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Mississauga’s Winter Pleasures

It’s getting to that time of year again- the time when most of us want nothing more than to curl up on our couches and drink hot beverages.

However, we should all try to stay active this season, and Mississauga has a ton of great things to do! Here are our all-time favourite winter activities to get you up and moving!

Ice Skating

Mississauga has a number of great skating rinks to get you into the wintry spirit.

Outdoor Rinks:

Celebration square has an ice rink with trees and lights, plus some tunes to skate to. It opens in late November. There is also a New Years Eve skating event every year under the stars!

Burnhamthorpe outdoor rink is another great option, and it’s open from December 4th to March 11th, with fun outdoor skating every day of the week.  You can check this schedule for dates and times.

Indoor Rinks:

Iceland is our favourite indoor skating arena. Check their schedules here to see times and details.

Cross Country Skiing

We recommend the going skiing at the beautiful Terra Cotta Conservation Area! It has gorgeous views, and it’s not a problem if you don’t have your own equipment. Ski equipment rental packages are around $27 per adult, and $17 for kids and seniors. More information can be found here.

Tobogganing

According to Mississauga’s own website, the top 3 places for tobogganing are Brookmede Park, Birchwood Park, and Erindale Park. Don’t forget your snowsuit!

Santa Claus Parade and Christmas in the Village

A long standing holiday tradition for many families includes attending the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade. This year, it’s located in Erin Mills (Erin Mills Auto Centre) and will happen on December 3rd.

The Christmas in the Village Festival is a newer tradition located in Streetsville. It’s a free family friendly event that includes live music, delicious food, craft tents, craft beer, wintry snacks and more. It’s located at Queen and Main on November 25th and 26th.

Winter Museum Activities

Not feeling the cold? There are several cool historical locations that you can visit for a slightly warmer seasonal experience.

Bradley House:

1620 Orr Road, Mississauga | Phone: 905-615-4860

Come check out how early settlers lived around Christmastime- like cooking over a hearth!

Benares Historic House:

1507 Clarkson Road North, Mississauga | Phone: 905-615-4860

Benares is free to the public, but they do collect non-perishables for the local food bank. Be sure to call and check their operating hours before going!

And don’t forget!

The City of Mississauga supports many winter goodwill programs. Please consider helping any of these organizations meet their goals this season.

Mississauga News Santa Claus Fund: This organization provides gift boxes to children under 12 so that everyone can have an excellent holiday season. Each box contains warm weather gear, a book, a toy, candy, and more. 100% of donations go into these boxes!

Seasons Christmas Show: Entry to this show is a donation of a new unwrapped toy. All toys go to support Peel’s Children’s Aid foundation.

Toys for Tots: This organization accepts unwrapped presents, cash, and Canadian tire money which all goes to children in need.

You can find even more activities and events by visiting the official Mississauga Celebration Square page here.

Will you be participating in any of these activities? What’s your favourite thing to do in the winter? Let us know!

October 2017 Market Watch

October was an incredibly interesting month for the GTA’s real estate market. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) just recently released the housing statistics for last month. For your convenience, we have summarized the most important points here, but if you’d like more information, you can see the full report at the TREB website hereIf you’d like to see our report from last month for comparison, you can find it here


As of this October, overall sales are down 26.7%, but pricing is up by almost 2.5%. New and active listings are also up 11.8% and 78.5% respectively. Another thing to note is that we are seeing an increase on the average days on market. Last year, a seller could expect their home to be sold in an average of 16 days, and this year that average has spiked by almost 44% – a whopping seven day increase.

 

It is common to see a general increase in sales between September and October each year, and this year was no different. Even though we experienced a sharp decline in the percentage of listings sold from February to May this year (81.5% down to 39.5%), the recent numbers seem to show a recovery and correlation to the trends of previous years for this coming winter season (Figure 1). October’s percentage of listings sold is back at 37.7%, which is comparable to the 2012 and 2013 numbers. If you take a look at last year, the market was extremely hot. Percent of listings sold was at an all time high, and the months of inventory (Figure 2) were around 1 month from last April to this April, even dipping below 1 month in an ultra seller’s market during February and March. Since then, months of inventory rose to around 3, and from August of this year, the numbers have started to normalize back to what the trends have been in past years, which is a happy medium for both buyers and sellers.

 

Figure 1

 

If you take a look at the October condo apartment stats for this year, that’s where the most interesting information lies. We have had a decline in overall sales, but it is the selling price that’s telling. Condos were selling at an average price of almost 22% higher than last year!

 

This means that while more higher priced abodes, such as detached and semi-detached houses are cooling down at the moment, condo sales are flourishing, and they’re holding value excellently. Since the implementation of a number of policy changes both provincially and federally, people have been buying more within their means, which explains this statistic, since condos are generally the lowest priced of all home types. It is important to note that most of these sales (over 75%) were in the 416 area code, as opposed to the 905, so it does seem to be location dependent.

 

Looking at the months of inventory, (the number of months it would take to sell all the listings on the market, without adding any new listings) we see that there was a slight decrease from September to October, (2.98 down to 2.65) which is quite different from the very low numbers of last years’ fall, though it is correlating to the more stable fall periods of 2013 and 2014 (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2

 

All in all, it’s been an exciting month for real estate! It is important to note that these numbers are for the GTA and are not neighbourhood specific. Today’s ever-changing market can be tough to navigate, but we’re here to help. If you’d like some clarification on anything we’ve mentioned in this article, or more specific information on your neighbourhood, feel free to contact us at 647-504-0690 or send us an email.

Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall is officially here, and it is the perfect time to take care of both the little and not-so-little things in your home that need attending to. By doing this you’re preparing your home for the colder weather around the corner which can help you save time and money in the future.

