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    Photo: Bon Bahar/Unsplash

    The BC government’s foreign-buyer tax was introduced around the same time as the Chinese government began taking a tougher approach to its citizens’ investments outside the country. Ever since this one-two punch landed, activity in the Vancouver housing market just hasn’t been the same.

    Look at the most recent foreign buyer data available for the month of October and compare it to the market peak in June 2017 and you’ll see a staggering decline in the amount of money being spent by foreign parties in the Vancouver real estate market. The impact on luxury housing has been the toughest for the market to shake off.

    “As of October, property transfer tax data from the BC Government shows foreign buyers were involved in $135M of residential transactions across the province. That remains well below the cycle high of $400M in June of 2017,” writes Vancouver-based realtor and market commentator Steve Saretsky on his blog.

    “That $135M represents just 1.87% of total transaction volume for the month of October. In other words, foreign buying has dropped off significantly over the past couple of years. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that luxury real estate in the city of Vancouver remains sluggish, despite the recent recovery in parts of the more affordable housing market,” he continues.

    And as wealthy Chinese investors continue to face tighter restrictions on where they can park their money, Vancouver isn’t the only housing market taking a hit.

    Saretsky points to recent reporting from Bloomberg that shows Los Angeles condo sales have plummeted 31 percent over the third quarter of 2019 when compared to the same period last year.

    According to American real estate brokerage Douglas Elliman, Chinese buyers have been involved in 50 percent of purchases in downtown Los Angeles over the last few years. With investors facing what are known as capital controls instituted by the government, the LA market has seen the wind taken out of its sails.

    But while the two West Coast markets are feeling the cooling effects of the Chinese capital drying up, real estate brokerage Re/Max believes that the Toronto luxury housing market may benefit as these buyers look eastward.

    In a November report, Re/Max noted that buyers from Mainland China are gradually returning to the GTA’s luxury market following a period of inactivity after the foreign-buyer tax was introduced by the Liberal provincial government in 2017.

    “During the run-up in 2016 and 2017, Chinese buyers were responsible for an estimated 60 per cent of home-buying activity over the $6 million price point,” Re/Max says in a media release.

    Not only does the brokerage anticipate that wealthy buyers from Mainland China will stoke demand for luxury real estate in Canada’s largest city in 2020, it also expects investors from Hong Kong to ramp up interest in the Toronto market as the political conflict in the Chinese autonomous region worsens.

    For now though, the Vancouver market doesn’t look to be showing signs of recovery where foreign buyers were once a major driving force. But it’s good to know that the city isn’t alone, with Los Angeles also feeling the (lack of) heat from Chinese investors who need to keep their capital closer to home.

    The post Foreign buyer spending keeps cratering in Vancouver’s housing market appeared first on Livabl.


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    Image: dieselliving/Instagram

    Diesel Wynwood, a pre-construction condo development in Miami branded by the iconic fashion house, is selling 143 t-shirts that come with a free* apartment. Of course, the emphasis is on the asterisk, which reveals that the apartments are not really free, but rather several million dollars. 

    Touted as “the most expensive t-shirts ever,” the collection of floorplan-embossed garments includes designs like F1-L6, made from 100 percent pure cotton, which retails for $1,599,000. There’s also F2L7, a tee that’s “extremely easy to fold,” and will set you back $5,500,000.

    As a former Diesel Outlet employee of the early-2010s who was forced to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “BE STUPID” on it, this marketing campaign does not surprise me in the slightest. Diesel has been, and always will be, controversial — remember their Diesel for Successful Living campaign in the 1990s, which tackled topics of race, sexuality, religion and politics, all with a dash of humor? Being edgy, or stupid, or tongue-in-cheek is just their thing.

    This is the fashion brand’s first foray into the world of residential real estate and they’ve partnered with Bel Invest Group to make it happen. According to The South Florida Business Journal, the developer intends to further revitalize Wynwood, a former warehouse district that has evolved into a hub for arts and culture, by introducing a six-phase project that will bring about new hotels, housing and retail.

    Image: Diesel Living

    Diesel Wynwood is the first phase of the master-plan, collectively known as Wynwood Quarter, and will boast 143 units spread out over eight stories. Thirteen individually-designed penthouses and maisonettes, some of which are featured in the #condotshirts campaign, will be the first to hit the market — outfitted with industrial design elements, private outdoor space and sweeping water views. Resort-style amenities and 22,973 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor will round out the one-of-a-kind residence.

    Image: Diesel Living

    There are many ways to market a new condo — sandwich boards, email blasts, Instagram influencers — but a ridiculously expensive t-shirt that just so happens to come with a free apartment might be the most outlandish method yet.

    The post A Miami condo is selling million dollar t-shirts that come with a “free” Diesel-branded apartment appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Zillow

    If private outdoor space is at the top of your home buying checklist, you don’t want to miss out on 3454 Reynolds Avenue. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home, located at the base of Montecito Heights in Los Angeles, sits on a long, narrow sloping lot that has been divided into three distinct garden tiers.

    From street level, the two-story, 1,360-square-foot home looks modern, but rather modest. It’s partially clad in corrugated metal with a contemporary exterior door and a narrow planter made from warm wood slats.

    Photo: Zillow

    The entry level offers an industrial loft vibe with high ceilings, polished concrete floors and ample natural light. The open-concept space boasts room for lounging, dining or working and there’s a three-piece bathroom with a sleek vanity and black matte faucet. 

    Photo: Zillow

    Climb the spiral staircase to the second story, which houses two bedrooms, a full bathroom and a small landing area with hardwood flooring throughout.

    Photo: Zillow

    Photo: Zillow

    What the master bedroom lacks in closet space it makes up for in natural light. The ensuite bathroom features a shower and tub combo, large format tile flooring, and a vanity setup that’s identical to the one downstairs.

    Photo: Zillow

    The second bedroom is currently being used as a home office and offers city and hillside views to distract you from the mundane task of responding to emails.

    Photo: Zillow

    On the other side of the home, there’s an open kitchen with a large farmhouse sink, white countertops that appear to be quartz and a matching four-inch backsplash. The dark cabinetry delivers high contrast against the chrome hardware and stainless steel appliances and the space can also accommodate a small dining table. 

    Photo: Zillow

    Photo: Zillow

    The included washer and dryer are located outside under a covered structure and the three-tiered yard is entirely fenced in with redwood. The first level provides shade from mature guava and banana trees and would be the perfect spot for alfresco dining. Climb the spiral staircase to access the second level, dotted with drought-tolerant plants that are native to California.

    Photo: Zillow

    Level three is flat (well, once you haul your cookies up yet another staircase) and features a towering date palm and several raised beds for growing herbs and veggies.

    Photo: Zillow

    3454 Reynolds Avenue is equipped with central air conditioning and a security system. It’s within walking distance of Ernest E. Debs Regional Park, which offers a scenic, five-mile hiking loop and a pond with surrounding picnic areas. Live in close proximity to Downtown Los Angeles, Highland Park and Dodger Stadium — the Eastside is your oyster!

    The post This $649k two-bedroom home in Montecito Heights features a massive three-tier garden appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Sebastian Stephan Thiel/Flickr

    After facing a 10-year low this time last year, Vancouver home sales continued to hit above average levels this fall with another solid performance in November.

    With 2,498 transactions recorded last month, home sales significantly outmatched November 2018’s activity level. The monthly total beat the 10-year home sales average for November by four percent and was good enough for a 55 percent year-over-year rise, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, which published its November sales and price data earlier today.

    “We started to see more home buyer confidence in the summer and this trend continues today,” says REBGV President Ashley Smith in a media release accompanying the data.

    Prices remained on the decline across property types, with the MLS Home Price Index — typically the most accurate and consistent gauge of home prices — declining 4.6 percent year-over-year to $993,700.

    While these declines are likely to continue into the new year, there’s reason to believe they will finally begin to reverse course at some point in 2020.

    That’s because as home sales have already begun “flickering to life” again in the Vancouver market, as BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter put it in a research note last month, prices are likely to follow that same path to stability.

    The writing is on the wall too. Sales activity in the Vancouver market returned to normal levels in November but new home listings dropped, leading REBGV’s Smith to note that “it’ll be important to watch home listing levels over the next few months to see if supply can stay in line with home buyer demand.”

    Conventional market wisdom dictates that when the sales-to-active listings ratio — a measure that compares sales to homes on the market in a given period — rises above 20 percent for a prolonged period, it leads to home price increases.

    That ratio across all property types sat at 23.2 percent in November, with condos at 29.3 percent and detached homes at 17.2 percent.

    So in other words, if sales are rising and listings are declining, prices will typically begin a march upwards as demand outpaces supply. At this point, that’s looking like the most likely scenario for the Vancouver market heading into 2020.

    The post Vancouver home sales jump 55% in November appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    In every home, there are always a few ‘selling points’ — the unique features that will tip buyers over the edge. It might be the inground pool or the newly renovated kitchen, but in the case of one multimillion-dollar city loft that recently popped on MLS, the showstopper of the home is by far the wine cellar.

    Suite 423 at 43 Hanna Avenue in Toronto’s Liberty Village has all of the hard loft trimmings you’d expect — a brick-and-beam scheme, sky-high ceilings, and wall-to-wall windows. Yet, this three-storey, three-bedroom unit cranks the luxury up a notch, boasting a staggering open-air staircase and a custom wine cellar that would make every self-acclaimed sommelier’s jaw drop. Priced at $3.849 million, this urban paradise exhibits what nearly a million dollars in upgrades can do.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    The Toy Factory Lofts was once the home of the Irwin Toy factory, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of children’s toys. When the business was sold in the early 2000s, Lanterra Developments later converted the historic building into a 213-unit mixed-use urban community, which is where we find suite 423.

    Through the front door and down a narrow hallway, the unit opens right up into the heart of the home — the kitchen. You’re immediately greeted by a centre island sporting a waterfall countertop, matched with an imported Italian backsplash and a duo of pendant lights.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    The atrium glass-framed staircase draws your eyes upwards to the top of the 35-foot-high ceilings.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    It’s not hard to miss the extraordinary crown jewel of the kitchen and dining space. Whether you drink pinot noir, or are more about the chardonnay-all-day, the 11-foot-tall wine cellar has plenty of room to display your best bottles. Among the wall-to-wall shelving, there’s even a special spot to store your finest champagne.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    Hang a right, and you’ll find the great room lounge. The heated floors and LED fireplace — which changes colours — make it super easy to get all snuggled up and toasty. If you get tired of looking out of the 17-foot-high windows, grab a book off the wall-to-wall shelves and draw the automated blinds. Whether you pair your wine with smooth jazz or heavy metal, the neighbours will never mind — this residence is sound proof. You can blast music via the Bowers & Wilkins speakers throughout the unit guilt-free.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    On the second level is the master bedroom. Natural sunlight from the hallway windows and a subtle skylight add a dose of brightness to this spacious bedroom.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    Pass through the walk-in closets to the ensuite bathroom, where a freestanding soaker tub takes centre stage. A second skylight highlights the double vanity and massive glass-framed double shower.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    The second room on the same floor is an office-bedroom hybrid. A swanky Murphy bed pulls down from a wall compartment when studying switches to sleeping. Floor-to-ceiling windows look onto the great room below.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    Before stepping out onto the third-floor 590-square-foot terrace, a prep kitchen sits at the top of the stair landing, a convenient spot for barbecue prep or grabbing a top up.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    Take a bottle from the ground floor wine cellar and wind down on the patio or in the six-seater hot tub, which comes included in the purchase.

    Photo: Sage Real Estate Limited

    With 3,100 square feet of living space to play in, any wine lover has plenty of room to pop bottles and enjoy this stunning loft in Toronto’s downtown.

    The post This $3.8 million loft in Toronto’s Liberty Village is a wine lover’s dream come true appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales

    Whatever cobwebs remained on the Toronto housing market from early-year weakness appear to have been firmly shaken off following a robust fall homebuying period. Home prices in the city just saw their biggest jump observed all year in November, with the MLS Home Price Index logging a 6.8 percent increase while the average selling price in the GTA spiked by 7.1 percent to $843,637.

    Meantime, Toronto home sales also continued their upward march, jumping more than 14 percent in November compared to the same period in 2018, according to data released this week by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

    The renewed strength in prices and sales, which follows a weak stretch through 2018 and early 2019, can be chalked up to the combined effects of strong population growth, a rock solid labour market, lower mortgage rates and the waning impact of the stricter mortgage stress test.

    While these factors propelled the market skyward, TREB did flag a concerning trend that could lead to worsening housing affordability for the region. New and active listings both saw double-digit declines in November, meaning supply is declining as demand is clearly rising. If this trend continues, we may see further significant price spikes in an already expensive market.

    “The Greater Toronto Area needs flexible housing market policies that will help sustain balanced market conditions over the long term. All levels of government in Canada plus reputable international bodies have acknowledged that we have a housing supply problem,” said John DiMichele, TREB’s CEO, in a media release accompanying the data.

    “In 2020, policy makers need to translate their acknowledgment of supply issues into concrete solutions to bring a greater array of ownership and rental housing online,” he continued.

    DiMichele is far from the only commentator to flag supply issues and their impact on market affordability. Earlier this fall, RBC senior economist Robert Hogue said Toronto was saddled with the worst rental supply deficit in the entire country. In October, BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic was already calling the market “drum tight” and mused on the question of how far the market could run from here, with mortgage rates low and demographic demand remaining strong.

    Jason Mercer, TREB’s chief market analyst, said these same trends are persisting late into the year.

    “Strong population growth in the GTA coupled with declining negotiated mortgage rates resulted in sales accounting for a greater share of listings in November and throughout the second half of 2019,” said Mercer in the media release.

    “Increased competition between buyers has resulted in an acceleration in price growth. Expect the rate of price growth to increase further if we see no relief on the listings supply front,” he continued.

    The post Toronto home prices see their biggest spike all year in November appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Paulo O/Flickr

    Christmas has come early for the Toronto housing market… and it’s also going to stay late into the new year if this fresh round of predictions comes true.

    Following another strong month for home sales activity in November, the consensus among housing economists is that the trend will continue well into 2020.

    Toronto’s housing strength has a lot to do with a solid labour market and population growth — both of which don’t seem to be going anywhere in the new year. Buyers are also able to stretch their budgets further as mortgage rates have come down since the end of 2018. Rates aren’t expected to rise significantly anytime soon either as the Bank of Canada announced this week that its mortgage-market influencing overnight rate would stay put.

    It all amounts to an increase in demand for Toronto housing at a time when fewer homes are being listed. This dynamic is likely to send prices skyward at an accelerated rate.

    Capital Economics economist Stephen Brown believes conditions are lining up in a way that’s reminiscent of the market peak in 2017. While he doesn’t expect activity to actually match those levels, Brown does acknowledge that the sluggishness that characterized the market earlier this year is likely firmly behind us.

    It’s not just Canada’s largest city either. Vancouver — which has had a challenging year, to say the least — is primed for a bounceback in 2020 too, thanks largely to the same factors driving the market forward in Toronto.

    But what of the global recession talk that dominated discussions around the country’s economic outlook, and by extension, its key housing markets?

    Again, we look toward the Bank of Canada’s recent rate announcement — as reliable a source as any for commentary on the country’s economic health — for guidance. In its statement this week, the bank said recession concerns are “waning.” While global trade conflicts are still important to monitor, the Canadian economy appears resilient in the face of this ongoing uncertainty, especially when it comes to the housing market and consumer spending.

    So while December is typically a seasonal low for housing activity, expect a much stronger showing than 2018’s performance. As for 2020, there are plenty of economist-approved reasons to be bullish about the Toronto housing market’s prospects for the year.

    The post Economists predict big 2019 house price gains for Toronto appeared first on Livabl.


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    In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk (and some action) around evolving Ontario’s existing public transit, from expanding the Light Rail Transit routes, to extending Toronto Transit System’s subway lines. As the Greater Toronto Area’s population swiftly grows, proximity to public transportation becomes a vital component for fostering community accessibility. It’s also an enticing benefit for commuter buyers.

    If you’re one of the many GO Transit-users who takes the train or bus every day, these up-and-coming condo and townhome new construction projects might offer you the convenience you’re looking for. All of these developments are slated for completion by 2022.

    Linx Condos

    Developer: Tribute Communities and Greybrook Realty Partners
    Nearest Station: Danforth GO
    Priced from: $518,990

    If you’re the kind of person who loves city-living, but hates the rough morning commute, this 27-storey condo building offers the perfect happy-medium. Take a quick walk to the Danforth GO station, hop on the westbound-train and arrive in Union Station within 15 minutes. There’s also easy access to the TTC’s streetcar and bus routes at the busy intersection of Main Street and Danforth Avenue.

