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In2ition Realty, other homebuilding industry firms step up to aid in COVID-19 relief

In2ition Realty, other homebuilding industry firms step up to aid in COVID-19 relief

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In2ition Realty, other homebuilding industry firms step up to aid in COVID-19 relief

As challenging as the pandemic has been, there’s also been no shortage of good news, feelgood stories among new home and condo builders, developers, marketers, suppliers and others, as they pitch in to do their part for COVID-19 relief.

Among them is In2ition Realty. The Mississauga, Ont. new home and condo marketing and sales firm has long been involved in charitable initiatives.

“For us, being involved in a charity has been part of our work life and our work culture,” Founder and CEO Debbie Cosic told HOMES Publishing.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, uncovering other needs in the community, and other ways In2ition could help.

“We were looking for a charitable endeavour during these trying times, when many of us were home in the beginning kind of wondering what to do with our time, until more normalcy of our meeting schedules returned,” says Cosic.

Feed Mississauga reached out to In2ition, asking not just for much needed funds, but to help provide some social media and creative expertise to further raise awareness.

“It’s turned out to be very timely for us, that we could really roll up our sleeves and lend a hand,” Cosic says. “The food bank was down 50 per cent in both donations and in volunteers, so they were at a crisis point.”

Other COVID-19 relief initiatives from the homebuilding industry

Kids artwork raising funds for COVID-19 relief

Real estate firms raise more than $200,000 for COVID-19 relief

Flato Developments supporting Ontario frontline workers in fight against COVID-19

Program helps builders get back to business safely after COVID-19

Ambassadors for The Mikey Network aid with coronavirus relief efforts at SickKids


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Back in the saddle - e-bike style

Back in the saddle – E-bike style

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Back in the saddle – E-bike style

There’s an old adage that goes something like: “It’s like riding a bike,” meaning, once you learn, you never forget.

But maybe it’s been years since you’ve used your pedal power, and you’re a little hesitant to climb back in the saddle.

Park those doubts right now, and jump on board with the biggest trend in cycling these days – E-bikes.

Among the 45-plus crowd, especially, these high-tech whips are surging in popularity.

Indeed, E-bikes are becoming so popular that The Toronto International Bicycle Show, a biannual consumer exhibition running for 34 years, this year rebranded to become The Toronto Bicycle Show and E-Bike Expo. E-bike exhibitors have multiplied every year – from five in 2016 to 24 in 2019.

“Things are growing very quickly, with double digit growth year-over-year for the past several seasons,” says Pete Lilly, owner of Sweet Pete’s Bicycle Shop, a Toronto retailer with three locations. “At Sweet Pete’s in downtown Toronto, we’ve seen our year-over-year E-bike sales double the past four years.”

Major manufacturer Trek Bicycle says E-bikes are the company’s fastest growing category in terms of sales and product development.

“We are seeing consistent growth both in volume and in ways an E-bike can change someone’s life,” Taylor Cook, Canadian marketing manager for Trek, told Active Life Magazine.

The 45-plus age group is dominating E-bike growth at Sweet Pete’s. “It’s a good way to get back into cycling if someone has parked their bike for a few years,” says Lilly.

“They’re the great equalizer,” adds Cook. “If your partner is an avid cyclist and you aren’t, E-bikes allow you to ride together.”

E-bikes 101

By now, you may be wondering exactly what an E-bike is. Basically, they fall into three classifications:

  • Class 1, pedal assist, with a top assisted speed of 32 km/h
  • Class 2, pedal assist with a throttle, also running up to 32km/h
  • Class 3, pedal assist, with a top assisted speed of 45 km/h. These are currently not allowed in Canada.

Trek, for example, makes only Class 1 E-bikes.

“Our approach is that it is, first and foremost, a bicycle, amplified with electronics,” says Cook. “This means that as soon as you stop pedalling, the motor stops assisting. Thirty-two km/h is the maximum amount the motor will assist you to. However, you can ride faster than that under your own power. It also means it is a normal riding experience for people who are new to E-bikes, and you can ride the bike with the motor completely off – which is great if you run out of battery.”

The anatomy of an E-bike involves three major components

  • Motor, usually located in the crank area near the pedals
  • Display or controller, usually up on the handlebars, showing your E-bike’s settings, battery power, speed and distance
  • Battery, usually integrated into the downtube (the angled part of the frame connecting the handlebars and front forks to the pedal area); the more watt hour (Wh) in the battery, the more power at your disposal

E-bikes initially made their way into the market sort of as a fringe category, often with large, clunky models that were more of a novelty. Now, you can find E-bikes in virtually every category – mountain, hybrid, road and even cargo bikes – and most large manufacturers are along for the ride.

No matter what your interest may be – from just wanting to get back into cycling, to tackling some rough terrain, running errands without the car or getting out for long journeys – E-bikes can help make it all happen.

