What's driving Toronto's Housing Prices

RE/MAX Canada posted a great take on the drivers behind Toronto’s market recovery and housing prices. From RE/

The real estate sector can be a real mystery. Prices drive ever higher, drop, and then get back to soaring again with no apparent reason. Or is there a reason? There’s always something responsible for driving up housing prices. For Toronto, the spotlight has returned to detached housing, which has pulled up the average price for the first half of 2019.

Upward Momentum

“With recovery well underway in the detached housing segment, the residential real estate market is starting to fire on all cylinders,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “The possibility of more relaxed mortgage rules down the road – in conjunction with today’s low interest rate environment – may serve to spark up the GTA housing market yet again.”

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), over half of their districts report upward momentum in average price thanks to single-detached home sales. This is a major contributor to the uptick in average price, in over 50% of the GTA’s neighbourhoods, according to a RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada report.

The report looked at trends and developments in 65 TREB districts. They discovered detached home sales were up in close to 88% of the markets. Between January and June 2019, 51% of markets saw increases compared to last year.

Good Old 905

The greatest increases were seen in the 905 area. The report indicates all 30 905 neighbourhoods saw an increase in both home-buying activity and rising sales of detached homes. Of those communities, 43% experienced price appreciation. Meanwhile, in the once-dominant 416 area, 20 of the 35 districts experienced an increase in sales. Detached prices in these areas increased by 57% of the 416 neighbourhoods.

Back on Track

Torontonian detached homeowners can let out a sigh of relief as detached housing has found its way back on track. Year-to-date increases in sales are almost 17% ahead of last year. That is good news, and it indicates a return to more normal levels of home-buying activity.

 “Market share is also climbing, with detached homes now representing 45.7 per cent of all home sales in the Greater Toronto Area, up from 43.1 per cent one year ago,” says Alexander.

Greater Affordability

So, it’s back to wondering why detached home sales are seeing an uptick. In this case, it’s all about greater affordability. However, RE/MAX also found the tried-and-true mantra “location, location, location” to be a factor as well.

First-time and trade-up buyers are choosing to secure prime Toronto real estate before values are on the move again, especially in light of the stress test. The leader, when looking at the percentage increase in average detached home price, is the city’s east end, which includes North Riverdale, South Riverdale, Blake-Jones, and Greenwood-Coxwell (EO1). Here, the average price rose 15.2% to $1,378,987.

Not too far behind is the always-popular Trinity-Bellwoods, Palmerston-Little Italy, Niagara, Little Portugal, Kensington-Chinatown, and Dufferin Grove (CO1). These popular neighbourhoods saw a 12.8% increase in average price, reaching $1,953,511.

Rounding out the top five are:

Third place: Leaside and Thorncliffe Park (C11) held a respectable third place with an 11.2% increase in detached housing values to $2,193,747.

Fourth place: Scarborough’s Dorset Park, Wexford-Maryvale, Clairlea-Birchmount, Longview, and Kennedy Park (E04) with a 7.8% increase to $836,585.

 Fifth place: Toronto’s Junction, High Park North, Runnymede-Bloor West Village, Lambton-Baby Point, and Dovercourt-Wallace Emerson-Junction (W02) with a 7.1% increase to $1,410,057.

Prices in all but the one area in Scarborough still sit well above the $1-million mark.

Top Five: Seller’s Markets

TREB Market Watch reports the top five neighbourhoods as seller’s markets in June. A classic seller’s market is characterized by low inventory levels, which in some cases, can lead to bidding wars. In other words, a seller’s dream.

As well, TREB reported the sales-to-active listings ratio ranged between 62.5% in C01 to a high of 88.8% in E01.

Buyer’s Markets

In about 45% of GTA districts within the 416 area, good inventory means it’s a buyer’s market. RE/MAX noted areas north of Bloor had attracted opportunities for negotiation, particularly for homes that are topping $2 million. Going further south, the market conditions get tighter.

