Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report Latest Monthly Resale Market Figures

Construction/Building — April 3, 2014

Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report Latest Monthly Resale Market Figures

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 3, 2014) – Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported strong year-over-year increases in TorontoMLS home sales and the average selling price in March 2014. Home ownership affordability, backstopped by low borrowing costs, continued to be a key factor underlying this growth.

A total of 8,081 sales were reported in March 2014 – up by 7.2 per cent in comparison to March 2013. Sales growth was much stronger in March compared to the first two months of the first quarter. Sales for Q1 as a whole were up by three per cent compared to the first three months of 2013.

“Sales activity in the GTA accelerated last month. Compared to last year, a greater number of buyers found affordable home ownership options, as evidenced by sales growth for all major home types. Against this backdrop, however, overall inventory at the end of March remained lower than last year. This means competition between buyers increased, which is why the average selling price continued to climb,” said Ms. Usher.

The average selling price for March 2014 sales was $557,684 – an increase of almost eight per cent compared to the average reported for March 2013. The average price for the first quarter of 2014 was up by 8.5 per cent year-over-year.

“With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings. Strong price growth will be the result for the remainder of 2014. If the pace of price growth experienced in the first quarter is sustained, TREB may revise its outlook for the average selling price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Summary of TorontoMLS Sales and Average Price March 1 – 31
2014 2013
Sales Average Price New Listings Sales Average Price New Listings
City of Toronto (“416”) 2,978 $597,401 5,625 2,826 $560,661 5,470
Rest of GTA (“905”) 5,103 $534,506 9,204 4,711 $491,180 9,148
GTA 8,081 $557,684 14,829 7,537 $517,232 14,618
TorontoMLS Sales & Average Price By Home Type March 1 – 31, 2014
Sales Average Price
416 905 Total 416 905 Total
Detached 1,011 2,926 3,937 898,332 644,237 709,487
Yr./Yr. % Change 6.5% 8.8% 8.2% 6.8% 9.3% 8.3%
Semi-Detached 303 556 859 658,429 436,630 514,867
Yr./Yr. % Change 1.0% 0.0% 0.4% 8.7% 8.4% 8.6%
Townhouse 304 958 1,262 483,639 404,664 423,688
Yr./Yr. % Change 2.7% 10.6% 8.6% 7.7% 9.2% 8.5%
Condo Apartment 1,331 554 1,885 384,865 290,637 357,172
Yr./Yr. % Change 6.9% 14.5% 9.0% 5.1% 4.3% 4.6%

Greater Toronto REALTORS® are passionate about their work. They are governed by a strict Code of Ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service. Over 38,000 TREB Members serve consumers in the Greater Toronto Area. TREB is Canada’s largest real estate board.


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Toronto home sales in March up from year ago

TORONTO – The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales for March totalled 8,081, up 7.2 per cent from a year ago.

The increase came as the board also reported the average selling price for the month was $557,684, up almost eight per cent compared with March 2013.

“With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings,” said Jason Mercer, the board’s senior manager of market analysis.

The number of new listings for the month totalled 14,829 compared with 14,618 a year ago.

The Toronto sales results followed a report Wednesday that sales in Vancouver also picked up in March.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Wednesday there were 2,641 homes sold, up from 2,347 a year ago.

Worries about the health of the Canadian housing market have persisted in recent months amid concerns it is overvalued and what could happen if interest rates rise.

However, several of Canada’s big banks recently cut mortgage rates as bond yields dipped ahead of the busy spring real estate season.

The Bank of Montreal recently cut a half point from its five-year fixed-rate mortgage offering to 2.99 per cent.

TD Bank (TSX:TD) and Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) also offered rates less than three per cent on certain mortgages.

By The Canadian Press

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Canadian Real Estate Association boosts projections for 2014 home price gains

Canada’s property market is set to perform better than previously thought, with average prices rising 3.8 percent during 2014 to $397,000 (Canadian), 1.3 percent higher than estimated at the start of the year and $20,000 more than forecast in June 2013. Prices are also expected to increase 1.1 percent on average in 2015, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in an updated and extended market forecast. Sales volumes are also expected to grow. The Canadian property market, which did not decline as much as other nation during the global crash, has been expected to fall, by some experts, but prices have continued to edge up and rise fast in leading cities, including Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, and CREA has kept increasing its average home price forecast over the last year Sales in 2014 are forecast to reach 463,700 homes, up 1.3 percent year-on-year and in line with the 10-year average. British Columbia is set to lead the way at 8.3 percent with growth in most other provinces expected to range from 3 percent to -3 percent, although a bigger fall is expected in Nova Scotia. In 2015, Alberta is forecast to post the biggest average price rise of 2.5 percent, with Manitoba at 2 percent and Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador around 1 percent and others at 0.5 percent. – See more at:

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Beware of under-priced listings

In some major Canadian markets, the hot real estate market has given rise to a practice that’s intended to stimulate interest in a listing and achieve the highest possible sale price in a short period of time.  What is it?  It’s under-pricing the listing.  Intentionally listing properties at well below their market value and then holding off on showings or offers until a specified date can create a ‘bidding war’ scenario where multiple buyers eagerly scramble to get in on a ‘great deal’.

