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The Vancouver housing market is in trouble with a 40% plunge in sales – prices are expected to follow the same downward trend

The Vancouver housing market continues to show signs of anxiety with only 444 detached homes selling in January and prices down more than six per cent in the past six months. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Thursday there were 1,523 sales in January 2017, down from 2,519 sales a year ago and a drop of 11.1 per cent from the 1,714 sales in December. The January sales figures were 10.3 per cent below the 10-year average for the month. Metro Vancouver’s detached properties are thought to be highly sought after by overseas buyers. However, the slower pace of sales, represented a 57.6 per cent decline from a year ago. This leads us to believe that the Vancouver region’s real estate market could be headed for its first year of price declines since 2012 as home sales extend their slide. New principal tax rules surrounding capital gains exemptions could also create further tension within the real estate market. Sam Faris, Vancouver CPA Accountant, quotes “If you don’t fall into the non-resident category, your headache will be the new reporting requirements on the sale of property. Not doing this right will open you up to audits and bring the risk of significant penalties.”

As far as prices are concerned, the board said its MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $896,000 in January, a 3.7 per cent decline over the past six months and a 0.2 per cent drop from December, 2016. The falling numbers come as Vancouver continues to deal with the impact of a 15 per cent foreign property transfer tax the province began imposing in August.

“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, president of the board, said in a statement. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”

Supply of new housing units on the other hand appears to be ramping up quickly. The total number of new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver was 4,140 in January, 2017. That figure represented a 6.8 per cent decrease from a year ago but was up 215.5 per cent from December, 2016. The total number of homes listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service in Metro Vancouver climbed 9.1 per cent over the last year to 7,238 in January, 2017. Total listings jumped 14.1 per cent from the 6,345 listings in December, 2016. The sales-to-active listings ratio of 21 per cent in January, 2017 was 21 per cent, the lowest ratio for the region in two years.

“Analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months,” the board said in a statement.

Morrison said property type is defining activity in the Greater Vancouver market. “The townhome and condominium markets are more active than the detached market at the moment,” Morrison said, adding while detached home prices are falling, townhome and condominium prices are holding steady.

 

 

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A Recent Development Reveals Toronto’s Rich History

Toronto’s historic North Market is about to receive another makeover as the single-story farmer’s market is torn down and replaced with a five-story city-owned market. The famous site, located on the corner of Front and Jarvis, has been home to numerous structures over the years, all dedicated to food, making this celebrated spot a monument to Toronto’s foodie tradition.

Thanks to Toronto’s 2004 archeological management plan, construction on the storied site will not be undertaken lightly. In fact, 2.7 million dollars are expected to be spent on demolition and excavation as the site is properly studied prior to building. Right now, the archeological investigation is literally unearthing new evidence to not only support the claim that this site has been dedicated to food for centuries, but also to shed some light on the practices and lifestyles of Toronto’s past residents.

The team, including senior archeologists Peter Popkin and David Robertson, have discovered several long-buried structures, including the foundations of two of the previous buildings, tunnels and cellars used by butchers for draining and storage, and shards of ceramic that likely belonged to pottery used for serving.

The North Market was designated as an area for food serving by the British in 1803. However, historian Bruce Bell theorizes that the spot had significance for food long before that among native Indian tribes that would fish in the area. Bell suggests that the site could have been designated as a food serving and eating area for as long as 5 thousand years.

Regardless, it’s importance was unmistakable for the roughly 9 thousand residents of the colonial outpost that was early Toronto. At that time, this spot was likely the only place to trade for or buy food. It also once contained not only the only marketplace, but also Toronto’s first ever city hall, further emphasizing the significance that such a place had for settlers.

The first structure was built on that spot in 1820 and, since then, there have been four others, all of them serving a similar purpose. The recently demolished farmer’s market has enjoyed the honour since 1968. While many may be sad to see it go, they can rest assured that the new building will honour the overall history of the spot.

After a projected two years of construction and between 60 and 90 million dollars, the new five story building will include panels on the first couple of floors in accordance with the Heritage interpretation plan set in place. These panels will pay homage to the history of the site and the many celebrated structures that came before.

