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Is it time to sell Toronto real estate? Retire in Niagara?

Sell Toronto Real Estate?

The $64,000 question, is it time to sell Toronto Real Estate? As we all know no one can time the market. Our Toronto real estate market seems to be going up in value and demand exponentially. Government is talking bubble more than not these days.

If you’re retiring this year or next and looking for a change, you’re in a wonderful place. It’s a huge sellers market and it may be time to sell your Toronto real estate. Maybe look at areas outside the GTA to move to and enjoy your retirement? The Toronto real estate market has made millionaires out of many. Is it now time to cash out invest a portion of that money and live mortgage free in the likes of one of  my favorite locations, Niagara region? Niagara is a really interesting place to live where there are different options for every budget, for every interest, for every location.

GO has announced new hubs coming to Stoney Creek,  outside of Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls. Did you know they have 15 min flights from Toronto to Niagara region and there is talk of a  new hovercraft coming to connect the two regions?

St. Catharines

This week I’m going to speak about  St. Catharines, a city of over hundred thousand people and a great place to retire in Niagara. It’s called the Garden City – that could give you some idea of just how beautiful it is there. Did you know you can buy a detached bungalow for as low as  the mid-300s. There are many resources and amenities which many retirees would be interested in when you choose to retire in Niagara.

The South end of St. Catharines tends to be less expensive generally speaking then the coveted North end of St. Catharines.  The North end of St. Catharines is located closer to the Lakeshore Rd and to the Lake. One of the most beautiful locations being Port Dalhousie.

Port Dalhousie

Due to demand they are building condos in Port Dalhousie.  There’s lots of brand-new construction consisting of vacant land condominium townhouses to large detached properties on spacious sized lots you can purchase. Prices can range for new construction towns to detached from 500’s and up.  Resale of some recent construction as low as mid 400’s.

We have some personal experience now to draw from and some good working knowledge of the city and region, and what it has to offer which is a lot!  I will speak to the amenities of the area in the coming weeks and the talk about them further because they’re plentiful.

Suffice  it to say at this point being nestled in the midst of over 100 wineries and a well developed and thriving wine industry, tourist industry, and new restaurants, why not retire in Niagara? This region is 1.5 hours depending upon traffic to get from Toronto to St. Catharines via the Queen Elizabeth Highway.

Recently, I have been working with Torontonians who want to retire but do so in style and have chosen Niagara region to achieve those goals.  From the more affordable Lake Erie communities of the Niagara region to the more expensive Niagara-on-the-Lake communities, well there are so many opportunities to choose from and reasons to retire in Niagara.

Our team is helping Toronto residents sell their homes and move to this splendid location full of opportunity and beauty and lots to do.

Stay tuned for more details in my next blog.

Looking to sell Toronto real estate? Retiring soon? Maybe a second home? Give us a call.

Where should I Buy? Toronto Real Estate is too hot!

Toronto real estate market is extremely hot! So what are my options if I can’t afford a house here in Toronto? I’d say that it’s time to look outside of the GTA not only for house to live in,  but also if you’re thinking of investing in real estate. There are many wonderful locations to consider outside of Toronto.

Toronto Real Estate

Where to look

Maybe it’s time to take a look at the patterns of highways that are being built. For example, the 407 East located North of the city; maybe it’s time to consider the GO hub and the different parts of Ontario that are within commuting distance to the GTA. For example the GO announced last summer that it was extending their service to Grimsby,  St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.  All wonderful choices to live in. In Niagara Falls you can buy a house as low as $200,000, something you will never see in the Toronto real estate market. There is a full cross section of styles of houses, and houses at different price points.

I’ve noted that there is a considerable number of mature sellers from the GTA who are actually going to Niagara region to retire. Wouldn’t you like to retire in the midst of wine country maybe it’s Grimsby, Vineland, St. Catharines or Niagara-on-the-Lake?

