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James Metcalfe's Real Estate Update September 2012

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Home prices have been driven by low-rise homes. The average home price increased by 6% but the average condo price saw a drop of 2%. This month we also provide tips on important things to look for when getting a home inspection and the responsibility of condo corporations to accomodate the needs of their residents.

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James Metcalfe's Real Estate Update September 2012

  1. 1. SEPTEMBER 2012 REAL ESTATE UPDATE The average price of a resale home in the GTA in August From a volume perspective, the month of August produced was $479,095 - a 6% increase versus the August 2011 a sizeable 12% decline in sales (6,418 transactions versus average price of $450,323. Additionally, the MLS® Home 7,330 in August 2011). The sales decline was most evident Price Index (MLS® HPI), which provides an apples-to- in the condo apartment segment (-22%) followed by semi- apples comparison of benchmark home prices from one detached homes (-13%) and detached homes (-10%). year to the next, was up by 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. Only the townhome segment managed to eke out a sales The vast majority of this price growth was driven by the volume gain (+1%) versus year ago. The soft volume low-rise home segments of the marketplace, as per the performance this summer was due to several factors, following: detached homes (+8%), semi-detached homes most notably stricter mortgage lending guidelines (which (+6%) and townhomes (+5%). Meanwhile, the condo came into effect in July) and the uncharacteristic heavy apartment segment witnessed a slight 2% decline in front-end loading of sales in 2012. Having said this, sales price on a year-over-year basis. Overall price growth was volume remains up by a solid 5% on a year-to-date basis assisted by a 5.5% decline in new listings coming onto (January thru August) versus the comparable period in the market, which resulted in robust competition among 2011 (65,899 transactions versus 62,766 last year). buyers especially in the low-rise segment. GTA AVERAGE RESALE PRICE GTA RESALE HOME SALES 8 9 10 11 12 8 9 10 11 12 $540,000 12,000 2011 2012 2011 $520,000 10,500 2012sale Home SalesGTA Resale Home Sales $500,000 9,000 $480,000 7,500 $460,000 6,000 $440,000 4,500 $420,000 3,000 $400,000 1,500 FEB APR JUN AUG OCT DEC FEB APR JUN AUG OCT DEC James Metcalfe BROKER 416-931-4161 Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Johnston & Daniel Division, Brokerage 477 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, ON M4S 2L9 | 1
  2. 2. GOOD HOME INSPECTIONS FIND WATER PROBLEMSWhen you talk to any home inspector, you will learn that for resale the pipes bringing water into your home and cast iron pipeshome buyers, it is all about finding potential water problems. that take waste water. If the basement is unfinished, itNo one wants to move into their dream home, only to discover does not cost as much to replace these pipes. If the homeleaks from the basement or roof, mould behind the walls, is finished, then it will cost much more to get behind thesewage backups from the street or toilets flooding inside the walls. A plumber once told me that if the kitchen has twohouse. Water damage is expensive to fix, both inside and outside sinks, check the piping underneath to see that one pipeyour home. joins into the second pipe before going down into the floor. If the pipes join together in the middle and then go down,That is why you need a good inspection firm. It can spot the this is a sign of poor workmanship that usually results insigns that indicate whether you may have problems now or later, clogged drains.including when renovations may have been done to cover up oldproblems. 5. Sanitary sewer backups can destroy your basement. You can get a video made of your drainage systems to seeHowever, the home inspection industry is not licensed, so you will whether there may be future problems. This $300 is wellneed to rely primarily on word of mouth. Besides your friends and worth it.relatives, ask your real estate agent and lawyer for referrals. 6. Buyers should ask sellers point blank if they have had anyAlan Carson of Toronto inspection firm Carson Dunlop gives a water leakage, and ask the seller to provide a report fromchecklist of items to look for: their home insurer confirming that no claims have been made against the property for water damage or sewage backups.1. A roof is not meant to last more than 15 years. Shingles falling Also ask the neighbours, because old outside pipes have a off and water getting into your interior walls can get expensive way of affecting other homes on the street. to repair. Some inspectors do not even go onto the roof during the inspection, so ask them how they’re checking the Ask the right questions when you have your home inspection roof. done and avoid a lot of headaches later.2. Water in the basement is usually caused by improper grading. The ground may slope towards the house, water from the roof may not drain properly into the downspouts, and the downspouts may not point away from the home. All of these issues can cause runoff against the foundation wall over many years, which later cause leaks. Any outside cracks in the concrete can also lead to water penetration. On the inside of the house, look for signs of water marks on baseboards, rust, stains or mould.3. Be wary if there has been a recent renovation in the basement. The seller may be trying to cover up existing problems without correcting them. In addition, take note if the seller has put up drywall and not upgraded the water pipes or the electrical wiring behind the drywall.4. Watch out for old plumbing, such as galvanized steel for 2 This article was contributed by Mark Weisleder, a Toronto-based real estate lawyer. Please visit him at
