Randy Miller

Broker Of Record

Urban Avenue Realty Ltd., Brokerage

Whitby & Brooklin Real Estate

Office 905-430-1800

Direct 905-430-9444

Email: randy@randymiller.ca


June, 2015. Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 11,706 sales in May 2015.  This result was up by 6.3 per cent in comparison to 11,013 sales reported in May 2014.  For the TREB market area as a whole, sales were up for all major housing types.  However, in the City of Toronto, where the supply of low-rise listings has been constrained, sales were down for detached homes.


Toronto MLS New Listings

For Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington it is clear that home ownership remains “top of mind as a quality long-term investment for GTA households”.  Despite a shortage of listings in some market segments there is a record number of sales reported through TREB’s MLS® System for the month of May.

Toronto MLS Average Price
Record May transactions, coupled with a dip in the number of homes available for sale, resulted in strong price growth.  The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 8.9 per cent year over year in May.  The MLS® HPI uses benchmark homes to estimate price growth.

The average selling price for all home types combined in May 2015 was up by 11 per cent annually to $649,599.  The higher annual rate of average price growth compared to the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark points to the fact that the proportion of high-end home sales continued to be greater compared to 2014.

Housing Affordability

According to Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysist, tight market conditions, especially for singles, semis and town homes in the GTA, have resulted in strong price growth.  “With no relief so far on the listings front, expect similar rates of price growth as we move through the remainder of 2015.  At this point, a number of months where listings growth outstrips sales growth would be required to satisfy pent-up demand,” said Mercer.

Toronto MLS Sales with Trendline
Toronto MLS New Listings with Trendline
Toronto MLS Avg Price with Trendline

Durham Region a great place to invest

Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,320 residential transactions in May 2015. This result represented a small decrease from 1,334 in May of last year.  Sales and listings have remained proportionate in comparison to last year as the amount of listings also slightly decreased.

Average Selling Price Housing Durham Region 

In May 2015 the average price of a detached home in Durham Region reached $502,079. In May 2014, detached homes sold for an average of $428,914, which demonstrates a year-over-year increase of over 17 per cent. The average price for all home types in Durham was $449,837 last month, an increase of 15.1 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“Lack of inventory encouraged competition between buyers which puts upward pressure on selling prices,” stated O’Donohue. "We expect similar rates of price growth to continue into the second half of 2015. Borrowing rates help keep home ownership affordable while property values continue to rise, which makes Durham Region a great place to invest”.

If you are looking for a house in Durham Region or are already a homeowner and wish to move to a new house in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice or Bowmanville, please contact me for more information.

Having sold real estate in Whitby and the Durham Region for over 20 years, I can help you with both - the buying and selling process.

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

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housing market outlook

According to the CMHC, housing markets are expected to remain stable for the rest of the year, and starts are expected to moderate in 2015 and 2016.

“Lower oil prices are contributing to disparities between provincial housing markets. A slowdown in housing starts and resale transactions in oil-producing provinces such as Alberta will be partly offset by increased housing market activity in other provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, which benefit from the positive impacts of declining energy prices, a lower Canadian dollar and continued low mortgage rates,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC, in the news release.

The average price for a home sold through the MLS system is forecast to fall between $402,139 and $439,589 in 2015, with a point forecast of $422,129. Looking ahead to 2016, the average MLS price is expected to range between $398,191 and $457,200, with a point forecast of $428,325.

Canada-wide, home sales via the MLS system are believed to range between 437,100 and 494,500 units for 2015, with a point forecast of 475,400 units. In 2016, sales are to expected to range from 424,500 units to 491,300 units, with a point forecast of 469,000 units.

Housing starts are expected to decline by 4.1 per cent – and range between 166,540 and 188,580 units -- in 2015. Prices, meanwhile, are expected to increase by 3.4 per cent.

As for the near future, housing starts are expected to range between 162,840 and 190,830 in 2016.

In Ontario, all eyes are on the GTA housing market, which continues to see strong sale and price growth.

Demand for existing homes in the GTA is expected to remain strong. The CMHC is also forecasting stronger interest in higher density dwellings and conversely, an uptick in home rentals over ownership.

“An improving economy will be more supportive of the Ontario housing market in 2015 than it has been in the recent past,” said Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC’s Ontario Regional Economist. “However, as mortgage carrying costs continue to grow, particularly for single family homes, demand will increasingly shift to more affordable housing.”

Source: CMHC.ca

If you want to learn more about the local housing market of Whitby, Brooklin or other areas within Durham Region, contact me! 

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

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Negative Financial Headlines

Canadian mortgages in arrears (homeowners who have gone 3 or more consecutive months without making a payment) have been and are extremely low.   They are historically less than 0.5% (actually Canada’s current average sits at 0.29%, Ontario sits at 0.18%, with Alberta at 0.27%!) Even through the most recent couple of 'financial crises', there was no blip in this number.   

This is a tiny fraction of the US statistic; however, common opinion leads us to believe otherwise.   There are a number of fundamental differences between the two countries'   banking and mortgage lending systems.   One difference is that most mortgages in the US are 'non-recourse', meaning you can walk away from your house and owe nothing beyond that asset's worth.   In Canada, you are liable for the entire debt, and this is a great incentive to do everything possible to make that mortgage payment.    

Canadian mortgage lenders are prudent; their goal is not be stuck with a property. Banks are not in the property ownership and management business, so it is in their best interest to make sure borrowers can make their mortgage payments.  Mortgage default insurance facilitates lenders to make more risk-based decisions, opening up the mortgage lending market to more consumers (including rental property, which is always viewed as more risky since it is assumed an owner will pay for their own housing first before covering the payment on a home they do not reside in). If a consumer falls into temporary financial hardship, there are assistance programs available from the mortgage insurers, with the goal of avoiding a default and lender having to take over the property.

Canadians with mortgages have significant equity in their home, averaging about 74% of the home's value.   In addition to that, a 2014 survey found that 16% of mortgage holders have   increased their mortgage payments, and 16% made an additional lump sum payment in the last year. From the headlines, you would think an epidemic has swept across our country with low-equity home ownership being the norm.   

Canadians, in general, are conservative with their money and the statistics show many are sitting on a healthy amount of wealth.  Naturally, there is the demographic at the beginning stages of their home ownership journey who have lower equity.   However, there a many mortgage regulations in place designed to qualify these applicants accordingly, along with mandatory mortgage default insurance for those with low down payments.   

There is much discussion today about how hard it is for first time homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage, due to these regulations which have become increasingly more strict, so it is plausible the government may realize the effects of their decisions and loosen up the reins in order to maintain balance in the housing market and economy.

Another statistic demonstrating that Canadians, overall, are conservative with their money is that 60% of Canadians pay off their credit card balance in full each month, avoiding credit card and interest payments altogether.   The truth is, no matter how many rules and regulations are implemented,   there will always be financially irresponsible people.   The headlines like to focus on this group, and regulatory decisions appear to be swayed by these sentiments, lumping everyone into the same category, including savvy real estate investors who understand how to manage debt responsibly.   

