Buying a Home on Your Own Could be a Great Investment With the Right Plan

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The thought of buying a home on your own may seem a little daunting, but that’s exactly what many single professionals are choosing to do.

And that’s a good thing according to real estate and financial experts, who say the investment is worthwhile.

“The rental market is very expensive in Toronto and mortgage rates are so low that, in a lot of cases, it makes more sense to buy,” said realtor Miranda McKenna of Life and the City, Remax Hallmark Realty Ltd., who says nearly half of her clients are single.

People understand that it’s worth buying a property to get into the market and build equity as early as possible, she said, and many of her clients use that first purchase as a stepping stone toward buying the home they really want.

That also means buyers are getting younger, McKenna said, noting that more people in their 20s are buying, and that many of them are single professionals.

Jordan Allison was 23 when he bought his first condo. At the time, he just wanted his own place and figured it would be a good investment, given how quickly home prices were climbing.

“The condo was a dress rehearsal in a way,” said Allison, now 30. “After going through it with the condo, I knew what I was in for with the house.”

He sold his Toronto condo to buy a house four years ago, and rented the house as two units while he did his masters degree in Boston.

Once he moved into the house, he kept one of the units as a rental to help cover the mortgage — something he’d recommend to other single home buyers.

“Those tenants are really your second spousal income,” Allison said.

David Stafford, managing director of real estate secured lending at Scotiabank, said one of the biggest differences between buying as an individual, versus a couple or group, is income instability.

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Toronto’s New Low-Rise Condos Stake Out the Middle Sky

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As every observer of Toronto’s real estate scene knows, hardly a month goes by without the launch of sales for yet another mid-rise condominium block on one of the city’s important thoroughfares.

According to the wisdom now prevailing at city hall – wisdom that generally makes sense to me – this is an instance of the world’s unfolding as it should. Mid-sized residential structures are to punch up at various spots alongside the avenues, interrupting forever Hogtown’s familiar main-street rhythm of two- and three-storey mixed-use brick buildings.

We will lose valuable things in this process of necessary intensification – certain commercial streetscapes fashioned by our bewhiskered Victorian ancestors, for example, and, in some places, historic patterns of organizing urban space and time.

But if I am reading the signs of the times rightly, the city also stands to gain something from the addition of mid-rise density on the avenues. It’s a fresh layer of modestly scaled residential fabric with sound contemporary styling and even expressive flair, and freedom from historical pastiche.

The signs I am talking about are renderings and models of architecturally interesting mid-sized condo projects that have premiered in the last few months.

One is Quadrangle Architects’ Duke, slated to go up on Dundas Street West, in the Junction area. Another is SQ, a design by Teeple Architects intended for a site near Queen Street just west of Spadina Avenue. (Both of these have been featured here in previous columns.)

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Metrolinx Begins its Big Eastern Dig on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT

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Commuters on one of the city’s most heavily travelled corridors can expect a traffic nightmare for a while, now that Metrolinx has begun work in earnest on the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line.

Daily lane restrictions on Eglinton Ave. E. between Leslie St. and Laird Dr. have already begun as crews clear utility lines and trees in an area on the south side of Eglinton to make way for a massive excavation shaft.

Parts for the next two tunnel-boring machines to work on digging underground parts of the line — nicknamed Don and Humber — will arrive this summer and be assembled in the shaft, before they start drilling the 3.25-kilometre section west to Yonge St.

Traffic around the excavation site will be reduced to one lane in each direction, a restriction expected to continue for two and a half years. The site will be used to store dirt from the tunnel until the earth is moved by truck.

“The reality is, building the Eglinton Crosstown in a heavily congested area is a challenge,” said Metrolinx spokesperson Jamie Robinson. “There will be significant impacts on traffic for an extended period of time.”

In a couple of weeks, traffic will also be tied up around Laird Dr. as Metrolinx begins building the below-ground walls that will form the ends of the subway station there. That work will continue for six to eight months.

And it will take two years to build an emergency exit for the line close to Leaside High School, which means more lane restrictions on the part of Eglinton Ave. E. near Hanna Rd.

More chaos will ensue when station head walls go in underground at Bayview Ave. and Mt. Pleasant.

