Province unveils plans to alter four big transit projects

Premier Doug Ford has unveiled his vision for a transit plan that would introduce some major changes to several transit projects that are already underway in Toronto.  

The plan would see the provincial government commit $11.2 billion to an overall plan that would cost $28.5 billion.

The announcement Wednesday includes plans for the downtown relief line, the Scarborough subway extension, the Yonge North subway extension of Line 1, and the Eglinton West LRT project.

The provincial plan would rely heavily on further investment from the federal government, seeking up to 40 per cent of the cost from Ottawa. That 40 per cent stake would include $4.8 billion in previous federal commitments to transit infrastructure in Toronto. The province is hoping that $2.25 billion of the extra $6.6 billion that it wants from Ottawa will come through the green infrastructure stream.

The plan would also rely on “significant investments” from the city of Toronto and York Region.

While the exact numbers have not yet been worked out, Ford said that discussions with the city have been positive so far.

While the premier said that provincial and municipal officials have spent “hundreds” of hours discussing the plan, it’s not clear how much the city knows so far about what the province is asking. Mayor John Tory did not attend Wednesday’s announcement, saying he could not attend an announcement about an infrastructure project that he doesn’t know anything about.

Describing it as “fabulous” and “the best ever,” Ford said the new transit system would serve the GTA for the next 50 to 100 years and added that the province is able to build transit “faster, better, cheaper” than the city.

“We’re going to get the largest system in Canada moving,” Ford said.

Asked what he would do if the federal government does not come to the table with the funds, Ford said the province would be willing to foot the entire bill and said he’d be willing to stake his reputation on the plan.

“If need be, we’ll backstop it ourselves,” he said

Major changes to relief line

Some of the most drastic changes affect the planned downtown relief line.

The provincial plan would rename the relief line “The Ontario Line” and would change the project from a subway line that connects with the rest of the TTC system into a “free-standing transit artery.”

The province says that driverless trains, lighter, smaller and more frequent vehicles and elevated track portions could all be part of the new line.

While it appears that the technology for building the route has not yet been decided, the government says that it will “invite the market” to offer cheaper technologies.

The alignment is also different from what the city has planned so far. Current plans for the downtown relief line envision it running between Pape and Osgoode stations. According to the province, the Ontario Line would connect Ontario place downtown with the Ontario Science Centre near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue , also connecting at East Harbour GO, Pape, Queen and Osgoode stations.

The line would cost $10.9 billion and would have an estimated completion date of 2027.

The latest estimate for the city’s relief line plan is $7.2 billion. TTC staff have said that they were expecting more detailed design work for the line to be compete early next year, along with an updated cost estimate.

Scarborough subway extension

The province also plans to spend $5.5 billion to build a three-stop subway extension in Scarborough instead of the planned one-stop extension.

“This one’s for you, Rob,” Premier Ford said in a nod to his late brother and former mayor Rob Ford, who championed the idea of building a subway in Scarborough.

The Scarborough extension, as envisioned by the province, would include stops at Lawrence East, Scarborough Town Centre and McCowan Road.

City council had previously considered building the three-stop subway, but had rejected it over cost concerns.

The change would add $1.6 billion to the latest cost estimate for building the one-stop subway. Ford said Wednesday that the province is willing to pay the entire cost of the Scarborough extension if need be.

The estimated completion date for the project would be 2029-2030, according to the province.

Yonge North Subway extension

Ford said the extension of Line 1 along Yonge Street from Finch Station to Richmond Hill Centre would be fast-tracked so that it is built concurrently with the Ontario Line.

Various levels of government have committed to eventually building the extension, but the TTC has said that it would not make sense to do so until there is a relief line, as the extension would likely add passengers to an already overwhelmed subway line.

Ford said the $5.6 billion project would only open after the proposed Ontario Line is built.

Eglinton Crosstown West

The provincial plan would alter the planned Eglinton West LRT project so that the line is buried between Royal York Road and Martin Grove Road.

The project would cost $4.7 billion with an estimated completion date of 2031.

The province said that it would like to ultimately connect the line to the airport, but that part is not planned currently.

First part of subway upload coming this spring

The province also says that it will split a planned upload of the TTC subway system into two parts. The first part of the upload would give the province responsibility for building all new subway infrastructure. The province says legislation will be introduced this spring to make that happen.

Discussions would then continue with the city about the upload of existing subway infrastructure, with an aim of introducing legislation to do so sometime next year.

According to a recent report by city staff, the city has already spent roughly $224 million over the past few years on planning for priority transit projects.

It’s not clear how much of that planning is still relevant given the provincial changes. However Ford said Wednesday that none of that work will have been wasted.

“We’re going to utilize every bit of the planning,” he told reporters.

Province says it can build faster, cheaper

According to background documents, provincial officials believe for several reasons that they are better positioned to deliver major transit infrastructure projects that the city is.

Those reasons include the ability to amortize costs over long periods, streamlining of permits and approvals, and the ability to relocate utilities where need be.

“The mayor understands. He doesn’t have the funds,” Ford said.

He reiterated that while he thinks the TTC is good at operating subway systems, he doesn’t think it is good at building them.