“From a commuting standpoint, E-bikes are great tools to get to work consistently, without dripping in sweat, and are way more fun than sitting in traffic,” says Cook. “We just launched the Domane LT+, which is our first E-road bike in Canada, and our e-MTB category continues to evolve and see consistent growth.”

Expect the E-bike market to continue to grow.

“The technology changes fast, so there is a constant flow of new products, and product lines are getting more robust,” says Cook. “We doubled our E-bike business in each of the last two years, and expect to again in 2020. In three years, the technology is only going to get smaller, more integrated, more connected and offer more possibilities for people everywhere. It’s extremely exciting.”

With an E-bike, no ride is too long, no load too heavy and no place your legs can’t carry you.

As the saying goes, “It’s just like riding a bike.”

And it really is. Only easier.

E-bike shopping essentials

Pricing: Like anything – a car, for example – you can spend as much as you want on an E-bike. You can find some around the $1,000 mark, but an inexpensive motor in a low-quality bike can mean ongoing service needs and limited options.

The lowest price E-bike Sweet Pete’s offers is about $2,000, but most of the bikes in the category in the store are in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

“The value of E-bikes depends on perspective,” says Lilly. “Looking at it as a bicycle, it seems expensive. Looking at it as an alternative to a car, the price seems extremely low.”

Safety: Laws in Canada say the motors must stop providing assistance when the bike reaches 32 km/hr (you can easily go a lot faster than that, downhill on a regular bike). This restriction keeps the overall speed of E-bikes at a manageable level that most riders will find safe.

“The better-quality E-bikes are designed with more safety features to prevent the bikes from feeling ‘jerky’ when power is applied to the pedals,” Lilly says. “Torque sensors allow the bikes to get up to speed in a predictable way so the bike doesn’t pull away from the rider.”

Concerns over safety are lessened when dealing with a more mature customer, he adds. “A rider who respects the fact that an E-bike has the potential for more power and speed than a traditional bike is ahead of the game, and will be safe aboard an E-bike.”

Use: What do you want to do with an E-bike? There are models designed for efficient commuting, some for carrying kids or cargo, and some for just simple comfort and fun.

Different brands will use different motors and batteries, which determine performance. “What, in the end, will be the most telling is a test ride,” Lilly says. “Giant and Trek bikes ride differently, and a test ride will speak to a rider about which one is the ‘right’ one.”

Photos: Trek Canada


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In Conversation With… Stella Salvador, principal interior designer, Tridel

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In Conversation With… Stella Salvador, principal interior designer, Tridel

If you love design and decor, and you strive to be a professional designer for a new home or condo builder, it doesn’t get much better than Tridel – one of Canada’s largest developers and builders of condominium residences. With more than eight decades and more than 85,000 homes, title of the 2019 Ontario Homebuilder of the Year from the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, and now a high tech showcase in downtown Toronto at Ten York called the Innovation Suite, well… Stella Salvador, Principal Interior Designer, has indeed reached a pinnacle.

We spoke to Salvador for her thoughts on this latest milestone project, and her other expert design and decor insights.

Stella Salvador

Let’s start with something very recent and top of mind – the Innovation Suite at Ten York. Clearly, there’s some very impressive home tech on display there. What is the ultimate objective in displaying this technology? Purely as a showcase, or to educate buyers on what’s to come, or…?

We used the Ten York suite as a design lab where we could experiment with various innovations in design, construction and technology. There is a push and pull of design elements, and technology is now another element that needs to be incorporated thoughtfully into suite design. The intention behind the Ten York suite was to create a modern suite with connectivity, comfort and convenience, while seamlessly integrating technology into our design. We’re using smart technologies more in our communities and we wanted to integrate this directly into our suite to find even more conveniences and enjoy new luxuries, while also introducing new opportunities to build community and connection with the rest of the building’s residents and amenities. The interior design elements are taken to a new level in the planning, use of space, lighting, furniture, finishes and fixtures. There was a significant amount of research done before selecting the features, so now that the suite has come together, it’s very exciting to describe the design. The Ten York suite is actually our fourth innovation suite, so far.

How soon might we see some of these features be offered as upgrades at Tridel projects?

Many features can be easily incorporated into our available suite options, while other design items will still need to be reviewed with our teams to ensure we can provide the detail efficiently before being offered as a personalization option. Some features which may be more complicated likely won’t be offered, but we would still try to accommodate in the homeowner’s suite design if requested.


The future of condominium living on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite at Ten York

Hines Canada and Tridel achieve Toronto’s first condo LEED Platinum Certification for Aqualina at Bayside

Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel

Will they be offered as upgrades only at Tridel’s high end luxury projects and suites, or will they be rolled out across the board?

