Delivering the Wonder of Christmas to Children in Need!

Children’s Wish campaign

Toronto, ON – A huge collection of toys began to fill the front window of Sutton Group – Realty Systems Inc. in the weeks leading up to Christmas. As an official drop off location for the 52nd Annual CP24 Chum Christmas Wish Campaign, this Sutton office gathered donations from generous clients, REALTORS®, staff and the general public. By the time the charity’s truck arrived, there were countless gifts destined for children of low-income, Toronto-area families along with financial contributions that will provide year-round, social services.

“We love our community, and no child should miss out on the magic of the holiday season,” says Maryann Semen, Broker of Record.

Staff decorated alarge donation box to place next to the Christmas tree in the front window, then the team promoted the toy drive in person and through social media. They encouraged friends and clients to drop off new toys, or text WISH to 30333 to make a monetary donation.

“We held our campaign open until the last minute to accept toy donations for children of all ages,” notes Maryann. “From baby bath toys, to Tickle-me Elmos, challenging Lego sets, and full-size play houses, no age group was left out by the time the donation truck arrived on Friday, December 21st.”

All the gifts were distributed to families in the Greater Toronto Area. The CP24 Chum Christmas Wish Campaign was established in 1966 and has become one of largest toy drives in Canada. In addition to toys, financial contributions from corporate sponsors and the public help to fund important social services for those in need.

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Clients Now Using Audio/Video Surveillance On Potential Buyers

Talkative Homebuyers beware – The seller might be listening!

According to an Ontario Real Estate agent, two of her clients recently used cameras and microphones to eavesdrop on potential buyers during home viewings.

Juliana Webster (real estate agent), warns “the wrong sort of comment could be used against the buyer, like, if they said, ‘Oh, we would totally pay much more for the house.'” She said she was unaware that her clients were using surveillance until they mentioned it. Neither seller had installed the surveillance devices specifically for that reason, and they did not use the information to their advantage in negotiations, despite how “tempting” it could be.

Webster says the rules should be changed to force sellers to say if homes are under surveillance. In Ontario, the ministry of government and consumer services set the rules for the industry which are enforced by RECO.

In a statement, the minister’s press secretary David Woolley said realtors are subject to federal privacy law and could not use this sort of material “for commercial purposes…without the consent of an individual in the transaction”

The council agrees buyers and brokers should be cautious, because recording devices are becoming more and more popular.

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TREB Takes A Deep Look Into 2018 GTA Housing Market

Sales, Listings, Prices All Down From Year Before, writes the President of the Toronto Real Estate Board

 The story of the Greater Toronto Area real estate market in 2018 was one of moderation, with improvement of market conditions in the second half of the year. Sales, listings and average selling price were all down compared with 2017: there were 77,426 transactions (down 16.1 per cent), 155,823 new listings (down 12.7 per cent), and an overall average selling price of $787,300 (down 4.3 per cent).

In the first half of the year, it’s likely that many would-be buyers chose to delay purchasing a home due to higher borrowing costs and the new mortgage stress test, which could have contributed to the decline in the number of transactions.

On the flip side, a decline in listings contributed to increased competition among buyers looking to find a home that meets their needs. In turn, this fuelled a resumption of moderate year-over-year price growth in the second half of 2018.

Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch year in review for 2018.

It’s also true that certain segments of the market performed better than others, from a pricing perspective. For instance, home prices were up slightly in the City of Toronto where a large proportion of sales were of condos. The condo market was the tightest market segment last year, with substantial competition among buyers who were searching for relatively affordable ownership housing options.

It is important to remember that Toronto Real Estate Board’s market area is made up of more than 500 communities and market conditions unfold differently across these communities. This is why it’s important to work with a professional Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) member real estate agent who is familiar with local market conditions in your areas of interest.

For information on the GTA real estate market in 2018 and in December, check out the infograph accompanying this article.

Stay tuned for TREB’s fourth annual market year in review and outlook report.

Toronto Real Estate Board Market Watch for December 2018.

