Tag Archives: luxury living

“We wanted to do the impossible—fit three families under one roof”: How one big brood is weathering the pandemic in their Markham home

Top from left to right: Pak Hung Ho, Roger How Cho Hee, and Christine How Cho Hee Bottom from left to right: Eric How Cho Hee, Charlotte How-Fang and Li Wen Fang

Before Covid-19, Eric How Cho Hee, an IT consultant, and Li Wen Fang, a social worker and psychotherapist, ambitiously decided to build a grand family home in Markham for themselves, their parents and an uncle. Their friends thought the well-meaning but wacky idea would never work. But as it happens, living in one giant 7,000-square-foot household bubble is smart when you need each other most.

Eric: In early 2017, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so I thought it would be best to move in with my parents. I owned the house where they lived in Markham, and we were going back-and-forth frequently to visit each other every week, anyway.

Li Wen: We wanted to do what seemed like the impossible: fit three families under one roof. My parents spend most of their time in Australia with my brother, but they would visit Canada occasionally for long periods before the pandemic, so we wanted to include space for them, too.

Li Wen’s home office is directly across from the front door

Eric: At the time, Li Wen and I lived in an 1,800-square-foot side-split nearby for six years. We liked the area, but the house was nowhere near big enough for our new needs. In September 2017, we sold the mortgage-free house my parents were living in for more than what we paid for and used the money to raze our place and build a new multi-generational home. We rented a house while our new one was being built. The 7,000 square-foot update by Solares Architecture would have enough room for us, our two year old, Charlotte, our four parents and Li Wen’s 70-year-old uncle, Pak Hung Ho.

Li Wen: My uncle Pak took care of me when I immigrated to Canada in 2001, and now that he’s getting older, I wanted to return the favour. My friends weren’t optimistic about the idea—most people choose to live apart from their extended family. But we ignored the naysayers and plunged right in.

The dining room, living room and kitchen were designed as one large space, so the family can hang out and enjoy meals together. The quirky fireplace is by Stûv
The double-height loft space is one half floor up from the main level. It’s also Charlotte’s preferred play area

Eric: When plans were submitted to the committee of adjustment to apply for variances, one neighbour speaking against our application suggested we needed such a big home to run an Airbnb business. Our architects decided to submit a finished plan and it was available for everyone to see.

Li Wen: Our trick to making it work was to ensure everyone has their own private space carved into the plan. We wanted each area to feel like its own cushy apartment—with a staircase and elevator connecting the halves. We asked for heated floors and shower benches for the older set. And a 17-foot-long pool and sauna in the basement.

Charlotte is a regular at the basement swim spa. She’s a natural at wading in the water

Eric: Li Wen, Charlotte and I moved in in October 2019 while other areas of the house were still being worked on. The rest of the household joined us in November, once the house was in a more finished state.

Li Wen: We hired Renee Godin of Interiors by Renee, who sourced all of the furniture and oversaw the decor, which was helpful in such a large, segmented home. She suggested adding colours and patterns because the house felt too white and sterile. But the bright orange Blue Star oven in the kitchen is Eric’s doing. He’s the cook in the family and he wanted something nice.

Uncle Pak is set up to host morning tea in his section of the home

Eric: My wife and I pay for all of the utilities, housekeeping and property taxes. Before the pandemic, my parents and Li Wen’s uncle would buy the additional items or other foods they needed. But we all share. We don’t divvy up the bills and we don’t charge them any rent. I go buy all groceries, and everyone takes turns cooking the various meals. I used to browse and see what’s on sale when I went to the store. Now it’s more focused. I grab and go. I’m out in less than an hour.

Li Wen: Uncle Pak’s area is dubbed “the tea room” because that’s where the family starts the day, with a tea ritual. My parents have an amazing wing on the other side of our bedroom; they are living in Australia now but that could change. Despite the endless space to wander, we mostly kick back together in the kitchen. A wall of large patio doors bring a lot of natural light into the kitchen, and they slide open easily for the seniors to access the patio and backyard. The 17,000-square-foot backyard has allowed the seniors to get fresh air in safe surroundings as the weather has gotten better.

A floor-to-ceiling window looks out at a portion of the expansive backyard
Patio doors slide open for easy access from the main level

Eric: The house isn’t complete yet. Since November 2019, we have slowly been adding finishing touches, like window coverings and missing cranks plus drywall touch ups. But we consider ourselves very lucky to be living in our new home. The combination of common space and private space has allowed us to weather the pandemic rather well. That’s not to say there is no tension, but that’s to be expected even during the best of times.