“Heated demand clearly exists for single-detached housing south of Bloor Street, but there are pockets throughout the 416 that are scorching hot,” explains Alexander. “The Oakwood-Vaughan area in C03, where homes can still be had for just over the $1 million price point, is one of those neighbourhoods, while C10, comprised of Sherwood Park, Mount Pleasant West, Mount Pleasant East, is another. The Junction Area, High Park North, and Runnymede-Bloor West Village (W02) in the west end and Leslieville (E01) and the Beach (E02) in the east are also highly sought-after, with close proximity to transportation and vibrant shopping avenues the common denominators drawing younger buyers.”

First-time buyers can look for cracks that can be exploited in York Region to get the best value if they want to get in on the market.

Scarborough Rules Unit Sales

If you want to talk unit sales, the top performers were markets offering single-detached homes under the $1-million price point, with Scarborough’s L’Amoreaux, Tam O’Shanter-Sullivan, Steeles neighbourhood (E05) at the top. This area experienced the most notable upswing when considering the percentage increase in sales. This little pocket saw a 76.2% increase to 148 units sold.

The other areas seeing unit sales increases include:

Milliken, Agincourt North, Agincourt South, and Malvern West (E07) ranked second, with a 57.1% increase and 132 sales.

 Yorkdale-Glen Park, Briar Hill-Belgravia, Brookhaven-Amesbury, Weston, Maple Leaf, Rustic, Beechborough-Greenbrook, Mount Dennis, Humberlea, and Pelmo Park (W04) in the west end reported a 50% gain to 204 units sold.

 Simcoe County’s Essa reported a 43.6% increase in sales of 168 units.

 Downsview-Roding-CFB, Glenfield-Jane Heights, Black Creek, Humbermede, York University Heights, and Humberlea-Pelmo Park (W05) in the west end rounded out the top five with a 37.1% increase in sales to 144 units.

Recovery to the North

There are signs of recovery to the north, with York Region’s Richmond Hill ranking sixth for detached home sales at an average price of $1,380,253. This reflects a 36.1% increase to 615 sales. In general, the northern GTA, an area that was hit hard during the correction, appears to be experiencing recovery.

So, it’s hats off to the detached housing segment as the key factor for what is driving Toronto real estate prices!

Summer winds down, and the market warms up!

September Sales

With the back-to-school season behind us now, many families turn their focus back into the real estate market, and we see our noteworthy ‘second bump’ of the year.  September has typically been a busy month, since sales during the month usually end up with a closing date in advance of the Christmas holiday season, which many find desirable.  We’ve already seen a marked increase in activity through York Region - notably in the Eastern portion of Markham.


Congratulations to our wonderful Clients on the recent sale of their family home!  38 Sir Kay was a fantastic property, and a pleasure to show and bring to the market.

RRSP Home Buyer's Plan Information

This can be a great way to extend your funds available for a home purchase, utilizing income you already have.

The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program under which you can, generally, with- draw up to $25,000 from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home. Withdrawals that meet all applicable HBP conditions do not have to be included in your income, and your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts. However, before you can withdraw funds you must have entered into a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home which you must occupy no later than one year after buying or building the home. If you buy the qualifying home together with your spouse or other individuals, each of you can withdraw up to $25,000. You cannot with- draw an amount from your RRSP under the HBP if you or your spouse owned the home more than 30 days before the date of your withdrawal.

For more info, download this informational PDF here.

Revisiting the "Mortgage Stress Test"

The Toronto Star has a great article today suggesting that it may be time for Ottawa to revisit the year-old Mortgage Stress Test. The Mortgage Professionals of Canada group released their own report, indicating how the current structure of the stress-test does not accurately reflect Canadians buying-power, nor does it take into account the decreasing primary mortgage amount, as payments occur over the life of the mortgage.

