Quick Hits!

Well, it’s definitely summer!

You can feel it outside not only through the temperature but just by the vibe of people in this city of ours.

I can also feel it in the real estate market…

Market Slow-Down?

Before you all jump off a cliff, I’m not talking about a slow-down in prices.  Believe me, I wish!

But the market has slowed down in terms of listings, sales, and once again I go back to “the vibe” out there.  It feels as if the market is taking a bit of a vacation, although it starts with the Realtors, doesn’t it?

I can’t tell you how many Realtors get to July and just say “Later!”  Some people take two full months off, and some “work from home,” ie. Cabo.

It can be frustrating when you’re working on a deal and the cooperating agent says, “Well I’m leaving for my cottage on Thursday morning and I won’t be back until late Sunday night.”

Overall, I think there are far fewer listings, and I’m seeing fewer sales.  Sellers are waiting for the busy September market, and thus the quantity of listings in the central core is suffering.  But perhaps this represents and opportunity to be the only listing on the market in a given area?  Maybe a seller could chase 70% of the overall buyer pool that is still active and have zero competition?

Re-Districting is Re-Volting

About 10,000 man-hours were lost across Toronto on Tuesday morning as Realtors tried to cope with TREB’s new “districts.”

I wrote about this a couple weeks ago and I’d like to take back anything and everything I said that was positive.

Every saved search criteria and/or prospect that we had are GONE!  I’ve been saving searches for eight years and now I have to start over!

Now every time we want to search for a property, house or condo, the first thing we have to do is select “Toronto” from a drop-down menu that has places I’ve never even heard of:

Lanark?  Lambton?  How about “Leeds & Grenville?”  How many deals per year are you doing in that territory/area/neighbourhood/city/town/district/whatever?

How about “TORONTO” as a default?  Is that too much to ask?

After all, this is “Toronto” MLS, isn’t it?  Or did they switch this to “Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry MLS” while I was passed out on the couch?

Why do we have to jump through this hoop every single time?  How about this: make Toronto the default, and if you want to search one of these other areas, you can do so elsewhere.  I can’t believe I have to click “Toronto” before every search from now on – likely 200 times per day.

Fifty-Dollar Follow Up…

As for the districts in the re-districting, you’ll all be happy to know that I went from living in “C08” or more specifically in the St. Lawrence Market, to living in what TREB calls, (drum roll……):

Moss Park South

That’s great.

Twenty feet further, and I’d have been assigned to Waterfront Communities.

Why the hell are we using the words “Moss” and “Park” in the same sentence with regards to real estate?  Why couldn’t they have called this “Tony Danza Territory” or ANYTHING but Moss Park?

I think my condo just went down in value by about $20,000.

Rates Rise?

Two of the major five banks are expected to raise the five-year rate by 10-15 basis points this week.

Rates are still at all-time lows, and still under 4%.

Will the real estate market even notice this rate hike?  Not in the least, in my (less and less) humble opinion.

Queen’s Visit?

I went to see a property in prime Leslieville last week and it set the new bar for “worst property of all time.”

It’s a commercial property listed at $289,000, which if fully renovated, would be worth upwards of $850,000.

There are barely four walls and a roof, and I mean barely, since my colleague almost fell through the floor.

There is an offer date set for July 7th, and I’ll be very interested to see how this property fares.  I think bids could reach as high as $400,000, but I’d predict around $360,000.

I was looking at this for myself, to be perfectly honest.  I think there is $200,000 in this project for whoever takes on the risk, and I pitched it to a client of mine who is a very savvy investor.

The issue is that the buyer will likely have to use private funds, since a bank won’t lend on the property.  Could I come up with $360,000 in cash AND a quarter-mil for the renovation?  Um, no.

Borrowing privately will cost you about 10-11%, rather than the going commercial rate of about 5.5-6%, but it’s not the money that worried me – it’s the notion of taking the project on in the first place.  I’m far from an experienced renovator, and perhaps this isn’t the point in my life to dive head-first into a pool which may or may not contain water…..or asbestos, termites, mold, etc.

Royal Snub?

Much is being made of William and Kate “snubbing” Toronto by choosing to visit elsewhere, but frankly, I’m glad they chose to do so.

Their arrival in P.E.I. on Tuesday was said to have generated $7,000,000 in economic spin-off, which is fantastic for the people of those great lands.

Do we need this in Toronto?

Do we deserve it?

This past weekend, our city was grid-locked as Toronto FC, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pride Parade were all taking place at once.  I’m of the opinion that William & Kate would have fit in poorly with Church Street’s festivities, and I’m not sure if as many people in Toronto would have cared as they did in PEI and the Northwest Territories.

On a personal note, if William & Kate were to show up right here on my patio as I type this, I would probably get up and shake Bill’s hand, but I really could care less.  Other than their philanthropy across the world, I see very little point to their existence.  I see Kate as somebody that will help a generation of girls to develop eating disorders and self-image issues, and encourage women everywhere to waste money on “the same clothing that Kate has.”  They help sell a lot of tabloid magazines, but what do they really do?

But back on planet Earth, I think it’s fantastic that they’ve chosen to visit rural areas of Canada that get little notice outside of Canadian Geography textbooks.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that their tour of Canada is something that less than 1% of Canadians will ever do themselves!

Canada is more than just Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Canada is a vast, diverse, and complex nation that has more to offer than big cities.  I should listen to my own advice.  That’s it – you heard it here first – I’m taking a trip to PEI and Newfoundland next summer!  (Babe if you’re reading this – is that okay with you?  I know, I should have asked first…)

Completely Off Topic

If you missed the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th, perhaps you’re lucky.

Boy, if this isn’t a f*ck you to poor, starving people across the world, then I don’t know what is!

Have a look:

Ah, yes, the “great American tradition.”  I always thought that was baseball, but apparently, Competitive Eating is the world’s fastest growing “sport.”

Let me play devil’s advocate here for a moment…

We’re outraged, here in North America, that in certain parts of the world, it’s entirely permissible to stone your wife to death because she had the “audacity” to try and get an education, or read a book.

So how must starving, dying people in The Congo feel, as they fight over four grains of rice, to see fat people eating 62 hot dogs in ten minutes, while thousands of people cheer?  While TV cameras roll?  While sponsors line up for next year?  While millions and millions of dollars are flying around?

Surely, different parts of the world have different views.

How do we view a glutton-filled hot-dog eating contest?

And how do poor, starving people view it?

Anyways.  What do I care?

I’m a capitalist, right?

5 Comments

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  1. Maggie K. says:

    Small-town Canada is great in its own way.

  2. optionsplease says:

    so they’re professional bulimics? perfect. makes me wish i was an American. land of the free to be stupid.

  3. CD says:

    I totally agree with the comment about the Royals. What does Kate really represent? Her clothes are dull and she comes from an upwardly mobile social climbing family that succeeded in their mission. What is there to look up to? I only wish we could turn on the news and stop hearing about them day after day after day.

  4. Mila says:

    I second your Royal Snub hit! Well said.

  5. Mike says:

    explain to me how cabbagetown gets a district but the distillery district doesnt..? what could have been easier than that?

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