What are YOU worried about citizens?

There is a ton of “buzz” this month about how the “sky is falling” in Calgary, an oil crisis is afoot in Canada, (even though prices at the pump are moving UP again at warp speed!), the Loonie is “crazy” low (80 cents) as I type (as fast as I can), Alberta will slip into recession and have to increase taxes to make up for an imminent budget deficit of about $10 Billion, Canadian Real Estate is between 10% and 30% overvalued (according to Deutsch Bank gurus…who know exactly WHAT about the Canadian household formation may I ask??), the Eurozone is in deep “doodoo” with almost negative interest rates, just to name a few worrisome issues!

How does this affect the city of Toronto and the health of its housing market going forward into 2015? Well……..

Despite the fact that cap rates for investment properties are historically low, that land prices are historically at their peak, that there is an extreme shortage of low rise homes to satisfy the high demand, that affordability for many buyers is “threatened” in the freehold product category, due to upward pressure on prices month after month, we still hit a record high of $13.5 Billion in real estate transactions in 2014, and the second highest # of transactions in the history of the Toronto Real Estate Board (highest # of sales was reached in 2007…pre recession of 2008.)

So I thought I would bring some positives to the table for your perusal….I know, it’s not good “journalism” (If it bleeds, it leads), but I think it’s an important part of balancing your reading ledger….

1. Interest rates, thanks to the BOC are even lower, and while wage increases are NOT keeping up with rising housing costs, low interest rates, and the CONDO MARKET …the last bastion of “affordable” housing, have been the key drivers in this “frothy” market. (20 THOUSAND condos were completed in 2014 and there are 478 ACTIVE condo projects currently in the City, to help meet some of the pent-up demand and to help first time buyers get into the market.)

2. Our vacancy rate (for investors’ knowledge) is 1.6%. And on the commercial side, downtown Toronto has the second lowest vacancy rate compared to eight of the largest Canadian commercial centres.

3. Ontario is a significant consumer of oil and will benefit from lower prices. Layoffs from the oil sands should be absorbed by increased manufacturing (US increased demand due to their recovery AND our 80 cent loonie!).

4. US recovery due to easing of credit will benefit Toronto, Ontario and Canada as a whole. They have added 2.5 million jobs in the past 9 months, as well as, have seen payroll increases for 9 months in a row. (5.6% unemployment rate….something for CANADA to aspire to!).

5. 25% of Canada’s population lives in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. Toronto alone, attracts approximately 100,000 new immigrants (from other countries as well as other provinces) bringing new jobs, money for housing and contributing in a positive way to the municipal economy.

6. And finally, a bright light for our city, is our new mayor and his “take no prisoners” approach to quickly and effectively addressing our “horribilus” traffic, commuting, congestion woes. The current meeting of Canada’s best and brightest mayors are in town as I write, sharing their problems AND solutions with one another. They will band together and collaboratively approach the federal government with an eye toward convincing the federal and provincial governments to INVEST in it’s key assets….our great cities! And certainly Toronto is one of the greatest ….on the planet. Congrats btw to the mayor of Calgary …he was voted the best mayor IN THE WORLD! That must feel great (for a day!) and then you have to get back to work, which he does!!

I hope that this blog encourages you all to continue to invest in this great city, and to trust that we, as informed and highly capable Realtors, will help you make the best lifestyle AND financial decisions where your own Real Estate is concerned.

As one of my clients, who is wrestling with the timing on buying and selling, recently wrote to me: “Thanks Jill for your great patience and care, with and for us”. Makes it all worth while…doesn’t it?

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