I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family all my best wishes for a very safe and prosperous new year. I hope that you and yours came out of the ice storm and the subsequent deep freeze unfazed. We were very lucky to not lose power but I know unfortunately that this wasn’t the case for some of you.
As 2014 gets underway, the Toronto income property market remains as robust as ever. I anticipate 2014 to be another strong year with sales and limited inventory levels comparable to 2013. 2013 saw a slowdown in new construction, a strong resale market for freehold homes, and some slowing in the condo market. All of this will continue into 2014.
If you ever have any questions about real estate investing in Toronto, or would like general information on the duplex and triplex market, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
I’m looking forward to this year as it is a World Cup year and the Winter Olympics are starting in a few weeks. So go Canada go!
Permits not required for damaged tree removal
After the devastating ice storm last month, many large tree branches came crashing down. There’s no need for homeowners to obtain a city permit to hire a licensed contractor to deal with hazardous broken branches or trees that look as if they’re about to topple. For the time being to eliminate a hazard, the city is waiving the need to obtain tree removal permits in cases where trees are greater than 30 centimeters in diameter.
“Friday night, a tree breaks, you don’t wait until Monday to call the city to get a permit,” said parks director Richard Ubbens. “You can call a qualified expert and they can get out there and deal with it then. If you do hire a private contractor, they should chip that material up themselves. It’s about safety.”
Ubbens said fallen branches can be brought to the curb, with the butt end to the curb, as long as they’re not blocking the road or the sidewalk. Otherwise, just put them on the front lawn. Beginning last week, the city will dispatch crews to go along streets and grind up storm debris, he said. “Take a picture if you can,” as added protection from getting fined by the city if inspectors ask later on about the removal of a tree, Ubbens suggested.
Where are interest rates going this year?
The following article on interest rate predictions for this coming year is courtesy of leading mortgage broker Marcus Tzaferis. www.mortgagemarcus.com.
If you gain any comfort in knowing that the Canadian Dollar is strong you will probably have a stressful year in 2014. The Bank of Canada may be working behind the scenes to get the Canadian Dollar weaker relative to the US Dollar. A weaker Canadian Dollar will mean that exports to the United States will increase and hopefully stimulate a lagging Canadian economy.
In a statement back in early December the Bank of Canada didn’t directly speak to the affect they are having on the Canadian Dollar. They did speak to the Housing Market. Their quote: “The Bank continues to expect a soft landing in the housing market,” Might give some comfort to homeowners. It is however important to keep in mind that these prices are heavily correlated to the low interest rates we continue to see.
The Bank did say: “Non commodity exports continue to disappoint,” It is here that they can try to guide our economy back to health, as a lower Canadian Dollar will stimulate our exports that don’t rhyme with spoil.
The Bank still doesn’t expect to move rates until the end of 2015. Any further commentary from the Bank that eludes to a rate drop should probably be ignored as it is almost certainly meant to reduce the Canadian Dollar.
You can rest easy knowing that Fixed Rates are low and Variable Rates aren’t moving for some time. If you’re in the market to refinance or transfer your existing mortgage this is a great time. There are probably some additional Government imposed mortgage changes coming, so try to plan your next move sooner rather than later to avoid having to jump through too many hoops.
Toronto market to remain stable
In my opinion, the Toronto real estate market will not crash this year despite what many financial analysts may be predicting. I don’t see much of a price correction coming either. The market in 2013 was stronger than ever, with many houses trading in the downtown core for higher than the asking price. Clearly, for quality downtown duplexes and triplexes, the demand was far outpacing the available supply. Since interest rates are likely to hold steady, I don’t see an immediate catalyst on the horizon that will start any major price drops.
Toronto remains a very desirable city to live in and despite higher resale home prices, the demand will persist. There has been a large population increase over the past five years. Whilst many new condos have been built to satisfy the housing needs of these new residents, we can’t build new houses downtown – so these properties will hold and go up in value. Our house prices are not out of line with other major North American cities even though it has very much been a sellers’ market. When Canada is consistently voted as one of the best places in the world to live, and our banking system remains in strong shape, we may see prices rise even higher in the months ahead.