2020 Outlook: What to expect for Toronto Real Estate Market

It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to an end. With 2020 quickly approaching, the Toronto real estate market has certainly seen its fair share of ups and downs in 2019. At this rate, the new year should promise to be just as interesting as the last in the real estate sector.

With more people choosing Toronto as their home, demand for housing in Canada’s largest city continues to grow. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, the country’s population grew by 531,000 from August 2018 to July 2019 – the largest 12-month increase in history. Nearly 60 percent of the population growth took place in Ontario and British Columbia.

The demand for homes plus lower interest rates are leaving a crunch in supply at an all time high. Buyers are also getting used to much stricter mortgage lending laws, which has helped cool the market in a small way.

In 2020, Toronto home prices are predicted to rise 6 percent, bringing the average cost of a home to over $800 thousand. A strong local economy and high employment rates are the two main contributing factors to the predicted increase.

With inventory low, we should watch and see what happens to supply as the baby boomer population reaches their 60s and 70s and starts to downsize, which could have a massive impact on the market. We may start to witness an uptick in construction of purpose-built housing, which can be attractive to the older population because this type of housing provides more security than a condominium.

As the younger population continues to flock to the city searching for an urban lifestyle, there will be more people coming than going. Another trend to watch for in 2020 is co-living spaces, or a form of housing where residents have individual space in a shared property. And since more businesses are moving into the city, we may also see the potential for corporations to build or buy their own housing as a means of attracting employees.

A recent survey conducted by RE/MAX found that 51 percent of younger Canadians are considering buying a property in the next five years, so it’s not offbase to predict that the housing crunch is going anywhere in 2020.

Stay tuned!

Buying a House? What You Need to Know In Today’s Market and In Any Market

Buying a house can be an exciting and challenging experience. It’s a major purchase that usually involves a few different parties with competing priorities: the seller, the real estate agents, and the buyer. When you’re in the market for a house, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind that will help you smoothly navigate the transaction and end up with the result that you desire: a new house that’s right for you.

Be mindful of your credit

Knowing your credit score—and understanding how things like your debt-to-income ratio can affect it—can be extremely helpful when you’re buying a home. Do some research on your own financial fitness and be aware of how much you can borrow. You should also know how other big purchases, like furniture, etc., can affect your score, as Natalie Schwab mentions in this Redfin blog.

Find a lender and a realtor you can work with

Do your homework when you’re looking for a lender and a realtor. It’s important to establish partnerships with people and organizations that you feel confident in and can trust. Finding a good lender and realtor is one of the most important steps a buyer can take. The home-buying process can be stressful, and you want to be able to depend on the people you’re working with.

Act quickly when you find a house you like

The modern real estate market moves fast, and making an offer on a home shortly after it’s listed can help you save money and get into a house quickly. You should be prepared to make offers as soon as you start looking.

Do some research on the neighborhood

Neighborhoods can be very different at different times of day, and it’s always a good idea to visit a prospective neighborhood in the evening, on the weekend, and during the day, so you can get a better idea of what it will be like. It’s also recommended that buyers take an evening walk or a nighttime drive through a prospective neighborhood to get a feel for how it really is at different times of the day.

Keep your expectations in check

As Taylor Kelly notes in this blog, sometimes first-time home buyers can let their expectations get away from them, thinking that they need to find a home that’s perfect, inside and out, before they make an offer. The reality is that almost any house you purchase will need some work and maintenance, so it’s best to have a keen grasp on what you really need and what you can afford.

Don’t spend time looking at every house in your area

Many buyers are tempted to visit and check out every house that comes on the market within an hour’s drive of where they live. As Julie Ryan Evans notes in her article on Realtor.com, that’s not a good use of a buyer’s time—it’s better to trust your real estate agent to screen homes for you and let you know which ones might be a good fit for your needs.

In Unpredictable Real Estate Markets Realtors Matter More Than Ever

According to a recent report released by Royal LePage, sales activity and appreciation in the GTA real estate market slowed in the first quarter of 2018. Luxury home sales in particular have slowed, while the average price of a condominium has increased by almost twelve percent year- over-year.

Analysts at Royal LePage have mentioned that this correction in the housing market is due to several factors — though perhaps primarily from federal and provincial intervention in the market, including the newly implemented stress tests, in addition to foreign buyers’ taxes enacted on the provincial level.

