Monthly Archives: September 2015

TCHC ReSet program announcement

Toronto Community Housing to get a Major Facelift with ReSet

Mayor John Tory was recently made an appearance at the Firgrove Toronto Community Housing neighbourhood, along with several esteemed colleagues, like TCHC interim president Greg Spearn, Councillor Ana Bailao and Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. The group proudly announced the launch of a $66-million “ReSet” pilot project.

According to Erica Vella of Global News, the main philosophy behind the program is to deal with the massive backlog of capital repairs by bundling them altogether into one project.  The program encourages resident input in order to identify any form of deterioration and unsafe conditions. Tory mentioned that the project will all be handled under the umbrella of a single general contractor.

Here is a quick breakdown of the project:

  • 900 units to be repaired in three public housing neighbourhoods.
  • $27 million will be invested in Firgrove
  • $19 million at Lawrence Orton community housing
  • $20 million to Queensway Windermere.

“ReSet will enable us to address multiple building needs at once. This will lower the cost of making repairs and help us stretch our precious capital repair dollars,” Spearn said at the announcement.

Tory made several impactful statements:

“That is going to make a big difference in the lives of these people and the housing that we own and in which they live….Residents felt the old system – where there was one tenant rep and that person was expected to speak on behalf of every one – wasn’t working in terms of people feeling a part of a community where they had a voice.”

“We’re going in, engaging with communities, doing a thorough review of capital, linked to program and service and making sure that residents are informed from day one,” Penny said. “As we put together the detailed drawings and specs for these projects, we want residents at the table so that they understand what we’re doing, how we’re doing it.”

As Jennifer Pagliaro of The Toronto Star points out, the TCHC is typically accustomed to awarding individual contracts for each of the various types of repairs needed in any one building: windows, boilers, roofing, etc. This has the tendency to lead to uncoordination among  crews working independently, with little information provided to residents on what types of fixes will be completed, and when.

The first step in the ReSet program is to dispatch architectural and engineering teams to each building to inspect the buildings and consult with residents to get a clear picture of the repairs that will be needed — including better security measures such as lighting and retrofitting of common areas. From there, a single general contractor will be assigned to carry out “bundled projects,” using a public tender process. The single contractor will be responsible for co-ordinating construction among multiple trades. Doing it this way, Penny believes, will ultimately save a lot of time and money.

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Does Publishing Real Estate Listings Online Create Competition?

There was an interesting development this week in the growing dispute between the federal Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board (Canada’s largest real estate board) regarding the online publication of home sales information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This particular development, which requires a bit of back story to truly understand, could have wide-reaching implications for Canada’s economy, particularly in areas “dominated by trade associations or market-dominating joint ventures that control competitively sensitive information,” as argued by John Rock, a lawyer working on behalf of the Competition Bureau.

Toronto Real Estate BoardTo sum up the dispute, TREB wants to restrict real estate agents and brokers from publishing home sales data provided by MLS on their personal listing or brokerage websites. Tamsin McMahon of The Globe and Mail, has written extensively on the dispute, and provides an excellent synopsis of each party’s position. As stated by Donald Affleck, an attorney working behalf of TREB, one of the board’s primary directives is to protect the personal information of consumers, any sensitive data (such as historic home sales figures) that could violate an individual’s right to privacy as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The evidence makes it clear that the vast majority of home buyers and home sellers do not wish to have the sold prices of their homes available to anyone with access to the Internet.”

The Competition Bureau is demanding that TREB relinquish its MLS data to brokers who want to publish it on “virtual office websites.” Rock believes that the board’s restrictions make it more challenging for individuals to purchase a home on their own without the need for a real estate agent. The overall goal being, to keep the realtors, not the consumers, at the centre of the real estate transaction.