    The Humber

    Developer: Options for Homes
    Nearest Station: Weston GO/ UP
    Priced from: $597,900

    A few minutes from Weston GO station and the UP Express, The Humber will also be located near the future Eglinton Crosstown LRT. A walker’s paradise, this 232-unit condo project is located near 13 kilometres-worth of walking trails near the Humber River, as well as pharmacies, grocery stores, a variety of eateries, and schools for all age groups.

    SF3 Towns and SF3 Condominiums

    Developer: Chestnut Hill Developments
    Nearest Station: Pickering GO
    Priced from: $719,900 (Towns) and $639,900 (Condos)

    These sister projects offer multiple options for travel, whether you drive or take transit — Highway 401 and the Pickering GO station are minutes away. Closeness to the highway doesn’t mean it’s all concrete and asphalt for this community. SF3 is a short walk to Frenchman’s Bay, were residents can take part in kayaking, sailing or walking the lakefront trails.

    135 Mandrake

    Developer: Dream Maker Developments Inc.
    Nearest Station: Ajax GO
    Priced from: $589,000

    This community of townhomes at Salem Road and Mandrake Street are set to reach construction completion by the end of 2020. It’s a six-minute drive to Ajax GO station, and an even shorter trip to Highway 401. Close to the RioCan Durham Centre, retailers and other services, errands can be easily checked off without venturing too far afield.

    Tanu Condos

    Developer: Edenshaw Developments Limited
    Nearest Station: Port Credit GO
    Priced from: $561,990

    Situated close to the Credit River, this mid-rise community meshes a quaint lakeside lifestyle with contemporary design and features. The unit interiors, designed by TACT, make use of natural materials, and feature high, smooth ceilings combined with contemporary light fixtures. Easy access to the Port Credit GO station, MiWay and the future Hurontario LRT will make getting around the GTA a breeze.

    The Insignia

    Developer: Opus Signature Collection
    Nearest Station: Oakville GO
    Priced from: $1,263,000

    Just 29 suites will be available in this 10-storey development on Old Mill Road. Corner-views, floor-to-ceiling windows and only two to three residences per floor allow for privacy and beautiful views of Oakville. From the adjacent Oakville GO station, you can reach downtown Toronto in 45 minutes.

    Gore Park Lofts

    Developer: Scholar Properties Ltd. and The Effort Group
    Nearest Station: Hamilton GO
    Priced from: $363,900

    As more first-time buyers seek out reasonably-priced homes within commuting distance to Toronto, Hamilton has seen a real estate boom. Adapting a century-old building on King Street East into 40 units, Gore Park Lofts provides proximity to the Hamilton GO stations, as well as numerous bars, cafes and restaurants.

    GO.2 Condominiums

    Developer: Pemberton Group
    Nearest Station: Maple GO
    Priced from: $698,900

    Touted as “one of the best-connected locations in the Greater Toronto Area,” GO.2 Condominiums is close to schools, parks and retail offerings. From its Eagle Rock Way location, you can get to downtown Toronto in 40 minutes by train from this 12-storey development. The glory isn’t all reserved for the location — the condominium interiors showcase wide-plank flooring, contemporary kitchen cabinetry and a private outdoor space.

    Urban North Townhomes

    Developer: Pace Developments Inc.
    Nearest Station: Barrie South GO
    Priced from: $494,990

    A sprawling community of 850 homes, Urban North Townhomes is close to Lake Simcoe, beaches, parks and other natural offerings of Simcoe County. While it may be tucked above the GTA, proximity to Barrie South GO and Highway 400 provides a straightforward route for getting farther afield.

    Markham Square Condos

    Developer: ONEPIECE Developments
    Nearest Station: Unionville GO
    Priced from: $777,900

    Topping a multi-story retail podium, these two residential towers will provide future residents the convenience of both downtown Markham and Unionville. The Pan Am Centre and York University’s Markham campus are close by, along with Highway 7, Highway 407, Unionville GO, and the YRT for all of your traveling needs.

    The post 10 commuter-friendly new condos and townhomes near GTA GO Transit stops appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Just north of Christie Pits Park in west-end Toronto, is 2 Miles Place, a two-bedroom, three-storey laneway house that hit the MLS this week. For $999,900, this compact home offers plenty of character and modern charm in what is considered an unconventional dwelling, but one that makes economical use of downtown’s limited building space.

    In June 2018, Toronto’s city council approved new zoning and bylaw legislation so homeowners could build upon garages and adapt unused space into secondary suites for family or rental income. The desire for city laneway housing is fueled by the ongoing shortage of rental units, but also the uninvasive density increases and beautification benefits that come with it. While 2 Miles Place was built before the revamp of Toronto’s laneway policies, it stands as an example of the potential for these types of homes.

    The lower and main levels of the home are reserved for the two bedrooms and bathrooms while the second level is where most of the magic happens. Up a flight of wooden open-riser stairs, the second storey opens out into a lofty dining and kitchen area.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Sitting next to a pane of ceiling-high windows, is the kitchen, which covers an entire wall of the room. Modern kitchen fixtures come standard — stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone counters and contemporary cabinetry. There isn’t a ton of counter prep space, though you might be able to squeeze in a small portable kitchen island if you need to.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Behind the stair walls, there’s a snug spot to place a small dining set, as this owner has done. The open bookshelves make a great showcase to display your extra cookbooks and special dining ware.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    On the opposite side of the room, the sloping 16-foot ceilings cut off into a cozy living space.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    The piney hardwood floors draw out warmth from the window panes and wood-clad ceilings against the whitewash walls.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Up another set of stairs, the top floor of the laneway house is reserved for a quiet rooftop terrace. There’s enough room to pop in a few lounge chairs and a barbecue, which makes for a private dining spot overlooking the neighbourhood.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    While they are small, the multitude of windows in the master bedroom on the main floor help to illuminate the space with plenty of natural light.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    No modern master could go without a walk-in closet and an ensuite. The adjoining bathroom is clean and contemporary, sporting a floating vanity, rain shower head and moody grey tiles.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Downstairs is a comfy second bedroom, which is currently being used as a nursery. This room shares the floor with a second bathroom and laundry area.

    Photo: RE/MAX Realtron Barry Cohen Homes Inc., Brokerage

    Laneway housing doesn’t mean skimping out on the pleasures of a non-alley home. At 2 Miles Place, you can find all of the comforts of home here, while making wise use of underused building space in the process.

    The post Here’s what $1 million buys you in a Toronto laneway appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales

    Economists tasked with giving a running commentary on the state of Canada’s housing market are beginning to sound like a collective broken record again.

    Only a year ago, it was becoming incredibly difficult to tease out a bit of good news around the market’s prospects as 2018 wound down. After the twin peaks of 2016 and 2017 (the first half of the year, at least), the market was being worn down by stricter mortgage rules, rising interest rates and new regulations from provincial governments meant to cool runaway local markets. By the end of 2018, economists were uniformly predicting another tough year ahead for the market.

    Now, as 2019 draws to a close, they’re singing a different tune entirely… and it’s sounding a whole lot better. This week brought another solid set of results for market activity, at least when viewing it broadly from a national lens.

    Canadian housing starts — essentially, a measure of home construction activity across the country — continued on a strong track in November, cooling down only slightly from a shoot-the-lights-out third quarter.

    “Not too shabby,” wrote TD economist Rishi Sondhi of the solid November results that only contained, as he put it, a handful of “modest caveats.”

    “Alongside a probable pick up in November home sales (due out next week), the starts report is consistent with our call for residential investment to make an important contribution [to Canadian] economic growth again in the fourth quarter,” wrote Sondhi.

    With healthy population growth and low interest rates that aren’t set to budge anytime soon, the data is all lining up and pointing to a satisfying end to 2019 for Canada’s housing market.

    In an email to clients this week, Capital Economics also used glowing language to describe the current state of the housing market, characterizing it as “roaring back to life” in the back half of 2019.

    BMO economist Robert Kavcic was slightly more subdued in his response to the Canadian housing starts data. But, after drilling into the provincial markets’ performance, he concluded that there was plenty of activity “in the pipeline to keep residential construction humming into 2020.”

    “Canadian homebuilding activity looks rock solid heading into next year,” he wrote.

    While it may be “rock solid” it likely isn’t hitting levels that would satisfy industry leaders and some economists who believe some Canadian housing markets concentrated in the Greater Toronto Area are chronically undersupplied, especially when it comes to low-rise homes.

    This view, often voiced by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), lines up with the most recent national data on housing starts, where multi-unit starts outpaced single-unit starts by about 3-to-1 according to BMO’s Kavcic.

    The post Canadian home building set for strong 2020 as market roars back to life appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    In a world of stark, white-on-white interiors, there’s something refreshingly nostalgic and inviting about postwar design. This listing that recently popped up in West Vancouver is giving hopeful homebuyers a chance to own an authentic piece of the 1960s.

    Dubbed the Higgins House, 5414 Greentree Road is an architectural time capsule of West Coast mid-century style. Built in 1963, this two-storey, 2,126-square-foot detached home was designed by Vancouver-based architect Ron Howard, who was a part of the postwar era of modern creatives. The Higgins House is currently listed on the West Vancouver Community Heritage Register for its intrinsic architectural value.

    This four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence is a five-minute walk from Kew Beach Park, situated on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Most homes around here are listed in the multi-million dollar range, so an asking price of $1,888,000 is fair game.

    The main level of this horizontal home sits upon a partially excavated basement garage. Rockery and leafy shrubs conceal the foundation walls in the front yard. Up a winding pathway, a flight of wooden open stairs joins the elevated porch, leading you to the front entrance.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    A lattice divider sections off the front entryway from the main living area. Pecan-coloured hardwood floors, seen throughout most of the Higgins House, are paired with rich, wood-clad ceilings and beam supports.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    In this spacious parlor, you’ll never have to step outside to feel close to nature. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in a ton of light. Through a windowed-door, you can take a seat on the front balcony, which provides views of the mature, wooded lot.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    A brick fireplace is nestled between a set of open shelves, adding a punch of contrast to the wood-heavy interiors.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    Left of the fireplace is a dining area, which hosts its own easy escape to the back porch.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    Older homes don’t typically embrace the whole open-concept layout thing — a doorway off the dining area takes you into the kitchen. Stainless steel appliances and matching white floors and walls cool this room down. While doing the dishes, you get a panoramic view of the back of the lot.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    A tidy breakfast nook is the perfect spot for a quick bite or less formal in-kitchen dining. Forget your average pot lights — these globe pendant lights add a dose of mid-century charm.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    A bedroom on the main level — presumably the master — shares the back porch with the rest of the floor.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    An ensuite bathroom dons vintage cabinet hardware and a single-sink vanity.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    The ground floor is starkly white compared to the upper floor, and is fairly multi-purpose. In one corner, there’s a small workspace, which sits next to another living area and a second brick fireplace.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    Photo: Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd.

    You don’t have to jump in a time machine to find modern, mid-century style — at 5414 Greentree Road, there’s plenty of genuine postwar charm here.

    The post This West Vancouver heritage home is a mid-century modern dream for $1.88 million appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Fabian Blank/Unsplash

    Of all the surprises that 2019 had in store for Canadian home buyers, consistently low mortgage rates were certainly among the more pleasant and unexpected.

    Earlier in the year, the consensus opinion among market experts was that the Bank of Canada would surely hike its mortgage-market influencing overnight rate and mortgage rates would follow that path upward. Some even felt it was likely that rates would increase more than once.

    Meantime, contrarians said a rate cut before the end of the year was far more likely as the global market appeared to be sliding toward a recession and the Canadian economy would need the stimulus to prevent long-term damage.

    The central bank responded by doing neither of these things; its influential overnight rate didn’t budge all year. The decision to leave the overnight rate untouched caused mortgage rates to dip as lenders competed for mortgage applicants. Rates stayed low all year and bottomed out in August before rising marginally through the fall. This not only boosted home buying, but also increased the purchasing power of buyers.

    According to Stephen Brown, an economist at Capital Economics, a homebuyer could afford to spend 10 percent more on a home at the August mortgage rate low-point than what they could have afforded late in 2018. As a result, homebuying surged in many major Canadian cities to the point where a rate cut from the Bank of Canada would only throw gas on the fire and potentially overheat the market.

    “[G]iven its concerns about elevated household debt, we think the Bank will avoid providing further stimulus to the housing market by keeping interest rates on hold throughout 2020,” wrote Brown in a note titled “Resurgent housing market to keep Bank on hold” that was distributed to clients earlier this week.

    BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes appeared to share Brown’s belief that rate movement isn’t in the cards for the foreseeable future.

    “Barring a negative shock hitting the economy, it looks like the BoC could be on hold for some time yet,” he wrote in a research note last week.

    Some market commentators foresee further declines in the already low mortgage-rate environment.

    In his weekly column on brokerage Realosophy’s Move Smartly blog, David Larock argued that mortgage rates were likely to drop over the next year as the Bank of Canada cuts its mortgage-market influencing overnight rate. Unlike some economists, Larock, a mortgage broker, believes conditions will worsen to the point that the central bank will be forced to cut rates in order to provide economic stimulus.

    He believes the factors that supported a strong economy this year — population growth, solid labour markets, reenergized housing markets, to name a few — will all be diminished in 2020. This, along with seemingly endless global trade conflicts, will force the central bank to act and interest rates will fall.

    So whether they stay put or drop further, one thing appears certain — Canadian mortgage rates will remain low in 2020.

    The post Canadian mortgage rates will stay low through 2020 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Trent Szmolnik / Unsplash

    New York and downtown Toronto might sport similar skyscraper-studded skylines and attract the ultra-wealthy to their luxury real estate offerings, but their condominium markets remain worlds apart.

    While Toronto tends to view itself as the NYC of Canada, market research released this week shows that the condo market in Canada’s largest city and financial hub continues to be much cheaper when compared to the urban giantess of Manhattan.

    After crunching some numbers this week, Doug Vukasovic, a sales representative with Zoocasa, shared his observations through a report, Toronto Vs. Manhattan: A Condo Market Comparison. Vukasovic notes that in comparing the Big Apple to the smaller Canadian McIntosh, it’s a tale of two cities.

    “While the market in Toronto is starting to look more Manhattan-like, we’ve got a ways to go before inventory and prices in the former come close to approaching those in the latter,” he writes in the report.

    To no surprise, Manhattan condos are expensive compared to Toronto — as of Q3 2019, the average one-bedroom unit in Manhattan will run you $1,148,827, while in Toronto, you’ll pay a more modest $617,232. The demand for one-bedrooms in each city are close, taking up approximately 52 percent of the sales share in Toronto and 43 percent in Manhattan. Even new construction condo prices in Manhattan vastly outshine Toronto, according to data from BuzzBuzzHome, with the median Manhattan condo list price clocking in at $2,175 per square foot compared to $1,090 per square foot.

    Size and geography are important factors when it comes to relating these price points. Manhattan is an island less than 60 square kilometers in size, so the restricted land mass dictates demolishing and rebuilding for more units, and premium prices for pre-existing buildings. According to data from Compass, the average size of a one-bedroom Manhattan condo is 779 square feet, making the average price per square foot $1,494.

    Photo: James Bombales

    “Since the turn of the 20th century, there’s been nowhere to go but up — literally. Owning a home in Manhattan today almost invariably means owning a condominium in a multi-unit building,” writes Vukasovic.

    Space in Manhattan is a luxury, much more so than Toronto. If you’re looking to splurge on a downtown condo, how much space you want will influence where you buy and how many bedrooms you’ll settle for. In Manhattan’s Upper East Side, condos are an average of 3,868 square feet in size. Older buildings in this area of the city are more spacious, but more costly too — the average price of a condo is $11,400,011, at an average price per square foot of $2,947. To compare, condos in Toronto’s similarly posh Yorkville neighbourhood are smaller — about 890 square feet — but come at a fraction of the cost at $1,014,835 or $1,140 per square foot.

    The exorbitant price of one-bedroom Manhattan condos might explain the slightly higher demand for studio apartments than Toronto. Ten percent of the sales share belongs to studios in Manhattan, while only four percent in Toronto. The two cities also rack up slightly more comparable price points in this category, with Toronto studios asking $452,913 and NYC studios at approximately $692,215 for the average size of 547 square feet, at approximately $1,303 per square foot.

    As Vukasovic points out, Manhattan is the playground of the world’s elite — one million millionaires live in NYC alone, about a third of Toronto’s entire population. While Toronto’s Yorkville and Rosedale boast plenty of ultra-wealthy residents, they don’t hold a candle to the scale of Manhattan’s wealthy population. Toronto’s condo market isn’t prohibitively expensive and competitive in the way that Manhattan’s is.