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Toronto Condo Hot List For The Week Of March 10 ,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

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28 Linden St #1104

Price: $599,899 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 920

Tridel Modern Meets Classical Heritage. The James Cooper Mansion Has Been Restored And Incorporated Into One Of Toronto’s Most Beautiful Condo Developments. Two Bedroom, Two Bath, 920 Sq.Ft, Condo Features Modernity In Its Finishes. Open Concept…

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59 East Liberty St #411

Price: $369,900 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 750

A Hip Modern Retreat For Young Urbanites In The Heart Of Vibrant Liberty Village. Spacious And Wide Corner Suite . City And Lake Views . Open Concept Layout. Walkout To The Balcony Is Ideal For Entertaining. North/West Exposure. Natural Light Galore…

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185 Legion Rd. #2207

Price: $350,313 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1100

Sub Penthouse. Stunning 270 Degree Lake And City View. 2 Bedrooms, 2 Bath Suite. Large Kitchen With – South/East Balcony View. Hardwood Floors. 10 Ft Ceilings. Over 1000 Sq Ft Of Living Space. Split Bedroom Design With Large Master With Walk-in Clos…

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83 Redpath Ave #1510

Price: $515,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 950

Green Globes Design Building. Bright North West Corner Suite With A North/West Balcony. Walnut Laminate Throughout. Custom Built- In Closets In The Master Bedroom, Second Bedroom And Front Hall. Carera Marble In Both Bathrooms. Inclusions: Stainless…

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954 King St. W #530

Price: $645,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 3 Sq Ft: 1245

This Rarely Offered H U G E Two Bedroom, Three Bathroom Loft, Located In The Heart Of King West Offers Expansive Living Space On Two Levels. Upgraded Kitchen, Quartz Countertops. Hardwood Throughout Lower Level. Huge Walk-In Closet In The Master Bed…

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Another Can’t Miss Project….. The Taylor in LeslieVille

We are offering our Insiders the Red Carpet Treatment at The Taylor-Leslieville by StreetCar Developments….

StreetCar Developments builds condos with a slick urban design. Some recent projects include Edge lofts, Trinity Lofts, Corktown District II, Sync lofts, 8 Gladstone, The Carlaw, The Carnaby and Twenty.

Here is why we are excited about The Taylor-Leslieville:

Reason #1: Value. Pricing as low as $471 per square foot. Note that current market value at comparable buildings are averaging $552/sf on MLS.

Reason #2: INCREDIBLE LOCATION FOR INVESTMENT: LeslieVille!! 92 Walkscore. Restaurants, Shops , Culture, Transit. Note Crow’s Theatre will take up a huge part of the ground floor at Streetcar’s adjoining development, The Carlaw, to be completed Fall 2014. CULTURE!! Click here for an area map.

Reason #3: TRANSIT: Walking distance to Dundas St., Queen St. TTC out front on Carlaw.

Reason #4: BUILT IN RENTAL DEMAND – Average rent in the area on MLS is $2.49/SF. Average lease price is $1,721/month on MLS.

Reason #5: DEVELOPER REPUTATION – StreetCar Development’s projects sell out. They love great, contemporary design. StreetCar designs boutique buildings that compliment the neighbourhood. Every StreetCar location shares one important thing in common: they’re in culture rich downtown neighbourhoods and in walking distance of live music, art galleries, bars, restaurants, cinemas, markets, parks, shopping, transit and more.

Reason #6: EXCELLENT FLOORPLANS – StreetCar Developments have mastered the art of efficient floor plans. 


  1. Cap on development levies
  2. Cap on development charges
  3. Extended deposit structure
  4. Free assignments.
  5. Right to lease during occupancy
  6. Unit discounts

Reason #8: GUARANTEED ACCESS: Approximately 40% of the project has sold out. I have access for my clients to receive the best suites with VIP incentives.







(If you have any issues with the downloads, please let us know and we will email them to you as PDF attachments).


This Is A Limited Time Release!

First Come, First Served.


