TREB’s President’s News Beat: Home Ownership Builds Strong Communities

Author: Toronto Real Estate Admin / Category: Toronto Realtor

TREB President’s Column as it appears every Friday in the Toronto Sun’s Resale Homes and Condos section.

March 6, 2015 — If like thousands of people throughout the Greater Toronto Area you have worked with a REALTOR® in recent years, you probably have an appreciation of the many variables that can occur in a transaction.

While working in the real estate profession demands a considerable knowledge base, throughout my 30 years as a REALTOR® I have found that one of the most important aspects of the job has remained the same: the simple act of bringing people together. It is immensely gratifying to see the enthusiasm in buyers’ eyes as they envision their new lifestyle and the sense of achievement that sellers experience when an agreement is reached.

It has been said that when people come together we can accomplish great things and this extends beyond the context of a real estate transaction to the communities that each of us calls home.

According to a 2012 study by Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area, homeowners play an important role in strengthening communities throughout our city.  The organization, which develops affordable housing communities throughout the GTA, undertook the study in 2012 in order to gauge the experiences of people transitioning from rental housing to home ownership, and a number of significant findings were reported.

Homeowners noted improved health, better academic scores among their children, and even increased recycling efforts. Equally notable however were the study’s findings regarding community involvement. Half of respondents reported feeling safer walking outside their homes and 72 per cent of those surveyed reported being friendly with five or more neighbours – a 25 per cent increase. Connecting with others in the community even applied to the youngest members of the household, with 81 per cent of respondents reporting an improvement in their children’s social life. Another finding suggests these homeowners are likely to deepen their engagement in the community in the long term, with 93 per cent indicating they don’t plan to move for a very long time, or never at all.

A report published in the same year by the National Association of REALTORS® in the United States illustrates similar findings.  It indicated that since homeowners tend to remain in their homes longer, their residential stability lends itself to home improvement efforts and civic participation, showing that homeownership builds strong communities.

One of the many reasons homeownership is vital to our city’s future is that it gives people the confidence to offer a hand up to others, generating a cascade of prosperity. The Habitat for Humanity GTA report findings support this theory, indicating that 66 per cent of respondents feel hugely better about themselves as homeowners and showing a 135 per cent increase in respondents extending invitations to visitors.

In the interest of your family’s wellbeing and your financial future it’s wise to make the transition to home ownership at the earliest opportunity.

Greater Toronto REALTORS® can advise you as to neighbourhoods and housing types to fit almost any budget, and they can also offer insight into government programs that can help with taking this important step. To learn more visit

Paul Etherington is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 40,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

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TREB’s President’s News Beat: High-Tech Earns High Marks with Buyers

Author: Toronto Real Estate Admin / Category: Toronto Realtor

President’s HomeS MAGAZINE Column

TREB President’s Column as it appears
in the Home Magazine

March, 2015 — Given that more Canadians own their homes today that at any other time in our nation’s history, it’s fair to say that homeownership has become one of our country’s primary cultural values. Chances are you’ve spent the occasional Sunday mesmerized by a real estate program or two, and even if you don’t keep up on the latest home trends, you’re probably familiar with the importance of location, kitchens, and bathrooms to property values.

Increasingly though, today’s homebuyers’ must-haves extend well beyond shiny fixtures and faucets. Recognizing that many young homebuyers have never known a world without technology  – personal computers and the Internet have been mainstays since they were children – they expect that technology should be fully integrated not only into the home buying process but also into their homes.

If you’re planning to sell your home in the foreseeable future, consider that technology-based features such as systems that allow you to control a home’s climate, lights and security from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, are likely to pique the interests of modern homebuyers.

Far from being superfluous nice-to-have features, such conveniences figure prominently on their wish lists. For example, more than half of respondents in a survey of 18 to 35 year-olds in the United States stated that they value a home’s technology capabilities even more than its curb appeal.  Moreover, the study, released in 2013 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, found that 84 percent of those surveyed believe technology is an absolute essential to have in their homes.

While an energy efficient washer and dryer, security system, and smart thermostat ranked as their top three technology choices, if your place is a little dated and worn, there are also a number of other opportunities to make it more appealing to modern homebuyers.

Creating an open floor plan is an important step in modernizing your home but if you don’t have the budget, or tolerance for major renovations, consider adapting existing spaces. Where young homebuyers are concerned a comfortable home office would likely be preferable to a stodgy dining room and a state-of-the-art media room would definitely trump a living room filled with grandma’s furnishings.

Technology has allowed us all to become more efficient and the penchant for organization has carried over to our physical spaces as well, which is why ample storage is another key draw for modern homebuyers. Smart living also includes easy to maintain hard surface floors and to give them the cozy feel of carpet, radiant in floor heating is a feature that’s sure to arouse buyers’ interests. Those with truly opulent tastes may even seek heated driveways to avoid time-consuming shovelling during the winter months.

There’s no need to check all of the boxes when updating your property in advance of listing it, simply consult a REALTOR® for advice on upgrades that are likely to achieve the best return on your investment.  In the meantime, visit for the latest updates on the market, open house listings, government programs and more.

Paul Etherington is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 40,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

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February 2015 Housing Starts in Toronto

Author: Toronto Real Estate Admin / Category: News Bulletin

TORONTO, March 9, 2015 — Housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) trended slightly lower at 25,044 units in February compared to 25,268 in January according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)1 of housing starts.

“February was the coldest month on record for the GTA and frigid temperatures have pushed back some large condominium projects from getting off the ground,” said Dana Senagama, CMHC’s Principal of Market Analysis for the GTA. “However, more high-rise starts are expected this year due to an increase in pre-construction condominium apartment sales since mid-2013”.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market. In some situations, analysing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets which can be quite variable from one month to the next.

The stand alone monthly SAAR was 22,498 units in February, down from 37,015 units in January. The decrease was the result of a significant drop in apartment starts this month.

The City of Toronto recorded the highest number of starts in February, made up of mostly condominium apartments. The next highest level of starts was recorded in Brampton, which saw the largest number of ground-oriented units begin construction. This was followed by Aurora, which saw a boost in single-detached and row starts.

Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French at the following link: Preliminary Housing Starts Tables.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

1 All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) — that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace was maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

Information on this release:

Market Analysis Contact:

Dana Senagama

Media Contact:

Angelina Ritacco

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca

Additional data is available upon request.

Source: CMHC
1 Census Metropolitan Area
2 The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).
Detailed data available upon request

Source: CMHC

Source: CMHC

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