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2018 web

5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

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5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

2018 web

With much of 2018 in the rear-view mirror, It’s been quite the year for the housing market in the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario. From sales and price fluctuations to supply concerns to rising housing costs. As 2019 approaches, here are five things we can learn from real estate in 2018.

 

1 Get used to the affordability issue

Get used to affordability challenges, especially in the GTA. This oft-cited issue is not going away any time soon, despite lobbying from the likes of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Key economic fundamentals such as population and employment growth will continue to drive housing market demand. Over the next decade, almost 700,000 first-time buyers will target the GTA or Hamilton markets, according to a report from the Ontario Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, the supply of new homes is not yet being addressed, which contributes to rising prices.

With recent interest rate hikes and other changes, sales and prices in the GTA saw some moderation in 2018. But this will be short-lived, and a return to price growth is expected.

 

2 Increased government involvement – finally

Government lobbying by BILD and TREB seems to be paying off, in the sense that the Province is increasingly aware of the issues facing the industry – and buyers.

Buyers, you may not realize it, but you should thank BILD, TREB and other associations for that.

In late November, Ontario announced it was committing to a housing action plan “to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Like anything involving government, though, this process will likely be slow moving – meaning, some of the challenges, namely increasing housing supply – will take time to be resolved.

But at least the issues are on the agenda.

One real example of this improved awareness is Ontario’s recent plan to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system in the province – a move the home building industry says is a “game changer.”

It’s a game changer because the new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the existing 3-to-1 ratio, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices. Besides creating more job opportunities for trades workers, the move also helps builders and renovators operate their businesses

 

3 Fixing on interest rates

The Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate three times in 2018 – January, July and October – to where it sits now, 1.75 per cent.

Canada’s major banks, as is usually the case, responded by immediately raising their own rates.

Naturally, all of this has Canadians feeling a little uneasy.

The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Index of Consumer Confidence confirms that rising interest rates and weaker wage growth have started to take their toll on confidence. With interest charges squeezing Canadian wallets and weakening wage growth offering little reprieve, consumers have become hesitant to make major purchases and are less positive about the state of their finances.

In its latest rate announcement on Dec. 5, the Bank of Canada noted that global economic expansion is slowing, and the effects of the “oil price shock” are being monitored.

“We expect that the Bank will not move the overnight rate until the effects of the declining energy sector are known,”according to interest rate comparison website ratehub.ca. “However, the Bank makes it clear that they still plan on raising the key interest rate in 2019, likely more than once.”

This moderated stance might put downward pressure on fixed rate mortgages, however, so Canadians may see better fixed rates in the coming weeks, ratehub.ca says.

 

4 Real estate is more local than ever

It’s a simple point that escapes some consumers: Real estate is local, and in 2018, it became more local than ever.

What do we mean?

Well, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and other major real estate bodies are mandated to oversee the national market.

So, when CREA issues a release that says Canadian home sales are down by X per cent, or when CMHC reports the national vacancy rate is down for the second consecutive year – and major media report such headlines – people tend to worry.

It’s essential to remember, however, that when you buy a home, you don’t buy the national market. You buy one house, on one street, in one neighbourhood, in one city and region.

If you live in Ontario, why do you care that Alberta’s ongoing oil industry struggles are pulling sales and prices down in markets in that province? Or that prices in Vancouver are even less affordable than in Toronto?

Forget the national headlines. Drill down into what’s happening in your market.

And why is real estate more local then ever? Because…

 

5 Lessons from Oshawa

General Motors Canada’s November announcement that it was closing its Oshawa assembly plant sent shockwaves not just through the province but all of Canada. To be sure, the loss of at least 2,500 jobs – not to mention untold positions in related suppliers – in a community of 170,000, is going to hurt. Hurt whom, and how badly, are the only questions.

This development should serve as a stark reminder to us all – of how important it is for cities to develop diversified, modern economies. Overdependence on any one ge, singular industries leads to overexposure in the case of downturns or, in GM’s case, outright shutdowns. It hurts the local economy, which impacts employment and wage growth, which impacts the housing market.

