Top 5 Fast-Rising Toronto Neighbourhoods 2017

Some Toronto neighbourhoods are rising to the spotlight faster than their counterparts this year! They may be a bit out of the way from downtown, but their more affordable real estate prices and rent are luring people into their embrace, spurring development and attracting businesses to take their market there.

The above brings new life to previously quiet and slow neighbourhoods, making now an exciting time to invest and reevaluate properties in these areas. Curious about which Toronto neighbourhoods we are talking about? Then read about them below!

Birch Cliff

The Birch Cliff neighbourhood is located further east than nearby Upper Beaches although they are often lumped together. It is actually situated around the more exciting section of Kingston Rd. There’s a mini condo boom on the main street breathing new life to the east of Victoria Park and gorgeous luxury homes to the south.

Investing in Birch Cliff is indeed getting more attractive compared to the rather expensive Upper Beaches nearby.

Gerrard East

The Gerard East neighbourhood is set to wake up from being a micro neighbourhood in between Little India and East Chinatown to a bustling retail and restaurant community.

This stretch of Gerrard St. on the eastern edge of Riverdale is truly fast becoming a hot retail place with still a few retail spaces left for the daring entrepreneur.

Rockcliffe-Smyth

Rockcliffe-Smyth bears the distinction of having been named as the hottest Toronto neighbourhood by Airbnb, aside from being the location that is one of the most sought-after by home buyers in recent years. One of the main reasons for the above is the abundance of nearby beautiful parkland. Another reason is a new retail hub in the area. The biggest factor would be the still attainable home prices in Rockcliffe-Smyth.

Still to come are more retail spaces along St. Clair but let’s pretend we didn’t let you in on that.

Six Points

Six Points is the busiest neighbourhood in this list in terms of new developments and things to watch out for. There are a lot of new condo developments and current construction as well as an upcoming Metrolinx transit hub at Kipling Station. Major construction of the intersection is scheduled this year and there are plans to redevelop the nearby Honeydale Mall site.

With a the upcoming developments above, we won’t be surprised if Six Points would transform into Downtown Etobicoke in the near future.

Weston

Weston is moving up quite fast fueled by the arrival of the UP Express and GO Station together with wallet-friendly rents typically and real estate prices. It doesn’t hurt too that commuting to downtown is just 20 minutes by train.

The Weston neighbourhood have a semi quaint village-like feel owing to its retail strip but this may change soon with scheduled development bringing a new pedestrian bridge to link the residential area to that of the retail and transit side.

Looking for help investing in a second property using your home equity? Or do you need assistance applying for refinancing or a home equity loan? Contact us today for details on how we can aid you.

Vaughan Subway Extension Undergoes Hundreds of Tests by TTC

TTC workers continues testing hundreds of elements on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension making sure that it is ready to service commuters before the December 17, 2017 opening date.

TTC officials shared that the testings are to ensure that everything works as it should and that there will be no issues when the stations opens to the public.

Multi-Billion Dollar Project

This project has been in the works for more than a decade and came with a price tag of about $3.18 billion. The work included merging old and new technologies, planning and adding provisions for future improvements, and bringing to life 6 stations that will service thousands everyday. Certainly not a small feat and TTC is making sure that it will run as smooth as possible.

The 6 new stations comprise the 8.6 kilometer long extension that will include 2 stations in Vaughan, a major expansion for the city considering that the first major subway expansion was the Sheppard Line in 2002.

TTC COO Mike Palmer shared that about 1500 issues still needed to be fixed, ranging from missing sockets, outlets in wrong places, and more serious operational snags. He added that although the 6 stations have already been built, there is more to running it than simply constructing the stations.

They have to make sure that each and everything works as it should. All wirings and pipes have to be identified to make future repairs easier. The police and fire department both have to conduct drills and familiarize themselves with the layouts and operations of the stations so they can have a protocol in place should they be needed in the future. Certain things have to be updated and connected to ensure that the 6 new stations will function the same but better way than the rest of Toronto’s subway system.

