News   Dec 05, 2023
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Baby, we got a bubble!?

Over the last 10 years I've been to NYC on average 5-6 times a year.

Redfirm, further to a post I had made earlier in response to your comments re: City Place.

There is a new thread "Is City Place Toronto's next ghetto?". Perhaps, you might wish to visit that thread. Also, you can go to Youtube and search for eye opening videos about life in City Place.
My only point was that Manhattan is not the best example to use when trying to prove / substantiate your point in relationship to Toronto.

Yes, I always look at that skyline and wonder if TO will ever catch up. It's just natural to do that. But the bottom line is: there's no comparison.

This is a neat list:

The cities are ranked by how important they are in terms of global economics. New York and London are in a different stratosphere. Toronto is firmly a "third tier" city. We're not even on the board in terms of "global power".
I would love for UrbanToronto to include an interface to examine projects and forums that is map-oriented. Could we do something like the google map linked above ( where hovering the cursor over a dot would show a small render/photo and hyperlinks to choose forum and database information, if available. It is hard to keep track of all of the projects using the linear list oriented approach, but a map is much more intuitive and oriented to our spatial understanding of the city.
This is a neat list:

The cities are ranked by how important they are in terms of global economics. New York and London are in a different stratosphere. Toronto is firmly a "third tier" city. We're not even on the board in terms of "global power".

Being an Alpha city is nothing to sneeze at. Toronto has nowhere to go but up IMO.

I wonder how Chicago made it to Alpha+? That is one American city that Toronto most closely aligns with in many respects (and a far better city to compare against than Manhattan).
Curious when we see Cityplace collapse.

Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts.

Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including:

Insulation failures.
Water leaks.
Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs.
Declining resale potential.

Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom.
'Throwaway buildings'
IN DEPTH: The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos

One developer calls glass-walled condos “throw-away buildings” because of their short lifespan relative to buildings with walls made of concrete or brick.

“We believe that somewhere between, say, five and 15 [years], many, many of those units will fail,” said David House of Earth Development, which bills itself as a socially responsible property developer. House, who also has experience in the standard development industry, spoke to CBC as part of a special three-part series on the issue that starts Monday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on CBC News Toronto.

No other city in North America is building as many condo towers as Toronto, where they have reshaped the skyline, overshadowed once-prominent buildings such as the Rogers Centre and, in many areas, blocked Lake Ontario from view. About 130 new towers are now under construction.
Not energy-efficient

Glass walls have been popular among developers and consumers alike because they’re cheaper than more traditional materials and make a good first impression. But they aren’t energy-efficient and come with a hidden price that could soar down the road, engineers say.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls heat up and swell in the summer, freeze and contract in winter, and shift with the wind, engineers say. The insulating argon gas between the panes escapes, the seals are breached and the windows are rendered useless against the city’s weather.

Eventually, the glass walls — the skin of these condo high rises — might have to be replaced entirely, with condo owners picking up their share of the multimillion-dollar costs.
CBC Toronto investigates condos

John Lancaster begins a series Monday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on CBC News Toronto, and Mary Wiens on Metro Morning, about the city's glass-walled condos — their short-term durability and their long-term costs.

“Now is about when we should start seeing trouble with 1990s buildings, with the glass starting to get fogged up, the rubber gaskets and sealants starting to fail,” said John Straube, a building science engineer at the University of Waterloo.
Condo owners file suit

Complaints and lawsuits have already begun.

Condo owners in a tower off Front Street are suing the developer, Concord, claiming the window-wall system in the nine-year-old building near the Rogers Centre has defects and water is seeping through.

CBC called Concord to discuss the lawsuit, but there has been no response as of Monday.

Toronto is also seeing the high cost of retrofitting a highrise. At First Canadian Place, a retrofit will take three years and $130 million to complete.

Halsall Associates says the cost of re-skinning a residential tower could be $5 million to $10 million.

"But that is the actual removal and replacement only – there is nothing in there related to additional security costs or relocation costs for residents," says structural engineer Sally Thompson.

