January 2013 Volume 03 Issue 01
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CONTENTS January 2013 Volume 03 Issue 01 FEATURED CONTENT pg 4-6
Are Stuborn Sellers Killing The Real Estate Crash?
OREA Renews Call For Grow-Op Registry
The Year Of The Snake
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Housing Market Headed For Mild Correction, Royal LePage Warns
What Direction Are Home Prices Headed? Depends On Who You Ask
Market Watch Back To Back
Stopping the Municipal Land Transfer Tax
Canadaâ€™s Housing Market Cooling, but $1M and Above Still Hot 2012 Canadian Mortgage Market Recap
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Are Stubborn Sellers Killing Th *DUU\0DUU)LQDQFLDO3RVW January 12, 2013
Like many others, Toronto public relations manager Megan Vickell is sitting on the real estate sidelines dreaming of bargains to come. What direction are home prices headed? Depends on who you ask... After a dropoff in sales, the debate over the future of Canada’s housing market has come down to an argument over how much prices will pull back. The 28-year-old has never owned a property and is hoping to scoop up a discounted Toronto condo when prices fall off today’s frothy record highs. “I’m waiting for that bubble to pop that everybody is talking about so I’m not sitting there owning a condo in the city that later everybody else has for a much cheaper price,” said Ms. Vickell. “I mean look at everything that’s being built, who is going to live in all those? There’s lots of beautiful spots out there.” You can’t blame her for wanting to wait. Research firm Urbanation Inc. says Toronto’s average condo prices climbed to as high as $407 per square foot in 2012, a sharp rise from the $229 per square foot fetched in the first quarter of 2003. The picture is not much different nationally. The average sale price across the country was $364,260 over the first 11 months of 2012, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Compare that to beginning of this boom when the average sale price across the country was $158,303 in 1999. But what if the crash never comes? Urbanation says condo prices dropped 3% in Toronto in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter and Canada-wide home prices were down
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Illustration by Chloe Cushman - So you’re sitting on the real estate fence, not buying at what many consider ridiculously high prices — the product of a 14-year boom that has only seen one mild pullback during the recession in 2008
0.8% in November from a year ago. But, so far, that’s about it. The one thing missing from the market, for all those people looking for a crash, is a catalyst or an event that will force people to reduce their asking prices. Before this housing market burns up in flames, it needs some type of spark.
“I’m waiting for that bubble to pop that everybody is talking about” And, if you talk to some people, that key event — two that come to mind are a spike in interest rates or job losses — is not happening any time soon. “Crashes don’t just happen in a vacuum, you need a trigger,” says Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC World Markets. “I can’t point
he Real Estate Crash? to any crisis in the history of crashes that didn’t have a trigger.” In the United States, the trigger proved to be a sub-prime market and the expiry of teaser rates that jumped as much four percentage points on some mortgages. Overnight, people couldn’t afford their homes. “If you have a gradual increase in the rates this doesn’t happen,” says the economist, who predicts a decline in prices but only in the 5% to 10% range. The real estate industry is on the same page, continually calling for a soft landing. What has people like Ms. Vickell excited and looking for a major decline in prices is the massive drop off in sales activity in some major markets. Nationally, sales were down almost 12% in November from a year ago. Vancouver remains the leading example where sales were down 22.7% in 2012 from a year earlier. So you’re sitting on the sidelines, not buying at what many consider ridiculously high prices — the product of a 14-year boom that has only seen one mild pullback during the recession in 2008. But what if sellers simply refuse to lower their price, something that has happened so far in the markets where sales are drying up very fast. What’s next? “I think stagnation is a good word for what will happen, it’s what we saw in the market from 1992 to 1997,” says Mr. Tal. The CREA stats show the market nationally — albeit real estate can be a very regional story — did not move all that much in the 1990s before it took off in 1999. There were some corrections in the 5% range on a yearly basis but average prices from a bottoming out of $142,091 in 1990 had climbed to $154,768 by 1997 — an 8% increase that is paltry by today’s standards for such a long period.
“We are going to see a correction and the question is ‘what will emerge from that,’” said Mr. Tal. “The scenario is the market will not be strong, it will be stagnant.” In this scenario, instead of people of people selling in a panic, they pull their homes off the market, waiting for a better day, refusing to sell at distressed prices. New listings and active listings will start to shrink. “In the U.S., you had to sell your house because you were delinquent. If you tell me tomorrow the unemployment rate [in Canada] will jump to 12%, we will have a crisis,” said Mr. Tal.