We have all seen the tremendous impact these rules have had - not only on first-time Buyers, but on many current homeowners looking for end of term renewals.

Read the full article here: Revisiting Mortgage Stress Test rules.

Residential Transaction Volume Up

While heavily weighted by the core of Toronto, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported this week that August transactions were up year-over-year.

There were 6,839 sales in August 2018 - up 8.5% versus 2017. Seasonally-adjusted volume puts sales up 2% versus July 2018.

TREB Statistics - August 2018 Sales Volume

TREB Statistics - August 2018 Sales Volume

With increased stability around the GTA, we expect to see volume increasing in the ‘905’ areas, including the core Unionville, Markham and Richmond Hill areas. September is looking to be a solid month for new listings, and overall sales activity.

Benjamin Moore's Colors for 2018

We are moving into that busy time of year, when many homeowners take on all those to-do's and upgrade projects around their homes.  Before you dive into your reno and painting projects, take a look at Benjamin Moore's new color picks for 2018.

We've always relied on some of Benjamin Moore's most trusted colors - that famed CC40, Cloud White - and it's always interesting to see where the interior and exterior design trends are heading.

Read more at Benjamin Moore's Color Trends site

Spring is here!

Welcome back Spring!  Warmer weather is finally coming back, and we expect to continue to see activity increasing in the marketplace.  Historically, April-May has always been 'the peak' for new listings hitting MLS, followed closely by mid-September.

We have some great new listings currently on the market - a wonderful home situated in the midst of Historical Unionville Village.  An excellent opportunity to build-on to this cozy home, with it's amazing location and large lot, it's a builders dream.

If you are in the market for a larger, luxury home, with the benefit of a condo, 41 Glenburn Forest Way could be for you.  This home features over 4600 sq.ft. of finished space, and is lock-and-leave ready - no yard maintenance to worry about!

Lots more coming soon! 

Collingwood Properties On The Rise - Toronto Star

Clients of ours know we've been advocating investing in the Southern Georgian Bay area for over two years now.  The continued rise in interest, and a diverse offering of properties - at virtually any price point - has been an incredible draw.  The Toronto Star today posted an article correlating the activity we have been part of:  Young families are driving the market around The Blue Mountains, as it continues to become a more important hot-spot in Ontario.

We've been members of the Southern Georgian Bay Realtors Association since 2015, and continue to grow our business throughout the Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Thornbury areas.  Contact us If you want to learn more about the investment opportunities, or simply the general Real Estate market in the area.


Market Activity On The Rise

It's great to see that the general Market Activity has been on the rise over the last few weeks.  Buyer interest has been increasing - possibly due to Buyer's wanting to expedite finding a purchasing opportunity, with the goal of 'beating' the deadline for the new Mortgage rules coming into effect January 1.

Congratulations to our wonderful Clients on the sale of their home in Angus Glen this week!  5 Port Rush Trail is a stunning home, and we are sure the new owners will be thrilled to enjoy what you have created!

Title Insurance - Buyers coverage for when things go wrong

Despite everyones best efforts in a Real Estate transaction, issues can arise that may not have been evident during the Purchasing process.  We highly recommend that every Buyer consider purchasing Title Insurance coverage through their Lawyer while completing their transaction.

 “Title” refers to your legal ownership of a property, as registered in the government’s land registration system. Title Insurance covers losses related to the property’s title or ownership, including:

  • Title issues that prevent you from having clear ownership of the property.
  • Existing liens against the title, for example if the previous owner had unpaid property taxes.
  • Issues related to encroachment on someone else’s property, for example, if a structure had to be removed because it is partially on your neighbour’s property.
  • Errors in surveys and public records.
  • Title fraud.
  • Any other title-related issues that could affect your ability to sell, mortgage or lease your home in the future.

Title Insurance can also come in handy if title transfer to ­­your name can’t occur on the date your deal is supposed to close.  The “gap” coverage in Title Insurance will allow your lawyer to close the sale of the property even if registration is delayed.

