Tony Kurec

Real Estate Sales Representative

 

Phone: 416-512-7077 direct
Right At Home Realty Inc., Brokerage
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Blog Post of the Week

Foreign Buyer Tax 2017

April 30, 2017 - Updated: April 30, 2017

Ontario to place 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers to cool GTA housing market: Sources

The Canadian Press has learned that the Ontario government will place a 15-per-cent tax on non-resident foreign buyers as part of a much-anticipated package of housing measures to be unveiled today.

The measures are aimed at cooling down a red-hot real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average price of detached houses rose to $1.21 million last month, up 33.4 per cent from a year ago.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa have said the measures will target speculators, expedite more housing supply, tackle rental affordability and look at realtor practices.

Sousa says investing in real estate is not a bad thing, but he wants speculators to pay their fair share.

He says the measures will also look at how to expedite housing supply, and he has appeared receptive to Toronto Mayor John Tory's call for a tax on vacant homes.

Sousa has also raised the issue of bidding wars, and has suggested realtor practices will be dealt with in the housing package.

The Liberals have also said that the government is developing a ``substantive'' rent control reform that could see rent increase caps applied to all residential buildings or units. Currently, they only apply to buildings constructed before November 1991.

The Canadian Press

 

Tagged with: tax

Bankers sell Toronto mansions amid warnings of overheating

June 19, 2016 - Updated: June 19, 2016

Two of Canada’s banking chiefs have listed their mansions in Toronto, as warnings of overheating in the city gather pace.

The Huffington Post reports that Scotiabank CEO Brian Porter and BMO’s COO Frank Techar have listed homes in Toronto, possibly considering prices to be near the top of the market.

Porter’s luxury townhouse, a converted church in Rosedale, is listed just 6 months after he bought it for $3.56 million – he’s asking $3.95 million.

Techar’s listing is a 6-bedroom, 9-bathroom Rosedale mansion built in 1898. He is asking $11.7 million.

Tagged with: luxury real estate toronto market

Across the world, luxury home sales get a reality check

June 16, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

The global luxury housing market lost some of its sheen last year as financial markets became unsettled and many wealthy buyers began to look for less expensive homes.

``The return of realism,'' is how Dan Conn, chief executive of Christie's International Real Estate, described the high-end market that stretches from San Francisco to Singapore.

Sales in a sector whose average home prices start at $2.2 million slowed in 2015, increasing by 8 per cent, half its 2014 pace. The decline most likely reflects stability rather than weakness, according to a report released Thursday by Christie's.

Properties in London and Hong Kong are sitting on the market longer. On average, homes sold for prices 19 per cent below the original asking price, compared with 14 per cent below the asking price in 2014. The number of luxury-home sales in the often sizzling Manhattan market dipped 5 per cent last year. Falling oil prices led sales in Dubai to tumble 25 per cent.

``You can't have massive double-digit growth year after year after year,'' Conn said. ``In some ways, there is a limit.''

But a luxury market that experts say is normalizing still looks otherworldly when compared with conventional real estate. Some homes include cigar rooms with specialized ventilation and wine collections displayed in climate-controlled glass walls, for example, instead of in cellars.

Around the world, a single square foot in a luxury home varies dramatically _ from $200 in Monterrey, Mexico, to $4,500 in Monaco. The highest price paid for a home last year was $194 million for the Barker Road Estate in Hong Kong, which, judging by pictures, was still something of a fixer-upper.

Not all luxury markets reflected the consequences of weaker global economic growth. The cheaper euro helped to boost pied-a-terre purchases in Paris.

Yet in an emerging trend, the luxury market last year reached beyond the traditional hubs of global commerce and posh resort towns. Places with humbler reputations enjoyed sharp increases in high-end sales, a pattern likely to continue through 2016, Conn said.

Christie's reported a 40 per cent jump in the sales of luxury properties in Portland, Oregon, for example. And Auckland, New Zealand, experienced a 63 per cent surge in luxury home-buying.