 

  • Clean out your gutters.
    • Autumn is infamous for blocked gutters and downspouts with incoming falling leaves. Consider installing gutter guards to reduce this stress.

  • Keep it sealed.
    • Think of Fall as the warm-up to Winter. Any issues you see now that it has become cold, are signs of major issues you will be having in the colder months to come. 

  • Furnace filters and fixes.
    • Replace your furnace filter, and if needed have a professional inspect your heating system before you really need it.

  • Roof inspection.
    • Hire a professional and have your roof inspected. If your shingles are curling or cracking have them replaced.

  • Foolproof Fireplace
    • Planning on using your fireplace during the Winter? Have it checked out before using it to prevent any major and dangerous disasters, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.

  • Branch Management
    • Trim dead branches to prevent any potential damage to your home. Winter storms can be dangerous, with freezing ice and windy conditions.

  • Exterior Pipes
    • To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

  • Leaf Me Alone
    • Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on on your lawn.When the larger leaves get wet, they can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems.
    • Don’t let these leaves go to waste! The raked leaves can be used as mulch. You can also add them to flower beds to put a winter blanket on your garden.

Canada’s New Mortgage Rules

A few days ago the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released changes to its mortgage rules. Let’s talk about how it will affect affording a home from next year onwards.

The changes require borrowers to undergo a “stress test” in order to make sure they will be able to withstand higher interest rates. Previously, only insured borrowers had to undergo such a test.  So what makes an individual an uninsured and insured borrowers? An insured borrower is a buyer making a down payment less than 20% of the home’s value. If this is the case they need to acquire mortgage insurance. The uninsured borrowers are the buyers putting more than 20% down. The stress test will ensure that they are able to endure higher interest rates in the future.

Torso and hands of a seated man writing in a notebook, with an open laptop to his right

Uninsured mortgages account for 46 per cent of the country’s total $1.5 trillion mortgage credit outstanding, according to Bank of Canada data. That’s up from 45 per cent a year earlier.

The stress test is designed to simulate a borrower’s financial situation by assuming they would have to pay back the loan at the posted average — not whatever deal they were able to negotiate. So under OSFI’s new rules, borrowers would be stress tested at either the five-year average posted rate, or two per cent higher than their actual mortgage rate — whichever one is higher.

The goal of these changes is to improve the quality of borrowers that Canada’s banks see, which will protect our banking system from an economic shock.

OSFI’s new guidelines also clarified that borrowers who are renewing mortgages will not have to meet the new stress-test standard as long as they are staying with the same bank. However, renewals done with another lender will have to qualify under the revised standards because they require new underwriting.

In addition to the stress test, the new rules would require lenders to have more scrutiny around the loan-to-value ratio of the loans they give out, to ensure they are not giving out mortgages that are too large compared to the underlying value of the home.

There’s also new limitations on so-called co-lending or bundled mortgages that aim to ensure lenders don’t disregard rules designed to restrict how much they can lend.

 

For more information: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/ten-ways-the-new-mortgage-rules-will-shake-up-the-lending-market/article36628214/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

September 2017 Market Watch

For this month’s episode of Market Watch we will be talking about what the September market looked like. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released their market watch report for the last month and we’re going to discuss the numbers.

2017 is almost over, with roughly three months to ago. In contrast to last month (August 2017 was down 7%) the number of new listings are up by roughly 9.5% in the year-by-year comparison as seen on TREB. However the number of active listings have increased by 69% compared to September 2016.

As shown in the graph above, September sales have dropped roughly 33% (vs. September 2016), moving away from the 2013 rate but possibly heading towards the 2012 rate.

However unlike for August 2017, where the sales had slowed down and the price had lowered too, September 2017 has an increased average price. As of September 2017 the average price sits at $775,546  which is a significant jump from August 2017’s $732,292. That’s a 6% increase from the previous month!

Overall sales has reduced for all types of homes. However all but detached homes have increased in their values in the Year-Over-Year percent change. Detached homes have maintained the same value from last year.

For those who are unaware or need a refresher as to what months of inventory are, it refers to the time it would take to sell all current listings with no new listings being added. In this market keeping track of the months of inventory is as important as keeping track of comparative prices. As seen in the graph above, the average inventory for the GTA area for September 2017 has risen back to the numbers between June and July this year, surpassing almost all the recent years.

 

The increase in new listings for September mean that sellers are now feeling more confident in their decisions to list their homes, with the prices remaining relatively high. According to TREB more buyers are moving into the market as well, taking advantage of the increased listings on the market.

 

The average day on market (DOM) for the City of Mississauga is 23 days while the City of Toronto now sits at 21 days. All cities are stocked with an average of 2.98 months of inventory.

 

This is why it is so important to choose the right agent; Sellers must choose someone who can provide guidance in the current situation and understands what their expectations from this transaction. Buyers must find someone who can advise them, and knows when to push and when to hold back.

 

Steven Ho is the ideal realtor for any client, and here’s why: In a townhouse complex, Steven sold 30% of the 9 listings available, whilst 6 separate agents sold the remaining 6 listings. The average DOM for the 6 listings was 14 days, whilst for Steven’s listings the average DOM was only 9 days.

 

In terms of sold prices, the 6 other agents sold for roughly $489,000 while Steven Ho sold for $533,000, a difference of $44,000! A significant margin that is potentially lost with other realtors which could go to the payment of your next home. Here’s another reason to go with Steven: The other agents sold their listings for 102% of the asking price, which is a fair amount to gain no doubt. However Steven outperformed the other agents once again by selling his listings for 106% of the asking price. An additional 4% on a $500,000 home is $20,000!

 

People think all agents are the same, but different agents yield different results; picking Steven Ho will help you get the best results.

 

Source: All statistics are taken from the Toronto Real Estate Board 2017.