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Toronto Condo Boom Being Fueled by Single Women

POSTED ON May 25th  - POSTED IN Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published On Tue May 22 2012.

Elli Davis was a woman well ahead of her time when she bought her first condo 26 years ago.

“It took me about an hour. There were just two buildings to choose from in the (central Toronto) area at the time,” says Davis, who wasn’t even 30.

thestar-logoBut her agent was so awful at dealing with what was, admittedly, a bit of an anomaly at the time — a single woman buying a place on her own — that Davis would become a realtor herself two years later. Since then, she’s seen the real estate revolution firsthand.

Single women now account for about 20 per cent of all real estate purchases and well over 30 per cent of condo purchases, especially in Toronto’s booming downtown core, realtors and condo developers say.

Their significant buying power, and exacting standards, have helped drive the move to granite and stainless steel designer kitchens, better bathroom storage and even lighting — especially over the makeup mirror, says Jim Ritchie, president of Canada’s biggest condo builder, Tridel.

They are looking for locations within walking distance of transit and like the added security of condos, especially concierges who will keep an eye on underground security cameras as they head to their car.

Their style sense has even influenced unit layouts and the look of the lobbies, says Ritchie.

“The good news is, what appeals to female buyers benefits everybody,” he adds.

The average age of Tridel’s female buyers is about 33, says Ritchie, but they’re less likely to buy a unit before it’s built — partly because they want to be able to walk around the place and look out the windows first.

So they tend to buy from investors who are flipping their brand-new units and tend to require less of a down payment, which works well for women who tend to have a harder time coming up with the standard 20 to 25 per cent deposit.

Women see real estate as such an investment in their own future financial security that friends and co-workers are increasingly banding together to buy duplexes or single-family homes where they can share space and costs, says Laura Parsons, a mortgage specialist with BMO Bank of Montreal.

“We’re seeing a mix of all sorts of things on the mortgage front,” says Parsons, “some really different approaches” from women.

Three waitresses pooled their money, as did two nurses, in Calgary’s booming housing market, fearing that if they didn’t buy now they risked being priced out of a home forever, says Parsons.

Many buy with an eye to the future, close to schools for the children they hope to have someday.

And the trend shows no signs of letting up: Among Canadians who hope to buy in the next two years, some 49 per cent are women while just 35 per cent are men, according to the recently released RBC Homeownership poll.

“This is a universal phenomenon,” says Hamilton Re/Max realtor Conrad Zurini, who spoke about the female phenomenon during a BMO roundtable discussion on housing earlier this year.

While exact statistics are hard to find in Canada, the U.S. National Association of Realtors did a study in 2011 that found 54 per cent of all first-time buyers are married couples and 12 per cent are unmarried couples. Single females accounted for about 21 per cent of sales and single men just 12 per cent, says Zurini.

“Women have always made a lot of the house buying decisions, but now they have that mandate more than ever, and they can do it on their own, because they bring sizable incomes to the table,” says Zurini.

“We’ve had to rethink the way we market real estate because this group definitely communicates differently. They text a lot. They ask a lot of questions. They are fact finders. And they really look at where do I want to be in the next few years.”

Crime rates and “walk scores” are also critical: “A guy will just get in the car and not really think about that,” says Zurini. “A woman is thinking, ‘Is there a Starbucks on my way to work? They’re thinking lifestyle and they will sacrifice size to augment that.”

Given that women tend to outlive men, and the first wave of baby boomers are now in their late 60s, the trend of women buying on their own is not only likely to increase, but have a profound effect on housing of the future, says retired architect and urban planning expert Luis Rodriguez who has studied the issue of women’s impact on housing.

They’ll be looking beyond nice kitchens to flexible accommodation that perhaps allows them to share common spaces but also have personal space, much like student housing, says Rodriguez.

“This social trend (of more female buyers) is going to be very important to the housing market,” he adds.

Already they are looking for more durable finishes and turnkey homes that don’t require renovations or extensive maintenance, realtors say.

Even a plaster wall needing repair or missing baseboards in a room can be enough to turn a single woman off buying an otherwise great property, says realtor Sandra Rinomato of the west-end Toronto brokerage Sandra Rinomato Realty Inc. and host of the new HGTV show Buy Herself.

Rinomato spends each half-hour show helping women become homeowners — from the newly divorced to the veteran renter who has nothing to show for 20 years of handing over monthly cheques to a landlord.

Elli Davis was determined not to be there.

She was in her late 20s, had saved up a bit of money and wanted the financial security of owning her own home.

She also wanted a doorman and someplace close to downtown that was easy to maintain.

“Those are the same things that prevail for women today. Except they’ve got a lot more choice.”

