Toronto is a beautiful city – bustling and vibrant, bursting with life, art and culture. There is always something happening! Discover what the city has to offer by checking out these exciting family-friendly festivals and events:
1. Distillery District ArtFest. May 20th -22nd 2017. Distillery District.
Set throughout the cobblestone lanes of the Distillery Historic District, ArtFest is an outdoor art and craft show celebrating painting, photography, sculpture, fine craft and live music – all from local Canadian artists. Event Page
2. Kensington Market Art Fair. May 28th, June 25th. August 27th, September 24th and October 29th 2017. Kensington Market.
The Kensington Market Art Fair (KMAF) is an outdoor art fair that focuses on original two and three-dimensional art. The event features professional and student works and runs from 12-7pm during Pedestrian Sundays. Event Page
3. Waterfront Artisan Market. Every Saturday, from May 20th to October 7th, 11 – 8PM. Waterfront
Toronto’s waterfront comes alive from 11am – 8pm in HTO Park with an open-air market featuring 75 local, up-and-coming artisans, crafters, chefs and bakers. More Information.
4. Liberty Village Art Crawl. June 10th 2017. 11 – 6 PM. Liberty Village.
The 5th Annual Liberty Village Art Crawl runs on Saturday, June 10th from 11am – 6pm in Liberty Village Park. The crawl features 65 artists and delectable food options provided by local food vendors. Liberty Art Crawl
5. Your Neighbourhood Farmer’s Market. Most neighbourhoods in Toronto have a farmer’s market. Markets provide a great opportunity to purchase healthy fresh foods and support local businesses and farms. Many markets have already started their season while some will open on the last week of May. Not sure which market to check out? Here is a list of the Top 24 Farmer’s Markets in Toronto.
6. Riverdale ArtWalk. June 3rd and June 4th, 11am – 6 pm. Jimmie Simpson Park
Riverdale ArtWalk is a free two-day public exhibition showcasing local artists. Located in Jimmie Simpson Park in the Queen East arts district, it is a great place to connect with artists and find unique pieces to bring home. Riverdale Art Walk
7. Doors Open Toronto. May 27th & May 28th. All over the city
An excellent way to explore the hidden parts of our city, Doors Open Toronto is happening on May 27th and May 28th. This year, the event will open up more than 150 of Toronto’s most architecturally, historically and socially significant buildings across the city. The theme is ‘Fifteen Decades of Canadian Architecture’ and the event showcases buildings pre-dating confederation, and from each decade onwards. The event will feature a speaker’s series and special programs throughout the weekend. Check out the full program and list of participating buildings here.
8. CBC Music Festival. May 27th, 1:30 PM. Echo Beach
In its fifth year, the 2017 CBC Music Festival will feature an exclusively Canadian lineup including Serena Ryder and Walk Off The Earth, Tickets are $39.50.
What festivals and events are you looking forward to this season? Let me know!
Are you looking to upgrade your fitness routine? Check out these 5 Upscale Workout Spots in Toronto:
Gym: 55 Avenue Road
Located in the heart of Yorkville, Equinox is 35,000 square feet of high-end fitness apparatus and services. The lavish gym boasts a full-service spa, a designer boutique and four separate fitness studios with many personal trainers available. Chilled eucalyptus towels and gratis high-end bathroom products are offered while enjoying the luxurious shower facilities.
Cost: $171 per month.
Cycling Studio: 70 Dan Leckie Way
Spokehaus offers spin classes with a twist. Classes are choreographed to carefully curated playlists that promise an unparalleled endorphin high. The signature class is 45 minutes of high-intensity cycling that involves weights and body movement. After your full-throttle workout, cool down with some more of those chilled eucalyptus towels and enjoy the shower facilities stocked with high end apothecary products. The studio boasts a chic retail space and juice bar as well.
Cost: $25 per class (plus tax). First timers get three for the price of one; two classes for you and one for a friend. 20 Classes for $390. Spin shoe rental included in price.