Li Wen and Eric’s master suite has a windsor bedframe and wallcovering, which gives it a woodsy cabin vibe
A view of Eric and Li Wen’s balcony from the backyard

Li Wen: One of my friends hasn’t seen her mom in two months because they didn’t allow visitors in her long-term care facility. I feel lucky everyone is together and safe at home. Eric and I are both working from here. My home office is directly across from the front door. It doesn’t have a separate entrance, and I haven’t seen patients here, but I do talk to them over video conference. Before the nice weather, in the early days of the lockdown, Charlotte would constantly knock on my home-office door during my calls with clients. That was tricky, but despite the disturbances, I’m happy to not have to commute to Scarborough every day like I used to.

Eric: I had negotiated working from home twice a week before the pandemic, so shifting my routine to full-time at home hasn’t changed too much professionally. Our built-in babysitter brigade takes turns watching Charlotte as she sprints around the backyard, where she collects branches and plays with her new mini-kitchen. She also has a small slide and a water and sand station.

Li Wen: Charlotte has become the main source of entertainment for all the adults. Before this, she was in daycare most days and we didn’t have that much time with her.

Charlotte’s bedroom has mini midcentury-modern furniture and a toddler-size trundle bed

Eric: The different areas of the house have helped us keep our daughter entertained, too. She uses the swim spa regularly. She has become pretty good and comfortable at wading in the water.

Li Wen: Eric has nurtured a love of baking, churning out four to five loaves a week. He makes farmer bread and baguettes. We used to buy bread from Longo’s, but nothing is fresher than this.Sign up for our newsletterFor the latest on Toronto during the reopening, subscribe to This CitySign me up!

Eric: Every two weeks, we also get a box of produce and meat delivered from a farm. Still, the seniors really miss going for dim sum each Sunday. And they have a touch of cabin fever, despite all the room to move about and the indoor pool.

Li Wen: To combat the boredom, my father-in-law, Roger, does weekly Zoom meetings with his geriatric day program. They exercise for 20 minutes and then talk about the news, but it’s hard because he can’t hear very well. Other seniors have attempted to boldly escape. One day, I found my mother-in-law, Christine, sneaking out. She said she was going for a walk, and that she wanted to start the car so the battery wouldn’t die. I think she might have been headed to one of her favourite spots: the supermarket. They are not as nervous as us—they’ve seen so much in their lives.

Source: Toronto Life – BY IRIS BENAROIA |

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENEE GODIN |  JUNE 19, 2020

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Canada’s Top 25 Best Places to Live in 2018

25. Whitby, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 103
Population: 136,657
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $101,792
Average Household Net Worth: $817,453
Property Tax: 11.1%
Total Days Above 20°C: 100
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 3,251
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 81
See more stats about Whitby, Ont. here.


24. New Tecumseth, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 170
Population: 36,745
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $96,041
Average Household Net Worth: $755,965
Property Tax: 20.5%
Total Days Above 20°C: 122
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,906
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 95
See more stats about New Tecumseth, Ont. here.


23. Newmarket, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 56
Population: 90,908
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $95,636
Average Household Net Worth: $947,429
Property Tax: 16.1%
Total Days Above 20°C: 107
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,749
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 95
See more stats about Newmarket, Ont. here.


22. Bonnyville No. 87, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 228
Population: 14,658
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Median Household Income: $103,652
Average Household Net Worth: $789,157
Property Tax: 94.0%
Total Days Above 20°C: 86
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 4,899
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 93
See more stats about Bonnyville No. 87, Alta. here.


21. The Nation, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 123
Population: 13,275
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Household Income: $88,088
Average Household Net Worth: $478,620
Property Tax: 54.9%
Total Days Above 20°C: 113
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,186
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 142
See more stats about The Nation, Ont. here.


20. Whistler, B.C.

Rank in 2017: 84
Population: 13,193
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Median Household Income: $86,423
Average Household Net Worth: $1,460,422
Property Tax: 98.6%
Total Days Above 20°C: 83
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 14,137
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 159
See more stats about Whistler, B.C. here.


19. St. Albert, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 7
Population: 70,874
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Median Household Income: $123,948
Average Household Net Worth: $900,192
Property Tax: 66.3%
Total Days Above 20°C: 84
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 5,313
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 129
See more stats about St. Albert, Alta. here.


18. King, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 68
Population: 26,697
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $110,816
Average Household Net Worth: $2,655,435
Property Tax: 18.1%
Total Days Above 20°C: 114
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,749
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 95
See more stats about King, Ont. here.


17. Lévis, Que.

Rank in 2017: 9
Population: 147,403
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Median Household Income: $79,323
Average Household Net Worth: $387,146
Property Tax: 65.1%
Total Days Above 20°C: 94
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,784
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 106
See more stats about Lévis, Que. here.


