March/April 2010 Edition: Toronto Real Estate Market Views
MAGDA MO’S PREFERRED CLIENT NEWSLETTER MAR/APR 2010
Strong reSultS poSted in February
A total of 7,291 single family homes were sold in the desire to avoid the impact of HST on closing and other costs
GTA in February, representing a 77% increase versus relating to resale transactions (the new 13% HST will become
February 2009 when only 4,120 sales were recorded. Since effective on July 1, 2010).
last year’s performance was mired by the impact of the
The average home selling price in February jumped to
economic recession, a more valid comparison would be to the
$431,509 which is up a whopping 19% versus February 2009.
February average for the five years preceding 2009. By that
In fact, this price establishes a new all-time high average selling
yardstick, February sales are still up a substantial 15%, revealing
price for the GTA. Market supply remains tight with only
that we are indeed in the midst of a very robust market. Rock
14,514 active listings on the market at month-end (decline of
bottom interest rates and increased consumer confidence are
32% versus year ago). Days on market is down to just 22 days,
still powering the market; buyers are also being motivated by
a far cry from the year ago number of 45 days.
the knowledge that rates will soon increase and there is a strong
desire to lock-in rates now. Buyers are also being motivated by a
GTA RESALE HOME SALES (UNITS SOLD) - FEBRUARY GTA RESALE HOME SALES (AVERAGE PRICE) - FEBRUARY
4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 $350,000 $375,000 $400,000 $425,000 $450,000
Magda Mo Sales Representative
email@example.com | www.magdamo.com
The perils of radon gas
It is somewhat strange that the organized real estate meter (Bq/m3),” and the
community in Ontario is still highly concerned about urea government of Canada’s
formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) in houses, years after guideline limit for radon in
it was proved that it carries no health risks, and yet radon indoor air is 200 Bq/m3. Even
gas and other environmental contaminants – which exist in this figure is too high for the
many homes and can be fatal – are hardly ever mentioned World Health Organization,
in residential purchase agreements. which last year published
a handbook proposing a
For several decades, the standard Ontario Real Estate
maximum indoor level of 100
Association agreement of purchase and sale has contained
a warranty that the seller has not insulated the house with
UFFI. This, despite the fact that 15 years ago a Quebec court The City of Toronto Web site
ruled, after an eight-year trial, that there was no basis for advises residents that the only
fear of health risks and no justification for removing UFFI way to find out if a home contains radon is to have it tested. A
from houses. do-it-yourself radon gas test kit by Pro-Lab is available at
Canadian Tire at a cost of $9.99 plus a $30 lab fee. The City
Radon, on the other hand, has one known health risk –
of Toronto Web site suggests that kits may also be available
exposure above certain levels increases the risk of developing
from smaller retailers and online for about $50 (Google:
“radon test kit Canada”). As an alternative to the do-it-
A detailed guide on the Web site of Canada Mortgage and yourself kits, the City of Toronto also suggests that a trained
Housing Corp. (CMHC), explains that radon is a radioactive environmental technician can conduct a test for indoor
gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is formed radon levels. This type of test may be more expensive than a
by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material passive kit, but the results would be available much faster.
found in soil, rock and ground water.
If excess radon is detected in a house, Health Canada
When radon escapes from the ground into the outdoor recommends that steps be taken to reduce radon levels. The
air, it gets diluted and is not a concern. But when it seeps cost is estimated at about $2,500.
from the ground into an enclosed, unventilated space like
As more and more Canadians become aware of the dangers
a house, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels and
of radon in homes, it may become an important factor in
contaminate the inside air.
Back in the 1970s, Health Canada surveyed the radon levels
The typical home inspection does not test for environmental
of 14,000 homes in 18 cities across Canada. A small but
issues such as mould, asbestos, urea formaldehyde, or the
significant minority of homes in some locations were found
telltale signs of a marijuana grow-op or meth lab.
to have high levels of radon gas. In Canada, the Radiation
Safety Institute says that long-term exposure to radon Sooner or later – hopefully sooner – an indoor air quality
causes about 2,000 deaths per year and is the leading cause test will become a standard part of real estate purchases,
of lung cancer among non-smokers. and the standard form agreements will contain warranties
as to air quality.
In addition, it can greatly increase the chances that a smoker
living in a contaminated house will acquire lung cancer.
This article was contributed by Bob Aaron, a prominent Toronto-based real
Radon is measured in units called “becquerels per cubic estate lawyer. Visit him online at www.aaron.ca
Challenging the urban painting myth
The right colour of paint in the right place can often add
more perceived value to your home than investing in a new
furnace or roof. An urban myth exists that, for the purposes
To update the look, the foyer was painted with a strong
welcoming shade of muted raspberry. Next, the living
room, with its pale floor, ivory upholstery and celery green
of resale, it’s best to paint your home pale and neutral. You cushions and drapes, received a mocha brown on the walls.
don’t want to offend anyone, right? Because there was a lot of light, the mocha brown created a
wonderful backdrop without closing in the room.
You walk a fine line while playing it safe because pale and
neutral could very well bore a prospective buyer. If a buyer The opening from the living room to the dining room was
looks at several homes, yours might be forgotten because an open double doorway; so it was critical the next colour
it’s neutral. flowed from the mocha. A rich, mid-tone salmon colour
was selected and it fit perfectly. The depth of this colour
Real colour will evoke emotional responses. Usually, buying
enhanced the pale wood, creating the intimate feel a dining
a home is an emotional decision made within ten minutes of
room should have. For flow, the salmon tone was carried
entering the home. It’s not just the listed features that clinch
into the kitchen as well where it revamped the look of what
the deal. It’s how a person feels about the space.
had been an all-white kitchen.
Although it’s not possible to second-guess a potential
Next for the central hall and stairwell, the three warm
buyer’s taste in colour – everyone has different tastes – a
colours were tied together with a pale, cool green-based
good balance of neutral and dramatic, pale and saturated,
stone colour. The balance of warm and cool colours gave a
or warm and cool colours will set the stage and market your
harmonious feeling to the space.
home, even if the buyer plans to change it when they move
in. Finally the upstairs of the house was transformed. The living
room mocha was repeated in the bathroom which updated
Your paint colours must be in accord with your furniture. For
the look of a once very basic bath. The walls of the master
example, if you have a big red sofa bought on impulse, help
bedroom which had white furniture were painted a sage
it fit in by putting the same red on an accent wall nearby.
gray-green. The walls of the teenager’s room which had
If you have an expanse of green carpet, don’t fight it. Try
pine furniture became denim blue. And the nursery was
muted green tones on the walls in that room. The end result
painted a pale lavender.
will flow much better.
Overall the new paint effects made the house dramatic; it
A Case Study
showed well and sold quickly with strong colour playing a
One traditional three-bedroom home had plenty of natural
light with ivory and celery green furnishings and off white
walls throughout. It appeared very washed out and slightly This article was contributed by Sylvia O’Brien, a Toronto-based colour
clinical. consultant. Visit her online at www.colourtheory.net