Or as a retiree maybe you want to consider East of Toronto; then you’re looking at another beautiful area in Prince Edward County where many many more GTA residents are going to retire. Prince Edward County is a wonderful place to retire and a growing wine destination.

Other options

Maybe you’re an investor and you want to look at better return on investment (ROI) and affordability than Toronto real estate. While each of these two areas already mentioned would be wonderful locations to purchase real estate,  you can follow the GO hub in another direction for example Kitchener Waterloo (KW). Many people believe in investing in university towns like KW or Guelph or London – all wonderful options as well.

One of the most popular ways for investors to invest today is to buy student condo apartments. These condos are purpose-built for students and you can buy them turnkey, fully furnished, brand-new from the builder. They have rental warranties in place as well – often for the first two years of ownership. So from the time you close  you will have a moneymaker.

I have spent lots of time looking at the investment opportunities out there and will speak more about that as time goes on.  I have great agents I am dealing with in all of these regions.

No matter what you choose there are so many options out there. I believe that real estate is THE way to build wealth!!!!

I could go on forever; this seems like a good way to introduce you to the idea of investing outside of the GTA for a better return on investment, so stay tuned for ongoing blogs about specific opportunities out there.

 

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Swansea – beautiful neighbourhood in Toronto

Swansea is a beautiful neighbourhood in Toronto’s west end. Located in a beautiful natural setting, it is surprisingly close to downtown Toronto and has amazing character and amenities of its own. Nestled between High Park and the Humber River, you would be hard pressed to find a nicer natural setting in the city of Toronto. Along with Swansea’s beautiful houses, it’s hard to beat!

Swansea is located in an amazing natural setting. It is bordered by High Park to the east, the Humber River to the west, the lake shore to the south and Bloor Street to the north. The main corridor through Swansea is the beautiful South Kingsway.

Swansea, for a neighbourhood that feels so tucked away from the bustle of Canada’s largest city boasts many transportation options. You can access the QEW where it meets with the South Kingsway to drive right downtown. Farther north on Bloor Street, there are many subway stations of the Bloor Danforth line which serve Swansea. You can also cycle down to the lake shore and ride the Martin Goodman trail, for fun or as your commute!

Houses in Swansea are largely early 20th century homes, meaning large layouts and stunning woodwork. The hilly, tree lined streets make for an absolutely breathtaking setting that’s hard not to fall in love with. The views of some of the best natural features in Toronto are a huge draw, and it only takes one look to know why! Closer to Bloor Street, there are condos which still boast large floor plans. Down by the lake shore, there are many new townhouses, offering quite a selection of homes to choose from.

As if being right next to High Park and the lake shore weren’t enough, Swansea is also home to Rennie Park, a beautiful park with a pond. There is also a community centre with gym and a library, located in what was once the town hall of this close knit community. Bloor Street west also offers a large selection of shops and services, and is the centre of Toronto’s Ukrainian community.

It would be hard not to fall in love with a neighbourhood as unique and full of character as Swansea. From a beautiful natural setting right here in the City of Toronto, to a full selection of amenities, Swansea is just the kind of place you’ll want to call home!

 

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Buying vs renting – my thoughts

There have been many articles in the media lately comparing the advantages of renting over buying real estate. While there are many valid reasons to delay buying and continue renting, there are a number of factors to consider if it makes sense for you:

 

  • You can save by renting but one must be disciplined and it doesn’t work for everyone; lifestyle expectations have to be tempered. Having a mortgage forces that discipline.
  • Today, in the Toronto market most new rental units come from investors who rent out their condos. Remember though, that for buildings built after 1991, rent review does not apply, and the landlords can raise the rent as much as they want, provided proper notice is given. This would be the case for most condo rentals.
  • When renting it is easy to get too complacent and never make the move to home ownership. Expectations are often too high. Start your search in a less trendy area and be prepared to do some work. Give up the latest fads for now, and look for an affordable, structurally sound, home in an up and coming area (yes, Scarborough) and do the tasks you can handle to make it your own.  When I bought my first home I did all the interior painting myself, and left the bigger jobs like roofing to the professionals – after getting 3 quotes and references. Another bonus – the basement generated rental income! Others will follow, but that’s another blog.
  • Home ownership provides two significant financial advantages. First, you benefit from capital appreciation on a tax free basis. Second, you benefit from the leverage (return on investment) provided by the money you borrow as your asset appreciates.