“People are not forced to sell, they are staying with their price” Don Lawby, chief executive of the Century 21 Canada, and a charter member of the club that doesn’t see home prices dropping anytime soon, can’t see any desperation from sellers. “The economy continues to be okay, people have jobs, interest rates are low,” said Mr. Lawby. “Historically, anytime when prices dropped it was tied to high unemployment and interest rates. It’s not the case today, people are not forced to sell, they are staying with their price.” Still, Ms. Vickell’s patience may pay off. Even Mr. Lawby concedes that the condo sector may be hit. Developers who already have buildings under construction may be forced to scale down projects or lower prices on unsold units. “They are going to be throwing in packages to sell,” says Mr. Lawby. “But the average homeowner, without an economic event, they have no need to sell.” David Madani, Canada economist with Capital Economics, takes a more extreme view,
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Tan.gazine NEWS predicting a price-drop of 25% in the next year or two across the country. Rapidly flagging sales are a sure sign his prediction will come to fruition, he says. “We have to tell our clients ‘you don’t necessarily need a trigger.’ You reach a threshold point where people get afraid, where valuations have lost touch with fundamentals,” he says, adding there is a standoff between buyers and sellers before any crash. “Sellers eventually realize the market has shifted beneath them and they capitulate and drop their asking price.” But Mr. Madani’s calls for a crash are being largely drowned out by the real estate industry’s steady calls for a soft landing. Gregory Klump, chief economist with CREA, says history supports the notion that some sort of major event is needed to create a housing market collapse. “In the late 1980s, it was a case of a spike in interest rates, in late 2008 and early 2009 it was a massive layoff,” said Mr. Klump. “You need a massive
OREA renews call for grow-op registry REM Online - January 07, 2013
Ninety-six per cent of Ottawa residents agree they want to know if the home they’re planning on purchasing was formerly used as a marijuana grow-op (MGO) or clandestine drug lab, according to a study by Ipsos Reid for the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). The poll found that almost one in four (24 per cent) of Ottawans report seeing or knowing of homes in their neighbourhood that have been used as MGOs or drug labs. “The prevalence of these homes in Ottawa is quite frankly, alarming,” says Pat Verge, an Ottawa area Realtor and member of OREA’s Board of Directors. “Homes used as grow ops and/or clandestine labs pose significant health and safety risks to individuals, families, and communities all over the province.” Locally, the City of Ottawa approved a recent bylaw regarding the prohibition, inspection and remediation of former marijuana grow-ops. The bylaw mandates the registration of work orders on the 6 | penghocktan.com
and extended economic shock and none of that is in the forecast.” In the interim, people waiting for a decline a major decline in price will have to keep waiting, says Mr. Klump. Only time will tell if it ever materializes.
Peter J. Thompson/National PostMegan Vickell, who is waiting for the condo market to ease before purchasing, stands in front of condos on Toronto's Yonge Street near Eglinton, Thursday January 10, 2013.
title of a property used as a former grow op. The bylaw would allow home buyers to find out if the property was a former MGO by doing a title search before they complete the purchase. Verge says: “Eighty eight per cent of Ontarians support the creation of a province-wide registry of former MGOs and clandestine labs. As consumers they have the right to know anything and everything about the home that they are planning on purchasing – especially when not knowing could put themselves and their family at serious risk.” Exposure to mould and toxins associated with MGOs and clandestine drug labs can cause serious health problems, including allergic (immunological) reactions, toxic effects and infection. Toronto Public Health says that MGOs are distinct from typical types of premises contaminated with mould in that they have been used for criminal activities that may have resulted in the creation of environmental hazards, as well as electrical and structural hazards. The potential presence of known hazardous, toxic and flammable substances associated with clandestine labs presents an immediate and continuing risk to anyone exposed to these substances, says Toronto Public Health.