“It’s not their fault. They just can’t get it done,” Ford said.

The province believes that it can deliver cheaper transit infrastructure more quickly by changing the delivery method from the tradition plan-bid-build model. The province said it will seek public-private partnerships to try and build some of the new transit infrastructure.

Mayor John Tory is expected to comment on the provincial plan later this afternoon. 

*Source - https://www.cp24.com/news/province-unveils-plans-to-alter-four-big-toronto-transit-projects-1.4373196?fbclid=IwAR2fI92p4Wl-yv__W4lC2rWw7zbeBkXM8EU_6WV62LrAjqR3l2RLCktnqrY

Written by Joshua Freeman

April 9 2019


State of the Market Episode 3.3 | Reviewing the Federal Budget

On this episode of State of the Market, The Federal Finance Minister came out with a pre-election year budget including some new incentives for home buyers and a fair bit of spending. Ravi discusses what it could mean for the real estate market in the GTA...

*Facebook Live March 22nd 2019

RoundHeadshot.jpg

Ravi Singh was name one of the most Interesting People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2016. Award winning Realtor with ReMax Hallmark and team leader at The Connexus Group.

It's Tax Time! 5 great ways to put your refund to work.

Smart Ways to Spend Your Income Tax Refund

You’ve filed your taxes (or you’re planning to very soon) and you’re expecting an income tax refund. To some, this perceived windfall can be a sign to go on a spending binge.

According to Canada Revenue Agency, the average income tax refund for the 2018 tax year to date is $1,735 – about the cost of an all-inclusive vacation for one in the sunny south, a few nice dinners out, or a very decent shopping spree.

If you’re getting an income tax return, that means you’ve overpaid taxes and you’re simply getting some of that back. Stop treating your tax refund as “extra” cash. Here are some smart ways to put that tax refund to work.

Pay Down Debt.

Pay Down Debt.

It’s unlikely that you’ll miss this chunk of money, since you’ve technically already paid your taxes and are just getting some of that back. Use it to pay off some debt and reduce the interest you’re paying on that loan. Less interest paid means more money in the bank for your living expenses.

READ MORE: How much will it cost to buy a house?

Stash it away.

Stash it away.

Leaving that cash in a savings or chequing account makes it easy to access – and spend. Take advantage of tax savings in 2018 by depositing your 2017 refund into your Registered Retirement Savings Plan or a Tax-Free Savings Account.

READ MORE: How to buy a home you can afford

Update your home.

Update your home.

While your tax refund may not be enough to fund a full-blown renovation, the average refund is definitely enough to cover some upgrades in your home. This can boost your return if you’re planning to sell this spring. If you’re planning to stay in the home, you’ll enjoy the added liveability – and some shiny new faucets!

READ MORE: Boost your home’s value with $1,000 or less

Boost your mortgage payment.

Boost your mortgage payment.

Depending on your mortgage terms and conditions, you may be able to make a lump-sum payment. You’ll pay less in interest and more in principal. While $1,765 may seem like a drop in the bucket, every dollar counts.

READ MORE: Understanding mortgages

Build your down payment.

Build your down payment.

If home ownership is part of your future plan, deposit your tax refund into a “down payment” fund. An RRSP is a great option. You’ll enjoy a tax break, and you can borrow up to $25,000 (tax-free!) for your down payment and other home purchase-related costs when you’re ready to buy.

READ MORE: What is a down payment?

Always consult your financial advisor to determine the best solution for your needs and goals.


*Source https://blog.remax.ca/smart-ways-spend-income-tax-refund/?sf99550259=1&fbclid=IwAR06dWCwIeGAZ9oAbIbPHa2Gwz3OEipOJ0Z2-z2LVyp6yJzJyWvhM58DtHQ








State of the Market Episode 20 | 2019 Real Estate Projections

Here are some top level data points which I've added commentary on above:

Significant real estate milestones for Toronto / GTA in September 2018… a slow start to the fall market.


 2nd lowest September sales since 2012 (6,455)

 The ratio of sales-to-listings decreased slightly to 32.1% in September – Now in a very moderate seller market territory

 The average sale price came in at $796,786– which was up just 2.9% compared to September 2017 – Remember last year the new Ontario government rules came into effect on April 20th which really influenced the late spring and summer markets last year

 Note that this average was still over 5.4% higher than 2 years ago in September 2016

 Overall sales in the month were up just 2% from one year ago

 The GTA real estate market overall averaged the days-on-market at 26 – a fairly typical level for Toronto’s early fall market

 Detached home sales in September 2018 with a purchase price over $2,000,000 were almost the same as last year

 It’s noticeable that first-time buyer aspirations are now shifting to a condominium lifestyle – CONDO sales took a 35.4% share of the total market 

 Downtown condo active listing numbers were lower in C01 and C08 by 8-10% from last year at this time


 The downtown condo days-on-market average was 20-21 days – significantly faster than the overall market 


 The ratio of sales-to-listings for condos downtown were close in both C01 (61.7%) and in C08 (65.1%) indicating an extremely strong seller’s market… a wee bit more than double the GTA overall.