On Feb. 6, TREB will be releasing its fourth annual Market Year in Review & Outlook Report, this year focusing on envisioning housing options and supply for livable communities.

The 2019 edition will feature a comprehensive market year in review and outlook, including the latest results from Ipsos surveys of existing homeowners and intending homebuyers, covering home-buying intentions, impact of recent government policy decisions, interesting information on investment property ownership, renovation spending and mortgage trends.

Additionally, the report will contain information on the new-home, rental and commercial markets. And you won’t want to miss new research from the Ryerson Centre for Urban Research and Land Development on mid-density housing and from the Pembina Institute on transit-supportive development.

You’ll want to check, or TREB’s social media channels @TREBHome for a copy of the report, beginning on Feb. 6.

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Toronto real estate slated for another boom

Toronto real estate is slated for another boom.

Thanks to the city’s thriving technology sector, Ron Sally believes real estate—and condos in particular—are going to be the hottest commodity in town.

“Our tech industry in Toronto is about to explode,” said broker of record and owner of REMAX Millennium Real Estate. “It’s been slowly climbing up the ranks; it hasn’t reached its peak yet but it’s about to come out into the open. It’s currently ranked number two in North America and number four in the world.”

Sally added that Toronto’s financial sector is ranked third in North America.

“As of 2017, the ranking is number 11 globally for the financial sector,” he continued. “What this means is that in the world, Toronto is the eighth-most liveable city and our job sector is going to grow, as well, in the next few years. Toronto’s condo market is undervalued, so whoever can get a piece of Toronto real estate should do it while it’s still available.”

Toronto is presently rated an Alpha city, and joining Singapore and Tokyo as Alpha+ cities isn’t unfathomable.

“Our transportation system is being improved—the city is changing implementation,” said Sally. “A lot of changes are going to turn this into a global city. Right now everyone knows where Toronto is. We had 28,900 new tech jobs created in Toronto, and that’s more than the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington D.C. combined.”

Indeed, Microsoft, Uber, Shopify, Airbnb and Google Sidewalk Labs are all setting up shop in Canada’s largest city and economic heartbeat. Coupled with the fact that new tech sector jobs will be created in the years ahead, and the fact that supply already lags well behind demand, Toronto condo valuations are on pace to surge.

“Downtown on King St., condos are selling for $1,500 to $1,600 per square foot; Pemberton is also selling one at $1,200 per square foot,” said Sally. “Things are slowly changing and those who see the big jump coming in the next two or three years understand it’s the same jump we had in 2014 and 2016. We have one million immigrants entering Canada in the next three years.”

According to Matt Smith, a broker with Engel & Völkers in Yorkville who specializes in the luxury market, the city’s thriving tech sector has been fuelling demand for high-end homes.

“A new trend is on the horizon that will continue to push Toronto’s housing market and its luxury segment, and it’s the impending tech boom,” said Smith. “In the last five years, Toronto has created 82,000 tech jobs, more than Silicon Valley and more than any other city in North America.”

Toronto Not Able To Build Office Towers Fast Enough

Nothing says more about the demand for office space in downtown Toronto than QuadReal Property Group’s response to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce preparing to flee to a new development down the street.

While the first tower of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s 2.9-million-square-foot CIBC Square rises next to Union Station, QuadReal, rathher than fretting over a huge impending vacancy at it’s venerable Commerce Court complex next year, is working with city planners to add 1.8 million square feet of space to the complex with a new 64-storey tower.

With the BMO Tower at First Canadian place, which has held the place of Toronto’s tallest office building, no one seems to be questioning the sanity of QuadReal or it’s parent B.C. Investment Management Corp. who plan on creating the new tower which will stand as tall.

There’s 10.1 million square feet of new office space in the pipeline for Toronto’s core, but with none of it slated to open for more than a year. There’s apparent consensus that demand will further outstrip supply in 2019 – and that’s in a market that has already been North America’s tightest for more than four years.

