North York Real Estate Blog

The End of the Fall Market

Michael Pasternack - Wednesday, December 07, 2011

We thought we would dedicate this blog to answering a question that we’ve received numerous times over the past couple of weeks from clients and potential clients alike. 

 

P.L., who lives in north Toronto, asked us the following question:


“Since we’re coming up to Christmas, do you think it would be better for us to wait to list our home until the beginning of 2012?”

Given that we have received at least four similar questions since mid-November, we thought we’d provide you with our “two cents”!

The fall market is typically a busy season for residential real estate.  However, as the holidays’ creep closer, inventory levels off and so does the “mad rush” to buy and/or sell your home.  Generally, as with the mid-summer season, those who decide to list their homes in December, close to the holidays, are looking to sell.  They are typically not “testing the market” since no one really wants people tracking in and out of their home in the snow and slush season, close to the holidays and New Year and when the kids are home from school, if they’re not looking to make a deal.  Those that “test the market” (being those homeowners who don’t really need to sell, but would do so for the “right price”) will normally wait until at least mid-January once the festive season has come to an end and the kids are again back in school.

So, P.L., to give you an answer to your question above, if you are truly interested in selling for market price (say, for instance, you have already purchased a home and need to sell yours, or want to relocate closer to your work), any time is the right time to list, including now.  You may not have as many buyers viewing your property right around the Christmas season, but those who are looking right now (similar to those who are selling), are generally truly looking to buy.  However, if you’re testing the market and not in a rush to sell, but will sell if you receive a great offer, we would suggest waiting until mid-January to minimize disruption to your home and family during the holiday season.  You will likely also see increased traffic after New Years.  

If you’re looking for results or general advice, we are always happy to speak with you.  Call Lisa at 416-543-9408 or Michael at 416-786-6160, your North York real estate agents. 

Bathurst Manor Neighbourhood

Michael Pasternack - Friday, October 07, 2011

BATHURST MANOR

This quiet North York neighbourhood used to be a well-kept secret. Homeowners loved the generous lots and quiet, leafy-green streets, and snapped up post-war bungalows at bargain prices. However, in recent years Bathurst Manor has achieved up-and-comer status, with bungalows now starting in the low $500,000s. The majority of residents are middle class, with a hodgepodge of Italian, Russian, Polish and Filipino families. Area landmarks include synagogues, strip malls and the sprawling 338-acre G. Ross Lord Park.

HOUSING STOCK: The classic Bathurst Manor residence is a bungalow or a sidesplit set on a wide lot on a quiet street, but there are small multi-family dwellings as well. While the majority of homes date back to the 1950s, many properties are being renovated and modernized, and developer interest has resulted in the occasional mansion. Some ’70s-era high-rises dot the landscape, though they tend to be rental units rather than condos.

BARGAIN ZONES: The key is to look for an unrenovated bungalow, then put in some sweat equity. These untouched gems used to be found on most streets, but they are increasingly rare. Fixes can be as simple as kitchen and bathroom upgrades, but for the more ambitious, there’s plenty of room for additional living space, as the majority of residences sit on generous lots.

THE VERDICT: House prices are still a steal in comparison to other central areas—particularly given the number of potential tear-downs. There’s plenty of green space and easy access to both the Allen and Highway 401. However, shopping is sparse and one of the principal strip malls—Wilmington Plaza, at the centre of the neighbourhood—is long overdue for a facelift and an injection of new stores. An overhaul is in the planning stages.

NEIGHBOURHOOD HOT SPOTS:
Bagel Plus This bakery offers kosher carbs galore: challah, rugalach, danishes, rye loaves and, of course, freshly baked bagels with cream cheese. 634 Sheppard Ave. W., 416-635-9988.
King David Pizza and Boureka Kosher comfort food at its best. Fresh pitas are filled to order, falafel is authentic and bourekas are flaky heaven. 219 Wilmington Ave., 416-636-3456.
The Koffler Centre of the Arts The cultural hub of Toronto’s Jewish community is home to an art gallery, the Leah Posluns Theatre and visual arts studios. 4588 Bathurst St., 416-636-1880.

COMMUTING
401 and 400:
7.9 km
King and Bay:
15.1 km
Gardiner and 427:
19.0 km
Subways:
Downsview Station 2.5 km
Finch Station 3.6 km
North York Centre Station 3.6 km

Commuting and subway distances measured from neighbourhood centre.

To  see the full article and map of area click here.

The Finch Hydro Corridor in North York connects to Toronto Bikeway Network

Michael Pasternack - Thursday, August 25, 2011

The City is developing a 1,000 km Bikeway Network that will ultimately link cyclists with neighbourhoods and destinations across the city. The network will serve both commuter and recreational cycling. It will be comprised of connected bicycle lanes, shared roadway routes and multi-use pathways in parklands and hydro and rail corridors. When completed, all Toronto residents will be within a five-minute bicycle ride to the Bikeway Network.