16. Toronto, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 129
Population: 2,933,262
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $55,945
Average Household Net Worth: $906,663
Property Tax: 66.0%
Total Days Above 20°C: 117
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 3,847
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 75
See more stats about Toronto, Ont. here.


15. Fort St. John, B.C.

Rank in 2017: 160
Population: 21,251
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $106,327
Average Household Net Worth: $440,481
Property Tax: 99.5%
Total Days Above 20°C: 64
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 14,000
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 104
See more stats about Fort St. John, B.C. here.


14. Saugeen Shores, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 17
Population: 14,109
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Household Income: $105,210
Average Household Net Worth: $777,845
Property Tax: 14.2%
Total Days Above 20°C: 110
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 5,113
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 107
See more stats about Saugeen Shores, Ont. here.


13. Mont-Royal, Que.

Rank in 2017: 8
Population: 21,172
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Median Household Income: $145,853
Average Household Net Worth: $2,392,238
Property Tax: 1.4%
Total Days Above 20°C: 117
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 4,594
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 124
See more stats about Mont-Royal, Que. here.


12. Red Deer, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 330
Population: 107,564
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Household Income: $90,844
Average Household Net Worth: $628,900
Property Tax: 86.7%
Total Days Above 20°C: 83
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 19,460
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 99
See more stats about Red Deer, Alta. here.


11. Camrose, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 216
Population: 19,488
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Median Household Income: $61,873
Average Household Net Worth: $519,846
Property Tax: 74.9%
Total Days Above 20°C: 83
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 9,520
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 99
See more stats about Camrose, Alta. here.


10. Halton Hills, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 24
Population: 65,782
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $108,410
Average Household Net Worth: $1,190,923
Property Tax: 24.3%
Total Days Above 20°C: 120
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,133
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 91
See more stats about Halton Hills, Ont. here.


9. Saint-Lambert, Que.

Rank in 2017: 55
Population: 22,432
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Household Income: $83,626
Average Household Net Worth: $881,272
Property Tax: 12.5%
Total Days Above 20°C: 118
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 3,724
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 96
See more stats about Saint-Lambert, Que. here.


8. Westmount, Que.

Rank in 2017: 52
Population: 21,083
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Median Household Income: $117,755
Average Household Net Worth: $3,953,205
Property Tax: 8.9%
Total Days Above 20°C: 117
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 4,594
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 124
See more stats about Westmount, Que. here.


7. Canmore, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 29
Population: 14,930
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Household Income: $75,848
Average Household Net Worth: $1,478,315
Property Tax: 99.0%
Total Days Above 20°C: 64
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 7,482
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 138
See more stats about Canmore, Alta. here.


6. Milton, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 151
Population: 120,556
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $111,875
Average Household Net Worth: $1,129,276
Property Tax: 67.7%
Total Days Above 20°C: 120
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,133
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 91
See more stats about Milton, Ont. here.


5. Lacombe, Alta.

Rank in 2017: 299
Population: 13,906
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Household Income: $97,800
Average Household Net Worth: $754,291
Property Tax: 76.6%
Total Days Above 20°C: 81
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 7,932
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 99
See more stats about Lacombe, Alta. here.


4. Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que.

Rank in 2017: 6
Population: 27,171
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Median Household Income: $96,757
Average Household Net Worth: $864,221
Property Tax: 18.8%
Total Days Above 20°C: 118
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 3,724
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 96
See more stats about Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que. here.


3. Russell Township, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 21
Population: 17,155
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Household Income: $112,644
Average Household Net Worth: $509,564
Property Tax: 50.1%
Total Days Above 20°C: 78
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,540
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 142
See more stats about Russell Township, Ont. here.


2. Ottawa, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 1
Population: 999,183
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Household Income: $93,975
Average Household Net Worth: $695,242
Property Tax: 39.3%
Total Days Above 20°C: 117
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 3,782
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 142
See more stats about Ottawa, Ont. here.


1. Oakville, Ont.

Rank in 2017: 15
Population: 209,039
Estimated Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Median Household Income: $112,207
Average Household Net Worth: $1,742,036
Property Tax: 21.4%
Total Days Above 20°C: 107
Crime Rate Per 100,000:* 2,133
Family Doctors Per 100,000:* 91
See more stats about Oakville, Ont. here.

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luxury homes, luxury real estate, Uncategorized

The 5 priciest homes in one of the country’s hottest markets

Take a look at some of the country’s most luxurious homes currently for sale.

These are the most expensive homes currently for sale in and around the country’s hottest housing market.

As someone who covers housing for a living, there’s nothing quite like perusing some good old fashioned real estate porn. I’m sure you faithful readers can agree.