In conclusion, headlines are designed to sell.    Not everything is perfect and positive all the time, but it certainly isn't the constant doom and gloom we read about.   The messages in the headlines are often inconsistent; one day something is up, and the next day it is down.   A savvy investor knows to look beyond the headlines, not get swept up emotionally, dig deeper, filter out the irrelevant chatter and figure out what really applies to them.
(Reference sources: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, Canada Bankers Association, Bank of Canada)

If you are planning to buy a house in Whitby or Brooklin or other areas within Durham Region, contact me. I can help you with the buying process and refer you to a mortgage specialist that can explain the products and help you choose the right mortgage product. Let me help you every step of the way!

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby



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Rising Home Sales

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average sale price for an existing home in Canada rose 9.5 per cent, year-over-year, to $448,862 in April. Excluding the two major cities, Vancouver and Toronto, the increase was much more modest at 3.4 per cent to $339,893.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 2.3 per cent in April 2015 compared to March. This marks the third consecutive month-over-month increase and raises national activity back to where it was during most of the second half of last year.

April sales were up from the previous month in two-thirds of all local markets, led by the Greater Toronto Area, the surrounding Golden Horseshoe region, and Montreal.

 “In recent years, the seasonal pattern for home sales and listings has become amplified in places where listings are in short supply relative to demand,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This particularly stands out in and around Toronto. Sellers there have increasingly delayed listing their home until spring. Once listed, it sells fairly quickly. Sales over the year as a whole in Southern Ontario are likely being constrained to some degree by a short supply of single family homes. However, the busy spring home buying and selling season has become that much busier as a result of sellers waiting until winter has faded before listing.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in April stood 10.0 per cent above levels reported in April 2014. This marks just the third time ever that sales during the month of April topped 50,000 transactions.

Sales were up on a year-over-year basis in about 70 per cent of all local markets, led by activity in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Greater Toronto, and Montreal. Of the 18 local markets that set new records for the month of April, all but two are in Southern Ontario.

The number of newly listed homes was virtually unchanged (+0.1 per cent) in April compared to March. Below the surface, new supply rose in almost two thirds of all local markets, led by a big rebound in Halifax-Dartmouth following a sharp drop in March. This was offset by declines in Greater Vancouver, Victoria, and the Okanagan Region, as well as by a continuing pullback in new supply in Calgary. New listings in Calgary have dropped by one-third from their multi-year high at the end of last year to their current multi-year low.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.3 per cent in April, up from 50.4 per cent three months earlier as the ratio has steadily risen along with sales so far this year.

A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 per cent is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets respectively. The ratio was within this range in the majority of local housing markets in April.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 5.9 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2015, down from 6.1 months in March and 6.5 months at the end of January when it reached the highest level in nearly two years. While the sales-to-new listings ratio and months of inventory measures of market balance indicate that the housing market has tightened on a national basis over the past few months, both measures remain firmly entrenched in balanced market territory.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose by 4.97 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April, on par with the 4.95 per cent year-over-year gain recorded in March.

Year-over-year price growth accelerated in April for apartment units and two-storey single family homes, while decelerating for townhouse/row units and one-storey single family homes.

Single family home sales continue to post the biggest year-over-year price gains (+5.84 per cent), led by two-storey single family homes (+6.89 per cent). By comparison, the rise in selling prices was more modest for one-storey single family homes (+4.20 per cent), townhouse/row units (+3.87 per cent), and apartment units (+2.60 per cent).

Full article & statistics: Click HERE!

Source: CREA.ca

Contact me
for information about the housing market in Durham Region!  

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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How is the Housing Market?

May 5, 2015 -- Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 11,303 sales in April 2015.  This represented a 17 per cent increase in comparison to April 2014.  While sales increased strongly on a year-over-year basis, new listings were up over the same period by a more moderate five per cent.

Toronto MLS Sales

Toronto MLS Sales Trendline

Toronto MLS New Listings

Mr. Etherington said that the record April result clearly points to the fact that a growing number of GTA households view ownership housing as a high quality long-term investment. First-time buyers and existing homeowners remain very active in today’s market.

Toronto MLS Avg Price

Toronto MLS Avg Resale Home Price
The overall average selling price was up by 10 per cent year-over-year to $635,932.  The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark, which estimates the price of a benchmark home with the same attributes from one period to the next, was up by 8.4 per cent over the same period.  The fact that average price growth outpaced growth for the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark, suggests that a greater share of higher-end homes changed hands this year compared to last.

Price growth in the GTA was strongest for low-rise home types.  However, the better supplied condominium apartment segment also remained healthy with price growth above the rate of inflation.

“Demand for ownership housing was very high relative to the number of homes available for sale in April.  This situation is not expected to change markedly as we move through the remainder of 2015.  Until we experience a sustained period in which listings grow at a faster pace than sales, annual rates of home price growth will remain strong,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.Affordability

Housing market getting hot throughout Durham Region

Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,315 residential transactions in April 2015. This is an increase of 16.4 per cent from 1,130 in April of last year. In addition to a greater number of sales, there are also more homes listed. Durham saw 1,816 new listings enter the market in April 2015 compared to 1,709 in April 2014.

The average selling price in the Durham Region reached $440,151 last month, a 12.5 per cent increase compared to $391,351 in the same period last year. “Buyers are still seeing the value of home ownership,” explained O’Donohue, “ and low interest rates continue to be a factor in determining affordability”.

Avg Home Selling Price Durham Region

Homes in Durham are selling in an average of 15 days. “Homes are being listed for more than they were last year and are selling an average of 2 days sooner” reported O’Donohue.

"The housing market continues to gain momentum and we expect this trend to continue into the later months of summer,” stated O’Donohue. “We are seeing evidence of the importance of home ownership and the benefit of investing in the Durham Region”.

If you are looking for a house in Durham Region or are already a homeowner and wish to move to a new house in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice or Bowmanville, please contact me for more information. Having sold real estate in Whitby and the Durham Region for over 20 years, I can help you with both - the buying and selling process. 

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

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Sales and Price Up Year-Over-Year in March 2015

April 7, 2015. Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,940 sales in March 2015. This result represented an 11 per cent increase compared to March 2014. Sales were up for most major home types, both in the City of Toronto and the surrounding regions. New listings were also up, but by a lesser 5.5 per cent, indicating tighter market conditions.


“Home sales increased compared to last year as the cost of home ownership remained affordable, with lower interest rates going a long way to mitigate the effect of rising home prices. However, a substantial amount of pent-up demand remains in place, especially as it relates to low-rise market segments. This suggests that strong competition between buyers, which has fuelled strong price growth so far this year, will continue to be experienced throughout the spring,” said Mr. Etherington.