Moreover, some of the recent figures can be attributed to demographic developments. Baby Boomers are starting to downsize, which means that they may be competing with entry-level buyers for condos. In this article in The Star, Royal LePage CEO Phil Soper mentions that this type of competition might be sidelining some entry-level buyers, which, in turn, would mean that fewer people would move on to become entry-level home buyers, and so on.

However, many experts agree that this is most likely a brief slowdown in the market. Canada’s real estate market, overall, appears to be in a strong growth period, and many economic indicators point to long-term housing demand.

For buyers, though, as mentioned above, this means it can be difficult to navigate the market — and this is where a good realtor can be of service. A volatile or unpredictable market is challenging for buyers who are trying to do everything themselves, and this presents a smart opportunity for realtors to reach out and provide the kind of guidance and assistance that home buyers need and value.

In an unpredictable market, a realtor can best be of service if he or she has detailed, extensive knowledge of the neighborhoods that buyers are interested in; a realtor can steer buyers to an area that they might not have previously considered, one that might be a better fit for the buyer over the long-term. In addition, realtors are generally more attuned to the fluctuations in the market and can provide sound advice to buyers about timing, financing, and other considerations.

Furthermore, good realtors usually have strong networks, which can come in especially handy during uncertain times in the market. A realtor can make a connection for a buyer that might make a significant difference for the success of a real estate purchase.

A boom in ‘B’ lending in Toronto’s mortgage market

There’s something about even the term of a ‘B’ mortgage lender that can elicit mild concern, which is natural, but knee-jerk: After all, ‘B’ comes after ‘A,’ so doesn’t it imply something second rate?

The truth is, mainstream lenders like the chartered banks aren’t for everyone. Their tight parameters can mean they’re less-than- perfect for whole swaths of society: If you’re self-employed, new to the country, or have a less-than- perfect credit history, you may not fit.

That’s where ‘B’ lenders come in, and they’re far from second rate. These kinds of lenders aren’t just ticking off boxes and saying ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Of course they’ll look at things like past credit history, but the difference is, if you have something like a bankruptcy, they’ll want to know why and will take it into consideration.

A burgeoning market for B’s

According to a report in the Toronto Star, the borrower rejection rate from A lenders has gone up more than 20 percent since the Bank of Canada imposed a new higher-rate “stress test” for homebuyers who don’t require mortgage insurance.

That’s meant a boom for the B lender industry, and the trickle-down of a quality of clientele it’s not used to seeing. “A lot of these people should be bankable,” or able to get mortgages from the big banks, said Hali Noble of Victoria, B.C.-based Fisgard Asset Management Corporation. But with the new regulations, “they’re not.”

Realtors need to know the new market

With B lenders accounting for larger swaths of the market as big banks tighten up, that significantly increases both their profitability and their presence in the marketplace. With the market slowing in the GTA — down 35 percent from this time last year to now — that’s a simple reality that realtors need to embrace to keep their businesses moving forward.

That means that realtors are going to need to be creative to make sales in this market. Major lenders have significant barriers for most home buyers that weren’t there a year ago — that’s just a reality.

But realtors who know the options and can adjust to the shifting lender market are still in a position to profit. Particularly those who work to establish direct relationships with alternative lenders rather than with mortgage brokers – realtors who do this may be able to avoid the substantial fees of brokers, which can add to the costs incurred by the buyers.

Larry Weltman: minimizing the effects of daylight savings time

Despite the fact that most of us enjoy gaining an extra hour in the month of November thanks to the end of daylight savings time, the slight time shift has been known to wreak havoc on your daily schedules and internal rhythms. Add to that the effects of reduced sunlight hours, which in some people can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s easy to see why so many of us feel a little out of whack in November.

Because our Circadian Rhythm — our internal guiding system that regulates sleep, energy and mood– is closely tied to sunlight, the loss of an hour of sunlight in November can be especially difficult to overcome. An out of kilter Circadian Rhythm can affect our length and quality of sleep, our general mood and the amount of energy we have to perform our daily tasks.

While the hour shift may only throw our internal rhythms off, it can take anywhere from one day to a full week to fully adjust to the time shift. If you are like me, you don’t have week to wait around till you feel like your old self. For those of us who want to take a more proactive approach to getting ourselves back in line, there are a few things you can do to aid your body in its adjustment.

Before the time shift

Whether going back in the fall or moving forward in the spring, in the week leading up to the time shift begin adjusting your sleep routine. In the fall, add roughly 15 minutes a day to your sleep pattern so you aren’t up an hour earlier after the change. Being properly rested is important in reducing the effects of the time shift.
Gradually reducing your intake of caffeine can also help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.