    “By contrast, the smaller number of wealthy families in Toronto are still able to find sizable freehold properties in (or just outside of) the core — in neighbourhoods like Rosedale, Forest Hill, Bedford Park, and the Bridle Path — meaning the market remains muted for larger, luxury condos in the most desirable districts,” writes Vukasovic.

    The post How do Toronto condo market prices stack up to Manhattan? appeared first on Livabl.


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    Toronto housing market

    Photo: James Bombales

    At this point of the year, you’d be hard pressed to find a housing market expert who’s expecting anything less than a barn-burning 2020 for the Toronto housing market.

    The latest prediction comes to us today from brokerage Royal LePage, which has projected a healthy 4.5 percent average detached home price increase for the GTA in the coming year. If it comes to pass, the average GTA detached home would be selling for $1,027,000 by the end of 2020.

    Following a plodding 2019 that saw some GTA municipalities endure significant dives in market activity, the next 12 months are promising to be anything but lacklustre. Current market conditions will invariably push prices higher, barring a major economic disruption.

    “Inventory is critically low and it is possible that we could see a return to accelerating high price appreciation in the near term without new supply becoming available,” said Kevin Somers, Chief Operating Officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Limited, in a media release.

    “Areas such as Richmond Hill and Markham, which were among the hardest hit by the recent market correction, have already shown signs of a recovery while areas closer to the city centre are showing significant momentum heading into 2020.”

    Royal LePage attributed the tight market conditions to low housing supply in the face of strong population growth.

    In the GTA condominium market, the brokerage is predicting a 6 percent increase to $600,000 for 2020. When all housing types are considered, the average price of a home in the GTA is expected to rise 4.75 percent to $883,700.

    Somers also noted that families will face a tough road ahead as they grow out of their starter condos in the GTA and need more space. As prices continue to climb, moving to a larger property isn’t something that they all can afford without financial support from family or the government.

    While prices are unlikely to come down any time soon, additional relief could be on the way if the Liberal government follows through on its election campaign promise to increase the qualifying household income level and maximum mortgage size of its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.

    The post GTA average detached home prices will pass the million-dollar-mark in 2020 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Mike Benna/Unsplash

    After a rocky 2019, Vancouver’s housing market prospects for 2020 are looking a whole lot rosier.

    It took a significant amount of grinding through some challenging months to get to this point. Home sales dropped off a cliff, the new construction market spent some time in the wilderness and luxury home buying dried up almost entirely. These are just a few of the memorable events that 2019 treated us to — moments that many in the real estate industry will be happy to forget as the clock strikes midnight and the book closes on this difficult year for Vancouver’s housing market.

    But 2020 looks to be the beginning of a new chapter for the Vancouver housing market and it’s one that most of us should be excited to start. The snapshot of the market at the end of 2019 is looking a whole lot more favourable than the dismal state we witnessed nearly 12 months ago.

    “Sales have picked up significantly this fall and there is momentum in our market. Buyers who took a “wait and see” approach over the past 18 months are returning to the market looking to buy, confident that price drops have levelled off and may start to escalate,” said Randy Ryalls, Managing Broker, Royal LePage Sterling Realty, in a media release that accompanied the national brokerage’s Vancouver market outlook for 2020.

    “We are seeing multiple offers for quality listings in high demand regions although not to the degree that we saw in 2016,” he continued.

    In his assessment, Ryalls is in line with the market expert consensus that 2020 will be a continuation of the relatively modest momentum established in late 2019. By no means should anyone expect a return to the stratospheric sales activity and price gains experienced when the Vancouver market peaked in 2016.

    Considering the already prohibitively expensive state of the Vancouver housing market, this will be welcome news for many. However, Ryalls is quick to add an important caveat.

    The stubbornly low inventory levels caused by a lack of new listings hitting the market will also persist into 2020. Meantime, mortgage rates aren’t expected to increase substantially next year and the BC labour market has been strong. These market conditions mean prices will continue to climb at an accelerated rate as more buyers enter the market without adequate supply to meet this increase in demand.

    “The concern for potential buyers may be that prices will escalate quickly but they should also be concerned that they won’t get the same selection of listings or time to look around,” said Ryalls.

    For 2020, Royal LePage is projecting a 1.5 percent increase to the aggregate price of a Greater Vancouver home. If this comes to pass, the aggregate price will hit $1,125,000 by year end. The median price of a two-storey home is also projected to get a similar boost, with the brokerage predicting a 1.25 percent rise to $1,460,700. The price of an average condo is expected to rise 3 percent to $666,900 by the end of 2020.

    The post The Vancouver housing market will continue its rebound in 2020 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Buying your forever home isn’t just about the chef’s kitchen or an ensuite bathroom oasis — being close to schools is one of the top priorities for many house hunting families.

    Whether you’re seeking an athletics-focused high school, or an elementary school that’s walking distance to home, there are hundreds of schools across the Greater Toronto Area for families to consider. If you’re in the market for a never-lived-in home that makes a short trip of the daily school commute, these up-and-coming single-family and townhome new construction projects might strike your fancy.

    Kings Landing by Esquire Homes

    Developer: Esquire Homes
    Nearest schools: Ajax HS, St. Bernadette Catholic School, Bolton C. Falby Public School, Carruthers Creek Public School
    Priced from: $809,990

    Situated in a mature neighbourhood surrounded by parks, the Kings Landing is a 35-residence community of single-family homes. Besides the walkable commute to school, this development is within close distance to everyday conveniences. Get all of your weekly shopping done in record time with a No Frills, Food Basics, Shoppers Drug Mart, LCBO and Dollarama right across the street.

    Harmony Creek

    Developer: The Conservatory Group
    Nearest schools: College Park Elementary School, Vincent Massey Public School, Sir Albert Love Catholic School, Beau Valley Public School
    Priced from: $519,900

    This collection of townhomes and single-family residences is just a little ways south of the Harmony Valley Conservation Area, a popular spot among hikers and dog walkers who use the off-leash area. Heading a few minutes north to Taunton Road East, there’s a ton of options for retail, grocery shopping and restaurants at the SmartCentres Oshawa North location, including a giant Walmart Supercentre and Real Canadian Superstore.

    Unionvillas

    Developer: Sunrise Homes
    Nearest schools: Bill Crothers Secondary School, John XXIII School, Parkview Public School, Unionville High School
    Priced from: $1,200,000

    Showcasing timeless exterior architecture, these townhomes on Highway 7 offer up to 3,300 square feet of living space. Close to entertainment and grocery amenities — Whole Foods Market, Cineplex and Markham Town Square — this 52-unit community also provides a quick and convenient commute to downtown Toronto via the nearby GO transit stations.

    Bayview Valley

    Developer: Kalexia Developments
    Nearest schools: Michaëlle Jean Public School, Beverley Acres Public School, Jean Vanier CHS, Richmond Green Secondary School
    Priced from: $1,050,000

    This intimate collection of 41 townhomes exhibits French traditional architecture. There are three styles to choose from, traditional three-storey homes, rear lane townhomes or village townhomes, but each design comes topped with a Mansard-style roof and terrace. Getting farther afield is easy, with quick access to the Richmond Hill GO station and the local Viva bus route.

    Amber Woods

    Developer: Stanford Homes
    Nearest schools: Dolson Public School, Tribune Drive Public School, St. Aidan Catholic Elementary School
    Priced from: $659,990

    Have your pick from this collection of townhome, semi-detached and detached homes near Brampton’s Alloa neighbourhood. This suburban community is close to a ton of little parks and the local bus route, while being just a short drive from the Brampton Walmart Supercentre, FreshCo and Fletcher’s Meadow Plaza.

    The Reserve at East Mineola

    Developer: Queenscorp Group
    Nearest schools: St. Paul Secondary School, Cawthra Park Secondary School, St. Dominic Separate School, Janet I. McDougald Public School
    Priced from: $629,900

    Now under construction on Cawthra Road, this enclave of 148 residences features townhome and flat layouts. This community isn’t far from the offerings of the great outdoors, surrounded by numerous parks and a seven-minute drive to Lake Ontario. Located between the Port Credit and Long Branch GO stations, you can reach downtown Toronto from this community in half an hour.

    Block 55 Townhomes

    Developer: Biddington Homes
    Nearest schools: Post’s Corners Public School, St. Andrew Catholic Elementary School, Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School
    Priced from: $645,900

    These four-storey townhomes on Glenashton Drive are just down the street from numerous eateries, grocery stores and services in Oakville’s River Oaks neighbourhood. Proximity to Memorial Park Playground, daycare centres and local schools are convenient features in this vibrant community.

    The post 7 new construction homes in the GTA that are close to schools appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

    The Canadian housing market racked up another win in November, logging its ninth straight monthly increase in sales after struggling mightily through much of 2018 and early 2019.

    The November sales data, released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association, was a welcome sign of the ongoing turnaround the Canadian market has experienced this year.

    As BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter put it, “Canada’s housing market is ending 2019 in a very different spot than where it began the year.”

    In commentary published today on the CREA data, Porter noted that home sales have returned to levels comparable to the 2015 to 2017 period before the federal government tightened up the mortgage stress test, a policy change that moved many buyers firmly to the sidelines.

    Now with the market-dampening effects of the stress test apparently having run their course, home sales are continuing their march upward, helped along by low mortgage rates and a strong labour markets in many major cities.

    There’s an important catch to all of this seemingly good housing market news — as sales climb higher each month, new home listings are on a steady decline. This means that after enjoying many months of setting the terms for the market, homebuyers are likely going to see their power diminished in the new year.

    “That may not be the case for all regions, but for the majority of cities it appears that sellers will be back in charge in 2020,” wrote Porter. “With the Bank of Canada more biased to cut rates than raise them, and Ottawa spying ways to juice the market, it doesn’t look like policy is going to stand in the way.”

    Porter’s comment about Ottawa’s attempts to “juice the market” refers to the Liberal government’s First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive introduced earlier this year partly to offset the challenges that first-time buyers were experiencing as a result of the stricter mortgage stress test. With the Liberals holding onto power in October’s election, most expect that their new minority government will continue to expand this program, leading to more buyers entering the market in 2020.

    While policy moves like these help buyers purchase homes, they don’t do much to help move the needle on the supply side of the market. Porter also noted that an indicator for evaluating whether the market is in buyer or seller’s territory — months of housing inventory on the market — is sitting at a 12-year low at the national level.

    With the housing market’s velocity continuing to accelerate and no end in sight to this stubborn dearth of listings, the Canadian housing market may be firmly planted in seller’s territory for the better part of 2020.

    The post Sellers will be back in charge of the Canadian housing market next year appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo by madeleine ragsdale on Unsplash

    2020 is projected to be a monumental year for South Los Angeles. SoFi Stadium, the future home of both the Rams and the Chargers, is slated to open in July and the Crenshaw/LAX light rail transit line will embark on its inaugural ride around the same time. To no one’s surprise, home prices in the area have skyrocketed, particularly in Inglewood where the median home price jumped 63 percent from 2014 to 2018. 

    While the idea of living close to an NFL stadium that will host the Superbowl in 2022 fills me with dread (think of the traffic!), proximity to the Metro Rail system is a huge plus. The 8.5-mile line will run from Aviation/LAX, where it connects to the Metro Green Line, all the way up to Expo/Crenshaw station, where it connects to the Metro Expo Line.

    In the market for a turn key home in an up-and-coming neighborhood with easy access to transit? Look no further than these seven approachably-priced condos, townhomes and single-family homes within reach of the new Crenshaw/LAX Line.

    1. 329 E Hazel St # A, Inglewood, CA 90302, $785,000

    Photo: Trulia

    What this new-build townhouse lacks in charm, it makes up for in space. Sure, it’s builder-basic, but you could do cartwheels in that open-concept kitchen, living and dining area! With three bedrooms and four bathrooms spread out over 2,087 square feet, it’s a great option for a growing family. The future Downtown Inglewood station is a breezy, 11-minute walk from the doorstep of Unit A.

    2. 237 W Kelso St, Inglewood, CA 90301, $679,800

    Photo: Zillow

    On the opposite end of the charm scale is 237 West Kelso Street, which delivers all the cozy cottage vibes. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home was built in 1939 and has been tastefully renovated. I’m particularly fond of the tray ceilings in the living and dining rooms and the eye-catching tile kitchen backsplash. Walk or bus to the future Downtown Inglewood station in about 15 minutes.

    3. 620 W Hyde Park Blvd UNIT 114, Inglewood, CA 90302, $415,000

    Photo: Realtor

    If a clean and modern condo is more your speed, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit may be just what you’re looking for. The kitchen has been fully renovated and there’s a large outdoor patio with enough room for a sectional sofa. Marble flooring in the guest bathroom and designer light fixtures help to sweeten the deal. Hop on an electric scooter and arrive at the future Downtown Inglewood station in roughly six minutes.

    4. 3316 W 76th St # 3/4, Los Angeles, CA 90043, $339,000 

    Photo: Redfin

    First-time buyers on a budget will want to check out this two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo that’s only a 10-minute walk from the future Fairview Heights station in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Situated just west of Crenshaw Boulevard, the unit has been freshly painted and boasts new laminate flooring throughout. 

    5. 3130 W 67th St, Los Angeles, CA 90043, $529,000

    Photo: Realtor

    Typically when I see a home that’s an obvious flip I’m like “Thank U, Next” but this beauty comes with a fenced-in yard and has some trendy tile moments. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home spans 938 square feet and features a long driveway for families with multiple vehicles. Connect to the future Fairview Heights station by bus in eight minutes flat.

    6. 2712 Southwest Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90043, $525,000

    Photo: Zillow

    Act fast! This Pinterest-perfect two-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home is now accepting backup offers. Built in 1927, the Spanish-style residence is characterized by a show stopping fireplace, an arched picture window, and a relaxing master retreat with a walk-in closet and ensuite bath. It’s a bit of a trek on foot to the future Fairview Heights station (21 minutes), but you could bike there in five.

    The post 6 turn key homes on the new Crenshaw/LAX line priced under $800k appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Angela Young

    Move over ugly sweaters and posed photography — this year’s holiday cards are getting an Intergalactic twist.

    Angela Young and her children changed it up this time for their annual themed holiday card. Taking to the streets of Toronto, the trio recreated one of Young’s all-time favourite music videos, the Beastie Boys’ late 1990s hit, Intergalactic, as an addition to this year’s family card.

    Sporting matching hard-hats and fluorescent work vests, the group took their wicked dance moves to some of Toronto’s most iconic locations, including Yonge and Dundas Square, the PATH and Union Station. Even through an early-November snowstorm, Young and her kids battled out the cold to create an authentic Beastie Boys rendition, right down to the same fisheye lens effect.

    “I’ve loved this Beastie Boys music video since I was a kid, so running around the streets of Toronto, the underground PATH and the TTC shooting this with my little humans was surreal but also a dream come true,” wrote Young in a Reddit post where the video surfaced.

    For reference, here’s the original Beastie Boys version:

    The post This family’s Beastie Boys-themed holiday video card is an instant Toronto classic appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Michel Rathwell/Flickr

    Low mortgage rates, strong employment figures and population growth are keeping homes flying off the shelves across Canada. But those shelves aren’t getting restocked.

    As RBC pointed out earlier this week, the latest home sales data for November shows that Ottawa, Halifax and Montreal are firmly in seller’s market territory, while Toronto and Vancouver are marching quickly in that same direction.

    And, with home sales climbing for the ninth consecutive month in November without a comparable boost in new listings, the number of months of inventory on the market sunk to its lowest level in over 12 years. The Canadian market hasn’t seen a dearth of listings like this since 2007.

    This state of affairs came out of left field and was unusual enough for RBC senior economist Robert Hogue to call the lack of housing supply “the main housing story in Canada.”

    The “thin” supply, as Hogue puts it, is already leading to home prices appreciating at a faster rate in most major Canadian markets and he doesn’t see any sign of a cooldown on the horizon.

    Even BC, where the ailing Vancouver market has seen persistent home price declines over the last year, is reversing course. While prices remain down when compared to year-ago levels, the rate of the decline is slowing and may shift directions upward in 2020.

    The broader story here is the dramatic about-face the Canadian housing market has pulled in 2019. Only a year ago, many were prepared to write off 2019 as a period most in the real estate industry would prefer to forget, characterized by slumping sales and price declines in all but a handful of fortunate markets. But things turned a corner quicker than expected and now housing economists — many of whom already rewrote their 2019 forecasts mid-year — are singing a very different tune than they were last January.

    “Essentially, after a couple of challenging years for housing, the market has picked itself up, brushed itself off, and is now looking at steady gains ahead,” wrote BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter in a note earlier this week.

