Tag Archives: Home Realty

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There’s no time like the present, as lowrise prices are moderating

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There’s no time like the present, as lowrise prices are moderating

Lowrise prices are moderating, and homebuilders are offering purchase incentives

The prospect of owning a lowrise home in the GTA has traditionally been a cost prohibitive one for most buyers in the market. But the once yawning price gap between lowrise homes and condominiums has started to come a bit more into balance as of late. This means it could be a good time for some to consider the purchase of a lowrise home; if not a detached house, then perhaps the relatively more affordable option of a townhouse.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is forecasting that the GTA’s lowrise housing market is headed for a slight downturn this year, largely owing to a lack of land for the development of single-family and townhouses. That said, suburban regions such as Peel, Durham and York will account for higher concentrations of the GTA’s single-family detached sales and listings moving forward, and CMHC says that should slow price appreciation in the lowrise segment.

Condos continue to be the more affordable alternative to new single-family homes. But the difference in pricing between new single-family homes and new condos has narrowed significantly over the past two years, according to a new report from Altus Group.

The benchmark price of a singlefamily home in the GTA finished 2018 at $1.14 million, about 13 per cent below the peak it reached in July 2017, Altus Group notes. Meanwhile, the benchmark asking price for a new Toronto condo hit $796,815 at the end of 2018, an increase of 11 per cent from the previous year and a new all-time high for condos.

There is still a limited selection of affordable lowrise options out there for most buyers in the market, with only one in five new single-family homes available to purchase at the end of 2018 priced below $750,000. But Altus Group notes that single-family inventory levels rose slowly and steadily throughout 2018 and rose above the 5,000-unit mark by late 2018, the first time this has been the case for the GTA since way back in June 2015.

What’s more, in a bid to compensate for the dip in demand that followed the federal government’s introduction of new more stringent mortgage rules last year, lowrise homebuilders have been offering a range of purchase incentives, including sharpen prices, décor dollar credits, and designer upgrades.

Lowrise homes are still priced well above the average condo and many still won’t be able to afford to purchase that category of housing. However, townhouses, which offer a more reasonable price point than detached homes, and more space than condos to accommodate growing families, could represent the best of both worlds. Townhouses generally cost less to purchase than detached houses, and they typically tend to appreciate in value faster than condos, at least in the early years.

Whether it’s a single-family home or a townhouse, if you wanted to get into the GTA lowrise home market, it would appear that there’s no time like the present.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. In2ition.ca

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Why the cost of condos in Toronto continues to rise

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Why the cost of condos in Toronto continues to rise

There was a lot of buzz on Twitter recently when many realtors and industry professionals started the discussion on the long list of reasons as to why Toronto condo prices have risen so substantially over the past decade.

The fact that condo prices are increasing shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been living in the GTA. Our housing market has been red hot, and condos have become the go-to option for buyers who can no longer afford detached homes and who want to live in bustling downtown locales. Condos have also been popular with investors who buy units and rent them out, generating decent returns.

Andrew LaFleur, a well-known and respected realtor in the pre-construction industry, outlined 15 factors that have contributed to the rising GTA condo prices; I’m going to focus on a few of the key ones.

LACK OF LOW-DENSITY LAND

The scarcity of land for the development of detached homes has had the most significant impact on Toronto real estate. The province’s pro-intensification growth policy has triggered a huge shift in the market, forcing developers to build up, not out. Amid ever-shrinking supplies of lowrise homes, prices for that product have gone through the roof. This has pushed purchasers into condos. And while condos are cheaper than lowrise homes, the ever-rising popularity of this product type has meant a steady uptick in prices.

INCREASED IMMIGRATION

Toronto is a popular destination for newcomers from across Canada and around the world, with most newcomers choosing to locate in the city centres. Despite all the cranes you see on the skyline for condo projects, we are actually not building enough new units to accommodate this influx. And supply and demand dynamics mean condo prices have been steadily climbing amid this strong desire among newcomers to live in centrally located condos.

LOW INTEREST RATES

The GTA condo market has benefited from historically low interest rates over the past decade, as buyers have been able to borrow money cheaply to purchase condos. But the surge in demand for condos, amid a lack of supply to meet that demand, has meant sizeable increases in condo prices. And the uptick in interest rates of late has driven the cost to purchase a condo even higher.