Oshawa, thankfully in recent years, has been diversifying its economy and expanding in technology, education and other industries. It will help, but the impact of the GM closure will likely play out over many months, if not years.

These developments could push housing in Oshawa into a buyers’ market, and prospective buyers could benefit from more options and softening prices.

In new homes, builders remain undeterred, encouraged by the longer-term growth and development throughout the Durham Region. Still, some may offer incentives such as discounts or inclusions to entice qualified buyers.

 

RELATED READING

GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Where are interest rates headed in 2019?

 

 

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GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

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GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

Although the Greater Toronto Area housing market is somewhat in balanced territory, buyers and sellers are both up against the ropes.

This year has changed so much from the last five to 10 years. Both buyers and sellers have been affected in both positive and negative ways. For me, when working with a buyer and investor client, it was always a tailored approach. However, now more than ever, we have to be extremely diligent when analyzing residential types, location and price range.

In past years, it was much more common to think about flipping real estate or short-term investments. Now? Not so much. There is a total shift to a minimum five- to 10-year hold. Since the introduction of the stress test, some real estate markets took a hit. Buyers are also now faced with additional challenges such as qualification rules and rising interest rates.

Glass half full

Although there are pros and cons in today’s market, take a glass half full approach. Just think, in the past, is was very challenging for a seller to move up to a bigger property. There were bidding wars, price increases that exceeded pay raises, and to top it all off, extremely low inventory – which meant buyers might have to settle for something they might not fully love. The trade-off was a low interest rate environment. If you were a seller, it was nice to think you could sell your property for top dollar, but the million-dollar question was where will you buy next?

Also read: GTA home prices continue to rise

Also read: GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Also read: GTA condo sales and prices hit record levels

Today, if a seller wants to move up, they can usually find a good deal and sell their property for a fair market value. Maybe your property went down 10 to 15 per cent, however, you are also buying your next home for the same 10 to 15 per cent less. Another benefit to such market conditions is that there are more deals to be had.

Notably, there have been fewer first-time buyers out there recently. Even a larger down payment might not cut it anymore, due to higher interest rates. This is why the condo market is doing well, especially the smaller and less expensive properties, due to affordability. The new reality could well be more people renting for a longer period.

Rising rates

The qualifying rate today is slightly more than six per cent. “The recent rule change with regards to the stress test basically decreased people’s max mortgage amount by about 15 to 20 per cent,” says Michael Yosher, director of lending at Integrity Tree Solutions Inc. “The 2019 horizon looks like this trend will continue, as Bank of Canada and economists are predicting several interest rate hikes, which will further reduce the amount of mortgage a buyer will qualify for. This has really taken the wind out of first-time buyers. Family members helping out with gifted down payments and cosigning mortgage loans are the trend these days.”

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, in October 2018 compared to last year October, average sales prices were up 3.5 per cent. Although this is good news for some sellers, most of this price growth is driven by the condominium market, which at one point lagged behind detached, semi-detached and townhouse product.

Arie Buzilo is a real estate broker with Century 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc. Brokerage, and an investor specializing in buying and selling properties in the GTA.

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Toronto homes web

GTA home prices continue to rise

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GTA home prices continue to rise

Toronto homes web

Greater Toronto Area average home prices continued their upward trajectory in November, rising 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $788,345, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

GTA realtors report 6,251 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS system in November 2018, down by 14.7 per cent compared to November 2017, when there was a temporary upward shift in demand caused by the looming OSFI-mandated stress test at the end of last year.

“New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” President Garry Bhaura says. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were down by 3.4 per cent compared to October 2018.  The average selling price after preliminary seasonal adjustment was down by 0.8 per cent, compared to October 2018.

Average home prices, November

Toronto (416)
2018: $842,483
2017: $803,540

Rest of GTA (905)
2018: $750,721
2017: $732,848

GTA
2018: $788, 345
2017: $761,410

“Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year.”

Looking at the housing market from a policy perspective, TREB says it is encouraged with the provincial government’s recent announcement and on-going public consultation regarding a housing supply action plan.