Despite how many may view budding construction projects, the new market is not an affront to Toronto’s history but rather part of a long-standing tradition. Just like its predecessors, the new market sees the old replaced with the new while maintaining the overall integrity and value of a treasured historic locale.

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Thor Espresso Bar

Espresso bars are often conceived as being a novelty of sorts, only appealing to people who are very serious about their coffee needs. While that still remains relatively true, it doesn’t mean that it’s limited to only that variety of person – Thor Espresso bar in King West is really looking to change the way people approach businesses like these. The co-owners Patrick Tu and Tom Junek has become absolutely accustomed to the “Slayer”, which is their beast of an espresso machine (and easily one of the coolest ones you’ll ever find on this planet). The machine itself is gigantic, and there’s a paddle that will adjust the water pressure, according to the espresso pull being input. The levels vary from one to nine, while most retail espresso machines only work with nine all the way through. When you go from one to nine, the taste/flavour of the espresso is much richer – not only that, but the fragrance is much more appealing as well.

To be specific, this is the 77th espresso machine of this kind that has been built on the planet, and it’s the only one you’ll be able to make use of in Toronto. Whether you want a Latte with a beautiful image embroidered into the foam, or just a dark and hard cup of espresso, they’ve got you covered. That’s not the only thing they’ve got to offer up, though, as they also have a variety of pastries and other snacks to pick from. It’s like your traditional café, except with a little more enthusiasm put behind the entire process. Panini’s are readily available due to the panini press, and all of the pastries are sourced from both Desmond & Beatrice/Circles & Squares.

This Scandinavian influenced café (hence the ‘Thor’ reference) is sure to draw a crowd when people begin to find out about it. It’s really just a matter of time before Torontonians get out there and experience what the Thor Espresso Bar has to offer for themselves!

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Fort York Bridge Looking to Rise Up Once Again

When it comes to building a $19.7 million bridge to be used by cyclists and pedestrians, there’s really only one way to do it – the Torontonian way! Stanley Park and Fort York can finally connect seamlessly, as the Fort York Bridge is looking to make a comeback. The two-part bridge that links the King St. West Liberty Village and Fort York Neighbourhood is going to take one year to construct; it’s said to begin being built during Spring of 2016. Walking and cycling is a relatively big deal in Toronto, as driving your car all over town isn’t exactly the most effective way to get around. One bridge is going to spread across the Southern extension of Stanley Park, bringing it over to the Northern side of Ordnance Triangle Park. The second bridge is going to link the Southern side of Ordnance Triangle Park with Fort York, giving you two-way access to both locations. Dufferin Construction has stated that this is the very first stainless steel bridge (of this variety) in North America, and will be much cheaper to maintain when compared alongside to traditionally manufactured bridges. The original bridge that was being proposed was supposed to cost up to $26 million, and was initially supposed to be opened up during July of 2012. Stanley Park and Fort York were seemingly meant to be connected, as the bridge has drawn a lot of positive response from the community. If you’re a local and enjoy walking or cycling around town, this bridge is going to make things much easier for you.

Mayor John Tory stated that the city building effort was going great, and that there are going to be an abundance of different attractions for potential tourists to take a look at – but it’s more so focused on the building of local communities and such that makes everything so great. Torontonians can finally get to Fort York and back as they please, without having to navigate around the roads.

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Insurance Rates: Comparing Rental and Owned Properties

Home insurance is crucial when you’re trying to live a stress-free life. You never really know when a problem is going to come up, and when it’s house-related, you never really want to deal with it. It’s kind of like a wart that won’t go away! Not only that, but they’re going to make up a relatively large portion of your insurance budget. Living without a roof over your head isn’t ideal by any means, which means finding a reasonable rate for your house insurance is critical. When you’re a renter, the average insurance rates that you’ll pay are going to vary. There is a minimum of $160, an average of $250 and a maximum of $410. You shouldn’t expect to pay any more than $410 if you’re renting. With that being said, there are a few different types of insurance to be considered. Rental premiums include stuff like:

Liability Insurance – If you somehow cause damage to another party and they decide to sue you (let’s say a mailman slipped on icy steps or you flood a neighbours unit by accident), you’ll be covered.

Contents Insurance – The contents of your home are going to be accounted for with this insurance. If you ever go through a house fire or get burglarized, you’ll still be in great hands.