In March, the average selling price for all reported transactions was $613,933 – up 10 per cent year-over-year. The MLS® HPI Composite Index, which tracks benchmark homes with the same attributes from one period to the next, was up by 7.9 per cent. Average price growth was strongest for detached homes in the City of Toronto, at 15.9 per cent. Over the same period the detached MLS® HPI in the '416' area code increased 7.8 per cent.

thumb thumb
The MLS® HPI provides a clear indication of price growth due to market forces - the relationship between demand and supply. Comparing MLS® HPI growth to average price growth provides a sense of the changing mix of home types sold from one period to the next.

"It is clear that seller's market conditions in many parts of the GTA are driving price growth. However, looking at the detached market segment in the City of Toronto in particular, growth in the average selling price outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI. This points to the fact that the mix of detached homes sold this year compared to last has shifted towards more expensive properties," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Director of Market Analysis.

Increased Average Home Prices in Durham Region

Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,086 residential transactions in March 2015.

This resulted in an increase of 14.7 per cent from 947 in March of last year. “The number of sales increased significantly year-over-year, however, we are still seeing less inventory compared to the same period last year” reported O’Donohue. Durham saw 1,527 new listings enter the market in March 2015 compared to 1,553 in March 2014. “This makes for competition between buyers and drives home prices up” explained O’Donohue.

The average selling price in the Durham Region reached $430,291 in March 2015. In March 2014, the average price of a home in the Durham Region was $380,267. “Low interest rates are keeping home ownership affordable even with the rise in home prices” explained O’Donohue. Average price growth was strongest for townhouses in the Durham Region, at 15.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Competition between buyers has also had an effect on the sale price over list price percentage. “We have seen homes sell for an average of 101 per cent of the asking price. This is a factor that is driving prices up across the Durham Region, and is an indicator of a strong seller’s market,” explained O’Donohue. In March of last year, the average home sold for 99 per cent of its asking price.

"Durham is still experiencing a seller’s market. However, low borrowing rates are keeping home ownership affordable” explained O’Donohue. “Buyers continue to view home ownership within the Durham Region as a great long-term investment”.

If you are looking for a house in Durham Region or are already a homeowner and wish to move to a new house in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice or Bowmanville, please contact me for more information.

Having sold real estate in Whitby and the Durham Region for over 20 years, I can help you with both - the buying and selling process. 

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

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Quarterly Economic Forecast 2015

Here are the key highlights from the quarterly forecast:

-We continue to see the impact of lower oil prices play out in the Canadian economy. Lower gas prices expected to save Canadians households up to $800 in 2015

-$600 of that will be absorbed by the higher cost of imported consumer goods

-unemployment rate could reach 7% by the end of this year

-BOC expected to hold rates until the end of 2016- this will continue to drive a strong housing market!

-crude oil could hit a new low of $40US a barrel before landing in around $65US on average in 2016

-core inflations expected to be just shy of BOC's 2% target through 2015 and into 2016 

Click on the link below to read the full TD Quarterly Forecast:


To learn more about local real estate market conditions in Whitby, Brooklin, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Courtice and Bowmanville, please contact me. 

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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March 4, 2015. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,338 home sales in February 2015, that’s a substantial 11.3 per cent year-over-year increase compared to February 2014.  Large annual increases in transactions were noted for most major home types, in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions.

Toronto MLSsales.jpg

Mr. Paul Etherington, TREB President, said that even with the record low temperatures last month, there was still an increase in the number of people purchasing homes in the GTA.  This speaks to the importance households place on home ownership and the fact that buyers continue to view ownership housing as a quality long-term investment in which they can live.

Toronto MLSNewListings.jpg

The overall supply of homes for sale was down by 8.7 per cent compared to the same count in February 2014.  This means that market conditions became tighter, leading to more competition between buyers.


The overall average selling price for February 2015 home sales was $596,163 – up by 7.8 per cent compared to the average for February 2014. In the City of Toronto, the average detached selling price moved above $1 million dollars for the first time in a calendar month. 




“The strong year-over-year price growth we experienced in February points to the robust demand for ownership housing in the GTA, coupled with a constrained supply of homes for sale in some market segments, especially where low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses are concerned,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis. 

Buyers continue to see home ownership as a great investment

Sandra O’Donohue, President of Durham Region Association of  REALTORS®,  reported 728 residential transactions in February 2015. This result is up 13.9 per cent from 639 in February of last year. Inventory remained almost the same year-over-year with 1,085 new listings entering the market compared to 1,073 in February of last year.


The average selling price in the Durham Region reached $420,718 in February 2015. O’Donahue said that the average home price has continued to rise into 2015, representing a 12.8 per cent increase from February 2014. “The driving force behind the higher sale prices is the shortage of inventory compared to the demand of buyers. This trend is what we call a seller’s market” explained O’Donohue. Another indicator of a seller’s market is the amount of time a home spends on the market before it is sold. Homes are selling in an average of 17 days in the Durham Region, which is significantly faster than last year with an average of 23 days on the market.

Even with the robust price growth, there is strong demand for home ownership in the Durham Region which is demonstrated by the higher number of sales and the climbing sale prices. So buyers continue to view home ownership within the Durham Region as a great long-term investment.

If you are looking for a house in Durham Region or are already a homeowner and wish to move to a new house in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice or Bowmanville, please contact me for more information.

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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red house mortgage rate

On the heels of headlines forecasting ‘inevitable interest rate hikes’ came the announcement of a 0.25% rate reduction to the Bank of Canada’s overnight lending rate.

The majority of Mortgage Brokers found themselves spending the first two work weeks of 2015 calming clients in the face of multiple headlines forecasting interest rate ‘shocks’ ahead. In turn, the past two weeks were spent explaining to variable-rate clients the subtle, yet important difference between the bank of Canada’s Prime rate and their mortgage lenders' ‘Prime’ rate.

Lenders base variable-rate mortgages on what is referred to as their own internal Prime rate. Although historically lenders have moved in lockstep with the Bank of Canada decisions, there was some initial reticence to lower effective interest rates on current variable-rate mortgages and after nearly a week without movement Lenders reduced their internal Prime rate from 3.00 to 2.85% sharing some of the Bank of Canada’s reduction with variable rate mortgage and line of credit holders, but not all of the rate reduction.

One important point is that the Bank of Canada’s Prime rate is specifically NOT used to qualify clients for mortgages. In other words, Canadians do not currently qualify for any more mortgage debt today than they did the day before the rate reduction announcement. Accordingly this reduction in interest rates does not directly strengthen purchasing power for home buyers, and thus should do little to add more fuel to real estate values.

It is further worth noting that, historically, as lenders reduce their own Prime lending rate on variable-rate products, the discounts offered on these products - mortgages, lines of credit, etc . tend to be adjusted upward, negating any potential gains for new mortgage applicants. Existing closed variable-rate discounts will of course continue to be honoured until the end of the client's mortgage term.

In short, although this rate reduction may bode well for clients currently in a variable-rate mortgage, it may not be of significant net benefit for clients applying for a variable-rate product in the coming weeks. Although today we have both deep discounts on variable rate products, and the new lower 2.85% Lender Prime rate. New applicants may have their cake and eat it too.

