JUNE 2012 REAL ESTATE UPDATE The month of May witnessed another strong The average price of a resale home in the GTA in May performance of the GTA resale housing market, from was $516,787 - which was up by a solid 6% versus both a volume and price standpoint. May unit sales the May 2011 average price of $485,362 and which were 10,850, representing an 11% increase versus was just under the all-time high price of $517,556 May 2011 sales of 9,766 single family homes. The sales established just one month previously in April 2012. growth in the ‘905’ regions eclipsed that of the City of Once again, strong competition between buyers seeking Toronto across all major housing types by a sizeable to purchase low-rise home types drove the strong margin. The City of Toronto’s land transfer tax has price growth in May. Having said that, if the surge clearly prompted many households to look outside of in both new and active listings witnessed during the Toronto for their housing needs. In the detached home month of May (new listings were up 20% versus a year segment, for example, annual volume growth in the ago and active listings were up 10% versus a year ago) ‘905’ regions was +13% as compared to just +6% in the continues for the balance of the year, further price growth City of Toronto. In the semi-detached segment, the will almost certainly begin to moderate. Average days on comparable numbers were +11% and +6% respectively. market for the month of May remained at a brisk 21 days. GTA RESALE HOME SALES GTA AVERAGE RESALE PRICE 8 9 10 11 12 8 9 10 11 12 12,000 $540,000 2011 2011 2012 10,500 $520,000 2012sale Home Sales GTA Resale Home Sales 9,000 $500,000 7,500 $480,000 6,000 $460,000 4,500 $440,000 3,000 $420,000 1,500 $400,000 JAN MAR MAY JUL SEP NOV JAN MAR MAY JUL SEP NOV James Metcalfe BROKER 416-931-4161 Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Johnston & Daniel Division, Brokerage 477 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, ON M4S 2L9 www.OurHomeToronto.com | Service@OurHomeToronto.com 1
CHATTLES VS. FIXTURESWhen an object is deemed to be a ﬁxture by a buyer and a degree or extent of the attachment.chattel by a seller – and when the offer does not speciﬁcallyinclude the object – problems are bound to ensue. If a The bottom line is that buyers and sellers of land – and theirdispute arises regarding the item after closing, its ultimate agents – should always direct their minds to the question ofownership will depend upon whether the courts consider chattels and ﬁxtures before the agreement of purchase andthe item to be a chattel or a ﬁxture. sale becomes ﬁrm.Law students are taught in ﬁrst-year property courses that If you as a buyer have any doubt at all about whether an itemchattels are items of moveable or transferable property, that you want is a chattel or a ﬁxture, simply ensure that yourunlike land and buildings that are ﬁxed and immoveable. agent clearly speciﬁes it in the offer. And remember thatIf the items are neither land, nor permanently attached to just because the item was not listed as an exclusion on theland or a building, they are, by deﬁnition, chattels. (The word feature sheet (or even the listing), this does not mean thatchattel dates back to feudal times when cattle were the the seller needs to include it. The agreement of purchasemost valuable item of property – except for land). and sale supersedes everything and, beyond that, only a court can decide if there is a dispute. And that decision isTypically, if an item is attached to land only by its own made on the basis of a judge’s opinion on whether the itemweight, it is not usually considered part of the land unless in question is a chattel or a ﬁxture.the surrounding circumstances make it clear that they wereintended to be part of the land.By the same token, a ﬁxture is a piece of equipment whichhas been attached to real estate in such a way as to becomepart of the premises, and its removal would do harm to thebuilding or land.Using these deﬁnitions, a mirror that is hanging on a hook isa chattel and can be removed by the seller. The same mirrorbecomes a ﬁxture if it is permanently attached or mountedto a wall in the house.A furnace delivered to a house, for example, is a chattel oritem of moveable personal property when it leaves the store.When it is installed in the owner’s house, and permanentlyconnected to the ductwork, ﬂoor, electrical and plumbingsystems, it becomes a ﬁxture that remains with the buildingwhen the owner moves out.Over the years, courts have attempted in many casesto determine whether an object is a chattel or ﬁxture.Judges will often examine the purpose of the attachmentor annexation of the item to the property, and the actual 2 This article was contributed by Bob Aaron, a prominent Toronto-based real estate lawyer. Please visit him at www.aaron.ca.
CLOSED VS. OPEN MORTGAGESChoosing the right mortgage can feel like a trip through a from closed mortgages), should interest rates decreaselabyrinth blindfolded. There are so many different types of drastically, the borrower fails to benefit.mortgages available, it’s hard to know where to start andwhat’s best for you. The advantages of both open fixed-rate and open variable-rate mortgages is that the borrower can pay out theOne of the first things you should decide is whether you mortgage in full at any time without incurring penalties. Awant an open or a closed mortgage. Canadian study conducted in 2001 found that people who chose short-term, variable-rate mortgages saved an averageAn open mortgage is one in which the borrower can repay of $22,000 in interest costs per $100,000.the loan, in full or in part, any time prior to maturity withoutpenalty. The terms are generally short and range between If you’ve calculated the risks and decided that an opensix months and one year. mortgage suits your needs, you should keep a close eye on interest rates. This makes a decision on whether and whenA closed mortgage, on the other hand, can’t be paid out fully, to switch to a fixed-rate mortgage from a panic attack to anrenegotiated or refinanced before maturity without paying educated guess. It is possible to predict interest rates to athe lender a compensation penalty. The term for a closed degree, but remember, it is an art, not a science, and youmortgage can range anywhere from six months to 10 years. could be wrong.Beware: The costs associated with closed mortgages can If you see signs that rates are about to go up, considerbe high. Know the payout penalties before you agree to locking into a mortgage and avoid the trap of no longer beingone. Generally speaking, the penalty depends on how far able to afford payments on your home.along you are in the life of your mortgage. It is oftentimes athree-month interest payment or the Interest Rate First-time buyers who plan to live in their home for a longDifferential (IRD), whichever is more. time probably benefit the most from closed mortgages. Real estate investors who want guaranteed interest ratesThe IRD is the difference between the contractual rate of and payments for a specified amount of time should alsothe mortgage and the rate the lender can now get for its consider opting for closed.money. For example, consider a mortgage with a three-yearterm remaining at 6 percent when the market rate is only Open mortgages work for consumers who plan to sell4 percent. The borrower must pay the difference in interest. their home in the near future because they won’t have to pay a penalty when the home is sold. The same applies toOf course, there are risks – either psychological or financial – consumers who believe interest rates are falling or whoassociated with both types of mortgages. A closed mortgage expect to receive a large sum of money in the near future.offers the borrower peace of mind. The rate is fixed over aterm that works within long-term goals. The borrower knows Ultimately, whether you choose an open or closed mortgageexactly how much is going toward the principal and interest depends on which stage of life you’re at, your income, yourand does not have to worry about unexpected rate hikes goals and the amount of risk you are willing to take. Therethat can lead to soaring monthly payments. are advantages and disadvantages to each, so use the resources available to you to make the right choice.Conversely (and here is why many people tend to shy away 3