“Housing supply remains a key issue in the GTA market,” says TREB CEO John Di Michele. “More specifically, an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing types must be part of the conversation, as has been recognized by the provincial government in their consultation documents. Transit supportive and gentle density ‘missing middle’ housing should be a priority.”

 

GTA average prices and percentage gain by home type, November 2018

Detached: $1.01M, 1.3%
Semi-detached: $791,760, 8.3%
Townhome: $647,418, 3.1%
Condo: $556,723, 7.5%

TREB has commissioned research on these subjects and is holding a Market Outlook Economic Summit on Feb. 6, 2019.

“TREB is also encouraged that the provincial government remains committed to public transit expansion,” adds Di Michele. “TREB has long advocated for improvements to the Greater Golden Horseshoe transit and transportation network, and feels the time is right to have a conversation about the level of provincial and municipal responsibility that would be the most efficient arrangement to realize subway expansion sooner in Toronto, and the GTA, as this will impact the housing market.”

 

RELATED READING

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

 

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Ontario government commits to housing action plan

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Ontario government commits to housing action plan

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Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Ontario government says it is committed to a housing plan that makes more good quality places to live available for “the hardworking people of the province.”

“In communities all across Ontario, people are struggling to find housing they can afford,” says Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re taking action to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Ontario is knocking down barriers to people getting housing they can afford that meets their needs, through:

 

  • Legislation that would make new rental units exempt from rent control, effective Nov. 15, 2018, while preserving rent increase limits for existing tenants
  • Ending the previous government’s expensive and ineffective Development Charges Rebate Program
  • Seeking public input on ways the government can remove barriers to building the right kind of housing in the right places. This input will inform a broader housing supply action plan. The consultation includes a downloadable toolkit so community groups can host local roundtables and share their thoughts with the province.

 

The demand for housing in Ontario has risen rapidly in recent years, driven by strong population growth and low interest rates. However, the supply of housing has not kept pace, leading to higher prices and rents.

Building more housing will also help make Ontario more attractive to businesses and investors, restoring the province to its rightful place as the economic engine of Canada.

“High housing costs are a barrier to job creators, large and small, because employees need affordable places to live,” says Todd Smith, minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Making housing more affordable will encourage people to start and grow businesses, right here at home.”

BILD reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) of the GTA is very supportive of the development of a Housing Supply Action Plan for Ontario,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO. “Shortfall in supply is a key factor undermining housing affordability, increasing rents and creating barriers to home ownership. We applaud the Ford government’s commitment  to address key issues affecting the housing supply and ultimately the affordability of housing in the GTA.”

TREB approves

The Toronto Real Estate Board, for its part, applauds the Province’s announcement.

“The Toronto Real Estate Board applauds the provincial government for taking action to ensure that our city, region and province have an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing,” TREB said in a release.

Nowhere are housing supply and mix issues more of a priority than in the GTA, where TREB’s 53,000 members operate, the association says. “TREB realtors work with home buyers and sellers every day and they see the challenges caused by inadequate supply and mix of housing.

“We look forward to participating in the provincial government’s consultation process on this issue and helping our region and province to remain one of the best places to live in the world.”

RELATED READING

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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York

Province rejects York’s request for more revenue tools

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Province rejects York’s request for more revenue tools

York

Homebuyers and owners, maybe you do have a friend in the Province.

The Ontario Conservative government has declined a request by the Regional Municipality of York for the authority to levy additional revenue tools, including municipal land transfer taxes.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) applauds the Province for taking a strong stand in support of homebuyers and sellers.

TREB says it has spoken out against the use of land transfer taxes as an “unwise” and “unfair” method for municipalities to raise revenue.

Had it been approved, the request would have given York Region the freedom to impose new taxes on items such as vehicle registration, land transfer, alcohol, entertainment and amusement, parking and tobacco.

“We are encouraged that the provincial government recognizes the pressures facing consumers and the potential negative impacts of municipal land transfer taxes,” TREB says. “(We) will continue to speak out to protect the interests of home buyers and sellers.”

