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 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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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.

Toronto Housing May Enter A Vicious Cycle

The Toronto Real Estate Board has down that the market’s sales volume fell by 14.7% year-over-year in November, while new listings declined 26.1% during the same period, coupled with the average sales price growth of 3.5% annually (up to $788,345).

The trend points to a vicious cycle for the near future, says TREB president Garry Bhaura. 

“These numbers reflect a tighter marketplace, which will translate into increasing competition between buyers and also likely provide the foundation for renewed price growth” Bhaura warned.

There will be stricter mortgage qualification rules introduced in the new year, which are becoming more of a burden to the market than anything. “We’re seeing strong rates of price growth on homes with lower average price points, such as condos and semi-detached homes. This is largely due to the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs, which have impacted affordability and pushed many consumers to consider a lower-priced home.”

“Not only is it important to build more housing, it’s important to consider the kind of housing we build and where it’s built in relation to access to transportation alternatives” Bhaura explained.

“Specifically, we must focus on producing an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing types, where ‘missing middle’ housing (home types that bridge the gap between a detached home and a condo) and transit supportive housing developments should be priorities.”

Government intervention can backfire! Who knew?

Could the city of Toronto really have overestimated its revenue from its land transfer tax by almost $100 million?

It has been a common government refrain for years now — and from all levels of government, mind you — that something must be done to cool the city’s housing market. The Ontario government has been trying to cool the market by implementing a foreign speculation tax for the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. The Bank of Canada has been trying to cool the market by raising interest rates. The country’s federal financial regulator has been trying to cool the market by tightening up mortgage rules.

Revenues from the land transfer tax are projected to come in $99.2 million short, due primarily to what a city council finance update describes as “lower residential market activity.”

In other words, the market cooled, and Toronto politicians were caught off-guard. Astonished. Startled. Who could have predicted? No one saw that coming. Except maybe everyone who is not a member of Toronto’s City Council.

To be fair, Toronto councillors may have thought they were just being realistic. Governments everywhere have a poor track record of achieving their desired results by intervening in the market. Maybe Toronto thought, “Well it’s true that the feds and the folks at Queen’s Park and all their friends are trying to cool the market. But there’s no real reason to believe they’ll succeed. I mean, it’s government. You know.”
Or maybe Toronto’s city council was just too clueless and greedy to notice all the signs that its cash cow would soon be producing significantly less milk. And to plan accordingly.

Now the city must figure out how to make up the money.

Fortunately, the city came in underbudget in other areas, so there will be no budget deficit this year. Going forward, however, is a different story. To get by, Toronto will have to cut services or institute a significant increase in property taxes.

As we are seeing firsthand in Toronto, that further interference — in particular, interference designed to cool markets — can lead to funding gaps when municipal revenues fall, due to factors such as the land transfer tax, or simply lower property values which decrease property tax revenues.

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CRA Recovers Over $240M From Housing Audits In B.C & Ontario






The Canada Revenue Agency recently announced that it’s collected more than $240 million from real estate tax audits in B.C and Ontario as of last month!

The probe came amid censure from various quarters over the agency’s alleged neglect to investigate money laundering and tax evasion in Canadian real estate – looking into house flipping, unverified fund sourcing, unreported income, unreported taxes/capital gains and tax rebates on any homes sold.

The recovered money in Ontario mostly comes from audits and rebates, states the CRA. The funds in B.C predominately came from GST/HST.

Approximately $12.5 million in penalties have been levied upon individuals from both provinces on grounds of knowingly false statements in the filing of tax returns, with the highest individual fine at $2.5 million.

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