It’s a strategy that’s continuing despite what is now becoming a more balanced market across Canada.  Even though the pace of sales in Canadian markets is falling behind last year’s record-breaking number of transactions, prices continue to rise.  Now, a dramatic increase in the number of new listings in recent months has resulted in a more balanced market than we’ve seen in years.  Nevertheless, homes in highly sought-after neighbourhoods will always be in demand, and these are the homes where the under-pricing strategy is most prevalent.

While the under-priced listing can sometimes deliver a good end result for the seller, it can also result in a great deal of wasted time dealing with prospective buyers who may be able to afford the undervalued list price, but who cannot afford what the house is actually expected to sell for.  Frustrated buyers are dealing with mortgage lenders and sometimes even paying for home inspections on properties they ultimately will never be able to buy.  Under-priced listings can become a waste of time for buyers and sellers alike.

So as a buyer, how can you be sure that you’re not wasting time, money or effort making an offer on a home you can’t afford?  Of course, you could simply avoid properties that seem obviously under-priced or are holding out for offers.  That’s a scenario that no seller wants, and the risk of it happening is increasing as the market cools and there are more listings for buyers to choose from.  But there’s a better way for buyers to know the expected sale price of a property – and that’s where The Mash Team can help.

Before deciding to pursue an offer on a property, ask us to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for you.  This report will show you recent sales for comparable properties in the area, as well as current listings and expired listings.  Armed with this information and some advice from us you can determine an estimated price range for a listing and choose to make a realistic offer or move on to another listing.


selling pitfalls, and tips on how to avoid them:                                                                                            


While you may decide to work with the first real estate professional you meet, it’s a good idea to meet with a few different representatives before settling on one. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process. Also, be sure to get references and contact them to learn about their experience with the salesperson. Before signing a representation agreement, it’s a good idea to use the ‘Registrant Search’ tool at the top of RECO’s website ( to check the status of their registration and see whether they have been subject to disciplinary action.


WITH YOUR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL Working with a real estate professional is a partnership, so communication is the key to success. It’s important to have a mutual understanding about what you’re looking for in a home, what elements you would consider to be ‘deal-breakers’, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you discuss what services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.


It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven’t read. After all, nobody really likes reading the fine print. But taking the time to understand what you’re signing can avoid a lot of problems later on. For example, you don’t want to find out that you’re on the hook for a six month listing agreement to sell your home if you only want your house on the market for three months. Make sure all the blanks on the form are filled in before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.


When you fall in love with a property, it can be hard to walk away. Stick to your budget and be aware of the risks  foregoing a home inspection for a chance to win a bidding war. Making your offer conditional on a home inspection is a smart decision because a qualified home inspector, engineer or contractor can identify underlying problems with a home’s major systems, like heating and electrical. Skipping an inspection is a gamble because you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to a much more costly problem later on.


Don’t assume that the stove, washing machine and dryer or other items are included with the sale. The seller may want to take the dishwasher with them, and the hot water tank might be under a rental contract that you’ll be required to take over. The best way to protect against any surprises is to detail all the items (known as chattels) you expect to be included in your written offer. In the offer, you can also include a clause requiring the seller to pay out any outstanding leases on the home’s major systems.


The hardwood floors, stained glass windows and walk-in closet are appealing features, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing are just as important when you’re evaluating a property. Ask your real estate professional to look into the age of the home’s systems and if there have been any upgrades. If extensive renovations have been done, your real estate professional can also help determine if the appropriate permits were issued. FORGETTING ABOUT WHAT’S OUTSIDE THE WALLS When you buy a home, you’re also buying a place in a community. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to see if the surroundings fit your lifestyle. Is it too noisy, or not vibrant enough? The only way to find out is to spend some time exploring the area, talking to neighbours and researching the locations of amenities like grocery stores and banks.


If you’re concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.


Verbal agreements aren’t a problem, until they’re a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.


The price paid for a home is just one of many costs associated with the purchase. Related costs, such as land transfer taxes, title insurance and a home inspection, can really add up and take an unexpected chunk out of your budget. There are also the final touches – like a fresh coat of paint, some window coverings or a new appliance – that you may want to do to make the place feel like your home. For more information, check out the Fall 2013 edition of RECOnnect, which includes a feature on the full costs of buying a home. You can find it under ‘Publications and Resources’ at

Great service is all about listening to the customer

In today’s marketplace, Canadian consumers are constantly being inundated with advertising claims from a number of real estate brands, many of which sound very similar from one company to the next.  The consumer is left wondering whether there really is a difference between real estate companies.

