Tag Archives: Real Estate

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Trump talks up Toronto


Trump talks up Toronto

Donald Trump sought to stir up buyers for the unsold units in Canada’s first Trump International Hotel & Tower on Monday, undaunted by talk of an overheated real estate market in Toronto.

Even though there are more condos under construction in Toronto than in any other in North America, Mr. Trump insisted he would be willing to do a second project in Toronto if the right opportunity came along.

Is Toronto a housing bubble?


While Canada’s high-flying housing market continues to stabilize, it’s increasingly evident that one city — Toronto — is a glaring exception.

In sharp contrast to price moderation in most cities and a significant drop in Vancouver, where buyers are being priced out of the country’s costliest market, Toronto buyers are on a spending spree — one that looks as if it won’t end well.

New figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association show prices up by 10.5 per cent in Toronto over the past 12 months, the only major city with a double-digit gain. In contrast, Montreal gained a modest 3.7 per cent and Vancouver is down by 3.1 per cent.

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Lehman Files for Biggest Bankruptcy in American History, rumors of warnings with AIG and Citibank and the coming market meltdown


Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. investment bank, succumbed to the subprime mortgage crisis it helped create in the biggest bankruptcy filing in history.

The 158-year-old firm, which survived railroad bankruptcies of the 1800s, the Great Depression in the 1930s and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management a decade ago, filed a Chapter 11 petition with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan today. The collapse of Lehman, which listed more than $613 billion of debt, dwarfs WorldCom Inc.’s insolvency in 2002 and Drexel Burnham Lambert’s failure in 1990.

Lehman was forced into bankruptcy after Barclays Plc and Bank of America Corp. abandoned takeover talks yesterday and the company lost 94 percent of its market value this year. Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld, who turned the New York-based firm into the biggest underwriter of mortgage-backed securities at the top of the U.S. real estate market, joins his counterparts at Bear Stearns Cos., Merrill Lynch & Co. and more than 10 banks that couldn’t survive this year’s credit crunch.

“There is likely to be a domino effect as other firms and individuals who relied on Lehman for financing feel the effects of its meltdown,” said Charles “Chuck” Tatelbaum, a bankruptcy lawyer with Lauderdale, Florida-based Adorno & Yoss and former editor of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal. “The whole thing is frankly frightening for the U.S. economy.”
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Before You Move: Where Are The Next Transit Hubs?


Toronto Light Rail NetworkHere’s an easy question: where do you live?

Now here’s a much harder one: where should you live to ensure you’re near a GTA transit hub and how will the TTC’s plans for expansion impact the value of your home?

The answer to both queries can be worth thousands of dollars because the old real estate axiom about location, location, location has a well-known addendum: being near a subway or major transit route can instantly increase what your home is worth without you having to do anything at all.

But can you tell where they’re going to build or if the place you’re looking to buy will one day find itself on a subway or major transit line? The answer is yes, if you believe government plans about where officials hope to put the new routes.

Adding transit takes years of planning and a commitment of millions of dollars and all of it has to be done well in advance. That means the powers-that-be know where they’ll be putting the new tracks and trains as much as a decade or more before a shovel actually hits the ground.

One of those locations could be along waterfront-adjacent Cherry Street, which would make the folks on Condo Row lick their collective chops at the thought of bulging resale values.

“Streetcar access is phenomenal in terms of adding to value and presence … people want to be on a streetcar line,” said David Jackson, a Toronto urban planner.

Plans for the new tracks could start as early as spring 2009, while the underground expansion of the Don Mills subway line all the way to Morningside could have homeowners on the north side of town dreaming of dollars, though there’s no official date for that project to commence.

So just how much of a bottom line difference are we talking about here?

“Easily thirty to fifty thousand dollars,” confirmed Toronto realtor Janice Mackie. “Thirty thousand dollars is a parking spot … you don’t have to purchase that.”

What’s more, given the constant rise in gas prices and the GTA’s traffic volume, the Better Way may soon be looking even better still.

And while the two mentioned above are among the more central and immediate transit expansion schemes in the works, there are dozens of others being hatched around the GTA and Ontario as well.

Toronto Transit City

Here’s where you can check out the best laid plans that are being laid out right now.

Transit City: Can tell you about planned expansions in the city of Toronto.

Transit City map: Have a peek at what a future light rapid transit system might look like.

Move Ontario 2020: See the plans for the rest of the GTA here.

Move Ontario 2020: See a map for the GTA

Waterfront Toronto: The downtown core may soon look a lot different than it currently does.