While modern builds with their sky-high windows or hard lofts with their sprawling floorplans are always fun to explore, there’s nothing quite like gandering at some of the country’s priciest homes.

And there seems to be a few more than usual currently on the market.

Pont2Homes, an online agency, rounded up the 10 most expensive homes currently for sale in and around Toronto. Check them out below.

1. A Yorkville Penthouse

Yorkville is one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in Toronto (there are even rumours that Mike Babcock, current coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, chose to coach in Toronto over Buffalo due to his wife’s desire to live in the posh ‘hood).

It’s home to some extravagant shopping spots and swanky restaurants; and also to the province’s current most expensive home.

Listed at a cool $36,000,00, this beauty is located at the top of the Four Seasons Hotel.

2. A Bridle Path mansion

“Millionaire’s row” is home to this 10 bedroom behemoth befit for Batman himself.

For a cool $35,000,000, this home includes a 5,000 square foot pavilion, a tennis court, a 50 foot indoor pool, and a hand-carved Louis XV fireplace.

3. A multi-million dollar country home

If city living isn’t your thing, this $24,950,000 equestrian estate in King City may be just what you’re looking for.

The rugged and rich outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) will surely be drawn to the 80 acre property that is home to a pond and waterfall, skating hut, walnut grove, and groomed hiking trails.

4. A lakefront compound

If one home isn’t enough, this estate in Oro-Medonte is situated on a 17 acre lot with a 525 foot private beach on Lake Simcoe.

The lot is also home to two 12,500 square foot homes.

5. 10 bedrooms in Bridle Path

This estate has its own ballroom, a spa, a salon, and in in-home theatre.

All for the reasonable price of $19,380,000.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Magazine – by Justin da Rosa29 May 2017

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luxury homes, luxury real estate, million dollar homes, Uncategorized

SOLD: Uptown Home Sold For $1 Million Over Asking!!!

With so many house selling way over asking in Toronto these days, the tendency is to declare the expression meaningless. The value of a home, so the argument goes, is better judged by what nearby properties have sold for.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThat’s mostly sound reasoning, but once in a while we get a bit of inside baseball from realtors about Toronto home sales, and this sheds some more insight on the wild prices that are being fetched of late.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThis elegant and well equipped home at 375 Glencairn Avenue, for instance, just sold for $1,165,000 over asking after being on the market for seven days. During that period realtor André Kutyan of Harvey Kalles tells us that 165 people came through the home.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoOf the army of potential buyers who toured the property, nine made offers, which drove the price way up from its listing at $3,595,000. Worthy of note is that the listing price mostly reflects the sale prices of other nearby homes sold over the last 30 days.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThe sample size might be too small for this to prove a trustworthy metric (only five other homes sold within 1,500 metres during this period), but one thing’s for sure: there was a ton of interest in this property.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoThe Essentials
  • Address: 375 Glencairn Ave.
  • Type: Detached house
  • Bedrooms: 4 + 1
  • Bathrooms: 7
  • Lot size: 50 x 219.66 feet
  • Realtor: André Kutyan
  • Hit the market at: $3,595,000
  • Time on market: 7 days
  • Sold for: $4,760,000
375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoWhy it sold for what it did

This house has a lot going for it. It’s been recently renovated, the enormous basement features a wine cellar, games room, mini movie theatre, and sauna, multiple bedrooms feature en suite washrooms, and the finishes around the house are top of the line.

375 Glencairn Avenue TorontoWas it worth it?

There are plenty of very nice homes in Lytton Park, but this one stands out when compared to recent listings. That alone was likely enough to start the bidding war that drove the price up into the ultra luxury range.

375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto375 Glencairn Avenue Toronto

Lead photo by Realtor


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condo living, downtown living, downtown toronto, million dollar homes, Toronto living, Uncategorized

How Does Toronto Compare

pricepersquarefoot

 

Source: Genworth Canada

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luxury cottages, luxury homes, luxury real estate, million dollar homes, Uncategorized

Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale

 

Canada’s top-5 most expensive homes currently for sale
Affordability is a major issue for many Canadians, especially those trying to buy a home in major cities. However, these properties – currently for sale and curated by online real estate company Point2Homes — are in an a class of unaffordability entirely their own.

#1: $42,000,000 — 4351 Erwin Drive, West Vancouver, BC

This 7 bedroom mansion in Vancouver offers oceanfront views of Stanley Park. It also boasts 10,000 square feet and its own private beach.

#2: $38,000,000 — 2106 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC

This property offers views of the Gulf Islands, as well as its own private park and two golf greens on its 4.25 acres.