Fitness Studio: 2481 Yonge Street
Fitness classes centred around surfing first took off in the United States after the idea was presented on Shark Tank. Now there are four locations in Canada, with one Toronto studio conveniently located near Yonge and Eglinton. An unconventional workout, these classes are done entirely on a surf board balanced on three stability balls. Surfset Toronto offers four classes: Balance: a yoga-inspired workout; Burn: a cardio class; Build: to work your muscles and Blend: a mixture of all three workouts. The small-scale studio can hold a maximum of 12 people which is perfect for those opting for a more personalized workout.
Cost: $22 per class, ten classes for $180.
4. Crossfit YKV
CrossFit Gym: 175 Avenue Road
A more recent addition to the Yorkville fitness scene, Crossfit YKV is aimed at fitness buffs who love CrossFit and want a luxurious environment to train in. The space is a 6,000 square foot open concept space that includes a two-storey workout room, which is surrounded by full length windows and filled with state-of-the-art equipment. The gym includes a cardio suite, physiotherapy treatment rooms and retail space. It is the perfect place for those looking to train for CrossFit competitions.
Cost: $30 per class (plus tax). 10 pack of classes $275, monthly unlimited classes range from $199 to $280 per month.
5. Pure Barre
Barre Studio: 737 Queen Street West
Pure Barre is the biggest barre chain in North America and their first Canadian studio is set up on Queen Street West. The barre workout is geared towards those that want to tone their bodies. This technique involves movements used in ballet and the easy-to-master moves strategically exhaust every muscle.
Cost: First-timers can enjoy a month of unlimited classes for $99, after that each month is $199. Drop-in classes are $21.
What is your favourite fitness spot in the city?
Strong Growth in New Listings in April
May 3, 2017 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® entered 33.6 per cent more new listings into TREB’s MLS® System in April 2017, at 21,630, compared to the same month in 2016. New listings were up by double-digits for all low-rise home types, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. New listings for condominium apartments were at the same level as last year.
Total sales for the TREB market area as a whole amounted to 11,630 – down 3.2 per cent year-over-year. One issue underlying this decline was the fact that Easter fell in April in 2017 versus March in 2016, which resulted in fewer working days this year compared to last and, historically, most sales are entered into TREB’s MLS® System on working days.
“The fact that we experienced extremely strong growth in new listings in April means that buyers benefitted from considerably more choice in the marketplace. It is too early to tell whether the increase in new listings was simply due to households reacting to the strong double-digit price growth reported over the past year or if some of the increase was also a reaction to the Ontario government’s recently announced Fair Housing Plan,” said Mr. Cerqua. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark Price was up by 31.7 per cent year-over- year in April 2017. Similarly, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 24.5 per cent to $920,791.
“It was encouraging to see a very strong year-over-year increase in new listings. If new listings growth continues to outpace sales growth moving forward, we will start to see more balanced market conditions. It will likely take a number of months to unwind the substantial pent-up demand that has built over the past two years. Expect annual rates of price growth to remain well-above the rate of inflation as we move through the spring and summer months,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
The weather is warming up and it is time to enjoy a well-deserved vacation, or visits to the family cottage. When making travel plans, the last thing you will want is to be worried about the safety of your home while away – there is already enough to stress about! It is important to prepare your home before your departure; use this easy guide to help:
Make Your Home Look Lived-In.
A house that looks obviously empty can be a target. Keep your house looking occupied during longer trips:
Do not let newspapers or mail stockpile. If you are going away for a long time, you can contact Canada Post to hold your mail, or ask a trusted neighbour to come by and pick them up.
Protect your car by parking it inside the garage. Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance of activity.
Have at least one light in your home connected to a timer. A timed light will save on energy costs and make the home look lived in.
Install motion-activated outdoor lights – if you have a larger property, flood lights are great. Any outdoor lights are a deterrent to burglars.
Ensure your lawn is trimmed. Ask a neighbour or family member, or hire someone, to come by and mow the lawn. An unkempt property sends the signal that no one is around (especially if it is usually taken care of).
Take the Necessary Electrical and Plumbing Precautions
Go around your home and unplug all electrical devices. This will save you money, and also lower your risk of an electrical fire occurring.
Put the water heater in ‘vacation’ mode.
Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and sinks.
