Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.


Recession’s bright side? Happy new homebuyers

By Tony Wong – Toronto Star

Johnny Tarabay feared he would never be able to afford a home of his own.

But, after years of watching home prices rise out of reach, the 28-year-old Scarborough bachelor recently put an offer on a house in Richmond Hill, thanks to what some are calling the silver lining in the worst recession in decades: historically low interest rates.

Tarabay is one of many first-time buyers being lured into the market. The trend is backed up by a report released by the Royal Bank, which shows houses in Canada have become much more affordable in the first three months of the year, one of the biggest quarterly improvements on record.

“This has opened the door more widely to new buyers and set the stage for a real estate market rally this spring,” said RBC senior economist Robert Hogue.

“While it is still too early to wave the all-clear sign – economic uncertainty has yet to dissipate in the region – it appears the Toronto real estate market is averting the painful crash scenario,” he said.

The biggest reason: low interest rates. Following a dismal drop to a 10-year low during the fall and winter, real estate activity has bounced back this year, as buyers, particularly first-time buyers, have flocked to the real estate market, lured by low monthly payments.

In the Toronto market, said RBC, it took on average 45.9% of pre-tax household income to afford a standard bungalow, valued at $417,900, in the first quarter of this year, down from 51.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The lower the measure, the easier it is to afford a home. A standard two-storey Toronto home (valued at $494,600 in the first quarter of the year) had an affordability measure of 54.6, compared to 61.6 in the previous quarter.

That means the costs of home ownership – including mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes – account for 54.6% of a typical household’s income.

A standard condo, with an average cost of $278,000, had an affordability measure of 31.1 in the first quarter of this year, compared to 35 in the previous quarter.

Tarabay’s opportunity came a little unexpectedly after the sharp economic downturn caused stock markets to plummet and housing prices to stall in autumn.

“Before we hit the recession, I was considering what to do, but prices were really high,” said Tarabay, a custom jewellery designer and owner of Toronto-based 3 D Tech Design. “But then the economy hit the wall and it just seemed like a good time.”

Living with his parents was certainly comfortable, but Tarabay yearned for his own space.

He made an offer on a four-bedroom home near 16th Ave. and Leslie St., listed for $539,000. He was bidding against four others and still doesn’t know the outcome.

“I’m on the edge,” said Tarabay. “Considering it’s a recession, it’s been tough finding somewhere.”

He figures he has looked at more than 40 homes since the start of the year. A flurry of market activity and a lack of listings, particularly affordable ones, have sparked bidding wars in some neighbourhoods this spring and summer.

Tarabay said his pre-approved five-year mortgage rate of 3.7% means his monthly payments would be around $1,500, which is manageable for him.

He estimates that the same home would have cost more than $400 extra in monthly payments a year earlier, when five-year rates were at 5.7%.

“The way things were going in the market and given the numbers, I felt this was the best time to start moving out,” said Tarabay.

One problem for buyers is that since the RBC study was conducted in the first quarter of the year, prices and interest rates for long-term mortgages have crept up in the Toronto market.

Comment: Oh wow, mortgages are up to 4.12% for a 5-year fixed term, with variables staying the same as they were a few months ago. And prices are slowing creeping up, but only a few percent. That being said, both rates and prices will continue to rise, so the sooner people buy, the better it will be for them.

Other analysts are already cautioning that the spring and summer rally may not last into the fall, once the pool of first-time buyers is exhausted and interest rates head back up.

Comment: Are they the same analysts that said the spring market uptick would not last into the summer? Seems like they have just changed the date when they say things will go south. So if the fall stays hot, will they then predict the winter will bring about a downturn? Maybe they are the same “experts” who predicted the Toronto condo market would crash in 2003…

“The rise in mortgage rates in June is a reminder that the sizable improvement in affordability attributable to lower rates is likely behind us, and with home prices stabilizing or perhaps beginning to rise in some areas, further improvement depends on greater gains in family income,” said Hogue of RBC.

Comment: So what does the drop in mortgages in July mean?

Across Canada, the biggest improvements in affordability were in western provinces, which had seen the sharpest increases in housing prices. In Vancouver, it took 54.6% of pre-tax income to afford a standard two-storey home (valued at $632,900), down from 61.6%. In Calgary, it took 36% of pre-tax income to afford a $390,000 two-storey home, down from 42.6%.


Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information  –  416-388-1960