Just Like a New House

TTC COO Mike Palmer likens all the testings to be done to owners and contractors checking a newly-built house for flaws. Just that this house is meant to receive thousands of visitors on any given day and should be ready for future additions while still looking like the rest of the neighbourhood.

Ready for the Future

Because there are already plans for future stations, provisions for connecting them to the Vaughan line has already been made. The agency also took this project as an opportunity to learn about future transit expansion.

The staff will begin familiarizing themselves with the operations in mid November and ghost services will be held to further ensure everyone’s safety and that the stations are ready for people. This means reading and studying hundreds of new documents for Line 1’s 6 new stations’ debut.

To Summarize

6 new stations were built for Line 1 with approximately 2,811 new parking spaces. The project cost a total of $3.18 billion but will only charge $3.25 fare to ride the subway. 1500 identified snags need to be worked out before the December 17, 2017 opening after weeks of ghost testing.

No doubt that the new stations will contribute to increasing the value of properties along the line, perfect for those who have houses nearby who may want to tap their home equity.

Thinking of applying for a second mortgage or getting a line of credit? Contact us for any mortgage related concerns and our mortgage experts will surely help!

 

Auto Insurance System Reform Being Pushed by Ontario to Slash Rates and Fight Fraud

Ontario has the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada despite the province having low rates of collisions and deaths – a big factor to that is the prevalence of auto insurance fraud.

Changes Ahead

Ontario is looking into ways to push for changes in the auto insurance industry to help try to combat fraud and eventually reduce premiums. This is in view of the reported cost of auto insurance fraud totaling to an estimated $1.6 billion a year as shared by Finance Minister Charles Sousa. He said it is now time to put a stop to the fraud, a move that may create new challenges for real crash victims.

Sousa shared that there are plans for the government to develop standard treatment plans for commonplace collision injuries such as whiplash and sprains. They will also create neutral and independent examination centres for the medical assessment of more serious cases and tackle fraud in the system by establishing a Serious Fraud Office. He hopes that getting rid of fraud will significantly reduce costs and subsequently lower premiums.

The Numbers

Ontario found out earlier this year via a government-commissioned report that the province pays Canada’s most expensive auto insurance premiums despite having the lowest numbers of fatalities and accidents. The higher cost is for covering loses due to auto insurance fraud.

All of the above comes at a time when the Liberal government is still working on their promise of a reduced rate. Although they are about halfway of their goal right now, they missed their self imposed deadline in August 2015.

Lawyers Say New Plan Will Unfairly Target Victims

Personal injury lawyers are not fans of the proposal, pointing out that the new process will work unfairly against real victims.

Michael Smitiuch of Smitiuch Injury Law based in Toronto stated that it seems the current government has a talent for punishing people who truly needed help the most as it will create unnecessary  roadblocks for victims. The lawyer also said that a cookie cutter approach like what the province is proposing will not be enough to adequately meet the needs of injured victims. He further voiced out that he sees more problems in the future regarding claiming of benefits and making sure that they are paid out.

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ consultant Sebastian Gallagher said the proposed system will do the opposite of providing clarity and lessening confusion.

A Different Time for The Same Mistakes?

Critics expressed that the new plan have concerning similarities with the failed Designated Assessment Centres introduced in 1994 and shut down in 2006. The DAC failed because the process was usually long, drawn out, and a sinkhole of resources.

Should the new proposal be implemented, proving fraud or the absence thereof might become even more difficult. Some people will do anything for fraud. Luckily for you, we specialize in uncovering cases of it through the use of our legitimate private investigation services and techniques. Contact us should you wish to get data on someone or place them under personal surveillance the right way.

8 Unusual Factors that Can Affect Your Home’s Value

Most of us think that it’s all about location when it comes to real estate, and that is true for the most part. However, there are a multitude of quirky or even unusual factors that can affect your home’s price; and we’re not just talking of lot size, number of bedrooms, total square footage, number of bathrooms, and when the home was built.

In this article, we’ll tell you about some factors that seem unimportant or of no value at first, but can have a huge impact on your home’s marketability and price. Keep on reading to know more below!

