Affordable Homes in the GTA

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BY MAURICE ANDERSON

Buying a home is not an easy task. Some individuals stop looking for their dream home due to unforeseen emotional frustration caused from multiple offers and other circumstances that may arise. Unfortunately, it will not get any easier. An experienced real estate broker’s duty is to enlighten you about the process and prepare you and your family for the endeavor ahead, not to make you feel like it’s a walk in the park. It’s better to be prepared for all aspects of the process so that way you can go in head strong as an educated and informed buyer. Due to the recent changes aimed at decreasing the rate of year over year increase in housing prices. The new mortgage rules and changes that may occur with Toronto’s land transfer tax will affect first time home buyers and investors will need to think outside of the box to purchase a home at an affordable cost in the greater Toronto area. The federal government’s recent changes did little to slow the housing market in November. Toronto’s average home resale price increased almost twenty-three percent compared to November of last year.

“Recent policy initiatives seeking to address strong home price growth have focused on demand. Going forward, more emphasis needs to be placed on solutions to alleviate the lack of inventory for all home types, especially in the low-rise market segments,” according to TREB director of market Jason Mercer. In addition to the new mortgage rules recently implemented by city council, Toronto’s executive committee is proposing that the city’s upcoming 2017 budget process consider numerous changes to the way Toronto Land Transfer Tax is implemented by harmonizing with higher provincial Land Transfer Tax rates.

At the rate the prices are rising in Toronto, detached homes are far from affordable for many Toronto first time home-buyers. “In recent months, housing affordability in Toronto has received significant attention not only from the city’s residents and businesses, but also from senior levels of government, which have been actively considering policy options in this regard. The proposed changes to the city of Toronto’s Land Transfer Tax are a cash grab and would make all Toronto home buyers pay more Toronto Land Transfer Tax, which means that the city is proposing to make home ownership in Toronto even more expensive,” said Larry Cerqua, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. With the population growing by over 90,000 a year and the economy remaining strong with low interest rates, the strong price growth will only continue in 2017.

Buyers looking to attain a home at an affordable cost will have a better chance by moving outside of Toronto to other cities such as Brampton, Hamilton, Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby and Pickering. These cities home prices are more affordable, newer, with more square footage when compared to the price point, square footage and age of a property that would be acquired in Toronto. Rising costs will also affect these areas as well. Buying now means when it is time for you to sell you will have more equity, thus can sell it for a higher price which in turn means you also get to benefit from the sellers’ market we are experiencing in the greater Toronto area.

In Brampton, a new university as well as a new mall will be coming to the Mount Pleasant area.  Also, a new movie theatre, residential condominiums, hotel and increased local bus and Go transit service times will increase accessibility. The extension of highway 407 and the expansion of highway 410 is helping drive buyers willing to commute to their jobs in the city to other parts of the Toronto region to avoid Toronto’s new Land Transfer Tax regulations when they are imposed.

“These proposed changes would mean that the city’s budget relies even more heavily on a revenue source that has already been criticized by the City Manager for being unpredictable and unreliable. City Hall should be focused on making home ownership in this great city more affordable, not less; and should be relying less on this tax, not more,” said Von Palmer, Chief Communications and Government Affairs Officer at TREB. Remain focused and head strong in your search for your dream property. Be prepared to purchase a home thirty minutes to one hour away from Toronto. Remember a river cuts through a rock not because of its power but because of its persistence. Do not let the new regulations or multiple offers defer you from your dream property. Contact an experienced realtor for further assistance when you’re ready to buy to walk you through every step of the process.

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