 The average sale price for downtown condominium suites is up by roughly $65,000 from September 2017


 Building on this higher demand due to better affordability, condo appreciation in the two main downtown markets averaged 11-13% year-over-year


 Markets in York Region and other 905 neighbourhoods have suffered the most from the market slowdown – York Region is now showing that they’re in ‘buyer market’ territory


 Expect slight inventory and sales increases as we move through the fall/Winter market - buyers should watch for more opportunities to get the condo or house of their dreams.


The key takeaways include the fact that the recovery is in motion... starting from the bottom up. Now is a great chance to get into your dream home, upsize or invest.

As always, Happy to talk!

RoundHeadshot.jpg

Ravi Singh was name one of the most Interesting People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2016. Award winning Realtor with ReMax Hallmark and team leader at The Connexus Group.

RE/MAX 2018 Spring Market Trends Report

NEW STRESS TEST REGULATIONS PROMPT CANADIAN HOMEBUYERS TO INCREASE BUDGETS, RE-EVALUATE HOME FEATURES OR DELAY THEIR PURCHASE. WHILE HOMEBUYERS ARE FEELING THE IMPACT OF REGULATORY CHANGES, THE SPRING MARKET FORECASTS BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD.

A recent RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger found more than one in four Canadian homebuyers report feeling pinched by the stress test, which came into effect in January of this year. However, projections for the spring market show optimism with most markets expected to remain stable or improve.

Despite all of the factors involved, the spring market across most of the country is forecasted to strengthen as we head into the warmer months. Supply is still low in many markets, and while the prices may not reach the same levels as this time last year, we are expected to see continued healthy price appreciation from the earlier months of this year across many regions in the country.

The average residential sale price in the Greater Toronto Area dropped to $753,747, down almost 10 per cent from $834,144 in January and February of 2017. With move-up buyers driving the market — many of whom are making their second or third transition — alongside a booming condominium market, prices are forecasted to soften throughout the year. Not all regions in Ontario are being affected like the GTA. In Ottawa, the average residential sale price in January and February was $388,289, up four per cent from the same period in 2017, and Kitchener-Waterloo saw a five per cent price increase year-over-year.

At the same time, the average residential sale price in Western Canada continues to increase. Greater Vancouver saw prices increase almost 11 per cent in January and February to $1,051,513, up from $950,184 during the same period in 2017. Despite reduced unit sales, prices are expected to continue rising. While Victoria is mostly a seller’s market compared to Greater Vancouver, it has also seen an increase in average residential sale price, which was $831,000 in January and February this year compared to $761,000 during the same period in 2017.

It is expected that government intervention and the stress test will continue to play a pivotal role in purchasing behaviour as we look to the months ahead. The Leger survey found that four in 10 buyers have had to compromise on their purchase, and almost one in three opted not to purchase altogether. One quarter of buyers compromised on the size of their home, while 18 per cent made concessions on the location of their home.

Despite these compromises, 55 per cent of homebuyers say they feel like they can purchase the type of home that suits their families’ needs compared to 46 per cent last year.

In Alberta, first-time homebuyers looking for affordability in Calgary and Edmonton continue to drive the market forward, with single Millennials and young couples gravitating toward the relatively stable condominium market. The average residential sale price increased 1.4 per cent in Calgary to $481,775 in January and February of this year, up from $475,288 during the same period in 2017. Meanwhile in Edmonton, a wide variety of inventory offers good opportunities for buyers, resulting in a small increase in activity and stable year-over-year prices to start 2018.

Interestingly, activity in Atlantic Canada experienced increased demand from first-time homebuyers, many of whom are young couples and families. At the same time, the condominium market is being driven by retirees who are looking to downsize. Prices continue to rise across most Atlantic markets, especially in Saint John where the average residential sale price in January and February this year was $201,328, compared to $168,956 during the same period in 2017.

New residential and commercial development projects in markets across the country are expected to fuel demand. Cities most impacted will include Edmonton, Kelowna, Victoria and Fraser Valley in the West and Windsor, London, Hamilton-Burlington, Barrie, Durham, Ottawa, Saint John and Halifax in Central and Eastern Canada.

Click Here for the Full Report

*Source: Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic

Connexus Perks: Re/Max Hallmark Scholarship Fund

We are happy to announce that Re/Max Hallmark is offering a Fall 2018 Scholarship Fund for the children of RE/MAX Hallmark’s past or present clients, who are applying for their first year of post-secondary education. 

If you require further information, or would like to obtain an application form and inquire about guidlines, please contact Alicia at 416.494.7653 or via email alicia@connexusgroup.ca.  We would be happy to endorse your child in our Scholarship Program to help with their education.

Deadline to submit is April 24th 2018.

At Re/Max Hallmark, we feel strongly about contributing to the minds of tomorrow and investing in the future of our children.  

Best Regards, 

Ravi, Justin, Sarah and Alicia and Angela.
#theconnexusadvantage

The Marginal Buyer - "A take on the competitive nature of multiple offers."