Fixed rates, although largely dictated by the bond market, have been edging downward since Jan 5. Despite this material and documented decline, there had not been a major headline noting this. Rather headlines were largely promoting the opposite of what was occurring in reality. The day that the Bank of Canada announced the cut of 0.25%, the bond market saw a (then) record low of 0.83% and has since dipped below 0.60%.

This has created significant increases in lenders' fixed-rate profit margins, and arguably calls for further rate reductions to fixed-rate products, in particular the five-year fixed-rate mortgage. However, as with the cut to Prime, lenders have thus far been slow to respond. Offering 0.05% and 0.010% reductions and reaping the increased profits. Lenders remain unlikely to make any significant moves until one breaks ranks. With strong property values coupled with strong sales activity in most major markets, there seems little incentive - or fundamental desire - on the part of lenders to reduce rates further.

What is evident at this time is that variable-rate clients will continue to be the big winners into the foreseeable future, and those clients who prefer a fixed-rate product will also continue to benefit from historic lows as well. 

If you are planning to buy a house in Whitby, Brooklin or other areas within Durham Region, contact me. I can help you with the buying process and refer you to a mortgage specialist that can explain the products and help you choose the right mortgage product.

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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San Francisco’s housing market is strong for many of the same reasons as Toronto’s:

- Migration, which is adding 10,000 new residents each year
- Low levels of unemployment which support prices
- Surging stock markets that make people feel wealthier
- High rents which make ownership attractive
- Low interest rates

Source: Paragon Real Estate Group

If Toronto’s housing market comes under pressure, the experience of San Francisco may offer some clues about what might happen. How far might prices fall? How long would the pain last and what would a recovery look like?

Even though GTA house prices have been predicted to fall in each of the past 10 years, they keep hitting new highs. The average price of a home in the GTA rose 7.5 per cent in January, year over year, bringing the average to $552,575.

The housing stakes are particularly high in the GTA, says TD Bank deputy chief economist Derek Burleton. He says a healthy real estate market is critical to the region’s overall fortunes and since the GTA is Canada’s economic engine, the rise or fall of housing carries a national weight.

As an example of what can happen, Burleton says the oil price shock is paralyzing Calgary’s housing market. Average prices are down 10 per cent from their highs and more is likely in store. Listings are rising, but buyers are few and far between.

“They’re saying, ‘Why buy now when you can wait and it will be cheaper?’ ” he says.

Burleton says GTA house prices are 10 to 15 per cent higher than they should be relative to rents and income growth. But that doesn’t mean a crash is coming now, or later. That number is a calculation and not necessarily the way people behave.

“Prices may be higher than they should be, but that can be sustained for years,” he says.

Burleton says it would take a huge economic shock, “a global event” to cause the kind of drop seen in the U.S. post-2008, where prices fell by an average 35 per cent over three years. But even that number is misleading because the experience in overbuilt Sunbelt states like Arizona and Florida was far more painful than big urban centres with real economies.

There are things we can conclude from the way cities like San Francisco coped with the crash. Bay Area prices tumbled by an average 27 per cent between 2008 and 2011 as part of the subprime mortgage lending collapse. By the end of 2014, they were 15 per cent above the 2008 peak.

San Francisco is similar in many ways to the GTA. The Bay Area includes Oakland and San Jose, the home of Silicon Valley. It has a metro population of 7.7 million. It attracts creative talent and offers high paid jobs.

The GTA has a population of about six million. Toronto is the head office capital of Canada as well as a centre for banking, investing and finance. Like San Francisco, the GTA attracts migration from other parts of the country, as well as investment from abroad. Both cities are social and cultural centres.

“When people talk about the most desirable places in North America to live, Toronto and San Francisco are usually on the list,” says Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst with the Paragon Real Estate Group, one of San Francisco’s largest realtors.

Carlisle says the causes of the U.S. housing crash were unique. Ultralow rates following Sept. 11 supercharged mortgage lending. When that was combined with “refinance insanity and degraded loan underwriting standards” you set the table for disaster. He says criminally lax lending rules meant unemployed people, with no sources of income, were being qualified for mortgages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those loans became assets on the books of banks and other lenders. Once these “homeowners” started defaulting, things quickly fell apart.

Home Price Index San Francisco
(Source: Paragon Real Estate Group)

Carlisle has looked at 30 years of San Francisco housing data that includes three corrections. One in 1991 lasted three years and led to an average 11-per-cent drop in prices. A one-year sell off in 2001 caused by the dot-com bust and Sept. 11 also saw prices fall 11 per cent. The third, averaging 27 per cent over three years, was the latest.

He says the broad cycle is consistent: price retreats for two or three years, a bottoming out for a couple more and then a quick climb. The cycles can be short or long, but are tied to economic well-being. Once recovery starts, prices quickly accelerate “as if somebody turned on a switch.”

San Francisco Housing Market Cycles
(Source: Paragon Real Estate Group)

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, a Washington, D.C., lobby group, agrees with Carlisle.

“One difference between Canada and the U.S. is that the U.S. had lax underwriting standards. The Canadian market has been fuelled by low rates and good underwriting standards that keep payments at manageable levels.”

Yun believes our housing market will stay intact as long as the economy is creating jobs.

“San Francisco is strong because the job market is strong. If you can hang on to jobs in Toronto, then prices will hold up,” he says “But if the economy goes into a mild recession home prices will decline.”

Yun says housing is affected by local economic conditions which is why prices rose in Dallas-Fort Worth during the worst of the bust. The oil industry was booming. These days, prices are falling in Dallas, as they are in Calgary.

Meanwhile, Boston has joined San Francisco in surpassing its 2008 price peaks, while Chicago, another city often compared with Toronto, has not.

The bigger point is that whatever happens will not be world ending, but part of a cycle that has repeated itself many times since the Dutch Tulip mania of the 1600s.

“While future cycles will vary in their details, the causes, effects and trends are often quite similar,” Carlisle says, adding in a recent research note: “Up, Down, Flat, Up Down, Flat . . . Repeat.”

Source: by Adam Meyers, The Star http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2015/02/18/if-gta-housing-unravels-how-it-might-unfold-mayers.html

Durham’s housing market off to a great start with a promising forecast for 2015

Within Durham Region price growth is anticipated to continue into 2015 and with low borrowing rates, housing remains affordable. For more insight into Durham Region's housing market, contact me!  

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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Toronto realtors look at it this way: Home prices may be considerably higher, but borrowing costs are lower.

In a mid-month report released today, the Toronto Real Estate Board said sales in the region surged almost 15 per cent in the first two weeks of February from the same period last year.

The average price, meanwhile, jumped 10.3 per cent to $602,110, while new listings rose at a slower pace of 3.5 per cent.

“While home prices are higher compared to this time last year, borrowing costs are lower,” the group’s president, Paul Etherington, said in releasing the report.

Behind the price surge are developments such as bidding wars.

“With tight market conditions continuing to prevail in most parts of the Greater Toronto Area, especially where low-rise home types are concerned, it is no surprise that we continue to see strong competition between buyers leading to robust annual rates of price growth,” said Jason Mercer, the group’s director of market analysis.