Dear Customer, :KHWKHU\RXDUHDÍ¤UVWWLPHEX\HURUDVHDVRQHGKRPHRZQHUDUUDQJLQJDPRUWJDJHFDQ EHDYHU\FRQIXVLQJDQGGDXQWLQJWDVN:LWKRYHU\HDUVH[SHULHQFHLQWKHÍ¤QDQFLDO LQGXVWU\,WDNHJUHDWSULGHLQSURYLGLQJSURIHVVLRQDOÍ¤QDQFLDODGYLFHDQGH[FHSWLRQDO FXVWRPHUVHUYLFH 0\UROHDVD0RELOH0RUWJDJH6SHFLDOLVWZLWK7'&DQDGD7UXVWLVWRZRUNH[FOXVLYHO\ ZLWKPRUWJDJHFXVWRPHUVZKHWKHU\RXDUHSXUFKDVLQJORRNLQJWRWUDQVIHUDPRUWJDJH RUUHÍ¤QDQFHDQH[LVWLQJPRUWJDJHWRFRQVROLGDWHGHEW$VDORQJWHUPUHVLGHQWRIWKH 0LVVLVVDXJDDUHD,KDYHDWUXHXQGHUVWDQGLQJRILWVUHVLGHQWÌµVQHHGV(DFKLQGLYLGXDO ZLOOKDYHDXQLTXHVHWRIQHHGVDQGZDQWVDQGWKHHDVLHVWZD\WRÍ¤QGWKHULJKW PRUWJDJHIRU\RXLVWRHQJDJHWKHDVVLVWDQFHRIDTXDOLÍ¤HG0RUWJDJH6SHFLDOLVW 1RPDWWHUZKDWW\SHRIPRUWJDJHÍ¤QDQFLQJ\RXDUHORRNLQJIRULWPDNHVVHQVHWRVSHDN WRPHÍ¤UVW,DPDYDLODEOHRXWVLGHRIQRUPDOEDQNLQJKRXUVZHHNHQGVDQGHYHQLQJVWR VXLW\RXUVFKHGXOH,ZHOFRPHFDOOVIURPWKH(QJOLVKDQG7DJDORJVSHDNLQJFRPPXQLW\ 6LQFHUHO\ Raymond Daez
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The Year Of The Snake? A Little History In A Box
2013 is the year of the black Snake begins on February 10th shortly after the New moon in Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac. This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.
Am I A Snake? Letâ€™s Find Out...
Quite straight forward, find out what year you are on the following list below and discover your corresponding animal of the chinese zodiac.
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I’m A Snake...
Characteristics of “Snake People” People born in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be thoughtful and wise and to approach problems rationally and logically, seldom instinctively. Such people are complex beings, they are clever and men of few words from their birth. Their business is always going well, but they are stingy very often. They are sometimes egoistic and conceited. However they can be very active in their friends’ life. They are often too active, not believing other people and relying only on themselves. Snakes are also very insightful and naturally intuitive. If anyone has a sixth sense, it's those born in the Snake year. This is partly what makes them so mysterious.Snakes come in all varieties of colors and patterns. And maybe that's why people born in the Snake year love to appreciate beauty. People with the Chinese zodiac snake sign are very stylish, fashionable and have exceptional taste. People born in the Year of the Snake also have a sure touch in money matters but are also inclined to be greedy and somewhat egoistical. Determined and ambitious characters of Snakes take their failures hard. They are usually very attractive on the outside and inwardly, that, taking into consideration their frivolity, can lead to some family problems.
How 2013 Will Play Out The 2013 Snake of year has ability to read complicated situation quickly in a controlled manner which is good for business. Signing documents of any kind requires very thorough attention. 2013 horoscope predict it is a good year to begin important detail work. Research and investigation are supported. The Snake has sneaky energy that can be to your advantage. Look for the holes in the loop. A new-found ambition to greatness will inspire you to be all you can be, and provide you with the follow through to actually achieve your goals, And, 2013 year of the Snake also supports added responsibility, But 2013 Snake need to watch for fanatical commitments since Snakes inclination to spend money quickly than earn them may produce tensions in personal relationships. Create a safe space to work from this 2013 year. The Snake likes protection, needs to feel safe and secure to utilize its special analytical skills. This is the year to make headway in slow and methodical ways. Things will definitely be accomplished as you focus forward.
