A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘real estate

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs’ challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country’s history of emigration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn’s smaller moons.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus’ religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin’s famous quote about what parents do to their children.

[URBAN NOTE] “Tory is right to raise hell with province, but must also find a way to fix social housing”

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Earlier this month, Edward Keenan argued that, whatever his legitimate disputes with the Ontario government, John Tory has to fix social housing.

If you’re the mayor of Toronto, as I’ve written before, sooner or later the province will always screw you. Because it can, and it has its own priorities that are different than yours.

And so sooner or later, if you’re the mayor of Toronto, you have to get into a war of words with the province about it. Because what else can you do?

Mel Lastman said of Mike Harris, “everything he has touched has turned to crap.” David Miller said Dalton McGuinty was being “disgraceful.” Rob Ford was “furious” over a “last-minute blindsiding” from Kathleen Wynne.

And now it’s John Tory’s turn to turn his rhetorical guns on the province and raise hell about their neglect. Tory has hauled out his signature move — holding lots of press conferences in different parts of the city to announce the same thing over and over— to complain about the province stiffing Toronto by not chipping in to repair or build social housing. “Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government had a chance to stand up for Toronto on transit and on housing. Instead, at least on the pages of this budget, they turned their backs,” he said last week, outlining the theme of the week to come.

The man has a point.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s Rent Control Risks Stoking the Red-Hot Housing Market”

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Bloomberg’s Ken Chipman argues that rent control in Toronto risks shifting real estate development from rental units to condos.

Ontario’s government is set to impose the most sweeping rent controls in a quarter century, linking annual increases to inflation, with a cap of 2.5 percent, on all buildings as it tries to keep costs under control. The measure, meant to protect tenants from price gouging, could end up making it more — not less — expensive to rent in North America’s fourth biggest city.

The rules threaten to bring apartment construction to a halt, critics warn. At least one developer said he’s scrapping all rental projects in the pipeline. Others are considering doing the same. This risks worsening the rental-housing shortage and hurting those already priced out of the for-sale housing market, where prices are at a record high even as the troubles at mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. threaten to spill into the market.

Lamb Development Corp. had seven apartment buildings in the works in Ontario — five in downtown Toronto — before Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the expanded rent control on April 20, part of the province’s 16-point plan to cool scorching home price gains. The proposal calls for a rent cap on all units, not just those built before 1991 as mandated by current law.

“We won’t build these buildings as apartments. We will build condominiums,” said Brad Lamb, Lamb Development’s founder. “If you were to now ask 20 or 30 prominent developers about purpose-built apartments, they will tell you they are no longer viable in Toronto.”

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 8:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Spillover: when the city comes to the country”: Marcus Gee on Shelburne

Marcus Gee’s extended feature in The Globe and Mail reports on how Shelburne, a farming town far to the northwest of Toronto that I frankly had never heard about before today, is starting to be overtaken by the effects of the Toronto real estate boom. That the return trip to Toronto for commuters is on the order of five hours is apparently not an issue for buyers.

The soaring new office and condominium towers of downtown Toronto have come to stand for the dynamism of Canada’s biggest city. But if you really want to understand the staggering growth of greater Toronto, don’t look up, look out – way, way out. Look at what is happening to tiny Shelburne, fully 100 kilometres from the city centre.

For generations, this was a sleepy farming community where everybody knew everyone. Farmers would drive their cattle down the muddy main street to board trains to Toronto slaughterhouses. Motorists on the road to the ski chalets of Collingwood or the beaches of Lake Huron would pass by with hardly a second thought.

Today, little Shelburne is the second-fastest-growing town in all of Canada.

New census figures show it grew 39 per cent between 2011 and 2016, second only to Blackfalds, Alta., near Red Deer, among municipalities with a population of at least 5,000 and located outside a major metropolitan area.

People from down the road are flocking to Shelburne (its official slogan: “A people place, a change of pace”) to take advantage of the fresh air, open spaces and house prices that are still in the realm of sanity. Some commute all the way to downtown Toronto and back, an odyssey that can take five hours, round trip.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “GO expansion could boost GTA property values”

The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski reports on a study that suggests, plausibly enough, that increases in GO Transit rail service to outlying communities in the Greater Toronto Area will boost real estate prices there.

The plan to expand the GO train system to 15-minute, all-day two way service could increase some Toronto area property values up to 12 per cent.

It could also make housing up to 18 per cent more affordable in some areas of the region, according to a study of 773 communities commissioned by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

But maximizing those benefits depends on local municipalities making it attractive for commuters to get to the station, said the president of a data analytics company that studied the impact of GO’s Regional Express Rail (RER) expansion on Toronto region housing prices and affordability.

“While the GO station may be close to people it may not be accessible to them,” said Paul Smetanin, president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA).

Areas that stand to gain the most in terms of affordability from RER are those outside the city, places such as Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton and King.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Condo dwellers fight the short-term rental boom in highrise neighbourhoods”

The Toronto Star‘s Tess Kalinowski looks at how condo neighbourhoods are starting to engage with the various troubles associated with short-term rentals, through services like Airbnb.

Kahile Gondo has lived in her downtown condo for about five years. But even though it neighbours two of the busiest, most eclectic places in the city — the Eaton Centre and Yonge-Dundas Square — Gondo only recently began locking her unit door when she’s at home.

“There’s 44 floors in this building with about 10 units on each and I’ve never had a sense something was wrong,” she said.

But when she returned from her Christmas holiday, Gondo, 26, noticed a couple she had never seen before in the hallway. As the days passed, more strangers appeared on her floor. She also smelled smoke, something she had never noticed in the past.

“I didn’t get a good feeling in the pit of my stomach. I told my brother (who lives with her), ‘We should lock our doors because I don’t feel safe,’ ” she said.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “GTA home prices jump 27.7 per cent in a year”

MacLean’s shares the Canadian Press’ report on the accelerating speed of real estate price increases in Toronto.

The average price of homes sold in the Greater Toronto Area last month soared 27.7 per cent compared with a year ago, the city’s real estate board said Friday.

The number of properties sold rose 5.7 per cent from February 2016, even though last year was a leap year which added an extra day of sales, the Toronto Real Estate Board said.

“The listing supply crunch we are experiencing in the GTA has undoubtedly led to the double-digit home price increases we are now experiencing on a sustained basis, both in the low-rise and high-rise market segments,” Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said in a statement.

“Until we see a marked increase in the number of homes available for sale, expect very strong annual rates of price growth to continue.”

The average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area hit $875,983 in February, while in the City of Toronto it was $859,186, an increase of 19.2 per cent. The MLS home price composite benchmark price for all communities measured by TREB was $727,300, up 23.8 per cent.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm