appeals process

A provincial tribunal has ruled in favour of Toronto’s plan to put stricter regulations on the city’s short-term rental market.

The Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) made its decision Monday, nearly two years after the city first approved the bylaws.

Under the rules, Toronto will require short-term rental operators to live at the home they list on sites such as Airbnb.

Operators will also be allowed to rent a maximum of three bedrooms in their home or their entire property. They will be required to register with the city to rent out space in their homes.

In his ruling, adjudicator Scott Tousaw described the regulations as “good planning in the public interest.”

“This is good news for Toronto residents and a step in the right direction when it comes to regulating short-term rentals and keeping our neighbourhoods liveable,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory Monday in a written statement.

The regulations are essentially designed to increase the availability of long-term rentals by decreasing the number of homes eligible to be listed on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

However, the rules were not implemented due to multiple appeals made to the LPAT, formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board. The appeals were launched by several short-term rental operators seeking to challenge the city’s bylaws.

The LPAT ruling means the city can now move ahead with the regulations.

Ana Bailão, Toronto’s deputy mayor and housing advocate, said the ruling strikes a fair balance that will benefit both tenants and homeowners looking to leverage their properties.

Ana Bailão@anabailaoTO

LPAT rules in favour of City’s short-term rental by-law: regulation is a “reasonable balancing…has a solid basis and planning rationale.” After a long appeal, we can now move forward protecting long-term rental suites while still allowing short-term rentals where reasonable.

Airbnb and other companies operating in the short-term rental market will now be required to pay a one-time license fee of $5,000, plus $1 for each night booked through their platform.

Rental operators will also be charged with a four-per-cent municipal accommodation tax on all rentals that last less than 28 consecutive days.

 

Thorben Wieditz of Fairbnb, a coalition that represents the hotel industry, along with property owners and tenants, called the decision a “major victory for tenants across Ontario.”

The LPAT decision notes that some 5,000 units could return to the long-term rental market with the new regulations, though that number may also be somewhat lower, depending on how operators respond to the changes.

“Whatever the number, one fact is indisputable: each dedicated [short-term rental] unit displaces one permanent household. That household must find another place to live,” Tousaw wrote.

“This phenomenon is occurring in increasing numbers in Toronto’s residential areas, the very places that are planned, designed and built to provide housing for residents.”

Source: CBC.ca – Nick Boisvert · CBC News · 

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Pharrell Williams is collaborating with developers on a new Toronto condo project

<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-197263″ src=”https://d3exkutavo4sli.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/untitled_condo_pharrell.jpg” alt=”” width=”1200″ height=”1034″ />

Photo: Anthony Cohen

Grammy Award-winning artist, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams is collaborating with developers on a new midtown Toronto condominium project.

Westdale Properties and Reserve Properties launched the marketing for their two-tower residential development, called untitled, today during a press event in Yonge-Dundas Square. Williams, who introduced the project via video on the screens across the public square, partnered with the developers on the design and creative elements of the condominium tower.

“This partnership has evolved from a desire to do something really unique for Toronto in architecture and design as a whole,” said Sheldon Fenton, president and CEO of Reserve Properties, at the launch. “We believe that by bringing in a cultural icon with vision and ideation, from outside the realm of real estate, it would allow us to break the mold in terms of what has been traditionally done.”

<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-197266″ src=”https://d3exkutavo4sli.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/untitled_condos_pharrell.jpg” alt=”” width=”1200″ height=”1333″ />

Photo: Norm Li

Untitled is said to focus on key themes surrounding, “essentialism, connections to the elements and the universality of space,” according to a project press release. Williams desired to create an ethos of universality within the project, whereby “physical space is only a backdrop.” Drawing from these ideals, the project team landed on the name, untitled.

“We wanted to make sure that it continued to give you the message of this amazing vibration of being home, and once you get in it, you make it you,” said Williams via a recorded video, who could not be present for the launch in person. “It’s universally beautiful, but there’s enough space for you to get into it and make it yourself.”

 

Working with the project team, which also consists of Toronto-based architects IBI Group and local interior design firm U31, Williams played a role in crafting the vision and material aspects of untitled. His involvement ranged from consultation on the architectural and interior design, to choosing the furnishings in specific spaces. Williams is best known for his appearances as a judge on The Voice and his 2013 chart-topping single, “Happy.” Untitled marks his debut into multi-residential development.

“The opportunity to apply my ideas and viewpoint to the new medium of physical structures has been amazing,” wrote Williams in the release. “Everyone at the table had a collective willingness to be open, to be pushed, to be prodded and poked, to get to that uncomfortable place of question mark, and to find out what was on the other side. The result is untitled and I’m very grateful and appreciative to have been a part of the process.”