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Winter buyers could avoid bidding wars: Royal LePage CEO &791HZVFD6WDII January 03, 2013
Ready to buy a new home? It might pay to start the house-hunt now instead of waiting for the traditional spring home-buying season, says Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. Conditions may not be ideal for buyers or sellers, but the dedicated few willing to wade through slush and take a gamble on snow-covered landscaping may just escape the bidding wars that come with summer shopping, he told CTV News on Thursday. “There are fewer homes for sale and many fewer buyers,” Soper said, insisting that prices don’t change markedly from season to season. “Traditionally in Canada, it’s the first weekend after the kids’ spring break that the market roars into action … If you’re willing to get out there (before that), you have less traffic to contend with.” While that may deter sellers from putting a place on the market in winter, there are ways to get the most out of a property for those who do, said Soper. List your home with photos of what it looks like in the summer, including any lawns or outdoor space, and make sure the inside is as inviting as possible, he said. “You need that home to be cosy and warm so crank up the heat,” he said. “Get your realtor to schedule appointments during the day when you have natural light through nice clean windows. Regardless, you should up the wattage on lamps and lights.” Sellers should also get rid of as much clutter as possible -- a good rule to follow at any time of year. “We bring our outside into the house during the winter and homes can just look overwhelmed,” he said. “You need to take a hard look at this home and get stuff out of it.”
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Looking ahead, Soper sees 2013 as unfolding similarly to 2012 -- with a steady home market and minimal inflation on home prices. “My guess is relatively flat home prices in 2013,” he said. “There will be some dark spots like the Lower Mainland (near) Vancouver but I don’t expect a big price correction in the Greater Toronto area. “We have very low interest rates, drawing people into the market who wouldn’t be there otherwise… versus a natural correction because home prices have risen faster than wages and salaries and they need a chance to catch up.”
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Housing Market Headed For Mild Correction, Royal LePage Warns 'DYLG3DGGRQ&DQDGLDQ3UHVV January 08, 2013
The latest Royal LePage report on Canadian realestate shows average housing prices were up between 2% and 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same time last year. However, the same survey shows average prices for the three main categories of housing were down from the third quarter of 2012 â€” a period that included new mortgage rules that have discouraged many first-time buyers. The quarterly market update by the Torontobased real estate marketing firm forecasts a brief, mild dip in sales volume in the first half of this year, but not a major downturn. It says average prices for Canadian residential real-estate will rise a further 1% by the end of 2013, as some owners opt to delay selling their property until conditions improve. â€œOur sturdy domestic economy and encouraging employment trends have emboldened sellers, and some have opted to let market conditions adjust before listing,â€? said Phil Soper, Royal LePageâ€™s president and chief executive. â€œSimply put, fewer home owners listed their properties in the second half of the year, which kept inventory levels lower, and supported home values.â€? The Toronto-based real-estate marketing firm notes that there are a wide range of conditions in cities across Canada. It says slower sales and a flattening of home prices in Vancouver and Toronto â€” Canadaâ€™s two largest and most-expensive real-estate markets â€” will have a significant impact and drag down the national averages this year. It says some markets, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan where the resource-oriented
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economies have been vibrant, are poised for significant growth in 2013. The Royal LePage quarterly House Price Survey looks at three categories of housing â€” detached bungalows, standard two-storey and standard condominiums â€” in 16 local markets and calculates national averages. The latest survey, based on sales between October and December, showed that national average price for detached bungalows was $356,790 â€” up 3.6% from a year earlier but down from the thirdquarter average of $377.773. A similar pattern of year-over-year increases but quarter-to-quarter declines were evident in the other national average categories. Many observers have noted that tighter mortgage rules brought in last July have made it more difficult for first-time buyers to borrow money, since they must qualify for a 25-year payback period. Thatâ€™s down from 30 years. The national average price for two-storey houses was $390,444 in the fourth quarter, up 4% from a year earlier but down from $403,747 in the third quarter. The national average price for condos was $239,374, up 2% from a year earlier but down from $243,607 in the third quarter.
What direction are home prices headed?