  3. 3. SMOKING ISSUES PLAGUE CONDO CORPORATIONSCondominium corporations have a duty to accommodate residents that the McDaniels were physically and psychologically vulnerablewho have sensitivity to second-hand cigarette smoke, according to and that they were treated by the condominium and the propertya recent decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. managers with “what can best be termed a patronizing or benignCorporations who fail in their duty may well be subject to penalties.  neglect for a period of almost three years.    ”The case involved Melanie and Matthew McDaniel, who lived in a “I accept that the (corporation’s) conduct severely diminished the39-unit condominium in Langley, B.C. Shortly after the McDaniels McDaniels’ enjoyment of the property and had a physical as welltook possession in March 2008, they experienced second-hand as significant emotional impact on them, tribunal chair Bernd ”smoke entering their unit as a result of other residents smoking Walter wrote in his decision.tobacco and marijuana on the patios and decks below their unit. Walter ordered that the corporation refrain from committing aFor the next three years, the McDaniels were involved in lengthy similar contravention in the future (even though the McDaniels hadongoing communications with the board and property manager. lost their unit to foreclosure and had moved out), but declined toMelanie suffers from severe allergic reactions to all types of smoke order that they pass a non-smoking bylaw. The condominium wasand perfumes. She was pregnant when she moved in and claims ordered to pay the McDaniels $1,118.88 for an air conditioner andher health was being seriously affected by the smoke fumes. to reimburse them for naturopathic consultations. The tribunal also ordered the condominium to pay Matthew $2,000, and MelanieMelanie kept a two-year log in which she documented some 175 $4,500, as compensation for injury to their dignity, feelings andincidents of smoke infiltration into her unit. Matthew also suffers self-respect. from chronic health issues, including diabetes and hypoglycemia,making it important that he avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.  Bradley Chaplick is a Vaughan lawyer who commented on the McDaniel case in his law firm’s blog at condominium corporation suggested that the McDanielsinstall an air conditioner, and that they attempt to get 25 per cent of Since the B.C. Human Rights Code - like that of Ontario -the owners to petition for a no-smoking bylaw. It asked residents prevails over other provincial legislation, Chaplick suggestswho smoke to be respectful of others, it wrote the owners below that condominium corporations in similar circumstances obtainthe McDaniel unit asking them not to smoke on their patios, and it medical evidence from complainants to verify that they suffer fromconsidered imposing a total smoking ban.  a disability-related need. He also recommends that discussions be held with owners to explore potential solutions, and that theNothing worked. Eventually, the McDaniels took the matter corporation ensures that the smoke infiltration is not being causedto the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, alleging that the condo by a common element deficiency. corporation failed to accommodate their complaints adequately orappropriately. While much of the case law relating to smoking in residential units has arisen in the human rights context, Chaplick writes, the factTo its credit, the condominium corporation conceded during that there may be a human rights aspect does very little to changethe hearing that it failed to accommodate the McDaniels, and the condominium corporation’s obligations.did not oppose their claim for expenses for items such as theair conditioner. It suggested that the tribunal did not have the His opinion is that corporations should diligently ensure thatauthority to impose a non-smoking bylaw on the corporation, and common element deficiencies are corrected, and that reasonablethat the smoking issue was already covered by the condominium’s steps are taken to enforce provisions in declarations, bylaws andnuisance bylaw.   rules prohibiting residents from creating a nuisance.In the end, the tribunal sided with the McDaniels. It acknowledged 3 This article was contributed by Bob Aaron, a Toronto-based real estate lawyer. Please visit him at
  4. 4. According to RealNet’s Highrise Index Price, new condo prices condominium in the 416 was 560 square feet, compared to 594in the GTA have declined by 6.4% during the past year. However square feet in the 905. That’s just 34 square feet more in the 905.the reason for the decline has nothing to do with the tighteningof mortgage rules, or an oversupply of new housing or any For the most part, the impact of this condo shrinkage will notreduction in development costs. The reason in a word is: become apparent for a few years. Most of this data reflectsshrinkage. condominium projects being sold in the pre-construction stage. On average, these units take between three to five yearsNew condo prices are lower because the units being offered to deliver, that is, to go from the start of presales to the deliveryfor sale are simply smaller. In 2009, this size index of a new of move-in-ready units to the market.condominium in the GTA was about 920 square feet. Just threeshort years later that same size index was about 795 square The population growth of the GTA will increasingly befeet. The reduction of 125 square feet is the equivalent of accommodated by condominium apartments, many of them one-removing a 10-by-12 feet room from that 2009 condo. What’s bedroom or one-bedroom-plus-den units that average betweenmore is that this shrinkage has been consistent across all 560 and 703 square feet. That appears to be a simple fact of life.condominium unit types in both the 416 and 905 regions. As usual, your client referrals are both highly valued and muchThe Index size of a new one-bedroom-plus-den condominium in appreciated. Until next time, take care!the 416 as of June 30 was 668 square feet, compared to 703square feet in the 905. That’s only 35 square feet of additionalspace in the 905. The Index size of a new one-bedroom James Metcalfe BROKER “YOUR REFERRALS ARE SINCERELY APPRECIATED! THANK YOU!” 416-931-4161 | GTA Res Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Johnston & Daniel Division, Brokerage 477 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, ON M4S 2L9 “Recession is when a neighbour loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. – Ronald Reagan ” “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. – Winston Churchill ” “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. – Mark Twain ” “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. – Grouch Marx ” In accordance with PIPEDA, to be removed from this mailing list please e-mail or phone this request to the REALTOR ® Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract with a broker. The information and opinions contained in this newsletter are obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The publishers assume no responsibility for errors and omissions or for damages resulting from 4 using the published information. This newsletter is provided with the understanding that it does not render legal, accounting or other professional advice. Statistics are courtesy of the Toronto Real Estate Board. Copyright © 2012 Mission Response Inc. 416.236.0543 All Rights Reserved. D191