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3 hurdles the GTA housing market will have to overcome in 2019, according to experts





Toronto new condo market

Photo: James Bombales

While 2018 had no shortage of hurdles for the GTA housing market to overcome, it’s looking like 2019 may not be any easier.

The year started off with the gut punch of a new mortgage stress test, after the market had already spent months trying to adjust to the Ontario government’s Fair Housing Plan.

Now, heading into the new year, it faces historically low rental vacancy rates, lagging housing activity, and climbing interest rates.

For a closer look at these issues, Livabl has rounded up the latest industry commentary, to keep you in the know.

A serious shortage of rental units

With more and more people moving to Toronto every month, the city’s rental market is bursting at the seams.

Its rental vacancy rate currently sits at just 1.8 per cent, according to the latest report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The record low comes at a time when strong income growth is pushing rents up on a month-over-month basis.

“In Toronto, apartment rents grew above provincial guideline amounts despite turnover rates remaining below provincial averages,” reads the CMHC report. “Toronto continues to post vacancy rates that are near historic lows — providing greater pricing power for units that are vacated as evidenced by high asking rents.”

One solution to the problem has long been condo investors, who buy up units and lease them out to tenants, increasing the city’s rental stock. According to Bullpen Research & Consulting president Ben Myers, the recent provincial roll back of rent control legislation on new housing units could encourage the practice in the new year.

“The biggest impact as a result of this move will be keeping private investors interested in buying pre-construction condos to lease out,” wrote Myers earlier this week. “Condo investors have been responsible for over 75 percent of all new rental supply for the past 20 years in the GTA and without them, rental rates in the GTA would be much, much worse.”

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Sellers’ could begin to avoid the market

After months of sitting in buyers’ territory, the Toronto housing market balanced out over the summer months. But, if home sales numbers continue to cool heading into the new year, that could be about to change.

“The City of Toronto was plunged into buyers’ conditions in the months following the Fair Housing Plan as anxious sellers listed en-masse and flooded the market with new inventory, outpacing sales activity,” reads a recent report on the subject from real estate website Zoocasa. “That market has since recovered to balanced, with a ratio of 57 percent.”

But, with plenty of forecasts calling for a cool start to the new year, sellers’ might be anxious to list their properties, dampening the market further and cutting into sales and prices.

The market saw a drop in sales and a rise in listings in October, which could be a sign of the beginning of sellers anxiety. The Zoocasa report notes that, even if the city entered buyers’ territory, its home prices would still be well above the national average.

High interest rates will cut down on activity

One factor that could cause the market to enter buyers’ territory? Rising interest rates. The Bank of Canada raised the overnight rate to 1.75 percent last month, and is expected to do so again in the new year.

“It’s difficult to identify how much of the recent slowdown in housing activity has been due to tighter mortgage rules versus higher interest rates,” writes CIBC economist Royce Mendes, in a recent note. “But, based on prior estimates of the effects of the rule changes alone, the slowdown in lending has been more precipitous.”

That could mean that October’s sag in housing activity isn’t a one month anomaly, but the start of a larger trend, as would-be home buyers delay entering the housing market.

“Given the lags in monetary policy…the impacts of rate hikes will actually become more apparent [in the new year],” writes Mendes.


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5 DIY Home Improvements for the COVID-19 Lockdown





The global coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people around the world, to spend more time in their homes this year than they have spent in a long time. As people sit around day after day within the confines of their home, it becomes easier to notice all the areas of the house that need some work. Fortunately, everyone can now afford the extra free time to do the home renovation project they’ve been putting off for years.

Due to the on-going global health crisis, you may not be able to hire any help for your home improvement project; this means that whatever new project you plan to do around the house, whether it’s repainting the home, or installing floor heating systems, you would have to do it yourself.

Here are some do-it-yourself that you may like to try out.

Upgrade to Smart Home Appliances

It’s 2020, what better year to embrace the future by installing a range of high-tech devices that make life extra easy. For instance, with a smart thermostat, your home’s heating and cooling system can go off on their own when not needed, keeping your electricity bills lower. Other appliances that you can make smart include your lighting, home security, music and more.

Clean out your Garage

Homeserve suggests a garage cleanout as a great home improvement project for this season because cleaning out your garage provides some fresh air, the heavy lifting provides some workout and you feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when it’s done.  What’s more, the day would be far spent by the time you’re done with this project. Cleaning out your garage would require you to sweep out any dirt or debris, and get rid of other useless items that may have been stored there for a long time.

Start a Repainting Project

There’s always room for a fresh coat of paint to make everywhere look more alive, so grab a paintbrush and add some extra character to your home. The good news is that you don’t even have to go out for the paint, you can have it shipped directly to your door. Southlandremodeling suggests that if you had 2019 palette or older in your home, now is the time to embrace the latest colour hues of 2020, that show off a more contemporary style and make your home look more sophisticated.

 Build a Patio

Now is the time where every family would enjoy having a paver patio or an outdoor deck, somewhere to sit and get some fresh air when you’re tired of being cooped up inside all day. First you have to ensure that your home has enough space for a patio and that you have enough skills to handle a hammer and other tools for simple construction.

Next you order your needed materials online and get started. There is a great sense of satisfaction that comes with being able to create an outdoor space that your family can enjoy while being stuck at home.

Install some floor heating systems

Installation of floor heating systems is one of the best home improvement projects that one can get. Many people prefer to hire professionals to do these kinds of installation but if you are up for it, it’s not impossible to do this on a DIY project and get a valuable addition to your home for about half the cost.


There is no reason to continue holding out on your dream DIY home renovation projects, especially now that you have all the time in the world due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Now is the perfect time to transform your home all by yourself!

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13 Montreal Apartments For Rent That Have Breathtaking Outdoor Spaces





With Quebec’s moving day just around the corner, many people are starting to look for a new property to rent. And, now that Montreal real estate activity is back in action, you can start trying to find the perfect space again. And, if you ask me, an apartment that comes with outdoor space is a must when living in the city.

From balconies to shared rooftop spaces, we’re all looking for a place where we can be outdoors. 

Now, more than ever, fresh air is something that we’re all craving. And, with summer coming faster than we think, finding a place with access to the outside is on so many of our checklists. 

Luckily for you, we at MTL Blog have made your job very easy and have gone through listings throughout the city to showcase some of the best rentals, all of which have outdoor spaces. 

Some of these properties offer private balconies while others have surreal rooftops you get access to. Regardless of which one you fall in love with, you’ll be sure to have a summer to remember living in any apartment on this list. 

Get ready for moving day because after looking at these properties, you’re going to be ready to pack your belongings.

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Montreal real-estate market hit hard by pandemic





Like many industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the red-hot Montreal real-estate market has suddenly chilled.

After 61 consecutive months of increases, the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area reported a 68-per-cent decrease in residential sales transactions in April 2020 compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers.

The most recent residential real-estate market statistics for the Montreal area showed 1,890 residential sales transactions were concluded last month. Those figures are based on the real-estate brokers’ Centris provincial database.

Montreal has been hit harder than other Canadian cities by the pandemic, and the drop in sales was seen in all six main areas of the Montreal CMA.

The drop in sales applied to all three property categories. Single-family home sales fell 68 per cent (1,048 transactions): plex sales dropped 67 per cent (161 transactions); and condominium sales tumbled 69 per cent (675 transactions).

Despite the drop in sales, real-estate prices rose in the CMA. The median price of single-family homes increased by nine per cent to reach $360,000, while the median price of condominiums climbed 12 per cent to $289,900.

Compared with April 2019, the median price of plexes (two to five dwellings) increased 10 per cent to $595,000.

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