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Top Real Estate News of the Week: January 23 to 29

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Another week in Toronto has come to a close and, from January 23 to 29, real estate stories continued to take our desktops by storm. In fact, you may have struggled to keep up with it all!

And, let’s be real: everything — *gestures vaguely* — is a lot right now, so there’s a fair chance you don’t want to spend your weekend doom-scrolling, trying to catch up on all the latest news about what’s up, what’s down, and what’s not budging. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend it. (Who thought the change of the calendar year meant anything at all, really?)

To make your day a little easier, we’ve gathered up this week’s top articles and assembled them below. Consider this place your Toronto real estate news digest, where you can get the picture before you go outside to get some (socially distanced) fresh air.

With that, we’ll get right to it. Here are your top “storeys” for the week:

1. Toronto Home to More Than One-Third of Canada’s $150M in Rental Arrears

Toronto recorded the highest rate of rent arrears in Canada last year, with nearly 11% of rental households reporting unpaid payments, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). While there were increases in arrears across the country due to COVID-19 in 2020, Toronto recorded the highest arrears rate, with 10.68% of units — 34,858 — in arrears and 0.92% of rent, which is approximately $55 million, in arrears.

Meanwhile, the GTA Vacancy Rate rose to a 14-year high in 2020… and it doesn’t seem a great stretch to assume these two issues may be related.

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2. Toronto Realtor Showed East-York Home While Tenants Were Self-Isolating

A Toronto realtor showed a home to potential buyers in the city’s east end last week, despite tenants self-isolating inside after being exposed to COVID-19. The home, located at 100 Amsterdam Avenue, had barely been on the market when as many as 20 potential buyers showed up for a walk-through, likely unaware that three occupants renting the lower floor were in self-isolation because of the coronavirus. The listing has since been taken down.

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3. Average Home Prices in Canada Now More Than 40% Above U.S. Levels: BMO

Through all the wild of 2020, holding strength, the nation’s housing market has soared. Now, newly-released data from BMO Bank of Montreal is showing just how much gumption the sector has held through the last year; a measurement that, per the data, puts Canada’s housing market action high above that of our southern neighbours.

What’s more, Toronto homeowners specifically reportedly spend — on average — 30% of their income on mortgage payments.

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4. Toronto Ranked Worst City in Canada (Again) for Bed Bugs

That income statistic becomes even more difficult to swallow when we acknowledge that this year, Toronto was ranked as the worst city in the country for bed bugs (yet again), according to an annual ranking from pest control company Orkin Canada. While bed bug sightings were down 20% over last year, Orkin Canada says that Toronto still managed to claim the number one spot for the second year in a row.

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5. Has COVID Created the Perfect Opportunity for Boomers to Downsize?

Rather than sacrifices, downsizing early can actually be associated with upgrading – something that’s reflected in everything from luxe home finishes and five-star amenities, to more cash in the bank to take full advantage those well-deserved golden years (once the world returns to normal, that is). And all aspects of this past year considered, now might be the ideal time.

Sound okay, Boomer?

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6. 2021 Could See the Tightest Muskoka Real Estate Market in Years

We had a [property on a] small — tiny — spring-fed lake in Muskoka, where the list-price was $599,000, and it sold in two days for $875,000,” says Ross Halloran of Sotheby’s International Realty, reflecting on the first few weeks of the year. That’s $276,000 over list price for a two bedroom, one bathroom, “teardown” cottage.

Welcome to the current Muskoka real estate market in 2021.

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7. GTA Condo Sales Soared Over 20% in Q4 2020, But Prices and Rents Dropped

The Greater Toronto Area’s condo market continues to remain hot, with sales up over 20% year-over-year in the final quarter of 2020, as owners using their condos as short- and long-term rentals sold their units. Simultaneously, falling rents and an active renters market pushed the average selling price of a condo in Toronto down 2.4% year-over-year to $644,044.

Perhaps that aforementioned Boomer migration has already begun…

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8. Former Toronto Industrial Site Transforming into Beautiful 1.9-Acre Public Park

Located on the Martin Goodman Trail, Leslie Slip Lookout Park will be a key feature along the Leslie Street Green Portal — an emerging north-south green corridor linking to the entrance of Tommy Thompson Park. The nearly two-acre park, which is being built on a former industrial site, will be home to a sandy beach, distinguished by forested dunes that will create a new multi-use community destination in Toronto’s east end.

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