    With home sales momentum showing no signs of fading in the new year, all eyes will be on the supply side of the market in January. Can it start keeping up? Or will housing affordability continue to worsen as sales climb while many would-be sellers stay on the sidelines?

    The post The number of homes for sale in Canada hasn’t been this low since 2007 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    When it comes to selling your home, you’ve got to set yourself apart from the competition. Whether you use professional photography, or invest in high-quality staging, it helps to build a marketing strategy that highlights the property’s most enticing features. A Toronto home that recently hit the market went all out on expressing its marketing creativity via this virtual tour, which has some viewers’ heads doing pirouettes.

    Situated in The Beaches neighbourhood, just a little ways east of Woodbine Avenue and Kingston Road, is 283 Kenilworth Avenue. Asking $2,250,000, this 2,327-square-foot detach offers three bedrooms and four bathrooms across three storeys.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    To showcase the dramatic interiors of this home, the marketing team enlisted the help of two equally expressive ballet dancers to star in their virtual tour. Cue the symphony and choir orchestra — this tour is about to get intense.

    Open concept is taken to a whole other level here. A staggering multi-level mahogany open staircase transports you to the various sections of this home.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    As demonstrated by one of the dancers, the entryway is large enough to fit your finest grand piano.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    Down a short flight of stairs is the main living area and kitchen. A contemporary gas fireplace is accompanied by a couple of oversized pendants and a modern chandelier.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    The dining space opens onto a tiered patio, which as our dancer shows, provides the perfect indoor-to-outdoor living quarters.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    The compact kitchen features a waterfall island, which blends together stone and wood materials, as seen throughout the rest of the home. The stainless steel appliances coordinate with the metal cabinet hardware and pull-down sink faucet. A built-in breakfast bar provides extra space for more casual dining affairs.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    It’s worth noting that the wine cellar on the lower level can be included in the sale too, depending on negotiations. It’s large enough to not only hold quite a few bottles of your favourite riesling, but also to practice your leg extensions in.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    Heading upstairs to the bedrooms, there’s a cozy sitting area with another gas fireplace — a great spot for chit chat and a pas de deux.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    Throughout the home, specific windows exhibit one-of-a-kind stained glass, which is said to be inspired by work from the Group of Seven.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    A sitting area, bathroom and two of the bedrooms occupy the second level, one of which appears to have a balcony.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    The other bedroom is in use as an entertainment and office space.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    The master bedroom is open to the entire floor, but is privately located up its own flight of stairs on the third level. A fireplace, ample closet space and carpeting help to make this room a restful retreat.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    In similar fashion, the ensuite is also open concept. A diamond-shaped stained glass window sits above a built-in soaker tub with a tile surround. Next to the walk-in shower, a modern vanity provides plenty of storage space and a convenient towel rung.

    Photo: Cloud Realty Brokerage

    Love or hate the virtual tour, 283 Kenilworth Avenue is as unique and ambitious as its video concept. You can view the entire virtual tour video on the production company’s Facebook page, here:

    The post This $2.2 million Toronto home’s ballet-themed virtual tour is dramatic AF appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo by Dallas Reedy on Unsplash

    Although some corners of LA County received a dusting of snow over Thanksgiving, a white Christmas in the City of Angels seems utterly implausible (the current forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the high 50’s). If you’re firmly in the camp of ‘The holidays just aren’t the same without snow,’ hop on the 60 Freeway and head east to the San Bernardino Mountains, where the white powdery stuff abounds and tire chains are a requirement!

    The price of a home in one of these year-round resort towns is enough to make any Angeleno’s heart flutter with excitement. A three-bedroom cabin with a stone surround fireplace for less than $300,000? You can’t buy anything in LA for that price unless it comes with a roach infestation and black mold.

    Ready to trade the palm trees and smog for towering pines and crisp air this holiday season? Consider one of these nine cozy (and affordable!) cabins in the San Bernardino Mountains.

    1. 966 Willow Creek Rd APT 9, Lake Arrowhead, $271,900

    Photo: Zillow

    Photo: Zillow

    Lake Arrowhead is a private body of water mostly inhabited by celebrities and the ultra-rich, but you can live within proximity of the lake for a lot less on the North Shore. 966 Willow Creek Road (Apartment 9) is a spacious, three-level condo with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. It boasts vaulted, wood-clad ceilings, a kitschy antler chandelier and gas fireplace. The $463/month HOA fees include a pool, spa and those highly-coveted lake rights.

    2. 25006 Saxon Dr, Crestline, $242,900

    Photo: Redfin

    Photo: Redfin

    Millennials will fork over a lot of money to rent an A-frame cabin on Airbnb — a design-savvy investor needs to get on this listing! The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home features a charming loft space, built-in breakfast nook and a large outdoor deck. The bathrooms could use some updating, but the seller is installing a new furnace so at least it will be toasty!

    3. 650 Leonard Ln, Big Bear Lake, $275,000

    Photo: Trulia

    Photo: Trulia

    If this was a competition based on cabin cuteness, 650 Leonard Lane would be hard to beat. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom abode has a pitched roof and a front door that looks straight out of a storybook. While I’m not a huge fan of the dark green carpeting, the warm wood walls add to the rustic appeal.

    4. 913 E Barker Blvd, Big Bear City, $199,000

    Photo: Realtor

    Photo: Realtor

    There’s a lot to love about this 504-square-foot cabin despite its small size. The interior has been beautifully renovated with luxury vinyl tile flooring, granite kitchen countertops, stainless steel appliances and multiple skylights. There’s also a hot tub in the backyard for soothing sore muscles after a long day on the slopes.

    5. 33378 Music Camp Rd, Arrowbear Lake, $189,950

    Photo: Zillow

    Photo: Zillow

    As you might have guessed, I have a soft spot for A-frames. This one is a bit of a fixer-upper, but it’s brimming with potential. Sure, the kitchen is outdated and the beige carpet needs to go, but look at those high ceilings! As it’s situated along Music Camp Road, I like to imagine that in the summer months you can listen to the faint sounds of a high school marching band off in the distance. 

    6. 31765 Hilltop Dr, Running Springs, $210,000

    Photo: Coldwell Banker

    Photo: Coldwell Banker

    I’m 99.9 percent sure that Santa actually lives here — the festive holiday vibes are palpable. This two-bedroom, one-bathroom mountain getaway dates back to the 1930s and comes complete with a vintage Monarch wood burning stove. It’s being offered fully furnished (I hope you like red and green) and is located only 15 minutes from Snow Valley and SkyPark at Santa’s Village.

    7. 632 Spruce Ln, Sugarloaf, $189,900

    Photo: Trulia

    Photo: Trulia

    I got a little carried away with the whole listings-that-look-like-gingerbread-houses thing. 632 Spruce Lane is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home that sits on a 5,000-square-foot lot. Inside, it’s got vaulted, exposed beam ceilings, an open loft, stone surround fireplace and plenty of wood paneling. There’s even a treehouse in the backyard that looks like a miniature version of the original house.

    8. 26673 Lake Forest Dr, Twin Peaks, $287,500

    Photo: OpenListings

    Photo: OpenListings

    Looking for a vacation home that’s big enough for the whole family? Look no further than 26673 Lake Forest Drive, a three-bedroom, three-bathroom beamed cabin that’s rife with character. There’s a carport to keep your vehicle clear of snow and a scenic deck shaded by pine trees. It’s got some lovely mid-century features, too, like a stately brick fireplace and swag light fixtures.

    9. 33294 Iris Dr, Green Valley Lake, $149,900

    Photo: Movoto

    Photo: Movoto

    This one-bedroom, two-story cabin is only an eight-minute walk from Green Valley Lake, a small artificial lake for swimming, kayaking and fishing. For less than $150k, it’s a real bargain and is being sold with two lots. The interior is a bit campy (check out that wagon wheel chandelier), but the exterior has been given a modern facelift.

    The post 9 cozy, snow-covered cabins for sale near Los Angeles appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Kyle Thacker/Unsplash

    The BC housing market’s recovery has continued late into the year with sales activity in November recording a 27.5 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

    There were 6,616 sales across the province last month at an average price of $746,939, according to the latest monthly data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association. The double-digit sales increase and 5.5 percent price jump meant that $4.94 billion worth of residential real estate changed hands in November, over $1 billion more than the same month in 2018.

    While it was a strong monthly result when compared to 2018’s lethargic pace and the dismal activity levels observed through early 2019, BC’s November sales total was only about average from a historical standpoint.

    “After several months of strong gains, home sales [in BC] are now firming around long-run averages,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson in a media release. “We expect 2020 will be a much more typical year for markets compared to the volatility of recent years.”

    In a research note published earlier this week, TD economist Rishi Sondhi noted that the current strength of the Canadian housing market has a lot to do with the ongoing recovery in BC. It wasn’t so long ago that housing was considered a drag on the national economy, but Sondhi writes that residential investment is again supporting economic growth during 2019’s final quarter thanks in no small part to renewed energy in the BC market.

    As has been the case for several months now in major markets across Canada, new home listings were down 6.6 percent across the province with 31,310 residential units on the market.

    It appears that Vancouver is following Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto in steadily marching towards seller’s market territory for 2020, but the province as a whole remains balanced at this time according to BCREA data.

    The post BC home sales just saw a billion-dollar increase in November appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales

    We already know Canadian mortgage rates are expected to stay low through 2020, barring any surprise economic shocks. After leaving it steady through 2019, the Bank of Canada has already signalled that a hike to its mortgage-market influencing overnight rate is unlikely in the next 12 months as well.

    But what about the next year? Could the central bank, whose policies have a huge impact on mortgage lending, really hold rates through 2021 as well?

    Global recession talk has simmered down toward the end of this year, with the Conservatives’ recent decisive election victory in the UK reducing some of the fog around the Brexit timeline while international trade conflicts have also moved closer toward resolution.

    The overall reduction in economic uncertainty means monetary policymakers at the Bank of Canada are unlikely to cut interest rates anytime soon, even as the Canadian economy has been putting less than stellar growth numbers on the board recently. Pile on the fact that a year of lower mortgage rates has led to accelerated home price growth in markets across the country; any further rate cuts might add too much fuel to that fire.

    “Signs of an imminent acceleration in house price inflation suggests that the Bank of Canada will remain on the side lines despite the further slowdown in GDP growth in the final quarter of 2019,” wrote Capital Economics’ Stephen Brown in a research note published this week.

    However, Brown believes better economic performance in 2021 will mean the Bank of Canada will resume eyeing rate hikes towards the end of that year.

    “The prospect of above-potential GDP growth in 2021 will put interest rate hikes back on the table by the end of that year,” he wrote.

    So what does this mean for the country’s housing market? While lenders may hike and cut mortgage rates over the next two years, it looks unlikely that there will be significant movement in either direction. This means homebuyers will likely see borrowing rates stay relatively low for a reasonably lengthy stretch. With the Liberal Canadian government also exploring new ways to expand their support for first-time homebuyers, it’s looking like 2020 and 2021 will offer plenty of good opportunities to enter the market.

    That said, low lending rates and government-support programs will also do plenty to boost home prices in major markets at a time when the supply of homes on the market is already dwindling. It won’t be quite as smooth a ride for many Canadian buyers out there as the low mortgage rate environment might indicate.

    The post Canadian homebuyers shouldn’t expect interest rates to rise until late 2021 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Although its luxury housing market has slowed considerably since 2018, Vancouver still has a comfortable place in the upper echelon of Canada’s most expensive real estate markets.

    So if you’re the kind of buyer who’d rather purchase new than secondhand, and you’ve got the cash to flash on a new condo, one of the most expensive new construction condo buildings in Vancouver might just check off all your boxes.

    We’ve selected the most expensive buildings currently on the Vancouver new condo market based on price per square foot.

    The Butterfly

    Developer: Westbank
    Price per square foot: $2,855
    Priced from: $3,900,000

    Taking shape in Vancouver’s West End on Nelson Street, The Butterfly offers some of the highest views in the city, topping out at 57 storeys. This shapely building designed by Revery Architecture will boast an exterior courtyard with custom tree planters on every third floor.

    The Smithe

    Developer: Boffo Developments Ltd.
    Price per square foot: $2,258
    Priced from: $2,988,900

    Located in Vancouver’s downtown arts and entertainment district, residences at The Smithe sport imported Italian kitchens and hotel-style bathrooms. These luxury units start from 1,000 square feet with a location that offers an abundance of restaurants, trendy retailers and entertainment destinations.

    Mirabel

    Developer: Marcon
    Price per square foot: $2,252
    Priced from: $1,900,900

    Split into twin 19-storey towers, Mirabel is a showcase of modern design, with a glass and masonry exterior. In the east tower, the penthouse is among the most expensive new construction units out there, asking $7,100,900 for three bedrooms with 2,679 square feet of living space.

    CentreView

    Developer: Onni Group of Companies
    Price per square foot: $2,218
    Priced from: $1,324,900

    Future residents of Onni Group’s CentreView in North Vancouver will not need to travel far to access everyday amenities. This 17-storey mixed-use project — now selling its final release of homes — features over 90,000 square feet of retail space, complete with a Whole Foods Market, cafe, and pharmacy, in addition to 80,000 square feet of office space.

    Courtenay

    Developer: British Pacific Properties
    Price per square foot: $2,123
    Priced from: $7,625,000

    Only two multimillion-dollar penthouses remain in this 39-unit building. Designed by Ramsay Worden Architects, Courtenay is nestled within the forested hillside at the base of Cypress Provincial Park. From its south-facing roost, you can take in unobstructed views of the Pacific and downtown Vancouver from across the water. PH1-701 and PH2-02 both offer three bedrooms and a den, with over 3,600 square feet of living space and a large terrace to boot.

    8X On The Park

    Developer: Brenhill Developments
    Price per square foot: $1,813
    Priced from: $3,189,900

    Construction is well underway on 8X On The Park. Emery Barnes Park is just across the street and numerous eateries, shops and other urban conveniences are all close at hand for residents of this 191-unit Yaletown project. Designed for “daily luxury,” these residences feature in-floor heating, under-cabinet LED lighting, and integrated electronics.

    The Pacific

    Developer: Grosvenor
    Price per square foot: $1,596 to $2,459
    Priced from: $899,900

    On the corner of Pacific and Hornby Street, this modern, 39-storey tower showcases balconies on the east and west facades that are said to resemble clouds in the downtown city sky. Take in the urban skyline from the illuminated terrace, which features an outdoor area for cooking and dining.

    Bellevue

    Developer: Cressey
    Price per square foot: $1,594 to $2,018
    Priced from: $4,200,000

    Only two to three residences will be housed on each floor when this 16-storey building reaches completion in early 2020. Marble backsplashes, wine fridges, and quartz centre islands with waterfall edges are included in every kitchen, along with marble feature walls and heated floors in the master bathroom. The townhouse units are among some of the priciest in the building — three-bedroom TH2 is asking $5,325,000 for 3,340 square feet of living space.

    1335 Howe

    Developer: Onni Group of Companies
    Price per square foot: $1,383 to $2,324
    Priced from: $1,064,900

    For some, condo living is just too cramped. At 1335 Howe, residents have the opportunity to combine homes, potentially increasing unit sizes up to 6,055 square feet. The contemporary interiors reflect European-style kitchens and marble-fitted bathrooms.

    Evelyn Condos

    Developer: Onni Group of Companies
    Price per square foot: $1,141 – $1,870
    Priced from: $1,245,900

    These sloping, West Coast-style units on Sentinel Hill are surrounded by mature trees and winding trails throughout the 350-unit community. The orientation of the home sites means everyone gets southern-facing views and a ton of natural light.

    The post The most expensive new condo buildings selling now in Vancouver appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Omar Flores/Unsplash

    It didn’t look like it was meant to be a banner year for Toronto’s new condo market as sluggish activity marred the early months of 2019. But after a spring awakening that was followed by a string of strong months for new condo sales, the year has now earned the distinction of one of the Toronto market’s strongest ever.

    In a media release published Monday, Patricia Arsenault, executive vice president of Altus Group, named 2019 as one of the best four years ever for Toronto new condo sales as the real estate consultancy shared its November market data.

    “After a slow first quarter, new condominium apartment sales in the GTA have shown impressive resiliency since the spring,” said Arsenault in a joint media release with the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). “With one month still to go, 2019 has already earned a spot among the top four years ever for new condo sales.”

    She also noted that November was busier than usual for the GTA new home market, with 4,720 total new home sales for the month, up 53 percent from a year ago and 19 percent higher than the 10-year average for November.

    While the new condo market obviously had a strong showing — with sales up 32 percent versus November 2018 — it was the new single-family home market that decisively beat out its 2018 total, rising 207 percent year-over-year. Over the last few years, the single-family home market has been characterized by weak activity that has sunk lower and lower with each passing month.

