November, 2012

What Are The Types of Condominiums?

Residential condominiums can be:

1) high-rise or low-rise (under four storeys)

2) town or row houses

3) duplexes (one unit over another)

4) triplexes (stack of three units)

5) single-detached houses

6) stacked townhouses or freehold plots

There are even mixed-use condominiums that are partly residential and partly commercial buildings. They come in various sizes with diverse features and they can be found in almost every price range.

Above material extracted from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. For more information please visit

Toronto Real Estate Market Update FALL 2012

October’s market performance delivered another monthly negative variance as compared to October 2011, although the decline was not as pronounced as the decline in September. Sales in October were off by 7.1 percent compared to October 2011. In September sales were off by 21 percent as compared to September of last year. These statistics are not, however, reflective of the overall market. Not all sectors of the residential resale market are performing in the same fashion, with some trading districts and various types of properties, clearly not in market lockstep.



Notwithstanding a decline in overall sales as compared to last year, demand does not appear to have weakened. What has happened is that buyers are more judicious and deliberate, particularly when it comes to price, location, and housing type. This is evident in the fact that throughout the Greater Toronto Area all sales in October took place in only 28 days, only 2 days more than October 2011. This data includes all housing types, including condominium apartments, which are under-performing compared to the rest of the market.


In the city of Toronto all sales (again including condominium apartments) took place in only 26 days. Detached houses sold in only 19 days, even in Central Toronto where the average price for a detached home in October came in at $1,171,873. Semi-detached homes sold even quicker, in only 18 days. In the eastern trading areas (Riverdale, Leslieville, the Beaches) all sales on average took place in under 14 days. These numbers do not reflect a buyer’s market, particularly when sales prices, on average for these housing types, are exceeding 100 percent of the asking price.


Clearly the buyers are there, and if an attractive detached or semi-detached house becomes available, they have no hesitation in making a quick decision to purchase it. The difference in this market is that buyers are not, as in the early spring, randomly and indiscriminately, purchasing almost all properties that became available.


This buyer demand continues to result in rising home prices (except for condominium apartments). Even though sales declined from 7,425 properties in October 2011 to 6,896 this year, the greater Toronto average sale price increased from $474,241 to $503,479 over the same period, an increase of 6.2 percent. In the city of Toronto detached homes increased by 5 percent to $779,484, and semi-detached homes by 7 percent to $575,618. The average sale price of condominium apartments declined by 2 percent.


At the beginning of November there were 8,492 available properties for sale in the city of Toronto. Of those properties 4,849 are condominium apartments, or 58 percent. Of those 4,849 condominium apartments 3,072 were located in the central trading areas. In other words 63 percent of all condominium apartments for sale are in Toronto’s central districts. As more projects achieve registration, the supply of condominium apartment inventory will continue to increase, and with this increase in inventory prices will continue to decline, as apartments take longer to sell. In October it took 35 days for a condominium apartment to sell in the city of Toronto. This is substantially higher than the time it took for free-hold properties to sell. It is significant to note that only in May of this year all condominium apartments were selling in only 27 days, a 30 percent increase in selling time.


Overall the Toronto resale market finds itself with 2.4 months of available inventory of resale properties (including condominiums), and 2.6 months of inventory in the city of Toronto. In actual numbers this represents 20,737 available properties, a 16.5 percent increase compared to 2011. This increase can to some extent be attributed to the increase in the number of available condominium units. In October 13,054 new listings came to market, up 6.1 percent compared to the 12,306 that became available in October 2011.


This market report indicates that not all market sectors are acting similarly. Detached and semi-detached homes continue to sell quickly, particularly if they are well priced, and have an asking price less than $1,500,000. Condominium apartments take almost 50 percent longer to sell. These sales patterns reflect rising prices for detached and semi-detached homes (about 6 percent) and declining prices for condominium apartments (2%). This pattern will not change soon, but in fact will only be accentuated as more condominium apartments come to market.