Homeowners can determine what’s important to them regardless of suite level. Some features may do well in a larger square footage, and other details would work well in any environment. If it’s possible to implement within the homeowner’s suite design and layout, who are we to limit their design vision?

What will be the pricing structure for these upgrades?

If they are offered as personalization options through our design studio, then the item will be systematized into our catalogue and made available during design appointments at The Lobby with our design services team. Our teams will assemble all the necessary steps required.

The flooring technology is interesting, especially given the current pandemic, in that it functionally helps clean the air inside the suite. How might concerns for cleanliness and air quality drive demand for other home tech features going forward?

Good design is about the wellness and benefit of people, and making your home work for you. We set the stage with calming natural biophilic elements to bring the outside in where we highlight the amazing views of the lake and city from the 68th floor, the natural patterns of the oak cathedral grain wall paneling and the bold veining in the marble. Using innovative wood flooring to improve the indoor air quality is so critical for wellbeing. The voice-activated features offer comfort through accessibility, allowing for ease of use with lighting, sound shade control, and even turning fixtures on without even pressing a button. The kitchen faucet operates by gesture, so no touch is involved to turn the faucet on or off.

Generally speaking, what are some of the larger design trends you see happening at the moment?

The design of wellness really speaks to me. Using more sustainable and natural materials, layering textures and matte colours that give a sense of beauty and comfort to those that occupy it. Design doesn’t have to be laid out like a textbook, but it must be personal as our homes are used as our own sanctuary.

People aren’t interested in specific trends but rather a timelessness style. And style is equal to lifestyle. They are mixing vintage with modern, mixing metals and including matte black.

And where do you see things going, say, in the next three to five years? More luxury? More convenience and automation and smart tech? More “healthy living”?

We’re looking at a laid back and livable luxury with comfortable and relaxed spaces curated for the personal needs of the homeowner. Luxury comes from the quality of lifestyle. With so many sources of design images for inspiration, people want to create a unique space for them. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. Technology and smart home features will continue to be thoughtfully implemented. As the population ages, it becomes very real the need for universal design that is well designed.

Tridel Stella Salvador

You’ve been at Tridel for more than 15 years. How have new condo design and decor elements changed in that time, – such as the trend to smaller suites or new consumer demands?

Condo design has always been about thinking outside the box and an intelligent use of space. There are considerations to condo design that are universal, regardless of size, such as maximizing your space and your storage capability. Sustainable and smart home features are becoming more popular as they become more mainstream.

What has been the single most significant design and decor improvement or change you’ve seen in your years as a designer? Cultural influence, new materials, consumer demands, home tech, Green living?

Forget preconceived notions. Design is driven by what is important to you.

What’s the next great design or decor feature we’re going to see from Tridel – outside of the Innovation Suite?

We have a culture of innovation because we know innovation equals growth and opportunity, so we’re always trying new things. Right now, we are working on expanding our suite of smart home features, Tridel Connect, and its capability for ultimate connectivity for the community.

And on a personal note…

My greatest inspiration in the design world is:

One of my influences is Italian renaissance architect Piero Lissoni. He always inspires me when I have a chance to hear him speak or view his work. The culture of design is loosening up and tossing out traditional rules of what makes a space effective. The focus is more of a humanistic approach rather than following trends.

If I wasn’t an interior designer, I would:

Still be part of the building industry in some way. I have been influenced by architecture from elementary school and creating meaningful spaces is the purpose I have always envisioned for myself.

When I’m not at the office, I’m:

Enjoying spending time with my favourite people – my husband and three children and travelling together when we can. Those opportunities create wonderful memories that I treasure. I learn so much from them and their perspectives!


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Mississauga is standing out from the crowd

Mississauga – standing out from the crowd

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Mississauga – standing out from the crowd

Mississauga has always been a city of noteworthy accomplishments, from its inception as a city in 1974 combining the former townships of Lakeview, Cooksville, Lorne Park, Clarkson, Erindale, Sheridan, Dixie, Meadowvale Village, Malton, Port Credit and Streetsville; to being home to Canada’s longest-serving mayor, Hazel McCallion, from 1978 to 2014.

You might expect such a track record of ambition from one of the most populous – and fastest-growing – municipalities in Canada.

Covering a huge swath of land – 288 square kms, 13 km of which front Lake Ontario – Mississauga comprises many distinct neighbourhoods and communities. The former town of Port Credit, for example, once a sleepy little industrial locale, home to the iconic – and smelly – St. Lawrence Starch Co. plant from 1890 to 1990, today is a much sought-after residential area, thanks to its prized waterfront location.

Local histories

Many of these areas host annual festivals that pay respect to local histories. Streetsville, for example, holds its annual Bread and Honey Festival, paying homage to the area’s roots as a mill town. And Port Credit’s Mississauga Waterfront Festival and the Southside Shuffle blues and jazz festival display everything that the community has to offer.