#3: $30,000,000 — 242004 Range Road 32, Calgary, AB

Making our way east, we find our first property outside beautiful British Columbia. Nestled in the mountains, this 160 acre property offers everything an outdoorsman – and woman – would want.

For those who prefer the indoors, the sprawling home contains a music conservatory (for the young, budding Beethoven, naturally), a two-storey library, and an indoor pool.

#4: $26,000,000 — 12133 No 3 Road, Richmond, BC

Unsurprisingly we’re back in BC, which is home to this five bedroom Tuscan-like villa. While it may not have its own winery, it does offer ponds, gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

#5: $25,000,000 — 76,84,91 Trail’s End, Lake Joseph, ON

This a dream-worthy cottage on Lake Joseph has its own bar.

But who needs a beer when you can crack a cold beer on that dock?

This is just small sample of the country’s priciest homes. To see the rest, check out the original report by Point2Homes, which includes the country’s most expensive listing: A three home package deal that will run you nearly $50 million.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca – by MBN 16 Mar 2017
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Uncategorized

‘Trapped Wealth’ Drives Toronto’s Speculative Real Estate Dilemma

Toronto’s housing boom is unrelenting.

Prices in Canada’s largest city surged more than 20 percent over the past year, the fastest pace in three decades, data released last week show. Some of the city’s neighboring towns are posting even bigger gains.

It’s become a matter of considerable alarm. Stability is one concern: if the market tumbles, so will Canada’s economy. Pricier real estate also drives away less-affluent, younger people and boosts the cost of doing business, eroding competitiveness.

“I don’t think anybody is cheering,” said Doug Porter, the Toronto-based chief economist of Bank of Montreal, who used the dreaded “bubble” word last week to describe the market. “I don’t see who benefits other than real estate agents. It’s trapped
wealth.”

So, what’s driving the boom? The housing industry — builders and brokers — claim lack of supply is the main culprit. Others, Porter included, see demand as the problem. Lately, evidence is mounting that speculation is behind the jump.

Supply Constraints
Builders say they are being held back by everything from regulations to prohibitive taxes and land restrictions. Ontario’s greenbelt region around Toronto is one example.

This is no doubt true for one segment of the market: single-detached homes. Just over one-quarter of the 176,000 homes built in Toronto over the past five years were single-detached. That’s well down from the 1990s, when they accounted for almost half of all construction.

Theo Argitis/Bloomberg
Unabated Demand
Supply constraints don’t explain the price gains for condominiums, which have seen a flood of new completions. The average sale price of a condo is up 15 percent year-over-year. That’s after builders completed more than 54,000 apartment units over the past two years, easily a record supply for Toronto.

Canada’s recent census results, released this month, also provide some evidence against the shortage argument. Occupied private dwellings have risen by 7.2 percent in Toronto over the past five years, faster than population growth.
The census, however, doesn’t say what type of homes are being built. Plus, there is also the recent puzzle of disappearing listings.

Listings Ratio
New listings in Toronto fell 17 percent in January from a month earlier, the biggest one-month decline since 2002. Sales as a share of new listings rose above 90 percent, smashing the record.

Is this a sign of a bubble? Are sellers holding off putting their homes on the market to see where prices settle? Has supply become so tight that potential sellers are pulling out of the market altogether since they have nowhere to move to?
“The market is thinning out basically, you know what that means,” said David Madani, an economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.

First-Timers
So, if home sellers are not driving demand, is it first-time home buyers?

It’s tough to argue yes. The federal government has been tightening mortgage rules for a decade, and took some significant steps in October. But the moves — which particularly hit first-time buyers — have done little to curtail the recent run-up.

“If it’s not sellers, if its not first-time buyers, then who is buying?” said Robert Hogue, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada. “We can’t say for sure, but by deduction it’s got to be probably investors are buying quite a bit.”

Policy Response
If speculators are the cause of Toronto’s stratospheric home-price gains, it makes it difficult for the federal government to intervene, since its primary tool is mortgage insurance rules that don’t apply as much to investors.

One possibility may be to clamp down on the country’s unregulated private mortgage industry — so-called shadow banking. There may also be other avenues, such as curbing foreign investment. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government hasn’t shown much interest in such a move, partly because it would affect the national market, not just Toronto.

In fact, the only place where government steps to rein in prices seems to have worked has been in British Columbia, which introduced a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in August. Vancouver home prices are down 3.7 percent over the past six months. Still, that’s a paltry retreat in a market that long ago ceased to be affordable for most Canadians.

The British Columbia experience shows that while stability of the market may be an achievable goal, affordability is a more daunting challenge.

“If policy success is measured by affordability, not sure we’re quite there yet,” Hogue said.