Depends on who you ask *DUU\0DUU)LQDQFLDO3RVW January 08, 2013
The latest Royal LePage report on Canadian realestate shows average housing prices were up between 2% and 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same time last year. However, the same survey shows average prices for the three main categories of housing were down from the third quarter of 2012 — a period that included new mortgage rules that have discouraged many first-time buyers. The quarterly market update by the Torontobased real estate marketing firm forecasts a brief, mild dip in sales volume in the first half of this year, but not a major downturn. It says average prices for Canadian residential real-estate will rise a further 1% by the end of 2013, as some owners opt to delay selling their property until conditions improve. “Our sturdy domestic economy and encouraging employment trends have emboldened sellers, and some have opted to let market conditions adjust before listing,” said Phil Soper, Royal LePage’s president and chief executive. “Simply put, fewer home owners listed their properties in the second half of the year, which kept inventory levels lower, and supported home values.” The Toronto-based real-estate marketing firm notes that there are a wide range of conditions in cities across Canada. It says slower sales and a flattening of home prices in Vancouver and Toronto — Canada’s two largest and most-expensive real-estate markets — will have a significant impact and drag down the national averages this year. It says some markets, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan where the resource-oriented
economies have been vibrant, are poised for significant growth in 2013. The Royal LePage quarterly House Price Survey looks at three categories of housing — detached bungalows, standard twostorey and standard condominiums — in 16 local markets and calculates national averages. The latest survey, based on sales between October and December, showed that national average price for detached bungalows was $356,790 — up 3.6% from a year earlier but down from the thirdquarter average of $377.773. A similar pattern of year-over-year increases but quarter-to-quarter declines were evident in the other national average categories. Many observers have noted that tighter mortgage rules brought in last July have made it more difficult for first-time buyers to borrow money, since they must qualify for a 25-year payback period. That’s down from 30 years. The national average price for two-storey houses was $390,444 in the fourth quarter, up 4% from a year earlier but down from $403,747 in the third quarter. The national average price for condos was $239,374, up 2% from a year earlier but down from $243,607 in the third quarter.
penghocktan.com | 13
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Tan.gazine NEWS Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report January 2013 Mid-Month Resale Market Figures January 16, 2013 -- Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,469 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of January 2013. This result represented an increase of 2.4 per cent over the 1,435 transactions reported during the same period in 2012. "The New Year started off on a positive note with residential sales slightly above last year’s levels,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah. “I am cautiously optimistic about this result. It will be important to watch sales trends closely as we move through the first quarter to see if some of the households who moved to the sidelines as a result of stricter lending guidelines are starting to renew their decision to purchase a home.” The average selling price during the first 14 days of 2013 was by up by four per cent on a year-over-year basis to $459,728. “Continuing the trend from 2012, the low-rise segment of the market experienced the strongest price growth as competition between buyers remained quite strong,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The average selling price is expected to grow in 2013, but at a slower pace as buyers benefit from more choice.”
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Tan.gazine NEWS Average Home Price Up Strongly in 2012 In December, the median price was $478,739 from the $449,566 recorded during December of 2011 Toronto, January 4, 2013
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 3,690 sales through the TorontoMLS system in December 2012 – down from 4,585 sales in December 2011. Total sales for 2012 amounted to 85,731 – down from 89,096 transactions in 2011. “The number of transactions in 2012 was quite strong from a historic perspective. We saw strong year-over-year growth in sales in the first half of the year, but this growth was more than offset by sales declines in the second half. Stricter mortgage lending guidelines resulted in some households postponing their purchase of a home. In the City of Toronto, the dip in sales was compounded by the additional Land Transfer Tax, which buyers must pay upfront,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.
The average selling price in December 2012 was up by 6.5 per cent year-overyear to $478,739. The average selling price for 2012 as a whole was up by almost seven per cent to $497,298. “Robust annual rates of price growth were reported through most months of 2012. Price growth was strongest for low-rise homes, including singles, semis and townhouses. Despite a dip in sales, market conditions remained tight for these home types with substantial competition between buyers,” said TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis Jason Mercer.