There are many other arguments pro and con; you have to do what’s right for you. If you would like to discuss further, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Neighborhood in Toronto for living.

 

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In Casa Loma, house pride extends beyond property lines. Casa Loma is a neighbourhood in the city of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and is named after the famous castle “Casa Loma”. Just behind the castle there is botanical garden and scenic natural view for photography lovers. The striking outline of Casa Loma provides a romantic backdrop to this posh Toronto neighbourhood. The average condo prices ranges in this area are from $305,000.00 to $1,200,222.00 while the average houses range from $580,000.00 to $2,945,000.00. Casa Loma’s large Tudor, Georgian, Edwardian, and English Cottage style homes were built mostly between 1905 and 1940. The houses on the south side of Lyndhurst Court enjoy a beautiful view of Toronto’s skyline and Lake Ontario. Many homes in this neighbourhood back onto the Nordheimer ravine enjoy the virtual forest of mature oak and maple trees all around the place. In addition to single family houses, the Casa Loma neighbourhood contains a mix of duplex and triplex houses, luxury townhouses, condominiums and co-ownership apartment buildings.

The Casa Loma neighbourhood is well served by public transit. There is regular bus service on Bathurst Street and streetcar service on St. Clair Avenue West. The St. Clair West subway station is a short walk from the homes in this neighbourhood. Easy access to downtown opens the door for many jobs in Toronto. The community is served by 6 elementary schools, 3 public high schools and 3 private schools.

The Toronto’s well known George Brown College is located here. The closest shopping for Casa Loma residents is the Bathurst and St. Clair shopping district. Gourmet food shops, high end boutiques, and all kinds of professional services are available on Spadina Road which is at the north of St. Clair, in the heart of Forest Hill Village. Sir Winston Churchill Park is located at the south-east corner of Spadina Road and St.Clair Avenue. Nordheimer Ravine is all encircled around Sir Winston Churchill Park. This quiet and calm features a rustic wood path with many excellent picnic spots, and a large variety of trees, plants and wildlife. Wells Hill Park contains a children’s playground and a wading pool. Across the street from this park are the Wells Hill Lawn Bowling Club and the Wychwood Public Library. Casa Loma has average crime rate with very low against people crime, thus making this place safe to live as well as to commute during night hours for late working professionals. This place surely makes its mark to invest in real estate.

2+1 Assignment Condo for sale in Emerald Park

Luxury and Elegance at Yonge and Sheppard

Emerald Park Condo

 

Emerald Park Condo is distinguished by a striking architectural concept. The graceful lines and luminous green glass of Emerald Park will dramatically punctuate the monochromatic skyline of North York. Elegant living with magnificent views of the lake and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Emerald Park is located at the best corner in North York at Sheppard and Yonge. This vibrant location has direct access to the subway and steps away from the most dynamic shops, restaurants, theatres and clubs as well as easy access to Hwy 401.

 

Suite Feature: 

  • Total of 1280 square feet
  • 2 bedrooms and den
  • Ceiling Heights 9′ in principal rooms
  • Ceilings to have white, smooth paint finish
  • Miele appliances, sizes vary depending on size of unit
  • Separate shower enclosures feature frameless clear glass swing doors, high pressure, low flow shower heads, temperature controlled and pressure balanced faucets for total comfort and pot light(s) in the ceiling
  • Baseboards 4″ contemporary baseboards throughout

Condo Amenities.