After the time shift

As I mentioned above, our internal rhythms are strongly governed by the sunlight, so ensuring you are getting the most out of daylight hours is important. This can be facilitated with a
morning jog or walk that gets you out in the sun.

Exercise is also a natural mood booster. When the effects of the lack of sun or the time change begin to make you feel a bit down, head to the gym or pool and get a natural endorphin boost.

Maintaining your exercise schedule during the time shift can also help maintain sleep schedules in addition to regulating your mood, making the adjustment much easier. You can also add energy boosting foods to your diet in the weeks leading up to and following the time change.

Even though experts say the shift in spring is harder to overcome, it is important to remember that the time change in November has been linked to an increase in pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents. If you are going out for a morning or evening jog, make sure you wear reflective, bright colored clothing so you are visible to passing drivers.

Larry Weltman, Balancing Cardio and Strength Training

You want to be fit, to have endurance and speed.  But you want to gain muscle as well.  Can you do both?  Yes, you can.  Even though the experts don’t all agree on this idea of balance, I, Larry Weltman, believe it can be achieved.

You might think that strength training and cardio workouts are at odds.  But they don’t need to be.

The two can be combined for a balanced approach.  After all being fit, means being strong and fast!

Cardio isn’t just about losing weight, but about building fitness and endurance.

We need cardio to keep our hearts and systems strong.

Cardio workouts don’t necessarily burn muscle, unless you do so much that the body has no option but to turn to that muscle for fuel.  This situation is one for only the most hard-core , such as marathon runners; most people won’t ever find themselves in it!

Lifting weights isn’t just about building muscle – it boosts your strength and metabolism.

Proper weight training will not only build muscle (slowly) but it will make those muscles more efficient which in turn makes your cardiovascular system more efficient too.  So, lifting weights actually boosts your system and is known to boost metabolism.

Cardio and weight lifting don’t undo the benefits of each other. Rather, they complement one another!

In short, one does not necessarily cancel the other out and undo all the benefits it brought.  A balanced combination of cardio and strength training allow these two methods to work in harmony rather than competing against each other.

How to Achieve Balance

This balanced approach needs to be targeted to each person individually.  Consider your body type, the goals you’ve set, and what kind of workouts you like to do.  All these variables need to be factored together.

Choose a focus:  lose weight and build endurance, or build muscle and gain strength.  Once you know your priority you can create a tailored workout regime.

Lots of pros advocate 30-60 minutes of cardio a day, and that’s just not doable for a lot of people, especially if they also want to do weight training.  Lots of pros recommend that, if you want to build muscle and strength, that weight training should be done at least 3 times a week.  This can be done on consecutive days especially if you are alternating body parts.  Don’t forget, you need to rest any body part at least 24 to 36 hours after weight training that muscle group.

Here are some tips to help you balance the two types of workouts in your weekly routine:

Cardio tips

– If your goal requires a lot more cardio, on weight-training days, cut your cardio workout in half.  Alternate weight training days with cardio days to allow maximum rest between workouts if you only need say 3 cardio workouts a week.

–   Make sure that the intensity of the cardio is getting your heart rate up.  A thirty to forty minute workout with a   high intensity portion of 20 to 25 minutes is better than 60 minutes at a slow pace.

Weight training tips

–   Alternate body parts between weight days.  Chest and Triceps combine well.  Back and Biceps are go well together.  Legs are a tough day!  Try Shoulders and Core together.

Combined workout tips

–   Make your cardio workouts –high intensity weight training circuits.  Seek moves that work both upper and lower at the same time and full body movements.  For example: a lunge with an overhead press or a squat with a front raise.  This makes for an efficient and intense training that builds muscle and is cardiovascular too.  Try 3 to 5 exercises in a row, with a short rest period.  And repeat 5 to 6 times.

–   Make sure to do a warm up and cool down for these sessions.

– This form of mixed workout builds power, strength and fitness.  However it is not for everyone.  I’ll put my name to it, Larry Weltman, and say that these workouts are fast weight burners.  So if your goal is to gain weight and size, they are not for you!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional  fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program.

Larry Weltman – How I Stay Fit Even With the Busiest Of Schedules

I’ll begin by saying that I love my work.  I work as a Customer Service Representative at AccessEasyFunds, a commission advance company for Canadian real estate agents, and it’s been one of the most rewarding positions I’ve had so far in my career.  But, it does keep me busy, and along with my family responsibilities, I sometimes have precious little time left for exercising and keeping in shape.