Some title insurance also includes coverage in case your lawyer makes an error while handling the real estate transaction.  Although title insurance is a one-time fee, the coverage lasts as long as you own the property.

But remember Title Insurance typically won’t cover:

  • Title defects you were aware of before you purchased the property.
  • Environmental hazards.
  • Problems that would only be discovered by a new survey or inspection of your property.
  • Matters not listed in public records, like unrecorded liens or encroachments against the property.
  • Zoning bylaw violations from changes, renovations or additions that you created yourself.

It is important to know that all lawyers practicing real estate law in Ontario are required to carry professional liability insurance. Your lawyer’s professional liability insurance may provide coverage for title­ related issues that relate to the services your lawyer provides in the real estate transaction. 

A lawyer will provide you legal advice in order to help you make an informed decision about title insurance and other aspects of the transaction. Since title insurance policies contain a lot of legal terminology, make sure you ask your lawyer or title insurance company questions about anything that you do not understand.


Title insurance companies and insurance agents/brokers should meet best practice standards that include:

  • Providing information to clients on all available options.
  • Supply full details for all matters related to the title insurance transaction.
  • Ensure that the recommended product meets the client’s needs.

Keep in mind that you are the customer and can choose any one of the title insurance companies that you think would best meet your needs.

Learn more about Title Insurance at the Financial Services Council of Ontario or the Insurance Bureau of Canada websites.


Need more information, or want to discuss your Real Estate needs?  Contact us anytime - we are here to help!

The Devil is in the Details

Toronto Star Headlines - Thursday August 17th.


You’ll need six figures to buy almost any GTA home, $200,000 a year for the average detached Toronto house, report says. As the cost of Toronto-area housing rises, so do the financing challenges for young adults. Read More

This article is based upon data in "The Report" that assumes that all housing is purchased with 20% down.  Most of the homes we sell are well over 1 million dollars.  Most, if not all, of our purchasers carry with them equity from their last house so their down payment typically is nowhere near 20%.  On average it is considerably more. So don't be frightened by statistics that are somewhat deceiving! The sky is not falling in.

Remember that if you have one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other foot in a bucket of ice cubes then someone can write a Report indicating that statistically you are a perfectly normal temperature.  We are also looking forward to a brisk "normal" Fall Real Estate market, statistically speaking!

Did you sell your residence in 2016? The CRA wants to know.

If you sold your principal residence in 2016, you need to be aware of new reporting requirements on this years Tax Returns.  On October 3rd, 2016, the CRA changed the reporting requirements when selling your home.  The intention of this new requirement, is to better track home-sales for capital gains purposes, especially when dealing with non-resident sales, home 'flippers' and renovators, tracking unreported GST/HST on new home sales, and unreported worldwide income.

From the CRA:

"When you sell your principal residence or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to report the sale on your income tax and benefit return and you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if you are eligible for the full income tax exemption (principal residence exemption) because the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it.

Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption."

Make sure you are informed when filing this years taxes - more details can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Toronto's New Land Transfer Tax - Effective March 1st, 2017

City of Toronto Council has approved changes to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax that mean additional Toronto Land Transfer Tax costs for some home buyers with a closing date on or after March 1, 2017, when it will be harmonized with the provincial LTT.

The following changes to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax were considered and approved by Toronto City Council on February 15, 2017. The changes are effective AS OF MARCH 1, 2017, for real estate transactions closing on or after this date:

  • Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value of a residential or non-residential property from $250,000 to $400,000 (an additional $750)
  • Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value of a residential property above $2 million
  • Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value above $400,000 of a non-residential property
  • Increasing the maximum allowed First-Time Home Buyer Rebate to $4,475, up from $3,725
  • Amended the first-time home buyer rebate program eligibility rules to restrict rebate eligibility to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada

More details on the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, and an online calculator can be found here.