In the full month of January, Toronto sales rose 6.1 per cent, and the average price 4.9 per cent.

Canada’s housing market isn’t so much a national market, but rather a string of regions.

And, as The Globe and Mail’s Tamsin McMahon reports, the nature of those regions is changing markedly amid the oil slump.

Calgary, for example, which sits in the heart of Canada’s oil patch, was not that long ago the hottest market in the country.

But sales there are plunging now – down 35 per cent in January – along with the price of oil.

National sales fell 3.1 per cent last month from December. But if you strip out Calgary and Alberta, sales rose by 1.9 per cent.

Having said that, sales in certain other parts of Canada weren’t “especially hot either,” as 15 of the 26 markets measured saw no increase or an outright drop in January from a year earlier, noted chief economist Douglas Porter of BMO Nesbitt Burns.

“Canada’s housing market is cooling notably, largely because of the sudden deep chill in the previously hottest cities,” Mr. Porter said.

“However, there is still plenty of regional variation churning below the surface. We suspect that with borrowing costs still plumbing the depths and many provincial economies holding up, any housing correction will be a specific regional affair.”

In a new report released today, Mr. Porter's colleague at BMO, senior economist Sal Guatieri, said he expects house prices across Canada to rise 2 per cent this year, as the increases in Toronto and Vancouver overshadow the troubles of Calgary.

“However, rising interest rates in 2016 will restrain prices in these two cities,” he added.

When you strip out Vancouver and Toronto, Mr. Guatieri said, home prices “appear reasonable,” meaning less chance of a “severe” national correction.

But the fast pace of gains in Vancouver and Toronto, he warned, “raise the odds of a correction if economic conditions turn for the worse.”

Source: by Michael Babad, The Globe and Mail, Toronto’s housing surge: Prices jump 10%, borrowing costs ease

Randy Miller
Broker of Record

Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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 Mortgage Rate War

The Globe and Mail reported this week that less than a month after the Bank of Canada’s surprise interest-rate cut, a renewed mortgage-rate war is in full swing. But, this time, it’s being driven by an unlikely source: smaller lenders.

Even as Canada’s big banks have cut rates to near three-year lows, small credit unions and mortgage brokers are going a step further, sacrificing profits in a fierce bid for new business.

Only weeks after the country’s banks began offering eye-popping specials such as 2.84-per-cent five-year fixed mortgages, the average discounted five-year rate offered by the Big Six banks now sits around 2.79 per cent, driving the spread between the bank’s posted rates and the rates that customers actually pay to levels not seen since 2012.

But in a cutthroat move to grow their share of mortgage originations, many smaller lenders and brokers are offering deep discounts off the banks’ already low rates. Several online brokerages are offering variable mortgages with rates below 2 per cent and five-year fixed mortgages as low as 2.39 per cent.

The battle for customers comes after the central bank dropped its benchmark rate last month to 0.75 per cent – and amid speculation of deeper cuts in the months ahead.

Concerns are mounting that low mortgage rates will add fuel to an overheated housing market and add pressure to an economy struggling with rising household debt. Earlier this month, North Peace Savings and Credit Union, a small credit union in extreme northeastern B.C., began advertising a seven-year fixed mortgage at 2.99 per cent, well below comparable offerings from major lenders for the same mortgage term.

The credit union can afford to offer such an attractive long-term rate in part because few people actually take seven-year mortgages and the company’s primary business is commercial lending to the region’s natural gas industry, North Peace chief executive Mitchel Chilcott said.

But the company, whose mortgages are entirely self-funded through deposits from its 12,000 customers, also opts to earn less profit and pay out fewer dividends in order to drive rates down.

In the past, members received cheques for $1,000 roughly 14 months after the start of every fiscal year. But about five years ago the company gradually began shifting toward boosting the rates on its high-interest savings accounts and lowering them on its mortgages.

“For most homeowners, having a $90 or $100 lower mortgage payment a month was a lot more meaningful and impactful than maybe getting money back 14 months later,” Mr. Chilcott said.

Other credit unions have followed a similar model, which has helped them grab more market share away from the banks. Banks lost more than 2 per cent of their share of the mortgage business last year, according to banking industry consultant David McVay, with some of that going to credit unions thanks to increased price competition.

The rate war is even more intense among mortgage brokers, many of whom are shifting away from the traditional full-service model that saw brokers spending hours working with clients to select the best mortgage and earning hefty commissions. These days, more borrowers are turning to online and “self-service” brokerages that compete on volume, offering less personalized service and sacrificing some of the commissions they earn from lenders in order to discount rates even further.

Not everyone is a fan of the model. Some are worried that with interest rates already so low, brokers are having to dig deep into their commissions to offer meaningful discounts, a model that some brokers argue could threaten the industry as a whole.

“The majority of people don’t like what we’re doing and it’s a troublesome thing for us to digest because ultimately it’s the best for the consumer,” said Jeff Mark, co-founder of Spin Mortgage, an 18-month-old online brokerage that is advertising a five-year fixed rate at 2.49 per cent, well below the typical bank rate, by sacrificing some of its commissions. “We make less money per deal. I don’t know how that isn’t a good thing for the market.”

Brokers would have to give up roughly 40 per cent of their commission from a typical five-year fixed rate mortgage just to offer a discount of 10 basis points, equal to a tenth of a percentage point, off the interest rate, writes broker Mark Kerzner in Canada Mortgage Trends. That’s a huge sacrifice to offer borrowers a small savings.

“It’s becoming hypercompetitive and there is only so much you can discount a rate before you make nothing,” said Robert McLister, founder intelliMortgageInc, a low-rate online DIY brokerage. “We’re rapidly, in my opinion, approaching a point where at the very deep-discount end of the market there’s not much left to give if you’re a mortgage originator and you’re considering giving up your commission to offer a better rate.”

Even so, the industry seems to be moving toward more discounting. Rising house prices mean borrowers have become hypersensitive to low rates and the advent of online rate comparison sites has only heightened

By TAMSIN MCMAHON - The Globe and Mail

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

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low mortgage rates

Nearly half of Canadians are planning to buy a home in the next five years, survey says. More than 15 per cent are saying cheaper mortgage rates will allow them to make the purchase sooner than expected.

On 1 February 2015 The Globe and Mail reported: Younger Canadians, who are struggling with far more debt than their parents did at the same age, are the most likely to respond to falling rates. More than a fifth of millennials told a Bank of Montreal home buyers survey that they have shortened their time-frame for buying a home because of lower rates and 75 per cent said they were planning on making a purchase within the next five years.

Regionally, the demand among buyers is strongest in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, where the combination of low interest rates and cheaper oil prices are poised to put more money in the pockets of consumers. Nearly a fifth of residents told pollsters that they would speed up their home purchase because of low interest rates.