Additional Costs – Insurance is going to cover any fees that may be associated with your home.

For homeowners, the insurance premiums that you pay for are going to vary. You’ll have all of the included components above, but it also covers the cost that comes along with fixing or repairing your property. Coverage is going to vary from policy to policy, and there are even some relatively “out there” policies available. If you live in a tornado-prone region, natural disaster coverage is ideal; cost is much different, though.

The cost will be determined by the price of your home. If a house is worth around $100-300k, home insurance could cost around $860 per year. More expensive homes ($300-700k) would be about $920 per year, while $700k to $1.5m is about $1,400.

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Nepal Pari Nail SPA

When you’re looking to get a pedicure or manicure done (or anything related to your nails at all), you want to make sure that you’re going to the right place. Most of the time it’s going to cost a decent amount of money, so you always want to know who’s going to be handling your needs beforehand – that’s why people tend to get into the habit of seeing the same spa’s over and over. Nepal Pari Nai Spa is one of the best nail spas and treatment centers you’ll find around King West in Toronto, and that’s because they’re your “complete solution for beauty”. Anybody who has been there personally will tell you that the job they do is quite good, and they really don’t cut any corners.

They offer up both foot and hand care, which means your toe and finger nails are always accounted for. They’ll wash, cut and finish your foot with ease, and even go as far as giving you an amazing facial. They can help out with any acne treatments or anti-aging processes you may be interested in, as well as microdermabrasion. They specialize in massages, including hot stone and aromatherapy! Not only that, but Swedish is included as well – the body wraps and body exfoliation processes they offer up are also a nice thing to take into account. Body wraps are something a lot of people are seeking out these days, but they can be tough to find (at a reasonable price, anyways); but that’s not the case anymore! Nepal Pari Nail Spa offers up body wraps and cellulite treatments, all at an affordable rate.

If you want to look your best, Nepal Pari Nail Spa can help you out. Depilation and Lipo Laser treatments are easy obtainable, and all of the other services are going to be handled by only the most professional workers around. If you want a relaxing experience, you’ll want to come to Nepal Pari Nail Spa!

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Spaw Boutique

Spaw Boutique is a place for true pet lovers, those of us that would treat an animal as if they were part of our family! When you want the best for your furry little loved ones, it’s going to call for a specific type of service – one that actually cares about the well-being of your pets! Dogs and cats will receive spa-like treatment at Spaw Boutique, which is why so many people are raving about the brand new service. They have a retail space available that gives you access to an abundance of pet-related accessories, things like dog walking leashes and treats would apply here. You could also even go about purchasing new water and food bowls if you feel it’s necessary! They have you covered in every single aspect in terms of pet-care products. These products apply to both cats and dogs, meaning it would apply to both types of people! It’s great when you’re a pet boutique and actually appeal to an abundance of different needs. Some people prefer dogs and others prefer cats – so why not make it so they can shop for either?

There’s a raw food section available as well, which is perfect for when you really want to treat your dogs. The biggest attraction would be the incredibly intricate grooming space they have available, with an abundance of tables to choose from – you’ll always be accounted for! The dog dryer room makes it so that the grooming process is short and sweet, while the cat bathing room is another addition that makes cat grooming easier (and much more relaxing). Tons of places that offer up pet grooming services don’t have the right equipment or staff to work with, but that isn’t the case here. They’re trained professionals that are equipped with industry-standard pet grooming equipment! The grooming check-in area has tons of cool stuff to look at, as well as toys and such to purchase for your pet. They really thought of everything when it comes to Spaw Boutique, keeping customers in front of just about anything they’ll need that’s pet care related.

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All About Home Ownership: Millennials

Being a millennial means you’re not only blessed with youth (for now!), but it also means that you’re going to go through quite a bit of trouble when looking to purchase a home in the future. Living in Toronto is one of those things that people take seriously. The cost is high, but the amount of culture and other types of richness that you experience is simply intriguing. It’s what brings so many people to the city, after all. With that being said, Millennials need to curb their expectations when it comes to living in a single-family, low-rise home; there simply isn’t enough land in place to allow that. If you could build entire homes on top of one another, I’m sure they’d allow it! BMO conducted a survey during the month of April, and it told us that around 70% of Millennials hold owning a home as quite important. Although it’s important to them, they are still willing to wait until they can afford one they’d enjoy.