Average asking net rents are up 38 per cent since 2013. It’s a sharp contrast to a decade ago, when big new office buildings started to rise again for the first time since the 1990’s recession. That wave of development (2008-2011) brought about three million square feet to market and had some expressing fears about a potential space glut. Now, after another five million square feet was added between 2012 and 2017, there’s the coming 10.1 million, which should all be open by 2024.

“Nobody’s getting reckless,” Mr. Forr at JLL says. “If you look at downtown or even across Canada, there’s still a conservative ownership and development community. You have a lot of pension funds and they’re looking long term. One interesting thing we’re seeing in this cycle is lots of net new tenants coming downtown.”

Five big names on that list include:

– Microsoft, which is moving in 2020 from the airport area, taking 132,000 square feet at Ivanhoé’s CIBC Square.

– Shopify will set up in a new 38-storey tower at The Well, which Allied Properties REIT and RioCan REIT are developing at Front Street and Spadina Avenue (Shopify has taken 253,000 square feet with an option on another 181,000).

– Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is moving its head office from North York to a new 46-storey tower that its real estate unit, Cadillac Fairview, is building at Front and Simcoe streets.

– Amazon has taken 113,000 square feet in Scotia Plaza (a building that will eventually lose many of its Bank of Nova Scotia employees to Brookfield’s Bay Adelaide North tower, where construction is set to start this spring).

– Tim Hortons is moving its head office from Oakville to 65,000 square feet in the Exchange Building on King Street.

When asked what factors are driving change most, Mr. Holmes of Colliers replies, “technology and millennials.”

While people recently feared Toronto’s core was overly reliant on financial services, Mr. Holmes says it has diversified, becoming a global player – particularly in tech, which relies on young talent.

“Millennials are choosing first where they want to live and then where they want to work,” he says, adding that Toronto’s core is diverse, welcoming, safe and fun. “Companies don’t want to be further out, even for cheaper rent in a better building. They need to attract and retain top talent and talent is choosing the core.”

Colliers projects that when the coming wave of buildings has opened, Toronto’s vacancy rate will climb to a healthy 6 to 7.7 per cent, which would still be North America’s third tightest, behind Manhattan and San Francisco.

City planners say another 31.9 million square feet are needed by 2041, but industry observers say that’s too far in the future to merit comment. What the golden goose definitely needs, they say, is more rapid transit through downtown, even before the core gets the 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs expected in the next 25 years.

 “Transit’s key,” says Mr. Forr, adding Union Station proximity is a big part of Ivanhoé’s success in leasing nearby CIBC Square.

With CIBC, Microsoft, Boston Consulting, AGF and others as its tenants, Ivanhoé’s first tower, scheduled for completion in 2020, was fully leased about 2½ years ahead of Ivanhoé’s usual timeframe. The second tower won’t break ground till 2020, but it is 50-per-cent leased already.

“If we had room for a Phase 3, I think we’d be looking at that very seriously,” says Jonathan Pearce, Ivanhoé’s North American executive vice-president for leasing. He sees transit as so important that it has, in effect, shifted the centre of Toronto’s core south toward Union Station, where all modes of transit converge and where the only certain downtown service expansion is in the works.

As for the prospects of Commerce Court, which began as one tower in 1931, once CIBC starts seriously packing to move down Bay Street, count Mr. Pearce among the optimists. “Toronto is such a strong market that the older-generation product in those iconic towers is still going to lease,” he says.

QuadReal, meanwhile, declined an interview request, but industry people say the planned new tower at Commerce Court, which will replace two shorter buildings to be torn down, will be impressive, is probably six or seven years out, and that there will likely be announcements in 2019.





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Hamilton / Burlington Board Real Estate Results for 2018

Hamilton, ON (January 2, 2019) – The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 534 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in December, 2018. Although this is 26 per cent lower than the same month last year, the average price was up by 2.6 per cent to $543,210.