Atlanta, supported by an expanding film industry, reported a 25 per cent increase, while an improving auto industry boosted luxury home sales in the Detroit area by 17 per cent.
Baby boomers looking to cash out of the Vancouver housing market, which has attracted Chinese expatriates, moved to nearby Victoria, which enjoyed a 45 per cent increase in luxury sales.

Other brokerages see similar phenomena at the top-tier of housing. During the first three months of 2016, Redfin reported that luxury sales prices dropped 1.1 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Average luxury home prices in Miami Beach, Florida, plunged 13.7 per cent to $5.7 million, according to the Seattle-based brokerage. Homes for Boston-area Brahmins fell 11.8 per cent to $3.2 million. San Francisco tech gurus saw the average luxury sales price dip 4.7 per cent to $4.4 million, while the Washington, D.C., area slid 4.2 per cent to $2 million.

The main culprit appears to be a volatile stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index plummeted until mid-February, only to undergo a jagged recovery such that the net worth of millionaires and billionaires has been in near constant flux. The turbulence has left luxury buyers wary about spending lavishly on housing, said Nela Richardson, Redfin's chief economist.

``I'm not saying there is a recession among the 1 per cent, but if you look across all luxury goods you're seeing softness,'' Richardson said. ``I think that is attributable to the stock market.''

This doesn't mean an absolute retreat from luxury housing.

In Florida, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood have registered price gains after Miami became overheated. San Francisco's recent excesses have spilled across the bay to the more affordable Oakland, where average luxury home prices climbed nearly 50 per cent in the past year to $2.4 million.

``There are only so many tech billionaires who can buy in San Francisco,'' Richardson said.

 

Tagged with: luxury real estate world wide real estate

Roncesvalles locals to fight 8-storey condo development

June 6, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

Residents of Roncesvalles, a hip Toronto neighbourhood, are now banding together to protest against the redevelopment of a former funeral home into an 8-storey condominium complex.
 
As reported by Hilary Caton for the Parkdale Villager, the Roncesvalles MacDonell Residents’ Association (RMRA) said that they need to take a stand to prevent the project by Craig Hunter & Associates from encouraging similarly “intrusive” proposals in the future.
 
“We see [the funeral home], or any development coming in, as a precedent setter for what’s going to happen for the rest of the street,” RMRA co-chair Brian Torry said.
 
Locals have been consulted in a meeting back in January, and the project went ahead although residents voiced strong opposition to the development as the height and design would mar the aesthetics and character of Roncesvalles Avenue and Howard Park.
 
The two buildings slated for construction are 29.5 metres (Roncesvalles) and 15.28 metres (Howard Park) tall, both greatly exceeding the height limits ordained for the areas (13 and 10 metres, respectively).
 
“Both I and people from the community and planners feel very strongly that what the developer is asking for is too tall,” Parkdale-High Park councillor Gord Perks said. “It imposes too much on the street at Roncesvalles and presents some significant problems in terms of the townhouses they want to build off of Roncesvalles on Howard Park.”
 
The RMRA is petitioning for locals to have a greater say in new developments.
 
“The way our system works with planning or the OMB is developers use previous developments and existing buildings in the area as precedent for what they want to build. So we want to see good planning and great buildings put into the neighbourhood and the community wants to be involved with that,” the RMRA’s Torry said.

Tagged with: roncesvalles condo development

This politician could benefit from using a mortgage broker

May 21, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

One politician claims he has been priced out of one of Canada’s hottest housing markets but, as one broker points out, he may be able to buy – if he decides to heed a professional’s advice.

“David Eby [claims he can’t] afford a $600,000 two bedroom condo, so he’s renting for $2,700 per month,” Dustan Woodhouse, a broker with Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “On a $600,000 purchase, if Mr. Eby had a 20% down payment, it would yield a mortgage of $480,000 and that would mean a mortgage payment of $1,920 a month.

