Monday, April 23, 2018

Multiple fatalities after pedestrians struck by van in Toronto: North York Yonge St between Finch Ave and Sheppard Ave

There appears to be a number of fatalities after multiple pedestrians were struck by a white van in Toronto and police say the driver has been arrested.
Toronto police said the incident happened around 1 p.m. on Monday in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.
“Reports were that a white van mounted the curb, drove down the sidewalk at southbound Yonge, south of Finch, and struck eight to 10 people possibly, the numbers aren’t confirmed yet,” Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long told Global News.
Global News observed multiple bodies covered with blankets. Police said between eight and 10 people have been injured. The extent of the injuries is unknown.
In a statement from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, seven patients have been brought to the hospital so far. Officials said the hospital’s emergency room has been locked down as a precaution.
A video posted on Twitter appears to show a standoff between the male suspect and police just before he was arrested.
The suspect appears to come out of the white van with an object in his hands pointed towards a police officer in the street. In the video, the officer could be heard shouting “get down on the ground now.” The officer walked toward the man, who dropped the object and turned around with his hands in the air. It is unclear what the object was that the suspect was holding. He was subsequently taken into custody.
Barry Mather, a delivery driver from Bolton, told Global News Radio 640 Toronto’s Kelly Cutrara that he saw a “banged up” white van while he was making a delivery on Bogert Avenue, near Yonge and Sheppard.
“I was coming out of my van and I’d look and I’d hear this scraping and grinding noise and there’s this white Ryder van coming towards me so I had to jump out of the way.”
Nick Sanka told Global News he was studying in an area Starbucks when he saw a truck “just running through.”
“I get up, and by the time I come here, I saw someone with blood trailing…”

Sanka said the van was “definitely speeding” and that the driver appeared to be in control.
“He did seem to have control over what he was doing … so it wasn’t some sort of impairment where he was swerving,” he said.
“He just [drove] straight through – and he managed to make a perfect turn at that corner as well.”

Mayor John Tory said he has spoken with Chief Mark Saunders and other city officials and is on his way to the scene.
“There has been a very tragic incident at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue,” Tory said.
“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a brief statement Monday afternoon in response to the incident.
“We’re just learning about the situation in Toronto now. Our hearts go out to anyone affected,” he said.
“Obviously we’re going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
Global News confirmed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Vance was briefed on the incident unfolding in Toronto. A strategic advisory alert has gone out to military commanders across the country.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a post on Twitter that the province is also monitoring the situation and working with the City of Toronto and the federal government.
“My thoughts are with everyone affected,” she said.
“Thank you to the first responders caring for victims and witnesses.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the rental company of the van driven by the suspect said the company is aware of the incident.
“We are saddened by this tragic event, and our deepest sympathies go out to those impacted,” Claudia Panfil, vice president of corporate communications for Ryder System, Inc., told Global News in a statement.
“We take the safety and security related to the use of our entire fleet very seriously and we are cooperating fully with authorities.”
The Toronto Transit Commission has shut down subway service between Sheppard and Finch stations due to the police investigation.
Officials said there will be no shuttle buses operating.
More to come.





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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Toronto Real Estate: Threat of condo cancellations looms over pricey Toronto housing market

Since the start of last year, 17 projects have been cancelled in the GTA, according to real estate services firm Altus Group Ltd.

Builders in Toronto’s frenzied condo market are walking away from giant towers they have pre-sold, reflecting a rougher road to profits — and leaving buyers in the lurch.

Soaring construction costs and condo values in Canada’s largest city, where prices have surged amid a booming economy and strong immigration, have spurred developers to cancel projects they started when construction was cheaper and pre-sales were less lucrative. Condo prices have increased about 20 per cent since February of last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

“Many projects launched for pre-sales prior to having their proper approvals in place,” said Shaun Hildebrand, a senior vice-president at Urbanation Inc. “By rushing to bring units into a hot market, some projects jumped the gun and added risk to the development.”

According to Urbanation, which studies the Toronto condo market, there are 10,622 condo units in the Greater Toronto Area that were offered for pre-sale before 2017 and still await construction. Since the start of last year, 17 projects, with 3,627 units, have been cancelled in the region, according to real estate services firm Altus Group Ltd. That’s up from seven projects, with 808 units in 2016.