Metrolinx: Transforming transit in the GTHA

See original CityTV News video and read more | digg story

Tax Me I’m Torontonian


Toronto Council has finally passed the controversial new land-transfer tax and vehicle registration tax/fee. Although a compromise was needed, Toronto should now have the stable funding that they require to run the city. Barring that the housing market does not go bust or everyone in Toronto decides to sell their car. This would never happen? But, I needed to point out the absolute worse case scenario. The new taxes might only initially raise $180-million to $200-million for 2008, less than earlier annual estimates of $356-million. Even with the new taxes, city finance officials say they still need a property tax hike. This also does not stop Toronto Council from considering new entertainment taxes, fees and the possibility, however unlikely, of a toll on the DVP, going into downtown Toronto. A land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent and a $60 fee for motor vehicle registration, which only could have happened with the new powers from the “City of Toronto” act. What will be interesting is the fall-out in the Real Estate market. I doubt there will be much change in the downtown area. Toronto still does not serve the outer regions like Scarborough and Etobicoke with adequate public transit. It should be interesting to see if funding now starts on the “Transit City” plan. There is no excuse now since they have their money and what David Miller wanted. What is interesting is that the Liberals are in power, and based on their “promises, this should be boom time for public transit. The question is, were they all “telling the truth”? Or was this all a rouse to get more money and tax use again later? Only time will tell. I imagine those, with homes just north of Toronto’s Steeles Avenue must be extremely happy. There homes just became a little bit more valuable. There will be those who want to skirt the tax and move a bit north, still within walking distance of the TTC and Toronto. They will be sad to learn that prices in Markham, Thornhill, Vaughan and Woodbridge are already high. However, the major point is that it is now time for “Transit City” to move forward, with no delays! I do not necessarily agree with the new taxes, however David Miller seemed to have no choice. I am also not totally in favour of all of their public transit plans; however something is better than nothing in the “transit world”. Other than the audit of the city contracts and the panel looking into savings for the city, council has done there part. Dalton McGuinty will now have to show if he was telling the truth? The Liberal Ontario government must start with the Move2020 plan now, with no delays or lies or false promises. Let the people in the know, do their work and lets get Toronto moving! Torontonians will now expect “results”, otherwise David Miller and company may find an angry electorate in 2010. Torontonians will be watching!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto controversial tax plan in the hands of swing votes


With one week to go before a momentous tax debate at city hall, the spotlight shines on a half-dozen Toronto councillors still undecided if they will vote for Mayor David Miller’s new “revenue tools.” Over the next few days, negotiations are expected to intensify between the mayor’s office and key swing voters on council for a possible consensus to approve a land transfer tax on the purchase of a home and a car registration fee for 2008.

One of those in the limelight is Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), a political centrist who votes with, and against, the mayor, depending on the issue. His vote could mean victory or defeat for Mr. Miller.

“The mayor’s office is trying to make me feel warm and fuzzy,” says the veteran councillor with a wry smile. First elected to local politics in 1994, he lost in 1997, but has represented his upscale west-end ward since 2000.

In July, Mr. Milczyn was one of 23 councillors who snubbed the mayor by a one-vote margin to defer his controversial tax package until Oct. 22. Mr. Milczyn has not tipped his hand for next week.

But the 42-year-old politician, who says he has had “blunt discussions” with Mr. Miller in recent weeks, makes no bones about what could turn his vote.

“Cost reduction is the key thing for me,” says the Etobicoke native, an architect by profession.

He wrote to the mayor right after the deferral vote with suggestions, ranging from symbolic cuts in areas that grate with the public (council perks and office budgets) to structural changes (no bonuses and salary caps for non-union city staff and a move to turn the water department into a quasi-privatized agency).

He says the mayor’s office has assured him, ” ‘We have heard what you are saying,’ but I told them I need something tangible.”

Other swing voters, including Suzan Hall (Etobicoke North), Mark Grimes (Etobicoke-Lakeshore), and Ron Moeser ( Scarborough East), have their own wish lists.

As the Toronto Real Estate Board and other anti-tax business groups step up their lobby efforts this week, Mr. Miller’s challenge will be to coax enough councillors on board without gutting the revenue tools.

On paper, the land transfer tax of up to 2 per cent (a sliding scale tied to the sales price of a house) and a $60 fee to register car ownership could generate $356-million a year in total. Already the July deferral and implementation delays have shrunk the pot to $250-million, which could sink to around $200-million if council adopts all the “refinements” under discussion.

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