Your House Number

Home Values

Believe it or not, some numbers simply don’t sit well with some people, be it because of their cultural background or just a personal quirk. The number 4 is frowned upon by some Asian cultures and a few 6s in a row would throw off those with a certain religious inclination, therefore the home might have to be priced lower to generate a sale. Statistics also show that for homes listed for more than a million, about 25% have 9 as the last non-zero digit.

What’s In a Name?

Home Values2

Your street’s name play a huge role in driving up your home’s price. Generally speaking, an address on a boulevard or an avenue allows you to command a higher price than one on a random street.

Trees Are The Your Friend

Home Values3

The presence of mature trees generally improves property value and lends a certain aura of prestige unto the property. Have a few mature trees lining up the street and buyers would come knocking on your door.

Death Is Never Good

Home Values4

Most provinces require that a death on the property has to be mentioned when selling a place, thereby possibly scaring off some buyers. Some even require you to mention supernatural occurrences such as ghosts.

Neighbours

Home Values5

Noisy and/or nosy neighbours is a turn-off! Inconsiderate neighbours will chase away buyers right from the moment they get a glimpse of the noise or unusual behaviour. On the other hand, a simple house in a good quiet neighbourhood usually sells for more than the asking price.

Details and Finishes

Home Values6

Almost everyone knows that fancy finishes and materials such as chrome and granite can drive up a home’s value, but do you know that crown moulding does the same (for the most part)? Add some crown moulding to add extra class to your home.

Popular Stores Nearby

Home Values7

Having Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s nearby can boost your property’s value by as much as 40%. People will pay for convenience, that’s a fact.

Your Sports Fan Gear

Home Values8

Whether you are wearing your sports fan gear or got them on display, a home buyer who’s a fan if the rival team is likely to perceive you and your home as not good in their book and either offer a lower price or won’t go through with the sale. If they are a fan of the same team, the opposite happens. This is why it is best to keep things neutral by removing personal items when staging a home.

With home selling season these days encompassing the entire year, selling your Oakville home may still be a bit intimidating for you. Let our agents help you for a smoother transition. Contact us today!

10 Top House-Hunting Mistakes to Avoid

House-hunting is not for the weak of heart. It is more than just calling some real estate agents, seeing a few houses, and moving in right after you found one you like. Things can get very challenging when looking for a new home more so if you’re targeting buying a home in a hot neighbourhood. You need to be smart about your search and come up with a game plan for house-hunting success!

Below is our compilation of the top 10 house-hunting mistakes that you need to avoid.

Listening to Advisers Who Don’t Live With You

Input from some people is great, but not if they won’t be living with you anyway. Opinion from other people might confuse you and won’t really help you because they would often be speaking about their needs, not yours.

Going in with No Mortgage Pre-Approval

The last thing you want to convey when house-hunting is for real estate agents and home sellers to think that you’re not serious about your search. This can mean losing out to another buyer who can make a solid offer. More so, mortgage pre-approval lets you know exactly what you can afford.

Not Seizing the Moment

Go see a new listing if you’re interested. Waiting just a few hours can mean someone might beat you to it in a tight market.

Not Checking the Neighbourhood

How would you feel waking up to the neighbour’s loud drum practice on your first morning in your new home? How about having a hard time getting out in the morning because there is a school nearby and the street is filled with family vehicles and school buses? Always check the small details.

Getting a Crush on Sparkly New Features

Newly renovated and newly constructed homes have a tendency to make someone want to own them right off the bat, but you have to think that a home is more than new features! Note that most low-quality finishes and materials look great when new but are worthless in the long run.

Not Being Sure What You Want

You have to know what features you want before shopping for a home or you’ll risk not finding any or being overwhelmed with possible choices. This would save you time too by narrowing your search.

Being Mesmerized By Décor

Don’t forget to assess whether you’re just loving the staged decorations or the home itself. Unless the home sellers are going to leave everything with the house, you’ll end up with a shell that you’re not sure you like anyway.

Not Settling for Anything Less Than Absolute Perfection

Your 100% dream home may not exist, so why not consider one that ticks most of your boxes although not all of it? It’s easy to fall for thinking that something better will be available soon.