That was a key reason why Coldwell Banker developed Ultimate Service®.  It all starts with listening.  Every customer and every transaction is different.  Only by listening to the customer and truly understanding their individual needs, can you deliver a value proposition that will meet those needs.

There are three distinct steps to the Ultimate Service marketing process:

— First, we listen to the customer, to understand their needs and goals.

— Second, — together with the customer — we develop a customized service plan to meet their needs…and then commit to that service plan, in writing.  We offer a signed pledge to customer satisfaction in the form of our Buyer and Seller service guarantees

— And finally, we give our customers an opportunity to evaluate our service in the form of customer satisfaction surveys.

These satisfaction surveys benefit the consumer in two ways.  First, it provides valuable feedback which allows us to continually evaluate and refine our service offering.  Only by constantly improving can you ensure that your service stays ahead of your customers’ expectations.

But there’s another way that our survey benefits the consumer – it offers them a proven track record of our performance.  In fact, Coldwell Banker Canada has just earned a 98% overall satisfaction rating from Canadian Home Buyers and Sellers.  And what’s more, we’ve now done it for 14 years in a row!

This satisfaction rating is unique in the real estate industry.  Why?  Because it’s based on what real, live customers had to say about the service experience delivered by their Coldwell Banker professional.  This 98% satisfaction rating was tabulated by an independent third party company, and is based on the responses of over 55,000 Canadian home buyers and sellers.  No other company in real estate can make that claim.

When you choose Coldwell Banker, you don’t have to take our word for it that we provide outstanding service – just ask our customers!

Beat the heat and your energy bill

During the hot days of summer, many Canadians open their energy bill with a sense of dread. While it may be tempting to run your air conditioning at full capacity for weeks on end, you can’t do it without paying a price – in more ways than one. High energy consumption is not only a costly proposition for individual homeowners, it also carries a high cost in terms of pollution that’s created as we generate power to meet today’s high demands.

Here are a few tips to help you beat the heat as you save on your energy bill:

  • Prevent direct sunlight from entering your windows, especially on your home’s southern exposure, where the most solar heat will enter. This can be done in any number of ways, including shutters, blinds or draperies.
  • If you have an outside area that you want to keep sunny for occasional use, consider a retractable awning that will create shade, as you need it.
  • Heated swimming pools are a tremendous drain on energy and your pocketbook. If you’re planning on installing a pool, take special care to choose the location that will receive the most hours of full sun. If you have a pool, invest in a solar blanket to prevent overnight heat loss.
  • Shade trees can have a considerable impact on protecting your home from temperature extremes in both summer and winter. If you’re thinking of planting a few trees on your property, consider a fast-growing, broadleaf tree such as poplar, to give you quick results in energy savings.
  • Ensure that your attic area is well insulated. A relatively small investment in this fast and easy improvement will save in cooling and heating costs.
  • Poorly insulated windows are major culprits in energy loss. When the time comes to replace them, make sure you in invest in a high R-value window.
  • Turn your thermostat up a degree or two at bedtime, when the outside temperature begins to cool and you’re not active.
  • When you’re away from home for more than two hours, raise the temperature on your thermostat and lower it again on your return. Even that small concession can save you energy and money.

The little things can add up to big savings over time. Want more ideas on how to reduce your home’s operating costs? Or wondering what energy-saving home improvements will have the greatest impact on your home’s resale value? Contact The Mash Team and take advantage of their expert advice. You’ll be glad you called us first!

Buying strategies for today’s market

Today’s real estate market is characterized by some of the highest priced housing ever seen in most major markets of Canada . That reality can be rather discouraging for buyers – especially first time buyers – wanting to get into the housing market. But take heart, there are several buying strategies that can help you make your dreams of home ownership a reality:

  • Start building equity as quickly as you can – Some prospective buyers have made the mistake of holding off on their purchase while trying to save for a larger down payment. This frequently doesn’t work out, since you’re also paying rent and just saving a small amount. In the meantime, house prices are still rising, which can leave you farther and farther behind. As soon as you have an acceptable amount for a modest down payment, it will usually pay to get into a rising market right away.
  • Get in at a level you can afford – If today’s prices for a single family detached home are beyond your reach, why not start with something more modest? Your first step on the “property ladder” might be a condo apartment or freehold townhouse as you work your way up. Your Coldwell Banker professional can help you consider your options here.
  • Choose a home that only meets your current needs — Buyers often try to move into their ideal home with their very first purchase. In a market where prices are high, it really doesn’t make sense to start with a home that can already accommodate future needs. You don’t need to be paying for extra rooms now if you don’t expect to be starting a family for another two or three years. Choosing a home that just meets your current needs will keep the price down and allow you to build some equity quickly. Then, when that future need arises, you’re already in the market and ready to either upgrade or renovate with some equity behind you.
  • Consider an income-generating property – Buying a home that has an area that could be rented out is a time-honoured strategy. Why not let your tenant help pay off your mortgage, at least in the early years when you’re just getting started. Your Coldwell Banker professional can give expert advice on the many aspects of buying tenant-friendly property.
  • Start off with joint ownership — If you there’s another close and trusted person in your life who’s also looking to enter the housing market, it may be in both your interests to start out by sharing one property, such as a duplex. This is a more complicated option, and it will definitely require consulting a lawyer to draw up a prior agreement that spells out all the buy-out conditions should one of the parties wants to sell off their share. However, if your relationship is a solid one, such as siblings or parent/child relationships, then this can be a great alternative for both parties.