Year-to-date (YTD) sales activity was down by 17.6 per cent from this time last year, and down 12.2 per cent from a decade ago. Average YTD price was also down from a year ago by 1.4 per cent, but up by 90 per cent from 2008.

“As we close out 2018, we’ve experienced a different market than the ones from 2016 and 2017,” says RAHB CEO George O’Neill. “Across the RAHB market area we’ve seen decreases in various statistics when compared to last year; however, consumers who have owned their property for the past several years have experienced gains in the value of their property.










The number of sales for single family properties within the entire RAHB market fell by 24.9 per cent compared to the same month last year, and the average sale price increased by 0.5 per cent. Townhouse sales activity across the entire RAHB market area were also down from 2017 by 36.6 per cent, while the average townhouse sale price rose by 8 per cent. Apartment-style property sales were essentially the same as December last year; however, average sale price increased by 6.8 per cent.

“December has again proven to be one of the slower months for sales as people were busy celebrating the holidays rather than contemplating a move,” adds O’Neill. “But we anticipate market activity will pick up into 2019 as consumer confidence grows after being affected by the provincial and federal regulations introduced over the last two years.”

Although the entire RAHB market area saw a decrease in sales and an increase in average sale price, the individual RAHB market areas experienced variances – especially when comparing the different types of properties. For example, Haldimand experienced a 36 per cent increase in detached average sale price, as well as an increase in number of sales. Burlington and Niagara North saw increases in the average sale price for townhomes; however, Niagara North saw decreases in number of sales for this category. Hamilton experienced increases in both average price and number of sales for apartment-style properties.

Specific neighbourhoods within the overall RAHB market area see results that often differ from the average of the entire RAHB market area. Because neighbourhoods vary, determining the right price and conditions when buying or selling a property can be challenging. Local RAHB REALTORS® have the experience, knowledge and tools to help buyers and sellers make those big decisions.

*Average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold through the RAHB MLS® System. Average sale price can be useful in establishing long-term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. Talk to your local REALTOR®.


2019 Housing Market Outlook – “No Better Time Than Now To Buy A Home”

“Is Now A Good Time To Buy or Sell Real Estate?” – A very common question amongst home buyers/sellers/investors and Realtors together, especially come the start of a fresh new year.

In the GTA, you can find some of the best deals at this time of the year. With everyone on the hunt for discount electronics and clothing – the housing market is left a little untended to, making it a great time to start shopping!

“I find that buying when other people aren’t out there is better,” said Jim Burtnick, Sr. Vice President at Sotheby’s International Realty. “I often encourage my buyers to be out there in December and January, when other people are on vacation and holidays.”

Sales prices are typically lower in the winter months versus the spring or summer months and although the demand may be lower, the pickings may be fairly slim this year as well. In triple-A locations, near transit, schools and amenities, you will still find great prices and offers. 

If you plan on selling this year, the best bet is to start getting ready now. Especially if you are looking for the biggest price tag for your home during the spring sales surge.





New No Smoking – Cannabis Clauses in Leases

 Landlords help list on Cannabis Legalization in Ontario
Ontario’s overview of rules now that recreational cannabis has been made legal by the Federal Government:  click here
Potential Cannabis Clauses for Ontario Rental Lease Agreements:
These No Smoking Clauses for rentals may seem a bit long, each Landlord can decide for themselves if they wish to short form or ask your realtor for assistance.
Tenants and any occupants of the premises and including without limitation, any visitors, guests and business invitees shall not sell, distribute, cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis or cannabis plants without the meaning of the Cannabis Act, SC 2018, c16 and the Cannabis Act, SO 2017, c26, as amended from time to time, anywhere in or upon the premises rented by the Tenant, the building where Tenant’s premises are located or in any of the common areas or adjoining grounds of such building Contravention of this provision shall be deemed to be material breach of the lease and grounds for termination of the lease.
Tenant and any occupants of the premises and, including without limitation, any visitors, guests and business invitees shall not smoke anywhere in or upon the premises rented by the Tenant, the building where Tenant’s premises are located or in any of the common areas or adjoining grounds of such building.
For purposes of this provision, the terms “smoke” means to inhale, exhale, burn or have control over a lighted cigarette, lighted cannabis cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah pipe or other lighted smoking implement designed to burn tobacco or any other substance, including without limitation, cannabis as defined in the Cannabis Act, SC 2018, c16 as amended from time to time for the purpose of inhaling or tasting of its emission.  Contravention of this provision shall be deemed to be a material breach of the lease and grounds for termination of the lease.