“Significantly less than the $2,700 a month he’s paying in rent; even factoring in property taxes and condo fees.”

David Eby, an NDP member of legislative assembly, was recently profiled as part of a McLean’s story about the influence of foreign investment on Vancouver’s real estate market. He claimed to be priced out of the market.

“The Vancouver MLA, a lawyer touted as a future NDP leader, is among those priced out of the local market,” the McLean’s article says. “Eby and his wife, a nurse currently in medical school, recently sold their 530-sq.-ft., one-bedroom condo in Kitsilano, which was too cramped for the two of them and their 19-month-old toddler.”

“‘A two-bedroom condo in my constituency starts at $600,000—a non-starter for us,’ he says.

But, as Woodhouse pointed out, saving enough for a down payment would allow Eby to purchase a home – and lower his monthly housing expenses.

Not everyone can afford a 20% down payment, however. What if Eby were to put 5% down?

“If Mr. Eby could only scrape together a 5% down payment, then his mortgage payment would be $2,700 a month,” Woodhouse said. “At today’s interest rates, 55% of his collective payments would go straight towards principal. Less than half would be interest. But right now, he’s giving $2,700 away every month.”

Of course, Eby’s claim that he can’t afford a home could be a bit of political pandering. What better way to connect with potential voters than to share their plight.

Tagged with: mortgage broker politician

Manhattan tower planned for seniors accustomed to luxury living

May 19, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

It’s not an accident that Manhattan’s newest senior living facility will rise just blocks away from the gilded co-ops of Park Avenue. Their residents might live in the building someday.

Welltower Inc., the biggest U.S. senior-housing owner by market value, is seeking to push into New York, where there’s a dearth of options available for the elderly and those with cognitive issues. Last month, it teamed with luxury developer Hines to buy a site at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue, and is planning a tower to accommodate wealthy Manhattanites in need of assisted-living and memory-care services.

“You take someone who’s lived at 88th and Park their entire life and you, all of a sudden, say I’m moving you to New Canaan, Connecticut, because that’s the closest assisted-living facility I can get you into -- that is unacceptable,” Welltower Chief Executive Officer Thomas DeRosa said in an interview. “You will kill that person.”

A slowdown in the city’s luxury-condominium market -- which has dominated building and pushed up land values in recent years -- gave Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower an opening to enter Manhattan, DeRosa said. The company and Hines together paid $115 million for the two-parcel site, where they plan to erect a 15-story building. The concept they’re planning is “a little bit unproven,” said John Kim, an analyst covering real estate investment trusts with BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York.

Like anything built in Manhattan in an era of record land prices and soaring construction costs, the price of living at the eventual tower will be exclusive. Monthly rent at the facility, which will cover the costs of a room, medical care and food, is likely to top $20,000, DeRosa said. It isn’t covered by insurance, which means residents will be paying out of pocket.

Manhattan Expenses
The price is competitive when compared with the combined monthly expense of hiring full-time caregivers at home and the costs of maintaining a residence in Manhattan, DeRosa said.

“There is a huge population of people that will need to live in this building

who live on Park Avenue,” he said. “This will be the reasonable alternative. These are people who will have the income. It will not be a hardship for them to pay for this.”

While there are other assisted living facilities in Manhattan -- Ventas Inc. has one on West 86th Street and Brookdale Senior Living Inc. owns one in Battery Park City -- the idea of building a ground-up project now, at a time when many New York builders struggle to make their developments profitable, “has some risk,” Kim said.

“There’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve on the demand side to see if residents are willing to pay those kinds of prices,” said Kim, who has an underperform rating on Welltower shares.

Welltower, which owns about 1,500 senior-housing and medical-office properties across the U.S., U.K. and Canada, had wanted to get a foothold in Manhattan as part of its strategy of building in markets with high barriers to entry. The company estimates that there are only 70 beds across the borough available to people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia who need full-time care.