DOWNTOWN GENTRIFICATION

Condo buyers want to be located in proximity to amenities like transit and walkable neighbourhoods, as well as shops, restaurants and entertainment. But while there used to be pockets of cities where condos were priced lower because those areas were considered frontiers for pioneering purchasers, spots like these are fewer and farther between now. Growing urban gentrification means there are no longer discounts to buy in locations boasting potential. Condo buyers must pay big bucks to live in the centre of the action.

TALLER CONDO TOWERS

It used to be that a 50- or 60-storey condo building was exceptional; now we’re seeing towers shooting up past 70 storeys, and soon higher than 80 and 90 storeys, just like in New York and Hong Kong. These “super-talls” are more expensive to develop, due to increased costs for material and labour, and the sophisticated technology and infrastructure to support these towers. Those increased costs are passed on to condo buyers, pushing up average prices. As Toronto gets more super tall towers, expect higher premiums. It’s the cost we pay to live in a world-class city.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. In2ition.ca

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Don’t Doubt The Market

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Don’t Doubt The Market

There is no shortage of demand at the launches of new projects

The GTA housing market is as robust as ever and things have been humming along quite nicely for many years now.

And yet there will always be those who believe we are doomed, that the good times cannot continue for the GTA’s hot housing market — that it’s no doubt headed for an inevitable crash.

Well, that’s just not the sentiment we’re seeing at In2ition Realty as we’ve launched a series of successful projects across the region in recent weeks.

There was certainly no shortage of demand at the launch this summer of the first tower at Universal City, a Chestnut Hill Developments master-planned community in Pickering. The project enjoys lake views and is located just minutes from the GO Transit station. It sold out in record time and a second tower of 324 units just launched last month. The interest for tower two was equally as strong.

In Port Credit, on the other side of the GTA, it was the same story with the recent launch of Tanu Condos, a 204-unit tower and townhouse project by Edenshaw Developments. We had a lineup on the first day of launch!

Truth be told, Toronto condo builders can’t launch developments quickly enough to satisfy the insatiable demand.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the GTA housing market in 2018, mind you. The introduction of a new stress test on mortgage applicants certainly had an impact on home sales, sidelining some buyers.

And the GTA housing market faces considerable ongoing challenges, including trade labour shortages, development approval process and timing, project cost escalation, ability to secure financing, profit margins, land availability and cost … there are tons of hurdles for the building industry to contend with.

Although sales figures are down 40 per cent from last year, a portion is from lack of supply. In 2017 we saw 128 launches in highrise condos versus 56 in 2018.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported a 6 per cent uptick in regional home sales in October 2018, compared to the same month a year earlier. And the average sale price of a detached home in the GTA last month was up 3.5 per cent on a year-overyear basis, to $807,340. The average sale price for a condo in Toronto was $603,153, compared to $461,013 in the 905.

Renovation spending is also at an all-time high: $12.3 billion was spent on home alterations and improvements in Ontario in the first half of 2018, according to Altus Group.

Homebuying intentions are up, as well, despite affordability and qualifying challenges. An Altus Group survey of current homeowners and current renters showed that most GTA households are saying yes, they plan to buy a home in the next year or so.

The evidence doesn’t lie. Households and investors alike see the GTA housing market as a quality long-term investment. And why shouldn’t they? A thriving and diverse regional economy and a steady stream of 100,000-plus new arrivals in the GTA each year — more migration than any other city in Canada — will keep this market strong for years to come.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years.

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Home Realty: Housing Should Be An Election Issue

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Home Realty: Housing Should Be An Election Issue

Proactive buyers can improve housing market conditions by voting for change

For buyers in search of somewhere to call home, the GTA real estate market can seem like a daunting place. In January, sales of new single-family homes in the GTA — including detached, link, semi-detached and townhouses — hit the lowest level for that month in almost 20 years, representing just 365 units out of the 1,251 total new homes sold in the first month of 2018, according to Altus Group.

Demand for single-family homes remains strong, but the number of units available on the market has been severely limited, largely as a result of provincial government policies that have constricted the supply of land that new homes can be built on. This has caused prices to soar. In January, the benchmark price for available new single-family homes rose 20 per cent compared to the same month in 2017, to $1.2 million.