Set your thermostat closer to outside temperatures. This will keep energy bills lower, while also ensuring your home is not freezing or overly hot inside.
Other Preparations to Consider:
Let your bank and credit card company know you will be going away and notify your home alarm company.
Test smoke detectors before you leave.
Ensure every door is locked and any valuables in the backyard are stowed away.
Leave your emergency contact information and a spare house key with a trusted neighbour.
Check your fridge and pantry for any food that could go bad while you are away.
Empty all the trash in your house in the event there are perishables in any of the bins.
Lastly, do not post your travel plans or dates on social media. You may feel that you want to share these details with your friends, but you never know who else is viewing this information. I hope you find this list helpful…and happy travels!
The Globe and Mail has published an article about a recent trend where home sellers are moving into rental properties rather than buying. There have been many shifts in the real estate market as of late, and everyone must adapt to remain relevant. Although I was not interviewed for the article, a photo of a property I just leased out for a client was featured.
Toronto Homeowners Cashed Out to Capitalize on High Prices – And Many Aren’t About to Dive Back In
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, APR. 26, 2017
Justin Wheeler didn’t expect he’d start leasing in his 30s. He’s owned a house in Cambridge, Ont., for 10 years and raised a young family there. But he changed his mind after people started flocking to Cambridge to escape Toronto’s expensive real estate market, driving the average price of a house up more than 30 per cent in a year.
“In a couple years, we were going to sell. And then we saw people selling their houses for crazy amounts of money, so we said, ‘Screw it.’”
Last month, Mr. Wheeler sold his house for well over asking price – at twice what he paid. He thinks it’d be “crazy” to buy while the market is so high, so he’s searching for a bigger house to lease while he waits for it to fall.
Toronto-area realtors say interest in leasing high-end rental homes has surged as more and more owners do exactly what Mr. Wheeler did: Cash out and lease while they wait to buy in a cheaper market. Ashley Gollogly, a local realtor, says this is setting Toronto’s high-end leasing market “on fire” – and helping to drive its prices up.
“[It] has always been crazy, but I think in the last six months it’s gotten more so just with the ones that have been selling their houses and taking a break from the market.”
With housing prices in Toronto at record highs, more people are looking to lease – and the increased demand is driving leasing prices higher. Realosophy Realty, a brokerage that collects statistics on housing in Toronto, found 403 new listings of high-end homes – defined as properties asking $4,000 a month and up – in the first quarter of 2017; a 35-per-cent increase from the same period last year. Of those listed, 219 were actually leased out – a 53-per-cent year-over-year increase.
A search of online realty sites turns up homes in the Greater Toronto Area that come with Victorian-style furniture, whirlpools, outdoor kitchens – and price tags as high as $25,000 a month.
Andy Taylor, of Sotheby’s International Realty, represents a Yorkville brownstone listed at $23,500 a month. It has 3,000 square feet of living space, has three bedrooms and no garage, but Mr. Taylor says there’s a market for furnished rentals in great locations, even at this price. So far, he’s seen interest from executives moving to Toronto and from people who sold their house.
Years ago, such leases were popular with businesspeople and athletes who relocated their families after finding temporary jobs in the city. Now, people who have just sold a home – often for a price they never dreamed they would get – are pushing into the leasing market flush with cash.
“People don’t want to take all their money they’ve made in appreciation of their family home and sink it back into real estate,” says local sales representative Jimmy Molloy, of Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.
Ehson Rahmati, of World Class Realty Point, who sells and rents condos in the GTA, sees the same story playing out in high-end condo rentals. Interest in large condos increased “tremendously” last year and in March, he says.
“A lot of people obviously are moving out of their houses, so a lot of these smaller condos won’t cut it for a family. So a lot of the bigger two-bedroom, three-bedroom penthouses or just bigger units are being rented.”
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s Rental Market Report for the fourth quarter of 2016 found the average price for condos with three or more bedrooms increased by 16.35 per cent last year. In comparison, the average price of a one-bedroom apartment increased by 7.30 per cent.
It’s not just Ontario’s recent moves aimed at curbing the housing market that have some convinced that the market is set for a slowdown, and soon. For Ms. Gollogly, it was the election of Donald Trump. For Mr. Wheeler, it is his conviction that the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates.