Joint Venture
To navigate the market, the REIT joined with Houston-based Hines, which also is building a Jean Nouvel-designed luxury condo tower next to the Museum of Modern Art that has a penthouse listed at more than $70 million. The joint venture spent about six months looking for a site to buy in Manhattan, a search that included a failed bid for another lot on the Upper West Side, DeRosa said. Their main requirement was that the development be centrally located.

“It became a passion for me to find a site on this island -- and not on 93rd and First,” said DeRosa, a native New Yorker. “I want to take these people out of the shadows. I want you to see them. These are people who should be living where the vibrancy of this city congregates.”

Details for the planned facility, to rise where a TGI Friday’s restaurant now sits, are still being worked out, DeRosa said. The community will be technologically wired for “telemedicine,” allowing residents to consult with a doctor virtually without having to make a trip across town, he said. The ground floor of the building will include retail space that DeRosa hopes will be a place where residents can mingle with others who live and work in Midtown. Demolition of the TGI Friday’s building will begin next year.

“I don’t think this is a one-off,” DeRosa said of the plan. “I’m hoping this will really be an example of what can be done in all major, vibrant metro markets.”

Bloomberg News

Tagged with: manhattan real estate seniors

Foreign investment to break records in 2016

May 19, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

Offshore investment has long been cited by analysts as a crucial factor driving unprecedented price growth in Canada’s most overheated housing markets, but in a recent study by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), it has become apparent for the first time the degree of influence that foreign money holds over the real estate sector.
 
The CMHC analysis found that the number of foreign owners increased with each newly constructed high-rise condo building—a result that has been corroborated by other observers.
 
“I wouldn’t be surprised if 2016 is a record year when it comes to foreign investment in the condo market,” CIBC World Markets deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal told the Financial Post.
 
“You are seeing more flow of investment into newer buildings,” Tal said. “This study suggests that the flow of money has become significant and it is definitely not slowing down.”
 
CMHC figures state that as of 2015, 6,790 units of the 91,650 condo spaces built since 2010 have been purchased by overseas investors. This was nearly double the volume compared to the previous year, when foreigners owned 3,482 of the 63,301 units constructed since 2010.
 
Tal pointed at the potential dangers of the runaway growth in prices and foreign ownership, mostly fuelled by an influx of Chinese investors.
 
“[The market is] vulnerable to a foreign economy and policies conducted by the Communist Party in China,” the economist said.
 
CMHC officials noted that the study is just the beginning of a deeper analysis of the complicated relationship between foreign buyers and Canadian housing. Chief economist Bob Dugan said that by Q3 2016, the agency would be looking at new home purchases involving all types of properties in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.

Tagged with: foreign investment

Foreign investors’ tax would address most of the problem – Tal

May 19, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

With a weakening loonie and an increasing volume of money from overseas being funnelled into Canada’s real estate sector, Benjamin Tal of the CIBC argued that it is high time for a tax on foreign investors.
 
Tal stated that even though information on the precise role that these investors play remains incomplete, a flipping tax would take care of the “most problematic element of foreign investment in Canadian real estate.”
 
“We don’t know how big it is, but we know it’s not constructive,” Tal told BNN in an interview.
 
“Toronto and Vancouver look very attractive,” he added, alluding to the increasing number of luxury properties in these cities being snapped up by foreign buyers for residential and investment purposes.
 
While exact numbers remain to be seen, foreign money has been tagged by various quarters as a major factor in the staggering growth that has priced out domestic consumers from the country’s housing markets.
 
Among the most prominent movers in this segment are the Chinese, many of which are taking advantage of a mainland program that would allow those worth at least 1 million yuan to invest up to 50 per cent of their wealth overseas.
 
“[There is a] clear sense of urgency among many Chinese residents to send money out of the country,” Tal said.
 
The CIBC deputy chief economist added that the phenomenon of family members already residing in Canada is proving to be a powerful incentive for foreign nationals.
 