This month alone, Liberty Development Corp. pulled the plug on a three-tower, sold-out condo development, citing problems with construction financing. Liberty didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Bad timing

The threat of still more cancellations looms over Toronto, where housing is tight and expensive as it is. While the average price of a home was down 17 per cent in March from a year earlier, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the decline comes after a long run-up. To cool the market, the government added rules making it more expensive to borrow — pushing buyers into condos from even pricier single-family homes.

Typically, developers need pre-sales of at least 70 per cent to get financing to move a project forward, said Phong Ngo, director of data solutions at Altus. That isn’t their last hurdle. From there, the longer it takes to break ground, the higher the costs of materials and labour, especially as interest rates rise. Builders may face delays in getting government permits, finding contractors and workers amid the hot demand or parrying special-interest groups that oppose construction.

As of February, 143 condo projects that are at least 70 per cent pre-sold hadn’t started construction yet, according to data from Altus. Of these, 43 had hit the 70-per-cent mark more than a year earlier.

Construction costs in the Toronto area, which typically have risen in tandem with inflation, increased 6 to 8 per cent last year (compared with inflation of about 2 per cent), according to Altus. “We believe that going forward next year, it’ll be at least that or more,” David Schoonjans, senior director at the firm, said. At the same time, labour costs are rising, with hourly compensation up 2.4 per cent across Canada in 2017.

“At some point, the project stops making financial sense,” Schoonjans said.

It is in that environment that the Toronto region finds itself with 412 condo projects totalling 101,208 units in the works, Altus reports.

The rebound

In the end, “only a small portion” of condo buildings will be cancelled, said Lauren White, senior vice-president of the Land Services Group at CBRE Group Inc. “Therefore, the effect will be a minor tightening on supply as purchasers from cancelled projects move to active projects.”

Homebuyers who have had their projects scrapped will be back in the market again, increasing demand even further, said Mike Czestochowski, executive vice-president of the group.

That’s good for builders but a problem for buyers. Many who get their deposits back from the developer of a nixed project probably will have lost equity, because the market is a lot hotter today, Czestochowski said.

With the intense demand for housing in and around the city, many new projects are bound to rise and cancelled ones to be revived — at higher prices.

“We haven’t seen an increase in supply yet,” he said. “It would be hard to imagine what else they do with the site.”

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

You Now Need $100,000 In Income To Buy A Typical Condo In Toronto

  • Condo rents up 10.7 per cent as fewer buy homes
  • One-third of would-be buyers have exited the market
  • Some relief ahead for homebuyers, Urbanation predicts
If this keeps up, home ownership in Toronto could soon be solely for the wealthy.

The income needed to qualify for a mortgage on an average Greater Toronto Area condo has soared by nearly a third over the past year, according to a new report, and it's due to both rising prices and tougher new mortgage rules.

Homebuyers needed an income of at least $100,000 to qualify for a mortgage on an average-priced condo in the first quarter of this year, according to numbers released Wednesday by real estate consultancy Urbanation.

As recently as a year ago, that figure was just $77,000, Urbanation noted, and two years ago, it was $64,000.

The new federal mortgage rules — which require buyers to qualify for a mortgage at a higher interest rate than the one being offered by the lender — also played a role, Urbanation said.

Without the new mortgage rules, qualifying income for a mortgage would have been $86,000, the report said.

Evidence is mounting that a great deal of would-be homebuyers have been priced out of the market. A study from realtor Re/Max, released this week, found one in three prospective buyers has simply given up on buying a home in the wake of new mortgage rules and higher prices, while another four in 10 have scaled back their home-buying ambitions.

That's having an impact on the housing market. The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that condo sales in the region were down 32.7 per cent in March, compared to a year earlier — though prices were still up by 6.1 per cent year over year.

But Urbanation senior vice president Shaun Hildebrand says homebuyers can expect at least some relief in the years to come.

"Close to 60,000 condos are under construction right now, and another 40,000 are pre-sold and awaiting construction," Hildebrand told HuffPost Canada. "So I would anticipate that supply is going to be better than what it is right now, and that will have a dampening effect on price growth over the next few years."

Condo rental prices soar 10.7%
With a growing number of would-be buyers priced out of the market and staying put in rental housing, pressure is growing on the rental market, Urbanation's data shows. 

Average monthly condo rents jumped 10.7 per cent over the past year, to $2,206 for a typical 740-square-foot condo, the report found. (The numbers don't include the city's rental apartment stock, which is overall less expensive than the rental condo market.)