RELATED READING

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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Toronto vote

Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

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Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll

Toronto vote

With municipal elections only days away, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released recommendations on what newly elected councillors, mayors, and regional chairs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can do to ensure housing affordability and choice for homebuyers and renters.

TREB also released the results of responses received from more than 200 municipal election candidates from across the GTA. Candidates were asked to respond to a TREB survey asking for their views on key housing issues that are the subject of TREB’s recommendations.

Both the policy briefs and candidate survey responses can be viewed at UnlockMyHousingOptions.com

“A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs showed that housing affordability was a top-of-mind issue for voters in this election,” says TREB President Garry Bhaura. “Housing affordability is a priority for voters, and they want it to be a priority for the incoming municipal councils. Based on the candidate survey responses that TREB received, it appears that housing affordability is also a priority for many candidates.”

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 95 per cent of responding candidates in Toronto, and 86 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that, if elected, they would advocate for updating municipal zoning by-laws and policies to encourage more medium density housing.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates indicated that they would be willing to consider reforms to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust it for inflation; 84 per cent of responding GTA candidates indicated that they would, if elected, oppose proposals for any new municipal land transfer tax.
  • 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 79 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would support efforts to reduce planning approval times and red tape to facilitate new housing supply.
  • 97 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 96 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would, if elected, advocate for funding from senior levels of government for infrastructure investments.

MISSING MIDDLE

TREB has also released three new policy briefs on “missing middle” housing supply, housing-related municipal red tape, and infrastructure needs for housing supply, in addition to a brief issued earlier in the campaign on the impact of municipal land transfer taxes. TREB’s recommendations call for newly elected municipal councils to support the creation of much needed housing supply and options.

TREB is calling on councils to:

  • Review municipal zoning by-laws and consider changes to allow for more mid-density development such as townhomes.
  • Resist community opposition and work with neighbourhoods  by improving communication strategies to articulate the ability of mid-density developments to be seamlessly integrated into existing neighbourhoods.
  • Prevent any new municipal land transfer taxes in the rest of the GTA.
  • Reform the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust the first-time home buyer rebate, and the threshold price at which the higher tax rate kicks in, for inflation, so both keep pace with the current average home price in Toronto now sitting at around $800,000.
  • Conduct reviews of municipal planning approval processes for new housing applications with a goal of streamlining and shortening the process.
  • Recognize the importance of infrastructure as it relates to housing supply and affordability, and move ahead with critical projects and investments such as regional transit as a key part of strategies targeted to addressing housing needs.

 

RELATED READING

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

Keesmaat’s 100,000 housing plan doomed to fail

 

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Millennials Pic

Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

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Vast majority of GTA Millennials fear buying a home is out of reach, poll says

Millennials Pic

There is great concern among GTA Millennials that they will be unable to afford a home, according to a new poll from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). 

The fear goes deeper, as GTA residents also expressed a lack of confidence about the likelihood their children will be able to remain in the communities where they grew up.

“According to a recent Centre for Urban Research and Land Development study, there are about 730,000 Millennials living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who may be planning to move on from living in their parents’ homes and from sharing a dwelling with roommates in the next 10 years, potentially creating 500,000 new households,” says Dave Wilkes, BILD President and CEO.

KEY POLL RESULTS

When considering the issues in the municipal elections on Oct. 22, GTA residents say they are concerned with the ability of today’s youth to afford a home in the GTA, including:

  • 94 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 35
  • 84 per cent of respondents between the ages of 35 to 54
  • 80 per cent of respondents age 55 plus
  • 88 per cent of women and 82 per cent of men

Interestingly, although Millennials are concerned about the ability to own a home, they are also the most optimistic group regarding housing supply, with 41 per cent of them believing that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for the number of new residents that settle here every year. This is substantially higher than those age 35 to 54 (31 per cent) and those over 55 (27 per cent).

GTA residents are pessimistic in terms of their ability to achieve home ownership, as well as their children’s future abilities to afford homes in their communities. There is also a consensus among residents that the GTA has an inadequate supply of affordable housing being built, or that the city will be able to accommodate the 115,000 new residents that enter every year.