“[The] next few years will see even more foreign money entering Canadian real estate markets,” Tal explained. “[Money] comes from outside the country, but family members – mostly wives, children or students – reside in Canada.”

Tagged with: benjamin tal foreign investors

Chinese interest in Australian real estate skyrockets

May 14, 2016 - Updated: June 16, 2016

As Australian financial institutions crack down on lending to foreign buyers it has been revealed that Chinese interest in Australian property skyrocketed during 2015.

According to figures from Juwai.com, which markets international property to China, inquiries to real estate agents and property developers from Chinese buyers looking to purchase Australian residential real estate increased by 87.1% during 2015.

According to the Juwai.com figures, Chinese buyers enquired about US$34.9b worth of Australian housing during 2015.

Gavin Norris, head of Australia for Juwai.com, said the surge in interest in Australian real estate among Chinese buyers was no surprise given their demand for properties across the globe, however Australia shouldn’t assume it will always be a destination of choice.

“These results are no surprise. I would hesitate to make any short-term predictions, but by 2020 we expect Chinese buyers to set new records for international real estate investment,” Norris told Your Investment Property Magazine.

“How much of that money gets poured into the pockets of Australians depends in part on how successful the local industry is at marketing,” he said.

While the impact of this week’s announcement from Citigroup that it will no longer accept a number of foreign currencies, including the Chinese yuan, from people looking to purchase Australian property has yet to be felt, Norris said he doesn’t believe decisions by a number of Australian lenders to not allow foreign income streams in mortgage applications will scare of the Chinese.

“It is true [some lenders] found ‘some’ loans backed by ‘questionable documentation,’ but it appears those loans are still safer and less likely to default than loans made to Australian citizens,” Norris told Your Investment Property Magazine.

“Overall, we haven’t seen any firm impact on the demand for property from the curtailing by Australian banks of loans to those with offshore income. I don’t think they were issuing many such loans in the first place. Most Chinese pay in cash from their savings. Those who use leverage also have the option of relying on Chinese lenders they are already familiar with.”

Both ANZ and Westpac revealed this week they have uncovered mortgages that have been backed by questionable foreign-income documentation

While prestige and luxury Australian properties are popular among the Chinese, the Juwai.com figures show the majority are looking for Australian real estate in the US$200,000 to US$500,000 range.

“Some people think all Chinese buyers are palling around at private clubs and in $20-million mansions, but China is like Australia in that there are more middle class than filthy rich,” Norris said.


Source: Juwai.com

Melbourne was the most popular Australian city for Chinese buyers in 2015, with it attracting enquiries about US$11.5b worth of real estate in the Victorian capital.

Sydney was the second most popular city, with Chinese buyers enquiring about US$8.23b worth of real estate, followed by Brisbane with US$2.61b worth of enquiries.

There could be some reordering of those positions in 2016 however, following the Victorian government’s decision to levy additional fees on foreign buyers.

“The big question for 2016 is whether the higher stamp duty in Victoria will push buyers to more inviting cities, or even to other countries. The desire to invest and live in Victoria could win out over the extra cost. We’ll have to wait and see,” Norris said.

Tagged with: chinese investors australian real estate

Single-family home prices up 1.2 per cent in April

May 14, 2016 - Updated: May 19, 2016

Single-family home prices rose 1.2 per cent in April from the previous month. The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index recorded the largest April increase since 2008.

Vancouver prices were up 2.2 per cent and in Toronto there was a 1.4 per cent gain. Calgary halted decline over the previous 6 months with a 0.2 per cent rise but Edmonton prices slipped 0.1 per cent.

Year-over-year the price of single-family homes nationwide were up 8 per cent.

 

Tagged with: single family real estate housing prices teranet records

Tony Kurec
Real Estate Sales Representative

Right At Home Realty Inc., Brokerage
 
Independently Owned and Operated.

direct cell: 416-512-7077 

office: 416.391-3232  

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