By: Thomas Cook

Only A Week Left To Get Free Money From Thin Air

Are You A 1st-Time Buyer  Planning To Purchase In The Next 3-12 Months? If your down payment is all in cash in the bank or in GICs or term deposits, you need to check your RRSP contribution amount on your last Notice of Assessment from Revenue Canada right away. You've only got a week left (must contribute by March 3rd, 2014) to take advantage of the tax break offered by the Federal Government's Home Buyer Plan. First-time buyers can contribute up to $25,000 to their RRSP and get a tax refund for doing so. If you contributed the full $25,000 and were in a 35% tax bracket you could get approximately $8,000 back as a tax refund depending on your annual income a...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Listing Photos - Do They Tell The Whole Story?

These days, if a property is marketed correctly, you have access to multiple photos, perhaps a virtual tour or property video and maybe an online feature sheet to look at. Theoretically you've got everything available that you need to make an educated buying decision right? All of these items really do help you to narrow down your home search and help you to pick out homes that you want to see in person. However often the listing agent doesn't do a good job of taking photos or offers only one or two views of the home. Maybe there's no video or feature sheet either. You shouldn't risk ruling out a home that could possibly fit your needs once you've walked in the do...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Regent Park In Toronto Is Making A Comeback

I moved to Toronto in 1980 and always Regent Park was a 'no-go' area but things have changed dramatically since the building revolution started there almost 8 years ago. Now new buildings, new connecting roadways, new facilities and new amenities all have combined to make this a fabulous new, attractive neighbourhood for Toronto. In total there are five new condo buildings built so far with more to come. New rental buildings replace the ones torn down plus additional geared-to-income suites are being constructed.  All in all a tremendous effort by the City of Toronto / Daniels partnership. The added facilities are quite impressive... an aquatic centre, a six-...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

TD Chief Economist Craig Alexander Comments On 2014 Outlook For Toronto Real Estate

Last Wednesday evening TD Canada Trust presented their Chief Economist Craig Alexander at an 'invitation-only' presentation for RE/MAX Hallmark agents and their clients. Some of his comments were expected - some not so much.  Here's a point summary of what he had to say. Even with the bond buying rate dropping off, Canadian interest rates won't move till late 2015 TD Bank is now the 2nd largest bank in Canada and the 8th largest in the USA with more branches there than in Canada Large numbers of new and resale housing sales generate a consumer spending boom - people will want to fill their new properties with new stuff NO signs of a...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Toronto Real Estate Sales Up Mid-February, Listings Down

The Toronto Real Estate Board has announced in its February mid-month recap that home sales increased by 1.3 per cent in the first 14 days of February 2014 compared to the same time last year, while new listings decreased by 6.1 per cent. According to Dianne Usher, the president of the Toronto Real Estate Board: "Sales growth has rebounded so far in February after a slow start to the year in January. While new listings were still down in comparison to last year, the annual rate of decline was less than experienced last month. This may point to an improvement in the listings situation moving forward, which would help alleviate some of the pent-up demand that currently exists ...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Low Single-Family Home Inventories Continue To Plague Toronto’s Market

Sales were a bit below average for January with 4,135 houses and condominiums changing hands in all the districts. Condo townhouses and high-rise suites had a 34% share of the market with 1,392 units changing hands. The January average sale price for all GTA homes came in at $526,528– up 9% from 2012.  I’ll show you a graph of the average sale prices over the past several years in just a moment. The active listing inventory is one of the strongest indicators of how smooth or outrageous the market is going to be.  We had a 4% decline in inventory for the month of January compared to historical numbers and lower by 16% from last year at this time. The s...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Survey: Home Ownership Important To Ontario's Generation X and Generation Y

A new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association has found that a large majority of Ontario Generation Y and Generation Xers (Gen Y = born 1977-1994, Gen X = born 1966-1976) are more interested in owning a home and think that owning a home makes more sense than renting. "A large majority of younger Ontarians believe that owning a home makes more sense than renting. They also have a positive perception of the economy and the current residential real estate market in Ontario, both of which are important considerations in the decision to buy a home. Insights like these help us understand the motivation for younger people to buy homes," said...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Not All Toronto Real Estate Board Agents Are Equal

One of the criteria in any business or profession when you're deciding who to work with is what is the level of their experience.  With professions such as accounting or medicine, we just assume that the practitioner has had lots of training and is experienced in what we want him or her to do. In the case of specialists such as lawyers who are litigators, you wouldn't want them doing a divorce or a real estate transaction.  Same with a brain surgeon - they probably  wouldn't do so well with doing heart surgery. In the real estate profession, the public tends to think that all Realtors are equal - everyone having the same level of knowledge and experienc...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Two-Bedroom Toronto Condo Rents Increase

Condo-buying investors might be pleased to know that the Toronto Real Estate Board has reported an 18 per cent increase in condo rentals during Q4 of 2013, compared to the same time last year. Rents for two-bedroom condos increased by 3.7 per cent in the 4th quarter over the same time last year, to $2,165. One-bedroom average rent dropped by 1.6 per cent, but remains at $1,600. "The construction of purpose-built rental properties has been a tough sell over the past decade," said Dianne Usher, Toronto Real Estate Board president. "This means that investor-owned condominium apartments in popular neighbourhoods close to work and leisure opportunities have been focused...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Counting Your Blessings, Or Feeling Grateful?

“Counting your blessings” isn’t really being grateful. Yes, it’s bound to lead to some level of gratitude when you take a break, reflect and realize all the good things you have in your life. But you could do this – and some people probably do – without feeling especially grateful. It’s more difficult to do the latter. Especially when there are things for which you’re thankful that you wouldn’t exactly count among your “blessings.” But, as I’ve written before, we should be thankful not just for the sunshine and rainbows in our lives, but for the difficult times as well. The challenges and trials of your life hav...Read More