There's relief coming for tenants in the rental market as well, Urbanation says, albeit at a slower pace.
 It notes that the number of rental units under construction rose to a 25-year high of 7,937 in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 5,832 units in the same period a year earlier.

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GTA Real Estate: Condo cancellation at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre leaves buyers ‘in the dust’

Liberty Development has cancelled three towers in Vaughan but a deposit refund won’t be enough to secure new homes for some buyers.

The latest Toronto-area condo cancellation — Liberty Development’s Cosmos condos at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre — is raising questions about consumer protection for buyers who hand over large deposits on a pre-construction home only to learn months or years later that the developer has cancelled the project.

Cosmos, which was supposed to be three towers with about 1,100 units, is one of 11 developments, including some stacked townhomes, to be killed in the last 12 months. That compares to five or less in a typical year, according to Shaun Hildebrand of market research firm Urbanation.

On Monday the development industry defended its completion record and a government spokesperson pointed out that all the buyers would get their money back as per the Tarion protections in their contracts. Tarion is the province’s new home warranty provider.

Santino Paglia was among hundreds of Cosmos buyers left wondering how they will afford to get into the housing market after planting their money on a condo about two years ago. The 33-year-old teacher bought in the first Cosmos tower in May 2016.

Instead he received a registered letter late last week from Liberty Developments telling him he would be getting a refund rather than an apartment. Although he will get back his deposit on the $280,000, 600-square-foot unit, Paglia said, when it comes to buying another home, “it leaves me in the dust.”

“The market in that area has gone up dramatically. If you want the same one-bedroom condo now it’s probably going to be at least $100,000 more,” he said.

Liberty said the “cancellation ... was made solely due to the inability to secure satisfactory construction financing.”

“The decision was made by the vendors,” it said.

The vendor is a numbered company that owns the land on the southwest corner of Highway 7 and Maplecrete Dr. Both Liberty and the numbered company have the same address on Steelcase Rd. in Markham. Both list Fereydoon Darvish as an executive.

The cancellation is an “isolated” event that won’t impact other projects, said Liberty’s spokesperson, Danny Roth of Brandon Communications.

Liberty is the developer behind Wish Condos in Scarborough and Village Residences near Bayview and Sheppard Aves. Its Centro Square residential-commercial development west of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is in the process of being occupied.

The Building and Land Development Association (BILD) defended the industry’s record. CEO Dave Wilkes said he could not comment directly on the Liberty cancellation but the overwhelming number of projects are completed.

“When we look at the overall market activity, there’s over 600 projects that are currently underway. For a variety of reasons nine have not proceeded to conclusion,” he said.

Mark Cruden of Midland, Ont., bought a 33rd-floor unit in the second Cosmos tower. He and his wife figured it would be a launch pad for their retirement travels and put them in easy reach of their two daughters in Toronto when it was ready for occupancy late 2019.

“You start to get excited because you’ve built a little equity before moving into it,” he said.

“We’re in our fifties. This is obviously not our first home. For us it’s a huge disappointment but I cannot imagine a young family getting all excited about moving into their first place and now they’ve been potentially priced out of the market,” he said.

Except for deposit receipts for the $90,000 they put down on the condo, the cancellation letter is the first correspondence Cruden said he and his wife received from Liberty.

Cruden said he is among the Cosmos buyers who spent the weekend setting up a Facebook page and writing letters to politicians.

“I feel like there’s no protection. You sign an agreement, you give them the money. We fulfilled our part of the bargain and they can just — it feels like willy nilly — cancel it,” he said.

But the government has to walk a fine line between protecting consumers and encouraging housing development in the province, said Andrew Lang, a spokesperson for Government and Consumer Affairs Minister Tracy MacCharles.

“We want to protect consumers but we want to make sure developments are occurring. If we are overly austere and strict, these potential condo owners might have fewer condos to actually bid on,” he said.

In addition to having their deposits returned, the buyers also should be getting interest on that money from the developer, said Lang. In a normal market that interest might cover the escalation in real estate prices. But the Toronto area has seen soaring housing costs in recent years.

At the time Cosmos hit the market in 2016, real estate prices were gaining monthly. Condos continue to be hot sellers in the Toronto region, accounting for 80 per cent of new home sales last year with prices climbing in the face of demand.

In February BILD put the average sale price of a Toronto-area condo at $729,735. That is up from $523,087 in Feb. 2017.

