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UrbanToronto Year-End Poll: Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018





It’s that time of year again! Rounding up another busy year of city building, we are returning with our fifth annual UrbanToronto Year-End Readers’ Poll, giving you the chance to vote on your favourite new buildings completed over the last 12 months. This year, we are back with 35 newly completed projects spread across the city. If this year’s entries were stacked atop each other, Toronto would have a brand new 816-storey tower!

This year’s candidates have been grouped into height ranges, giving you the chance to pick a favourite in each grouping. We have split them into… Favourite Mid-Rise (6 to 10 storeys); Favourite Mid-Rise (11 to 19 storeys); Favourite High-Rise (20 to 29 storeys); Favourite High-Rise (30 to 39 storeys); and Favourite High-Rise (40 storeys and above).

At the end of this story, we will direct you to the survey itself where you’ll get larger versions of the building renderings plus links to recent photographs of each of them… but let’s take a quick look at the 35 qualifying buildings now, by group:

Favourite Mid-Rise (6 to 10 storeys)

Our first category features a mix of buildings as tall as ten storeys. This category features seven candidates ranging in height from 15 to 39 metres. One buildings—1133 Yonge Street—is all commercial, while the rest are residential condo and rental developments: Two Hundred The Beach, Howard Park 2, Ten93 Queen West, Oben Flats St. Clair West, Kingston &Co, and Haven on the Bluffs.

 Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018Favourite Mid-Rise (6 to 10 storeys)

Favourite Mid-Rise (11 to 19 storeys)

Next up, our second category invites you to select their favourite building of 2018 between 11 and 19 storeys, with heights ranging from 40 to 74 metres. This category has nine projects contending, eight of which are condominium developments Totem Condos, Lotus Condos, ZIGG, The Village by Main Station, The Harlowe, Yorkdale Condominiums, Connect Condos, and Cove at Waterways, while 130 QQE at Daniels Waterfront is the lone commercial development in this category.

 Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018Favourite Mid-Rise (10 to 20 storeys)

Favourite High-Rise (20 to 29 storeys)

Moving up in height, our next category features high-rise buildings in the 20 to 29-storey range, with heights between 75 and 94 metres. This category includes 9 candidates, one rental tower (Regent Park: Block 27) and a hotel tower (Hotel X), but primarily condos of course: Sixty Colborne, Smart House, Axiom Condos, Fifth on the Park at Emerald City, Rise Condos, The Kip District Phase 1, and Trio at Atria.

 Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018Favourite High-Rise (20 to 30 storeys)

Favourite High-Rise (30 to 39 storeys)

Jumping into the next ten-storey grouping, our next category includes a selection of five high-rise towers ranging between 30 and 39 storeys, with heights between 95 and 119 metres. Four of the five entries in this category are condominium towers: Alter, 101 Erskine, Vox Condominiums, and the Park Club at Emerald City, while Ryerson University’s Jarvis Street Residence is the lone rental tower contending in this category.

 Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018Favourite High-Rise (30 to 40 storeys)

Favourite High-Rise (40 storeys and above)

The tallest new buildings have always been the most voted-for category over the five years we’ve run our polls, with 2018 bringing us five new candidates with heights of 40 storeys or greater. This year’s crop includes three condominium towers—87 Peter, Westlake Encore, Casa III—and two luxury rental towers—The Livmore and The Selby—all taller than 120 metres.

 Vote On The Best Buildings of 2018Favourite High-Rise (40+ storeys)

You can vote up until 11:59 PM on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2019. We will announce the winners on the day after.

In the meantime, spread the word! The more votes, the better the poll reflects Torontonians’ feelings about the way the city is developing. You do not need to be an UrbanToronto member to vote. Voice your opinions on this year’s candidates and share the poll on social media using the hashtag, #UrbanTorontoPoll. Click this link to go to the survey now… and have fun!

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UrbanToronto now has a new way you can track projects through the planning process on a daily basis. Sign up for a free trial of our New Development Insider here.


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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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Real Estate

10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers





Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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