| I get asked all the time whether summer is a busy time for real estate? While it’s true that July 1st marks the beginning of summer when traffic is noticeably lighter and cottage life is in full swing, it can be a very busy time for real estate. |
Traditionally, the spring real estate market starts winding down in June but Toronto’s cool, wet spring has pushed the spring market back by at least 6 weeks which means that we’re seeing unusually busy activity into July this year. Couple errant weather with the usual inventory shortage and you’ll find many properties selling for above list in a matter of days.
Properties listed around the $1m mark or below are selling quickly no matter when they go on the market and we’re definitely seeing an uptick in sales and prices over the past month or so as compared to the beginning of the year. Some uncertainty remains but for the most part, the market has stabilized and is on a noticeable upswing. The most important skill an agent can have right now is to understand the nuances of pricing a home properly. The market is very price sensitive and buyers won’t even look at a home which lies beyond their perceived comfort zone even if they have the wherewithal to purchase at a higher price point. Some homeowners push to list high and then cut back the price as necessary but this can backfire as buyers are quick to assume there is something wrong with the home if it doesn’t sell quickly.
Summer can be a great time to find a property which may have been overpriced in the spring but remember that in the central areas, downtown west and especially the east end the turnover is high and the market is very robust.
What’s the Deal About Laneway Housing in Toronto?
|Tucked within some of Toronto’s most populous neighbourhoods is a vast network of 2400 laneways covering about 250 kilometres.|
With a severe shortage of rental housing in the city (thanks in part to Airbnb) it’s welcome news that city counsel finally passed regulations a year ago allowing homeowners to convert garages or build up unused spaces into laneway suites.
Surprisingly, there have been just 12 building permits approved and issued thus far. Apart from being an entirely new frontier, the process isn’t very straightforward and while homeowners can apply for minor variances (slight deviations from the rules the city has denoted) there are a whole roster of hoops (not of the Raptor variety) and technical requirements which prohibit many lots from qualifying.
Here are a few roadblocks you might encounter:
First off, a laneway house must be self contained but can’t be sold as a separate property from the main house.
Don’t bother trying to incorporate a separate basement suite into your laneway house for even more income potential as it’s not allowed.
For fire access purposes you must have at least a 1 metre wide passage from the street (usually on one side or the other of the main house) or be within 45 metres of a main street (near the end of the laneway).
The space between the two houses must be 85% softscape (grass, plants, or gravel which is porous enough to penetrate rainwater) which eats away of the allowable footprint of the house.
Upon meeting these qualifications among many others, only certain parts of Toronto are approved for laneway housing so if you have a home in North Toronto, Scarborough or Etobicoke and beyond you are not permitted to build or convert an existing structure into a laneway house yet.
In addition, laneway suites are subject to a number of complex zoning requirements along with mandates regarding setbacks, separation from the principal residence, building height, and even whether a second story can be added.
While a laneway suite doesn’t require parking spaces for cars, it does require a minimum or two bike parking spaces either inside or within a setback.
Be careful if you intend on removing your existing on-site parking spot to construct a laneway house as you may not be entitled to receive a street parking permit to replace your parking spot.
Having a laneway house will increase the value of your property but the main objective is to increase the number of rental units and secondary suites across the city so get used to being a landlord.
Are you wondering whether your property qualifies? It might be difficult to find a company who knows the rules and how to interpret them as they pertain to your property. I’m happy to refer you to a few reputable and forward thinking firms who might love the challenge your property would offer.
Don’t hesitate to ask me to put you in touch. I’m happy to help!