With McCallion running the show over 12 consecutive terms, until she stepped aside and Bonnie Crombie won the election in 2014, Mississauga was known as a city of growth. McCallion consistently boasted she oversaw among the lowest taxes in Canada and made it easy for companies to do business there. Today, the area is home to more than 60 Fortune 500 companies, including Laura Secord Chocolates, Honeywell Aerospace, Walmart Canada and Kellogg’s Canada.

Getting around Mississauga is, well, you are travelling over a vast area, and traffic these days… But Hwys. 401, 403, 410 and the QEW all run for stretches through the city, and there’s no shortage of GO Transit and Mississauga MiWay Transit options.

Waterfront recreation

For sports and recreation, again Mississauga is blessed with numerous recreational winter and summer sports leagues with decades of local history. Using the Streetsville example again, the Vic Johnston Community Centre dates back to 1961, and sits adjacent to Memorial Park and the Credit River.

And, following the Credit River down to Port Credit, Memorial Arena is another beautiful old barn, sitting adjacent to Memorial Park and facing Lake Ontario. The park itself serves as host location for some of the area’s largest festivals.

Then there’s the Paramount Fine Foods Centre (formerly Hershey Centre), where the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga Steelheads play, and which also is home to a number of community rinks.

Location, location, location

More than 288 square kms, 13 kms fronting Lake Ontario; bounded by Oakville, Milton, Brampton, Toronto and Lake Ontario

Key landmarks

  • Living Arts Centre
  • Mississauga Celebration Square
  • Paramount Fine Foods Centre
  • Sheridan College Business School
  • Square One Shopping Centre
  • University of Toronto Mississauga

Select housing developments

20/Twenty Towns by Consulate Development Group

Amber at Pinnacle Uptown & Perla Towers at Pinnacle Uptown by Pinnacle International

Brightwater by DiamondCorp.

Brightwater by Dream

Brightwater by Fram+Slokker

Brightwater by Kilmer Group

Canopy Towers by Liberty Development Corp.

Condominiums at Square One District by The Daniels Corporation

Exchange District by Camrost Felcorp

Lakeview Village by Lakeview Community Partners

Oro at Edge Towers by Solmar Development Corp.

Tanu Condos by Edenshaw Developments

Westport Condos By Edenshaw Developments


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Broccolini River & Fifth

Broccolini preparing for market return with hiring push, plans for Toronto

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Broccolini preparing for market return with hiring push, plans for Toronto

Canadian industrial, commercial and residential real estate developer Broccolini is ramping up hiring activity in anticipation of when market activity returns.

It also has plans for expansion in the Toronto residential market.

Broccolini River & Fifth
River & Fifth, at 5 Defries St., along the banks of Toronto’s Don River

The Montreal-based company, also with projects in Toronto and Ottawa, is looking to fill several positions in the coming weeks, ranging from planning to construction to property management.

“We are proud to have been able to keep our entire team employed throughout the pandemic, with the exception of the day labourers directly affected by the closure of the construction sites,” says Anthony Broccolini, chief operating officer at Broccolini. “Our exceptional positioning in the real estate market is now affording us the opportunity to further expand our team following these difficult times.”

Positions are available in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Strong growth projected

Once construction activities resume, Broccolini says its expectations for growth are excellent, thanks to a full backlog of contracted projects; a reflection of the quality, scale and prestige of the various industrial, commercial and residential projects the company has delivered over the last few years.

To carry out the projects already underway, and those that will be launching in the coming months, Broccolini is looking to hire a senior project manager, manager of real estate development, site superintendent and more.”

While we expect sales velocity to take some time to return to pre-COVID levels, the fundamental imbalance remains between supply and demand in the residential market in Toronto,” Phil Brennen, associate vice-president, real estate development, told Condo Life.

“The bottleneck that existed before the pandemic, which is essentially a function of approvals processes that have seen cycle times of three years or more, has been closed off completely as already overworked staff at the City have unable to accept new submissions. Add to that the fact that a number of projects that were slated for launch this spring and summer have been pushed back indefinitely, and you potentially have a major issue with supply. So, though demand for new units may initially be slower when activity resumes, the units available for buyers will be significantly diminished. As a result, the expectation is that while velocity will take some time to come back to normal levels, pricing will not soften.

Bullish on Toronto

“At the end of the day – particularly in times of uncertainty – residential real estate in a rapidly growing global city remains a safe and desirable investment,” Brennen says.

Broccolini has two large residential highrise projects underway in Toronto, in downtown east. River & Fifth, at 580 units and 38 storeys, was under construction until the industry-wide pause in activity.

“Once the provincial government gives the okay, excavation and shoring work will continue,” Brennen says.