  • 24 hour concierge
  • All suites include a balcony so that residents can privately enjoy the outdoors
  • Designer decorated suites
  • Indoor pool, whirlpool and a roof garden with tranquil reflecting pools
  • Direct access to the subway from the lobby
  • 2 Fully equipped party rooms and a number of outdoor cabanas for entertaining
  • Fully equipped fitness facility with yoga, pilates, cardio and weight training equipment with unobstructed views of the Toronto skyline
  • Steps from shopping and dining at Yonge and Sheppard and the convenience of retail stores on the building’s ground level

 

Call Luci today for more information and for floorplan…

416-380-2111 


Sales Representative

Century 21 Percy Fulton Ltd., Brokerage
(#1 Century 21 Office in the World for 2011 and 2012!)

Toronto Condo Market

Toronto Condo Market

 

A Couple of days ago I decided to join in on a webinar which was hosted by Baker real estate.  Baker represents many of the developers of Toronto condos in terms of their sales.  Barbara Lawlor and Jeff Clark were conducting the webinar and I thought many of the points they made were worth reporting.  They started with a review of the sales history for 2012 for the condo sector as well as a prediction of what they thought was going to happen for the 2013 year. 

Here are some of the highlights:

  • They talked a lot about how people choose Toronto condos because their decisions are based upon lifestyle choices or investment choices.
  • Jeff Clark reported the sales for the low rise versus high-rise for 2012 as follows: low rise sales were 14,069 and high-rise sales were 18,755 for total sales in the GTA of 32,824. They pointed out as you can see here clearly that high-rise sales have now surpassed low rise.  
  • Then went on to describe remaining inventory in the GTA: low rise there are 7,524 units; high-rise there are 20,998 units for a total of 28,522 units.   
  • Further they went on to discuss how many months of active supply inventory we have. In the low rise sector we have 6.4 months and in high-rise we have 13.4 months on hand. When averaged out it came to 10.4 months which is less inventory that we’ve had the last couple of years. 
  •  The last thing they discussed was the index price. The low rise index price was $632,868 and the high-rise was $436k.  Commenting on the widening in the high-rise to the low rise market pricing, they pointed out that the high-rise has become the only affordable product for many buyers.

In 2012 the new home sales looked like this: Toronto condos represented 51% of the sales and detached homes represented 26% of the sales. Why are condos becoming so much more popular? Well there are many reasons;  a lot of it has to do with affordability and then of course are the lifestyle choices for the young people as they lead very busy lifestyles and perhaps don’t have time for all the maintenance issues that a house entails; as well, condominiums provide a great sense of community and security.

What are people buying when they are buying Toronto condos? The number one choice remains one bedroom and dens (1+1) and this choice clearly dominates by a large margin.  Investors particularly like them because they can often rent the unit as a two bedroom solution which would appeal greatly to students. The second most popular choice is the one-bedroom unit, followed by the two bedroom units.

 

 The part I found most interesting was that there is little demand for studios in relation to a far greater demand for efficient junior one-bedrooms.   Each development is mandated by the city to provide 10% of their units in a three bedroom unit type. At present there is not a great demand for these three bedroom units but probably as the years go on and affordability becomes more of an issue families will turn to 3 bedroom units as a feasible choice.

 

 

Jeff Clark went on to say there are some strong market fundamentals for 2013 as we have 237 new high-rise builds under construction which represents 60,713 new units. Another surprising statistic to know is that as of December 31, 2012, 88% of all those units were sold. 

 

They pointed out that if the housing needs keep pace with our population growth, then housing supply is not keeping pace with this current growth.

 

The numbers they used were 120,000 newcomers in 2012 likening it to the population of a city like Fredericton, N.B.  However I am not sure that this is accurate; I believe I have read that the immigration into Toronto is decreasing since immigration policies are changing and tightening up. However there is an increase of foreign students coming to this city for various studies.

