November 6, 2013 — Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,000 home sales through the TorontoMLS system in October 2013 – up from 6,713 transactions reported in October 2012. Over the same period, new listings on the TorontoMLS system were down.
“The GTA home ownership market has been broadly characterized by a rebound in sales since the summer. Market conditions have been tighter in some market segments more so than others. Ground-oriented homes listed for below one million dollars in some areas of the GTA have been especially popular with buyers, while listings for these home types have been constrained,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
“The supply of listings for many home types and price points has either been down year -over- year or at least not up by the same annual rate as sales. The additional Land Transfer Tax in the City of Toronto and the removal of the government guarantee on high ratio mortgages for home purchases over one million dollars have arguably led many homeowners not to list,” continued Ms. Usher.
The average selling price for TorontoMLS sales in October 2013 was $539,058– up by more than seven per cent in comparison to the average price of $502,127 in October 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 4.5 per cent year-over-year.
“Growth in the average selling price and the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark will continue through 2014. Inventory levels for ground-oriented home types will be low from a historic perspective and home ownership demand will stay strong as affordability remains in check due to the continuation of accommodating borrowing costs,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
September 5, 2013 — Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,569 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system in August 2013. This represented a 21 per cent increase compared to 6,249 sales in August 2012.
“Sales were up strongly this past August for all major home types compared to last year. Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home. These households have found that a diversity of affordable ownership options exist throughout the GTA,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.
The average selling price for August 2013 was $503,094 – up by almost 5.5 per cent compared to the average of $477,170 in August 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark was up by 3.7 per cent over the same period.
“Despite an increase in borrowing costs during the spring and summer, an average priced home in the GTA has remained affordable for a household earning an average income. With this in mind, tight market conditions are expected to promote continued price growth through the remainder of 2013,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
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.
une 5, 2012 — Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 10,850 transactions through the TorontoMLS system in May 2012 – an 11 per cent increase over the 9,766 sales in May 2011. Sales growth was strongest in the ‘905’ regions surrounding the City of Toronto.
“Sales growth in the ‘905’ area code was stronger than growth in the City of Toronto across all major home types. While lower average prices are certainly one factor that has contributed to this trend, recent polling also suggests that the City of Toronto’s land transfer tax has also prompted many households to look outside of the City for their ownership housing needs,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Richard Silver.
New listings were up substantially on a year-over-year basis in May – rising by more than 20 per cent to 19,177.
The average price for May 2012 sales was $516,787, representing an annual increase of 6.5 per cent compared to $485,362 in May 2011. Price growth continued to be driven by the low-rise market segment.
“Strong competition between buyers seeking to purchase low-rise home types drove strong price growth in May. However, if new listings continue to grow at the pace they did in May for the remainder of 2012, the annual rate of price growth should begin to moderate on a su
– Source: TREB
Owning your own home has a lot of payoffs, especially these days when mortgage rates are still historically low. There are also many housing options available in a wide range of prices. Simply put, you can carry a home of your own for no more than what you would pay in rent. And, unlike renting, your payments go toward increasing the equity in your home.
So, what’s stopping you? For most people who have never owned a home before, it’s the initial down payment and the ability to keep up with the monthly financial obligations (mortgage payment, insurance, utilities, maintenance). The effort to save for and buy a home may require you to make significant changes in your way of life. For most people, it means changing their spending and lifestyle habits to support the additional costs of saving for, paying for, and maintaining a home.
One of the best ways of saving for a down payment is to take advantage of government programs available to first-time home buyers. A real estate professional can help you understand how these programs work and ensure that you get the maximum benefit possible.
RRSP Home Buyers’ PlanContribute to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) regularly and to the maximum allowed. The federal government’s RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan enables eligible taxpayers to withdraw up to $25,000 tax free from their plan to buy or build a qualifying home. The amount of money withdrawn must be repaid within 15 years. If you buy the qualifying home together with your spouse or other individuals, each person can withdraw up to $25,000 tax free. A government form must be completed for each withdrawal.
Generally, an RRSP holder can participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan only once in a lifetime. The pamphlet, Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – For 1998 Participants, is available from Revenue Canada and will help you determine if you are considered a first-time home buyer.
A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada. Those participating in 1998 have to buy or build a home before Oct. 1, 1999. You must also agree to occupy the home as your principle residence no later than one year after buying or building it. Once you occupy the home, there is no minimum period of time that you have to live there.
Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan(OHOSP) OHOSP is a provincial program where participants receive interest on the money they deposit and may receive a tax credit. If you earn less than $40,000 a year, or if you and your spouse have a combined income of less than $80,000, you can benefit from the program. To be eligible, you must be an Ontario resident over 18 years of age with a social insurance number and have never owned a home.
While there is no limit to the amount of money you may deposit in your OHOSP, you can only receive OHOSP tax credits on annual contributions of $2,000 ($4,000 per couple) or less. Depending on your annual income and the amount of money you invest, you can earn up to $500 individually or $1,000 a couple in OHOSP tax credits. Participants are eligible for tax credits for five consecutive years and must close the plan and use the funds to purchase a home by the end of the seventh year. Otherwise, OHOSP tax credits must be repaid with interest.
An OHOSP plan, with interest earned at competitive rates, may be opened at any participating financial institution. To qualify, a home must be located in Ontario and be suitable for year-round residential occupancy. In addition, you must live in the home for at least 30 consecutive days within two years of the date of purchase.
CMHC five per cent downWhile Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) five per cent down option program doesn’t help you save for the down payment, it sure eases the way to home ownership. With as little as five per cent down, all home owners now have access to CMHC mortgage insurance. This means CMHC may insure the mortgage on your home (against default in payments) for up to 95 per cent of the lending value of the home. This helps make home ownership a reality for many Canadians who can afford monthly mortgage payments but would have trouble saving for a larger down payment..
Previously available only to first-time home buyers, the program was expanded earlier this year to include all home buyers. Eligible borrowers include anyone who buys a home in Canada and occupies it as a principle residence. The mortgage insurance premium in 1998 is about 3.75 per cent of the mortgage loan and can be added to the mortgage or paid on a monthly basis.
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