The second project, at 385 units and 34 storeys, is close to the finish line for approvals, he says. The intent was to launch sales in the summer, though this will be reviewed depending on the timing of the return to the “new normal.”

Broccolini has several sites in the works, and is actively pursuing new acquisitions during the current slowdown, says Brennen.

“We believe strongly in Toronto’s high-density residential market and will continue to invest a significant portion or our resources in new deals in the months and years ahead.”

Broccolini is a single-source provider of planning, construction and property management services for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Its real estate management subsidiary manages a portfolio of more than 50 properties, representing a total of more than 6.5 million sq. ft. of assets.


Homebuyer intentions still high: HPG COVID-19 Real Estate Survey

How buyers can prepare for the busy buying season – post-COVID-19

Why Canadians should think long term in real estate – especially now



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The Godfather II home for sale

Make an offer they can’t refuse – The Godfather II home for sale

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Make an offer they can’t refuse – The Godfather II home for sale

A home in the Fleur du Lac Estates on Lake Tahoe that was used for a number of scenes in The Godfather Part II, including the Fredo Corleone lake murder, and the Michael and Kay Corleone machine-gun attack in their bedroom, is for sale at US$5.5 million.

Fleur du Lac represented the film version of the Corleone-family and their move to Nevada to sell their interests in their Las Vegas casinos as part of the plan to make the mob family more legitimate. Actually located on the California side of the lake, it is now an exclusive development that was originally built in 1938 by 300 workers in just 29 days for industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Kaiser, who built the Hoover Dam and many of World War II’s military ships and aircraft.

Now a luxurious private resort, Fleur du Lac spans 15 acres with 22 private townhomes with the yacht club and marina open to all residents. In addition to tennis courts, there is an exercise facility with locker rooms and steam showers, heated pool and jacuzzi and a private beach. The yacht club has a guest apartment named the Kaiser Suite and there is an outdoor terrace for scenic viewing, a bocce ball court and private marina with personal boat slips. On-site concierge management oversees resort services and there is also a property vehicle and driver available.

Originally, the Fleur du Lac property developer’s own home when the townhomes were added in the 1980s, the 4,200-sq.-ft. home with four bedrooms and five full baths is located in a prime position lakeside. Renovated and updated to 21st-century standards, many of its original touches remain such as the interior carved-wood columns, beamed ceilings and walls of glass with lake and mountain views. Large stone fireplaces grace the Great Room, library/media room, two of the four guest suites and master suite that turn chilly evenings into warm gathering places. The chef’s kitchen is a beautiful spot for an intimate meal or breakfast overlooking the lake but is outfitted on a scale large enough to feed a sizable crowd. The stairs off the foyer lead to the second-floor bedroom suites where the hallway is washed in light from the rooftop cupola.

The home is selling completely furnished and priced at US$5.5 million.


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How buyers can prepare for the busy buying season – post-COVID-19

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How buyers can prepare for the busy buying season – post-COVID-19

Spring is typically busy season in real estate, but this year, COVID-19 has brought the market to a slowdown.

One day soon, though – and we hope very soon – things will return to “normal,” and consumers will be back looking for new homes and condos in the GTA and elsewhere, driving the housing market and the economy.

In the meantime, prospective homebuyers can take advantage of this expert advice from a who’s who of new home marketing executives.


Before COVID-19, the spring market was shaping up to be very strong, based on early sales results so far this year. With historic lows in inventory, especially in the GTA, new lows in interest rates and changes to the mortgage stress test, sales are already very brisk.

The outskirts of the GTA will continue to provide affordable options. Locations such as Brantford, Ancaster, Hamilton, Newcastle and Barrie will continue to offer lowrise alternatives for homebuyers. In Toronto and elsewhere in the GTA, lowrise homes will continue to become available in the form of stacked, back-to-back and traditional townhomes. In the city, the future for lowrise alternatives will continue to be the redevelopment of potential B and C class mom and pop commercial plazas along transit lines.

In the highrise market, we will see a major uptick in 905 sales, as end users and investors see greater value in price per square foot, with continued concerns about pricing in the city. Developers will continue to make units smaller to drive sales in the core, and a new market will emerge north of Eglinton, with better availability of two- and three-bedroom condos for first-time buyers and families wishing to stay in the city.

At the end of the day, always buy within your means and with your family’s best interests at heart.

Joseph Bozzo
Spectrum Sky
Vaughan, Ont.

More than 60 per cent of annual new home sales usually occur in a four month period in spring, and with the right preparation, you could experience the joy of buying a home.

1. Eliminate emotion through preparation
A new home purchase will be one of the biggest events of your life, and often an emotionally charged situation. We spend more time preparing to buy a new pair of $100 shoes than we do $1-million property. Uncertainty causes confusion, and confusion leads to indecision and inaction. Knowledge, on the other hand, leads to confidence, and confidence leads to power – so get prepared.