    Those in the industry argue that there’s plenty of demand for the housing type, but government policies rolled out over the last decade have increasingly favoured high-rise development and made it more challenging to bring new single-family home projects to market.

    In November, there was clearly an uptick in supply brought to both the condominium and single-family home markets. However, that wasn’t the only reason sales have continued trending upward since the spring.

    “We are seeing robust demand for new homes, and with a healthy economy and continued low interest rates, that demand is likely to continue strong into 2020,” said David Wilkes, BILD’s president and CEO. “We need to keep our focus on increasing housing supply to ensure that housing prices remain stable and that our sector continues to be a source of good jobs and a driver of economic growth.”

    The post 2019 is officially one of the biggest years ever for Toronto’s new condo market appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Tobias / Unsplash

    Another year is nearly behind us, and a new decade is being ushered in. As 2019 winds down, predictions for the next year’s housing market are in full swing: Will mortgage rates sink lower? Will newly energized markets heat up further? How high will prices climb in Canada’s biggest cities?

    With a federal election wrapped up and new policies and proposals on deck, 2019 was a significant year for Canadian homebuyers. Here, we look back at some of Canadian real estate’s biggest moments from the last 12 months.

    From a white winter, to a white-hot spring

    Canada’s real estate market kicked off the new year in painfully slow fashion before finally turning a corner in the spring.

    The stricter mortgage stress test, implemented a year prior, combined with a sluggish economy, left the market feeling ‘hungover’ in Q1 2019, leading some industry experts to predict a slow-moving year overall. Vancouver was among the hardest-hit cities, seeing a near 35 percent decrease in sales in February compared to the same period a year prior.

    Finally, come early spring, the market started to make a comeback as sales slowly climbed. Toronto led the charge into the spring market as the first city to see major post-winter improvements. In May, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported an 18.9 percent increase in sales and saw the average detached home price increase annually for the first time. Throughout summer, Toronto continued to speed ahead, with strong year-over-year price and sales growth. In June, the average price of a home jumped three percent across the GTA as 8,860 residences changed hands.

    Toronto’s condo market in particular played a large role in the post-winter recovery, seeing an 11.1 percent increase in sales and a 5.8 percent boost in prices in the third quarter. A late bloomer, sales in BC finally flickered back to normal levels by October as 7,666 home sales took place across the province, a 25.4 percent increase from the same period a year prior.

    Selling homes like hotcakes in Montreal

    While other major markets struggled in early 2019, Montreal held its own steady course throughout the year. Data from the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers’ (QPAREB) show solid increases in prices and sales across the year for Quebec’s biggest city. The summer market was particularly strong, to the benefit of Montreal home sellers, with a sales-to-new listings ratio reaching 97 percent in June.

    However, it’s unclear how long this trend can be maintained — a scarcity in new listings is putting pressure on this historically affordable housing market.

    A little help from your friend, Justin

    The Liberals’ federal budget, unveiled in March, promised to give prospective first-time buyers a much-needed leg up. Through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), this new policy allows first-time homebuyers to participate in a shared-equity mortgage program, called the First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive. The program permits households with qualified annual incomes under $120,000 to receive between 5 to 10 percent of the cost of their home’s value in downpayment assistance in exchange for a corresponding equity stake.

    Photo: Kerrisa Wilson

    First-time buyers were also helped out through an increase to the amount they’re able to withdraw tax-free from their RRSP to purchase a home.

    While the First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive was lauded for its efforts to make housing more affordable, it was criticized for failing to meet the needs of buyers in the country’s most expensive markets. For instance, hopeful purchasers in Toronto and Vancouver won’t have much use for it in its current incarnation. The equity program requires that the insured mortgage, in addition to the applied incentive, not surpass four times the purchaser’s household income, a limit of $480,000, disqualifying many buyers in Canada’s high-priced cities. During their re-election campaign, the Liberals announced in September that they would expand the program to assist buyers in pricey markets — the maximum income to qualify would be raised to $150,000, along with the total mortgage value, which would be increased to $750,000 for specific cities.

    More stressing over the stress test

    Critics of the First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive pointed to relaxing the mortgage stress test and returning 30-year mortgage amortization periods as a way to support struggling aspiring homebuyers.

    One such voice was the soon-to-be former official opposition leader Andrew Scheer, then running in the federal election campaign against Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Scheer also proposed modifying the stress test to remove the requirement that mortgage renewal applicants must requalify under the stress test.

    A coalition of red and orange

    The Liberals held onto power with a diminished minority government, but pushing their housing agenda through the House of Commons will need the support of the NDP. The majority threshold is 170 seats — with the Liberals at 157 seats and the NDP at 24, the parties will need to work together to push through the Liberals’ legislative desires.

    While the NDP and Liberals enthusiastic about improving housing affordability, their suggestions on how to do so vary.

    Photo: James Bombales

    The Liberals want to continue to build upon their First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive plan that they unveiled in the 2019 federal budget, expanding the program to include buyers with higher income levels and bigger mortgage sizes. The NDP would prefer to bump maximum mortgage amortizations up to 30 years — an election promise also touted by the Conservatives — specifically for first-time homebuyers. In an assertive approach to tackle low housing supply, the NDP also campaigned on their intentions to build 500,000 affordable housing units over 10 years, introduce a national 15 percent home purchase tax for non-citizens and create rental subsidies.

    After the Liberals’ First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive was criticized for inadequately accommodating buyers in expensive urban communities, it remains to be seen how effective any future policies from these two parties will be.

    Low and slow mortgage rates

    After an aggressive 15-month period of rate hikes, the Bank of Canada didn’t move its mortgage-market influencing overnight interest rate this year, keeping it at 1.75 percent, where it’s now sat since October 2018. Prior to this halt, the central bank had steadily upped the policy rate by 25 basis points on five separate occasions since July 2017.

    Though there was talk of a rate cut in fall 2019, it seems that Canada’s strong labour market and recovering housing sector is causing the bank to wait for further evidence of economic instability before cutting rates again. While the bank is on hold for now, some economists are predicting that mortgage rates will sink even further in 2020. The BoC will also see new leadership — governor Stephen Poloz has announced that he’ll be stepping down in 2020 and not seek a second term in the post.

    The post The 6 biggest moments for the Canadian housing market in 2019 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Just because you live in the concrete jungle, doesn’t mean you can’t be close to nature. Toronto is lucky to have a shoreline stretching from Scarborough out west to Etobicoke, a popular destination for boardwalks, beachside activities and some of the city’s most sought-after developments. If you’re looking for a new construction condo with views of the water, these Toronto projects set to be move-in ready by 2021 might be what you’re looking for.

    Water’s Edge at The Cove

    Developer: The Conservatory Group
    Est. completion: November 2021
    Priced from: $524,900

    Situated in Humber Bay, this 56-storey high rise touts resort-style amenities with unobstructed views of the city skyline and lake. The West End location puts you in close range to many patio restaurants, the Etobicoke Yacht Club and Humber Bay Park. The 56-kilometer Martin Goodman Trail is also within close distance, great for biking, walking and jogging.

    Vita on the Lake

    Developer: Mattamy Homes and Biddington Homes
    Est. completion: Summer 2021
    Priced from: $999,990

    Construction is underway on this 53-storey building on Marine Parade Drive. The chic lobby is equipped with a 24-hour concierge and common amenities include a yoga studio, fitness centre, and outdoor rooftop pool. Travelling farther afield is simple with the QEW and Gardiner Expressway nearby.

    Mirabella Luxury Condos – East Tower

    Developer: Diamante Development Corporation
    Est. completion: January 2021
    Priced from: $719,000

    The East Tower is one of two sister buildings that are rising on Lake Shore Boulevard West. The amenity floor on the 10th level offers social, fitness and recreational conveniences — an outdoor terrace, indoor pool and exercise room cater views of High Park and the lake.

    Aquabella

    Developer: Tridel and Hines
    Est. completion: Fall/Winter 2020
    Priced from: $2,800,000

    Right at the edge of Toronto’s downtown waterfront, Aquabella is part of the city’s Bayside community. The building’s L-shaped design is a collaboration between Denmark’s 3XN and Toronto-based Kirkor Architects, featuring outdoor living spaces and stepped garden terraces on the upper level. The building is projected to reach completion by the end of 2020.

    Lighthouse East Tower

    Developer: The Daniels Corporation
    Est. completion: Summer 2020
    Priced from: $723,900

    The latest addition to the Daniels Waterfront community, the staggered balconies on this 36-storey tower are said to mimic the waves of Lake Ontario. Besides the standard fitness and social amenities, Lighthouse East offers luxuries for those who are creative at heart — future residents will have access to an arts and crafts studio and a garden prep area on the third floor.

    Heartwood the Beach

    Developer: Fieldgate Urban and Hullmark
    Est. completion: Fall/Winter 2020
    Priced from: $800,000’s

    In the East End, Heartwood the Beach brings you near Beaches Park and Ashbridge’s Bay. The interiors of this limited selection of 43 units are fully customizable, allowing residents to take their pick of cabinetry, hardwood floor finishes, faucet fixtures and hardware.

    The LakeFront

    Developer: Concord Adex
    Est. completion: May 2020
    Priced from: $625,500

    Revitalizing the historic Loblaw Warehouse, originally built in 1928, the LakeFront will transform the site into a 50,000-square-foot flagship Loblaws supermarket and 886 condo units. The units are finished with Carrara marble backsplashes, laminate flooring, and the buyer’s choice of three interior colour schemes.

    The post 7 new Toronto condos arriving on the waterfront by 2021 appeared first on Livabl.


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    For homebuyers with big budgets looking to buy one of Toronto’s more exclusive new condo suites, we compiled some of the most expensive condo buildings on the market now based on price per square foot.

    If you have your eye on a new high-end condo in Forest Hill, Yorkville or the financial district, look no further. And, if you’re not quite ready to drop a couple million dollars on your next home and are here more for the luxe renderings — we’ve got you covered too.

    200 Russell Hill

    Developer: Hirsh Development Group
    Price per square foot: $2,323
    Priced from: $4,395,000

    Only a handful of residences are still for sale at Hirsh Development Group’s intimate 22-unit project in Forest Hill. The stone building’s modern-meets-classic French architecture is paired with lush greenery of the nearby Nordheimer Ravine and proximity to Casa Loma. For a few million a pop, a unit here comes with designer interiors by Lori Morris, walnut hardwood flooring and optional decorative ceilings.

    Fifty Scollard Condos

    Developer: Lanterra Developments
    Price per square foot: $2,316
    Priced from: $1,360,900

    Construction recently kicked off for this 41-storey project in Yorkville. For a million-dollar price tag, you wouldn’t expect anything less than the best condo amenities money can buy. Future residents will have access to conveniences like a chauffeured house car service, an exclusively stocked wine club and a fitness centre overlooking downtown’s Bay Street.

    The One

    Developer: Mizrahi Developments
    Price per square foot: $2,095
    Priced from: $2,219,900

    Soon to be one of Canada’s tallest buildings, The One will top out at a whopping 85 storeys in early 2023. For a premium price, luxury buyers can customize the floorplan of their multi-storey penthouse whatever way they like. A tree-lined garden terrace, professional concierge and an infinity pool are a few of the amenities being touted in this project.

    The Residences of 33 Yorkville

    Developer: Cresford Development Corporation
    Price per square foot: $2,057
    Priced from: $3,389,900

    These two towers taking over Yorkville Street are stocked with an abundance of amenities. On the eighth floor, the Sky Lobby hosts a plethora of social and fitness features, from the wine tasting room, to the outdoor pool deck and bowling room.

    Avenue 151 Yorkville

    Developer: Dash Developments Inc.
    Price per square foot: $1,971
    Priced from: $999,990

    Construction is said to be wrapping up soon on this 10-storey building. The newly released penthouse floor plans exhibit open concept interiors and — in some units — curved terraces. Located on Davenport and Avenue Road, Avenue 151 Yorkville is enviably positioned at the intersection of the Annex, Summerhill and Yorkville neighbourhoods, bringing residents close to many dining, shopping and entertainment options.

    Bungalow on Mercer

    Developer: Kalovida Canada
    Price per square foot: $1,963
    Priced from: $2,080,000

    Across 18 storeys, Bungalow on Mercer showcases a limited collection of just 13 full-floor units. Inside these large bungalow-in-the-sky residences, the interiors feature floor-to-ceiling windows and Poliform-designed kitchens with no supporting columns in sight. A storage locker and wine cellar for every residence is included in the purchase price.

    King Toronto Condos

    Developer: Westbank and Allied Properties
    Price per square foot: $1,831
    Priced from: $855,990

    From the developers who brought you The Butterfly and Kingly Condos, comes one of Toronto’s most uniquely designed buildings in recent history. Arriving in the summer of 2023, this 514-unit development, imagined by the Demark design firm, Bjarke Ingels Group, will add event more new retail, cultural, residential and office spaces to an already flourishing King Street West. The community of four building ‘mountains’ shape an inner-courtyard that will feature public gathering areas perfect for farmer’s markets and community events.

    One Forest Hill

    Developer: North Drive
    Price per square foot: $1,669
    Priced from: $1,900,000

    One Forest Hill’s timeless, classic architecture weaves seamlessly into the fabric of its prominent hilltop neighbourhood. Close to Rosedale and Yonge and Eglington, endless shopping, dining and cultural conveniences are only minutes away.

    The post The most expensive new condo buildings selling now in Toronto appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales, design by Jaclyn Harper

    The early aughts were defined by excess — we slathered on fake tanner, layered our polo shirts and parked gas-guzzling Hummers in the driveways of our McMansions. While the Great Recession put a damper on this excessive consumption, it wasn’t until 2016 that the median size of a single-family home in the US began to shrink, albeit ever so slightly.

    Back in 1975, the typical new single-family home floorplan averaged 1,660 square feet, according to data from the United States Census Bureau. New home sizes peaked in 2015 when the median hit 2,740 square feet and have been falling ever since. Zillow predicts this trend will continue into 2020 and beyond, as buyer demographics shift along with housing preferences. 

    Here we break down the five key reasons behind America’s shrinking new single-family homes.

    1. Millennials prefer walkable communities with urban amenities

    Photo: James Bombales

    Millennials are house hunting in neighborhoods where they can ditch their vehicles for their own two feet. A 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors® found that 62 percent of Millennials would be willing to give up square footage if it enabled them to walk to urban amenities like stores, restaurants, parks and transit. 

    2. Today’s buyers can’t afford the McMansions of yesteryear

    Photo: James Bombales

    Let’s face it, big homes come with big mortgages. As younger buyers struggle to scrape together downpayments and compete for starter homes, those spacious suburban homes built in previous decades become more and more out of reach. McMansions, which typically range from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, are increasingly sitting on the market due to high prices and differences in generational housing preferences. 

    3. Sprawling single-family homes are less sustainable

    Photo: James Bombales

    If you’re looking to reduce your ecological footprint, downsizing your home is a good place to start. Smaller homes require fewer building materials, consume less energy and are often less expensive than their larger counterparts. Millennials value energy-efficient home features more than any other generation and will continue to fuel the demand for modestly sized homes equipped with the latest green technology.

    4. Demand is high for accessible, low-maintenance properties

    Photo: James Bombales, design by Cynthia Soda

    Baby Boomers are entering the 2020s with their own set of housing needs. Older buyers are trading in their spacious homes in the suburbs for smaller, low-maintenance properties with accessibility features — think ground floor master suites, extra-wide doorways and curbless showers. According to the 2019 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 56 percent of new construction home buyers were 40 or older, signaling an uptick in demand for personalized residences that generally require fewer repairs.

    5. Trade wars and shortages are pushing prices up

    Photo: James Bombales

    As homebuyers seek to live closer to urban centers, buildable land is becoming more scarce, and thus, more expensive. To add insult to injury, there’s an ongoing labor shortage in the construction sector and the US-China trade war has upped the prices of building materials like lumber and steel. All of these factors have contributed to higher new single-family home prices, meaning today’s buyers must settle for smaller, more affordable homes than those purchased in previous decades.

    The post 5 reasons why new single-family homes are shrinking in 2020 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Jose Soriano/Unsplash

    The Vancouver housing market continued to blow its disappointing early year results out of the water with a strong finish to 2019.

    There were 2,016 homes sold in the Greater Vancouver Area last month, an 88 percent spike over December 2018’s total and 9.5 percent higher than the 10-year sales average for the month.

    But according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), which released its December data today, the strength displayed by the market in the second half of the year was not enough to offset the sluggishness that characterized early 2019.

    While the total number of homes sold through the year was up slightly from 2018’s total, 2019 remained a well below average year for the Vancouver housing market. The year’s 25,351 home sales came in significantly below the market peak in 2017, when 35,993 homes were sold across the region.