The situation has forced buyers to look to the condo market, with apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounting for 71 per cent of new home sales, with 886 units sold. But buyers turning to the condo market for pricing relief aren’t faring much better. The benchmark price for condos in the first month of the year was up 41 per cent over January 2017 — to $714,430 — according to Altus Group.

The GTA is expected to grow to nearly 10 million people by 2041, and our provincial government needs to do more to increase housing supply, whether it’s simplifying approval processes, updating zoning by-laws or servicing developable land to bring more homes to the market.

It’s not just provincial politicians who are responsible for the issues currently facing the GTA housing market, however. Municipal governments have added to housing affordability challenges, particularly in Toronto, where home purchasers are hit with a double land transfer tax. On top of this, development charges paid by builders to municipalities continue to rise, and these increased costs are passed down to those purchasing homes, further worsening affordability.

And the federal government’s recent introduction of more stringent mortgage stress test requirement will make it more difficult for first-time buyers, seniors and average GTA residents to qualify for the amount of mortgage that they could have previously afforded.

All of this is contributing to a housing market that is far from fair for all, a place where soon only those with gobs of money will be able to participate.

But members of the public can play an important role in shaping the future of the housing market by being proactive. That is, by voting for candidates who support efforts to increase housing supply, and by not supporting politicians who pander to NIMBYs in their ridings.

There’s no better time than now for the public to be proactive. A provincial election is coming up in June, followed by municipal elections in October, and the next federal election is slated for 2019. All of these represent excellent opportunities for residents and aspiring homebuyers to make a big difference in determining the future of our housing market. So get out there and vote — use your ballot to tell politicians that things must change.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty: What To Know About New Landlord Requirements

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Home Realty: What To Know About New Landlord Requirements

Rules unveiled last month make evicting tenants tougher

Ontario has introduced new requirements for landlords that are aimed at preventing them from evicting tenants from rental apartments without adequate compensation for the trouble.

The new regulations, rolled out last month, are the latest in a wave of tenant protections imposed by the provincial government over the past year under its Fair Housing Plan. In April, expanded rent controls were unveiled for all occupied private rental units built after 1991.

With these new eviction rules in place, here’s a look at what landlords can expect going forward.

Under the new measures, if a landlord wants to evict a tenant in order to use the unit for themselves or a family member, they are required to give one month’s rent as compensation to help defray the costs for that tenant of finding new accommodations and having to move suddenly. Alternatively, a landlord can offer the evicted tenant a comparable unit to rent instead.

Note that only individual landlords, not corporations, can give notice of termination for this reason.

Landlords must also express their intent to occupy the unit for at least one year before, a measure designed to discourage landlords from unlawfully evicting tenants and converting their unit into a short-term rental or renting it out immediately afterward at a higher rate. If a landlord advertises, re-rents, demolishes or converts the unit within a year, he or she will be considered to have acted in “bad faith,” according to the government, and could be hit with a fine as steep as $25,000.

Because these new rules make it tougher to evict tenants, it’s never been more important for landlords to take the proper steps from the start to secure quality occupants for their rental properties.

This includes offering a unit that’s in good shape to begin with, which will ideally encourage renters to keep it that way. Also be sure to do background checks on tenants and a credit history check. Better safe than sorry. Ultimately you’ll want to meet face-to-face with the prospective renter in order to get a gut feeling about the person who could be living in your unit. Finally, be sure to get every step of the process documented in writing. This is key.

If you want to be especially sure your rental unit remains in good shape, we advise using a professional property management company. For example, we at In2ition have developed a property management division to serve our clients and offer staff with unparalleled experience and the quality and depth of resources to handle all property management needs. We both rent and manage residential homes and condominium units, and we facilitate the relationship between the tenant and the management of the condo corporation.

Purchasing a unit to lease out can be a great way to make money. But selecting the right tenant and properly managing your property is essential to getting the maximum return on your investment — and to avoiding big headaches. With Ontario’s new tenant protection rules upon us, this will need to be a top priority for all landlords.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty: Townhomes Are A Popular House Alternative

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Home Realty: Townhomes Are A Popular House Alternative

They’re spacious and private, but cheaper than detached

As the prospect of purchasing a detached home gets farther out of reach for most GTA homebuyers, townhouses are becoming an increasingly popular ownership option.

