The number of units sold in 2014 was the second highest in the past ten years reaching 92,867 after 2007 that reported 93,193 showing the great importance households have given to Real Estate as it is considered a great long time investment. During the past 10 an average of 86,250 units per year have been sold and the price has been increasing on an average of 6.0% yearly.
The Year Average Price for the Greater Toronto Area had an 8.35% year increase from $523,036 in 2013 to $566,726 in 2014. There has been a shortage of listings for single family homes that resulted in higher prices for the overall available properties.
For 2015, banks are not seeing any changes in borrowing costs so consumers are expected to continue with the trend of investing in Real Estate. Condos are also estimated to continue its popular growth and areas such as Yonge & Eglinton and Yorkville are going to have a whole array of new offerings that are good for consumers who will have lots of choices to select and invest. Townhouses are still a norm on main arteries and are transforming neighbourhoods such as Little Italy.
Following the yearly trend, the beginning of the year started slow having a peak of sales and prices in May and October which are traditionally the highest months for transactions.
Detailed reports of specific neighbourhoods are available on demand. Please contact Alex Pino, Broker if you would like to receive yours.
NEW CONDO MARKET
Based on Urbanation Inc., a total of 21,605 new condominium apartments were sold across the Greater Toronto Area during 2014, representing the third best year after 2011 and 2007. A record 20,809 condo units were completed in 2014. These figures are extraordinary and keep Toronto on the world map as a destination for real estate investment
Wishing all our friends a special Halloween Day!!!. It is a great moment to celebrate the joy of having children running around in our neighbourhoods filling the air with laughter and happiness and their tummies with nice treats.
It is lovely to see so many houses decorated with ghosts, pumpkins, spiders, black cats, tombstones and all sorts of terrifying monsters.
Let's keep a close eye on the little creatures and have a safe and joyful day!
The celebration of the arts during a whole night, starting at 6:00 PM and going all the way to sunrise has created a level of energy in the downtown core of Toronto like no other event at this time of the evening.
Rivers of people, usually in groups, wander through the streets with great expectation to see the free installations of hundreds of contemporary artists in several disciplines, from painting, acting, music, photography, sculpture, etc. who transform the city for the public's delight or dislike.
Some places are just packed and there is little space to move or breath but the crowd continues chasing the next show like a pilgrimage of the arts.
Though there is a lot of information posted online and in print media, often times it is necessary to go and check it out in person as the description or the images shown may not really represent the true dimension of the exhibit. Extended projects can be seen for another week including night installations of artists playing with light, colours, forms and effects.
The Garden of Renova, designed by the Centre of the Arts and Design at George Brown College was made entirely of coloured toilet paper and attracted a huge amount of visitors who mixed and mingle in the curvaceous forms recreated in the space.
The CanAmerican Energy Arts Team showcased a set of two large oil barrels united by a pipeline representing the energy independence (or dependence) of the two nations. A fountain pumping black gold accompanied by a multimedia landscape exhibit intended to have a different communication approach to the public.
Ghosts of our former selves with visitors faces painted by the artists that glowed in the dark.
Dress rehearsal with shadow boxes displaying the innermost moments of musicians who perform solo offering an interesting contrast in the dark of the night.
The human brain installation by influential Cuban artist Yoan Capote titled Open Mind, offers a space where visitors can walk underneath the metal labyrinth and interact with each other regardless of faith, culture or political beliefs.
Made in China featuring a facade made with articles produced in China in the middle of Chinatown is a colourful display that calls the attention of the passersby.
An extended installation at Fort York, allows visitors to feel treated like celebrities walking on the red carpet with the backdrop of the city.
With great joy for our city and nation, this week was open to the public the wonderful urban architectural complex dedicated to the promotion of Muslim culture built by the Aga Kahn Foundation, comprised of the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre in Toronto.
Two buildings with different complementary uses, united by a minimalist landscape offer visitors a contemporary space, with open and closed areas in a privileged site; allowing the feel that the flow of natural elements like water, earth, light and air, can still be found in a prime urban location.