It might not just be a matter of waiting until you can afford it, as opposed to just adjusting your expectations in general. When land values are rising, you need to curb your enthusiasm – property is one of those investments that requires a lot of money. Frank Clayton, who is a senior researcher at the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development (Ryerson University) stated that: “This is a ‘905 problem’”. The city and surrounding areas just don’t have the sheer number of housing units needed to account for everybody, especially Millennials. Some researchers argue that laneway housing in specific neighbourhoods could be the way to save space, but only time will tell how successful we are able to be with our endeavours. This is a boom, as opposed to a “bubble” – you can expect these prices to stick around for quite some time. If you’re serious about living in a low-rise home, you may have to move around the country a little bit. In order to get serious about your property needs, you’ve got to understand the industry at its core. Millennials are pretty much forgotten about when it comes to purchasing/owning a home, because it’s so far out of reach for most. If you start saving up now (and understanding the real estate market), you should still be in pretty good hands.

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Rail Deck Park & Condo Pricing

The new Rail Deck Park proposition is supposed to bring a new vibe to the town of Toronto, but what does that mean for the condo prices in surrounding areas? Condos are already relatively expensive in the Toronto area, but this new Rail Deck Park implementation could very well raise their prices up to 10%. The proposal is supposed to support the building of a huge, 21-acre park on top of the CN Rail corridor. It’s a great concept, and it will definitely provide a new sort of feel for the city. It’s always nice to get something new, but the fact that it’s going to raise surrounding condo values has people questioning the decision.

“It will definitely raise the value of the whole neighbourhood, because it will be much more interconnected” stated Alex Balikoev, who is a realtor himself. The bump in value for these properties may seem like a blessing to some, as there’s always investors and condo-owners that are looking to make a sale. 10% in profit for doing nothing at all is great, regardless of how you look at it. If you’re someone who’s looking to make a move into Toronto, however, it could pose as a problem. The average price of a home located in Toronto rose to around $746,546 during the month of June, which is 16.8% higher than it was during June of last year. Condo prices have jumped 7.7%, and that’s without the implementation of Rail Deck Park. Inclusionary zoning is the way they go about balancing property values within the city, in which developers have to take a specific number of units and allow them for low (or even moderate) income homes.

Most of the available properties you’ll find in Toronto are going to be condos, and when the price is increasing, it means that it’s somewhat unavoidable. It’s said that an even stronger inclusionary zoning process will take effect next year (on a provincial level), which is said to allow the creation of up to 12,000 new and affordable homes for Toronto.

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How Much Income is Needed to Buy a Home in the GTA?

It’s a well-known fact that buying a home is a serious process, one that’s going to require a lot of research and due diligence. In order to even become a potential homeowner in the GTA area, you may have to make much more money than you had initially thought; odds are you’ll need to be in the six figure income bracket. Apparently, you need to earn about $124,153 CAD on a yearly basis (total throughout the household) in order to afford a home in the GTA. It’s for good reason, of course; the GTA is one of the most prominent regions in Southern Ontario. The location is great, the communities are awesome and there is just an abundance of positive traits to be taken into account. With that being said, it’s simply not attainable for everybody. Six figures is a lot of money to be made throughout the year, especially when you’re part of the newer generation.

If you’re in the group of Gen Y or any newer generation, gathering the amount of money needed to make a large deposit (a down-payment for your home) is going to be tough. Regardless of whether you’re looking into condo’s or a detached house, the price is always seemingly the same. Although, if you’re earning a bit less than the six figures per year, you can still find something reasonable. The location may not be the best (it’s not Toronto, but Brock near Lake Simcoe is a perfect example), but the pricing is going to be right. The six figure need has utilities and taxes factored in, and applies to every type of home you could imagine (whether it be a townhome, a bungalow, semis or condos) – so it’s pretty much set in stone. When it comes to buying a condo, you’re going to need an additional 6 percent of income to work with, especially if you want to live somewhere prominent, like Richmond Hill. Want a three car garage? That’s going to cost at least $1.5 million. The market is definitely high these days!