If you are interested in reserving a unit, you have two options:

a) REQUEST A CONSULTATION: We are booking meetings and phone consultations with clients to go over this project.  If you are interested in speaking or meeting with us to discuss this project, please reply to this email or call David at (416) 520-6746.

b) RESERVE IMMEDIATELY: If you know which unit you are interested in reserving, kindly download the Suite Reservation Form, and fill out the details (note, we take privacy very seriously and your information will only be shared with the developer).  You may e-mail the worksheet back to us or fax it to 1-866-248-2303.

You will get a personal appointment to sign your purchase agreement. No line-ups at a sales centre. No crowds.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email,


Toronto Condo Hot List for the Week of March 3 ,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

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1169 Queen St W. #622

Price: $459,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 950

Welcome To The Bohemian Embassy. This 2-Bedroom, 2 Bath Unit With 9-Ft Ceilings and A Juliette Balcony Comes In Move-In Ready Condition And Exudes Pride Of Ownership. Numerous Upgrades Include Engineered Hardwood, Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinets, Marb…

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15 Legion Rd. #902

Price: $319,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 763

Lowest Price For A 2 Bed Corner Unit In The Building. Beautiful 763 Sq.Ft. Open Concept. South-West Exposure With Two Balconies. Lots Of Natural Light. Hardwood Floor In The Living/Dining Room. Views Of The Lake Towards The South And East. View Of T…

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88 Broadway Ave. #1208

Price: $469,500 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 750

One of the Best Locations in Toronto, Yonge & Eglinton. North Facing Two Bedroom, Two Bathroom Suite. Features 9 Foot Ceilings, Floor To Ceiling Windows, Large Master Bedroom With Double Closet And Ensuite Bathroom, Balcony. Upgraded With Closet Org…

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33 Charles St. E #3707

Price: $599,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 850

Completely Upgraded Two Bedroom Corner Unit Including Hardwood Floors Throughout, Wallpaper In Foyer, Natural Stone Wall In Dining/Living, Electric Fireplace, Extra Closet In The Second Bedroom .Beautiful View Of The City And Lake. Wrap Around Balco…

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59 East Liberty St. #702

Price: $352,900 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 624

Liberty Towers! Open Concept 1 Bdrm Loft Style Condo With Exposed 9′ Concrete Ceilings. This Gorgeous Suite Has Been Completely Upgraded With Beautiful Finishes. Featuring 624 S.F. Of Sleek Interior Living Space; Beautiful Wood Laminate Floors; …

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628 Fleet St #Lph6

Price: $364,999 Beds: 1 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 652

Luxury Waterfront Living At West Harbour City.Premium Lower Penthouse Suite With Spectacular South-West Views.Large Principal Rooms. Extra High 11′ Ceilings.Open Concept Layout Featuring Upgraded Chef’s Kitchen With Expresso Cabinetry,Spa In…

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Say Hello To Your Neighbour On Top of You, Below You and Beside You

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The dream of an affordable single-family detached home is fading fast. Rising land values and development costs mean even those trying to avoid high-rises will be living in more densely populated housing.

Whether the market is overheated remains to be seen, but you might be surprised by how many Canadian cities make the top 10.

It’s not something that is going to happen overnight, but evidence is mounting that ground-level housing is becoming tighter. To counter the costly state of home ownership, increasingly developers are looking to build more townhouses or townhomes and what is called mid-rise or stacked housing.

Doug Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal, says statistics from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. show an increase in the number of row houses, as a percentage of detached homes.

In the 1990s, you might have four or five single detached for every row house, now it’s more like three to one

“In the 1990s, you might have four or five single detached for every row house, now it’s more like three to one,” said Mr. Porter, adding that’s a Canada-wide figure.

It’s not like this is a completely new. Mr. Porter remembers buying his first house in the 1980s and it was a semi-detached home linked in the basement.

“The trend is just becoming even more obvious in recent years,” said Mr. Porter, agreeing a detached home is probably now out of the reach of many consumers.

Location always determines value, and small municipalities will probably continue to have affordable detached homes, but in large cities and even suburban areas that dream home is slipping away.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said its benchmark price for a detached home in the region reached $932,900 in February. The area’s most expensive place to buy a detached home was West Vancouver with the average home selling for $2,145,200 last month.

