Corona Virus and It’s impact on the real estate market in Toronto and GTA

Corona Virus and It’s impact on the real estate market in Toronto and GTA

As we are seeing in the media, every day there are new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and associated deaths linked to it.  And I think that things are going to get worse before they get better.  China has been in a quarantine, and other countries are starting to follow suit.  But is it too little too late?  As of today March 5th 2020 there has been 2 new cases announced just today making a total of 22 in Ontario to date.  And I don’t see it slowing down any time soon unfortunately.

I think it is too early right now to have any definitive answers and or statistics as it relates to the coronavirus and the real estate market in Toronto and GTA.   We are heading into the spring season, which is the busiest time of the year when the majority of people decide to buy or sell their homes.

 Here are February’s real estate market stats:

Total residential transactions are up 45.6% @ 7256 over this time last year

Average selling price is up 16.7%  @ $910,290 over this time last year

 Sales-to-New Listings Ratio is down 7% @ 51% over this time last year

Day on market is down 36.1% @ 23 over this time last year

As you can see the market is showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever. Home values are up, days on the market are down and inventory is down.  There aren’t enough homes to supply all the buyers at the moment hence why the large run up in prices.  In short, the demand is higher than the supply of homes.

As the coronavirus cases increase, people are going to not want to be out of their homes as much.  This will mean potential home buyers might delay purchasing their new homes, or selling their existing homes until the virus outbreak subsides.  This might cause current homes on the market to not get a lot of showings as people will be weary of visiting public places, or a home for sale where there could be 10-50 families that have visited already potentially spreading their germs.  This is a very psychological issue that can’t be predicted accurately.  I myself are not worried about contracting the coronavirus, I will live, but I am very worried if my four year old daughter does or my older parents do as they can potentially die from it.  That is a scary thing to think about right?

Bank of Canada rate cut

The Bank of Canada had lowered the interest rate yesterday by 50 basis points.  Canada decided to follow the US Federal Reserve and match their cut.  This is a very large tell that we are expecting a declining economy and major problems in the horizon.  When the banks slash their interest rates, it is a kind of a Band-Aid to help keep the economy afloat.  This usually helps in the short term but depending on how bad this coronavirus outbreak goes on for, might not be enough and we will see another recession.  China is our largest importer of goods, our Iphones are made there, our clothes, most electronics and many medications and drugs just to name a few.  This supply is getting cut as workers in China are not allowed to go to work, so businesses are at a standstill and are not making revenue. 

This rate cut will enable many people to be able to get the mortgage financing they might have not been able to before. And people that have variable rate mortgages will be paying less each month. This will cause even more buyers coming into the real estate market and causing even more demand for homes.  People are always looking for a deal, even if the world around them is burning to the ground.  Half a percent on a mortgage adds up to thousands maybe tens of thousands of dollars in savings. This is very enticing to people and will subset the risk of the coronavirus.

I recently watched a podcast with Joe Rogan. He had a guest by the name of Michael Osterholm who is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). He had conservatively predicted that this pandemic will be 10 to 15 times worse than the seasonal flu, there will be around 48 million hospitalizations, 96 million cases of coronavirus occuring, and over 480,000 deaths. From my research looking up opinions of the top experts in the feild, they are all in consensus that it is just the beginning.

I predict in the short term the real estate market in Toronto and GTA might have some minor signs of slowing down.  We might see the real negative aspects of this coronavirus spill into the real estate market maybe 3-8 months in the future, how bad will it be?  I think it’s only a guessing game at this point.

Stay safe everybody.

Kris Vindbergs

Century 21 Heritage Group


Toronto Rent Increase Guideline 2020

Toronto Rent Increase Guideline 2020

As many people know, at the moment (2019) in Toronto rent prices are at all time highs.  They are the highest in all of Canada for that matter.  The average 1 bedroom condo in Toronto has reached over $2200 per month.  Luckily for tenants the Canadian government has made laws and regulations so that landlords don’t take advantage of tenants and increase rent by ridiculous amounts every year.  This is referred to the rent increase guideline in Ontario.  It has been in existence since 1991.