Not Taking Your Time in an Open House

You need to have a real feel of the house and explore it in detail before you make the decision of making an offer for it. Check nooks and crannies, open cabinets, use the bathroom, inspect the kitchen and so on. Make sure you don’t skip the basement and the attic!

Forgetting to Have An Agent

House-hunting in a hot market without an agent is a waste of time, energy, hope, and effort. Up your chances of sealing a deal by having an agent who can get you first dibs on new listings. Less negotiation error too!

Need help house-hunting in OakvilleContact us and find out what makes our agents the best this side of the GTA. We also make magic happen when it is time to let go of your Oakville home!

September Brings in Rebound of Average Toronto House Price

Average home re-sale price rose up 6% or $43,000 in September as compared to the previous month. The data was from the Toronto Real Estate Board’s records.

Home sales were also down by 35% as realtors were able to sell just 6,379 homes. Just a little over two thirds compared to September 2016.

Awakening Market?

The above occurrences are making realtors think that the market is levelling off or could be waking up.

Realsophy president John Pasalis says that the above are good signs because they show that the market isn’t falling further although he was quick to add that price increases are often seasonal.

The average home price for September this year is about $20,000 or 2.6% more than the previous year’s but the number of homes sold is 35% lower. The drop is attributed to the drop of detached homes sale of 40%.

Condo sales rose up at an average of 20% more than a similar time last year largely to prices attracting first-time buyers. It should be noted that the number of listings fell down in Toronto but increased for the rest of the regions. East Gwillimbury, Aurora, and Richmond Hill actually have an oversupply that offers are often below the listed price, a huge contrast to what is happening in Toronto shared Caroline Baile, an Aurora-based broker from Royal LePage. She added that although they do get sales, they average at just 97% of listed price.

Two Markets?

Realtors are saying that what is happening in the area is very much like having two markets, with the downtown and surrounding areas in high demand and low inventory therefore commanding a higher price, and then the opposite in areas outside the main hubs. Coveted locations are selling well, with offers coming in even before the home is officially listed more so in the first third of the year.

Tight Watch

Its not just the above one has to think of when trying to find a home in the Toronto area, the banks should be watched as well. Real estate agents are on high alert mode regarding new announcements from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution as the bank regulator is due to initiate new rules to protect consumers and lenders from increases in interest rates in the future.

The new guideline will affect uninsured mortgage applicants, making sure that they can cover required downpayments to qualify for bank loans that are now charging interest that is 2% above the central bank rate.

TREB’s market research shares that things are looking good because despite the changes in housing rules, borrowing rates in Toronto remain low and the population maintains a high employment rate. It also looks like people have learned to bid their time when buying a home and that the foreign buyer tax has had no adverse effect on the real estate market.

Concerned about how this news will affect your mortgage or your plan to apply for a home loan? Contact us today for answers and how we may help.

New Provincial Housing Measures Push Toronto Condo Rentals to Rise

A report from Urbanation Inc. shared that the Toronto condo rental market is getting hotter as the real estate market is cooling down as a result of the announcement of new provincial housing measures in April.

A New Housing Problem?

Real estate consulting firm Urbanation looked into the condominium rental market for the second quarter of 2017 and revealed that the new increased demand for condos may have been caused by the changes in housing that the province recently announced.

It should be noted that Toronto introduced its Fair Housing Plan in April of this year – a measure that included speculation tax for non-residents and widened rent control for buildings that were built after 1991. After the provincial announcement, Urbanation found out that condo leases grew 12%, hitting a record high. The rental values also rose up 11% and caused it to surpass the usual average of $2,000 for the first time in the area. Condo vacancies are also nearly non-existent.

In view of all these changes, it looks like those who already have an apartment are holding on to them longer as Urbanation observed that there are currently far less turnovers. Figures show that condo leases were an average of 17.9 months a year earlier and is now at 21.5 months this year at their latest report.

Urbanation senior vice-president Shaun Hildebrand says that the figures show that the province is grossly under-building rentals. He added that the rent controls measures that are in place are going to make the housing situation worse over time because less people would want to move out so there will be less turnover resulting in less supply. He also added that when and if this continues, the result will be a very unfavourable market for anyone who may have to move homes due to work or other circumstances.