 

The government mandates referred to earlier have to do with intensification promotion which will be vertical and not urban sprawl. Condos will become the first and only affordable units for the first-time buyer, empty-nesters will also be gravitating toward condominiums and retirees will also of necessity gravitate to one level living.

 

Barbara Lawlor, president of Baker, went on to describe that that Canada is the most urbanized country in the world, 30% ahead of the United States and just ahead of Australia.

 

Predictions for bank interest rates for 2013 are that interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future.

 

There will be decreased rental stock. As a matter of fact we have not seen low vacancy rates like this for several years. We’re down to 1.7% vacancy rate in Toronto and thus for the investor it sounds like a great time to buy real estate in Toronto.  It’s actually been my own experience in downtown Toronto that there are multiple offers on well priced and well located downtown rental condo properties. There were actually more condos rented in 2012 then there were resales, marginally but true. Also, 2012 saw an increase in the monthly rent market values.

 

Lastly, Barbara Lawlor went on to compare the returns of the Toronto Stock exchange against condo returns: since 2007, the TSX has gone up 8.8% while condominiums have gone up 50% in price. In the short recession of 2008 there was a loss of one third of the value of stock prices on the Toronto Stock exchange while the worst loss in condos was 4.6% giving you another measure as to why it’s a good idea to invest in condos (real estate), as in the near term it has outperformed most stocks.

 

Once again, for the fifth year in a row, Canada’s banks have been rated as the most sound in the entire world.

 

There are many new Toronto condo projects coming to the market this spring, putting further demands on the construction industry to keep up.

An interesting question was posed but no stats seem available: where are the investors coming from? Which countries?  She knew for example that in Miami market the buyers were coming from the Spanish-speaking countries of Cuba, Latin America and Mexico.  Canada is culturally diverse and has buyers from many different countries was as best she could answer.  

 

So in summary it sounds to me like as far as Baker Realty is concerned it’s going to be another great year for Toronto condos in 2013. A Milborne representative was in our office on Monday and essentially did the same sort of presentation stating that it is not as bad as what you read in the papers and that there are great incentives out there and there are still lots of buyers whether it’s end-users or investors.

 

Hmm…..

Turks and Caicos

A great opportunity to invest in paradise!

Turks and Caicos

Beaches_Turks_And_Caicos_a images (6) images Tuesday-Good-Morning-Quotes-Gratitude-quotes

Tax free island, no property tax, no capital gains tax, no tax of any sort, nothing!
Gorgeous island paradise canal front lot with water access. Large homes in the area, some on and some off the canal. Mostly expats are living on the island. Boat access to the ocean.
Level ground, ready to build.
 buy now, build later. Or build now.
Many great local builders on the island – call now for more info on the island.
I can help YOU!!!
Call Luci today for more info
and where it’s located…

416-380-2111 

Sales Representative
Century 21 Percy Fulton Ltd., Brokerage
(#1 Century 21 Office in the World for 2011 and 2012!)

Press Release

Area Real Estate Executive Receives National Health Care Recognition

 

Luci Rizzo of Century 21 Percy Fulton Ltd. recognized for excellence in service to area medical professionals.

 

Toronto, Ontario (October 17, 2012) – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 700,000 physicians in the United States who work in excess of 60 hours per week. In Canada although the number of physicians are not quite as vast in numbers, the number of hours they dedicate to their practice of medicine is definitely the same. While their earning potential is the highest among any profession in the US and Canada, a blizzard of government regulations and a host of clinical and economic issues leave little time for a doctor to manage their professional and personal lives.

 

In response, an elite group of professionals is emerging as specialists to the medical community.  In recognition of her work with area health care executives and physicians, Luci Rizzo of Century 21 Percy Fulton Ltd. has been named an MD Preferred Affiliated Real Estate Professional.  Each year, US Medical Specialties, Inc., a national medical consulting firm, recognizes excellence in service to the medical community in a number of disciplines including real estate, insurance, accounting, banking, financial and legal services. The company is now expanding into Canada.  The goals of the MD Preferred Program for Real Estate include identifying, acknowledging and promoting agents who provide service excellence to the medical community. 