The guideline applies to most residential rental units which are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.  The purpose of this act is to provide protection for tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions.  The act has many other purposes but we are not going to get into that in this particular blog as it is quite complex and lengthy.  If you like to read more about the Residential Tenancies Act click here.

The rent increase guideline does not apply to every single residential unit out there, here are the exceptions:

  • Commercial properties
  • Nursing homes
  • Social housing units
  • Vacant residential units
  • New buildings
  • Additions to existing buildings
  • And most new basement apartments (that are occupied for the first time for residential purposes after November 15, 2018

So, for example if you plan to rent or are renting a commercial unit for your business, there is no law to regulate how much the landlord can increase your rent unlike a residential unit.

How is the guideline calculated?

The Ontario Consumer Price Index is used to calculate the maximum rent increase landlords can legally do.  It is a Statistics Canada tool that measures inflation and many economic conditions over a year.  These include price increases or decreases for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, alcohol and many more.  Data from May to June is used to determine the guideline for the following year.

When Can A Landlord Increase A Tenant’s Rent? 

Assuming that they don’t fall under the exceptions which I wrote above. The rent for a unit can be increased 12 months after the last rent increase, or a tenant first moves in.  And before this can be done the landlord has to by law give the tenant 90 days’ notice in writing before this increase can take effect.

Previous Rent Increase Guidelines

Here is a chart that shows the percentage amount the rent increase guideline was.

2019 1.8
2018 1.8
2017 1.5
2016 2.0
2015 1.6
2014 0.8
2013 2.5
2012 3.1
2011 0.7
2010 2.1
2009 1.8
2008 1.4
2007 2.6
2006 2.1
2005 1.5
2004 2.9
2003 2.9
2002 3.9
2001 2.9
2000 2.6
1999 3.0
1998 3.0
1997 2.8
1996 2.8
1995 2.9
1994 3.2
1993 4.9

So, as an example if you are paying $2000 a month for rent currently, the consumer price index is 1.8% this year so your rent can go up $36 per month.  So, your new rent per month will be $2036.  Which is an extra $432 per year in rent that you have to pay.  That is roughly buying a small coffee at Tim Hortons for every business day in a month. This is not a large amount to many people, however many seniors on a fixed income might be pushed out of their homes due to the affordability the rent increases can cause.

Ontario has set the 2020 Rent Increase Guideline in Ontario at 2.2%. This will be the highest increase since back in 2013 which was at 2.5%.

It is always good to know your rights and responsibilities if you are a tenant or a landlord renting your property.  The Landlord and Tenancy Act has everything you need to know incase you are not sure of something. 

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group


GTA Rental Market Update for Q3 2019

GTA Rental Market Update for Q3 2019

It has been quite a year in the Toronto rental real estate market so far.  Many media outlets have covered the updates this year and most of them were saying that we are in a bit of a crisis in Toronto and the GTA.  Fair to say that because the the average 1-bedroom condominium apartment rent was $2,262 in Q3 2019, which was up 4.5% compared to Q3 2018. The average 2-bedroom condominium apartment rent was up by 4.2% over the same period to $2,941.  These prices have increased 1.6% and 1.7% month over month.  Toronto has the highest rental rates in all of Canada at this point in time, and I don’t think that will change any time soon.

Here is an infographic with Canada’s rental prices by city so you can have a better understanding.

 Ontario’s minimum wage is $14 per hour.  A 40-hour work week will gross $560, multiply that by 4 weeks and you will get $2240.  Deduct income tax and living expenses you can see that a single person making minimum wage cannot afford to live in a 1-bedroom condo in Toronto.  Many people are resorting to living with roommates or their spouses to split the rent.  

There are cheaper options available such as basement apartments and shared accommodations and such but those come with issues as you can read here


Over the last 12 months, Ontario’s population grew by 248,002 or 1.7%, higher than growth of 245,930 during the previous year. Among the provinces, Ontario had the second fastest population growth rate, after Prince Edward Island (2.2%). Canada’s population grew at a rate of 1.4% over the period.

This rate of population growth is causing an increase in demand for real estate in Toronto, and there is a shortage of supply to fill this need which in turn is causing the prices to increase.