2. Set your priorities
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Focus on your target by creating a Motivation and Housing Needs chart. On the left column, list your (and your partner’s) motivations, such as marriage, family or a new job. On the right column, list your housing needs, noting how your life changes affect your housing needs. This isn’t a wish list, but a very real and practical definition of your current and maybe anticipated housing needs. This step will clearly define your priorities.

3. Dare to compare
If you have selected potential locations and housing types, it’s time to create a spreadsheet and write it all down. List the builder, site and home type on the left, and across the top note the location, home size, financing, price, features and finishings. Give each of these key points a score from one (the least desirable) to five (the most), and come up with a total score for each selected home. The objective is to narrow your favoured choices to two.

4. Know your costs
This is the most fundamental part of the homebuying process, but it’s also the one where people are the most unprepared. The mortgage stress test adds a significant variable to the approval process. How much can you afford? Will you have to “drive till you qualify”? What are your anticipated closing costs? Do you have all the funds necessary? That’s a lot of questions, but the good news is that all of the major banks can help you through this process. Take advantage of this guidance and prepare yourself – well before you attend any open houses or new home openings.

5. Take action
Finally, don’t be indecisive. Once you have conquered the first four steps, you are ready to take action – with confidence.

Andrew Brethour
Chairman & CEO
PMA Brethour Realty Group
Markham, Ont.


Considering the way prices are these days, it is essential that prospective buyers, as a first step, get pre-approved for a mortgage. And be aggressive about finding financing. If you don’t have the full deposit, you can always go to a B lender for a second mortgage or line of credit. Some buyers are fortunate enough to be able to obtain funds from the “Bank of Mom and Pop.”

If all else fails, look at purchasing a unit with a friend or family member for co-ownership. You can both live in it as roommates, or sell it outright and take the profit as your seed deposit money for your own individual units.

My point is: Move heaven and earth to get into the market. Prices are going up, and supply is still very tight, which bodes well for owners. If you postpone, as the years pass, prices will be even higher, and you’ll wish you’d gotten into the market years ago. Think about how happy homeowners who bought several years ago are today, having seen their financial investment grow.

Remember, too, that whether you buy a condo, townhouse, semi- or single detached house, it doesn’t have to be in Toronto or the GTA. Keep an open mind and you’ll find great affordability in markets such as Hamilton, Kitchener and even Picton.

Expand your horizons and be prepared to try alternative methods for attaining homeownership. In the end, it will all be worth it.

Debbie Cosic
Founder & CEO
In2ition Realty
Mississauga, Ont.


New home sales were off to a great start this year, and developers are working hard to offer more affordable housing solutions and incentives. If you’re in the market for a new home or condo, it’s definitely a great time to buy.

Just make sure you know what you want (or really need) and have shopped the competition to ensure you’re investing in the right neighbourhood, product and builder.

Consider locations outside Toronto and elsewhere in the GTA that are close to transit. Places such as Hamilton and Milton are especially hot, with some exciting new projects geared toward first-time buyers. Meanwhile, pockets of Pickering and Ajax still offer exceptional value for growing families.

We’re also seeing a lot of empty nesters eyeing cottage country in locations such as Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Huntsville, where you’ll find beautiful, four-season lifestyles, complemented by the same urban amenities you’d find in the city.

Tami Kenwell
Madhouse Advertising


In Toronto and elsewhere in the GTA, demand will continue to exceed supply for the foreseeable future. We are looking at ongoing population growth from immigration and migration, as Toronto continues its role as an international city and economic hub. Market prices will only increase as time goes on. With the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto already more than $2,500 per month, a new condo is still a wise and likely lucrative investment.

Carefully selecting the right location is a key starting point; location, location, location has long been the mantra for real estate. Choose a building in an up and coming area for a better price point, or in an established neighbourhood where you’re likely to pay a little more. Either way, buy the best condo and suite you can for the money, keeping in mind your lifestyle. Proximity to transit is also important; consider that investors usually purchase close to mass transit, since that’s a feature that appeals to renters. It’s all common sense.

This market will not change overnight, and may never change. We are still in a low-interest-rate environment… and who knows how long that will last? If you are in a position to get into the condominium ownership market, my advice is to buy now, rather than later.

Barbara Lawlor
President & CEO
Baker Real Estate Inc.


Friends often ask me where the best value in the GTA is, since I have been marketing new homes and condos for 25 years. What area has the best opportunity for appreciation?

I usually recommend heading east, to Courtice, Ajax, Bowmanville, Oshawa… really anywhere in Durham or Clarington is a great option for new-home buyers today. East GTA offers very affordable pricing compared to the west, as well as every feature you could ever need, including regular GO Transit service to downtown Toronto, easy access to the lake and beautiful conservation areas for hikes. There are excellent schools, tons of shopping and a great family lifestyle. The east is where it’s at!