However, despite my busy schedule, I’ve made it a point for many years now to stay fit and exercise on a regular basis.  For all those who, like me, balance work and family, I’d like to give you some brief thoughts on how I personally go about staying fit even with the busiest of schedules.

  • I make sure to set aside time in my schedule for exercising and working out.

This piece of advice may seem pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how many people do not set aside a specific time in their daily schedules for exercising and working out.  They have it in their heads that they’ll exercise “some time” after work or “maybe” tomorrow at lunch.  But, the problem with this type of planning is that it feels tentative and uncertain.

So, in order to give myself a better chance for working out on a regular basis, I decide on specific and concrete times in which I’ll exercise and include these times in my daily calendar.  I know my ability to stay fit even with the busiest of schedules improves dramatically by doing this; and I’m sure your ability will too.

  • In addition, I try to maintain a regular and consistent workout schedule.

I’ve found that a major step in being able to stay fit with a packed schedule is finding a way to workout on a regular and consistent basis.  And one thing that helps me do that is to try to standardize the timing of my exercise sessions as much as possible.  That means that on the weeks that I workout every day, I schedule my sessions for the same time during the day.  By the same token, if I workout just twice a week, then I’ll schedule my workout times for the same days during the week and, ideally, the same times during the day.  All to say, consistency is key.

  • When I travel, I try to stay at a hotel that has a gym, or at least a pool.

The company that I work for has clients in almost all provinces across Canada.  Therefore, I’m frequently traveling from one part of the country to another.

Now part of the key to staying fit when having a busy schedule is making it easy and convenient to workout.  And when you’re at home, you may have everything planned out – you know where your gym is, you know what time you workout, you know how long to workout for.

But, all that can change once you go on the road for business.   Everything as far as your normal routine becomes unfamiliar and uncertain.  This means that it can become exponentially more difficult to maintain an exercise schedule.

So, one way that I remedy this potential problem is to make sure that, when I go on the road for business, I book a hotel that also has a gym.  That way the gym is right there and there really is no excuse for me to skip out on exercising.

  • I know when and where to set my limits.

Here’s the thing – many of us who have very busy schedules also share other things in common.  We’re very driven people.   We have a strong work ethic.   And sometimes we put things like our health on the back burner in order to make that final deadline or make that last sale.  I know I’ve done that once or twice before.  But, the reality is that in order to stay fit and healthy, we have to learn to set boundaries and set limits when it comes to our work. Otherwise, all the ambition that we have for maintaining a consistent exercise schedule will gradually crumble away, and that will definitely hurt not only our health, but our productivity at work.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional  fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program .

Larry Weltman: Shake Up Your Weight Training

I, Larry Weltman will be the first to admit that it’s boring doing the same thing over and over. So when it’s something as important as working out,
We need to find ways to mix it up. Don’t become a creature of habit!

Not only will mixing up your weight training get you out of the doldrums but it’ll also get you out of that rut that comes when your body gets ‘used’ to its workout. We reach a kind of plateau when our body is no longer challenged by our training regime, when our muscles are no longer taxed. This won’t happen if you change up your weight training.

It’s not hard to mix up weight training routines. There are so many variables: how much weight you use, which exercises you employ, how many reps, how often the workouts are, that there are lots of ways to change it up. Here are a few ideas.

Set Goals

First, figure out your goals. What are you trying to achieve with your strength training workouts?

Once you know this, consider whether all the muscles are being tended to. Often we are so focussed on one area that we neglect other muscle groups. So a focus on arms and chest could mean that we’re neglecting shoulders and abdominals. In the long run, this will pull us out of balance and might even ending up creating problems. Balance is really critical: keep this in mind while you move between various weight training routines.

Change up Your Exercises

Not only does your body get tired of the same old moves, but so does your brain. Our brains get used to the same motions to the point where the exercise isn’t so effective anymore. It’s one of the reasons we hit the plateau where muscle growth slows. Changing it up helps both mind and muscle. Changing up exercises also ensures that we don’t neglect any muscle groups. Read up a lot to find new and varied exercises. You will be very pleasantly surprised that moving away from one exercise for a period time and going to another one, how much you will improve when you come back to that exercise.

Change up Your Sets

Try adding a set or two to give your body an added challenge. Always remember that the muscles have to be pushed to their edge in order to stress them. Adding a set can be just the way to see if you’ve been pushing the muscle hard enough or not.

Add drop sets, and rest pause sets for an extra challenge. Super set training is another great way to mix it up.