In contrast, just 13 per cent of residents in Quebec and 12 per cent in Alberta said lower rates were having an impact on their buying decisions. Plunging oil prices have made Alberta consumers more cautious about jumping into the housing market this year, while a high vacancy rates and a glut of newly built condos in Quebec is pushing more potential first-time buyers into the rental market, according to Desjardins Group.

Mortgage rates have been falling since last week, when the Bank of Canada shocked markets by cutting interest rates by 25 basis points ( a basis point is a hundredth of 1 per cent.) Lenders soon followed, with major banks dropping five-year fixed rates mortgages to as low as 2.84 per cent and this week cutting their prime rates by 15 basis points, which quickly pushed variable-rate mortgages among the Big Six banks as low as 2.25 per cent.

Many analysts had predicted that interest rates would rise this year, so the central bank’s unexpected decision to slash rates is widely expected to reignite the country’s cooling housing market. “Given the negative impact of lower oil prices on the Canadian economy, interest rates are likely to remain low for some time, supporting home sales, especially in Vancouver and Toronto where affordability is an issue”, said BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri.

But with mortgage rates falling only slightly and more Canadians telling the BMO survey they were planning to use lower rates to pay down their debt rather than load up on new ones, cheaper rates are expected to have a modest impact on the housing market.

Shortly before the Bank of Canada cut its target overnight lending rate, more than half of Canadians told an earlier BMO poll that cheaper rates would make them more likely to buy a home, though most said the drop would need to be 10 per cent or more to have a significant impact on their buying plans.

Source: Tamsin McMahon, The Globe and Mail

If a move is in your future, let’s sit down and talk about your plans. Contact me today!

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby

Visit my blog: https://whitbybrooklinhomes.wordpress.com/

Whitby Brooklin Homes

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January, 2015. Greater Toronto Area Realtors® reported 92,867 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in 2014, including 4,446 in December. The calendar year 2014 sales result represented a 6.7 per cent increase over the 2013 sales figure of 87,049 and was just short of the record set in 2007. 

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According to Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington, GTA households realize that home purchases have been a quality long-term investment. While home prices certainly increased substantially in 2014, the purchase of an average priced home remained affordable, in terms of the average household's ability to comfortably cover their monthly mortgage payments.

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The average selling price continued to grow on a year-over-year basis in calendar year 2014, with an 8.4 per cent increase over calendar year 2013 to $566,726.  This included a seven per cent increase in the December 2014 average selling price to $556,602.  Throughout 2014, annual increases in the average selling price and the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark were consistently reported on a monthly basis for most market segments, from detached homes through to condominium apartments. 
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Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis, said the reason for the strong price growth in 2014 was the constrained supply of listings. Especially for singles, semis and town houses. This resulted in more competition between buyers and more aggressive offers.

Record High Sales And Average Prices For 2014 in Durham Region

Durham Region Association of REALTORS® President Sandra O’Donohue reported 10,841 residential sales through the MLS® System in 2014, including 478 in December. The 2014 sales result represents a 5.1 per cent increase compared to 10,312 sales in 2013.
Along with a record high number of sales, the average selling price for 2014 also set a record for Durham Region. In 2013 the average selling price was $357,529, while the average selling price for the calendar year 2014 reached $391,692, an increase of 9.6 per cent.
This is also a result of high demand for homes coupled with a shortage of listings. O’Donohue said that the 2014 sales figures show the importance of home ownership for Durham households.


Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd.
Offices in Pickering and in Whitby


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December, 2014.
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,519 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in November 2014. This result was up by 2.6 per cent compared to 6,354 sales reported in November 2013.  Through the first 11 months of 2014, total sales amounted to 88,462 - up 6.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. 

Toronto MLS sales comparison.JPG

Toronto MLS new listings comparison.JPG

While the trend of year-over-year sales growth continued, the supply of listings remained constrained, with active listings at the end of November down in comparison to last year.

Sales trendline.JPG

New listings trendline.JPG

"Even with a constrained supply of homes for sale in many parts of the Greater Toronto Area, buyers continued to get deals done last month. Households remain upbeat about home ownership because monthly mortgage payments remain affordable relative to accepted lending standards. This is coupled with the fact that housing has proven to be a quality long-term investment," stated Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington.

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The average selling price for November transactions was up by 7.4 per cent year-over-year to $577,936.  The year-to-date average price was up by 8.4 per cent to $567,198. The MLS(R) Home Price Index Composite Benchmark price for November was up by 7.7 per cent compared to a year earlier.  


Continuing Price Growth in Durham Region

Jane Hurst, President of Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR), reported 740 sales through the MLS® System in November 2014. This is a 2.8 per cent increase compared to 720 sales in November 2013. Through the first 11 months of the year, 10,367 residential sales were reported, up 5 per cent compared to 9,872 over the same period last year.

The average selling price for November transactions was up 9.7 per cent year-over-year to $404,196. The year-to-date average selling price was also up by 9.7 per cent bringing the average price for the first 11 months of 2014 to $392,027.

Hurst said that the strong average price growth experienced throughout 2014 has been consistent with a higher demand for homes than the market could supply. There is also a strong competition between buyers which puts upward pressure on selling prices. This trend is expected to continue into the early months of 2015.

Durham Sept 2014

For more insight into the houses within Durham Region, the Whitby real estate market, or the Brooklin real estate market, contact me. If you are an existing homeowner and are thinking about a, move, I can tell you what your house or condo is worth in today’s marketplace.

Randy Miller
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd., Brokerage

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Royal Heritage Realty

On Friday, I left Re/Max. I have been in the Re/Max organization for 20 years, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award many years ago and the Chairman’s Club last year. I work with many great people here in Durham Region and I look forward to many more good years at my new brokerage, Royal Heritage Realty Ltd. Along with my partners Paul Etherington, Michelle Makos and Joe Pitino, we will build a strong residential and commercial presence. We will be announcing our first location soon, more details will follow. We will build amazing brokerage because we know our customers. Joe and Michelle came up with a great slogan; Realtors working with Realtors. We envision a company with great agents, our office will be positive and progressive, come and join us!



Randy Miller 
Broker of Record
Royal Heritage Realty Ltd., Brokerage  

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Today I found an interesting blog article about 'Bidding Wars' which I want to share with you. It tells the story of a couple who tried to find their dreamhome in Toronto and all the bidding wars they found themselves in. Bidding wars are a seller's dream but can be a buyer's nightmare...

Cait: Walk us through your first bidding war. What happened?

KL: The first bidding war we got into was for a condo, which is very rare; this is when we realized how competitive the family-friendly condo market was in Toronto. Generally, it’s a good idea to see a home at least twice: once privately (so you can look at it in-detail) and again at the open house (to see how many people show interest in the property). However, with this first property, offers were accepted anytime and there were three offers on the first day it was listed.

You can usually submit your offer 1 of 3 ways: at the property itself, at the listing agent’s office, or you can send it in via fax. Most real estate agents will recommend you do it in-person (i.e. not via fax), so you can build some rapport with the listing agent and sellers, as well as be available to change your offer on the spot. For the condo, the listing agent held the offer presentations at her office, which was in Markham – and on a Friday night at 10pm. It was a really strange experience, and our real estate agent said he’d never seen that before, especially for a downtown Toronto condo.