Straube said many condo owners have no idea about the expenses they’re in for and don’t ask the right questions.

“Do you want a building that is going to appreciate over the long term? Do you want a building that will be comfortable and energy-efficient? If so, you need to ask tougher questions of the marketplace.”
David House of Earth Development calls glass-walled condo towers throw-away buildings.David House of Earth Development calls glass-walled condo towers throw-away buildings. (CBC)
Windows tempt buyers

The glass walls that undermine a condo’s durability and energy efficiency are a key part of the attraction when potential buyers first step into those sunlit spaces overlooking the city.

“To walk in and see trees, and just to see the city — it’s a wonderful thing,” said Kamela Hurlbut during a recent tour of a condo with her husband, Jason.

For first-time buyers like the Hurlbuts, who eventually hope to own a detached house, a condo also seems the only affordable home-ownership option. Their estate agent, Linda Pinizzotto, emphasizes long-term costs as she tries to warn the couple away from glass walls.

“As time goes on, what they have to be concerned about are maintenance fees,” Pinizzotto said. “There’s certainly a lot more care and requirements in the building if they have floor-to-ceiling windows.”

Glass-walled condos meet the requirements of the Toronto building code, although the code does not specify how long a building should last. Energy-efficiency is also a fuzzy area, since condos aren’t rated that way.

"We don’t have energy-efficiency ratings on condominiums and that’s too bad, because we get them on dishwashers, refrigerators, and they only cost a few hundred dollars,” said Ted Kesik, a professor of building science at the John H. Daniels faculty of architecture, landscape and design at the University of Toronto.
Kesik paper on 'Glass Condo Conundrum

Janice Pynn, president of the Canadian Condo Institute, isn’t sure energy efficiency is a big factor for condo buyers initially — even for buyers who care about not wasting energy.

“People talk that they want it, but when it comes down to what it's going to cost them, it doesn't even come into the equation,” says Pynn, whose Simerra Property Management company manages 250 condos across the GTA.

“It really is ‘Can I afford to buy this?’ not 'What am I willing to pay to have a green building, or a building in the long term, that will be far more economical, and cost-saving and for the environment?' They're just not asking those questions.”
Canadian home sales top expectations

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in Ontario were stronger than anticipated during the third quarter — resulting in a slightly brighter outlook for CREA's 2011 and 2012 national forecasts.

The industry association is now projecting sales this year will be up 1.4 per cent from 2010, half a percentage point better than the previous forecast.

Problem is.. the area has become a giant bachelor pad/stepping stool for young professionals. Many of them don't intend to stay past the expiration date on their first mortgage term. Just don't be the last one stuck with the unit....

All that being said, Vinyl windows, asphalt roof shingles, Pine/cedar decks all need to be replaced every 20-25 years or so. Brick needs the occasional tuck pointing, and concrete requires some parging. Even aslphal driveways need re-surfacing! Slightly alarmist.

CIBC Housing Report exerpt:

Our assessment is that relative to rent, income and demographics, house prices in Canada are over-shooting. But
the fact that prices are overvalued today does not necessarily mean that they will crash tomorrow. After all, a
violent market correction needs a trigger such as the sub-prime crisis, which ignited the US real estate meltdown,
or abnormally high interest rates as was the case during the 1991 property crash in Canada. That is not on the
horizon this time around. The Bank of Canada is very clear about its intention to move slowly, with the first rate
hike not expected before late 2012. As well, any objective assessment of the quality of the existing mortgage
portfolio in Canada reveals a relatively balanced mortgage market with a small segment of marginal borrowers.
Accordingly, while we do not see house prices crashing, we do believe that the housing market in Canada will
stagnate in the coming year or two. Further out, the most likely scenario is that the eventual increase in interest
rates will lead to a modest decline in prices (probably in the magnitude of 10%). But given relatively modest rate
hikes and the current balanced affordability position, the more significant adjustment will be in housing market
fundamentals that are likely to catch up with prices in the coming years — paving the way for a healthier housing
market later in the decade.
Indeed a flattening in house prices in the next year or so is a necessary condition for such a soft lending scenario. If
the pace of house price increases accelerates during that period, then twelve months from now the likelihood of a
violent price correction will be higher than it is now.
^^^ That seems like a reasonable assessment. The sky isn't falling, and they're not expecting a sudden falling sky, but warn that things need to moderate soon or the sky has a bigger chance of falling later.