Source: Livabl.com –

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Condo flippers beware: The taxman is watching you, and has new tools at his disposal to ‘take action’

A condo building in downtown Toronto.Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

If you plan on selling a home or condo that you bought fairly recently, especially if you never actually moved into it, be wary as the tax man will be carefully watching how you report any gain on your tax return, lest it be seen as a “flip” and be fully taxable as income, rather than a half-taxable capital gain.

The Canada Revenue Agency’s ability to hunt you down over your real estate transactions has improved thanks to the recent $50-million boost in funding over five years announced in the 2019 federal budget to help “address tax non-compliance in real estate transactions.” The CRA uses advanced risk assessment tools, analytics and third-party data to detect and “take action” whenever it finds real estate transactions where the parties have failed to pay the required taxes. Specifically, the CRA is focusing on ensuring that taxpayers report all sales of their principal residence on their tax returns, properly report any capital gain derived from a real estate sale where the principal residence tax exemption does not apply, and report money made on real estate “flipping” as 100 per cent taxable income.

But what, exactly, constitutes a real estate flip? That was the subject of a recent Tax Court of Canada decision, released this week.

 

The case involved a transit operator for the Toronto Transit Commission who, along with his brother, bought and moved into a two-story, three-bedroom townhouse in Vaughan, Ontario, in 1999. His brother contributed toward the initial down payment, lived with him and together they equally shared all household expenses, including the mortgage payments. In 2003, the taxpayer’s brother met the woman who would become his future wife, whom he married in April 2007. She moved into the townhouse and they had a child together in February 2008.

Sometime prior to this, the taxpayer and his brother began discussing going their separate ways. The taxpayer testified that he wanted to sell the townhouse and move to a place that was smaller and closer to work. Indeed, in 2006 he found a smaller place, a two-bedroom condo, which was in the pre-construction phase. The tentative occupancy date of the condo was April 2008, but that date was pushed back several times, ultimately to 2010.

Prior to taking possession of the condo, however, circumstances changed. In December 2008, the brothers’ father passed away while in Jamaica, where he lived together with their mother for about six months each year. Following their father’s death, their mother did not feel safe living alone in Jamaica and in March 2009 she moved into her sons’ townhouse. The taxpayer testified that his brother and his family shared the master bedroom, while the taxpayer and their mother each occupied one of the remaining two bedrooms. This living situation didn’t last long and the taxpayer refinanced the mortgage on the townhouse in order to buy out his brother’s share of the property, enabling him and his family to move out.

In August 2010, the taxpayer took possession of the condo and immediately arranged to list it for sale, realizing that it would be too small for both he and his mother. No one lived in the condo in the interim. He sold it in October 2010 resulting in a net gain of $13,412, which the taxpayer reported as a capital gain, taxable at 50 per cent, on his 2010 tax return. The CRA reassessed him, finding that the $13,412 should have been reported as fully taxable income and slapped him with gross negligence penalties.

The common question of whether a gain from the sale of real estate is on account of income or on account of capital always comes down to the underlying facts. The courts will look to the surrounding circumstances and, perhaps most importantly, the taxpayer’s intention.

The judge reviewed the facts in light of the four factors previously enumerated by the Supreme Court of Canada by which these types of cases are decided: the taxpayer’s intention, whether the taxpayer was engaged in any way in the real estate industry, the nature and use of the property sold and the extent to which the property was financed.

The taxpayer testified that he purchased the condo with the full intention of living in it after his brother moved out of their shared townhouse; however, when his father died and his mother wished to return to Canada to live full-time, the taxpayer “changed his plans to move so that his mother could live with him at (the townhouse), which was a larger space.” He testified that since he could not afford to own both homes, he listed and sold the condo shortly after assuming title. As he testified, if not for his father’s death and his mother’s return to Canada, he would have carried out his plan to sell the townhouse and live in the condo as his primary residence.

The judge concluded that the taxpayer’s intention with respect to the condo was indeed to live in it as his primary residence. He had no secondary intention of putting the condo up for resale at the time of purchase.

The judge therefore concluded that the sale of the condo was properly reported as a capital gain and ordered the CRA to reassess on that basis and cancel the gross negligence penalties.

One final note is warranted: while justice was ultimately done and the taxpayer prevailed, it actually took him nine years and three separate visits to court to get relief. The CRA originally reassessed his 2010 capital gain as income back in 2014. The taxpayer filed a Notice of Objection to oppose the reassessment, which was reconfirmed by the CRA in January 2016. The taxpayer then had 90 days to appeal the CRA’s reassessment to the Tax Court. For a variety of reasons, he missed that deadline and ended up in Tax Court seeking an extension of the deadline to file an appeal. The Tax Court denied his request for an extension. He then went to the Federal Court of Appeal which, in June 2017, reversed the lower court’s decision and allowed an extension of time to appeal to Tax Court, which heard the case in March 2019 and released its decision this week.