The Aga Khan Museum, unique in North America was conceived as an educational institution in the fields of art and Muslim culture in order to promote knowledge and understanding within their societies and other cultures. The need to reduce the increasing division and misunderstandings between cultures of the Middle East and the West was the key factor for His Highness the Aga Khan, in the decision to undertake a project of this magnitude. Canada, world leader in its commitment to welcome immigrants with different traditions and beliefs that share common values, was the country chosen by the foundation to house the museum and from there to meet the objective of deepening the understanding between different cultures, essential for peace and progress in the world. Toronto has a significant concentration of Muslims and offers a strategic location that allows reaching an audience of over 60 million people within an hour's flight.
The museum was designed by renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki in a contemporary style with simple lines and sloping profile where light plays a major factor, treated with unique skylights. The first floor contains a central courtyard comprised of glass panels with Arabic patterns which figures are consistently reflected by the sun's rays. The permanent exhibition offers a number of unique pieces from different Muslim cultural manifestations showing its influence from the Middle East to North Africa and Europe. The second floor houses temporary exhibitions, including modern artists. The auditorium has a majestic dome with geometric and light shapes reminiscent of a nineteenth-century Iranian bazaar. A cozy restaurant offers delicacies from the Middle East with magnificent outdoor views.
The Ismaili Centre was designed by Charles Correa, renowned architect and planner from India. The heart of the building is a majestic glass dome with metal structure that serves as a sacred place of prayer. The building offers various meeting rooms, as well as informational and study areas to learn about their culture and religion. Large windows decorated with intricate patterns are used to separate private and public spaces and in all the cases natural light and walk out to open air terraces is a constant feature.
Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, joined the two buildings using a geometric composition of infinity pools aligned with a precise selection of trees, offering a state of calmness perfect to admire the vegetation and landscape that changes with the seasons. The reflection of all the elements, influenced on the Alhambra and the Taj Mahal, offers a magical visual spectacle not to be missed.
Let us seize the opportunity presented by these new spaces to awaken our intellectual curiosity and recreate our senses.
We would like to highlight an article in the National Post as of May 3, 2014 with data source presented by Clay Gillespie, a Royal Group Financial Advisor and Managing Director. With a simple graph, it is easier to digest the information and though some of the assumptions may need to be reviewed for each particular case, it gives a clear picture of the amount of funds needed for a basic lifestyle in retirement.
The following assumptions were considered:
(1) retirement age of 65
(2) portfolio 60% equity & 40% fixed income
(3) maximum OAS $522 per month
(4) average CPP $633 per month
(5) income indexed at inflation rate.
In short, if you would like to have a $50,000 yearly income once you turn 65, depending on your life expectancy you will need savings at that time of $302,000 to reach age 75, $506,000 to age 85 or $582,000 to age 90.
If you aspire to have a yearly income of $70,000, when you turn 65 you will need to have accumulated $471,000 to reach age 75, $788,000 to age 85 or $906,000 to age 90.
There are many other aspects we all need to include and it is important to take into consideration the tax exemption provision of the principal residence. As Real Estate Prices have been continuously increasing over the past 12 years, there has been a good portion of home owners who decided to cash out and benefit from price appreciation avoiding capital gain tax, which may be considered double dipping. A little newspaper clipping from this week's activity may trigger some thoughts.
Often times we get carried away by the day to day responsibilities and do not take a moment to plan for the future.
Regardless of what stage of our lives we are in, if you have not done so, this may be the opportunity to start thinking and doing something about it, as time really flies.
WINDS OF CHANGE IN THE ARCHITECTURAL LANDSCAPE OF TORONTO
The process of planning, designing and building defined as Architecture is taking a world class approach in the country and the Greater Toronto Area residents have seen the benefit of unique cultural and residential landmarks representing works of art that are identifying the coming of age in the 21st century of this ancient practice.
Globalization is a word that is spreading in many realms involving architecture, where sought after firms are competing worldwide to showcase their interpretation of a new cosmopolitan world extending from Shanghai to Buenos Aires in amazing shapes like never seen before.
Locally we have also been impacted by the influx of foreign architects, whose vision have changed our urban landscape with striking elements and forms that have generated a lot of controversy in an environment often filled by monotony and lack of creativity. It is good to see how new structures have been built in several places changing their character and allowing us to enjoy a more diverse streetscape.