Sold: Spectacular View of the City

Wellesley/Bay

1001 Bay St. #1408 (Wellesley and Bay streets)

  • Asking price: $385,000
  • Sold for: $382,000
  • Taxes: $1,951 (2011)
  • Monthly fee: $489
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Time on the market: two days

“A spectacular view of the city can be enjoyed from this suite, in a luxury condo on Bay Street,” says listing agent Elli Davis.

1001 Bay Street

1001 Bay Street

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom suite has a combination living and dining room, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and French doors and a four-piece ensuite bathroom in the master suite. The den has an east view of the city.

The suite has an ensuite laundry and comes with one underground parking space and a locker.

Building amenities include a concierge, an exercise room, an indoor pool, a sauna and a squash court.

The suite is within walking distance of the TTC and shopping.

Listing Broker: Royal LePage Real Estate Services (Elli Davis)

Posted in National Post, May 14, 2012

Two Contenders For Large Yonge Street Condo

POSTED ON April 11th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

55 DELISLE AVENUE, NO. 505, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE $995,000
  • SELLING PRICE $993,500
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICES $850,000 (2008); $818,000 (October, 2006); $555,421 (July, 2006)
  • TAXES $6,139 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET Nine
  • LISTING AGENT Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.
55 Delisle Avenue 505

55 Delisle Avenue 505

The Action:

There were about two dozen showings for this two-bedroom-plus-den corner suite situated in a brick mid-rise around the corner from popular restaurants, shops and subway at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue. With little turnover in the roughly six-year-old building, two contenders negotiated offers and the property was sold within days.

What They Got:

This fifth-floor suite is an mid-size model in the Carlyle with 1,505 square feet of living space, complete with nine-foot ceilings and windows everywhere but the enclosed den, as well as hardwood floors in public areas and carpeting in the private sleeping quarters on opposite sides of the unit.

The dining area is situated off the open living space and separate eat-in kitchen, which both have walkouts to a balcony with a gas outlet.

The master suite features a walk-in closet, a curved bank of windows and the larger of two full bathrooms.

Stacked laundry machines, stainless steel kitchen appliances, including a gas stove, two lockers and two parking spots, are included with the unit.

Each month, the fee of $1,224 covers water and heating costs, not to mention 24-hour concierge and maintenance of a gym, party room and guest suites.

The Agent’s Take:

“The appeal is that it’s a newer building by Yonge and St. Clair,” says agent Elli Davis. “It offered high ceilings and it was in excellent condition.”

The outdoor space also bore some benefits of a backyard. “It was a nice balcony that looked through the trees,” says Ms. Davis. “Many people moving from a home want to retain their barbecue and they do allow it there.”

Posted in The Globe and Mail, April 05, 2012

Older Toronto Condo Delivers Space Bonus

POSTED ON April 10th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

61 ST. CLAIR AVENUE WEST, NO. 807, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE $675,000
  • SELLING PRICE $645,000
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICE $316,000 (1996)
  • TAXES $4,761 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET 26
  • LISTING AGENT Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The Action:

On a stretch of St. Clair Avenue West between Yonge Street and Avenue Road, this two-bedroom corner suite at Granite Place welcomed 25 potential buyers, from young professionals to downsizing homeowners.

61 St. Clair Avenue West 807

61 St. Clair Avenue West 807

What They Got:

On the eighth floor of the two-tower community, the 1,412-square-foot suite features windows in each room, including an eat-in kitchen with parquet floors, a carpeted dining area and an open living space with a walkout to a 25-by 8-foot balcony that is also accessible from a master suite.

Practical assets include two bathrooms, including the master ensuite, a laundry room, a locker and parking.

The monthly fee of $1,070 pays for utilities, 24-hour concierge and common amenities, such as a gym, indoor pool, hot tub, party and meeting rooms and a private park.

The Agent’s Take:

“People really love Granite Place [on account of] the lush landscaped lobby and a very large indoor pool, which attracted a lot of people,” says agent Elli Davis. “It’s an easy walk to the subway and the shops. The Yonge and St. Clair location is very, very hot.”

This suite, which is an average size in the roughly 30-year-old building, also provides lots of space to roam. “This was a split, two-bedroom, two-bathroom plan and the balconies are quite large there,” adds Ms. Davis.

Posted in The Globe and Mail, April 05, 2012

A Tiny Price Cut Moves a Big Casa Loma Home

POSTED ON March 27th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

337 SPADINA RD., TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE $1,195,000
  • SELLING PRICE $1,190,000
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICE $691,588 (1999)
  • TAXES $8,429 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET 67
  • LISTING AGENT Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd
Done Deal 337 Spadina Road

Done Deal 337 Spadina Road

The Action

Situated across the street from Sir Winston Churchill Park and down the street from St. Clair West subway station, this four-storey executive townhouse was initially listed for over $1.2-million. After visits from roughly 40 shoppers and a price reduction to $1,195,000, it ultimately sold for $1,190,000.