Townhouses tend to be more affordable than detached homes and they represent a more palatable alternative for those who don’t fancy the idea of living in a highrise or midrise condo. Townhomes offer the space and privacy of detached homes, but at a relatively lower price point.

Traditionally, townhouses have been two- or three-storey structures, some with basements and some without, with at least three housing units per building that share sidewalls with their neighbouring homes. These townhouses usually have a frontyard and backyard.

But as affordability has become more of a concern for buyers across the spectrum, other forms of townhomes have emerged that enable owners to still live in ground-oriented homes but not have to pay the higher prices that traditional towns command these days.

Enter the stacked townhouse, a housing type that’s been expanding exponentially of late across the GTA. These units are stacked vertically, with two to four units per structure. They may have a front or backyard, a patio or a rooftop terrace.

There are also back-to-back towns, which share rear walls and a sidewall with other units. These units have exterior spaces only in the front or on the rooftop. Then there are stacked back-to-back townhouses: stacked units that share a sidewall as well as a rear wall, with a front or rooftop exterior space.

Parking at townhouse complexes can vary and include above-grade, underground or private garages that are attached or detached from the homes.

Towns are built on a variety of lots, whether it’s infill urban developments in the heart of established neighbourhoods, at the base of condo complexes, or projects in locations that might have in years past been earmarked for detached home communities (builders are developing townhomes in order to hit density targets set out in the provincial growth plan).

Townhouse projects offer different types of ownership options: freehold and condo. With a freehold home, the buyer owns the home itself and the plot of land it sits on. With a condo townhome, the purchaser only owns the interior of the unit and the lot that the structure sits on is owned collectively by all of the unit owners.

With freehold ownership, owners may not have to pay a monthly maintenance fee — although some have fees that cover basic grounds maintenance — and there are often no rules dictating how the property should be maintained. If so, owners can add elements like decks or gardens and paint their home without requiring approval from the condo corporation. The flip side to not contributing to a reserve fund is that the owners must bear the full cost of any repairs that may be required, big or small.

With condo towns, all maintenance work (landscaping, snow removal, exterior repairs) is taken care of via maintenance fees and there is consistency in how the units in the complex are maintained, keeping property values at more or less the same level. The drawback with condos is that owners might end up paying fees for amenities they don’t use, such as a pool or gym.

Regardless of the ownership structure, townhouses are generally regarded as a good investment. Not only is the rent cheaper than it would be with a detached home, but the townhouse comes with many of the same benefits of a traditional house (privacy, outdoor space, ground-oriented living and fewer neighbours), making it far easier to secure tenants.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty: Families Can live Happily In Condos

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Home Realty: Families Can live Happily In Condos

The City of Toronto has launched a study to examine how new multi-unit housing in high-density communities can better accommodate the needs of households with kids.

This is an important matter to be focusing on these days as affordability concerns have meant more families are opting to purchase condos versus detached homes.

We can expect that number to keep rising as families continue to get priced out of the ground-oriented housing market and turn to condos as the only viable alternative. Cities like Hong Kong and New York experienced this shift decades ago and denizens of those places have become hard-wired for apartment living.

With more families moving into high-density buildings in Toronto every year, it’s key that the city look at ways to better accommodate them. The recently launched study — dubbed “Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities” — is intended to offer direction on how new developments can better function and facilitate life for growing families.

The study includes a public consultation component and it will explore issues such as unit size and layout, building amenities, the design of the public realm and neighbourhood amenities.

When it comes to suite size, developers have found creative and flexible ways to address demands for family-friendly housing. Many new buildings are designed so that suites can be combined with easily removable panels separating a one-bedroom unit from a two-bedroom unit, for example. Within the suites themselves, removable partition walls can create more bedrooms and semi-private spaces to house growing families. Solutions like these make it easier for developers to cater to several prospective buyer groups while not committing to building one type of unit exclusively.

While condos might have once been designed with empty nesters, young couples and single first-time buyers in mind, with more families moving into multi-family housing, building amenities are starting to reflect the needs of this other demographic. Many new condos have kids’ rooms and crafts rooms, full gymnasiums and ample outdoor areas for families to enjoy, including community gardening plots.

The design of the public realm and neighbourhood amenities are equally as essential to creating quality places to raise families living in vertical communities. Condo dwellers don’t have a backyard to call their own, so the surrounding area is their playground. A public realm that’s focused on families ideally will have adequate greenspace, or perhaps more urban-style recreation spots like the innovative Underpass Park, part of the River City development at the foot of the Don River.