Penny Brown, a realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, has noticed a couple trends: People are insisting on closing sales quickly, as if the market could crash any day; people are downsizing while they’re still young; and people are moving into nearby cities such as Cambridge or Hamilton to work remotely.
While selling and leasing might offer the chance to cash in on a rising market, the sellers still need a place to live and may find leasing too expensive.
Terri Roberts lives in a Markham house worth three times what she originally paid. She wants to sell, and rent in the city so her two children have access to the perks of Toronto and to reduce her daily commute. So far, she and her realtors haven’t found a three-bedroom place that’s within her budget and in a neighbourhood that she’s comfortable living in.
“It’s frustrating. Very frustrating.”
Mr. Wheeler is having similar troubles. Although his house sold at a good price for Cambridge, a declining number of listings has made leasing as competitive as buying. And although he’s convinced banks will raise interest rates in the future, leading to a market collapse, he admits there’s no way to tell when that might happen or what the effect on the Cambridge real estate market might be.
“At this point, [the sale feels] good, but who’s to say it’s not going to get even worse and I’ll have gotten out too early? That’s the gamble you take.”
Winter can leave behind a big mess, get your backyard back in shape for spring with these tips:
1. Remove Any Garbage and Waste. Months of snow, rain and wind can cause garbage and debris to end up strewn all over the yard. If you have pets, you also know that waste tends to accumulate as well. Now that the snow has melted away, it is time to remove anything that does not belong in the yard.
2. Clean Up Larger Debris. Once garbage and waste is removed, pick up any fallen tree branches, sticks, pinecones and any other larger debris. Any wood pieces can be kept for kindling for the summer fire pit.
3. Rake Up Small Debris For Compost. With larger items out of the way, it will be easy to run the rake over the entirety of the yard. Things like small sticks, leaves and dead grass can all be deposited in your compost pile. If you do not have a compost pile, and wish to start one, simply place some chain-link fencing in your compost spot to make a 3-foot-by-3-foot area. You can compost things like vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, plant prunings, cardboard egg boxes, paper, twigs, tea bags and fruit waste, etc. City of Toronto residents can get up to one cubic metre (or a trunk-full) of compost for free at a Compost Depot.
4. Trim and Prune Bushes, Trees and Shrubbery. Winter can take its toll on our plants and trees. Trim and prune anything that has been damaged. Avoid topping trees or removing large healthy branches, this can cause health problems for the tree and hurt the plant’s natural shape. Try to remove only dead branches, branches that rub against each other, or branches that are unhealthy.
5. Remove Stale Mulch. If your mulch seems a bit stale after a long winter, it is a good idea to remove it before planting new shrubs, flowers and plants. If you are in a colder region, you may want to wait a bit longer to start planting. You can start your seedling plants indoors so they are ready to go when it is warm enough.
6. Replace Mulch. Once you have planted everything, lay down new mulch. Chipped wood like cedar, cypress or redwood works great. Wood chips are often available for free. Check online to see if any mulch is available in your area either through the city or private listings.
7. Repair the Lawn. Most over–seeding should be done in the fall, but you can work on thinner areas in the spring if there are noticeable “balding” spots. Wait until grass is 4-5 inches tall before you resume regular mowing. The first mow of the season should only be a trim as over-cutting the lawn early on may leave your grass susceptible to damage.
8. Bring Out the Patio Furniture. It is time to arrange your outdoor sitting and entertaining areas again. Ensure you give all the furniture a good clean before setting up as dust and dirt can accumulate after months of storage. Check to see if any furniture needs to be replaced or repaired. Wash any cushions, pillows, and covers. Be sure to check tags before throwing anything into the washing machine.
Do you have any questions about preparing your yard this spring? Looking to make your outdoor spaces look their best in anticipation of selling your home? Give me a call at 416.921.1112 or email me at Elli@ellidavis.com and I would be happy to help.
There is no doubt about it – Toronto’s real estate market is hot. In 2016, Toronto had the strongest sales gains of any Canadian metropolitan area. Hotter still is Toronto’s luxury market which saw price increases of around 32 per cent last year.