You win some... You lose some. That's the tale of the Toronto market for buyers. Though lately we've been winning a lot. Very proud to know that we've been able to help 6 families purchase in the last 45 days in multiple offers. Many of them have lost in multiples over the past 3-4 months. Many buyers out there know the heartache and the agony of defeat. In the past year, we've worked on a strategy around what we call the

"marginal buyer"

In our buyer process, we level set all of the expectations around a multiple offer situation based on "the marginal buyer". You see the marginal buyer is our only real competition. The marginal buyer is our neck and neck stiff competition. Some of the key characteristics of the marginal buyer: 

 

  • knows values in the area
  • knows absorption rate in the area
  • can define whether the area is a sellers market, buyers market or balanced market
  • is intimately aware of recent sales
  • understands all elements of an offer
  • comes equipped with pre-qualification and if possible pre-approval for financing
  • understands all 9 elements of a home inspection
  • has thorough knowledge of the condo/strata declaration and status certificate as applicable
  • comes with a deposit to the offer (don't ever walk without a deposit!)
  • has a strong guide on the purchase process
  • has a guide who can advise on future value albeit without the ever-valuable crystal ball.

The marginal buyer is our stiff competition because they are the most aware of the cost-benefit of buying a particular property. Once we've scoped out our competition, the next step is to analyze the "logical" approach to historical and current data. Then... and only then... comes the all important question:

"How much would be too much? And if this property sells for too much, would you buy it for that price?".

Interesting situation right? Only in Toronto is this how purchases are qualified. Here's another way to look at it:

"With prices climbing at x% per month... would you be willing to pay what this home will be worth in 1-2-3-4 months?"

Finally, here's how we usually set up the conversation:

Based on current data of inventory, market dynamics and recent sales, the property is:

a) a steal at X dollars

b) a deal at y dollars

c) you're overpaying at z dollars

After we've examined it, the only last step is to figure out whether the marginal buyer is likely to offer more then us. And if they are, we have to answer whether we are ok with it. 

And guess what... if you've offered and won.. based on going through the exercise and homework above, that's right, you've guessed it... YOU ARE the marginal buyer. And congrats, you've just bought a home in this crazy Toronto real estate market.

NB: Justin, Sarah and Alicia have all bought homes in multiple offer situations. We don't just preach it, but we practice it too!

Want to talk Real Estate? Got questions... call/message any time!

Ravi Singh

RAVI_ROUNDHEADSHOT.png

Ravi Singh was named one of the most Interesting People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2016. Award winning Realtor with ReMax Hallmark and team leader at The Connexus Group.

 

 

December Market Analysis

Here’s a summary of the significant real estate milestones and 'talking points' for December 2017.

Courtesy of Thomas Cook

* 4th highest number of overall sales for the month of December (4,930) and up by a few hundred homes from October

* 2017 had 92,394 total sales… a BIG drop from 113,000 last year and drops to 5th place in sales since 2012

* The ratio of sales-to-listings dropped back to 38.1% in December – a very moderate seller’s market

* The average sale price dropped slightly to $735,021 – BUT was flat compared to 2016 – because of higher sales of lower priced condos

* The final average for the entire 2017 year ended up at $822,681 – 12.7% higher than for 2016

* Sales in the month were down 7.1% from one year ago

* The GTA real estate market overall averaged the days-on-market at 27 – still quick compared to many markets

* Again, it’s becoming clear that first-time buyer aspirations are now shifting to a condominium lifestyle – CONDO sales took a ‘highest ever’ 40.3% of the total market in December… about 2-3% more than average

* Downtown condo listing numbers were up in C01 and down in C08 from last year at this time

* The downtown condo days-on-market average was 20-21 days – slightly faster than the overall market

* The ratio of sales-to-listings for condos downtown ranged between 65.4% in C01 to 110% in C08 indicating a very strong seller’s market… well ahead of most of the GTA

* The average sale price for downtown condominium suites is still up by roughly $120,000 from 2016

* Building on this higher demand due to better affordability, condo appreciation in the two main downtown markets averaged 24% year-over-year

* Markets in York Region and some other 905 neighbourhoods have suffered the most from the market slowdown – York Region is now showing that they’re in ‘buyer market’ territory

What do we have in common with New Edition and The Golden State Warriors?

We are hiring. We've announced to the world that we are looking to grow our team and our capacity. Its exciting and my vision is thoroughly different then some teams. Many teams in real estate are labelled after the team leader and the team leader is the alpha... with other realtors plugged into their respective roles. For example, Inside Sales Agent, prospecting and open house agent, buyer agent, etc.

This is like Diana Ross and the Supremes. Who can name the other member of the Surpremes? Not me without Google.

I want to be more like New Edition. New Edition was a pop icon group, but every member of New Edition was a superstar in their own right. Bobby Brown is MR RnB. Johnny Gill had vocals like no one else. Bel Biv Devoe has some of the most iconic songs of all time and Ralph Tresvant... well he was the most talented of them all.

No one member of New Edition couldn't stand on their own, and as a band... they were even bigger then all of them apart.

Another example... the Golden State Warriors. Let's face it... KD and Steph are both MVP worthy players. The whole team is mega talent, and they're a TEAM!

