March 2010 Newsletter

Strong Start to 2010 Real Estate Market

No matter where your travels take you throughout the Greater Toronto Area these days, you’ll find that real estate is on many people’s minds. From office lobbies to restaurants to subway trains, snippets of conversations about the market can be heard. This is a reflection of how profoundly our city’s real estate market affects all of us. Indeed, the quick rebound in the real estate market (GTA and Canadian) contributed greatly to the recovery experienced in the economy to date. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that each resale home transaction in Canada results in over $46,000 in additional spending across many different sectors of the economy. Obviously, this spending also helps with keeping people employed and creating new jobs as we continue to recover from the recession.

Regardless of whether you’re planning a move in the near future, it’s important to keep up to date on the GTA real estate market as it has such a tremendous impact on the broader economy.

In January, 4,986 homes changed hands throughout the Greater Toronto Area. This figure far exceeds last January’s 2,670 sales, which took place in the depths of our short-lived recession. Most significantly, it is comparable to January 2008’s 5,075 transactions and the 5,173 sales that took place in January 2007, the latter of which was the strongest year on record. Breaking down the numbers, there were 1,973 sales in the 416 Area and 3,013 transactions in the 905 Region last month.

Condominium apartments comprised 47 per cent of all sales in the 416 and nearly 13 per cent of all 905 transactions last month. By contrast, at this time a year ago condominiums comprised 43 per cent of 416 sales and 11 per cent of 905 transactions, despite the fact that in last year’s struggling economy, a condominium purchase may have been a more affordable option for many homebuyers. Condominium living is becoming an increasingly popular option for a broader array of households in the GTA.

With respect to prices, there is more encouraging news. Currently, the average price of a home in the GTA is $409,058, which represents a 19 per cent increase over the January 2009 average price of $343,632. The increase was even more significant in the 905 Region, where last January’s average price of $328,935 rose more than 20 per cent to $396,556 last month. In the 416 Area the average price rose 17 per cent from $364,416 a year ago to $428,151 in January.

There are currently 12,052 resale homes available for sale throughout the GTA as compared to 20,450 a year ago. As we move toward the spring market though, we can expect more listings as homeowners react favourably to recent months’ activity. The average home price will continue to grow in the GTA, but at a more moderate pace. - February 12, 2010

Flavourful Oriental Chicken Recipe


2/3 cup water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

4 skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut in strips

4 tablespoons oil

2 (10oz) packages Japanese style vegetables

4 tablespoons salted peanuts

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon ginger



Combine water and cornstarch; set aside. Sauté chicken in oil in skillet stirring until meat just turns white, approximately 5 minutes. Add vegetables, peanuts, soy sauce, ginger and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, separating vegetables with a fork and stirring. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 4 minutes.

This chicken recipe makes 6 servings.


How to create inviting rooms

One of the joys of owning your own home is having the freedom to decorate a room to please yourself. The only problem is most of us don’t even know where to start!  Here are some simple tips on re-arranging a room that can make the difference between “okay” and “wow!”

1. Before you start your room re-arrangement, first empty the room completely.  Take down all the wall décor and remove any rugs.  Now, look at the room as if you are seeing it for the first time. Consider what activities you want to take place in the room. Let form follow function. 

2. The number one mistake people make is to push all the furniture back against the walls of a den or living room. This makes conversation difficult and creates a walkway through the middle of the conversation area. Try pulling your furniture into cozy groupings for conversation. Experiment with placing the seating group at an angle instead of neatly lined up with the walls. A rug and a coffee table can anchor the seating group so that it looks like it “belongs” in the centre of the room. 

3. Instead of spreading out your wall hangings along the walls, try grouping several pieces together for stronger impact. Also, it is easier to create “random” groupings than symmetrical designs which require careful measuring and spacing. 

4. Now that your furniture isn’t lining the walls you can add depth to your wall décor by creating three dimensional groupings. If you have a grouping of pictures or accessories on the wall, try placing a small table or chest below them. Dress the table top with 2 or 3 favourite objects of varying heights to add dimension. 

5. Make a dramatic impact by slip-covering your old furniture. At a fraction of the cost of new furniture you can extend the life of your old sofa and add a new colour and texture to your room. 

6. Sell or donate accessories you really don’t like - that old lamp, the dried flower arrangement that is years past its prime and the afghan that is picked, balled and knotted. Less can be more!

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