The Cosmos cancellation has also come as a disappointment to the City of Vaughan, said its mayor.

“I am not at all impressed about what has transpired,” said Maurizio Bevilacqua. “Although this is strictly a commercial agreement between the buyer and seller, I would have preferred that the spirit of the agreement with the buyer would have been honoured. The city was not provided advanced notice of the decision to issue cancellation notices for purchase agreements.”

Last fall Castlepoint Numa cancelled its Museum Flts. condos in Toronto’s west end, citing slow city approvals and increased construction costs. That building had 168 units.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Oakville GTA Subdivision Buyers Face Financial Ruin From Real Estate Market Fall

A group of Oakville homebuyers, struggling to finance the pre-construction houses they bought in February 2017 at the height of last year’s real estate frenzy, are blaming “reckless” provincial housing policy and new mortgage rules for putting them on the brink of financial ruin.

The desperate buyers say they have been trapped in a unique period in the Toronto-area housing market — one engineered by provincial policy designed to cool the soaring costs of housing. The problem has been compounded by new mortgage rules that they believe have the potential to drive desperate buyers deeper in debt by sending them to alternative lenders that offer higher-interest loans.

Declining real estate sales in the Toronto region have meant the buyers have not been able to sell their existing homes for the amounts they anticipated when they contracted to buy new houses in Mattamy’s Preserve development near Dundas St. W. and Fourth Line. After they failed to sell when the market plunged or they took lower-than-expected prices, they say they couldn’t get larger loans to cover the difference.

“This impacts your health. Financially it breaks families,” said Zahir Bashiruddin. He and his wife bought a new house with a single-car garage so they would have fewer stairs to contend with while caring for their infant and toddler.

The buyers want the government, the banks and builders to come together to find a solution for buyers in their “impossible” position. They say they have had no response to emails to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and Housing Minister Peter Milczyn.

The buyers maintain the Ontario Liberal government failed to consider what the impact of its Fair Housing Plan would be on middle-class families in mid-transaction. When it launched its plan, including a foreign buyers tax, last April, housing sales plummeted almost immediately.

The double-whammy of the provincial plan and new mortgage stress tests from Canada’s bank regulator, requiring buyers to qualify at a higher lending rate than had originally been approved last February, has significantly reduced their borrowing power.

Mattamy president Brad Carr said he sympathizes with purchasers caught “in this very specific point in the (housing market) cycle.” But he said the company, Canada’s largest homebuilder, needs buyers to honour their contracts so Mattamy can do the same.

“When a homebuyer makes a firm and binding decision to Mattamy to have us build them a home, we in turn take that promise, that commitment, and we make a whole series of promises to our trades, to our suppliers, to our employees about what now we can do on the strength of those firm contracts to employ them,” he said.

An emailed statement from Milczyn’s office said that the provincial Fair Housing Plan has succeeded in making housing more affordable for more Ontario residents.

“Multiple experts, including senior economists at BMO and RBC, agree that our plan is working and has helped stabilize Ontario’s red-hot housing market,” said the statement.

“The housing market is complex, and home prices will inevitably go up and down based on a number of factors. The aim of the Fair Housing Plan is to keep housing fair and affordable for as many people as possible throughout market fluctuations.”

Three couples say they desperately want to fulfil their contracts with the builder. All of them have owned or own a home. All have young children. They describe themselves as working, middle-class people, who saved and sacrificed for years to afford their homes.

The houses they purchased cost between about $1 million and $1.6 million — around the average price of a detached, single-family home in the Toronto region.

If they walk away from their contracts with Mattamy, they will forfeit their deposits of more than $200,000. They also risk being sued by the builder that is refusing to provide financial assistance or extend the closings.

If they find a way to close the gap in their financing through alternative lenders, they say they won’t be able to meet their monthly bills.

An emailed statement from the company did not directly answer whether Mattamy planned to sue buyers who don’t close but, in a followup interview, Carr said the vast majority of buyers were fulfilling their contracts. He said he didn’t know how many purchasers have contacted the company with concerns about closing.

Carr emphasized that the issue the buyers face is an issue for the entire housing market, and is not specific to Mattamy or new-construction homes. It could as easily be an issue in a resale purchase.

“The individuals who signed up for these houses … did so with full understanding of where we were in the full housing cycle, in the same way anyone else would,” he said, adding that there was extensive media coverage of the heated housing market around the time the buyers purchased.