What They Got

In a row of 12-year-old townhouses, this roughly 3,000-square-foot residence has a fairly standard plan with three bedrooms, four bathrooms and several entertaining areas indoors and out, plus nine-foot ceilings with pot lights throughout, an elevator and access to a double garage off the lower-level recreation room.

At street level, there is a foyer and library with limestone floors.

Hardwood floors flow throughout the second level where there is a dining room with decorative wainscoting and under valance lighting, and a central kitchen with stainless steel appliances, including a gas stove, and granite counters overlooking a sunken living room with a gas fireplace and terrace doors.

Sleeping quarters consist of two bedrooms on the third floor, along with a laundry room, and a sky-lit master suite on the fourth floor with his-and-her closets, a five-piece bathroom and a wide deck.

The property was also outfitted with central vacuum, sound and security systems.

The Agent’s Take

“Three thirty-seven Spadina was beautifully located in Forest Hill near Spadina and St. Clair,” says agent Elli Davis. “You can walk to Forest Hill Village, Winston Churchill Park, St. Clair [West] subway, Loblaws and the Joe store.”

This townhouse also had many modern comforts and conveniences buyers wanted. “Features include four levels, an elevator and double garage attached,” says Ms. Davis. “It’s perfect for downsizers or someone who doesn’t want the maintenance of a home, but doesn’t want a condo either.”

Posted in Globe and Mail, Mar. 22, 2012

Nine Visitors to One Bedford, One Buyer

POSTED ON March 26th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

1 BEDFORD RD., NO. 2101, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE $1,795,000
  • SELLING PRICE $1,715,000
  • TAXES not yet assessed
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET 49
  • LISTING AGENT Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The Action

Done Deal - 1 Bedford Rd. NO 2101

Done Deal – 1 Bedford Rd. NO 2101

In a new luxury high-rise on Bloor Street, just across from Varsity Stadium by the Royal Ontario Museum, this two-bedroom plus den suite was initially listed for $1,795,000 and later reduced to $1,750,000. Nine serious buyers had private tours before one signed a deal.

What They Got

On the 21st floor of One Bedford, this 2,091-square-foot corner suite has unobstructed views down to the CN Tower with nine-foot tall windows in each room, including the den, an open entertaining space and a dining area, which has a balcony, as well as an eat-in kitchen with a granite-topped island.

The master was outfitted with broadloom carpeting rather than hardwood floors like the rest of the suite, access to a second outdoor space and the larger of two full bathrooms.

Additional luxuries include a powder room and high-end Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, along with a locker and parking spot.

Heat and hydro are not covered by the monthly fee of $1,290, which pays for 24-hour concierge and operating of a gym, indoor pool, hot tub and party room.

Local amenities also surround the building, which is literally steps from St. George subway station, designer boutiques on Bloor Street and esteemed restaurants in Yorkville, not to mention fine art galleries and museums.

The Agent’s Take

“The location in this building was key really … because it’s right on Bloor,” says agent Elli Davis. “The view was spectacular south and east on the 21st floor, so it had a very spacious, open feeling.”

The suite also provided less work and more space than other options. “It was a brand new condo that was very lightly lived in,” Ms. Davis states. “It was probably on the larger side.”

Posted in Globe and Mail, Mar. 22, 2012

Four Bidders Vie For Casa Loma Home

POSTED ON March 23rd  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

44 WELLS HILL AVENUE, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE $950,000
  • SELLING PRICE $1,120,000
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICE $850,000 (2007)
  • TAXES $6,595 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET Six
  • LISTING AGENT Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The Action:

44 Wells Hill 500

44 Wells Hill 500

In a residential pocket between the St. Clair West subway station and the historic Casa Loma landmark, fierce bidding wars have broken out over the last few properties listed for sale, including this detached, brick residence.

Four buyers out of 26 who booked private showings later submitted strong offers.

What They Got:

Built circa 1930 on a short treed street, this two-storey house is considered one of the older and smaller homes in the area.

It contains four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a fireside living room and separate dining room, as well as a rear sitting area and adjacent family room off the kitchen with a walkout to a private backyard and patio.

To store large items, there is an unfinished basement, detached garage and private driveway.

The Agent’s Take:

“It’s in the Casa Loma enclave and it’s a detached home with a private drive off Nina Street, so it was great for parking or for walking to the St. Clair and Bathurst area, subway, Loblaws and Joe [store],” agent Elli Davis said. “It featured nice, original charm of mouldings, hardwood floors, etcetera, so that was really well received.”

Posted in The Globe and Mail, March 22, 2012

Elli Davis Interviewed: Home Sales, Prices up in February

POSTED ON March 22nd  - POSTED IN Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

By: Sunny Freeman, The Canadian Press

Posted by brandonsun.com

TORONTO – An early bout of spring weather helped Canadian home sales pick up in February following two months of declines, defying predictions the market is starting to cool.