That's the idea behind Connexus. A group of individuals who are extremely talented pooling their resources to create an even better organization. Justin is an amazing agent. Driven, courteous, big thinking and highly knowledgable. Sarah is one of the most organized, detail oriented, resourceful agents out there. Myself... I've been an ambassador for my company and have been considered one of the best examples of high service agents in the industry. We are pooling our resources to create a platform for agents to have every possible advantage to be the best version of themselves in their career. AND have a lot of fun and help a lot of people. 

Do you want to engage with us? Are you an agent who wants to be belly to belly with clients, building your circle and at the same time working on a team with the best administration, marketing, coaching, accountability and facilities possible?

Have you sold 10 properties on your own, and you've experienced the peaks and valleys of real estate? Do you go from very unbusy to being incapable of doing it all at the same time? Find your fit with us. 

Send me a message and let's talk about whether you're ideal for Connexus.

ravi_singh@rogers.com

416-992-2942

@ravisinghremax

@connexusgroup

Crushing Your Goals by Surrounding Yourself with Great Talent - Ravi Singh

I was recently featured on a podcast called Driven. I was interviewed by the extremely talented and forward thinking Johnder Perez. Thanks for the feature Johnder. 

This podcast talks about my successes in real estate. It discusses some of my best practices. It also discusses some of my key principles in life:

 1. Surround yourself with great people.

 2. Live each day with gratitude

 3. Approach challenges as opportunities

 4. Think from a place of abundance, not scarcity

 5. Build consistency into your daily routine.

 6. Start with a dream, then goals, then strategies, then tactics.

Have a listen and let me know what you think:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-8bi7u-745b67

Your friend in Real Estate.

>>RS

Ravi Singh was name one of the most Interesting People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2016. Award winning Realtor with ReMax Hallmark and team leader at The Connexus Group.

Re/Max 2018 Housing Market Outlook

This past week, Re/Max Integra released their Canadian National Housing Outlook. Part of this report is a review of many major economic sectors including the Greater Toronto Area.

Here are some key facts:

  • The GTA’s condo market also saw price appreciation of 22 per cent in 2017, as the average sale price for a condo rose to an estimated $523,437, up from $429,241 in 2016.
  • According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX, the appetite for home ownership remains strong with roughly half of Canadians (48 per cent) considering the purchase of a home in the next five years.
  • In order to find a balance between the home features they’re looking for and affordability, many buyers are continuing to look at real estate markets outside of the country’s largest urban centres.
  • The new OSFI mortgage qualification rules that come into effect on January 1, 2018 also impacted housing market activity toward the end of this year and are expected to slow activity in real estate markets across Canada in the first part of 2018.
  • It is expected that the new mortgage stress test will slow activity across Canada during first few months of 2018 and at the end of November 2017, the Bank of Canada predicted that the new regulations could disqualify up to 10 per cent of prospective home buyers who have down payments of 20 per cent or more.
  • The RE/MAX 2018 average residential sale price expectation for Canada is an increase of 2.5 per cent as the desire for home ownership remains strong, particularly among Canadian millennials.

Read the Full Report Here:

http://download.remax.ca/PR/HMO2018/2018HousingMarketOutlook.pdf

Re/Max Hallmark Market Report

REMAX HALLMARK MARKET REPORT

 Courtesy of Thomas Cook

Here’s a summary of the significant real estate milestones and 'talking points' for November 2017. What will January bring after the new mortgage qualification rules come into effect?

  • 2nd highest number of overall sales for the month of November since 2009 (7,385) and up by a few hundred homes from October
  • The ratio of sales-to-listings increased from October’s 37.7% to 40.5% in November – a very moderate seller’s market
  • The average sale price dropped slightly to $761,757 – BUT, for the first time, was lower by 2% YTD compared to 2016 – because of higher sales of lower priced condos
  • This marked the first time in many years that the Toronto Real Estate Board average sale price had a drop year-over-year (traditionally we’ve seen an average annual appreciation of 6.8% over the last 20 years).
  • Sales in the month were down 13.5% from one year ago
  • The GTA real estate market overall averaged the days-on-market at 24 – still quick compared to many markets

Again, it’s becoming clear that first-time buyer aspirations are now shifting to a condominium lifestyle – CONDO sales took a ‘highest ever’ 37.5% of the total market in November… about 2-3% more than average

  • Downtown condo listings were up from last year at this time
  • The downtown condo days-on-market average was 18-19 days
  • The ratio of sales-to-listings for condos downtown ranged between 76.7% in C01 to 87.6% in C08 indicating a strong seller’s market… well ahead of most of the GTA
  • The average sale price for downtown condominium suites is still up by roughly $120,000 from 2016
  • Building on this higher demand due to better affordability, condo appreciation in the two main downtown markets averaged 24% year-over-year

Some Insights from Ravi:

A qualified, knowledgable real estate agent who knows your neighbourhood will be your best friend in selling your home. Now is not the time to use someone you know. Go with the best possible agent you can find.

Pricing effectively in this market means being the "marginal seller". You want to be marginally ahead of all competition. Not by a large differentiator, but my a small differentiator. 