“You also have to remember we’re talking about price points and a type of housing that are right at the top end of the band,” he said.

The average price of a new-construction detached house in the Toronto region was $1.22 million in February this year. A year earlier, the average was higher — about $1.5 million, according to building industry statistics.

“I certainly empathize, but also I have to assume we’re talking about sophisticated individuals here who made very large deposits, signed binding contracts and do so at price points that would suggest to me they had the means to close,” said Carr.

But, while some of the houses in the Preserve sold for more than $2 million, two of the three couples say they paid about $1 million for their homes.

The third couple, Darren and Claudia Evans, are second-time Mattamy buyers, who have been living in the area for four years. They wanted a different floor plan for their 2-year-old son, so they bought another house for about $1.6 million, expecting their current place to sell for about the same amount.

They listed their house twice last year but received no formal offers, just a phone call with a “lowball” proposal.

“We haven’t put our house on the market again and we need to close in seven weeks. There is no point. We are watching the market so closely with our realtor and we can’t afford to take the amount of money that we will get offered right now. If we got a delay in closing then it would be fine. I’m sure the market will recover in time,” Darren said.

They could borrow from an alternative lender but that comes with a hefty cost of a 3 or 4 per cent fee on the amount of the loan and interest rates around 10 per cent, he said.

“I have to think of my family and think I would be safer staying in this house and defaulting on the new one, which I don’t want to do because if I do move into that house, the only people that make money are the lenders and Mattamy, and my family end up on the street, so I have to make a decision based on my family,” he said.

Shahina and Asif Khan bought in the Preserve as “a lateral move” motivated by the desire to send their 6-year-old to a different school, although it was actually smaller than their first house in Brampton. Oakville was also closer to more frequent GO service on the Lakeshore West line for Shahina, a human resources business planner, who commutes.

“We’re not investors. We purchased homes to raise our children,” she said. “If the government wanted to implement cooling measures, why was it so reckless? Why did they not stop and think about the families that were in the middle of a transaction.”

The Khans say they watched the pre-construction and resale home markets for months. “What was scary about that time is both markets were really tough,” she said.

New-construction home prices were escalating and there were stories of bidding wars for resale homes.

“With a resale you can never be prepared because you’re basically outbidding the other person. With a new build you have a budget to do some research and figure out your own finances,” said Asif.

The Khans, who lived with five other adults and their young son for seven years before buying their first house, are now residing in a basement apartment. Shahina says she doesn’t know how they will ever get out if they are forced to forfeit their deposit. But there is no way they can afford to finance the new house.

Pre-construction home sales are common in Ontario, she said.

“It’s not something (the government) could have forgotten about. It’s something they dismissed,” said Khan. “There’s some level of accountability with everybody and nobody’s stepping up.”

The Oakville buyers’ group said it has connected with more than 100 families who are unexpectedly struggling to finance their new homes. They are telling their stories via a website called Community for Fairness. They are also speaking with Mattamy buyers at the Queen’s Common development in Whitby and the Summit in Kleinburg, where purchasers are upset that the builder reduced the prices of its homes after they bought.

For Bashiruddin, an accountant who doesn’t typically take financial risks, struggling to close on his new home is an almost unimaginable shock — the kind he’s spent his life working to avoid.

He lived with his parents to save money during university and graduated debt-free by working part-time. After that he continued to save. He and his wife, Shamleed, lived with his parents for two years after they got married before deciding they had saved enough to buy their townhouse.

“I have a budget every month. I know exactly where my money goes. I can pull it up on my phone. That’s how detailed I am,” he said. “I track everything and I’m telling you, the risk I took when I purchased this (new) home was very calculated.”

Like the Khans, the Bashiruddins were watching real estate prices climb in 2016 and early 2017. They worried they wouldn’t be able to afford a move.

“At the time we thought it was a great decision (to buy the Mattamy home) because we’ve locked in our price. We know it’s not going to go up any further and our house was valued at a decent amount so there would be no real gap,” he said.

But although townhouses are selling in today’s market as one of the few affordable options, Bashiruddin says his has just sold for less than it would have a year ago and the stress test has cut his borrowing power by about 20 per cent. He hopes he will be able to work things out with Mattamy, but in May, he and his family will move back in with his parents until he figures out a solution.

Meantime, he says, “I honestly have not been this stressed ever.”