 

The program provides medical professionals with an online resource center where they can find profiles and contact information of “doctor friendly” professionals who are committed to providing a quality service experience.  “Doctors are very busy professionals,” observed Michael O’Malley, Project Manager of MD Preferred Services.  “When it comes to finding a real estate/relocation agent that specializes in serving physicians, they appreciate an organization that has done the research for them and has pulled a team together to make their lives easier.  Our online resource center is the place where their search can begin and end.”

 

Every MD Preferred real estate agent is selected for their commitment to serving the healthcare industry.  They often work in close concert with other community based MD Preferred professionals helping area medical providers attract and retain talented physicians.     

MD Preferred agents are uniquely qualified to act as recruiting partners to area practice managers and hospital administrators.  As partners they can tell the community story while the medical recruiter tells the clinical story.  Their knowledge of the area and understanding of the special needs of physicians and their families saves everyone time and resources.     

 

“We are proud of the recognition we have received.  In an environment of critical physician shortage, we understand that most physicians considering a career in our community will make their decision based primarily on life style issues,” Ms. Rizzo observed.  “The last thing we want to have happen is for that prospective physician to go elsewhere because the local support services he or she needed were either not available, were unreliable or did not meet the expectations of the physician. We are always ready to meet with area physician groups to demonstrate how high net worth, high income professionals can access incredibly attractive financing and take advantage of once in a life time values.  In our marketplace of Toronto the endless opportunities for investment real estate can be discussed either one on one or in MD group seminars targeted to give busy physicians the information they require to make sound investment decisions.”  It is clear that relocation needs of the national or international physicians,  and their investment needs can be handled by this well trained group of agents.

 

About MD Preferred physician Services

Each year the MD Preferred designation recognizes a diverse group of ‘doctor friendly’ professional service providers. MD Preferred also manages one of the industry’s largest medical job boards, publishes a daily medical blog and distributes a monthly E-Newsletter to every residency and fellowship program in the country.  For additional information contact Mike O’Malley at 800-260-8366.

Why are Leaside Homes so popular?

 

Leaside is a great place to live and I want to tell you why:  Leaside homes are more than just homes located on attractive tree lined streets.  Let me tell you a few things about the neighbourhood.

As someone who lives there I think that I can speak for some of the fine attributes of the area. Here are the top three reasons why you should consider it:

Some of the best schools in Toronto are located in the north and south neighbourhoods of Leaside,  there are great public and separate schools as well a French Immersion school located in North Leaside.  The parents are very much involved in the schools and hands off is not a phrase you hear when talking about parents in this area. In my experience the class sizes are also very manageable and our boys were able to receive great support, just want every parent wants for their child.

Leaside is centrally located in the heart of midtown Toronto.  Do you work in the dowtown core? Well just hop on the bayview extension and you get the shortcut to downtown. Or if you wish to hop on to the DVP, well it’s close too.  The TTC service is amazing with buses headed in all directions.  One bus ride to the subway station at Yonge and Eglinton.  Did you know that the subway is also soon coming, the Eglinton Crosstown?  Then watch your property values soar in the future .

Do you enjoy eating and shopping? Well the shops and restaurants on Bayview are fabulous, it is a true walking neigbourhood.  On any given day there are families walking the streets with their carriages, dogs in tow. Eat some great gelato while window shopping.  The excellent restaurants are acclaimed and deliver many different styles of food.  Oh, if you prefer walking amongst the trees and parks well just stroll or better jog through the Serena Gundy park system which by the way leads to the Sunnybrook Parks.

Sound interesting? Well if you want to find out even more please visit my website where you will find other articles which talk more specifically about some of the great things about Leaside and its homes.