There’s Hope for a Better Housing Situation Soon

Things are not all bad though. The silver lining to all that is going on now is that there is now an increase of proposals to build rental properties although not at a fast enough rate.

Last quarter’s under construction rental units numbered at 5,821, a number that is less than the 5,992 under the same period last year but at least higher than the figures for the first quarter of 2017.

Mr. Hildebrand brings up that a positive thing to note is that the long-term trend point to a growing number of proposals. He further shared that the demand for more rental units can at least encourage developers to invest into building more purpose-built rentals.

Hildebrand added that there could be another thing to look forward to later in the year when some buyers may choose to go back to home ownership market and new condo developments rise up.

Interested to dip your toes into owning a home or perhaps improving your current one but don’t have the funds to do so? Contact us at Homebase Mortgages so we can talk about how we can help.

Would You Bet Against Warren Buffet About A Canadian Housing Crash?

People constantly talk about predicting that the Toronto Housing Market is going to burst, but would you really believe them when investment genius Warren Buffet himself bought shares at mortgage lending company Home Capital Group Inc.? This isn’t just a show of support! This is a vote of confidence from the financial guru himself!

A Game-Changing Move

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a company by Warren Buffet, is buying an investment of 38% shares in Home Capital for a whopping C$400 million ($300 million). They are also providing a C$2 billion credit line to support the Toronto-based Home Capital Inc. This deal means that Buffet is wading waist deep in a housing market that’s been called over-leveraged and overvalued due to the fact that home prices in Vancouver and Toronto still continue to rise in the wake of record-breaking household debt levels.

It should be noted that Home Capital got involved in one of the huge controversies affecting the Canadian housing market when they were accused by regulators of misleading their investors about mortgage fraud in April. This issue sparked rumors that this event would be the driving force that will bring down the housing market – a housing market correction that has been predicted in the past by the International Monetary Fund and Fitch Ratings Inc.

Buffet’s investment and huge credit line extended to Home Capital strongly suggest that he’s not thinking that the Canadian housing market will collapse anytime soon; but let’s not disregard the fact that he is reaping huge rewards for the risk because he got a 33% discount for buying the shares. He will also be making 9% interest on tapped portions of the loan.

Investors are Flocking In

In a Home Capital statement issued by Buffet in last month, he said that Home Capital’s leading market position, its ability to start and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its strong assets make his move a very attractive investment.

Buffet is just one of the long lists of investors that have taken a keen look on Home Capital’s assets in recent time. Yes, even in the middle of run on deposits and housing market risks. Other interested investors include Onex Corp., Catalyst Capital Group Inc., Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and others, shared people who have insider information on the matter.

Home Capital is also discussing refinancing their current line of credit with a Canadian pension fund with some of Canada’s major banks. The company also sold a C$1.2 billion portfolio of commercial mortgages to Toronto-based private equity firm KingSett Capital Inc.

Alan Hibben, one of Home Capital’s new board members says that Buffet’s investment is a positive indicator that there is little risk of crash in the Canadian housing market. The question is, will Buffet’s move allay fears of a housing crash? Time will tell.

Want the latest news on Canada’s housing market and mortgage situation? Be sure to follow our blogs at Homebase Mortgages. In case you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, getting a home equity loan, or securing a private mortgage, simply contact us for assistance.

Small Number of Foreign Buyers in Toronto, an Effect of Speculation Tax?

Recent reports share that non-Canadian citizens who bought homes in Ontario are just a small percentage of recent buyers after the speculation tax was implemented for foreign buyers.

Effect of Speculation Tax?

The Ontario government released a report sharing that only 4.7% of the recent real estate sales in Ontario are by foreign buyers. This data reflects the portion of the 18,282 recent home sales that were passed to foreign buyers in Toronto and Golden Horseshoe area a month after the foreign buyer tax was implemented.