Source – Canadian Real Estate News Copyright Bloomberg 2017

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condo living, downtown toronto, luxury homes, luxury real estate, Toronto living, Uncategorized

Luxury Living: Not all condo buildings are towers. Meet four mid-rises in mid-town

200 Russell Hill Road is one of the most luxurious condos in Toronto at the moment.

Boutique buildings, especially the luxurious sort, have many advantages over towers: elegant finishes, short waits at the elevator, fewer chance encounters in the hallway and a scale that tastefully tucks into a neighbourhood. Quality control, after all, is inherently more manageable in a mid-rise, where each suite can be coddled and treated as the individual it is, without competing with 699 other units. And so we present a quartet of exceptional small buildings in mid-town Toronto to call home, all within 15 minutes of each other.

200 Russell Hill

Step into the marble-loaded model suite for 200 Russell Hill (200russellhill.com) and your eye shoots up 20 feet to a lacy swirl embedded in the domed ceiling. Which way to go next?

Left to the black kitchen or right to the black kitchen. There are two in the same hue, one contemporary, one traditional, and they’re both glossy and glamorous.

But it would be a shame to bypass the miniature model that sits squarely under said rotunda. It showcases countless trees the size of broccoli florets as a reminder of the forest and the park that makes this site so appealing. If you peer closely at the model, you’ll also notice the front and the back of Rafael + Bigauskas Architects’ design doesn’t match.

“We’ve designed the building with a beautiful, traditional, limestone front, which transforms into a contemporary, minimalist facade around the back,” says Simon Hirsh of Hirsh Development Group of the units that run from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet and are priced from $3.2 million to $11.9 million.

Hirsh Development Group

 

Hirsh Development GroupInterior designer Lori Morris’s model suite shows prospective buyers what they can do.

There’s a reason for the hybrid, Hirsh says. Once the five-storey mid-rise is complete in the fall of 2018, it will complement the sylvan setting. “As you walk along the ravine trail up through the park, you look through the trees where you will see a black, understated building,” he says. The refined design means the trees will eclipse 200 Russell Hill instead of the other way around.

Hirsh stresses the units themselves should be considered as “22 custom homes” given the attention to detail. The enthralling model showcases interior designer Lori Morris’ obvious love of layered and eclectic spaces.

The designer’s signature sass continues indoors, where a gutsy mix of materials prevails: there’s leather on the library walls and kitchen cabinets with raised Rococo detailing as well as gold striping. Buyers needn’t copy the look, Hirsh says. Go Scandinavian with pale woods if you want. And buyers are free to introduce whatever custom finishes they choose without incurring extra costs. Morris says doing this kind of specialty work would be quite different on a tower. “In a smaller building, you can get more intimate, both with what the client wants and you’re able to do more finesse details.”

346 Davenport

 

Freed Developments

Freed Developments 346 Davenport features open-concept suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Driving south 10 minutes to the Casa Loma district leads to 346 Davenport Road (346davenport.com). The site is where the mid-rise condo is debuting in 2019 from developer Peter Freed of Freed Developments.

Homes from 1,000 sq. ft. to 4,400 sq. ft. start in the $800,000s and can be combined for true largesse. RAW Design’s vision for the 35-unit building sees a striking marble-like material cascading down the front, as well as vertical landscaped green elements. Acclaimed firm Burdifilek will design the interior and common spaces.

The area is close to the developer’s heart. “I love this neighbourhood. It’s such a core part of our city,” Freed says. “My parents live in the building next door, so it’s been an intimate part of my life.” The luxury market could use a boost, he continues. “The user market with larger units is under-served in the city. Over the past decade, most of the larger projects offer 300 to 700 units; most of which are very small units, which cater more towards rental markets.”

This project promises to pamper the private dweller. “Units are open-concept with very high-end finishes, it’s going to be really stunning,” Freed says of the building that boasts expansive floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies big enough to lounge in.

The Davies

 

Brandy Lane Homes

Brandy Lane Homes A view into a suite at the Davies from the elevator.

Drive 10 minutes east to Summerhill to take in The Davies by Brandy Lane Homes (thedavies.com). The nine-storey, 36-suite condominium overlooks Robertson Davies Park, and has a move-in date of Fall 2018. Suites sized from 1,105 sq. ft. to 2,900 sq. ft start from just over $1 million in a curved building that feels very art deco.

“Right-sizing is big here,” says David Hirsh, president of Brandy Lane Homes of the design by SMV Architects. “We started with 44 suites (36 regular and eight penthouses) and now we have 11 penthouses and 25 suites. One custom suite is 3,000 sq. ft., which is perfect for the empty-nester who wants room to spread out.” Hirsh also recently added a guest suite to the main floor, which is unusual for a building of this size and is a definite bonus for those hosting overnighters.