Going forward we can anticipate these market conditions to continue. Condominium apartment sales will continue to be weak, probably through 2013. At some point prices will become so attractive (and assuming mortgage interest rates stay low) that condominium buyers will return in some force to the market, but that is not in the foreseeable future. Days on market will probably exceed 50 in the new year. As freehold sales decline (detached homes declined by 7 percent in October, semi-detached by 4 percent) price increase will begin to moderate, but there is no indication of massive price declines, as predicted by some economists.


Prepared by: Chris Kapches, Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel at Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage


Muskoka Real Estate Market Update FALL 2012

The recreational property sale market has, for the most part, stabilized in 2012, both in terms of sales volume and sale prices. Sale prices have steadily declined from their peak in 2007. It would appear that in 2011 and now 2012 more realistic pricing by sellers has resulted in a period of consistent sales. Having said that the market place remains price sensitive. Buyers are now more discriminate and will simply not pay what they perceive to be inflated prices.



Over the summer months the Muskoka and Haliburton Association of Realtors amalgamated with the Orillia Board. The new association is now called Realtors Association of Ontario Lakelands. In the future market data provided by the new association will include data related to the Orillia and region market place.


At the end of September the Association reported 81 recreational property sales for Lake of Bays. This compares with only 63 sales for the same period in 2011, representing a 28 percent increase. On the Muskoka Lakes the increase was modest. This year Muskoka area realtors have reported 184 recreational property sales to the end of September. Last year 182 had been reported. The overall market for the entire Association produced mixed results. The Association reports 671 recreational property sales for this year. This compares to 611 for the same period in 2011, an increase of 9.8 percent.


This data reflects a market that has changed little since 2010. Sales have, with some variation, remained consistent. It is prices that have drifted downward. It is the more realistic sale prices that have kept the market robust, notwithstanding the many economic issues, both in North America and further abroad that have had negative impacts on recreational property sales.


Compared to last year inventory levels are slightly lower. In Lake of Bays there were 125 active recreational properties available for sale at the end of September. This compares to 139 in 2011, a decline of 10 percent. On the Muskoka Lakes there were 312 properties available for sale, a 5 percent decline compared to the 329 that were available at the end of September 2011. Overall, for all trading areas, the Association reports 1155 properties available for sale, again a 5 percent decline from the 1218 that were available last year at this time.


The decline in available inventory appears to be working in lock step with improved reported sales, at least for the most part. Inventory levels are now so low, however, that sellers can anticipate immediate increases in sales prices.


Chestnut Park and its sales representatives continue to dominate sales in the region. In the Port Carling area, Chestnut Park agents outsold the next nearest brokerage by 58 percent more dollar volume of sales. The average sale price of properties sold by Chestnut Park’s agents since April exceeds $1 Million with total dollar volume of sales approaching $160 Million. With the affiliation with Christie’s Chestnut Park and its agents are the pre-eminent brand for high end sales in the Muskoka Lakes and Lake of Bays.


Going forward we should anticipate a similar market for the last three months of 2012 and then into 2013. The Ontario economy continues to be weak with no real growth forecast in the foreseeable future. The key to sales, as has been stated in previous market reports, is realistic pricing. There are buyers for recreational properties, but they are discerning and expect value when they purchase.


Prepared by: Chris Kapches, Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

Collingwood Real Estate Market Update FALL 2012

With the release of the real estate statistics by the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (“GTAR”) for the month of September, it would seem “fall” is definitely the operative word for all indicators as they relate to the housing market in the Georgian Triangle. While in no way remarkable or dramatic, the performance of real estate in the area appears to be consistent with what the industry and commentators are calling for generally for the rest of the year and into 2013 as sales and prices cool and moderate but do not veer into significant correction territory. Rather with the healthy pace of sales established to date, this year is expected to end on a comparatively healthy and positive note when measured against the previous years’ performance, but 2012 may well already have its best months of activity behind it, with the rest of the year looking potentially a little lacklustre in comparison.