Canadians lack knowledge about home equity lines of credit, but only one-in-ten seek expert legal advice, poll reveals

According to a Leger Marketing poll commissioned by the TitlePLUS program, three-in-five Canadians (59 per cent) claim to be confident in their level of knowledge about home equity lines of credit (HELOC), but when queried most did not understand much about this financing mechanism. On average, Canadians correctly answered only three of eight true-or-false questions (38 per cent) that tested their basic knowledge of how HELOCs work. Those with a HELOC did not fare much better: Although 79 per cent were quite confident of their level of knowledge, on average, they correctly responded to only 43 per cent of questions asked.

57 per cent did not know that when you take out a HELOC the financial institution lending the money puts a mortgage on the borrower's home.

58 per cent did not know that taking out a HELOC when they already have a mortgage on their home means that the lending institution places a second mortgage on the home, or modifies the original mortgage to capture all the equity in the home;

Nearly seven-in-ten (69 per cent) did not know that having a HELOC could negatively affect their credit rating or future loan applications.

83 per cent of survey respondents did not know that when you pay off and close your home equity line of credit, any credit card consolidated under this line of credit may be cancelled and not available for future use.

62 per cent did not know that having a home equity line of credit could negatively impact your ability to take out a loan or mortgage with another financial institution.

58 per cent did not know that when you take out a line of credit, your home becomes the bank's security for any credit card debt, other loans you have with that bank, or any other loans you have co-signed.
Being an Alpha city is nothing to sneeze at. Toronto has nowhere to go but up IMO.

I wonder how Chicago made it to Alpha+? That is one American city that Toronto most closely aligns with in many respects (and a far better city to compare against than Manhattan).

in chicago there are really global financial institutions.
this is only one point.
TORONTO, November 16, 2011 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,379 transactions through the TorontoMLS® during the first two weeks of November. This result represented more than a 13 per cent increase compared to November 2010. New listings were up 16 per cent over the same period.

“The results for the first two weeks of November point to two important facts: First, despite global economic uncertainty, buyers have remained confident in the affordable housing market in the GTA. Second, stronger growth in new listings means that it is becoming easier for buyers to find a home that meets their needs,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver.

The average selling price through the first 14 days of November was $481,548 – up by 10 per cent compared to the average of $437,510 reported for the first two weeks of November 2010.

“Little or no movement is expected for mortgage rates through 2012. Low rates coupled with the consensus outlook for continued economic growth next year suggests that homes will remain affordable in the GTA and households will remain confident in doing deals. Look for the average selling price to advance to the $485,000 mark next year,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis

Average price of a home in the city of toronto, $526,540, up 8% y/y.

Average price of a condo in the city of toronto, $361,461, up 4% y/y.
(Condo prices in the 905 are up 15%, y/y.)

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Little or no movement is expected for mortgage rates through 2012.
I hope that turns out to be true. I renew in 2013, but if my bank cooperates with competitive rates, I can early renew at the end of 2012.

Average price of a condo in the city of toronto, $361,461, up 4% y/y.
I was pleasantly surprised... I went condo shopping for my mom north of the 401 not too far from Yonge and found a nice 800+ square foot condo with 1 bedroom plus big den (effectively a real second bedroom, but without a window) for around that average price. It was a very efficiently and tastefully designed condo, with granite countertops and nice appliances, and it was in a nice modern and well-kept building within walking distance of a good Rabba and green space.

So, that works out to about $450-ish per square foot for a modern, very nice, and reasonably big 1+1 condo, but not downtown.