    “Home buyer confidence was a factor throughout the year. In the first quarter, many prospective buyers were in a holding pattern, waiting to see how prices would react to the mortgage stress test, new taxes, and other policy changes,” said REBGV President Ashley Smith. “Confidence started to return in the summer, and we saw above average sales in the final quarter of 2019.”

    This renewed buyer confidence is expected to continue into 2020, with sales activity projected to remain above long-term averages which will boost home prices. Vancouver prices posted steady declines in 2019 when compared to 2018 figures, but there are signs this trend is beginning to reverse. Prices for all major housing types tracked by REBGV (detached, condo apartment and attached) increased in December over the previous month.

    Vancouver home buyers have had to contend with the most unaffordable housing market in Canada for years now. Even as prices declined through the last two years, the market remained extremely unaffordable for the average home buyer. With prices promising to continue their march upward again in 2020, it seems that even this modest reprieve for buyers is coming to an end.

    The post Vancouver home sales post huge 88 percent increase in December appeared first on Livabl.


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    For many metropolises around the world, the subway system acts as the arteries, carrying hundreds of people across the city every minute.

    While the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway lines aren’t the same spaghetti-like maze of London’s underground or New York City’s MTA, they play a vital role in moving us to and from the downtown core. For any prospective downtown Toronto dweller, proximity to a TTC subway station is a hot-ticket item.

    If you’re one of the thousands of daily TTC subway riders, these future new construction condo projects might provide you with the transportation accessibility you’re hoping for.

    The One

    Developer: Mizrahi Developments
    Nearest TTC station: Bloor-Yonge
    Priced from: $2,219,900

    Smack-dab in the middle of Yorkville, The One is situated on one of the city’s most well-known intersections, and is close to the busiest TTC subway station. With construction expected to wrap up in early 2023, this Mizrahi Developments’ creation will also break records as one of Canada’s tallest buildings, topping out at 85 storeys. Future residents can indulge in the building’s luxury amenities, including a tree-lined garden terrace, infinity pool and professional concierge service.

    Via Bloor

    Developer: Tridel
    Nearest TTC stations: Sherbourne and Castle Frank
    Priced from: $1,197,000

    Nestled at the top of Parliament Street, Via Bloor provides the convenience of two nearby Bloor-line subway stations. Get your heart racing in the fourth-floor amenity facility, complete with a spin room, fitness centre and whirlpools. Or, if you’re in the mood to socialize, these two towers also provide party room space and outdoor lounges to admire the city views from.

    Panda Condos

    Developer: Lifetime Developments
    Nearest TTC station: Dundas
    Priced from: $1,769,900

    Dundas Square is regarded as the mini Times Square of Toronto, with its perimeter of digital billboards and permanent tourists. Future residents of the 30-storey Panda Condos will be arm’s length from Toronto’s unofficial city centre, including the Eaton Centre, Cineplex and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre.

    The Saint

    Developer: Minto Communities Canada
    Nearest TTC station: Queen
    Priced from: TBA

    Rising 47 storeys above Church and Adelaide, The Saint puts you within walking distance of restaurants, bars and boutique shopping. Focused on health and wellbeing, the amenities in this building provide a retreat to decompress from the chaos of downtown. In the wellness centre, you’ll find a communal rain chromatherapy room, private spa room, and a meditation room complete with a salt rock wall.

    The United Bldg. Condos

    Developer: Davpart
    Nearest TTC station: St. Patrick
    Priced from: $582,990

    This amenity-rich building provides plenty to do on Dundas Street and University Avenue. For the sports fanatic or game enthusiast, there’s an indoor golf simulator, video game room, sports lounge with billiards and a bocce court. If your hobbies are more wellness-focused, there’s a sauna, yoga deck and fitness centre just for you.

    The Point at Emerald City

    Developer: Elad Canada
    Nearest TTC station: Don Mills
    Priced from: $654,900

    Arriving next summer to Sheppard Avenue and Don Mills Road, this 24-storey project is a stone’s throw away from an abundance of shops, parks and entertainment options, including Fairview Mall. Even if you’re not a committed TTC commuter, Highway 404, the 401, and the Don Valley Parkway are right at your doorstep.

    Y&S Condos

    Developer: Tribute Communities
    Nearest TTC station: Eglinton
    Priced from: $471,990

    If downtown isn’t your speed, try midtown. Y&S is situated just south of the popular Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue intersection, known for its shopping and dining options. Even if you want to stay in for the night, this 36-storey project comes packed with over 15,000 square feet of amenity space, including a media room, fitness centre and outdoor terrace.

    Pearl Place Condos

    Developer: The Conservatory Group
    Nearest TTC stations: North York Centre and Sheppard-Yonge
    Priced from: $579,900

    This 34-storey building is right in the heart of the North York City Centre. On foot, you can find a ton of restaurants, greenspaces and the Sheppard Centre. Close to both the North York Centre and Sheppard-Yonge stations, Pearl Place Condos puts you conveniently in proximity to Line 4 and Line 1.

    Bijou on Bloor Condos

    Developer: Plaza
    Nearest TTC station: Jane
    Priced from: $562,000

    In Bloor West Village, this 12-storey building is waiting to break ground on Bloor Street and Kingsway. Admire views of downtown from the outdoor terrace, or take a breather in one of the lounges. If you’re looking to go farther afield, there’s restaurants, yoga studios and cafes waiting to be tried.

    Linx Condos

    Developer: Tribute Communities and Greybrook Realty Partners
    Nearest TTC station: Main Street
    Priced from: $518,990

    For those who wish to enjoy the benefits of downtown, but not the hustle and bustle, Linx Condos provides a compromise. Steps from the Main Street TTC station and Danforth GO, this 27-storey building is close to an abundance of commuter-friendly transportation options. Within walking distance, you’ll also find everyday essentials, including banks, Shoppers Drugmart, Sobeys and Canadian Tire.

    The post 10 new construction Toronto condos selling now near major TTC stations appeared first on Livabl.


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    new-home-construction-low-rise Photo: James Bombales

    When it came to home sales, the Toronto housing market revved back to life last year after a weak 2018 and plodding start to 2019. As many homebuyers stepped off the sidelines throughout the year and provided the market with a shot of adrenaline, there was one important marker of housing health that still lagged — home building.

    New home construction declined in 2019 across Ontario, with the province’s major markets — Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau — seeing sharp drops in housing starts as builders took a breather following a frenzy of activity in 2017 and 2018.

    But just as 2020 is expected to be another busy year for sales in the reinvigorated Toronto housing market, economists are also anticipating a rebound in home building. In fact, according to Central 1 Credit Union economist Edgard Navarrete, the steep decline in home building in Toronto and across other Ontario markets in 2019 will be looked back on as simply “a blip on the radar” with strong activity resuming for 2020 and beyond.

    In a Central 1 Housing Forecast for Ontario published at the end of the year, Navarrete wrote that 2019’s weak numbers can be chalked up to the strength of the preceding years and a delayed reaction to federal government policy that cooled demand in the housing market.

    “The new homes market’s delayed response is not surprising given the nature of new home construction,” wrote Navarrete.

    “Builders usually sell new units several years before a project breaks ground. Therefore, the activity seen in 2017 and 2018 was not indicative of new housing demand in those periods but several periods back when the market was unaffected by trade tensions and policy shocks. Only recently, has sluggish new housing demand caught up with the market as home builders bring fewer projects to market.”

    The economic forces that gave home sales the spark they needed in 2019 will allow builders to boost home construction this year. The Toronto region’s population will continue to put up strong growth numbers for the foreseeable future while government policy is expected to bolster home building through increased investment aimed at expanding housing supply and tackling affordability issues.

    Looking at Ontario as a whole, Navarrete expects that there will be 74,100 housing starts in 2020, a 6.8 percent increase from 2019’s total of 69,400. This will be followed by a further 6.2 percent increase to 78,700 starts in 2021 before a projected downtick of 0.9 percent to 78,000 starts in 2022.

    If these predictions from Central 1 come to fruition, it will mean homebuilding activity from 2020 to 2022 will essentially mirror activity from 2016 to 2018, giving credence to Navarrete’s characterization of 2019’s slow pace as “a blip on the radar.”

    The post Home building in Toronto will rebound this year after slower 2019 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Perhaps the biggest draw of living in Los Angeles (aside from the occasional celebrity sightings) is the near perfect year-round weather. Even in January, while the rest of the country is bundled up in scarves and puffy winter coats, Angelenos can be found soaking up the sun amid 70-degree temperatures.

    If you’re shopping for a new construction condo or apartment in the City of Angels, an outdoor pool is likely high on your list of desired amenities. Whether you prefer lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand or swimming laps for your morning workout, these seven luxury residences have just what you need in a rooftop oasis.

    1. The Residences at the West Hollywood EDITION

    Developers: Ian Schrager and Witkoff Group 

    Completed: September 2019

    Priced from: $5,460,000

    If it’s a luxury hotel-branded residence, you know the pool is going to be absolutely spectacular. The Residences at the West Hollywood EDITION deliver on that promise with a private landscaped rooftop pool that offers sweeping city views. Chill out on a lounge chair underneath the shade of a pergola or post up at the outdoor bar with an integrated barbecue.

    2. Vica Silver Lake

    Developers: Barth Partners and Barry Leddy Developments 

    Est. completion: 2020

    Contact for pricing

    Vica’s pool terrace is the perfect spot for people watching as it’s perched just above Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Silver Lake. A private staircase connects the terrace to a ground-floor retail space below, where residents can order food and drinks from a dedicated window.

    3. Pendry Hotel and Residences

    Developers: Combined Properties and Aecom Capital

    Est. completion: 2020

    Priced from: $3,000,000

    Pendry Residences West Hollywood by Montage Hotels & Resorts boasts an owners-only rooftop pool deck with vintage-inspired umbrellas and panoramic views of LA. Room service isn’t limited to hotel guests — owners can order from the Wolfgang Puck-developed menu and have it delivered poolside.

    4. Reflections of LA – Four Seasons Private Residences Los Angeles

    Developer: Genton Property Group

    Est. completion: Spring 2020

    Priced from: $3,120,000

    The iconic hospitality brand lays on the luxury with a sparkling pool surrounded by private cabanas, fire pits and a soothing waterfall feature. Located in the residence’s open-air courtyard, it’s a secluded retreat in the middle of Beverly Grove.

    5. Fairmont Residences at Century Plaza

    Developer: Woodridge Capital Partners

    Est. completion: Spring 2021

    Priced from: $1,700,000

    Now this looks like a party pool! Part of the Century Plaza restoration project, Fairmont Residences is one of two condo towers that will rise just behind the historic hotel. With plenty of loungers and umbrellas, a wrap-around bar and cozy fire pit area, it’s sure to play host to many resident gatherings.

    6. Perla on Broadway

    Developer: SCG America

    Est. completion: 2020

    Priced from: low-$400,000s

    Situated in DTLA, Perla on Broadway offers over 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities, including a landscaped rooftop terrace with an adjacent swimming pool and spa. Prepare a poolside picnic to enjoy on the open lawn space or simply kick back on one of the built-in chaises.

    7. 825 South Hill

    Developer: Onni Group of Companies

    Completed: 2019

    Priced from: $4,195 per month

    In the market for an upscale rental apartment with resort-style amenities to boot? Look no further than 825 South Hill in DTLA, which features an outdoor pool and hot tub surrounded by spacious decks, cabanas and lounge chairs. When the sun sinks down, gather around the ceramic tile-clad fireplace to warm up.

    The post 7 new construction LA condo and apartment buildings with scenic rooftop pools appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales

    After a slow start to the year, Toronto’s housing market continued to rebound and concluded 2019 on a higher note.

    The average selling price in December 2019 grew to $837,788 across the Greater Toronto Area, an almost 12 percent increase on a year-over-year basis, according to new data released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) this week. Jumping four percent from 2018, the average price for the 2019 calendar year reached $819,319.

    In December, detached homes experienced the steepest price hike, with the average price rising 11.6 percent year-over-year to $1.05 million. Condominiums had a similar price increase, marching upward by 10.4 percent to an average price of $612,464.

    The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark also saw signs of growth last month, rising 7.3 per cent year-over-year, continuing the upward acceleration that has been in play since June 2019.

    Throughout the year, condos showed some of the biggest price gains compared to other housing types. In the city of Toronto, average condo prices shot up 6.8 percent over the calendar year, and as high as 7.1 percent across the rest of the GTA. While there wasn’t much of a price surge for detached homes overall — 0.4 percent in the “416” and 1.4 percent in the “905” — the demand for single-family homes only got stronger. In the calendar year, sales for detached homes in the city increased 16 percent year-over-year and 19.7 percent for the remainder of the GTA.

    Meanwhile, GTA residential sales saw a 17.4 percent year-over-year escalation in December. Thanks to a boost in activity in the second-half of 2019, the total number of sales for the calendar year rounded out to 87,825, a 12.6 percent increase from the year prior. This brings us out of a decade-low sales slump, which dropped to 78,015 in 2018. Now, sales are on par with the median annual sales for the past decade. A newly implemented stress test and a lethargic economy led to a slow start for the 2019 market, though population growth, lower rates and a strengthening labour market helped to turn a corner post-winter.

    “As anticipated, many home buyers who were initially on the sidelines moved back into the marketplace starting in the spring,” said TREB President Michael Collins in a statement coupled with the data. “Buyer confidence was buoyed by a strong regional economy and declining contract mortgage rates over the course of the year.”

    While sales and prices are flying sky-high, the same can’t be said for the GTA’s inventory supply. The number of new listings submitted into the MLS system was down 2.4 percent year-over year. Over the last 10 years, the report highlights that the annual amount of new listings has fluctuated between 150,000 and 160,000, all the while, prices have only continued to increase. As industry voices have expressed before, future price spikes amid a low housing supply are likely to knock down market affordability.

    TREB Chief Market Analyst, Jason Mercer, notes in the report that policymakers have acknowledged that a shortage of rental housing and diverse ownership options are continuing to constrain housing affordability in the region as sales increases dominate supply.

    “Taking 2019 as an example, we experienced a strong sales increase up against a decline in supply,” stated Mercer. “Tighter market conditions translated into accelerating price growth. Expect further acceleration in 2020 if there is no relief on the supply front.”

    The post As supply dwindles, GTA home prices cap off 2019 with a price jump appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Nadine Shaabana/Unsplash

    It’s become the conventional wisdom passed on to all first-time homebuyers looking to buy in the expensive Toronto housing market: Condos are the new starter homes.

    While that may still largely ring true, Toronto condos’ affordable image took a hit in 2019 and the situation is likely to deteriorate further in 2020 in the face of strong demand and limited new supply.

    RBC Economics ended 2019 with a stark message for Toronto first-time homebuyers looking to the condo market to achieve their ownership dreams in 2020. “Condos’ affordability advantage is shrinking,” wrote RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue in the bank’s quarterly analysis of housing affordability across major Canadian markets.

    First, Hogue points out that when looking at the Toronto housing market as a whole, the affordability picture hasn’t changed much since 2017. In fact, what RBC calls its “aggregate affordability measure” declined slightly in the third quarter of 2019, meaning housing affordability in Toronto marginally improved during that time.

    To come up with its affordability measure, RBC uses total home ownership costs as a percentage of the median household income before taxes. Home ownership costs are determined by tallying the cost of mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities for an average home in the markets the bank analyzes.

    So while RBC’s affordability measure for the Toronto market is still hovering close to record levels (meaning the market is still extremely unaffordable), it has at least plateaued for several years now and even shown some modest signs of improving. This is good news for the market as a whole, but a bit deceiving when it comes to assessing the condo segment of the market.

    In his affordability report, Hogue wrote that the flat trend for the Toronto market “masked steady [affordability] deterioration for condo apartments.”

    When RBC’s affordability measure is applied only to the single-family home market segment, it has gradually declined following a major spike through 2015-2016. Since then, there has been little change. The story is very different for the condo market, with the affordability measure spiking over the last three years.

    “This is a big deal for first-time homebuyers because condos are often their more realistic option. And there’s little reprieve in sight. Recovering demand and scarce supply are poised to turn up the heat on home prices in 2020,” wrote Hogue.

    While the Toronto housing market’s affordability isn’t the worst in the country — that dubious distinction goes to Vancouver — the condo affordability trend remains concerning.

    For new condos sold in the Toronto region in 2019, the average price rose more than 10 percent to $866,827, according to the most recent data from real estate data firm Altus Group. For new condos currently on the market, the median price is $862,445, according to new home search site, BuzzBuzzHome. In Toronto’s resale market, condos saw the largest sale price increase for all housing types by far in November, the most recent month that has data available. The average condo sale price was $617,658, up 11.1 percent from November 2018.