In Toronto, the average detached home sold for $955,314 in February. But even in the suburban ring around the city, the average detached home $640,405.

Townhouses are just more affordable. In Toronto, the average townhouse sold for $545,043 last month while in the suburbs townhouses fetched on average $400,165. It’s the same story in Greater Vancouver with the benchmark index price for a townhouse $458,300.

Affordability issues are driving developers to look for accommodations that can make housing more financially accessible and a key strategy is increasing the density of the pricey land parcels they are acquiring.

In some regions of the country, land use policy encouraging density have helped drive the issue by allowing less vacant land to come on stream.

Niall Haggart, executive vice-president of the Daniels Corp. which builds all types of housing from high rises to single family residences in the Greater Toronto Area, says condominium construction costs have risen fast during the boom. There is a different type of expertise need to build with concrete as opposed to the wood of low-rise and it’s more expensive.

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Ontario Land transfer Tax An Election Issue

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The provincial land transfer tax can add an additional one to two per cent on the cost of a home purchase if you live outside of Toronto. If you buy in Toronto, the amount is almost double.

The Toronto Real Estate Board has been lobbying for two years to remove this tax, claiming that it penalizes buyers in Toronto, who already face record high prices. It also reduces the number of potential sales in Toronto, and thus reduces overall economic activity. It is interesting that no other city in Ontario has introduced this tax, even though they have the power to do so.

The problem is that the city needs the money that the tax brings.

First time buyers do get a break as they pay no Toronto land transfer tax when their home costs $400,000 or less. But for everyone else buying a $400,000 home in Toronto, the tax is $3,725, and rises to $15,425 if the purchase price is one million dollars, very common now in Toronto. This is in addition to the $16,475 Ontario land transfer tax that has to be paid. so the total land transfer tax in Toronto today for a million dollar home is $32,000.

As the race for mayor heats up it may become an issue. Karen Stintz says she wants to reform the tax so that it is applied at a higher amount to make the tax fairer. Mayor Rob Ford would like to reduce the total tax by at least five per cent. David Socknacki would like to tie it in to the rate of inflation. John Tory has not yet stated his position.

Here are some ways the candidates could change things for the better

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Toronto Condo Hot List for the Week of Feb.24 ,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

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1 Market St #1109

Price: $409,000 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 650

Fabulous New Market Wharf. Large East Balcony With An Unobstructed East View. 9 Ft Ceiling, Modern Kitchen With Quarts Countertop, Hard Wood Flooring Throughout, Den With Large Closet. Inclusions: Stainless Steel Fridge, Stove, Built-In Dishwasher, …

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1 Shaw St.#1426

Price: $469,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 850

DNA Condos in King West. Enjoy Unobstructed North And West Views From The Balcony. Two-Bedroom, Two-Washroom Corner Unit . Sleek Finishes & Upgrades: Extended Granite Kitchen Island, 9 Feet Exposed Concrete Ceilings, Bbq Gas Line On Balcony, Granite…

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2181 Yonge St #3009

Price: $598,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1100

Gorgeous 2 Bedroom + Den Suite With 2 Full Washrooms And North-West Facing Balcony In Midtown Toronto. Floor To Ceiling Windows, Hardwood, Granite Countertops, Ensuite Frameless Glass-Tub Enclosure . Inclusions: Stainless Steel: Fridge, Stove, Dishw…

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8 Gladstone Ave. #709

Price: $519,999 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 896

Penthouse Living In Queen West.This Stylish Two-Level, 2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condo Has Open Concept Modern Layout With High Ceilings. Beautiful Hardwood. Floor To Ceiling Windows. South-West Facing Balcony With A BBQ Hook-Up. Inclusions: Stainless S…

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80 Western Battery Rd. #1001

Price: $310,000 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 480

Liberty Village. Functional Layout. Natural Light With the West Facing Balcony. Floor to Ceiling Windows. Laminate Flooring. Mirrored Closet Doors. Custom Storage. Granite Counter-Top. Inclusions: Stainless Steel: Fridge, Stove, Microwave, Dishwashe…

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15 Legion Rd.#807

Price: $382,998 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 822

Beyond The Sea Condos In Etobicoke. Split Design Two-Bedroom Condo. Large South Facing Balcony. Engineered Hardwood Floors. Granite Countertops. Undermount Kitchen Sink. Natural Light and Open Layout. Inclusions: Stainless Steel : Microwave, Fridge,…

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CMHC Raises Premiums

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CMHC is increasing its mortgage insurance premiums for homeowners and 1-4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The change will only apply to mortgages underwritten after May 1, 2014 and it will apply to all homeowner business from that day forward as a result of increasing capital targets. Premiums will rise about 15 per cent, according to CMHC, though it isn’t expected to have a major effect on the housing market.