Why People Don’t Want To Move

People who have been living and renting for a number of years at the same home have no reason to move in this market.  What they are paying now can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars less than their landlord can get for the same home right now if they moved out and rented to a new tenant/tenants.  So many tenants will have to pay a much higher premium to get a similar property. 

In Ontario there is rent control, which is a system of rent regulation in Ontario which limits the amount by which the rent paid by tenants for rent accommodation can increase.  It is calculated by using the Ontario Consumer Price Index, a Statistics Canada tool that measures inflation and economic conditions over a year.  If you would like to know more about it go here to learn about the rent increase guideline in Ontario.

If you have or can save for a down payment for a home it is always the best financial decision you can make.  Pay your own mortgage, not someone else’s. 

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group


Condo Fees Explained

Condo Fees Explained

When you purchase a condominium, there is a monthly fee payable to the condo corporation.  This fee is made to cover the operating costs of the building.  It is non-negotiable and is usually calculated depending of the size of your unit and sometimes number of parking spaces you own.  Smaller unit owners in a building would pay a lesser amount than owners with larger units.  Not every condominium is the same and they all differ as to what the condo fees include.  It is important to ask your Realtor or lawyer what fees are associated with the unit you wish to purchase, so you won’t have any surprises.  Every unit owner contributes common expenses in proportions that is outlined in the declaration.  This fee can include water, hydro, gas, common elements, insurance costs.  Cable and Internet costs are almost never included in the condo fees.  Any default in payment can result in a lien against the unit’s owner (including legal costs and other expenses), which can be enforced in the same manner as a mortgage.    

Condo corporations are non-profit organizations, so they don’t pocket any of the remaining condo fees that they receive.  There is however a reserve fund that holds extra money in case of an unexpected large expense that might arise, such as a major repair and renovation.  These funds are collected from common expenses and must be held in trust.  Its important to do your due diligence and find out exactly how much the reserve fund holds.  If it doesn’t have much money in the reserve fund, if a major repair or renovation needs to be done, every unit owner in the building will have to cover the bill.  This is called a special assignment, when the repair cost exceeds the amount in the reserve fund, and the remaining balance is billed to all unit owners.    

Its always wise to get a copy of the status certificate.  This provides a lot of information for the buyer, it is a document containing information regarding the operational, legal and financial dimensions of the condominium corporation.  Anyone can request a copy and it must be delivered within 10 days.  The corporation can also charge up to $100 for the certificate. 

Here is a list of what is included in a status certificate:

  • Corporations address, directors and officers names
  • Statement of common expenses
  • Amount payable for the unit for common expenses
  • Particulars of any increase in common expenses for the unit since the date of the current year budget
  • Statement concerning any assessments relating to the reserve fund since the date of the budget for the current year
  • Information concerning any applications regarding amendments to the declaration
  • Current budget
  • Copy of current declaration, by-laws and rules
  • A listing of various current agreements
  • Owner compliance with current agreements regarding modifications that relate to the unit
  • Particulars concerning the most recent reserve fund study and the amount of the fund
  • Number of units leased
  • Certificate of current insurance policies
  • Any planned or proposed additions, alterations or improvements to the common elements

Before making a firm offer on a unit, I would strongly suggest reviewing the status certificate incase there are any major problems with the condo corporation, such as if they are getting sued by someone or have financial problems.  As I stated before in order to find out exactly what the condo fees cover and how much you will have to pay, all that information will be showed in the status certificate.

 If you have any additional questions, I would be happy to help you.  You can contact me here     

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group


Land Transfer Tax In Ontario

Land Transfer Tax In Ontario

When any property in Ontario is changed hands there is a Land Transfer Tax payable.  This might come to a surprise to many people as they are not aware of it.  This tax is payable by the BUYER of the home or property, never the seller.  This tax is payable on the closing day, the day which the transfer of title is completed by your lawyer.  If the property is located in Toronto, there is an additional Toronto Land Transfer Tax to be paid (I know it sucks).  Most of the time, this tax can be added to your mortgage and will be payable in monthly installments.