Source: 2018 Ipsos
Source: 2018 Ipsos

When picking a new home, 60 per cent of GTA residents say they value a neighbourhood that is walkable and bikeable, in addition to being within proximity to shopping, entertainment and government services. This is closely followed by those who prefer access to convenient transit (56 per cent) and proximity to work and school (54 per cent).

Nearly seven out of 10 respondents feel that their children will be unable to afford a home in the community where they grew up. These respondents agrees it is important for young families to be able to afford to live and work within the GTA without having to deal with long commutes.

When asked, “To what extent do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree with the following”:

  • 92 per cent agree that the dream of home ownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for young people living in my city
  • 86 per cent agree that it is important that young families can afford to live and work within the GTA without having to commute over an hour to get to work
  • 39 per cent agree that there are enough homes being built in my city to help keep housing affordable
  • 33 per cent agree that the GTA is well prepared to provide housing for roughly 115,000 new residents that settle here each year
  • 33 per cent agree that my children (or my friends’ children) will be able to afford a home in my community when they grow up

 

MILLENNIALS MOVING OUT

The best public policy is proactive, not reactive,” says Garry Bhaura, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. “We hope these poll results demonstrate that the time for municipal decision-makers to start thinking about housing choice and supply for all GTA residents who want to own a home is now.”

“In the next decade, we are likely to be part of a significant housing shift in our region, as a large wave of Millennials start looking for a place to live of their own,” adds Wilkes. “Add the estimated 115,000 new residents that come to the GTA every year, and the area will see itself in a housing crisis. I urge voters and candidates to learn more about BILD’s recommendations at buildforgrowth.ca.”

“With a municipal election just a few short weeks away, the public has an opportunity to ask candidates to commit to policies that will make it easier to fill their housing needs,” says John DiMichele, chief executive officer of TREB. “GTA homebuyers do not have adequate choice in housing available for sale or rent, and municipal government policy is one of the key reasons.

DiMichele suggests GTA residents visit UnlockMyHousingOptions.ca to send messages to candidates.

RELATED STORIES

Build For Growth: Housing Affordability

THE ANALYST : Premier Ford: Seven steps to housing affordability

Housing sector calls on Queen’s Park to take immediate action to address home affordability

 

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Real Insight: Behind the Numbers

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Real Insight: Behind the Numbers

A deeper look into the GTA housing market

as president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) for 2018/2019, I’m excited to use this column to help break down the numbers behind the GTA real estate market.

We saw continued positive signs in the market in July 2018, with strong growth in both the number of home sales and the average selling price compared to July 2017.

At 6,961, July sales were up by more than 18 per cent compared to the same month last year. The average price for these sales was $782,129, up by almost 5 per cent compared to July 2017.

These are certainly encouraging figures for the health of the real estate market, which is a key economic engine, and point to initial signs that some people who had moved to the sidelines due to the psychological impact of the Fair Housing Plan, as well as changes to mortgage lending guidelines, have begun to re-enter the market.

Prioritizing Housing Policy Issues

Starting with the recent provincial election and looking forward to the upcoming municipal elections this fall, the TREB has been busy working with elected officials and candidates to ensure that homeownership and housing affordability are a priority on the agendas of policymakers at all levels.

In order to truly make strides in terms of housing affordability, governments must prioritize increasing housing supply, especially the missing middle housing options (home types that bridge the gap between detached houses and condominium apartments), and reducing tax burdens, such as land transfer taxes.

On the latter point, we have clear evidence that residents agree. In a recent poll of 1,200 GTA residents conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in May 2018, 77 per cent of respondents said they supported reducing the provincial land transfer tax, while 68 per cent supported repealing it. Similarly, 76 per cent supported reducing the Toronto municipal land transfer tax, while 69 per cent supported repealing it. Most residents are opposed to land transfer taxes because they are a barrier to homeownership and discourage individuals and families from right-sizing, further constraining the supply of homes available for purchase.