If you’d like some expert advice on how to get into the real estate market, call The Mash Team. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain!

Choose a closed mortgage to pay your home off sooner 

Canadian homeowners know that paying off your mortgage is the key to achieving financial freedom.  Knowing that, it’s surprising how many homeowners shy away from closed mortgages and opt to pay a higher interest rate to get the payment flexibility offered by an open mortgage.  While it may sound reasonable in terms of making additional payments, the reality is that this strategy can end up costing you more money than you save.

While closed mortgages don’t offer the flexibility of making additional payments whenever you wish, most still allow you to pay an additional lump sum payment annually.  There’s often a limit to how much you can add in these additional annual payments, but it’s typically a generous amount, such as ten or fifteen percent of the loan each and every year. This amount is usually more than enough to handle any additional payment the average homeowner might be able to put together above and beyond their regular mortgage payments.  Unless you’re in an unusual situation where you’re expecting a large influx of cash – for example, an inheritance or a legal settlement – and you plan to use it to pay off your mortgage before the term of your current loan ends, the lower rate closed mortgages with additional annual payments are almost always your most cost effective choice.

Remember too that in addition to the additional annual payment, you can pay down your mortgage by any amount at the end of the loan’s term, which would typically be five years or less. Talk to your lender to find out what provisions their closed mortgages offer for repayment.  In most cases, you’ll find the lower rate closed mortgage is your best option to pay down your mortgage in the shortest possible time.  And don’t forget, while you’re paying down your mortgage, you’re also building equity faster too!

There are many more creative financing strategies that can help you pay off your mortgage faster.  Ask The Mash Team for their advice and find out how you can make your dream of home ownership come true in record time.  There’s no obligation to you, so why not call and take advantage of their expertise.  You’ll be glad you did!

Five Tips for Single Home Buyers

Canada’s housing environment has more single home buyers entering the market than ever before.  With inventory levels improving in many markets, and interest rates near record lows many people across the country who may have never considered buying a home in the past are recognizing that a mortgage payment on a house can actually be the same or less than what they would spend on renting.

For most Canadians, buying a home is the most significant financial investment they will ever make, and perhaps even more so for singles who are making the transition on their own. With that in mind, Coldwell Banker has come up with five tips to help single home buyers navigate the home buying process:

Keep an eye on the future. A family of one is much more likely to upsize rather than downsize. Some day someone who is single may add a significant other to their family and possibly even children. Though additional space may not be needed immediately, it’s important to consider potential future plans for a home.  Keep in mind that there is no such thing as the “perfect” house. Instead, determine what is essential – number of bedrooms, approximate square footage, neighbourhood, etc.  And when you do move up, your first home can provide you with equity to purchase your next home or it can be kept as an investment.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval will let single home buyers know where they stand financially while informing the mortgage company that they are ready to buy. Additionally, this step will demonstrate to everyone involved in the purchase that the home buyer is serious and well qualified.

Location, location, location. The golden rule of real estate applies to single home buyers as well.  Factors such as proximity to work, family and nightlife often play a role in the decision of where to purchase a home. Speaking with a Coldwell Banker sales representative can help narrow the search to find the location that best suits a home buyer’s needs and lifestyle. 

Plan ahead for maintenance fees. Owning a home is a rewarding experience. However, being the only person with a set of house keys also means being the only person responsible for maintenance. A leaky faucet and unkempt lawn won’t take care of themselves, so be sure to include future repairs and maintenance in the budget. Also keep in mind that certain properties such as condominiums and townhomes require less exterior maintenance and might be a good option for those single home buyers who find the idea of maintaining a yard a bit daunting.

Consider resale value and longevity. Purchasing a home has historically been a great long-term investment. However, there are many reasons single home buyers may need to move, such as relocating for a job or a lifestyle change. Therefore, it is important to think about the length of time that the home will be owned and also consider the resale value of prospective properties during the search. Your local Coldwell Banker real estate representative can share the average home price of properties in the area, how long each property has been on the market and what features increase a home’s value and appeal.


With You Every Step Of The Way

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