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February 2017 figures released by the Toronto Real Estate Board for the 6IX 


The average selling price was up by 27.7 per cent year-over-year to $875,983.

Annual rates of price growth continued to be strongest for low-rise home types, particularly

detached houses. Growth rates for condominium apartment prices were also in the double

digits, likely a result of strong demand from first-time buyers.

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Young homebuyers are the lifeblood of many agents’ business, so a report that indicates that it makes sense for millennials to purchase a home rather than rent in most cities is comforting news.

The latest edition of Rent vs. Buy from Trulia, which takes into consideration some millennial factors, found that “buying is not only 23 per cent cheaper than renting nationally, it is also cheaper than renting in 98 of the nation’s top 100 markets.”

While this calculation shows that buying is still cheaper than renting, the difference is pretty close in some places, especially in Ontario. 

The report noted that there are additional economic conditions that influence today’s market, such as home-price growth, which has outpaced rents since 2012, but that low interest rates help offset this advantage for the rent side.

Usually, when Trulia crunches its home-buying numbers, it assumes a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 per cent down payment for households moving every seven years. Following these guidelines, buying is 36 per cent cheaper than renting on a national basis, based on September home prices.

But the issue with this model is that it doesn’t fit the situations that average millennials face, according to Trulia. Instead, the company said that it is typical for young households (ages 25-34) to move every five years and only be able afford up to a 10 per cent down payment. Trulia also assumed a 3.85 per cent mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, itemized federal tax deductions and a 25 per cent tax bracket.

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For agents outside the city limits of Toronto who have watched colleagues lose deals over the city’s land transfer tax, news that the provincial Liberal government may be set to give all municipalities the same powers has rocked the real industry to the core.

According to news reports, the Liberal government may be set to give all municipalities the right to set the amount of municipal land transfer tax you are required to pay when buying a new property, something that currently only the city of Toronto is allowed to do.

“Ontario home buyers are already charged a provincial land transfer tax, so by adding a municipal tax, they’re essentially doubling the tax burden on Ontario families,” said Patricia Verge, president of OREA, in a statement. “If the Ontario Liberals follow through with this plan, homebuyers will be forced to pay $10,000 in total land transfer taxes on the average priced home in Ontario, starting as early as next year.”

OREA also warned that if all municipalities province-wide were allowed to set their own tax rates, it will result is lost economic activity and lost jobs with the association. They accused the Wynne Liberals of breaking an election promise.

They say that a letter received last year during the election said that Liberals “had no plans” to extend these powers beyond Toronto.

The minister of municipal affairs and housing denied any decision has been made to extend the taxing power.

“In 2014 at the AMO conference, I was asked whether I would consider looking at municipal revenue tools as part of the Municipal Act review. I gave the shortest answer possible, ‘yes.’ We are currently reviewing the Municipal Act. No decisions have been made,” said Ted McMeekin.

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Every year close to 100,000 people from all over the globe begin a new life in Toronto, and as a result, ours has become one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

Fortunately, when it comes to housing, the choice is as diverse as the population itself.

Within the Greater Toronto Area it is possible to live on a farm, by a ski slope, on an island, near soaring cliffs and even down the street from a castle, which only begins to illustrate the seemingly limitless range of our city’s more than two million housing options.

Toronto’s castle is of course, the historic treasure known as Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House), which took three years and $3.5 million to construct when it was begun in 1911. It’s a cost that might now be considered modest in comparison to some homes in the area, which reflects the long-term benefit of most any type of real estate investment.

While the castle’s towers offer an outstanding view of the downtown core, spectacular vistas can be found from numerous vantage points throughout the GTA. The Scarborough Bluffs for example, offer a view from 300 feet above the city’s eastern shoreline. In this neighbourhood, detached homes are the most commonly found housing type. However, if you want to be steps from beaches and boat docks, there are also numerous condominium options along Toronto’s 46 kilometres of waterfront.

Lakeside living can also be found along many of the smaller lakes that dot the GTA’s surrounding regions and if taking the lifestyle a step further appeals to you, follow the Don Valley Parkway/Highway 404 combination to the northern reaches of York Region where you can find land lease properties on islands near the southern shores of Lake Simcoe.

If winter is the season you prefer, consider that there are housing options near two ski slopes within the city limits: Earl Bales Park and Centennial Park, and still others available by driving a short distance east or west across the 401, which incidentally, is one of the world’s most travelled highways.

If country living is your ideal, you can find more than 3,000 farms throughout the GTA, with the majority being in Durham Region. Although farm land is still available in the city’s surrounding regions, the incredible pace of development has brought a myriad of other options to these areas as well, including high rise condominiums, townhomes, semi-detached and detached properties at various price points, and even custom designed estates.

This is just a snapshot of the many lifestyle choices available throughout the GTA. You can also choose to live within steps of the ecological wonders of High Park, near film and television soundstages in Leslieville, or amongst North America’s best-preserved collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in the Distillery District, to name just a handful of more choices.

To learn more about the GTA’s range of housing options, talk to a CHABA.


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