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This Week in Toronto Real Estate

January is normally a very quiet month in the real estate world, but there were a lot of interesting news items on the real estate front this week so I've compiled them into a single post with the tidbits. Call it a Morning Brew for real estate junkies.

Condos are hot. For the first time ever, condos appreciated at a higher rate than the traditional detached homes in 2007. Once considered the holy grail of Toronto real estate, detached homes appear to be losing some of their luster as prices have simply become out of reach for most first or even second-time home buyers.

Interest rates are falling. The Bank of Canada reduced their overnight rate by .25% and more cuts are expected to come in the next few months. If you have a variable rate mortgage you are feeling great right now. If you are planning to buy a house or condo in the next 3-6 months, now is a good time to think about getting a mortgage pre-approval.

Property taxes are going up. Provincial assessments have been put on hold for the past few years. Now the freeze has been lifted and since most homes have increased in value by around 20% over the same time frame, property owners can expect their assessments to increase significantly and therefore their taxes will too. Time to pay the piper.

Beware of scammers. Police are looking for a man they say is the mastermind behind a real estate scam that involved duping investors into buying parking spots and mall kiosks when they thought they were buying condos. Caveat emptor is never more relevant than in a hot real estate market like we have been experiencing in Toronto for the better part of a decade.

And finally, anecdotally, I am seeing quite a few transactions being pushed through this week in an attempt to avoid paying the new land transfer tax which takes effect on February 1. Several buyers are rushing to close their deals on or before Jan. 31 because if they can do so, they will save thousands. It will be interesting to see how this new tax affects the marketplace, if at all, once it is firmly in place and unavoidable save for first-time buyers.

Photo by Mike Stich from the blogTO Flickr pool.

Andrew la Fleur is a registered real estate agent and regular contributor to blogTO.


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