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5 charts that explain why condos reign supreme in the GTA

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If you’re a first-time buyer searching for a home in the GTA, chances are you’re looking at a condo.

Sales and prices for both new and resale condos have stayed strong in the GTA throughout 2018, even as other property types struggled under stricter mortgage qualification rules and higher interest rates.

Heading into the new year, many economists are predicting that the higher rates will keep the GTA housing market relatively cool, especially when it comes to low-rise homes. The condo market could be set to benefit from would-be buyers smaller budgets.

For a closer look at why condos reign supreme in the GTA, Livabl has rounded up 5 charts that explain their dominance.

1. Prices are maintaining their upward trend







What’s going on here: Online brokerage Realosophy tracked the average price of a GTA condo unit over the past four years.

The takeaway: While we aren’t seeing the spike in prices that occurred in the spring of 2017, condo prices have maintained a steady rise over the past year, even as other housing types struggled.

2. Other property types aren’t doing nearly as well







What’s going on here: Scotiabank Economics used data from the Canadian Real Estate Associate (CREA) to track the trajectory of low-rise home prices over the past two years.

The takeaway: In Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal low-rise homes saw a steep drop off in prices, as buyers flocked to the relatively more affordable condo market.

3. New mortgage rules may have something to do with it







What’s going on here: Realosophy charted GTA condo prices over the past six years, noting when stricter mortgage qualification rules came into in October 2016.

The takeaway: Condo prices spiked after the stress test was announced, as buyers suddenly had to reconsider what they could and couldn’t afford. “[Since October 2016] the average price for a condo climbed to $559,343 in April 2018, a 30 percent increase in just a year and a half since the stress test was introduced,” writes Realosophy president John Pasalis, in a report.

4. New condo sales have remained steady







What’s going on here: Real estate data firm Urbanation tracked the quarterly sales and the average sold price per-square-foot for GTA new condos from 2010 to 2018.

The takeaway: Prices have maintained their steady rise as sales have levelled out. While sales are down significantly from their peak in the spring of 2017, they remain well above the sale of other property types, including low-rise homes.

5. Condo rents are up across the city







What’s going on here: The Toronto Real Estate Board tracked the average rent of a one-bedroom condo across the City of Toronto in 2017 and 2018.

The takeaway: Rents were up across the city from 2017 to 2018, as condo units make up more and more of the city’s rental stock, and rental demand rises.

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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Mortgage pitfalls to avoid

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

Mortgage protection can be purchased whether you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or already have a home financing solution. But what about protection options for credit card debt?

“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, many Canadians are trying to plan for the unexpected to protect themselves and their finances,” says Malloy. “TD balance protection plus is an optional product designed to help you deal with your credit card payment obligations in the event of a covered event, such as loss of employment.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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