Anyway, as the buyer, you don’t go in yourself. You basically sit and wait, while your real estate agent goes in and presents your offer to the listing agent + sellers. It’s done this way so hopeful buyers don’t get emotional, make rash decisions, etc. and also adds a level of professionalism to the whole experience. But I was literally sitting in a car waiting while our agent presented our offer and then we waited together until all the other offers were presented. After that, the listing agent + seller may decide to accept an offer (in the first round) or choose a few offers that are close and ask if you’d like to improve yours (in a second round). We didn’t make it past the first round.

Cait: Were you disappointed you’d lost?

KL: I was. I’d fallen in love with that condo and had basically already moved in, in my head. Then people tell you “everything happens for a reason” and you kind of roll your eyes at that, especially when you’re disappointed… but it’s true! It’s good we lost that one, or else we wouldn’t have bought the amazing house we have now.

Cait: Did you stop looking at condos after you lost?

KL: No, we still looked at them a bit, but just added houses to the mix. When we did the cash flow analysis on large two-bedroom condos with large corresponding condo fees versus houses, a three-bedroom house was not that much more expensive.

Cait: What was different about the second bidding war you entered?

KL: Once we decided to start looking at houses, I fell in love with the first one we saw – and this is a bad idea! Our real estate agent always told us to see multiple properties, so we wouldn’t make any rash decisions or jump into something just because we loved the “idea” of it. But after seeing so many condos, that first house had everything we were looking for in a condo, and I loved the idea that we could actually afford a house!

This brought us into another highly competitive segment of the market for renovated three-bedroom starter homes. The next house we decided to submit an offer on had an “offer date”, which meant all offers were accepted only on that date. On top of being in the neighbourhood we wanted, the house was nicely updated and had a basement apartment. (Tip: If you see a home that has income potential, be prepared for the bidding war to be extra competitive!)

We registered our offer early, at our real estate agent’s suggestion, because when you do so, the listing agent has to tell you if any bully offers come in. (A bully offer is when someone submits an offer that they think is amazing, in hopes they can buy the house before it goes to a bidding war.) Most of the time, sellers won’t even look at bully offers, because they know they can get more out of a bidding war – but it’s still good to know if any have been submitted, because then you can get a sense of how competitive the bidding war is going to be. In the end, 10 offers were registered on the house, which is high, even for Toronto. All offers were presented at the house itself, which meant there were 10 hopeful buyers + their real estate agents waiting around to present.

Before you enter a bidding war, you and your real estate agent will decide between two different strategies: either go all-in with your “first and best” offer, or bid slightly below it and know that you’d be happy to go up another increment (say $10,000). Typically, if there are a lot of people (and therefore a lot of offers), you’ll want to go all-in with your highest offer. If there are only 2-3 people, though, you may go in lower and know you have some wiggle room. Because there were 9 other people making offers, we decided to go all-in. Our real estate agent thought we had a good offer, but also warned us that it would likely sell for more because of the income potential. (We’re also grateful he was honest and told us not to bid any more than we already had, as he didn’t think the house was worth more.) Like our first bidding war, we didn’t even make it past the first round. And here’s where the numbers may shock people: we went in at $140,000 over asking, and we still lost by $35,000.

Cait: That’s crazy!

KL: Yea, list prices on houses are basically irrelevant in Toronto. Actually, that’s not always true. Most houses are underpriced to spark a bidding war, but once in a while you’ll find a house that’s listed for what the sellers want. When you see something that’s accurately priced, you freak out and mentally add like $100,000 on top of that. It takes time and a lot of viewings to figure out what a house is worth, which is why it’s really important to not fall in love with the first place you see. Plus, if there’s one truth to the Toronto housing market, it’s this: a house is worth whatever amount a buyer is willing to pay.

Cait: Are you happy you lost the second bidding war?

KL: We would’ve been happy if we’d won, but it’s also fine that we lost. Looking back, the house was on a busier street, it didn’t have great curb appeal, the upgrades weren’t done exactly to our taste, and my partner actually wasn’t keen on having a basement apartment because he didn’t like the idea of having a stranger living in our house. We definitely weren’t willing to pay $35,000 more for it, even with income potential. But if our offer had won, we would’ve been ahead on a monthly cash-flow basis, compared to the house we ended up buying.

Cait: Let’s talk about the third and final bidding war you ended up in, then. Walk us through what happened.

KL: By the time we went into this one, we had built up the right mentality for bidding wars. After losing a couple bidding wars already, you can’t help but feel defeated, and you’re not exactly hopeful the next one will be a success. This mentality is both good and bad. It’s good because it prevents you from getting attached, and it helps you map out your plan from a strategic standpoint vs. an emotional one. But it’s a little depressing, too! After seeing so many homes, and losing two bidding wars already, I was emotionally exhausted and didn’t have any hope that we’d actually win this one – but we wanted to try.

We saw the property multiple times, first privately and then again at the open house. When we were at the open house, we saw a lot of foot traffic, so we knew it would be another competitive situation. I told you (and showed you) all about the house last week and we obviously loved it. I could tell my partner really loved it, because he upped our budget by quite a bit in the end. I also think we’d also just gotten to the point where we had to decide to go all-in – like really all-in, with as much as we could – because we just wanted to buy a house and move on with our lives.

This time, there were 14 offers! The listing agent gave every real estate agent a 5-minute slot to present, so our real estate agent and I (and Kingston!) went for a walk around the neighbourhood during that time. We didn’t feel great about our offer, this time, just because of how many offers there were. But less than 2 hours later, we got a callback saying that ours was 1 of 6 offers that were extremely close to each other, and asking if we had any room to improve.

When you go into the second round, you can do one of two things: leave your offer as-is, or improve it. Since there’s a chance your original offer was the highest one already, you can take the gamble and choose not to increase it. But we decided to improve our offer, because we really liked the house. Thirty minutes later, we got another callback saying that ours was 1 of 3 offers that were extremely close, and asking if we could improve our offer yet again. (A third round!) With the help of our agent, we were able to improve our offer a little bit again. The sellers also asked if we could move up the closing date by 2 weeks, which was no problem for us, because we were renters (didn’t have another house to sell first) and could move anytime. The date is what helped seal the deal, because we won!

Cait: What conditions did you release in your offer?

KL: When you enter a bidding war, you need to make a clean offer (no financing or home inspection conditions) or else there’s little-to-no chance you’ll win. So we released both, and decided to use the seller’s home inspection.

Cait: What are the risks involved with releasing both conditions?

KL: You usually don’t need to get a home inspection on a condo in Toronto – at least not new ones – so we felt fine about the first one. But for the houses, we just had to read through and trust that the seller’s home inspection was accurate. Some people still feel more confident commissioning their own inspection, but that can get expensive when you end up participating in multiple bidding wars.