The waking up of this movement was done at the end of the last century, when Santiago Calatrava, the brilliant Spanish architect was hired for the pedestrian passage known as Brookfield Place linking Bay to Yonge St as well as the two TD Bank towers in the heart of country’s financial district. This monumental glass and steel masterpiece, covering 16,200 square feet with 85 feet height, allows public gatherings that take advantage from world-class art exhibits. Regardless of weather conditions, even if it is -40 or +38 degrees, snowy or rainy, this marvelous space could be utilized to its full potential throughout the year with the added value of having direct underground access to Union Station.
Daniel Libeskind approach to revitalize the Royal Ontario Museum is another bold interpretation of a public landmark in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city. The five intersecting volumes, reminiscent of crystals are dedicated to new art galleries, a space for public reflection, vertical circulation named the ‘stairs of wonders” and a restaurant. This is one of those things in life that you either love or hate without any middle point. It is indeed a structure away from any traditional approach to architecture with unconventional angles, sometimes hard to assimilate.
The multicoloured checkerboard box suspended in the sky by elongated metal posts, looking like a gigantic flying eraser ready to land on top of the older main campus of the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) was a courageous and brave statement from Will Alsop, an acclaimed British Architect for the Sharp Centre for Design. The elevated structure allowed for an open space connecting Grange Park with McCaul St, which has enhanced the quality of life in the area. The box on top, serves as a conventional layout where classrooms and offices take place.
Mr. Libeskind was also awarded with a commission for a residential undertaking on top of the Sony Centre at Yonge and Front St. The L Tower named for its shape was an interesting mix of culture and residential living and the boot type of design he came up with, showcased his different approach to the way architecture is conceived today. Unfortunately due to political reasons the art centre that was supposed to be the lower part of the building was removed and the new design now has a triangular case configuration to host the building amenities.
Frank Gehry, the most famous globally recognized Canadian architect won the contest for the renovation and expansion of the Art Gallery of Ontario and contrary to his extraordinary designs in other places, in this case the exterior approach is more rational with an attractive sculptural cantilevered staircase protruding from a large titanium blue box that depending on the sunlight blends with the sky. The interior spaces are so interesting that need a full article on their own. There are two fantastic areas to explore where the architect introduced his entire artistic creativeness, one being the sculptural Walker’s Court wooden audacious staircase that brings you all the way up to the Contemporary Art section. The other is called Galleria Italia where beautifully curved wooden columns have turned into a fantastic geometrical pattern that could be seen inside out due to a dramatic glass envelope, extending 440 feet along Dundas St.
Phillipe Starck, the globally renowned French architect was responsible for the creation of the interior design of the lobby and atrium at Seventy5 Portland, a building that has great character and is well recognized within the design industry. As some of his creations, Mr. Starck through his Yoo office designed a fabulous lobby similar to the ones in his New York hotels where selected pieces of furniture are showcased in an eclectic mix. An endless communal table starts in the lobby and travels throughout the Atrium where the residents mingle and enjoy a more cohesive lifestyle.
One project that makes heads turn is the Absolute Towers, dubbed as the Marilyn Monroe Buildings due to their curvaceous forms that twist 209 degrees from top to base. This international design competition for the tallest building in a suburban North American city had 92 submissions. A panel including architects, civic leaders, developers and the public awarded the design to Yansong Ma from MAD Office – China. The whole urban skyline has been really improved and the sculptural buildings are a pleasure to look at. The design involved here included additional intricate details as the floor plans change according to the rotation of the plate. The balconies create an eerie feeling of openness.
We welcome the views of these international creators who in all the cases have teamed up with local talents and are reflecting in their fantastic work the changes of our society and show that we are also opening our doors to a kind of architecture more engaging, creative, courageous and versatile. We hope that if you still have not noticed them, this short article will give you a heads up so you can start participating of these accomplishments and will entice you to look after the ones already in the pipeline such as the Ryerson University Expansion by U.K. Will Aslop, Monde Condominiums by Israel-Canadian Moshe Safdie and a condo tower yet to be unveiled at the elegant Shops of Don Mills by Danish architect Barjke Ingels.