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Toronto Loft Conversions

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

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Tag Archives: dream home

Move-up buyers ‘paralyzed’ by high house prices

Renovations booming in face of a housing market few can now afford, economist says

Susan Pigg – Toronto Star

It’s not just first-time buyers who are finding themselves priced out of Toronto’s fast-appreciating housing market – the high price tag of properties is also starting to “paralyze” the move-up market, says a CIBC economist.

Comment: I KNOW!!! I have been saying this for years now. As houses get too pricey, it becomes too expensive to sell and move. Selling the average semi-detached for $700,000 would cost the sellers around $35,000 in various fees. Buying a detached for $1 million would add another $32,200 in land transfer tax alone. It would take $70,000 or more just to pay the fees and taxes (and the taxes are more than any commissions, trust me) to sell one house and buy another. That is a lot of money to basically throw away. Then you would need a good $200,000 down to avoid CMHC, plus mover, etc. You would need around $300,000 in liquid assets to be able to move. Some could come from the sale of your house, but that is still a lot of non-mortgage money to spend.

It’s one of the first times that a bank economist is saying publicly what Realtors have been saying quietly for the last couple of years: That homeowners are opting to stay put and renovate instead because it’s just too expensive, and stressful, to make a move in pricey urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver.

Comment: I have never been quiet!

Move up buyers
“This has major implications for the market,” Benjamin Tal, deputy-chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said in a telephone interview. “It means that the market (in booming cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary) is even tighter than it appears.”

Sure, low- to mid-range homes – under $500,000 in Toronto and under $600,000 in Vancouver – have been appreciating rapidly the last few years, says Tal, deputy-chief economist at CIBC World Markets.

But higher-end, move-up homes – $500,000 to $1.1 million – have been skyrocketing at an even faster rate, meaning that the gap has been increasingly significantly between starter home and dream home, he said in an economic note released Monday.

Comment: Which means buyers are now looking beyond first time homes and hoping to find their “forever” homes the first time. Or they just resign themselves to paying $650,000 for a first home and expecting to be there forever, never being able to move up to their dream home. And that sucks.

Condos have turned out to be an “important stabilizing force” in the housing market – not the destabilizing force many have feared – by providing a substantial supply of affordable alternatives to house ownership in major urban centres.

Comment: Be they rentals, or first homes to build equity, or using larger condos as alternatives to tradtional family homes.

The end result of the move to simply stay put has played out to dramatic effect in the Toronto market, in particular.

New listings are down while demand remains strong, fuelled by low interest rates. That’s resulted in a frenzy of bidding wars that have dramatically driven up prices in many areas of the sought-after City of Toronto and those bidding wars have been creeping recently into up-and-coming areas of the GTA still considered a reasonable commute to the core.

Comment: Look at Etobicoke where little bungalows are $500k and get bids. Or Pickering where $600,000 homes get multiple offers every week. Markham… where the new homes are being sold for $800k by the builders.

Traditionally, Canadians finish school, get a job, get married, buy a starter home, have a family and then, after some years, move up to their dream home.

“However, there are many indications that this cycle that dominated the Canadian housing market for decades, is breaking,” Tal says, with more first-time buyers locked out and price appreciation “starting to paralyze the “move up” market.”

It’s also led to a massive boom in home renovations over the last five years, says Tal: Spending on renovations now accounts for an unprecedented 46% of total residential investment in Canada.

“Renovation activity will remain robust and, in fact, might accelerate in the coming years.”

While Canadian home sales have remained relatively steady the last few years, at about 35,000 to 40,000 homes per month, “this apparent stability masks a more complex story,” notes Tal.

Sales of low- and mid-range properties have fallen “notably” while sales of higher-end properties have “advanced rapidly.” The home ownership rate of Canadians aged 25 to 35 has actually fallen from 55% in 2012 to a current level of about 50%.

Comment: That is some wonky math. How could ownership rates fall 10% in 2 years? Or did every single person turning 25 in the past 2 years rent and not buy? But that just makes the case for condos…

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

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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