 

Source: Financial Post – Jamie Golombek July 5, 2019

 

Jamie Golombek, CPA, CA, CFP, CLU, TEP is the Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning with CIBC Financial Planning & Advice Group in Toronto.

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The History Of Toronto’s First Apartment Building

toronto first apartment

So many people live in apartments or condominiums in Toronto that it’s hard to imagine a time when renting a small portion of a larger building was a radical, even a shockingly salacious way of life.

Amazingly, before 1899, there were no purpose-built apartment buildings in the city at all, making Toronto something of an anomaly in North America.

Sure, people rented rooms or floors of sub-divided homes (The Ward, a notorious slum that used to be located near current City Hall, was densely populated much earlier), but nothing had been constructed specifically for that purpose.

The first building in Toronto purpose-built for multiple occupancy was the St. George Mansions at 1 Harbord Street, directly opposite where the looming brutalist mass of Robarts Library would later sit.

In 1905, the intersection was part of a relatively quiet and affluent neighbourhood west of the University of Toronto campus.

Dappled sunshine filtered through young trees and little Model T Fords lined the curb. It was a “a district of substantial detached villas,” according to Richard Dennis in a 1989 research paper.

Dennis discusses the St. George Mansions and the real estate market leading up to their construction in detail.

toronto first apartment

As Dennis recalls, the permit for the building’s construction, the first of its type in Toronto, was issued in 1899 to A. W. McDougald, the president of the Improved Realty Co. of Toronto Ltd. He estimated the building would cost his company about $100,000 – the equivalent of about $2 million in today’s money.

The six-storey pressed brick and Bedford stone building, roughly “C”-shaped with a partially enclosed courtyard, took about five years to complete. Many of its 34 apartments had access to balcony space, though some were decorative Juliet-style affairs with heavy stone balustrades.

In 1904, shortly after it was finished, it contained 34 apartments and was home to 99 people, most of them wealthy middle-aged couples. Three barristers, two professors, two bank managers, and a director of an insurance company appeared on the occupancy list at that time.

Toronto was slow compared to other North American cities to build its first apartment block. The living concept had already appeared in Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and other nearby cities, and was established in the form of “apartment hotels” in Boston and New York City in the 1850s and 1860s.

Apartment hotels were typically marketed at single, city-dwelling businessmen. Buildings such as the New York’s Stuyvesant Flats, built in 1869, had “between six and ten rooms each” and were let for $1,200 to $1,800 per year, according to Dennis.

The buildings of this type often had a central restaurant, laundry, recreational facility, barber, and dentist—complete miniature communities for the residents that turned a handsome profit for the owners.

The living concept became less communal and exclusive in the later decades of the 1800s. Apartment buildings that were constructed around this time were private and self-contained and became accessible to middle class families.

toronto first apartment

The apartment building concept wasn’t without its detractors.

Observers fretted that apartment living was unsuitable for families, prompting one Milwaukee landlord to offer free rent for every child born or marriage proposed in his building. “It is a shortcut from the apartment house to the divorce court,” Dennis quotes the author of Housing Problems in America, written in 1917.

The St. George Mansions were targeted firmly at middle class occupants when they were finished in 1904. Economic evidence suggested middle income families were less likely to move and were more numerous than the upper class renters, making them the perfect market to tap.

Toronto’s rents spiked massively in the years the building was under construction – up to 95 per cent between 1897 and 1906 – in part due to a sudden uptick in immigration. There were more new arrivals than the number of new homes could accommodate, making apartment blocks and attractive idea for developers.

toronto first apartment

The second Toronto apartment building was completed a year after the St. George Mansions on University Avenue. The stone, brick, and steel Alexandra was a larger building: 72 suites across seven floors with panoramic views of the city from its penthouse windows.

Like the apartment hotels of New York, the property included a communal dining room and appealed to middle-class renters.

By 1907, Toronto had its first apartment building directory that included Sussex Court at 389 Huron St. and Spadina Gardens at 41-45 Spadina Road, both of which still exist.

The St. George Mansions and the Alexandra are both sadly gone. The former survived until after the Second World War when it was repurposed as Trinity Barracks, the Toronto home of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.

One contemporary account described the building as “cockroach palace,” suggesting time wasn’t kind to Toronto’s first apartment complex.

Today, U of T’s Ramsay Wright Zoological Laboratories building, built in 1965, occupies its former lot.

Source: BlogTo.com

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Condo Nation

Condos reign supreme in Canada’s hottest cities. The majority of first-time homebuyers in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are picking condos, in part due to affordability challenges with single-family detached residential homes. Here are the numbers behind Canada’s condo explosion.

Source: Genworth.ca

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