The way you prepare and promote your home will make it stand out. Get creative with marketing. Also, remember that your agent needs to leverage their network and call the agents with the buyers. This is key!

If you are a buyer, January/February is the time to pounce. take advantage of the uncertainty in the market. Go against the grain. You may have a windfall!

Savings, savings, savings!

Guys, Sarah here, I have a confession to make. I'm a secret coupon-er. I'm obsessed! I cannot shop online or in-store without scouring the Internet. But! Just in time for Black Friday I've found a tool that's helped save me thousands of minutes searching. And I'm sharing it with you all! Sharing is caring! 

Honey is a Chrome Extension that searches the Internet for you. The folks over at Honey have built an algorithm that searches the entire Internet for codes. Including, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, other social media platforms and every website imaginable. Ever see an Instagram post with a discount code? They got that covered. Honey is free and takes seconds to install. 

This is what it looks like on my page right now. Even SquareSpace has a code! --> 

Okay, now that we have you set up with your codes, it's time to go shopping!

The BEST website to help you condense your Black Friday sales search is www.shopblackfriday.ca. This website updates by the minute. No joke, I'll be on a page and then it refreshes more deals, live! Optimize your time and use this website, you can even shop by retailer names (A-Z). 

Now, I got sucked into the Online Shopping black-hole for 3-hours today. Yes, sad to admit. Luckily for you guys, I've found the best deals just for you. Tech, home, food, clothing and more below. Happy shopping! #ConnexusAdvantage

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 6.46.56 PM.png

Technology

Best Buy is usually the go to for technology on Black Friday. They post their flyers weeks in advance. This year we are eyeing the touch-screen Acer laptop, $150 off and this external storage

Searching for something less expensive? I bought the anti-gravity GoatCASE for $27.99 last year and it's now $13! Yes, it really sticks and doesn't make a mark when you remove it. 

Home Decor

If you haven't done your Christmas decor shopping yet, have no fear! Black Friday Sales are your best friend. Michaels, Amazon.ca and more! I purchased this sheet set from Amazon in September for $25, now it's $12!

I need a break today, otherwise I'd be shopping these Michael's holiday decorations for my holiday party next week. Honey even generated me a code to save 40% off one regular item:  40SAVE111917.  

donuts

FOOOOOOD

Yes, there's even Black Friday food sales. Loblaws, Metro, Swiss Chalet, Lindt, Tim Hortons, Harvey's and more! You're welcome. 

clothing rack

Fashion

There is no Black Friday sale without Clothes. Skip the lines, the pushing and shoving and shop online this Black Friday. Every single clothing retailer has a deal. My top picks are H&M, Aritzia, Fashionnova, Boohoo and Lululemon

Best part?! Honey has a code for hundreds of clothing retailers! 

Customized Gifts

Ever want your picture on an ornament? What about on a deck of cards? Staples is giving 30% off personalized photo gifts.

Looking for more savings on your Staples photo? Use the Honey extension for a 20% off coupon. 

Happy Shopping Everyone!

- Sarah 

OSFI - Stress Test Changing January 1st 2018 [EXPLAINED]

Hi everyone!

I’m going to break down the OSFI changes effective January 1st, 2018 that were announced last week. I’m REALLY going to break it down into layman’s terms. I know if I wasn’t in this industry I would need to break it down this way. So, I’ve done extensive research to be able to explain it to you all in this post.

Let’s start with Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions or better known as OSFI

Who are they: they’re an independent agency of the Government of Canada who Reports to the Minister of Finance.

History

  • The agency was created in the late 1800s
  • Created to contribute to increasing confidence in Canadian Financial systems
  • Responsibilities include: supervise, advise, advance & administer, monitor and evaluate systems

Now that we understand who is behind the BIG news. Let me outline the...

BIG news

OSFI has Revised the B-20 guidelines

What’s the B-20 guideline? It’s a form that outlines the guidelines that each person goes through to get qualified for a mortgage. It outlines the rules and criteria a lender must consider. For example, a lender must consider your credit report, spending patterns, payment patterns, income, etc. It outlines what, when, how, who, where of your financial history.

NEW Stress test for everyone starting January 1st, 2018

For BOTH Insured & Uninsured mortgages. The stress test implemented earlier this year only looked at insured mortgages. That’s anything that had a down payment of 20% or less. So it doesn’t matter if you are putting 15% down, 10%, 25%, this applies to ALL NEW MORTGAGES.

The Stress Test

200 points or 2% - an added 200 points or 2% will be added to any interest rate you qualify for see if you can withstand the increase. So, say you can get 2.5% rate, just using this as an example to keep it simple, you will be tested against 4.5% (+2%). If you can afford it at 4.5% then you pass the stress test and qualify for a mortgage.

OR tested against the Greater 5-year Bank of Canada rate which is currently 4.89%.

Examples

The best thingsto donate.png

If you want to understand how I get these numbers and the breakdown then shoot me an email and I can go over your specific numbers. What you need to know is simple, think of your income, break it down into a monthly budget of expenses including mortgage then add 2% onto the mortgage rate you are going for. When you add the 2%, are you going into debt on a monthly basis? Do you have wiggle room? Is it cutting it close? All things to consider...