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Tan.gazine NEWS Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report December 2012 Mid-Month Resale Market Figures December 18, 2012 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,169 transactions through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of December 2012. This number of sales was down by 16 per cent in comparison to the same period in December 2011. “Stricter mortgage lending guidelines, including a reduced maximum amortization period and a one million dollar purchase price ceiling for government-backed insured mortgages, appear to have had the effect desired by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Some home buyers have put their home purchase decision on hold,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah. “In the City of Toronto, sales declines have been more pronounced as the effect of stricter mortgage lending guidelines has been compounded by the City’s additional upfront Land Transfer Tax,” added Hannah. The average selling price in the first two weeks of December was $471,862, representing a three per cent annual rate of price growth. “Even with the dip in sales since the spring, tight market conditions in the low-rise segment of the market have driven year-over-year average price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “While the average price for detached homes in the City of Toronto was down for the first two weeks of December compared to last year, this dip was due to a different mix of homes sold this year compared to last. There were fewer high-end detached homes sold compared to last year,” continued Mercer.
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Tan.gazine NEWS Sales Dip in November while Selling Prices Increase In November, the median price was $485,328 from the $477,582 recorded during November of 2011 Toronto, December 05, 2012
Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 5,793 sales in November 2012 – down by 16 per cent compared to November 2011. “Transactions have been down on a year-over-year basis since June, after being up substantially in the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. Some buyers pulled forward their decision to purchase, which has impacted sales levels in the second half of 2012,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah. “Stricter mortgage lending guidelines, including a reduced maximum amortization period and a purchase price ceiling of one-million dollars for government insured mortgages, have prompted some buyers to move to the sidelines. This situation has been exacerbated in the City of Toronto because the additional upfront Land Transfer Tax takes money away from buyers that otherwise could be used for a larger down payment,” continued Hannah.
The average selling price was up by 1.6 per cent annually to $485,328. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.6 per cent compared to last year. “The moderate annual rate of price growth compared to previous months was largely due to a different mix in detached home sales this year compared to last, particularly in the City of Toronto. The share of detached homes that sold for over one-million dollars was down substantially, which influenced the overall average price,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “The MLS® HPI detached benchmark price, which tracks the price for a home with the same attributes over time, was up by almost six per cent in Toronto, suggesting that market conditions for low-rise homes remain quite tight despite a changing mix of sales,” added Mercer.
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Stopping the municipal land transfer tax
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Municipalities in Ontario are gearing up to force the province to grant them the authority to charge a municipal land transfer tax (LTT) on home buyers. Currently allowed only in Toronto, this tax may potentially spread to other regions of Ontario. It threatens to increase the cost of home ownership province-wide. According to a recent study by the C.D. Howe Institute, this tax has resulted in a 16 percent drop in the volume of residential home sales in Toronto. It has meant that home buyers pay an average $15,000 up front every time they move, due to the municipal tax over and above the provincial land transfer tax. The spread of this tax to other regions of Ontario will increase the cost of home ownership across the province. As a REALTOR速, this will affect your business. Extending the power to levy the municipal LTT to other municipalities in the province would lower home values by adding thousands of dollars to the cost of residential transactions.
In addition, the municipal LTT would price many low- and middle-income Ontarians out of the real estate market entirely. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) believes the municipal LTT is unfair because it forces a small segment of taxpayers -- home buyers -- to fund municipal services designed to benefit all citizens. OREA is urging the Ontario government to exclude LTT from any legislation that expands municipal taxing authority and to revoke this tax in the city of Toronto. For more information on this and other lobby issues at OREA, visit the Government Relations section of www.orea.com. I encourage each and everyone who have read this article to contact your local politician representatives to express your disagreement and displeasure over this pending issue which will ultimately affects every homeowner, now and in the future. Stand up; Speak up for your rights!
Mississauga Civic Centre. Photograph: Ian Muttoo
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Canada’s Housing Market Cooling, but Homes
$1M and Above Still Hot: Report
While Canada’s housing market appears to be cooling, that may not be the case for homes in the rarefied listings of $1-million and above. A new report by Southeby’s International Realty Canada says 2013 looks like a good year for sellers of top-end homes, given the stable Canadian economy, increasing employment and continuing low interest rates. The firm says it is so confident that it is expanding into two new markets this year — Quebec City and Edmonton — from the four it currently serves: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.