September racked up 159 sales, a 10% decline from the 176 recorded in September of 2011 and 10 fewer than the same month two years previous. As set out above, however, year to date sales remain 8% ahead of last year at this time with a total of 1520 properties changing hands compared to 1410 last year at this time. Total dollar volume reveals more of the same, only more so, with numbers coming in 14% behind last September’s total, though year to date figures remain 6% ahead of last year due to the robust market experienced in the Georgian Triangle this year up to this point.


Listings too were down significantly from last year with only 529 new properties coming onto the market. This is 19% fewer than the 650 new listings which came out last year in September, resulting in a tighter market with fewer active listings recorded (2476 compared to 2501 last year at this time). As a result the sales to listing ratio is actually higher this September than last coming in at 30.06 compared to 27.08 one year ago. Year to date 5316 new properties have come onto the MLS® system, 1% more than the 5252 listings recorded last year at this time.


Prices continue to stagnate in negative territory, continuing a trend established in previous months despite the healthy pace of sales. The average sale price in September for single family residential property came in at $319,643, 11% less than one year ago when the average sale price for the same category of properties was $359,611. Measured over a twelve month period the negative differential shrinks to 3% with the latest sale price averaging over that period coming in at $315,086 compared to $326,048 for the same period the year previous. Year to date the average residential sale price is 3.7% less than it was last year at this time coming in at $315,284 compared to $327,556.


As adverted to in earlier reports, commentators are calling for  a moderating real estate market as we move towards the end of this year and into the next as lending regimes tighten in response to national regulatory initiatives to address increasing household debt loads and a perceived overheated and overvalued real estate market. As further indicated in previous reports, the Georgian Triangle has in large part avoided many of these problems, however, no market is immune to broader economic forces, and thus is inevitably caught up at least to some extent with the trends and influences experienced elsewhere.  It should be noted, however, that the net result of these competing economic and regulatory forces is difficult to measure. While Europe continues to stagger under the economic burden of its financial crisis, the American housing market is finally showing real signs of life and contributing to consumer confidence in the United States which may well be extending to the broader economic climate, leading some to be more optimistic regarding real economic recovery south of the border.  This in turn is a positive factor in assessing the future prospects for our own economy and the domestic real estate market both nationally and in the Georgian Triangle. Interesting times lie ahead but at this point with so many variables at play both at home and abroad it is difficult to be definitive as to what the market holds until some of these forces play themselves out.


Prepared by: Richard Stewart, VP and Legal Counsel Chestnut Park properties in the Collingwood area