Source: http://www.ratehub.ca/mortgage-blog/2014/10/team-case-study-on-winning-and-losing-bidding-wars/


If you find yourself in a bidding war for the house of your dreams, prepare to be flexible and accept that the seller is in control. How much the property is worth depends on how much the buyer is prepared to pay. In a bidding war, I can help you determine how much the house is really worth cause the last thing you want is to over-pay for a house. I'm an experienced real estate agent who knows the market and I can help you get the house of your dreams. So, contact me today!  



Randy Miller 
Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage  
905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400

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Canadian Real Estate Market News

Home sales, prices to rise


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has released a new report with everything you could possibly want to know about projected sales and prices across the country, forecasting a “steady” showing nationwide next year, followed by “some moderation” in 2016.


Housing starts in Canada, it predicted today, will range next year from 172,800 to 204,000, and in 2016 from 168,000 to 205,800.


Resales next year will come in between 457,000 and 507,300, and in 2016 between 448,000 and 508,000.

Prices are particularly interesting.


Average prices this year, which, of course, differ widely across Canada, are expected to range from $401,600 to $405,400, which means a so-called point forecast of $404,800.


Next year, according to CMHC, prices will be between $403,600 and $417,800, for an increase in the point measure to $410,600.


Then in 2016, expect prices to range between $407,300 and $424,500, or a point forecast of $417,300.

West to east, here’s what CMHC forecasts in terms of average prices:

  • British Columbia: Average resale price to rise to $566,300 in 2015 and $573,000 in 2016.
  • Alberta: Average to rise to $407,800 and $417,500.
  • Saskatchewan: Average to rise to $303,000 and $309,300.
  • Manitoba: Average to rise to $272,600 and $278,800.
  • Ontario: Average to rise to $435,900 and $443,800.
  • Quebec: Average to rise $270,800 and $276,600.
  • New Brunswick: Average to dip to $161,500 and $161,000.
  • Nova Scotia: Average to rise to $216,000 and $217,000.
  • Prince Edward Island: Average to slip to $157,000 in both years.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Average to rise to $294,000 and $298,000.


These findings, of course, mask the wide ranges from city to city, which CMHC also looked at.


For example, the average in Calgary, forecast to jump 5 per cent this year to $459,000, should rise further, to $472,000 in 2015 and $483,000 a year later.


Source: By MICHAEL BABAD, The Globe and Mail,



Randy Miller 


Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage  

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400


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House of Horror


Mark Weisleder, real estate lawyer, author and speaker, on how to stay out of trouble when buying a house:

Make sure your lender has done their appraisal of your home

Just because you are pre-approved for financing, it does not mean you will get your money on closing. There are always more lender conditions to satisfy, whether it is income verification, proof of down payment and a satisfactory appraisal of your home, to make sure you didn't overpay. Make sure you satisfy all requirements before you waive any finance condition. I have seen many cases where lenders have refused to advance money on the closing date because of incomplete information or problems with the home's appraisal. This can cause delays in closing, extra moving expenses and in worst case scenarios, a default in the deal where the buyer forfeits their deposit.

Visit the neighbourhood on foot

No seller will tell you about a neighbour from hell or problems with other homes on the street. They may also not disclose problems with their own homes or whether there had been a suicide or murder on the property. When you are doing your home inspection, have someone talk to your potential new neighbours and ask them directly if they saw any repair trucks at the home you are interested in, and whether there may be some strange people living nearby. It also helps to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with that neighbourhood as well, to avoid any surprises after closing.

Choose a home inspector carefully

The home inspection is a critical part of the process, so do your research. Make sure the company is registered before retaining them. The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is a self-regulating body that defines qualifications for home inspectors, and grants the designation RHI, or Registered Home Inspector, to qualified practitioners in Ontario. Most inspection firms have a limitation of liability clause, which states that if they miss something that costs you money, they are not responsible. Ask the inspection company if they have ever been sued by a buyer. Also ask them whether they carry insurance in case they do get sued. Remember that home inspectors cannot see behind walls. In older homes especially, it is worth considering paying extra to check for moisture behind the walls, termites and drainage issues.

Go to City Hall

Visit your local building department and find out if any new developments are planned. New development may increase property values but also increase traffic. Check to see how many owners have applied for minor variances, to either build homes or additions that are larger than the by-law permits. This gives an indication of the future direction of this neighbourhood.

Include everything you expect to receive on closing

There is no such thing as too much detail. Insert clearly everything you expect to receive on closing, including window coverings, drapes, mirrors, closet organizers, TV brackets, garage door openers and even 2 sets of keys and FOBs in a condominium. If the seller wants to remove the chandelier, make sure they install a cheaper fixture before closing, so you do not enter a dark house when you move in.

Basement apartments must be legal

If the home contains a basement apartment and the income is important to you, make sure that it legally complies with zoning and the fire code by-laws. If it doesn't, then all it takes is one complaint from a neighbour and you may be forced to spend thousands of dollars to make it comply after you buy.

Check about your insurance premium early

Find an insurance agent right away and if possible, check what it will cost to obtain insurance as soon as you sign your agreement and before you waive any conditions. An insurance agent can check the history of claims in the neighbourhood and can let you know about claims for sewage back-ups or vandalism. If it has old knob and tube wiring, or the place used to be a grow house, you will have difficulty arranging insurance. This is important information that any buyer should have before deciding to waive their conditions and complete the deal.

By following these steps, you can avoid horrors after closing.

Purchasing or selling real estate is a complex process and every element of the transaction is best handled by an experienced professional. Don’t take chances, go with proven results and experience. Contact me today, I can make your purchase or selling worry-free.


Randy Miller 


Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage  

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400

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September appears to have been another strong month for Canadian home sales. An article in the Globe and Mail from last week reported that the number of existing homes that changed hands in Canada during September came in 10.6 per cent higher than a year earlier, topping expectations.


The average sale price rose 5.9 per cent to $408,795.


On a seasonally adjusted basis sales are 1.4 per cent lower than they were in August, which is the first monthly decline since January, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which represents realtors.


But sales are still higher than economists predicted. Just before the numbers were released Bank of Montreal economist Sal Guatieri said that he was expecting sales to be up 6 per cent year over year. And Beth Crosbie, the president of CREA, stated in a press release that she thinks part of the reason for the monthly decline in sales was a shortage of affordably priced single-family homes.


September’s reasonably strong showing also comes at a time when many economists have been waiting for sales to slow. But, fuelled by low mortgage rates, the housing market has continued to surprise to the upside and policy makers are keeping an eye on it. Currency strategists at JPMorgan Chase said in a research note on Tuesday that they expect Canadian growth to lag that of the U.S. largely because of slowing housing activity here, but then noted that the slowdown has been elusive. “Recent data has been surprisingly strong, and inconsistent with the Bank of Canada’s soft-landing thesis, but we expect it to soften from this autumn,” they wrote.


Read the full article here >>> http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/existing-home-sales-rise-106-outpace-expectations/article21105802/

Source: Tara Perkins, The Globe and Mail


Randy Miller 


Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage  

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400

Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story