    And, with strong population growth, low mortgage rates and expanded first-time homebuyer support programs from the federal government all expected to impact the market this year, Toronto condo prices will maintain their march skyward.

    The post Toronto condos are becoming less affordable for first-time homebuyers appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: TheMuuj/flickr

    For the third consecutive year, more people are moving out of The Golden State than moving in. That’s according to a new study by Atlas Van Lines, which assessed 66,308 interstate and cross-border household goods relocations from January 1, 2019 to December 13, 2019.

    Last year, the company recorded 6,442 inbound moves to California and 7,041 outbound moves from California, resulting in a net loss of 599 households. 2019 was the first year California entered the top 10 outbound states, ranking seventh on the list. Although there was a decrease in the total number of moves to and from California between 2018 and 2019, the net loss was significantly lower in 2018 at 109 households.

    California is still considered “balanced” in terms of its inbound and outbound activity, but the population growth rate has been declining steadily since 2000, according to US census data. The most popular states California residents opt to relocate to include Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon — all of which offer temperate climates and lower cost of living.

    The exodus has disproportionately affected lower and middle class Californians — those with incomes of less than $100,000 — who are struggling to keep up with rising housing costs amid low inventory levels.

    The latest figures from the California Association of Realtors indicate that the median statewide home price for November 2019 was $589,770, up 6.4 percent year-over-year. By comparison, the median statewide home price in Texas was $207,301 during the same period, making the Lone Star State all the more appealing to cash-strapped Californians.

    The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, which measures public trust in institutions, revealed that 53 percent of California residents are considering moving out of state due to the high cost of living. Among Millennials, 63 percent are toying with the idea of relocating.

    If these trend patterns continue and affordability declines even further, California dreamin’ may be reserved for the wealthy in the not too distant future.

    The post High housing costs continued to push Californians out of state in 2019 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Sigmund / Unsplash

    While last year’s housing market took its time getting off the ground, 2020 could tell a different story.

    Hopeful buyers are continuing to step back into the real estate ring after a period of adjustment against the federal government’s mortgage stress test, which was introduced in 2018.

    In a Royal LePage House Price Survey released today, aggregate home prices across Canada were reported to have increased by 2.2 percent year-over-year for Q4 2019, up to $648,544, as more buyers proceeded to move out of the wings.

    In what was considered one of the biggest national housing market corrections since the 2008 Great Recession, the mortgage stress test left many would-be buyers in limbo. Some waited to gauge its impact while others were pushed out of the real estate market momentarily.

    “For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home,” wrote Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, in the report.

    After a sharp dip in sales in the early phases of 2019, things finally turned a corner in the third and fourth quarter as interest rates remained low and labour markets strengthened across major cities.

    “While the drop in the number of properties bought and sold during the 2018-19 downturn was large, the value of homes in Canada held up remarkably well, with only minor, single-digit declines in the areas of Ontario and B.C. that had experienced the most aggressive price inflation in recent years, and of course those regions still suffering from a downturn in the oil and gas sector,” stated Soper.

    Should housing policies remain unchanged and economic conditions remain consistent, the Royal LePage Survey Forecast predicts prices Canada-wide will keep increasing in 2020 — 3.2 percent year-over-year to an aggregate price of $669,800.

    If demand continues to trump supply in some cities, the spring market could also be a lively one.

    Thanks to low supply and population growth, home prices continue to trend upwards in the Greater Toronto Area. While price growth was varied across the region, the aggregate price of a home increased to $843,609, a 4.8 percent boost year-over-year. Condominiums are the fastest appreciating housing type across Canada, particularly in this area, where median condominium prices jumped by 7.8 percent year-over-year to $565,919. By comparison, two-storey homes increased by 4.4 percent to $982,944, and bungalow prices hiked upwards by 2.4 percent to a median price of $806,977.

    Photo: James Bombales

    Similarly, low inventory and a smaller rental market in Ottawa is driving up prices there. Bungalows were a hot-ticket item in Q4, with median prices spiking 10.1 percent year-over-year to $501,195.

    “Ottawa’s real estate market saw healthy sales activity through December,” wrote Kent Browne, broker and owner of Royal LePage TEAM Realty. “If demand continues to outstrip supply, we expect to see further price growth this spring.”

    An active spring market is predicted for Montreal too, which just saw its strongest appreciation rate in a decade — the aggregate home price reached $433,993, up 6.3 percent year-over-year.

    “We are currently in a ‘perfect storm’ for an exceptionally competitive spring market: interest rates are low; employment rates are healthy; listing inventory is limited; and, all buyer segments are active, including first-time buyers, baby boomers, newcomers and foreign buyers,” stated Dominic St-Pierre in the report, the vice president and general manager of Royal LePage in the Quebec region.

    Vancouver was one of the hardest hit regions when the stress test took effect, with sales showing downward momentum. The Greater Vancouver Area still showed a year-over-year descent in Q4 2019, with the aggregate price of a home dropping by 4.8 percent to $1,107,719. Though, in the previous quarter, aggregate prices declined by 5.2 percent, which tells us that the market could be heading into recovery as sales volume inclines and inventory decreases.

    “We’re likely to see some moderate price growth after last year’s decline in prices,” wrote Randy Ryalls, general manager of Royal LePage Sterling Realty. “The window of opportunity for buyers to get a deal is closing quickly for most typical buyers. There remain some excellent opportunities in the luxury market.”

    The post Canada’s 2020 spring housing market could face a “perfect storm” appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo by Sam Ellis on Unsplash

    Zillow’s Q4 2019 Home Price Expectations Survey paints a less than rosy picture of California’s housing market. More than 100 US economists and real estate experts shared their predictions for home value growth in 2020, and six of the top 10 markets expected to under-perform are located in The Golden State. 

    If these predictions prove to be accurate, several of California’s priciest markets will be unable to sustain their sky-high valuations. San Francisco holds the title of most likely to under-perform, with 64 percent of panel experts in agreeance. San Jose was next on the list with 61 percent of panelists saying they expect the market to under-perform, followed by Los Angeles at 55 percent, Sacramento at 52 percent and Riverside at 47 percent.

    “Having subjected buyers to a crucible of fierce competition for multiple years, many West Coast markets hit an affordability ceiling that set off declining home values in the most expensive of these,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research. “Indeed, this price correction — a clap back from having appreciated with too much exuberance in the recent past — pushes many previously hot markets to the bottom of our experts’ list.”

    While some of these markets are expected to simply under-perform when compared to the national average (at a projected appreciation rate of 2.8 percent), a select few will see home values dip below their 2019 levels.

    Fifty-seven percent of panelists believe home values will fall in San Francisco and 50 percent predict the same outcome for San Jose. Los Angeles fared slightly better at 38 percent, followed by 29 percent in San Diego and Riverside, and 24 percent in the capital, Sacramento.

    All this is potentially good news for buyers seeking relief from rising home prices. With favorable mortgage rates and lower valuations, 2020 could be the right time to dip your toe into the market.

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    Photo: Mohammadali F./Flickr

    Home prices were on the decline all year in the Vancouver market and housing is now at its most affordable level since 2015. You won’t find many average Vancouver house hunters celebrating though.

    In a recent report, RBC said that while affordability “continued to brighten” for buyers in the Vancouver area, owning a home is “still way out of reach for the average local buyer.”

    RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue wrote that the bank’s quarterly affordability measure fell to 77.3 percent for 2019’s third quarter, down two percentage points since the previous reading and the lowest reading since late 2015.

    The bank tracks housing markets across Canada and releases a quarterly assessment of their affordability based on a calculation that looks at average home ownership costs as a percentage of the median household income in each city. A reading of 77.3 percent means the average cost of homeownership is equal to 77.3 percent of the median household income for the Vancouver region.

    Looking at 34 years of historical data, the long-term average of the RBC affordability measure for Vancouver is about 60 percent. However, the measure has not sunk this low since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. It peaked well above 80 percent through 2017 and early 2018 before steadily declining to its current level.

    Vancouver has held the unenviable distinction of “Canada’s most unaffordable market” for years and even this recent gradual decline in property prices hasn’t affected the market’s stranglehold on this title.

    The new year has not brought with it any encouraging signs that more substantial affordability relief is on the horizon for average homebuyers in the region. In fact, it’s brought the opposite.

    “[U]nfortunately for [homebuyers], odds are the market won’t get much more affordable in the period ahead. A strong rebound in activity since spring will soon put prices on an upward trajectory,” wrote RBC’s Hogue.

    As the year drew to a close, signs have indeed already emerged that the home price decline trend is beginning to reverse. In a news release earlier this month, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver President Ashley Smith noted that homebuyer confidence began returning to the market through the summer and spiked through the fall, leading to above average home sales in the region.

    And now with sales rebounding, prices are beginning to follow suit. According to the latest data, prices for all major housing types tracked by REBGV (detached, condo apartment and attached) increased in December over the previous month.

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    Vancouver is well-known for its walkability and pedestrian-friendly nature, though that doesn’t diminish the sought-after convenience that is living close to the SkyTrain.

    If you’re looking for a quick port to get to work or downtown, one of these Vancouver new construction condo projects close to the light rail might work for you.

    1. Coco Oakridge

    Developer: Keltic Canada Development
    Nearest station: Oakridge 41st Avenue
    Priced from: $819,900

    Showcasing expansive windows and a modern, linear design, Coco Oakridge is a solid concrete building. Select residences will include patios that offer views of the North Shore Mountains or a southern exposure. Upgrade to a penthouse suite and you can enjoy views of Oakridge and beyond from this six-storey project on Alberta Street.

    2. Park Station

    Developer: L&A Real Estate Investment Ltd.
    Nearest station: Langara-49th Avenue
    Priced from: $589,900

    Roll out the front door, jump on the Canada Line and reach downtown Vancouver in 12 minutes from this midrise on Cambie Street. If you’d prefer to stick to the neighbourhood, Tisdall Park is directly across the street, as is the Oakridge Centre, where you’ll find popular retailers, restaurants and a Safeway.

    3. Cambie + King Edward

    Developer: Tianco Group
    Nearest station: King Edward
    Priced from: $595,800

    A minute’s walk from King Edward Station, Cambie + King Edward is situated on the far east side of the South Cambie neighbourhood. Just south of the six-storey project is Queen Elizabeth Park, the perfect spot to spend a summer afternoon walking through the gardens, playing a round of putt-putt or feeding the ducks.

    4. Reside

    Developer: Marcon
    Nearest station: Marine Drive
    Priced from: $1,305,900

    Recently completed on West 63rd Avenue, Reside’s all-concrete construction exhibits contemporary architecture. Inside, the residences exude the same level of modernity — champagne bronze fixtures, herringbone hardwood floors and built-in USB charging ports deliver the finishing touches to these luxe interiors.

    5. 8X On The Park

    Developer: Brenhill Developments
    Nearest station: Yale-Roundhouse
    Priced from: $3,189,900

    Luxury finishes don’t go amiss in this 35-storey project rising on Richards Street — kitchens are outfitted with thick marble countertops and Hansgrohe fixtures, while the bathrooms feature modern cabinetry and rain shower heads. 8X On The Park sits right next to Emery Barnes Park, and is walking distance to the swankiest Yaletown boutiques, restaurants and cafes.

    6. The Butterfly

    Developer: Westbank
    Nearest station: Vancouver City Centre
    Priced from: $3,900,000

    Soon to become one of Vancouver’s tallest buildings, this airy, 57-storey highrise on Nelson Street will wrap up construction in early 2022. Located between Davie Village and downtown Vancouver, The Butterfly is walking distance to all the trimmings of an urban lifestyle — restaurants, shopping and art galleries.

    7. The Smithe

    Developer: Boffo Developments Ltd.
    Nearest station: Stadium-Chinatown
    Priced from: $2,988,900

    Centrally located in the arts and entertainment district, The Smithe is surrounded by an ample selection of galleries, shops and eateries. With construction expected to wrap up this summer, the residences in this 26-storey tower will include upwards of 1,000 square feet of living space, nine-foot ceilings and natural stone floors.

    8. The Paramount

    Developer: Keltic Canada Development
    Nearest station: Richmond-Brighouse
    Priced from: $470,900

    Inside and out, The Paramount hosts an abundance of lifestyle, fitness and entertainment conveniences. The 15-storey project delivers over 12,000 square feet of amenity space, including a children’s learning centre, whiskey and wine tasting room, outdoor entertainment lounge and esports gaming room. From its central Richmond location, The Paramount is also close to boutique shopping, fine dining and cafes.

    The post 8 new construction condo projects now selling near major SkyTrain stations appeared first on Livabl.


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    Mississauga Toronto condo prices

    Photo: James Bombales

    New year, no vacancy. Renters in cities across Ontario will spend another year struggling to find rental housing as prices continue to rise in the face of tight market conditions.

    In 2019, the vacancy rate was 1.6 percent and it will likely drop further through 2020 to a near record low of 1.5 percent, according to Central 1 Credit Union economist Edgard Navarrete. For context, the vacancy rate for Ontario’s rental market averaged 2.6 percent between 1991 and 2018.

    In his 2019-2022 housing forecast published at the end of 2019, Navarrete noted that the province has seen a substantial uptick in completed new rental units over the last three years. Through the same 1991 to 2018 period, the average number of new rental units added to the market was 1,500. From 2017 to 2019, the average increased to 7,000 units.

    The trouble is that increase still doesn’t satisfy the demand for rentals in some of the province’s most competitive markets, especially Toronto, which is said to have the worst rental supply deficit in Canada.

    “Government investments in rental housing will continue to add to the rental universe but expect [the province’s] rental vacancy rate to remain stubbornly lower than the long-term average due to continued strong demand from immigrants settling in Ontario and existing renters opting to remain in rental longer until they have a sufficient down payment to qualify for a mortgage loan,” wrote Navarrete in the Central 1 Housing Forecast.

    Unfortunately, the main takeaway here for Ontario renters is monthly rents will continue to climb above inflation as long as this sharp disparity exists between rental supply and persistent demand. Navarrete singles out Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, London, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo and Hamilton as markets where rental prices will log especially steep increases and bidding wars will keep intensifying. These cities will feel the strain on their rental markets particularly acutely because they are set to absorb the most new residents to the province.

    There is hope for a rental unit supply uptick in the next few years, but for those looking for a new rental this year, it’s unlikely to offer much relief. The provincial government under Premier Doug Ford rolled back the rent control measures introduced by the Wynne Liberal government just a couple years earlier. With more flexibility to price rental units in response to market demand, investors are more likely to see condos as a solid long-term moneymaker and purchase units to add to the rental market.

    These investor-owned condos are known as the “secondary rental market” since they are not built for the sole purpose of being added to the rental pool. Purpose-built rental units are known as the primary rental market.

    The caveat is that the positive market changes this policy shift from the Ford government intended to inspire won’t be felt for at least a few years.

    “If we see a large number of investors entering the market today, with the average completion time of high-density housing such as condo apartments anywhere from two to three years from the time shovels hit the ground, it wouldn’t be until after 2022 when the increased rental market supply will alleviate some of the pressures from the primary rental market,” wrote Navarrete.

    The post Ontario’s rental vacancy rate is starting 2020 at a near record low appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Mondo Mascots/Twitter

    Mascots are a full-on cultural obsession in Japan. Nail salons, tourism agencies, rock bands, police stations, film festivals, car dealerships and more tout their own cartoonish characters — known as yuru-kyara — in the name of entertainment and self-promotion. 

    Sanpuku real estate agency’s mascot, Madori-kun, is a wrestler with a studio apartment floorplan for a face. Donning black briefs and a spandex bodysuit, Madori-kun has faced a few beatdowns in the ring and there are pictures to prove it

    Photo: Mondo Mascots/Twitter

    While the idea behind the mascot design is incredibly creative, the floorplan itself is total garbage. It lacks a toilet, kitchen, closet space — not to mention that awkward nose hallway leading to nowhere. As a studio dweller myself, I would advise against such an inefficient layout.

    And if I had to place a bet on a fight between Madori-kun and Japan’s most infamous mascot, Chiitan (a badly-behaved “0-year-old fairy baby”), I would pick the genderless otter any day of the week. Madori-kun just doesn’t seem like he has the fighting spirit in him. He’s a floorplan, after all. 

    The post This Japanese wrestler is the mascot of a real estate agency and features a floorplan for a face appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    While it remains to be seen where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will ultimately settle, Los Angeles and Vancouver seem to be the most likely candidates for the royal couple and their young son, Archie. 

    Markle is no stranger to the LA real estate market — the Duchess of Sussex grew up in La La Land and, in 2011, settled into a stately, colonial-style rental in the Hancock Park neighborhood with her ex-husband, Trevor Engelson. 