And when it comes to neighbourhood amenities, the more the better. Community centres, arts and culture, and public art installations helps to enhance the experience for families choosing to live the multi-family life.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty – Our Point of View On Ontario’s New Housing Initiatives

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Home Realty – Our Point of View On Ontario’s New Housing Initiatives

Educating and supporting buyers, and understanding the challenges that builders face every day is important to us. Why? Ensuring Ontario’s pre-construction market moves toward a common goal and provides enough affordable, well-planned new communities for Canadians helps people stay employed, creates new businesses and ensure continued economic growth.

The Ontario government recently announced several new policies and initiatives in an effort to help with housing supply and affordability in key markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area (GGHA). Some of these policies have us concerned.

We reviewed a few of these policies to see how they help support the common goal of balanced supply and affordability using data from In2ition, including information we complied from the builders we work with and the hundreds of people who we meet in sales offices across the country every day.

Here’s our point of view.

AVAILABILITY OF HOUSING

There are not enough new homes or condos on the market to meet the demand of buyers. Why? The approval process takes too long. We’ve experienced delays of up to 10 years for land to be housing-permit ready, so what started out as a builder/developer problem has now become a consumer challenge too.

The Ontario government believes bringing its employees together with the development industry to examine how to deal with approval delays and fast-tracking processes will help solve this problem. It hasn’t in the past, and we continue to hear frustrating accounts from both our development clients and from potential purchasers who have been waiting for years for certain municipalities to approve new developments.

FOREIGN BUYERS TAX

Why tax a problem for a problem that isn’t there? A survey of our last 2,000 purchase deals across the GTA found that only 2.3 per cent were actually foreign buyers. How about a subsidy for first-time homebuyer deposits instead?

In Vancouver, the tax resulted in a temporary decrease in prices and sales. Foreign buyers will still buy despite the added tax. It will slow the market down, but only temporarily, as supply is still the issue. According to our statistics, there are not a lot of foreign buyers in the GGHA and taxing them is not going to have any significant impact.

BANNING ASSIGNMENT CLAUSES ON CONDOS

An “assignment” clause allows a condo purchaser to sell (or flip) their unit before it officially closes. While the idea of completely banning this practice might be a good idea to the Ontario government, some further thinking may be in order as it could cause a lot of issues in the long run for some purchasers.

In the case of a new condo, it can take upwards of five years or more from date of purchase to complete construction. What if family or employment circumstances change and they need to sell? I believe an outright ban could cause problems for purchasers.

RENT CONTROL POLICIES

We believe putting a standard lease in place for all tenants and imposing rent controls for all privately held units in Ontario would backfire. A study recently conducted by the research firm Altus showed that, internationally, Toronto ranked as the most affordable place in the world to rent out of the major global cities.

We have already seen cancellations of purpose-built rental projects right after this announcement was made because of the costs associated with building and renting units. This seems to be a contradiction to what the government is trying to achieve.

For landlords, managing existing tenants from old leases that are below current market rental rates and staying competitive will be difficult. And for small investors, including those buying one or two units as a way to fund their retirement savings plan, this seems particularly unfair.

Penalizing people who have worked hard and built businesses that shelter and employ others does not benefit or help grow our economy in the long run. Quick-fix solutions are not the answer.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty: Don’t Blame Foreign Homebuyers For High Prices

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Home Realty: Don’t Blame Foreign Homebuyers For High Prices

Affordability issues won’t be solved by taxing non-resident purchasers.

Housing prices in the GTA are totally out of whack. Detached homes in the region sold for an average price of $1.2 million in March and prices are expected to grow by as much as 20 per cent this year alone.

The situation is causing much consternation, primarily for first-time buyers and young families who realize they’ll likely have to forgo dreams of owning a house in the Toronto area — for now at least.

This predicament has prompted politicians to spring into action. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, with a nod to what was done in B.C. last summer, has said he is reviewing the option of introducing a foreign homebuyers tax.

While that might sound good to some, there’s one small problem: there really aren’t that many “foreign” buyers in the GTA market. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, just 4.9 per cent of housing transactions in the region last year involved a foreign purchaser, versus Vancouver, where 15 per cent of sales involved foreign nonresident buyers.

