Canadian home sales in March up 4.9 per cent from year ago, CREA says

TORONTO — The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes sold last month was up 4.9 per cent compared with the same month last year, but remained below the 10-year average.

The industry association also says sales in March were up 1.0 per cent compared with February, but below a recent peak set last August.

CREA says more than half the local markets it tracks saw more sales in March, led by Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto but the number of new listings rose only half a percentage point and the supply of homes for sale remains low.

CREA chief economist Gregory Klump says March was an improvement over the previous two months but “there was little evidence of a flood of pent-up demand being released.”

Klump also said that some markets, such as Toronto and Calgary, are seeing multiple offers per listing.

“This means national sales are being constrained by a lack of supply despite strong demand in some markets, since Greater Toronto and Calgary combined account for a one-quarter of national activity,” Klump said.

Nationally, there were 6.3 months of unsold listings at the end of March — down from 6.4 months at the end of March and 6.5 months at the end of January.

The national average price for homes sold in March through CREA members was $401,419, up six per cent from the same month last year.

The association’s MLS home price index — which adjusts to compensate for the mix of properties sold — also rose 5.19 per cent year-over-year, up slightly from 5.05 per cent in February.

In Toronto, the country’s largest city, economists and public officials have kept a wary eye on the condo segment of the market. There have been fears, so far unrealized, that a years-long building boom and high-prices may result in a lower prices if new supply outstrips demand for condominium units.

However, the Toronto Real Estate Board — a member of CREA — announced separately Tuesday that 4,454 condominium apartments were sold through its system in the first quarter, up nine per cent from 4,085 a year earlier, while the average selling price also rose, gaining 5.6 per cent to $351,213.

Jason Mercer, TREB’s senior manager of market analysis, said that the number of condo apartment completions was up substantially in the first three months of 2014 and that could result in more listings in the second half of the year as some investors choose to list their units for sale.

“If this occurs, buyers would benefit from more choice in the marketplace and thus could have more negotiating power with regard to price,” Mercer said in a statement.

In a separate report, however, the Re/Max real estate franchising group says demand for Toronto condos is being supported by a lack of available rental apartments — the vacancy rate is about two per cent — and the high price for detached homes.

Overall, Re/Max says it expects Toronto housing prices will will continue to rise about eight per cent this year — in line with the pace set in March.

It also says Vancouver’s prices are anticipated to rise by two per cent this year, a slower pace than in March when prices were up 5.4 per cent year-year. In Calgary, Re/Max says the average home price was $484,91 at the end of March, up five per cent from a year earlier. In Saskatoon, Re/Max estimates a six per cent increase for the rest of the year, up from the five per cent pace set in March.

Article source: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1200641-canadian-home-sales-in-march-up-49-per-cent-from-year-ago-crea-says

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The latest decor trends for the great outdoors

The right accessories will set off your new furniture. And for those not ready
to invest in a complete do-over, they can add oomph to your old patio set. Plush
carpets and pretty pillows make for simple, budget-friendly style updates, while
oversized lanterns and chandeliers can add a homey feel. “Hanging an outdoor
mirror in the sitting area is another trend that you’ll see this season,” says
Lam.

For people who can’t help but think big, mounting a TV (in a special
waterproof casing) and adding a built-in bar, or a bar cart, to your plans is
sure to impress your guests. An architectural fireplace, or small-scale gas
version, adds character and, literally, warmth to your sitting area. These are
big investments but they can be practical, too. “A fireplace will extend the
amount of time you can spend in your backyard living room,” says Sacks. Just
think: You could still be lounging out there come Halloween.

The final lesson in outdoor decor, say all three designers: Don’t forget to
look up. “The outdoor living room now has a ceiling,” says Sacks. It could be
curtains, draped canvas or a vine-covered pergola, but adding a top to your
sitting area grounds the space and creates even more decor
opportunities. “Really, anything that you’d do indoors is fair game on the
patio.” 


Emery recycled indoor/outdoor glass chandelier: Potterybarn.com

Article source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/decor/hot-decor-for-the-great-outdoors/article18122917/?cmpid=rss1

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Real Estate Bidding Wars Heating Up In Toronto

Toronto’s real estate bidding wars are reaching a fever pitch. 

Some of Canada’s largest banks are offering low mortgage lending rates, and many people looking to move from condos and rentals into family homes in the city are capitalizing on fixed agreements. 