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The light-filled two-story residence, which Markle called home for two years, has been on the market since August and underwent a $49,000 price cut in September. Today, the status of the home changed from ‘for sale’ to ‘contingent,’ signaling that an offer has been accepted by the seller.

    We doubt Markle would have purchased her former digs (it would take a heck of a lot of sage to banish the bad breakup juju in there), but the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is absolutely charming.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The first floor features a spacious living room with a natural stone surround fireplace. The space is open to the formal dining area, which then flows out to a covered patio by way of French doors. There’s an enclosed family room off the living room — the perfect kid-friendly space where messes can be hidden behind closed doors.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The kitchen and breakfast area are rather tight, not all that surprising for a home that was built in 1924, but we imagine Markle made the most of it as an avid cook. The galley kitchen boasts quartz countertops, two stainless steel ranges, brass hardware and bright white cabinetry. Off the breakfast area is a full bathroom and laundry space, which repeats many of the same design elements featured in the kitchen.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    Heading upstairs, you’ll find four nearly identically-sized bedrooms in each corner. Two of the bedrooms share a full bathroom, which comes equipped with a double vanity. The wall-to-wall subway tile is slightly overwhelming, but overall the style feels fresh and modern — we’re particularly keen on the patterned floor.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The master bedroom is moody and dramatic (fitting for Hollywood types), with a good-sized closet and ensuite bath. A floor-to-ceiling backsplash of gray and white tiles laid in a herringbone pattern serves as the focal point, but competes for attention with the marble flooring. There are several gilded touches, like the pentagon-shaped mirrors, faucets and shower frame.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The adjacent L-shaped bedroom could function as a guest bedroom or home office, as it offers a smaller reach-in closet behind mirrored doors. Outside, there’s a large grassy lawn with a paved area for alfresco dining and a driveway that leads to a freestanding two-car garage.

    Photo: The Bienstock Group

    The rare colonial may be historic in its own right, but few LA homes can also claim ties to the royal family.

    The post Meghan Markle’s former $1.75 million LA home may finally have a buyer appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

    For buyers looking to purchase a home in the Greater Toronto Area, prices in their preferred cities may have jumped more than their annual take-home pay over the last year.

    It’s no secret that the GTA real estate market took its time getting off the ground in 2019. Climbing up from a decade-low sales record in 2018 and adapting to the effects of the federal mortgage stress test, 2019 was a bounce back year for one of Canada’s most popular markets. Low interest rates and a population increase, among other factors, boosted buyer demand in the third and fourth quarters, setting home prices on an incline to a 4 percent year-over-year increase and resulting in an average GTA home price of $819,319 for 2019. Now, we’re getting a better look at how much these price gains have eclipsed household earnings.

    Canadian real estate brokerage, Zoocasa, released their findings today in a report that compares 2019 median home prices and increases across seven GTA regions and their municipalities with local post-tax incomes. The report uses median home prices from the Toronto Real Estate Board and measures them against median after-tax income data from Statistics Canada to demonstrate how home values have grown parallel to regional household earnings.

    Of all of the GTA regions, the City of Toronto experienced the most drastic median home price increase to income comparison, as price gains were almost proportionate to a year of after-tax income. Median home prices were said to have increased by 8 percent year-over-year to $720,000, a $55,000 difference that equals 94 percent of the median Toronto resident’s post-tax earnings of $58,264.

    Central Toronto saw the steepest price contrasts — median prices increased by 9 percent from the year prior to $705,800, a $55,800 difference that accounts for 96 percent of a local household’s total median wages. The city’s outer communities felt less of an impact. Toronto West saw an 8 percent price jump to $715,000, which is a $55,000 increase and about 94 percent of after-tax earnings. Similarly, Toronto East prices rose by 6 percent to a median price of $740,000, up $45,000 and proportional to 77 percent of median post-tax income.

    Seeing the second-highest price increases in the GTA, Peel Region ranked below Toronto, as median prices jumped by 6 percent year-over-year. With a new median price of $700,000, the $40,000 dollar price difference accounts for 53 percent of household incomes, post-tax.

    Luckily for the GTA’s most northern municipalities, where prices tended to increase the least, price growth consumed less of regional incomes, proportionally speaking. Simcoe County saw the smallest median price hikes in the GTA with a price growth of just 2 percent, bumping median home prices up to $588,250 — the $13,250 price difference accounted for just 20 percent of the local median after-tax income of $67,022. Simcoe’s rural Adjala-Tosorontio Township saw the steepest decline in home prices, which dipped by 10 percent year-over-year to $630,000, leaving a difference of $69,000 that makes up -81 percent of community wages.

    Following closely behind Simcoe County, York Region harboured a 2 percent price boost, as median home prices climbed to $850,150. The $20,150 difference constitutes 24 percent of after-tax incomes. Durham Region experienced the second-lowest price fluctuation, with median prices rising 4 percent to $580,000, a $20,000 year-over-year increase that makes up 26 percent of median earnings.

    To see the full spectrum of price hikes proportional to local after-tax incomes, check out the Zoocasa infographic below:

    The post Median home price gains in Toronto were almost as high as one year of household income in 2019 appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    When we think of the West Coast mansion, two distinct architectural styles often come to mind — either the clean, minimalist structures with white walls and plenty of marble, or the more soft-spoken mid-century modern designs, complete with natural materials and overhanging roofs.

    If you’re one to break the mould and hike back to the Victorian era, then a recently listed home in New Westminster might be just your type of mansion.

    Hitting the market this week comes 403 St. George Street, a six-bedroom, 5,840-square-foot residence in the heart of the historic Queen’s Park community, listed for $2.54 million.

    Known as the Rostrevor, this Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1890 by acclaimed Canadian architects Charles Henry Clow and Samuel McClure. Contracted for $5,000, local designer and artist Charles Murray was the first resident to live in the home. The property was later sold in the early 1900s to Walter Gilley, one of the founders of Gilley Brothers.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    While the home was restored significantly after the 1990s following a period of disarray, 403 St. George Street still holds on to its classic late 18th-century charm.

    From the curb, the three-storey residence is like a Barbie Dreamhouse come to life, with its cross gabled roof and rosey pink exterior. The 12,600-square-foot corner lot is home to the oldest monkey puzzle tree in Western Canada, according to the listing. A few circular hedges dot the lawn here and there as the front path leads you up to a covered Victorian porch. The front double doors showcase colourful stained glass windows — a number of windows throughout the home contain original stained glass work by Bloomfield & Sons. The foyer greets you with a fireplace (one of five throughout the residence), a multi-level staircase and original hardwood floors.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    The formal living room exhibits intricate millwork on the fireplace mantel and wood trim throughout, partnered with a large bay window overlooking the front lawn. In the adjacent room, a domed chandelier hangs above a formal dining space, which is big enough to host all of your evening dinner parties in.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    The kitchen has been updated with modern stainless steel appliances, but retains many of its historic features. A custom kitchen island and warm wooden cabinetry sit below a beamed ceiling. To the left of the fridge, French doors lead out to a private paved courtyard where you can enjoy a spot of tea.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    Upstairs, the master bedroom has its own private lounge space and dressing area, which wouldn’t go amiss without a bay window and open fireplace. No floral wallcoverings or ornate patterns here — the bedroom walls have been kept pretty calm and neutral.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    Showers in the home didn’t take off in popularity until the 19th-century, but this home pays tribute to the golden days of baths with adorable freestanding clawfoot tubs. In the master ensuite bathroom, a modern shower is accompanied by a traditional pedestal sink, a chandelier and wall-to-wall wainscoting.

    Photo: Sutton Group-West Coast Realty (Surrey/24)

    Whether you’re looking for the perfect setting to write your next work of Gothic horror fiction, or simply a home with historical flare, 403 St. George Street packs a regal punch — Victorian ghosts not included.

    The post This pink New Westminster mansion is the 18th-century version of Barbie’s Dreamhouse appeared first on Livabl.


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    Santa Monica is experiencing somewhat of a new construction apartment building boom. And while most of these planned units will go for several thousand dollars per month, the beachside city has long required developers to reserve 30 percent of their units for affordable housing. If you’re not quite ready to move out of your current rental, but are curious to see what’s on the horizon, check out these five new construction apartment buildings that are scheduled for completion within two years.

    1. The Millennium Santa Monica

    Developer: The Dinerstein Companies
    Location: 2930 Colorado Avenue
    Est. completion date: Spring 2020

    This Mid-City development will put future residents within walking distance of the Expo Line’s 26th Street/Bergamot Station in addition to the 17-acre Water Garden business complex, home to several major media and technology companies. Featuring studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as multi-level townhomes, Millennium promises an elevated living experience and a long list of amenities, including a multi-level pool deck, poolside aqua lounge, fully-equipped fitness center, spacious outdoor courtyards and a rooftop sky deck.

    2. The Park

    Developers: KRE Capital LLC and Witkoff Group
    Location: 500 Broadway
    Est. completion date: 2021

    Construction at The Park is well underway and will bring 249 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to a bustling corner of the city that’s mere blocks from the beach. As if that weren’t enticing enough, Downtown Santa Monica Station is a stone’s throw away, as are a myriad of brand-name stores, tasty restaurants and watering holes. The Park will connect with the surrounding neighborhood via public plazas and 55,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

    3. Catherine Santa Monica

    Developer: Century West Partners
    Location: Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue
    Est. completion date: 2020

    Phase 2 of Catherine Santa Monica will deliver 90 upscale apartments, resort-style amenities and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space to the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue. The design-forward interiors will be defined by wood plank-style flooring, quartz countertops, European-inspired cabinetry, brass hardware and custom tile backsplashes. The building is pet-friendly and will boast several outdoor amenity spaces, like a landscaped roof deck with lounge seating and a cozy fire pit, as well as a courtyard with a pool and barbecues.

    4. Santa Monica & Yale


    Developer: LaTerra Development
    Location: Santa Monica Boulevard and Yale Street
    Est. completion date: Summer 2020

    A colorful collection of 50 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments is coming soon to Mid-City. Currently under construction, Santa Monica & Yale will offer an extensive array of amenities, rooftop decks and 10,337 square feet of commercial space at the ground level. A five-minute walk will put future residents along a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that’s dotted with diverse eateries like Milo & Olive, Pacific Dining Car, Malbec Argentinean Cuisine and Casa Escobar.

    5. 1550 Lincoln Boulevard

    Developer: WS Communities
    Location: 1430 5th Street
    Est. completion date: TBD, under construction

    Also under construction is 1550 Lincoln Boulevard, an architectural beauty that will feature 100 units spread out over five stories. Prospective residents will be able to choose from one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, plus live-work lofts. Expect a rooftop pool deck, open-air courtyards, plenty of underground parking and 13,800 square feet of commercial space. 1550 Lincoln Boulevard is ideally located within walking distance of daily conveniences like Vons and CVS, in addition to local favorites such as Bodega Wine Bar and Solidarity.

    The post 5 new construction rentals coming soon to Santa Monica appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: James Bombales

    I might be a little (okay, maybe a lot) biased, but Culver City is a great place to live. The secret’s out on the formerly sleepy Westside neighborhood and corporate giants like Apple, Amazon and HBO are moving in. Its central location, access to transit, top-rated public schools and exciting culinary scene have made it a desirable locale for young professionals and families. 

    The surge of incoming workers is likely to bring with it an increased demand for rentals. In an effort to diversify the current housing stock, the Culver City Council approved an ordinance on January 13th to decrease the size requirements for studio apartments. The current minimum of 500 square feet has been reduced to just 350 square feet, which allows for the introduction of “micro-units” — apartments that typically measure under 400 square feet and feature space-saving furniture such as Murphy beds and drop leaf tables.

    The number of parking spaces required has also been reduced to 0.5 per micro-unit. No, this doesn’t mean you have to drive a Smart car or Vespa scooter to live in a micro-unit, it simply permits the developer to provide fewer parking spaces overall. In Culver City’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) District, parking will no longer be a requirement at all — the assumption here is that residents will trade in their cars for TAP cards (it’s totally doable, I promise).

    Photo by Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash

    The Council also voted to nix private open space requirements for studio micro-units, which sounds bad on paper but will likely result in a lot of swanky rooftop amenity spaces due to this clause: “A minimum of 100 square feet of common open space per unit shall be required, of which 100% may be located on the rooftop.” I would happily live in a shoebox if it granted me access to a pool with a view!

    A 2015 study by the Urban Land Institute found that micro-units lease for 20 to 30 percent less than conventional apartments, making them a viable alternative for rent-burdened singles or those seeking to move out on their own. That being said, micro-units in Culver City are a new commodity that will have to be constructed from the ground up. And new construction rentals fetch much higher prices than their older counterparts. 

    So while a micro-unit for $1,800 might be a “good deal” in contrast to a $3,200 one-bedroom, if you look outside the pool of new construction rentals, you could likely score a dated, albeit more spacious apartment with an actual oven for around the same price. A solution to homelessness micro-units are not, although increasing the rental housing supply is certainly a good start.

    The post Culver City is the next LA micro-housing hotspot appeared first on Livabl.


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    Toronto sellers market
    Photo: James Bombales

    It was a busy December in housing markets across the country, suggesting that when compared to last year, not as many house hunters stayed home for the holidays. They bought them instead.

    While the nearly 23 percent increase in total Canadian home sales as reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) for the month made for an attention-grabbing figure, it was Toronto’s tight housing market that caught our eye.

    According to CREA data, the Toronto housing market found itself firmly in seller’s territory at the end of 2019, with the important sales-to-new listings ratio measuring in at 70 percent. Essentially, this means that 7 out of 10 new homes listed on the market would sell within a month.

    Typically, sales-to-new listings ratios between 40 to 60 percent reflect a balanced market. A ratio below that range indicates a market favours buyers and anything above that range benefits sellers, who can raise prices as homebuyers compete over a limited number of listings.

    And this is exactly what’s happening in Toronto right now. The market hovered around the upper end of balanced through the summer before edging into the lower end of seller’s territory late in the year. It was only recently, however, that it found itself firmly in seller’s territory, with the reading of 70 percent.

    Toronto home prices have responded to the tight market accordingly, jumping 11.7 percent in December over the same time last year. Homebuyers are likely to see more of the same through 2020 too with no supply relief in sight and competition in the tight market showing no sign of ebbing.

    “While the gaudy headline sales gain last month is flattered by soft conditions in late 2018, the current tightness of the market looks real. As a result, we expect some further upward pressure on prices in coming months,” wrote BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter in commentary published this week.

    Following the release of his organization’s December market data last week, Toronto Real Estate Board Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer shared a similar outlook for 2020.

    “Taking 2019 as an example, we experienced a strong sales increase up against a decline in supply,” said Mercer. “Tighter market conditions translated into accelerating price growth. Expect further acceleration in 2020 if there is no relief on the supply front.”

    The post Toronto homebuyers are now facing a seller’s market appeared first on Livabl.


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    Photo: Joseph Morris/Flickr

    With 12,367 units under construction across the Greater Toronto Area as of the end of 2019, the city is on the cusp of a potential rental renaissance.

    Toronto-based real estate consultancy, Urbanation, which tracks rental construction across the region, published this data today as part of its quarterly rental survey.

    In the survey, the consultancy noted that this level rental development hasn’t been observed in the city since the 1970s. In similarly encouraging news for its beleaguered rental market, Toronto also saw a massive 43 percent spike in rental apartment development approvals submitted in 2019 and a total of 57,197 rental units proposed for development by the end of the year, the highest level tracked by Urbanation in the last five years.

    Urbanation wrote that the significant spike in rental unit proposals can be linked to the November 2018 removal of rent control restrictions for new units in the province by the Ford government.

    Toronto was singled out last year as the city with “the worst rental supply deficit in Canada” so the news of this nascent rental construction boom will likely be met with both cheers and calls for more to be done.

    “[A]s anyone searching for a rental unit knows, there are too few available, and they’re getting more expensive,” wrote RBC economist Robert Hogue in a grave fall 2019 report titled “Big city rental blues: a look at Canada’s rental housing deficit.”

    In the RBC report, Hogue said that demand for rental units in Toronto will continue to grow and accelerate thanks to strong migration into the city and its suburbs, coupled with stubbornly high home ownership costs that show no signs of declining.

    While Hogue took a pessimistic view in his five-year outlook for the Toronto rental market, Urbanation President Shaun Hildebrand took a decidedly more optimistic tone in the survey.

    “2019 may be remembered as an important year in the history of the GTA rental market, as the progress made towards increasing supply could mark the beginning of a new era for rental housing development in the region,” said Hildebrand.

    “But it’s critical that this momentum continues in the years to come in order to eventually bring the market into balance.”

    The post Toronto new rental construction hits highest level since 1970s appeared first on Livabl.


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