The development that occurred this week had to do with an attempt made by TREB to remove Chief Justice Paul Crampton from the Competition Tribunal case over concerns of bias, stemming from evidence that TREB claims, proves the Crampton has long-standing ties with the real estate industry that go back over a decade. According to details provided by Tamsin McMahon in another article published in The Globe and Mail, William Sasso, another lawyer working on TREB’s behalf, said that he intended to bring a motion asking Justice Crampton to recuse himself, but argued instead that the real estate board needed more time to go through its records to build its case. Crampton allegedly gave advice to a brokerage that persuaded them to sue the Real Estate Board. Crampton himself determined that the board had not proven he could reasonably appear to be biased against TREB on the basis of “two to three brief telephone conversations” he had with the founder of Realtysellers, a now-defunct discount brokerage that sued TREB in 2002.

As it turns out, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is participating in the hearing, appears to be siding with TREB in the dispute, judging only by comments made by CREA lawyer Sandra Forbes. According to Forbes, there is “scant evidence” to suggest that offering real estate data online increases competition, and that websites like are still popular among consumers even without historical sales data.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Homes Sales and Prices for the Month of August

Toronto’s real estate market showed no signs of cooling down in the month of August, as both home sales and average prices saw significant increase from the same point in time last year.  Figures from the most recent monthly sales report released by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), suggest that the Toronto market is still a sellers’ market, according to Kendra Mangione of CTV News and TREB President Mark McLean.

Home sales in Toronto went up 5.7% from August of last year, a modest increase. In addition, the average sale price was up 10% when compared to that of August 2014. This year, the average was $602,607 across the GTA, while last year the average was $546,482. Interestingly enough, the average is up when compared to a year ago, but fell by $5,000 from the average price recorded by the TREB in July of this year ($609,236).

Average Home Sales Numbers in Toronto:

  • Detached home: $792,111
  • Semi-detached: $541,919
  • Townhouses: $469,721
  • Condominiums: $380,228

TREB President Mark McLean said in the report:

“Buyers in the (Greater Toronto Area) remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term.”

Susan Pigg of The Toronto Star notes that the report illustrated a 14% rise in sales from August 2014, an indication that more and more people are searching for alternatives to low-rise detached, semi-detached and townhomes, which continue to climb to prices that are becoming out of reach for most people. This overwhelming demand pushed up condo prices by 9.5% in the City of Toronto and 4.1% in the 905 regions.

New listings were up 8.3% last month, and that is in spite of the fact that the total number of homes available for sale (known as active listings), were actually down 10.5%. A total of 7,998 homes changed hands in August, up from 7,568 a year ago. Toronto remains on track for sales this year to exceed the previous record of 93,193 homes set back in 2007 before the recession took hold. Pigg argues that this discrepancy is due to the number of buyers continuing to outstrip the number of properties for sale, “with the frenzy fuelled by interest rates that are now expected to stay low for some time given Canada’s sluggish economy, the impact of low oil prices and the continuing chaos playing out on world stock markets.”

Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis in a statement.

“A record year for home sales continued to unfold in August as competition between buyers exerted upward pressure on selling prices. It was encouraging to see annual growth in new listings outstrip annual growth in sales, but we will need to see this for a number of months before market conditions become more balanced.”

TORONTO REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE | Sales & Average Pricing Up in August

On a GTA-wide basis, sales were up for all major home types in August 2015. A reported 7,998 residential transactions through the TREB MLS System resulted in a 5.7 per cent increase compared to 7,568 sales reported in August 2014.

“Buyers in the GTA remain confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term. They see ownership housing as a quality investment that has historically produced positive returns while at the same time providing owners with a place to live in their chosen community,” said Mr. McLean.


The annual growth rate in new listings was greater than the annual growth rate in sales, but active listings at the end of August were still down compared to last year. This suggests that sellers’ market conditions remained in place, especially where low-rise home types like singles, semis and townhouses were concerned.

 “A record year for home sales continued to unfold in August as competition between buyers exerted upward pressure on selling prices. It was encouraging to see annual growth in new listings outstrip annual growth in sales, but we will need to see this for a number of months before market conditions become more balanced,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

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