York Downs Golf & Country Club - Development Proposal Details

With so much history in the midst of the growing Unionville community, the details of the proposed York Downs Golf & Country Club redevelopment are of interest to many residents.  At the end of January 2017,  'Sixteenth Land Holdings Inc.' the developer group representing the builders for the YDGCC lands, held an information session, presenting their initial proposal details.

Some highlights of the presentation include:

  • Total property size = 417 acres, with 311 being available for development, the balance is green space
  • Development to be split into 3 stages of "East and West" plans, on each side of the north-to-south green space divide
  • Development includes everything from 70' single lots to high and low-rise residential, and a small portion for mixed-use commercial
  • Residential Units proposed:  West = 1,164, East = 1,257, for a total of 2,421 residential units
  • Density of this proposal is approx 19.2 units / hectare - compared to Angus Glen at 16.7/ha, Upper Unionville at 20/ha
  • Plan includes 5 'gateway' access points to Kennedy Road and 16th Ave, three of which closely align to some of the existing YDGCC roadways and access
  • One transit loop through the community is proposed
  • One Elementary school is proposed

York Downs Golf and Country Club - Development Proposal for Lot Sizes

Myths vs. Reality - Real Estate Offers

Understanding A Real Estate Offer

There's a lot of misunderstanding about what a Buyer's obligations are/may be when they make an offer on a residential real estate property in Ontario.  Here are some examples of things buyers often ask (or worse, just assume)


The answer is no you can't. If your written offer has been presented to the Seller (or even in the possession of the Seller's agent), your offer is "live and real" until the expiration of the Irrevocable time specified in your offer. If the Seller signs and accepts your offer, you're committed to the contract. An exception to this is a new build condominium where the law permits a 10 day cooling off period.


The short answer is probably not. Until recently, home inspection clauses contained language saying the offer was conditional on receiving a "satisfactory report on home inspection in the sole and absolute discretion of the Buyer". A ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Basin v. Hrynew) has changed that. It obligates principals in a contract to complete their obligations in good faith under that contract. Unless there is some major latent (hidden) defect discovered that would have caused the Buyer to make a different decision, you're obligated to continue the transaction.


The short answer is it's not automatic. Return of a deposit depends on Buyer and Seller agreeing in writing to release each other from a contract. If you have a firm deal (conditions removed), and attempt to cancel a deal, or fail to close as agreed, it's quite possible you will not see your deposit back. The Seller can make an application to court for the deposit to be directed to them as damages for your failure to close, and it's highly likely they will get it.



Possibly, but not unilaterally. It can only be done in writing, and with the agreement of both Buyer and Seller. It can be done by an Amendment of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, or by another instrument generated by the lawyers representing the Buyer and the Seller.


No. The only document that matters here is the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If it's not in the Agreement, it's not part of the deal. 


Professional advice is you should ALWAYS have a home inspection. If you choose not to, you should sign a waiver (Form 127) that you are acting against our advice. Our experience is that inspections have revealed many important issues in condo apartments related to health and safety, and structural integrity. Another important consideration is your lawyer's examination of the condo documents, called the Status Certificate. When you buy a condo, you're buying into the financial condition and obligations of the condo corporation. Legal advice is important here!

When you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, you are signing "under seal". A seal on a contract is a solemn commitment, a pledge to go forward. You will be held to its terms.  You need professional advice from a REALTOR® and, in some cases, your lawyer BEFORE you commit to signing an offer.

Great decorating tip for your popcorn ceilings

If there is one thing that seems to always come up when looking at a home with popcorn-style stucco ceilings, it is the question about what can be done with them.  Typically, if the stucco has been painted-over at some point in the past, it is nearly impossible to simply scrape-off and smooth -- you are relegated to a much larger, and more expensive, repair.

In this great DIY article, they show a different approach - to simply put up a decorative material over the old ceiling finish, and have something that is beautiful and very unique!  

See the results at Lifestyle And Design Online