We look forward to working with all elected officials to help provide effective solutions to housing affordability issues such as these and will continue to speak out for homebuyers, sellers and renters.

I also look forward to keeping you informed and updated on activity impacting the GTA’s housing market in the coming months.

GARRY BHAURA is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the greater toronto area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. if commercial property is what interests you, contact a treB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.

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Real Insight: Investing In Yourself

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Real Insight: Investing In Yourself

Owning your own home is one the key determinants of economic and social well being

Owning a home is a sound long-term investment financially and emotionally, from building your wealth to giving you a sense of community. If your home investment is your principle residence, price gains are exempt from capital gains tax. Furthermore, it can also be part of your retirement investment and help grow your nest egg.

Homeownership and housing affordability are two of the key determinants of economic and social wellbeing.

Stable housing provides a foundation for parents’ employment stability and income, children’s educational attainment and a family’s health and civic engagement. Access to homeownership can help families build equity over time, which allows them to save for future life investment goals such as education, health, etc.

And owning your home goes beyond your front door — it means contributing to and becoming part of a vibrant community. TREB supports more than 60 shelter-based initiatives throughout the GTA through contributions and fundraising events. In fact, TREB members recently volunteered and raised $150,000 to help build a new home for a local family at Habitat for Humanity GTA’s build at 140 Pinery Trail in Scarborough.

Your home is also an emotional investment; it provides you with the backdrop for all of life’s most important events, where you gather with friends and family to make lasting memories.

Homeownership is one of the largest financial decisions you will make and, in today’s market, homebuyers and sellers need an advantage. Look to a TREB member realtor, who will use their expertise and knowledge to provide the edge you need while moving through the buying or selling process.

Tim Syrianos is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.

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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

Smart phone apps like TREB’s Collaborate helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey

Every January, the biggest brands in technology and consumer electronics gather in Nevada for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). There are so many exciting new real estate and home technologies, with smart homes taking centre stage at CES 2018. Below are some of the latest innovations I’m most excited about.

In the Home

No discussion about smart homes would be complete without mentioning Amazon Echo and Google Home. These intelligent personal assistants allow you to interact with technology with your voice and have made it more commonplace to conduct internet searches, play music and make online purchases from your home through speech commands.

These assistants have also led to an increase in integrated, voice activated smart home products. Products like the Ring Video Doorbell, a smart doorbell that sends alerts, a live video feed and two-way speaking capabilities to your smart phone whenever someone is at your door.

A number of smart light and vent technologies can now also connect with intelligent personal assistants to dim or cool a home based on voice commands.

The kitchen, in particular, is a place where smart home tech is continuing to grow. The FridgeCam, for example, is a product that can be added to a traditional fridge and can suggest recipes based on what’s in your fridge and even indicate when your groceries will expire. Other kitchen technology currently in development includes inductive heating countertops that will intuitively detect and heat pots and pans, while ensuring plates and utensils on the same surface are not heated.

Real Estate Technology

Virtual reality (VR) will work to empower real estate professionals and their clients to tour spatially accurate 3D renderings of multiple listings without the hassle of travelling to multiple locations.

While many VR headsets are expensive, and the technology has a way to go, companies like the Canadian-based Gryd.com have already created budget cardboard VR headsets that allow people to gain 360 previews of listings.

Augmented reality is another developing technology that will allow realtors to superimpose information onto real world environments. By simply having a buyer hover their smart phone camera over a condominium residence, for example, relevant information on the building’s amenities, units available, and more, could be displayed over the screen.

Other products, like the Bluetooth-enabled Igloohome Smart Keybox, make it so you can conveniently access the contents of a lock box through an app, while e-signature solutions are continuing to remove the need for pen and paper to finalize a property transaction.

Currently, a number of smart phone applications are also helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey. One such apps is Collaborate by TREB, which allows buyers to search properties across multiple devices, communicate with a TREB realtor in real time, and comment and like/dislike properties while sharing this info with your real estate professional.

TIM SYRIANOS is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the greater toronto area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. if commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.

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