The Bikeway Network will include various street-scape features such as benches, pedestrian-scale lighting, and bike parking. The current projects under construction include the Gatineau Hydro Corridor in Scarborough, The Finch Hydro Corridor in North York and the CN Leaside in East York. These projects are highlighted in red below while existing bike trails are highlighted in green.

View the full map here.


Fixed or Variable: The Mortgage Dilemma

Michael Pasternack - Friday, July 29, 2011
 If you ask two different people whether you should obtain a fixed or variable mortgage, you’ll likely get three different answers!  Everyone has a different opinion (and sometimes more than one opinion!) on the matter.
 
Being North York real estate agents, we are continually asked our “preference” on mortgages.  Well, here it is:  Generally, we prefer the variable (or “floating rate”) mortgage.  Research has shown that more often than not, you’ll save money with a variable.  Of course, if you’re not the gambling type, a fixed rate may be the way to go. With fixed rates at historic lows, rates likely have nowhere to go but up.  That being said, how long will it take for your variable rate (which, when obtained on a closed mortgage basis as of the date of this blog entry, is typically offered below prime) to be on par with the same fixed rate you can obtain today?  And by the time you hit that “par” rate, how much money will you have saved?  Probably a significant amount.  Take this example:  You require a $500,000 mortgage.  Lender A offers you either (a) a five-year variable closed mortgage at prime less 0.75% (variable closed mortgage), or (b) a five-year fixed rate of 3.75%.  As the prime rate is currently at 3.00%, your variable would be 2.25%. Assuming for the purposes of this example that the Bank of Canada raises rates three times per year at a rate of 0.25% on each occasion (and, of course, it could be more or less than 0.25%), it will take two years before your variable is on par with the fixed option that you could have obtained.  How much money will you have saved during that two year period?  
 
We’re not advocating for fixed or variable, as we are North York real estate agents, not mortgage brokers!  However, we are simply stating our preference.  One of us (Michael) is a practicing lawyer who took his mandatory (and some optional) real estate and land transactions courses in law school, and often recalls one of his professors repeatedly stating “You’ll save money with a variable rate”.  We still live by that statement, both personally and professionally.  We don’t know if you’re the gambling type who doesn’t get butterflies in the stomach every time rates rise, but if you are, we think a variable is the way to go.  
 
And remember, the lenders’ (banks’) posted rates are simply “posted”.  99% of the time, you can obtain better rates by negotiating.
 
We are well connected in the North York real estate market (as well as the Toronto and Thornhill real estate markets), and would be happy to put you in touch with some mortgage brokers who we feel are fantastic to work with and eager for your business (which translates into potentially great rates for you!).
 
If you’re looking for results or general advice, we are always happy to speak with you.  Call Lisa at 416-543-9408 or Michael at 416-786-6160, your North York real estate agents.  

Summer Market

Michael Pasternack - Friday, July 22, 2011

As most people are aware, the summer season generally brings with it a slow down of the North York real estate market. When we speak of “slow down”, we don’t mean a decline in prices or a general downturn in the market. What we are referring to is a decline in inventory due to typical summer activities. Vacations, weekends at the cottage and a more active lifestyle leaves little time for both potential home sellers to list their property and potential home buyers to spend the time looking for their new dream home. Inevitably, every summer we receive the same questions: Should we wait until fall to list? Should we wait until fall to buy?


Lets look at the question from both the buyer’s side and the seller’s side. It’s well-known that summer inventory is typically lower than both spring and fall. For the reasons outlined above, if I don’t really need to sell (or buy) in the summer, why spend my time during the hot hazy days of summer going through the listing or buying process? I can wait for fall to roll around when the kids are back in school and the weather begins to turn. While that may be true, summer sellers and buyers are known for one thing – they are in it to sell or buy. What we mean by that is as follows: There is a small (or maybe not so small!) percentage of sellers and buyers who are in the market to “test the waters”. For a seller, that means not really looking to sell unless he or she receives an extraordinary “out of this world” offer on their home. For a buyer, it’s going from house to house (or condo to condo) looking for that “spectacular deal” - the buyer may not really need (or want) to move, but will do so if he or she feels that they’ve found “a steal” The “testing of the waters” doesn’t happen as much in the summer. Not many sellers want to waste precious time during our short summers engaging in a listing process when they really aren’t interested in selling at a reasonable price, and not many buyers want to spend the sunny days driving from property to property. As a result, sellers who list in the summer, and buyers who are home hunting in the summer, are generally seriously in the market. Sellers are more likely to accept a reasonable price, and buyers are more likely to act reasonably and not simply waste a sellers time by viewing the property. As an added benefit for buyers, less competition means a higher probability that your reasonable offer will be accepted by the seller!

In a nutshell, if you are motivated to sell or buy in North York, the summer months may be the perfect time for you!

As always, if you’re looking for results or general advice, we are always happy to speak with you. Call Lisa at 416-543-9408 or Michael at 416-786-6160, your North York real estate agents.