Landlord and Tenant – Maintenance Responsibilities

Is there a duty on the tenant to maintain and perform minor repairs in the apartment?

In short, the answer is not really. The duty to maintain the apartment (repairs etc.) is imposed on the landlord in section 20 of the RTA. It is fair to say that there is no ambiguity in the law about who is responsible for maintaining a residential rental property in Ontario—it is entirely the Landlord! A landlord can not avoid the obligations imposed by these sections of the RTA by including contractual language in the Lease that shifts the maintenance obligation to the tenant.

I have seen a number of leases where clauses are inserted saying the tenant is responsible for minor repairs under a certain dollar amount, is responsible to change lightbulbs, leaking taps, plumbing back up (i.e. they must call and pay for a plumber). If there ever was any question if these types of responsibility shifting clauses are legally effective the question, I think, was settled inMontgomery v. Van where the Court of Appeal makes it clear that shifting the responsibility for maintenance to the tenant–in the lease itself—is illegal and void.

What then does the law say the tenant is responsible for? That answer is found in section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act which provides that a tenant is responsible for the repair of undue damage to the rental unit and the complex whether caused wilfully or negligently by the tenant, occupant, or other person permitted by the tenant to be in the residential complex.

At the beginning of every tenancy a landlord should be going through the empty rental unit with the new tenant with a checklist. This checklist, that the tenant will be required to sign, is part of the move in inspection. Along with the checklist, a few digital photos stored on a cheap memory stick showing the condition of the floors, walls, bathroom, kitchen, etc., are also good to have. The checklist, along with the photos, establish a baseline of the condition of the premises that the tenant received when they moved in.  Or print out the mls photos and attach them to the Lease Agreement as a Schedule.

Why is this important? It is absolutely necessary for a landlord to be able to establish the condition of an apartment when a tenant moved in because the tenant is only responsible, in law, for any damage or excess wear and tear of the rental unit caused by them. If a landlord is unable to establish what condition the tenant received the unit in–then it becomes very difficult for the landlord to establish that the tenant caused any damage at all. It is not uncommon for tenants to defend a landlord’s claim for damage or excess wear and tear by stating that the unit was run down and that things in the unit were already damaged. The move in inspection, the checklist, and the photographs takes this argument away from a tenant.

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416-762-4200    905-896-3333

Double-Digit Market Rent Increase In 2019 For Toronto

According to’s National Rent Report – Vacant units in Toronto could see an 11% hike in rent for 2019. It also forecasted that rents nationwide would increase 6% in the new year. 

“There’s probably demand for about 25,000 new rental units a year, and we’re delivering somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2,000 new purpose-built rentals and 18,000 to 22,000 condo rentals,” he said, “which means we’re under-delivering by 3-5,000 units every year.”

Newer, Lavish units tend to be the preference for condo rentals.

The main reason for the double-digit rental hike has to do with the economics of purchasing a condo in the city. In downtown Toronto, investors are buying at between $1,000 and $1,200 per square foot, and in order to stay cash flow positive they will need to increase the rents considerably. 

“It’s reducing credit availability in the market and people can’t afford the home they wanted, so people are choosing to rent longer to afford the home they want instead of the home they don’t want, and that they’d sell three to four years down the road” said Myers.

The biggest challenge for landlords right now is keeping up with the demand because so many people are looking. They need to be in a downtown neighbourhood to command that demand. For landlords north of the 401, the demand isn’t quite as high, but the demand is high in the central core – Midtown, Leslieville and the West End.