The sale of their Brampton house closed in January for about $200,000 less than they had expected when they bought the Mattamy house last February.

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Mississauga Lakeview lands sold to developers for $275M, 177-acre site Waterfront GTA

The Lakeview lands in Mississauga have officially been sold to developers for $275 million in the latest step toward the transformation of the city’s waterfront.

The 177-acre site, formerly a provincial coal-fired generating station, will be transformed into a sustainable, mixed-use residential community by Lakeview Community Partners, a consortium that includes Argo Development, TACC Construction, Branthaven Homes, Greenpark Group and CCI Development Group, according to a press release from provincial agency, Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

Sixty-seven acres of land will be remediated and transferred to the city of Mississauga as part of the deal.

Lakeview is expected to be the future home of 20,000 people and 8,000 jobs. Mississauga is planning a pedestrian- and transit-friendly community that will draw residents and tourists with waterside parks, wetland trails, boardwalks and canals lined with restaurants and boutiques. City plans call for cultural spaces, artists’ housing and potentially a museum, near the water.

There are no details, however, for when the transformation will take place. That will largely be up to the developers once a land use plan goes before Mississauga city council in June, says the city.

“This is a complex site and will require a concerted effort and continued partnerships,” said an email from a city spokesperson.

“It is anticipated that redevelopment will take a number of years to complete.”

The community will be close to GO and the city’s planned Hurontario LRT, but will be subject to a future study of higher order public transit.

Mississauga councillor Jim Tovey, who died in January, is widely credited with the vision for transforming the waterfront near Cawthra Rd., south of Lakeshore Rd. E.

“Mississauga is ready to work with the consortium to build a master-planned community that will become a destination for tourism, business and innovation,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie in the OPG release.

Prior to the construction of the coal plant, the site served as an aerodrome, rifle range, wartime barracks and temporary postwar housing.

Lakeview, which operated for 43 years, was de-commissioned in 2005 and the “Four Sisters” smokestacks, a feature on the lakefront for decades, were demolished the following year.

“Shutting the Four Sisters at Lakeview not only provides us with clean air to breathe, but unlocks the value of these lands to create a new, green, sustainable community for everyone to enjoy,” said Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, who is the MPP for Mississauga South and has lived in the area since he was 7.

The proposed development is supposed to provide ample sightlines to the water and will focus on mid-rise development, although some higher buildings will be considered, says the city. 
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Toronto Luxury Home Sales Plunge 46% From Last Year’s High

The high-end of Toronto’s housing market is bearing the brunt of declines from last year’s dizzying growth, with prices falling and unit sales slumping by almost half.

Sales of detached homes in and around Canada’s biggest city fell 46 percent in March from the same month a year ago, while the average price fell 17 percent to C$1.01 million ($786,871), according to data released Wednesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board. That dragged down the average selling prices for all housing types by 14 percent from a year earlier to C$784,558, the biggest drop since 1991.

“Detached home sales, which generally represent the highest price points in a given area, declined much more than other home types,” the board said in its monthly report. “In addition, the share of high-end detached homes selling for over C$2 million in March 2018 was half of what was reported in March 2017, further impacting the average selling price."

Still, prices continued their stabilization of the past few months as home owners get ready for the traditionally hectic spring season. Benchmark prices rose 1.2 percent in March from February, including a 1.1 percent gain for detached homes and a 1.8 percent increase in condos. Average prices also rose month on month.

Benchmark prices fell 1.5 percent year-over-year, the first decline since 2009, led by a 6.7 percent drop for detached homes. Benchmark prices compare essentially the same set of houses from one period to the next, removing distortions from big swings in one category or another.

Sales for the market as a whole, including condos, townhouses, and semi-detached homes, fell 40 percent to 7,228 units in March from a year ago but were up from February. That’s the lowest sales figure for March since 2009.

Canada’s biggest housing market has been adjusting to new rules that make it harder for buyers to qualify for a mortgage, curbs on foreign purchases and rising interest rates. Federal and provincial governments have been gradually tightening market conditions to tame prices that skyrocketed last year.

“Right now, when we are comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory versus this year with inventory levels ranging between two and three months,” Jason Mercer, director of market analysis, said in the report. “It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak.”

The second half of the year should see the annual rate of price growth improve as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings, Mercer said.

New listings fell 12 percent to 14,866 from March 2017 and were down 3 percent compared to the average for the previous 10 years.

