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Unsold new homes in Ontario were on the decline in 2018




Photo: James Bombales

Sales activity in Ontario’s existing-home market was slowing last year, but homebuilders weren’t saddled with high levels of new unsold dwellings, suggests a recent report from Central 1 credit union, which predicts the trend will continue.

Across the province, there are 2,112 homes that — despite being finished — have not found buyers. However, that’s down 13.2 percent from the previous year, according to an Ontario Economic Briefing. “We’re well below the long-term average,” Edgard Navarrete, a regional economist with Central 1,  tells Livabl in a followup interview. “We’re seeing a slight increase for low-density [homes],” he adds.

While more completed single-family homes remained in builders’ inventories, this was offset by demand for new condo units. Together with row and townhomes, apartments account for 82.7 percent of units currently being built.

“There is no need for concern yet, but it is pointing to a shift in demand from low-rise housing to hi-rise housing due to affordability concerns,” writes Navarrete in the report.

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Prices for new homes averaged $834,206 in 2018, up 6.1 percent annually. In 2017, prices surged by 10 percent.

“Even with the moderation in price growth, the average price level is pushing potential homebuyers to the resale market or deciding not to purchase at all,” notes Navarrete.

“This is especially true in the more expensive markets such as Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau,” he adds.

One result will be a slower pace of new home construction in 2019, Central 1 suggests, anticipating builders will break ground for 71,000 units in Ontario this year, down from 75,956 in 2018.

That’s around the level of construction seen in 2016 and, before that, in 2008 during the recession.

However, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) sees factors that are supportive of  somewhat of a rebound in single-family home construction, at least for 2019.

“Single-family existing home sales and starts will post a partial recovery in 2019 as better than expected job growth and migration levels encourage buyers to re-enter the market before sales and starts ease further into 2020,” the Crown corporation wrote in a Fall 2018 Housing Market Outlook.

Navarrete notes that some of the pullback in detached home demand stems at least in part from mortgage stress testing.

“It put a lot of people that were willing to buy, that are able to buy, on the sidelines,” he explains. “The people that can still go forward and buy… they tended to go for higher-density options,” he adds.

But looking ahead, Navarrete expects the number of unsold homes in Toronto — and more broadly in Ontario — to continue to trend lower.

“As people save for a downpayment a little bit longer, some of them will be able to take those single-detached homes that are unsold off the market, and also builders will be a little bit more cautious about the number of new projects they bring to the market,” Navarrete notes.

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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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