Ontario Land Transfer Tax Rates

Purchase price of home Land title transfer fee First-time homebuyer rebate
Up to and including $55,000 0.5% Full tax rebate
$55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0% Full tax rebate
$250,000.01 to $368,333 1.5% Full tax rebate
$368,334 to $400,000.00 1.5% $4,000 tax rebate
$400,000.00 to $2,000,000.00 2.0% $4,000 tax rebate
Over $2,000,000.00 2.5% $4,000 tax rebate

Toronto Land Transfer Tax Rates

Purchase price of home Land title transfer fee First-time homebuyer rebate
Up to and including $55,000 0.5% Full tax rebate
$55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0% Full tax rebate
$250,000.01 up to and including $400,000.00 1.5% Full tax rebate
$400,000.01 up to and including $2,000,000.00 2.0% $4,475 maximum tax rebate
Over $2,000,000 2.5% $4,475 maximum tax rebate

To calculate your land transfer tax use my calculator here.

First Time Homebuyer Rebate

There is great news however, if you are a first-time homebuyer you can qualify for up to a $4000 credit.  The government sets out the requirements for this rebate.  You can find all the information here.

Keep in mind when deciding to purchase a home, you will need to budget for the land transfer taxes.

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group


How To Stage Your Home To Sell It Faster

How To Stage Your Home To Sell It Faster

Before putting your home on the market, there are many things to do in order to make your home stand out from the competition.  If you want your home to sell in a short period of time, its important to make it look good to the potential buyers.  If your home is messy or cluttered or has some sort of damage it will detract from the overall appearance.  Here are the most important things to do:


Its important to maintain the appearance of your home from the outside perspective, such as the lawn needs to be cut, leaves raked up, overgrown bushes trimmed and grass growing from the driveway needs to be taken away.  It can also help to do some gardening and add flowers or bushes in certain parts on the property.  The outside of the home is the first thing a buyer sees, if it looks unkept and overgrown this will detract from the appeal of the home.  These are inexpensive things to do, as you can even do it yourself without hiring a landscaper.


Even before the professional photographer comes to take pictures of your home, it’s extremely important to clean your home.  Your floors and carpets need to be cleaned, windows in the home, corners with cobwebs need to be cleaned, kitchen stove, fridge and sinks need to be cleaned, any dirty paint and walls should be cleaned.  When a buyer walks into your home it should give an appearance that the house has been maintained.  If things are dirty or smell bad, chances are that buyers would prefer to buy the house that is cleaner.  Its important to de-clutter your home, moving things out of the way that don’t have to be there would be idea.  Your large shoe collection can go in a closed out of view, personal and family photos should also be removed as this will make the photos of your home look more professional.  As a rule the less clutter there is the better your home will show.    Cleaning your home is very inexpensive and you can do it yourself.


Let’s face it, your pets make a mess of the home and stink it up.  Before anyone comes to view your home its important to clean up the animal hair, kitty litter, dog/bird cages.  Many people are allergic to animals so its very important to try and make sure as much as possible is cleaned up.  If you have a basement it would be ideal to keep the animal’s things down there and not in the main parts of the house.  Last thing you would want is someone having an allergic reaction while inside your home.


When a potential buyer walks into your home, lighting is a very important factor.  If you have any burnt-out light bulbs or broken light fixtures, it’s important to get them changed or replaced.  Most people don’t want to buy a house that is dark and gloomy inside or if they see any light fixtures broken, they will automatically think there is something wrong with the house.  This could put up a red flag in the buyers mind which you don’t want to happen.  New LED lights are ideal as they last almost a lifetime and are very efficient which can bring down your hyrdro bill every month, its also a great selling feature.

Repairs And Renovations

When there are major issues with your home it would be ideal to fix those things before selling your home.  The basic things as your appliances, furnace, air-conditioning unit should all be in working order.  Majority of buyers want a turn-key home to move into without having to fix or renovate anything.  If you have a leak in the roof you should fix it before mold or other problems arise.  A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in the appearance of your home aswell.  If a buyer walks into your home that has obvious damage it might make them think that there are other serious problems with the home aswell.  Again, you don’t want this to happen when selling your home.

As a general rule you want your home to show at its best, a spotless home will appeal to everyone and can give you the competitive edge over the other homes for sale in your neighbourhood.  If you need additional guidance contact me here

Kris Vindbergs

Realtor with Century 21 Heritage Group