Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week, with the lowest mortgage rates available in Canada today and one home worth a look.
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Canadian home sales jumped 9% in December, but prices continued to fall
The 8.7-per-cent bump in transactions from November to December was the first monthly increase since June, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). But CREA and bank economists cautioned against reading too much into last month’s sales, writes Rachelle Younglai. Experts say the increased activity was likely because some sellers finally accepted that they would not get the prices they saw in early 2023, instead of the start of a bigger recovery in the housing market. CREA said 443,511 Canadian homes were sold in 2023, 11 per cent fewer than in 2022 and similar to the period after the 2007 U.S. housing crash and global recession.
Rob Carrick: Does owning a house in Toronto make you rich enough to afford a 10.5-per-cent property-tax hike?
Toronto city staff’s new budget features a 10.5-per-cent property-tax increase. If approved, the increase could add $500 to $1,000 or more to the annual cost of residents’ property taxes, writes personal finance columnist Rob Carrick. Given the $1.1-million average cost of a house in the city, it’s easy to say Toronto residents can afford the proposed increase. But at a time when many homeowners are bracing for mortgage renewals at much higher rates, it’s not that simple.
Reno flips gone bad lead to 2024 hangover
As experts and potential buyers alike continue to try and predict this year’s real estate outlook, one issue from 2023 still looms over the market: observers say a remarkably high number of homes are still being sold under power of sale, writes Shane Dingman. One broker says it’s due to renovation projects gone bad, which lead to a “collapse of speculation.” Real estate analysts — as well as social media content creators — have been highlighting the latest evidence of enormous losses that come when a house bought at the peak of the market in 2022 goes up for sale or is sold for significantly less than the buyer paid.
Massive residential tower near Vancouver’s downtown goes into receivership
The major development project in Vancouver’s downtown peninsula went into receivership after Bank of Montreal filed a petition saying it’s owed most of the $95-million it loaned the consortium that owns the property in August, 2018, writes Frances Bula. The consortium appears in court documents as 14 corporate entities under the umbrella name of Harlow Holdings. A B.C. Supreme Court order last week said the consortium owes $82.7-million plus $24,000 a day in interest charges from Oct. 16, 2023, onward.
Home of the Week: An extended Yorkville condo offers ample living space
3 McAlpine St., No. 104, Toronto
The three-bedroom condo located in Toronto’s ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood was initially planned to be two-and-a-half individual units, but the previous owner worked with the developer to combine them into a unique living space (the final half became a single one-bedroom unit). That move led to the condo having its own private terrace, which looks over the city’s east side. The open-concept living room and dining room make for an ideal space for entertaining guests.
What do you think is the asking price for the property?
a. The asking price is $2,298,000.