“We wanted to build an iconic building that completed the existing established neighbourhood,” Hirsh says.

 

Brandy Lane Homes

Brandy Lane Homes The Davies overlooks Robertson Davies Park on Avenue Road.

It took a while to get the project going on Avenue Road just north of Dupont, says Hirsh, noting the effort was well worth it. The response from the public has been great and Brandy Lane has already made modifications to the original design to meet buyer demands. “The design development was extensive and took more time that conventional projects,” he notes.

Crowning the project, a spectacular rooftop terrace means those decamping from a house won’t miss their backyards. This one features private areas where you can catch some rays with a book and communal couches for chatting over drinks.

The Hill and Dale

Old Stonehenge Development / Clifton Blake

 

Old Stonehenge Development / Clifton Blake The view down Yonge Street from one of the Hill and Dale terraces.

Ten minutes east leads to Hill and Dale (hillanddaleresidences.com), a heavily glassed building with street-level shops and office space at the corner of Yonge and Roxborough. Designed by the architectural firm Studio JCI with interiors by Chapi Chapo for Old Stonehenge Development with Clifton Blake, the 17 custom-crafted residences start at $2,195,000 for over 1,500 sq. ft and can be combined up to 6,000 sq. ft. There are only five units left; occupancy is slated for 2018.

Suites grace the top three floors of the building and are for the design-savvy: Those who gravitate to graceful opulence over loud lavishness will love, for instance, kitchens by bulthaup, the architect’s go-to.

“These aren’t flashy, which isn’t our interest,” says Paul Johnston, a salesperson with Right at Home Realty. “Our buyers really care about finishes, which is why we’ve gone to the extreme of using bulthaup.”

Old Stonehenge Development / Clifton Blake

 

Old Stonehenge Development / Clifton Blake Suites will have floor-to-ceiling views over low-rise residential neighbourhoods and the their tree canopies.

He adds, “The building has such a refined level of construction we’re allowing 10 months just for the finish of the individual suites.”
Life in a boutique building is wonderful for the luxury buyer, Johnston adds. “There’s something in the idea of luxury that has to do with scale and privacy that the highrise business can’t aspire to.”

So for those who aren’t interested in dawdling by an elevator in a tower or “renovating a creaky Victorian,” as Johnston puts it, a luxurious mid-rise suite in a distinguished neighbourhood is a very wise move indeed. But better get in quick — there aren’t many of them around.

 

Source: Iris Benaroia, Special to National Post | November 17, 2016 3:18 PM ET

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#mortgagesmadesimple, cottage country, cottage life, foreign buyers, foreign investors, Uncategorized

Impact of Trump win on Canada’s real estate: Time to hunker down in your cottages

U.s. presidential election - donald trump

The world’s collective jaws dropped after the early morning announcement: The next President of the United States is reality-TV star, Donald Trump.

But Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential race raises more questions than confidence—which was reflected in the greenback’s dip early this morning while safe-haven sovereign bonds and gold shot higher. The market is now reflecting fears of a prolonged global uncertainty over the new presidential leader’s policies.

What happens to interest (and mortgage) rates?

For the last few weeks, analysts were predicting that the U.S. Federal Reserve was poised to gradually start increasing interest rates, to reflect the country’s slowly growing economy. Trump’s win may have scuttled this strategy.

Part of the problem is that Trump’s promise to deport 11 million workers—because they presumably entered the country illegally—will have a dangerous impact on America’s currently tight labour market.

Unemployment in the U.S. dipped to its lowest in June at 4.9%. “The country is entering what economists call full employment,” says Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage. “By taking that many workers out of the labour force, Trump could bring business to a grinding halt.” Quite simply, it’s a plan that most business people and many leading economists say is very damaging both to the U.S. and to the Canadian economy.

Remove that many workers from the labour pool and you create a labour shortage, which could prompt businesses to contract and slow down in order to fend-off the quickly rising cost of wages.

To combat a business contraction, the U.S. Federal Reserve may abandon decisions to start raising interest rates. The idea is that by keeping rates low, the Fed will continue to encourage banks to lend money and convince businesses to expand (through the use of cheap credit). But it’s been six years of near-zero rates. For many it was time to start seeing better returns. With prolonged low rates from the Feds, it’s unlikely that the Bank of Canada will increase rates, so we can probably expect a prolonged ultra-low rate environment in both Canada and the U.S.

 

Impact on home buyers: Continued low mortgage rates

For anyone buying a home, Trump’s win may help suppress any potential mortgage rate increase that was on the horizon.