Recent recommendations suggest:

For building strength: between 1-6 sets of 8-12 reps each
For muscular endurance: between 1-3 sets of 12-20 reps each
For maximum power, strength and size : between 1-5 sets of 1-8 reps each
Make sure to add sets into your routine slowly, giving your body a chance to adapt.

Change up Your Frequency

How many times a week you are doing weight training depends on your goals and whether you alternate upper and lower workouts or do a total body routine. Consider reversing what you currently do, but remember to take rest days. Or consider changing for a few months to a total body workout in one session – do 5 to 7 exercises in your routine mixing up body parts.

Changing from a full body routine to an alteration of upper and lower body days will allow you more focus on individual muscle groups. Changing from a split routine to a full body one will allow you a way to work out fewer days in the week and probably less time in the Gym

Change up Your Method of Training

I really only advise this one for people who are fairly experienced with weight training because changing the format of your workouts can be drastic.

Things like pyramid training, dropping sets, doing super sets, moving to eccentric or super slow training need to be approached with caution. So, if you don’t know what we’re talking about with that last list, don’t attempt making this change just yet!

Lastly, keep in mind that all these variables are all related, so keep it simple and go easy so that nothing gets out of balance and so you avoid injury.

Take off for a while

Yes taking off a week may be just what you need! I, Larry Weltman, give you my full permission to take a week-long break sometimes. One week off will give your body a great rest. You will not fall behind. In fact you will come back stronger.

Change your gym

Sometimes a new place with different equipment and a fresh environment can motivate you big time.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program.

Larry Weltman – How I Motivate Myself to Go to the Gym Even During a Blizzard

Most of us have been there before – all day we’ve been mentally committed to going to the gym. We’ve set aside time for going, even marked it on our daily planner. But, when the hour comes to actually get dressed and go, no matter how strong and genuine our intentions were, we flake. The excuses for doing so are as numerous as the amount of times we’ve experienced these disappointing situations: we were too tired to workout; work ran over; the gym was going be too crowded anyway; it’s snowing outside and it’s too troublesome to drive to the gym. But, here’s the point – regardless of the excuse used, in order to stay fit and healthy, exercise on a regular basis is necessary. There’s no magical potion and there’s no shortcut to get around this simple fact.

So, the question is – in your lowest of low moments, when you’re in the trenches of your most uninspired moods, how do you get the inspiration to pick up the car keys, drive to the gym and have a worthwhile workout? Well, through my years of balancing a busy schedule with staying fit, I’ve developed a couple key pointers that I’d like to share that hopefully will help you overcome these inevitable moments of low motivation.

Always have a goal in mind when it comes to your exercise routine.

What kind of goal, you ask? Well, really, it could be any goal. For example, it could be that you would like to lose ten pounds at the end of four months; or that you would like to be able to lift 50 more pounds by the end of the year. The point is that, when it comes to your workout routine, having a goal will go a long way to increasing your incentive to continue with your exercising. Without a goal, you’re less focused, which means you can succumb to those moments of no inspiration much easier.

Have a workout partner who is as equally as committed to staying in shape as you are.

Many of us know firsthand how helpful having a workout partner can be to maintaining and even increasing our motivation to exercise. But, by the same token, many of us have also experienced the frustration of having a workout partner who flakes and who is just not very committed to exercising. Therefore, yes, try to find a workout partner who you can go to the gym with; but, more importantly, when you do find this partner, make sure that he or she is just as committed as you are to going to exercising on a regular basis.

Give yourself a pat on the back every so often for maintaining a regular workout routine.

A major part of maintaining your motivation to exercise is realizing the progress you’ve made in your routine. If you’ve made steady progress – if you’ve lost several pounds, if you’re now able to do ten pull-ups as opposed to five, whatever the progress may be – then give yourself a small reward. Have your favorite shake after your workout or have a small ice cream afterward. True, there is no gain without pain. But, rewarding yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in is also very important.

Last but not least, hire a personal trainer to help motivate you.

If all else fails or if you’re finding it far too difficult to maintain a regular and committed exercise routine, turn to a personal trainer to help motivate you. Yes, they can be expensive; but, here’s the thing – not only will they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your workout routine, they will also inspire you to workout more often. That’s what they are paid to do and, as long as you hire the right trainer who’s a good fit for you, that’s what they should be successful in doing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and for general information. The author rakes no responsibility for any damages of any kind incurred or suffered as a result of the use or reliance on his views expressed in this article. Readers should consult with a professional fitness trainer and medical adviser before starting or changing any fitness program.