In April of this year, the Liberal government implemented a non-resident speculation tax together with other measures in an attempt to cool down the red hot Toronto real estate market. They were hoping that the new tax would help control home prices even with surging demand.

The figures shared recently only covered home purchases made between the 24th of April to the 26th of May. It showed that less than 5% of the 18,282 homes that changed hands were bought by non-citizens or foreign businesses.

The Need for More Homes

Ontario Real Estate Association head Tim Hudak shared that the province’s statistics are closer to 4.9% than 4.7% according to the TREB. He also added that in view of all these, the ultimate solution would be to increase housing supply in Toronto, not make it more difficult for certain groups of people to purchase. Hudak further said that homes like stacked flats, townhouses, or midrise buildings would be the best way to address the need for more homes.

It is to be noted that the province released their data on foreign buyers a day before a housing forum convened. That forum included community and economics groups and experts and met to talk about finding ways to address housing demand and making homes more affordable.

Rushed Government Decisions?

PC Finance Critic Vic Fedeli believes that the Liberals released the data to finally have something to base their decision on. He added that unfortunately, the rushed announcement made for an awkward situation for the government because they didn’t know yet the real impact of their policy at the time.

In a phone interview, Fedeli shared that the release was loosely put together and that they are concerned that there’s lack of preparedness and lack of data concerning the matter. He further said that the government should be dealing with the red tape and arcane regulations that are slowing down housing projects instead of raising taxes.

Ontario’s speculation tax covers Greater Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, North to Barrie and east to Peterborough. It exempts a small group of non-citizens such as spouses of a permanent resident or citizen and refugees.

The tax is part of the province’s 16-point Fair Housing Plan that sought to give young families and individuals the opportunity to purchase a home and stabilise the housing market.

The Canadian Real Estate Association shared that they recorded a 25.3% drop in sales in Greater Toronto in the period between April and May 2017. They called it the biggest monthly drop recorded in the past 5 years.

Keen on getting in on the housing action but is short of funds? We can help you at Homebase Mortgages. Contact us to inquire how.

Will Bad Credit Stop You From Getting a Home Equity Loan?

It’s no secret that getting a home equity loan can save your sanity when you need financial help for home improvements, managing your finances, or perhaps for emergency funds when getting these funds through traditional means is not possible.

Other types of loans usually come with a high interest rate or are relatively difficult to get, while a home equity loan is an easier option that comes with secure terms and friendlier interest. This is why a lot of people who need to get their finances in order opt to go for one, but what if you have bad credit?

Is it possible to get a home equity loan with bad credit?

The above is a common question, more so for people who have a lower credit score because of reasons such as having quite a lot of debt or being unable to pay some bills in the past. Bad credit will hinder you from getting other loans, but fortunately, a home equity loan isn’t off limits for people with bad credit.

Home equity loan lenders are often willing to accept applications from people with lower credit score or those who has a credit score that’s in the lower end of the spectrum.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if you’re looking for a loan provider to take care of existing debts, or you have other funding needs but already have quite a substantial debt, then you still got a chance to obtain some funding even though you have a low credit score.

Note that a source of income will have to be validated and your income should be of enough value to allow you to be able to afford paying off a loan. Having these will increase your chances of getting a loan as well as getting a favourable interest rate for your approved loan.

So how can you work on your credit score?

It often takes a few weeks to a few months for your loan to get approved, which means that you got some time to show that you are responsible enough to adhere to the terms of the loan when approved. You can try to pay off other debts to get an improved mark and improve your chances of getting approved.

How do you use your home equity loan wisely?

You can start by being extra cautious. Never take out more than you need and make sure that whatever you take can be paid off on time.

Keep in mind that your home is in line when you go for a home equity loan. No matter how small the loan is or whatever other financial issues you have to take care of, taking care of the loans that’s tied to your home should be your priority.

As for ustilising your home equity loan wisely, it can be used to:

  • Pay for home renovation or home improvement projects.
  • Consolidate debt
  • Take care of high interest loan
  • Pay off other loans or debts with a high interest rate

Curious about getting a home equity loan? We’ll be happy to assist you! Contact us today so we can tell you everything you need to know before getting a home equity loan.