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Canadian Press January 09, 2013
For 2012, the realtor says the market was a bit of a mixed bag for $1-million homes and above, particularly after stricter mortgage rules came into place in July. Some markets, like Calgary saw the sky as the limit, while previously hot Vancouver came down to earth somewhat. Toronto and Montreal experienced modest growth. In Vancouver, sales in the top-tier market fell 34% to 1,983, and it took 54 days to sell a $1-million or more listing on average in the last six months of the year, well above the first half or the previous year. Still, five per cent of listings sold over asking. It was a different story in Calgary, where sales of homes listing over $1-million rose 20% to 535 with five per cent selling above asking. Toronto and Montreal experienced more modest swings from the previous year, but the trend was positive. In Toronto, sales of top-end homes rose 13% to 4,900, with 11% of those selling over asking price. Montreal sales of $1-million plus homes rose four per cent to 392, only 3% of those above asking.
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RateHub.ca’s 2012 Canadia 5DWH+XE
December 31, 2012
“2012 was a busy year for homebuyers and homeowners alike” The year started with off with a bang! Mortgage pricing wars began in January and new mortgage rules were introduced in July, resulting in the housing market cooling as the year came to an end. Let’s break down the year that was 2012 and see how it affected the average Canadian homeowner. Mortgage Rate Wars January 2012 saw the beginning of the much-heated mortgage rate wars. BMO fired the first shot by offering their 5-year fixed rate at 2.99 per cent, the lowest 5-year rate in modern Canadian history. The other big banks quickly followed suit with similar offerings. We also saw a rise in popularity of the 10-year fixed rate at 3.99 per cent. As it stands, there’s never been a better time to buy a house, as there are a plethora of low-rate mortgage products to
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choose from, allowing homeowners to pay down their mortgage faster than ever before. Fixed vs. Variable The Bank of Canada left its overnight lending rate at 1 per cent throughout 2012, but it continues to hint at a possible rate hike in 2013. The banks followed suit and left Prime Rate unchanged at 3 per cent. While 2011 saw variable rate mortgages offered at Prime – 0.90%, those discounts are long gone. It makes sense to lock-in with a fixed rate mortgage now, if a rate hike would put a strain on your household budget. And homeowners are apparently listening. The share of new fixed rate mortgages in Canada skyrocketed to 79 per cent, a sign that homeowners are aware of the threat rising interest rates can pose. Household Debt Balloons While Homeowners Pay Down Debt Household debt continued to balloon in 2012, reaching levels reminiscent of the U.S. housing crash. In the second quarter of 2012, household debt made headlines when the debt-to-income ratio reached 163.4 per cent. The headlines have apparently spooked homeowners, as Canadians are repaying debt at a faster pace, which is good for when rates eventually increase. For first-time homebuyers with only the minimum 5 per cent down payment, the fear of a major housing correction (which could wipe out their equity) became a good motivator to pay down debt.
an Mortgage Market Recap New Mortgage Rules Cool the Market The mortgage rate wars, coupled with the fear of a housing correction, saw the fourth round of mortgage changes in four years in July 2012. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the new mortgage rules created a major hurdle for homeownership. The maximum mortgage amortization was reduced from 30 years to 25 years for high-ratio mortgages, increasing the mortgage payments for homebuyers and making it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage at all. While the new mortgage rules seem to have averted a housing correction, it has put a heavy burden on first-time homebuyers who must now save a larger down payment and/or pay down debt, to qualify. The real estate markets in Toronto and Vancouver are like night and day, from the start to end of 2012. In reaction to the new mortgage rules, more homebuyers are sitting on the sidelines. Toronto and Vancouver started off the year red-hot, but the new mortgage rules have put a
Maria Tse, AMP
Owner/Mortgage Broker Licence #: M08004027 CENTUM Direct Financial Inc. 2900 Steeles Avenue East Suite no. 214, Thornhill ON L3T 4X1 T. 416.817.3803 F. 866.612.9959 E. firstname.lastname@example.org W. www.centum.ca/Maria_Tse
serious damper on both markets, with sales volumes down and prices following behind. If you’re looking for a detached house, there’s still a lot of competition. But the condo market – the most common entry-point for first-time homebuyers – has cooled considerably this year. 2013 and Beyond 2013 seems to look rosy for homebuyers. With the real estate market seemingly stabilizing after the new mortgage rules, we are seeing a more balanced market, which is good news for homebuyers. While a rate hike is possible, there’s still plenty of time to lock into a 5-year fixed rate mortgage, which are still available at historically low rates. While we shouldn’t expect a similar red-hot start to the year, 2013 looks to be a decent year for homeowners and homebuyers alike.
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