RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Earns International Recognition

Toronto, ON (March X, 2010) – Ongoing strategic expansion throughout its six Greater Toronto Area locations in 2009 helped secure RE/MAX Hallmark Realty a RE/MAX International Award, officially positioning it as the largest multi-office RE/MAX franchise in the country.

 “We are extremely proud of our strength in numbers,” say Ken McLachlan, Broker of Record, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty.  “RE/MAX Hallmark is number one in agent count, number one in agent productivity and number one in market share in the Greater Toronto Area.  Being the premier brokerage in Toronto provides a distinct advantage for our realtors—more listings and more buyers. It’s quite significant, particularly in today’s market, with listings down 32 per cent across the board.  Our reach is certainly a win-win situation, with our clients reaping the benefits.”

 RE/MAX Hallmark Realty continued its momentum in sales force growth out of the gate in 2010, with the opening of a new office in Port Carling and small satellite location in Dorset.  The move uniquely positioned the franchise to cross-service clientele throughout the GTA and Muskoka regions, while increasing its visibility among purchasers from across Ontario.  Approximately 550 realtors now operate under the RE/MAX Hallmark banner. 

 “Our focus going forward will be to increase our sales force at the Port Carling office, and thereby expand our reach throughout Muskoka,” says Bain.  “Our business plan is ever-evolving, and we continue to keep a keen eye toward new opportunities, should the right situation present.  While we never intentionally set out to be the largest, we have always strived to be the best.  Our progress to date speaks volumes to that end.”

 “Both Ken McLachlan and Debra Bain are consummate professionals and exceptional leaders,” says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.  “Their sharp business acumen and significant foresight have positioned RE/MAX Hallmark at the top of Canada’s real estate industry.  There’s no question, RE/MAX Hallmark is a powerhouse brokerage, with an equally impressive sales force of     top tier veterans and talented up-and-comers.”

 Celebrating their 29th year with RE/MAX, the RE/MAX Hallmark team specializes in residential, recreational and commercial real estate.  RE/MAX Hallmark helps thousands of individuals, families and businesses each year with their real estate needs.   RE/MAX Hallmark is firmly entrenched in the communities it serves.  It is a leading contributor to Children’s Miracle Network in Canada through the RE/MAX Miracle Home Program and grassroots fundraising initiatives.  RE/MAX Hallmark is also a leader in in-house training and is a member of RE/MAX International’s Chairman’s Leadership Advisory Board—an association of 75 of the leading RE/MAX broker-owners worldwide.  Visit the RE/MAX Hallmark website at:

 RE/MAX is Canada’s leading real estate organization with over 17,000 sales associates situated throughout its more than 677 independently-owned and operated offices across the country.  The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 37th year, is a global real estate system operating in more than 75 countries.  Over 6,700 independently-owned offices engage nearly 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, and asset management. 

For more information please call me at 416-520-6746 or email me, 

Sales and Average Price Continue to Increase

TREB Marketwatch February 2010Greater Toronto Realtors reported 7,291 sales in February representing a 77% increase over February 2009. The average price for these transactions was up 19% year-over-year to $431,509. The large increase in year-over-year figures has to do with increased demand for home ownership combined with a comparison to a market that was in decline last year. Low interest rates are still driving this market.

“Increases in existing home sales and average price were noted across the GTA in low-rise and high-rise homes. Similar rates of growth were experienced int the City of Toronto and surrounding 905 regions,” said Tom Lebour, TREB President. ” This suggests that first time, move-up and down sizing buyers are all active in the marketplace.”
New listings also increased in February rising 24% compared to the same month last year. Sellers are regaining the confidence they lost since September 2008 as they are seeing the equity in their homes rising. That is good news for buyers as multiple offers are still quite common in many high demand neighbourhoods like Leslieville and Riverdale. As more and more listings hit the market multiple offers will ease off.
” Annual growth in new listings is expected to continue. New listings growth will start to outstrip sales growth as we move through 2010,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analyses. ” As the market becomes better supplied, we will see more sustainable single-digit rates of price increase.”
Other notable statistics include the average days on the market at 22 days for February 2010 , a 51% decline from the same time last year! More sales took place in the $300,001-$400,000 price range then any other range. The sales-to-listing ratio for February 2010 was 50.2% which is very much a seller’s market.

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Stricter Mortgage Rules Set

Here are the changes announced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on Feb.16,2010. These rules are to take effect April 19,2010:

* In order to qualify for a CMHC insured mortgage borrowers will have to meet the standards for a 5-year fixed rate up from the current standard of a 3-year fixed rate even if you are taking out a mortgage with a lower interest rate and a shorter term. The rule is designed to make sure buyers will be able to pay if and when interest rates rise.
* The minimum down payment for those buying non-owner occupied properties is now 20% up from 5%. If you buy a property that has rental suites and you live in one of the suites then the 5% down payment rule still applies.  This new rule will reduce the amount of speculative buying by reducing the amount of leverage available to buyers.
* Mortgage refinancing is now restricted to 90% of the value of your home down from 95% of the value. This will discourage mortgage financing that can create unsustainable debt levels as interest rates go up.

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The 16 Most Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Being fully prepared  for your home search is a must. 

Here are some common mistakes that home buyers make:  

Having me on your side as your trusted Consultant and Advisor will eliminate mistakes and will unlitmately save you a lot of time and effort.

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The Impact Of The Ontario HST

Many of my clients have been asking me questions about the new HST tax and how it will affect them in buying a home or selling a home in Ontario. Here is a brief summary of what to expect:
The Ontario Government’s new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will take effect on July 1,2010. The HST tax will effectively combine the provincial sales tax (PST) of 8% with the federal goods and services tax (GST) of 5%  to create a new harmonized sales tax of 13% (HST). The new tax will apply to some real estate services associated with the real estate transaction which only had PST or GST applied.
After July 1 if you are a seller you will be paying 13% HST on real estate commissions. Currently there is 5% GST payable on this fee. Your lawyer’s fee will also be subject to the 13% HST as will the cost of the condominium status certificate,  mandatory energy audits, moving costs and home inspection fees if applicable. Currently the 5% GST is payable on these services as well.
If you are a buyer you will be paying 13% HST on a home inspection, your legal fees, a home appraisal and the cost of movers. A full 13% HST will now be charged on the CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) insurance premium for high-ratio mortgages (Mortgages with down payments of less than 20%). The tax on CMHC insurance premiums has traditionally been just the 8% PST.
On a hypothetical $360,000 resale real estate transaction the HST will add approximately $1500.00 to your closing costs if you are selling ( assuming the standard 5% real estate commission) and $587.00 to your closing costs if you are buying (assuming a 5% down payment, 2.75% for CHMC premium)
Services for maintaining a home will also be HST taxable as of July 1,2010.  Services such as : utilities, home renovation labour, lawn upkeep or landscaping services, snow removal and a portion of your maintenance fees if you own a condo. The Ontario Real Estate Association estimates that HST will add $480 in annual tax if you are budgeting $500 per month on such costs.
For the purchase of new homes the HST will apply to homes above $400,000. Currently GST only is applied to the purchase price of new homes.
So, if you are planning on purchasing a home in 2010 keep the July 1,2010 date in mind.
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