Now let's talk about the

Elephant in the room. Talks of another .25%, or 25 basis points, increase in the rate that could happen at any time. Well today, thankfully, the Bank of Canada announced they would NOT be making that hike. However it could still happen in the near future. Let's look at it in numbers if there was a .25% and 2% increase. What does that look like monthly $$$.

  • If interest rates go up by 25 basis points and you have a mortgage of $750,000 mortgage it will cost you another $100 a month.
  • Basically for every $100,000 a 25 basis point will increase your mortgage by 13.50$ monthly
  • Now think of the news, with the stress test. For every $100,000 adding 200 basis points is equivalent of multiplying 13.50 by eight so now you are having to QUALIFY for $100 per month more on every $100k of mortgage.

BUT WHY?!?!?

Many people are freaking out, which always happens when the government announces a new rule. You can’t please everyone. I’ve been seeing agents post about this all week and the comments left on their posts are mostly negative. I get it. Not everyone likes change. Change makes people feel uncomfortable. Here are some reasons why they are doing it.

Protection

Protection from inevitable the rate climb

Protection from yourself. The first analogy that came into my mind was the same kind of protection that you do when you go into a casino and you ban yourself from the casino. But this time it’s coming from the government. Know your limit and stay within it.

This stat is crazy but there has been an increase in uninsured mortgages by 17.3% year over year. Why? People love loopholes, wherever they can find them they jump in. Putting more down allowed people to go uninsured, let’s say their parents loaned them the down payment to get them to 20%, they could still be running at risk but under the radar because they put the 20% down. This stops that.

Solutions? [are there any?]

  1. The more INCOME you have the more likely you’re going to pass the stress test.

And I know, I get it, you cannot pull income out of your – you know what. However, I did have a client take on another job on Saturday evenings so he can afford a home. I thought it was the humblest action he could do for his family to have a future. It’s not ideal and not everyone will mentally boggle down and do it. However, it’s become the sad reality

  1. Self-employed should DECLARE income! You thought you could go under the radar and avoid tax and get all the benefits of a low-income household, right? Well now this may not work in your favor if you are thinking of owning a home anytime in your future.
  1. DO NOT DO

Rush to purchase before Jan 1st, 2018. If you're at a high risk already, think before you REACT.

Outlook

I can give you my predictions but I don’t hold a crystal ball and anyone who says they know is fooling themselves.

  1. I see a trend of other major cities around the world. NYC, Cali, Paris. I view us being the NYC of Canada
  2. Toronto will become the Playground for the Rich
  3. With all the factors it will push people to price down on their budget which will end up making them thinking of renting and then rent will inevitably go up. Which is problematic in cities like Toronto and Vancouver where we have a vacancy rate of less than 1%.
  4. Influx the GTA. Which will impact, transportation, jobs, supply of homes.

Final words…

Although in life I have been known to promote a life is short, live life to the fullest mentality. I still think future smart. Which is to think smart about your future and not negate it.

Be Positive. This is just a new set of rules & regulations we will get used to. Life always moves on. Time tells all!

For more details watch Ravi's latest State of the Market below.

Written by: Sarah Gheriani

Sarah Gheriani is driven for success. She's increased her business by 50% from 2016-2017. Helping more people in their new homes than ever before. She has made Re/Max Hallmark's award club, 2017 100% club. Her believe is..."if you are not helping other people, you are wasting your time". 

More Good Content:

Why Sell with Connexus

You can't fake Integrity...

Why Charles Kabouth will make an impact on the condo scene...

September Market Analysis

The September Market Analysis is out! Listed below is a concise list and summary of the changes in the September real estate market:

* Lowest number of overall sales for the month of September since 2011 (6,379) although they were up fractionally from August


* The ratio of sales-to-listings dropped from August’s 38.7% to 33.5% in September – just barely a seller’s market


* The average sale price climbed slightly to $775,546 – still up 15% YTD compared to 2016 – because of higher sales of lower priced condos


* 2.6% average sale price increase from September 2016 (traditionally we’ve seen an average annual appreciation of 6.8% over the last 20 years)


* Sales in the month were down 35% from one year ago


* The GTA real estate market overall averaged the days-on-market at 24 – still quick compared to many markets


* First-time buyer aspirations now shifting to a condominium lifestyle – CONDO sales took a ‘highest ever’ 36.4% of the total market in September… about 3% more than average


* Downtown condo listings were lower by 8-15% from last year at this time


* The days-on-market average was 19-21 days


* The ratio of sales-to-listings for condos downtown ranged between 61.7% in C01 to 61.5% in C08 indicating a strong seller’s market… well ahead of the rest of the GTA


* The average sale price for downtown condominium suites is up by roughly $120,000 from 2016
* Building on this higher demand due to better affordability, condo appreciation in the two main downtown markets averaged 25% year-over-year


* Markets in York Region and other 905 neighbourhoods have suffered the most from the market slowdown – every district is now showing that they’re in ‘buyer market’ territory


* Overall, it’s a perfect opportunity now in many neighbourhoods, with the increased inventory, for a buyer to find a home they fall in love with AND negotiate with the seller one-on-one for a change.