Toronto’s Luxury Properties
Luxury properties can be found all over Toronto, but some neighbourhoods are much more prominent than others. The majority of Toronto’s luxury properties are removed from the city’s bustling center, and tend to be located in what is known as the midtown. In 2016, six districts (as outlined by TREB) had an average sales price above $1 million. C12 is Toronto’s most expensive district with an average sales price of $2.5 million. It includes upscale neighbourhoods such as Lawrence Park, Windfields, and a collection of estate-lined blocks called the Bridle Path. This district also happens to have some of the fastest growing prices, with the average sale price climbing 31 per cent since 2014.
Toronto is home to nearly 250 neighbourhoods – a daunting number for those who are unfamiliar with the lay of the land. The Toronto Real Estate Board has made things a little easier by breaking the city down into 35 larger districts – each containing between 5 and 6 neighbourhoods.
Leading Canada’s Luxury Market
In Vancouver, sales of homes over $1 million were down 27 per cent from last year, and sales of homes worth over $4 million were down 46 per cent. Toronto’s luxury market outpaced Vancouver last year and the city will likely remain a top pick for high-end property buyers through 2017. Of Canada’s four major markets, the GTA saw the greatest year-over-year gains in condo, attached, and single family home sales over $1 million in 2017 so far.
Starting Off 2017 With Record Numbers
January and February 2017 compared to the same time last year:
GTA real estate sales over $1 million soared 87 per cent; sales volume rose 86 per cent.
GTA luxury real estate sales over $4 million rose 144 per cent; sales volume rose 158 per cent.
TREB predicts that overall growth for all home types will stay in the double digits for the rest of 2017. Supply is as tight as ever and the number of active listings is less than half of what it was a year ago. The continued lack of supply, low interest rates, and population growth will result in very strong price growth for all home types this year.
Whether you are looking to build a new custom luxury home like Drake’s new Bridle Path mansion, or are on the lookout for a slightly less elaborate luxury property, give me a call at 416. 921.1112. I would love to help you find into the luxury property of your dreams.
If you have ever moved before, you know the importance of packing carefully and strategically. The last thing you want is for boxes to fall apart, for your valuables to get damaged or for your belongings to get misplaced. Follow these tips to ensure your items are packed and moved, safely and securely:
1. Use the correct box size. Do not make boxes too heavy. Put heavy items in small boxes and light items in larger ones. Extra heavy boxes make the job harder and heavy items are a common complaint of professional movers – they also have a better chance of breaking. It is better to have two lighter boxes than one extra heavy one!
2. When packing boxes, pack heavier items on the bottom and lighter ones on top. When packing the truck, pack heavier boxes first, towards the front of the truck, for better balance.
3. Fill in empty spaces in boxes. Fill in any gaps with clothing, towels, or packing paper. Loosely packed or unbalanced boxes can be hard to move and stack. Filling boxes helps to ensure things don’t move around too much in transit and during handling. It also makes sense to use up as much space as possible!
4. Keep boxes organized. Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box, this will make your packing quicker and everything will be easier to unpack when the time comes. You will not be left wondering what belongs to who and where things should go.
5. Label everything. You may think you will remember which boxes contain what, or what items belong where – but once everything is packed up, it is easy to get confused. In clear writing, label each box with its contents. Mark each box with an alphanumeric code, with the letter indicating the room it is destined for and label each box with a number to keep track. Keep inventory in a small notebook – this way you will know if anything is missing and what is missing.
6. Tape boxes well. Use tape to close bottom and top seams. If a box is on the heavier side, make a couple of wraps all the way around the box’s top and bottom edges where stress tends to concentrate.
7. Protect fragile items. When packing dishes, wrap them individually in packing paper and wrap bundles of five or six together with more paper. Always pack dishes on their sides and use bunched-up paper as padding above and below. For extra padding, pack your glasses and stemware in clean socks.
If you are planning on moving, and looking for some help or advice, feel free to give me a call at 416.921.1112 – I would be happy to help.
There is nothing more satisfying than harvesting delicious ingredients from your own garden – knowing that you are using fresh and organic herbs and vegetables that you tended to yourself!