- LISTEN | “Hot Mortgages,” on CBC’s Metro Morning

“It’s a sellers market out there … and right now is the busy season. There are a lot of Toronto buyers out there looking for their first home, looking to take advantage of the rates,” says James Laird, chief operating officer of True North Mortgage, in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning on Monday. 

Laird says that the primary factor driving demand and fuelling the red-hot housing market is that an increasing number of potential buyers are able to qualify for large mortgages at bottom-barrel rates, and banks are “competing very aggressively for those buyers.”

In March, Bank of Montreal slashed its rate of five-year fixed mortgages to below the 3 per cent level, a sensitive benchmark that former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned about during his tenure. The extremely low rates are encouraging many first-time home buyers, according to Laird. 

“When people come in to see me, they don’t say I want to pay $800,000 for a home. They say I want to pay $3,500 a month for housing. And with rates this low, it allows people to buy a fairly expensive home, which inflates prices,” Laird says.

“That million-dollar home at 2.99 per cent is actually fairly cheap to carry on a monthly basis, relatively speaking, compared to what it has been historically. The reality is that when rates were higher, 6 or 7 per cent, the monthly carrying costs were much higher.”

The result is a real-estate market inundated with buyers with, who are more frequently involved in bidding wars with multiple other home buyers. 

“There’s a lot of couples out there competing for the same properties and there’s not enough property to meet that demand, which leads to a very stressful buying process.The reality is that you will be competing with eight or nine — or even 20 — other families trying to buy the same property.”

The key to landing your dream home, Laird explains, is being prepared for the bidding war buyers will likely face by making a “clean offer.”

“If you can make your offer without financing conditions and if you have your home inspection before the offer is made, ,condition free, you’re going have a leg up on all those people competing for the same home.”

Laird concedes, however, that customers who are not locked-in to fixed rate mortgages will bear the largest burden if, or when, the Bank of Canada increases prime rates. The Bank of Canada has not done so in nearly three and a half years, but many experts predict a “moderate increase” will come in 2015, Laird says. 

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/21/toronto-real-estate_n_5186336.html

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Real estate bidding wars heating up in Toronto

Toronto’s real estate bidding wars are reaching a fever pitch. 

Some of Canada’s largest banks are offering low mortgage lending rates, and many people looking to move from condos and rentals into family homes in the city are capitalizing on fixed agreements. 

“It’s a sellers market out there … and right now is the busy season. There are a lot of Toronto buyers out there looking for their first home, looking to take advantage of the rates,” says James Laird, chief operating officer of True North Mortgage, in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning on Monday

Laird says that the primary factor driving demand and fuelling the red-hot housing market is that an increasing number of potential buyers are able to qualify for large mortgages at bottom-barrel rates, and banks are “competing very aggressively for those buyers.”

‘There’s a lot of couples out there competing for the same properties and there’s not enough property to meet that demand, which leads to a very stressful buying process.The reality is that you will be competing with eight or nine — or even 20 — other families trying to buy the same property.’- James Laird, CEO of Truth North Mortgage

In March, Bank of Montreal slashed its rate of five-year fixed mortgages to below the 3 per cent level, a sensitive benchmark that former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned about during his tenure. The extremely low rates are encouraging many first-time home buyers, according to Laird. 

“When people come in to see me, they don’t say I want to pay $800,000 for a home. They say I want to pay $3,500 a month for housing. And with rates this low, it allows people to buy a fairly expensive home, which inflates prices,” Laird says.

“That million-dollar home at 2.99 per cent is actually fairly cheap to carry on a monthly basis, relatively speaking, compared to what it has been historically. The reality is that when rates were higher, 6 or 7 per cent, the monthly carrying costs were much higher.”

The result is a real-estate market inundated with buyers with, who are more frequently involved in bidding wars with multiple other home buyers. 

“There’s a lot of couples out there competing for the same properties and there’s not enough property to meet that demand, which leads to a very stressful buying process.The reality is that you will be competing with eight or nine — or even 20 — other families trying to buy the same property.”

The key to landing your dream home, Laird explains, is being prepared for the bidding war buyers will likely face by making a “clean offer.”

“If you can make your offer without financing conditions and if you have your home inspection before the offer is made, ,condition free, you’re going have a leg up on all those people competing for the same home.”

Laird concedes, however, that customers who are not locked-in to fixed rate mortgages will bear the largest burden if, or when, the Bank of Canada increases prime rates. The Bank of Canada has not done so in nearly three and a half years, but many experts predict a “moderate increase” will come in 2015, Laird says. 

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/real-estate-bidding-wars-heating-up-in-toronto-1.2616669

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