I would also advise prospective buyers to explore the federal government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program which offers a down payment boost of up to 10 per cent. It doesn’t need to paid back until you sell your home, at which time the government will share in the equity you have built up over time. It’s an excellent opportunity that not enough people are taking advantage of yet.

Lianne McOuat
Vice-President, Strategy
McOuat Partnership
Markham, Ont.


Spring is typically the busy season in real estate, and this year the market in southern Ontario looked like it was really going to heat up. But this area is so popular year-round it’s unique: Traditional seasonality is quickly blurring. High demand, combined with a shortage of housing supply, ensure this trend will continue. In resale, for every house listed for sale there is a buyer ready and waiting. The best thing buyers can do to ensure they get what they want, when they want, is to get themselves in the ready position.

Despite mainstream media suggesting it is next to impossible to purchase a home here, opportunities present themselves all the time, especially to those who are ready to go. New homes provide a great option. By signing up for mailing lists of reputable builders in your areas of interest, prospective buyers will be the first to know when a community is coming, what the housing options are and what the price points will be. This process, and the information that comes with it, gives buyers knowledge to make informed decisions, better positioning them for their next move.

Fraser M. Wilson
Senior Vice-President
International Home Marketing Group
Toronto, Ont.



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Local Focus - Toronto

Toronto – in demand and on the rise

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Toronto – in demand and on the rise

Largely considered the pinnacle of the condo boom we’re seeing these days, Toronto still does boast some good lowrise home options. Supply and pricing of those homes, however, is another matter.

That’s what happens when you combine a strong economy and rising population with limited new and resale home supply.

Indeed, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is forecasting at least 10-per-cent price growth in the GTA this year to $900,000, up from $819,319 in 2019. And on the new home side, 2020 began on a strong note, with 2,106 total new home sales in January, up 65 per cent from January 2019 and 14 per cent above the 10-year average, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). The benchmark price for new single-family homes was $1.09 million.

Booming economy

“Toronto’s booming economy has brought with it housing affordability challenges that will continue throughout the next decade,” says Frank Clayton, senior research fellow, Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research & Land Development.

“Both the provincial and municipal governments must support a massive increase in the supply of all types of housing and tenures as priority number one and quickly transform the land use planning system to make this happen.”

Long considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Toronto boasts a collection of distinct communities, including East York, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke.

Some of these areas, in fact, now represent areas of growth for new lowrise housing, given that larger master-planned communities of single-detached homes are fewer and farther between. Much of the focus now is on the socalled missing middle, those smaller developments such as townhomes that represent a real opportunity for new ground-oriented homes in the city.

Culture and entertainment

Find a way to buy and live in Toronto, however, and you likely will love it.

Toronto offers a vast array of culture and entertainment options, from the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum and more.

For the sporting sort, Toronto has a handful of pro sports teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts – and is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is an annual event celebrating the film industry and attracts many movie stars and a-list players. And the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly known as Caribana, attracts more than one million people every summer.

Other points of interest include the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario Science Centre, Harbourfront, Fort York, the Distillery District, Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower and the Canadian National Exhibition.

And of course, as a large metropolitan city, great shopping areas include the St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens and Yorkdale Mall.

Though a subject of some debate due to the challenges with keeping up with all the growth, transit and highway infrastructure is undergoing major expansion all over the city. The TTC moves almost two million people throughout the city every day on subway, buses, streetcars and LRT lines, while GO Transit links Toronto with the surrounding regions of the GTA. Highways include the 400 series (401, 403, 404, 407 and 427), the Don Valley Parkway and the Queen Elizabeth Highway.

Location, location, location

This provincial capital of Ontario and the most populated city in Canada is located on the shores of Lake Ontario; Population 2,954,024

Key landmarks

  • CN Tower
  • High Park
  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Ripley’s Aquarium
  • Toronto Eaton Centre

Select housing developments

East Station by Mattamy Homes

Fairfield Towns by Plaza

Lake & Town by Menkes

Origins of Don Mills by Mattamy Homes

Terraces at Eglinton by Nascent Developments

The Belmont Residences by Caliber Homes

The New Lawrence Heights by Context Dev. Inc.

The New Lawrence Heights by Metropia

Twelve on the Ravine by Geranium


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Humber Bay, Etobicoke

Why Canadians should think long term in real estate – especially now

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Why Canadians should think long term in real estate – especially now

Humber Bay, Etobicoke

Unprecedented doesn’t even begin to describe it. A few weeks ago, we awaited an exceptionally active spring real estate market in the GTA, buoyed by the recent easing of mortgage regulations and interest rates.