“In 2013 the average CMHC insured loan at 95 per cent loan to value ratio was $248,000; using these figures a higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to the monthly mortgage payment for the average Canadian homebuyer,” Peter De Barros, at CMHC ‘s executive director of communications said during the media conference call. “This is based on a five-year term using current mortgage rates and 25 year amortization. The premium increase is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.”

CMHC also expressed its plans to make an announcement about its premiums – which are reviewed each year – in Q1 of every year going forward. The Crown Corporation has made a number of changes to its premiums; though this hike is the first increase since decreases between 2002/2003 and 2005/2006.

The increase was not a department of finance initiative, according to CMHC.
“Not in response to anything in particular although, certainly, the international and Canadian regulatory guidelines over the past years have trended to higher capital holding levels for mortgage insurers and obviously we are no exception to that,” Brian Nash, chief financial officer of CMHC told reporters.

It remains to be seen whether Canada’s two other insurers, Canada Guaranty and Genworth follow suit.

“I can’t comment on what they might do,” Steven Mennill, CMHC’s vice-president, insurance operations told reporters.

Click here for more on the CHMC website.

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GTA Real Estate Market Report January 2014

Free Real Estate Tours: Come on a Free Condo Tour or Free Home Tour.

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Average Selling Price Up Strongly in January

Greater Toronto Realtors reported 4,135 residential sales through the MLS in January 2014. The number of transactions represented a 2.2% decrease compared to 4,229 transactions reported in January 2013.

Home ownership in the Greater Toronto Area remains affordable and there are many people looking to purchase a home. In January, the number of homes listed for sale was down quite strongly compared to last year, which means that it was difficult for some buyers to find a home.

The number of new listings reported in January was down 16.6% compared to the same period in 2013.

“Looking forward, it is possible that strong price growth, and therefore an increase in home equity, will act a s a trigger for more households to list their homes for sale. This is especially the case for households whose lifestyles are changing, including those with an expanding family looking for a larger home or empty nesters looking to downsize,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

The average selling price continued to grow in January up by 9.2% from the same time last year to $526,528.  Note, the average selling price for 2013 as a whole was up by almost 5.2% to $523,043!!

“The pace of growth will remain strong in 2014. Similar to last year, competition between buyers for singles, semis and town homes in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions will continue to exert upward pressure on selling prices. At the same time, mortgage rates will remain near historical lows, so despite strong price growth, home ownership will remain affordable for the average household in the GTA,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“The average selling price will be up again in 2014 and by more than the rate of inflation. The seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA. Some neighbourhoods , especially those characterized by low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhomes, will continue to have less than two months of inventory ,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analyses.

Sales of Toronto (416 area code) condominium apartments increased by 7.4% from January 2013. The average price of a Toronto condo increased  by 7.6% from the same time last year.

Condominium apartments accounted for 26.3% of total sales in the GTA for January 2014 while detached homes accounted for 45.4% of the total sales.

Other notable statistics include the average days on the market for January at 36 days. Active listings were 11,903 in January-down 16.4% from January 2013. The sales-to-listings ratio for January was 34.7% which is classified as a seller’s market. A ratio from 24%-28% is considered a balanced market.

Sellers are looking for market value for their property. I prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for all of my Buyer clients prior to submitting an offer to determine the property’s market value range.

Real estate is very neighbourhood specific, building specific  and even very street specific in some areas. The numbers as reported above are GTA averages. Results in one neighbourhood , on one street or in one building do not indicate that all other neighbourhoods, streets or buildings are experiencing the same results. We are still seeing multiple offers in some areas for the best homes and condos.

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email,