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Ronjot Singh Dhami 25, now Wanted by Toronto Police After Nightclubfight

One of the three men charged with assaulting a man with autism in Mississauga last month is also wanted by Toronto police following a fight in a Port Lands nightclub last month.

Police were called to Rebel nightclub around 1:30 a.m. of March 11 after a fight between two groups broke out inside the club, said police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante.

It was reported that the fight was broken up by security and both groups were removed from the club. Arrogante said a police investigation was conducted.

As a result, police have put out an arrest warrant for Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, for assault causing bodily harm. He is being held in custody by Peel police ahead of a bail hearing scheduled next week.

Arrogante said Dhami will be arrested and charged by Toronto police if he is granted bail.

Dhami was charged with one count of aggravated assault after police identified him as one of the men allegedly responsible for beating a man with autism in the Square One bus terminal on March 13.

In the security video released by police, three men approached the 29-year-old victim, who was sitting on stairs of the terminal. The trio started kicking and punching him multiple times before fleeing the area.

The victim was rushed to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later released.

Dhami was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant before surrendering to police on March 26. His lawyer said Dhami denies involvement in the attack. The second suspect, Parmvir Singh Chahil, 21, was also charged with aggravated assault and was released on bail on March 28.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Peel police are still looking for the third suspect, who they believe goes by the name “Jason.”

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Greater Toronto Area GTA Home Sales Down 40% in March Compared to Last Year

The average home price fell 14 per cent to $784,558 year over year, as the province’s Fair Housing Plan, new federal mortgage rules and higher borrowing costs prompted some buyers to hold off, the Toronto Real Estate Board said.

Home sales in the GTA dropped 40 per cent year over year in March, with the average price also decreasing by 14 per cent, according to the latest Toronto Real Estate Board report.

TREB reported 7,228 residential transactions last month in the GTA, a steep drop from the record 11,954 sales reported in March 2017. Last month’s figure is down 17.6 per cent compared to average March sales for the previous 10 years.

The average price in March 2018 was $784,558 for all housing categories in the GTA, including detached, semi-detached, townhomes and condos. The average price was $915,126 in March 2017.

For the city of Toronto, the average price of a home was $817,642, down about 9 per cent from $897,856 a year earlier.

The share of high-end detached homes selling for more than $2 million in March 2018 was half of that reported in March 2017, further affecting the average price.

“The effects of the (Ontario government’s) Fair Housing Plan, the new (federally mandated mortgage) stress test and generally higher borrowing costs have prompted some buyers to put their purchasing decision on hold,” Tim Syrianos, president of the real estate board, said in a news release.

The number of new listings also decreased 12 per cent, year over year, in March.

“Right now, when we are comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory, versus this year, with inventory levels ranging between two and three months,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.

“It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak. However, in the second half of the year, expect to see the annual rate of price growth to improve compared to (the first quarter), as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings.”

The average GTA home price in March increased slightly from the previous month, when it was $767,818.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Toronto March Homes Sales Drop 39.5%, Prices Slump 14.3%

Watch out for the SPIN from the RE industry
Toronto homes sales sagged in March, tumbling 39.5 percent from the previous year, as tighter mortgage rules and higher borrowing costs dampened demand, data showed on Wednesday.

Sales of detached homes plunged 46.3 percent and condo sales dropped 32.7 percent, as many would-be buyers put their plans on hold, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said.

The average selling price in the Toronto area was C$784,558 ($613,799), down 14.3 percent from C$915,126 in March 2017, though up 2.1 percent from February 2018.

The average selling price for a detached home, the most expensive segment of the market, plunged 17.1 percent, while the average condo price rose 6.1 percent.

Toronto's housing market has cooled since last April, when the Ontario government introduced a foreign buyer tax and other measures aimed at slowing rapid price acceleration amid fears of a bubble.

TREB President Tim Syrianos said home sales are expected to be up relative to 2017 in the second half of this year.

But headwinds remain.

The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates three times since last July and is expected to continue to hike later in the year. And new lending rules, which make it harder for some buyers to qualify for a mortgage, took effect on Jan. 1.