*Source: RE/Max Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage

RE/Max.ca NEW School Search Tool

When finding the perfect new home we noticed that a lot of our clients of ask us “Is it in a good school district?”. Turns out majority of home seekers ask the same thing to their Realtors. RE/Max listened to this need and introduced a new feature on RE/Max.ca where you can do just that. 

Home buyers have the ability to see the location of 14,500+ public, separate and private schools and search listings with a catchment area of 9,000+ public schools. 

Watch this video to learn more:

Read the full Press Release Here

RE/Max Staging Challenge! $2,000 is up for grabs!

We all know that staging is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to selling your home. Even if your home is not up for sale and is showroom ready you could win a $200 gift card to West Elm and qualify for the grand prize of $2,000!

This Instagram contest was launched earlier this week and will run through to October 7th 2017. 

It is as simple as following the RE/Max Instagram page and tagging them in a photo of a beautifully staged room in your house/condo with the hashtag #REMAXReStage

Everyday until October 7th there will be a theme with a room of the day.

Click here for the official contest rules

Click here to see some other entries for some inspiration

 

 

Now get snapping and tagging! Good luck!

Inventory UP... but guess what... Everything is going to be OK.

"Fundamentals." Real estate values are about fundamentals. When looking at Toronto, its not the real estate darling of the world because of speculation and risk. Its the real estate darling of the world because of great employment, natural habitat, low crime rate, excellent healthcare, wonderful public education, conservative banking, good quality construction, ample fresh water, multiculturalism, diversity of all kinds, growing infrastructure... need I go on?

When you're buying real estate, you have to look at the long term fundamentals. There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of headlines that have made people query the longevity of sustainable growth in the Toronto market. Here's the truth, the un-natural sky rocket that happened in January-to-April has calmed down. We are back to a natural, growing market and summer seasonality. 

ReMax Hallmark has published the below press release looking at the current market conditions. Broker of Record, Ken McLachlan alongside the rest of the leadership team state that "“Average price will continue to increase at a healthy rate, albeit, at a more moderate pace than the first quarter of 2017” 

Oh and by the way... I couldn't agree more. 

Please see the full press release here:


For immediate release

Toronto real estate market remains strong with a 14.9% increase in average price.

Active listings increased, leading to a moderation in price increases.

Toronto, ON (June 21, 2017) – Contrary to some recent headlines, the Toronto real estate market remains strong with average prices increasing by 14.9% at the end of May 2017 compared to end of May 2016. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average price reached $863,910 compared to $752,100, respectively.

“Average price will continue to increase at a healthy rate, albeit, at a more moderate pace than the first quarter of 2017” says Ken McLachlan, Broker-Owner, RE/MAX Hallmark. “This lower increase is a result of an influx of inventory in April and May.”

Inventory levels were at approximately one month worth of sales or less for each month of the year until May. At the end of May inventory levels stood at 18,477 homes which represents about 1.8 months of the sales in May of 10,196 homes. Traditionally, in the real estate industry, months of inventory value of up to 4 months has been considered a seller’s market. As buyers had more choice in May, compared to the prior four months of the year, they were taking a little longer to make their buying decision and accordingly the number of homes exchanging hands decreased by 20% from the all-time record set in May of 2016.

“We are still in seller’s market territory and that is why prices increased double digits in May compared to last year” says Debra Bain, Broker-Owner, RE/MAX Hallmark. “Based on what we are hearing from our REALTORS ®, inventory levels are expected to increase slightly approaching the fall months, however we are expecting to stay in seller’s market or balanced market territory for the foreseeable future.”

A balanced market typically occurs when there are 4 to 5 months of inventory and prices during those times typically increase mid-single digits.

“Each subset of the market has slightly different fundamentals than the averages that are quoted, so it is critical to get accurate information from your REALTOR ®, prior to putting your home on the market, or placing an offer for a purchase.” says Gurinder Sandhu, Managing Partner, RE/MAX Hallmark.

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. is one of the largest real estate franchises in Ontario, with more than 1,200 sales associates operating out of 13 offices throughout the Greater Toronto Area, and

the Ottawa Region. The team specializes in all aspects of real estate, including residential, recreational and commercial properties. RE/MAX Hallmark is firmly entrenched in the communities it serves through its involvement in Children’s Miracle Network and grassroots fundraising initiatives. Visit the RE/MAX Hallmark website at: www.torontohomesandcondos.com
For more information:
Ken McLachlan, Broker-Owner RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. 416.565.4572 ken@remaxhallmark.com

Gurinder Sandhu, Managing Partner RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. 647-969-5961 gurinder@remaxhallmark.com

Debra Bain, Broker-Owner RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. 416.564-9918 debra@remaxhallmark.com

We love to chat about real estate. Contact us any time!

RS.


Ravi Singh was name one of the most Interesting People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2016. Award winning Realtor with ReMax Hallmark and team leader at The Connexus Group.

More Good Content:

Why Sell with Connexus

You can't fake Integrity...

Why Charles Kabouth will make an impact on the condo scene...