“The Canadian housing market remains buoyant, with an unseasonably mild winter likely adding some further juice to the mix,” said BMO deputy chief economist Douglas Porter. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Thursday that home sales rose 1.4 per cent in February, gaining back one third of the month-over month decline in January.

Compared with a year ago, actual home sales rose 8.6 per cent to 36,937 homes sold over CREA’s Multiple Listing Service. CREA noted the market remained balanced as both home sales and the number of newly listed homes increased 1.9 per cent, reaching their highest level since May 2010. The increase in supply should help keep the market balanced going forward and home price growth in check.

THE CANADIAN PRESS [Paul Chiasson]

THE CANADIAN PRESS
[Paul Chiasson]

“A rebound in new listings in Toronto and Montreal, Canada’s two most active markets, offset a retreat in new listings in Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest market,” CREA said in a release Vancouver is the most rapidly cooling market in Canada, with February sales down 18 per cent from heated levels a year ago. Last February, a boom in sales of multimillion-dollar properties was driven by foreign buyers, particularly from Asia, scooping up properties in specific areas, such as multicultural Richmond and ritzy West Vancouver.

That also served to skew the national average home price higher — a replay of which was not expected this year, said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “February’s data bear this out, but other factors are now keeping the national average price aloft. The main one is the housing market in Toronto, where a tight balance between supply and demand continues to drive some of the strongest home price gains in the country, particularly for single detached properties.”

A preference in recent months for single family homes, which are typically more expensive than condos, has helped to buoy the national average home price. The national average price for homes sold in February was $372,763, up two per cent from its reading for the same month last year. Average home prices in Vancouver are still double the national average at $806,094. But the Toronto market has now taken over as the country’s driver of growth, with sales up 12.2 per cent and home prices up 10.6 per cent year over year in February to $454,470.

One Toronto bungalow that recently made headlines sold for $421,800 over the asking price, with the winning bid coming from a university student with funding from her parents in China. As more buyers get priced out of some of the hottest markets, some are questioning whether — like the Vancouver market at its height last year —an influx of foreign investment is driving up the value of Toronto homes.

But Toronto real estate agent Elli Davis said while many of her listings receive multiple offers — some from foreign investors — she doesn’t believe foreign bids are responsible for the run-up in prices.

“(Foreign investment) has been common for years,” said the 29-year industry veteran, adding that most of her buyers are from Toronto.

“It doesn’t matter who it is, if someone wants to pay more than someone else, that’s just how the market is.”

Industry watchers, who are closely monitoring home prices, have suggested Canada’s real estate market, which has been fuelled by low mortgage rates since the recession, will soon cool off — but many predict a so-called “soft landing.”

Others have called for a more drastic decline in sales and home prices, saying that the market is overheated, creating a housing bubble that could soon burst. But BMO’s Porter said that the modest two per cent increase in home prices hardly justifies predictions of a devastating housing crash. “Could it just be possible that with a high percentage of Canadian analysts and media outlets located in Toronto, that the perception of Canada’s housing market is being deeply influenced by the strength in the local market?” Porter wondered.

On a weighted basis, which gives each region, regardless of size, an equal weighting, prices were up even more — at 4.6 per cent year-over-year, a jump that will “raise eyebrows in Ottawa,” said CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld. “Policy-makers are growing more concerned about the risks of an overshoot in home prices (and related mortgage debt) that would set Canada up for a harder landing down the road,” he said.

“That increases the odds of a policy response at some point this year if home price momentum continues, with measures aimed directly at housing and mortgages rather than rate hikes being the likely weapon under consideration.” Ottawa has stepped in with tighter lending standards three times in the past three years in order to reduce the risk of overborrowing from those most vulnerable to a rise in interest rates.

Sold: Suite Faces East Over Hoggs Hollow

POSTED ON February 17th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Toronto Real Estate News

By Connie Adair

Cricket Club

3900 Yonge Street #504 (Yonge Street and York Mills Road)

  • Asking price: $829,000
  • Sold for: $810,000
  • Taxes: $5,765 (2011)
  • Monthly fee: $1,836
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 3
  • Time on the market: four days
3900 Yonge Street #504

3900 Yonge Street #504

The balcony faces east over Hoggs Hollow, offering a treed view for the occupants of this three-bedroom, three-bathroom suite.

The approximately 2,027-square-foot suite has a combination living and dining room, a powder room and an eat-in kitchen. The master suite has a walk-in closet and a four-piece ensuite bathroom.

The suite also has an additional four-piece bathroom.

There is one parking space included.

Building amenities include a concierge, an indoor pool, a sauna, a party room, an exercise room and parking for visitors. It’s close to transit and has easy access to Highway 401.

Listing Broker: Royal LePage Real Estate Services (Elli Davis)

Posted in National Post, Feb 16, 2012