101 Reasons to Use a Realtor

Typical Pre-Listing Activities

1. Research Current Properties

2. Research Sales Activity from MLS and public records databases

3. Provide Average Days on Market Assessment

4. Review Property Tax Roll

5. Prepare a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA)

6. Verify Ownership and Deed Type

7. Verify County Public Property Records

8. Perform Curb Appeal Assessment

9. Provide Public School Value

10. Provide a Listing Presentation

11. Analyze Current Market Conditions

12. Present Credentials

13. Deliver CMA Results

14. Discuss Planning and Strategy

15. Explain Listing Contract, Disclosures & Addendum

16. Screen Calls from Buyers or Agents

17. Explain Homeowner Warranty

Selling the Property Activities

18. Review Title Details

19. Order Plat Map

20. Create Showing Instructions

21. Obtain Mortgage Loan Information

22. Review Homeowner Association Fees and Bylaws

23. Submit Homeowner Warranty Application

24. Add Homeowner Warranty in MLS

25. Review Electricity Details

26. Arrange Inspections for City Sewer/Septic Tank Systems

27. Collect Natural Gas Information

28. Provide Security System Status

29. Determine Termite Bond Status

30. Analyze Lead-based Paint Status

31. Distribute Disclosure Packages

32. Prepare Property Amenities

33. Detail Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale

34. Compile Repairs Needed List

35. Send Seller Vacancy Checklist

36. Install Lockbox

37. Make Copies of Leases for Rental Units (if applicable)

38. Verify Rents, Utilities, Water, and Deposits for Rentals

39. Inform Tenants of Listing for Rentals

40. Install Yard Sign

41. Perform Interior Assessment

42. Perform Exterior Assessment

Advertising and Marketing a Listing

43. Enter a Profile Sheet into the MLS Listing Database

44. Provide Copies of MLS Agreement

45. Take Additional Photos for MLS and Marketing

46. Create and Advertise Property Listing

47. Coordinate Showing Times

48. Create and Mail Flyers

49. Compare MLS Listings

50. Develop Marketing Brochure

51. Notify the Network Referral Program

52. Create Special Feature Cards

53. Analyze Feedback Emails and Faxes

Handling Offers and Contracts

54. Receive Offer(s) to Purchase

55. Evaluate Net Sheet

56. Counsel and Mediate Offer(s)

57. Deliver Seller’s Disclosure

58. Obtain Pre-qualification Letter

59. Negotiate Offers on the Seller’s Behalf

60. Mediate Counteroffers or Amendments

61. Fax Contract Copies

62. Deliver ‘Offer to Purchase’ Copies

63. Assist with Escrow Account

64. Distribute Under-Contract Showing Restrictions

65. Update MLS to “Sale Pending”

66. Review Credit Report

67. Deliver Unrecorded Property Information

68. Order Well Flow Test Reports (if applicable)

69. Order Termite Inspection (if applicable)

70. Order Mold Inspection (if applicable)

71. Confirm Deposit and Buyer’s Employment

72. Follow Up with Loan Processing

73. Communicate with Lender

74. Confirm Approval of Loan

75. Remove Loan Contingency

Home Inspection and Home Appraisal Activities

76. Coordinate Buyer’s Home Inspection

77. Review Home Inspector’s Report

78. Interpret Loan Limits

79. Verify Home Inspection Clauses

80. Contractor Preparation

81. Confirm Repair Completion

82. Attend Appraiser Appointment

83. Provide Appraiser Information and Remove Contingency

Closing Preparations and Actions

84. Ensure Contract is Sealed

85. Coordinate Closing Process

86. Coordinate Closing Formal Procedure

87. Assist with Title Issues

88. Perform Final Walk-through

89. Verify Tax and Utility Preparations

90. Review and Distribute Final Closing Figures

91. Request Closing Document Copies

92. Confirm Receipt of Title Insurance Commitment

93. Make Homeowners Warranty Available

94. Review Closing Documents

95. Confirm and Assist with Final Deposit

96. Coordinate with Next Purchase

97. Ensure “No Surprises” Closing

98. Final MLS Update

99. Follow Up and Resolve Repairs

100. Documentation Follow Up

101. Hand the keys to the new owners


Municipality of Toronto – Who’s Job is it?

Have you ever wondered what number to call to issue a noise complaint? Have you ever needed to call Toronto Hydro? Are you tired of jockeying through the city’s automated system? Use the phone numbers below to gain the information you need with one call:

Noise Complaints:

  • Animals 416-338-7297
  • Construction 416-338-0338

Street Parking:

  • 416-392-7873

Low Water Pressure:

  • 416-338-8888

No Water:

  • 416-338-8888

Water Has Bad Odour/Taste

  • 416-338-8888

Does an Item go in the Blue Box, Green Bin or Garbage?

  • 416-338-2010

Collection Calendar Needed:

  • 416-338-2010

Drain Backed Up:

  • 416-338-8888

Litter and Debris Removal:

  • 416-397-9200

Large Item for Pick Up:

  • 416-338-2010

Pick Up of Hazardous Waste:

  • 416-392-4330

Special Pick Up (Large Appliances):

  • 416-338-2010

Street Not Plowed/Salted:

  • 416-338-9999

Gas (Enbridge):

  • 1-866-763-5427

Hydro (Toronto Hydro):

  • 416-542-8000

To Report Property in General Disrepair or Hazardous Condition:

  • 416-397-9200