Now, however, instead of seeing a spike in buying activity, we’re hunkering down, battening down the hatches and riding out the COVID-19 crisis, all in an attempt to flatten the curve.

Historic, surreal and unbelievable might be more suitable adjectives to describe these times.

And under such circumstances, with normal life routine displaced by the daunting and unknown, people naturally tend to worry.

In real estate, if location, location, location is the No. 1 rule of thumb, thinking long term is right there along with it, as 1A.

We’ve been through similar challenging times: The 1989 recession, Y2K, 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008-09 and SARS. Now we face COVID-19.

At times of economic uncertainty and extreme stress in the marketplace, people always revert to their number one emotional and financial investment – their home. People trust real estate. Buying that first condo, a new home for their growing family, downsizing once the kids move out or renovating the place you already love.

And, so it will be again.

Long-term lift

But don’t take our word for it. Consider, for example this report from the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), a national group of investors which bases everything it does on independent research.

According to the REIN Special Report: The Coronavirus’ Impact on Canadian Real Estate, Canadian real estate will see an immediate cool-down – but a long-term lift. We may see a temporary decrease in GDP growth, but key drivers of real estate such as population growth and increased foreign capital, demand and property values will eventually rise.

“It’s still premature to predict how the coronavirus outbreak will be resolved, but data suggests that panic will only worsen the country’s economic situation,” says Jennifer Hunt, REIN’s vice-president of research. “There is reason to be alert, but there’s absolutely no reason to further raise alarm and cause more public fear. In fact, as a Canadian real estate investor, this may represent a buying opportunity for investors, with a likely future positive lift in rental and housing markets.”

Open for business

It might be a stretch to say it’s “business as usual,” but life does have to go on, as soon and as safely as possible. New home builders and developers are open for business, are accepting presentation centre visits to by appointment only, and as much as possible are moving communications to digital.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada recently lowered its influential overnight rate target twice in less than two weeks – from 1.75 to 1.25 per cent on March 4, then again to 0.75 per cent on March 16. Canada’s Big Five banks are following suit by lowering mortgage rates, and they, too, are increasingly going digital to facilitate business.


All of this means the opportunities to buy are still there (though with a modified process), with less short-term competition and a more buyer-friendly mortgage and borrowing landscape.

Indeed, as challenging as these times may be, it’s even more important to focus on the long term. And on that front, new-home ownership in the GTA is still a solid investment.


GTA home price growth to hit 10 per cent this year: TRREB

Outlook 2020 – 5 things you need to know about real estate this year

Get ready for a hot market in the GTA this spring




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Midtown Toronto

Midtown Toronto – Where exactly is that?

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Midtown Toronto – Where exactly is that?

Mention Midtown Toronto to people, and they generally react in one of two ways. “Where exactly is that?? – the inference being that in a growing city of this size, pinpointing where the centre is difficult, to say the least.

And once realizing “Midtown” is roughly defined by Bloor Street to the south, Eglinton Avenue to the north, Bayview to the east and around Dufferin Street to the west, people often think “Old Toronto.”

And in the context of real estate, that means high-priced.

Increasingly accessible

Indeed, with neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Forest Hill, Deer Park, Summerhill and Yonge & Eglinton, Midtown is generally affluent and exclusive. Signature detached homes in any of these areas can easily run into the multi-million-dollar range.

However, new developments coming on the scene, particularly some landmark highrise condominiums, are making the area increasingly accessible to a variety of residents.

Once commonly known as “Yonge & Eligible,” due to its popularity among young single professionals, Yonge and Eglinton is quickly becoming one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods, appealing to a variety of lifestyles.

Boasting five-star restaurants, boutiques, diverse retail services, schools and corporate head offices, residents have plenty of options for work and play right out their front door.

Crosstown traffic

If a great midtown location isn’t enough, proximity to transit is also a significant appeal of this area, being right on the Yonge Street subway line. And come 2021, moving about the city will get even easier, with the expected opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

Slightly off the beaten trail, wander over to nearby Davisville Village, Mount Pleasant Village and Forest Hill Village for a taste of what that Old Toronto was like, still with small, independent shops and nice little parkettes.

Location, location, location

Bloor Street to the south, Eglinton Avenue to the north, Bayview Avenue to the east and around Dufferin Street to the west.

Key landmarks

  • Yonge Eglinton Centre
  • Casa Loma
  • Spadina Park
  • Forest Hill Village
  • Davisville Village
  • Mount Pleasant Village

Select condo projects

44 Broadway by Collecdev

609 Avenue Road Condos by Madison Group

609 Avenue Road Condos by State Building Group

Avenue & Park by Stafford Homes

Keewatin by Freed Developments

Sixty Five Broadway by Times Group Corp.

The Millwood by Times Group Corp.

Untitled. Toronto by Reserve Properties, Westdale Properties and Pharrell Williams


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