Whether you are a seasoned gardener, or a complete beginner, a bit of research and preparation can have you growing your own backyard vegetables and herbs in no time. The weather is warming up and the last spring frost will be behind us before we know it. Start planning your garden now with these 5 Staple Edible Garden Starters:
1. Carrots. A staple in the kitchen, carrots are easy to grow. They like sandy soil and are resistant to most pests and diseases. Plant carrots 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date and make sure soil is free of stones. Gently mulch to retain moisture and ensure soil is well drained. When plants are an inch tall, thin them so they stand 3 inches apart. Carrots like to be planted near beans, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, radishes or tomatoes – chives improve their growth and flavour.
2. Mint. One of the easiest herbs to grow, mint is great for summer drinks, desserts, teas, garden accents, ground covers, air fresheners and herbal medicines. The plant thrives in light soil with good drainage. Make sure to keep mint in a contained environment as it is a rapid spreader and can cover a lot of ground. Mint can grow up to 4 feet in just 1 year so make sure to prune and pick as the season goes on. Planting mint near peas, cabbage, and tomatoes improves its health and flavour.
3. Basil. Great for salads, pesto, pizza, and sauces, basil is a leafy, fragrant annual with several varieties available. The most common type is sweet basil with other types including purple basil, lemon basil and Thai basil. Basil should be planted in early spring, after the last spring frost. Plant seeds/seedlings 1/4-inch deep and 10 to 12 inches apart. To ensure growth throughout the summer, soil should be moist and the leaves should be picked regularly. Pinch out any flower heads as soon as they appear. Basil likes to be planted near tomatoes and sweet peppers.
4. Tomatoes. One of the favourites amongst garden vegetables, this vine plant is easy to grow and is quite versatile. Tomatoes like full sun and well-drained soil. If you are planting seeds, start the seeds indoors and transplant after the last spring frost when the soil is warm. Tomatoes are prone to a range of pests and diseases so plants should be watched carefully. Planting near basil helps repel aphids, whiteflies, hornworms, and mosquitoes.
5. Cucumbers. Cucumber plants have the ability to climb so they are great for tight spaces and tend to grow fast. Cucumbers are susceptible to frost damage – make sure you do not plant them outside too soon. Select a site with full sun and sow seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 6 – 10 inches apart. Set up a trellis if you want the vine to climb, or if you have limited space. Plant cucumbers near corn, lettuce, onions, peas or radishes for optimal growth and flavour.
What edible plants will you be planting this season? If you are looking for other options to include in your garden this spring, check out this list of 111 Herbs, Vegetables, Edible Flowers and Fruit. Happy Planting!
Tight Market Conditions Continue in March
April 5, 2017 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 12,077 residential sales through TREB’s MLS® System in March 2017. This result represented a 17.7 per cent increase compared to the 10,260 sales reported in March 2016. For the TREB market area as a whole, annual sales growth was strongest for condominium apartments and detached houses.
The number of new listings also increased on a year-over-year basis, at 17,051 – a 15.2 per cent increase compared to March 2016. The strongest growth in new listings was experienced in the detached market segment. While new listings were up strongly compared to last year, the rate new listings growth was still lower than the rate of sales growth. As a result, GTA market conditions continued to tighten.
“It has been encouraging to see that policymakers have not implemented any knee-jerk policies regarding the GTA housing market. Different levels of government are holding consultations with market stakeholders and TREB has participated and will continue to participate in these discussions. Policy makers must remember that it is the interplay between the demand for and supply of listings that influences price growth,” said Mr. Cerqua.
Strong competition between buyers continued to cause high levels of price growth in all major market segments. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark Price was up by 28.6 per cent year-over-year. For the TREB market area as a whole, the average selling price was up by 33.2 per cent, with similar annual rates of growth in the low-rise and condominium apartment segments.
“Annual rates of price growth continued to accelerate in March as growth in sales outstripped growth in listings. A substantial period of months in which listings growth is greater than sales growth will be required to bring the GTA housing market back into balance. As policy makers seek to achieve this balance, it is important that an evidence-based approach is followed,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.