The group's home price index, preferred by analysts because it smoothes out the composition of sales, was up 1.5 percent year-over-year, TREB said.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders NHL Game Highlights March 30, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders NHL Game Highlights March 30, 2018
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees Major League Baseball Full Game Highlights March 30, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 30, 2018
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Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer Highlights for March 30, 2018

Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer Highlights for March 30, 2018
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Toronto, Abdirahman Islow, 27, Arrested in Connection to Fatal Shooting of Nnamdi Ogba, 26

Toronto police have arrested and charged a third suspect in the shooting death of a man in the city's west end earlier this month.

Abdirahman Islow, 27, of no fixed address has been charged first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Nnamdi Ogba.

Ogba was shot to death while walking to his car in a Toronto Community Housing complex after visiting friends on March 16.

Police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante says Islow, who was arrested Thursday night, is the alleged driver of a getaway car used in the shooting.

Two other men —  Trevaughan Miller, 19, and Abdullahi Mohamed, 22 — were arrested earlier Thursday and also charged with first-degree murder.

Arrogante says Islow made a court appearance Friday morning in Toronto.

Officials have said that Ogba was an innocent bystander caught in a dispute between residents of two neighbourhoods.

Investigators believe the shooters come from another area of the city and "harbour some sort of animosity" toward the area where the shooting took place, Det. Jason Shankaran said Thursday.

Ogba was an electrical engineer and had no criminal record. He was engaged to be married.

"Mr. Ogba did nothing to bring this upon himself. The evidence we have in front of us tells us that Mr. Ogba's lifestyle, his activities, anything he did prior did not lead to this particular incident,'' Shankaran said of Ogba when police were looking for suspects earlier this month.

"The only thing that led to his death was simply walking out of that building at that particular time and place.''

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Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 29, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees MLB Full Game Highlights March 29, 2018

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Toronto Has An Affordable Housing Problem, According To the Socialists at City Hall

Toronto Has An Affordable Housing Problem, According To the Socialists at City Hall

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Toronto Real Estate Bidding Wars For Rent

Toronto Real Estate Bidding Wars For Rent
Looking to rent an apartment in Toronto? A look at the obstacles being faced by tenants searching for a home in the city's red-hot housing market.
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Toronto's New Security Measures Starting Today With Toronto Blue Jays Game

Canada's threat level has been the same for the past four years, but with acts of terror taking place around the world, Toronto is one of the cities that's not taking any chances when it comes to the safety of their residents. Toronto's mayor says new measures implemented around major venues aren't a reaction to a specific threat — Mayor John Tory did hint however that they are a response to documentation that was compiled by various security agencies regarding safety at public buildings that attract big crowds.
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Two Toronto Men Arrested In Slaying of Nnamdi Ogba

Two Toronto men have been charged in the Etobicoke shooting death of 26-year-old Nnamdi Ogba. Police said Ogba was the victim of a “cowardly” attack meant to strike fear in the west end community.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers March 28, 2018 NHL Game Highlights

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Marvin Bryan, of Brampton, is sought while Deyshon Palmer, 22, of Brampton, and Alexandra Manner, 21, of Burlington, already face several charges in relation to human trafficking

AURORA — Police have charged two people and are looking for a third in an ongoing human trafficking investigation.

York Regional Police began investigating a human trafficking incident March 7 when a victim went to police looking for help.

Alexandra Manner, 21, of Burlington, and Deyshon Palmer, 22, of Brampton, who face several charges in relation to human trafficking.

Officials are asking for help in locating 39-year-old Marvin Bryan, of Brampton, who is wanted on a warrant in connection with the human trafficking investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 6800.

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Two Toronto teens caught with shotgun, revolver, masks near Kensington Market

TORONTO — Two teens face a number of firearms charges after police recovered a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun, a Dan Wesson Airsoft, and a 2.5 calibre revolver in the Kensington Market area Monday.

Around 1:25 p.m., two security guards were patrolling a parking garage in the St. Andrew St. and Kensington Ave. area, when they came across two teen boys smoking pot, police said Tuesday. The two fled and after a brief chase, the guards caught them.
A 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun recovered in the arrest of two teens on March 26, 2018 in the Kensington Market area.
One of the boys allegedly had a ski mask, a 12-gauge Browning semi-automatic shotgun with its barrel and butt-stock cut down, and two rounds of ammunition.The other teen also had a ski mask, a Dan Wesson Airsoft, 2.5 calibre revolver, and marijuana, according to police.
A ski mask recovered in the arrest of two teens on March 26, 2018 in the Kensington Market area.
A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old face numerous charges, including disguise with intent and carrying a concealed weapon.They cannot be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

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