This continued low-rate environment won’t stop the slight uptick in mortgage rates, caused by the recent Federal Liberal mortgage rule changes. However, it may prompt different levels of government to consider alternative methods for cooling heated housing markets. According to CBC.ca, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa believes:

“something has to be done” to help people deal with soaring home prices in Toronto.

Sousa is poised to make an announcement next week as to how provincial government will help first-time buyers in Toronto, without hurting home prices in surrounding areas.

For tips on how U.S. citizens can buy in Canada, visit the BRELTeam’s primer on buying homes in Canada.

Impact on home sellers: Could be a rush to buy in Canada

Trump’s presidential win could be a boon for some home sellers in Canada. We could actually see a surge in demand for Canadian homes, says Soper. “Some [Americans] may be so fed-up that they decide to head north.”

This would certainly bolster “Brand Canada,” says SopeMo, as more demand may help support real estate prices, particularly in larger urban centres. Of course, this assumes the American dollar won’t lose value and remove the relatively high purchasing power a U.S. buyer would have in Canada.

If Americans do decide to move north, sellers in bigger urban centres could see the biggest impact as the U.S. dollar still has about 30% more buying power than the Loonie. Home sellers in Vancouver, however, shouldn’t expect a big uptick in American interest, as the Foreign Buyer’s tax that was announced and introduced this past August, will probably dampen interest in property in the Lower Mainland.

 

Impact on vacation properties: Hunker down

Probably the biggest impact will be felt by vacation property owners. Americans are the largest foreign buyers of Canadian property. “Part of the reason is the relative affordability of our recreational properties based on the strength of the American dollar,” says Soper. But the dip in U.S. currency, could mean a wholesale withdrawal from the Canadian vacation property market—and this could impact Canada’s recreational property market for years.

For instance, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were extremely popular destinations for Americans prior to the 2008/2009 financial collapse. But after the global credit crunch, cottages and lake-front home prices plunged as much as 60%. Some of these markets are still in the process or recovering, almost a decade later.

 

Impact on house prices across Canada is uncertain

The impact of Trump’s election doesn’t stop there. Pre-election promises to place massive tariffs on Chinese imported goods and to “tear-up NAFTA” could mean trading-wars that could seriously impede Canada’s currently slow-growing economy.

In relative terms, trade is much more important to Canada than to the United States. The Americans can afford to be insular since they have 325 million people in their market to our less than 35 million. “Any protectionist stance from the U.S. would do significant damage to Canada,” says Soper. And any hit in our slow-growing economy could further prolong our climb out of the ultra-low interest rate environment. Worse, it could prompt lay-offs in certain parts of the country, where exports and trade help shape the local economies. This will impact localized housing markets.

Think Alberta and low oil prices, and you get the picture.

Source: Money Sense – by   November 9th, 2016

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beachfront properties, luxury homes, luxury real estate, Uncategorized, waterfront properties

Here’s what $1.8 million will get you in Charlottetown

This 1939 home on the Charlottetown Harbour is known as the George DeBlois House, named for its first owner, the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island. It has 200 feet of waterfront, and magnificent views of Victoria Park and out along the protected waters of the harbour. This grand home sits on a little over half an acre, with a lovely semi-circular columned verandah on which to sit and watch the marine activities.

Key details:
• 5,431 sq. ft.
• 6 bedrooms, 4 baths
• $1,800,000
• MLS ID # 201621143
• Joe Lisi, Century 21 Colonial Realty, 902-393-4735
• See the Century 21 listing here

Century 21 Colonial Realty

The 20×18-foot formal dining room features built-in china cabinets and a niche for the sideboard, as well as a window bench. Notice the deep mouldings and trim throughout the house.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

The living room, at 20×25-feet, is spacious enough for large parties, but seating areas can be arranged to make it feel more intimate, such as, say, just a tête-à-tête around the fireplace, with its hand-carved mantel.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

Just look at that window bench. This bedroom has wood floors in immaculate condition, and more closet space than was the norm in 1939.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

A second-floor sunroom leads off this large bedroom, which sports another of the home’s fireplaces.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

A boardwalk runs along the edge of the waterfront, while rocks protect the shoreline from erosion in winter.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

The porch is a comfy spot for sitting in out of the sun and catching up on a good book. Little children (or dogs) can be corralled here for safety’s sake, while the rest of the terrace is open and features another seating area open to the sun.

Century 21 Colonial Realty

The house is a Charlottetown landmark, with its elegant façade and imposing demeanour. Its proximity to downtown means it’s just a few minutes’ walk to cafés, restaurants, shops and services.

Watch the video here…

Source: National Post Shari Kulha | October 13, 2016 | 

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