The GTA has never been more attractive to immigrants, but let’s be clear: these are not foreigners looking to buy up our precious housing stock from overseas; they are actual GTA residents, looking to own homes here, while also working and paying taxes.

Besides, foreign buyers can’t be blamed for sky-high housing prices. The GTA’s affordability issue has been decades in the making and today it’s by and large the result of a critical lack of supply amid ceaseless demand. Things have been exacerbated by ever-growing bureaucracy and backlogs as municipal governments struggle to process stacks of new housing project applications and issue approvals. The Fraser Institute estimates that approval timelines in the GTA average 14.4 months and in the City of Toronto it’s typically 17.7 months.

The province’s Places to Grow and Greenbelt policies, introduced a decade ago, took big chunks of land off the table, making it increasingly more difficult for builders to find sites on which to put up new housing stock.

A foreign homebuyer tax can’t solve these problems. The only true solutions are those that will help to increase supply. Government can facilitate matters by designating areas for denser development, then unfreezing these lands and pushing for them to be brought into official plans much faster than is currently the case in most municipalities. This could help to avoid costly and time-consuming fights with local opponents, battles that inevitably end up at the Ontario Municipal Board, creating yet more delays and added costs, which are also passed down to buyers.

It’s highly debatable whether a tax on foreign buyers would work, and it’s quite possible it could backfire. When the B.C. government implemented its 15 per cent tax on foreign homebuyers for the Vancouver region last summer, it reportedly ended up driving away the kinds of workers the province is seeking to attract, like those in tech. And some believe it was responsible for a decline in detached home sales in early 2017.

Blaming foreign buyers for driving up home prices might make fed-up house hunters feel a bit better, but it won’t do anything to fix the GTA affordability crisis. Unfortunately for our politicians, this one is all on them.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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Home Realty – How To Get a Foot In The Housing Market

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Home Realty – How To Get a Foot In The Housing Market

Sharing a home with other family members one way of beating sky rocketing prices.

The GTA housing market has gone wild with detached homes selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking. Traditional single family houses are out of reach for most first-time buyers. Even move-up buyers looking to purchase an actual house might be feeling the pinch these days, given how sky high prices have soared.

The average price of a new detached house in the GTA has soared from $440,000 a decade ago to more than $1.2 million. It’s forcing many purchasers seeking single-family homes to head much farther afield, beyond the GTA’s borders, in order to be able to afford a home.

That doesn’t mean folks choosing to remain in the GTA have to give up on the idea of homeownership, mind you. In this vigorous market, where prices keep climbing higher, there are still ways to get a foot on the property ladder.

First, you could buy a house with family members, likely your parents. Borrowing from the Bank of Mom and Dad is how most first-time buyers are able to get into the market these days. Parents — or grandparents — might simply give the kids the down payment, helping them qualify for a mortgage. Or, in some cases, the parents might end up co-owning a home with their kids — and eventually grandkids — sharing the house, its responsibilities, as well as the equity gains.

But a more comfortable option for some might be to buy a house with a friend. In this case, you can get what’s known as a mixer mortgage, which can be split into separate terms for the two owners with fixed and variable rates and different amortization periods.

You might also consider buying a bigger property with several friends and renting out part of it. Some ground oriented townhouses have finished basements, which can be ideal for use as rental suites. Renting a portion of your property to a third party is a great way to help cut down otherwise hefty mortgage payments.

Whether buying a home with family or friends, you must be sure to put together a legally binding agreement that outlines responsibilities for payments and contingencies. What happens if someone falls ill and can no longer handle payments? Or what if the situation sours and things need to be undone? It’s best to have this outlined in writing so there are no nasty surprises if circumstances change.

If you want to buy a home but not be tied to a partner in the purchase, remember that you have the option of taking money out of an RRSP via the Home Buyers’ Plan, and use that for a down payment. This could help to shore up your other savings and get you across the mortgage loan qualification line.

Multiple debts might be taking a toll on your personal finance profile, so before applying for a mortgage you might also want to consider having student loans and credit card debt consolidated into a single loan. This could help improve your prospects in the qualification process.

Don’t let the ever-climbing house prices freak you out. There are still ways to get into the homeownership game, it will just require a bit of creativity and flexibility.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.

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