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Les Calvert

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Les Calvert is the owner an CEO of many internet property and travel related websites including this one and he regularly writes news and articles for his websites, trade magazines and newspapers.

12
French Property

Two French economists recently told the world that house prices in France are due to start falling – and will continue a gentle decline for the next decade.

Economists Jean-Luc Buchalet and Christophe Prat claim that the era of rising French house prices has come to an end, basing their claim on the idea that the most important single variable that affects house prices is household income. Until the 1990s, there was a strong link between French household income and house prices – about what you’d expect for a prosperous nation with a strong and tightly regulated housing market. But between 1998 and 2011, we saw something very different.

During that period, prices rose by an average of 161% across France – and by 278% in Paris. French household income rose by about 31% over the same period, meaning that the historic link between house prices and incomes was well and truly broken.

So how has this disparity come about? Essentially, through competition between French people who are spending money on credit. Where the London and new York markets are replete with foreign money, the French market is filled with borrowed money. Add in favourable conditions on loans, mortgages and other financial products and low interest rates, and you have the conditions for people to get while the getting was good. Interest rates have been low, banks have increased the duration of loans and the deposit required for a mortgage loan has fallen.

The authors break it down like this: 42% of the house price rise is down to increased mortgage capacity arising from low interest rates; 45% is down to increased mortgage terms; 35% is down to growth in household incomes, adding up to 122% and leaving 39% to be accounted for by fiscal incentives offered by successive governments to stimulate the housing market and encourage home ownership, and to some speculation amongst owners.

However, if this sounds like a house of cards, Messrs Buchalet and Prat say that’s because it is. They say the future holds tougher credit conditions, lower household income growth, changes ion France’s demographic profile, and a reduction in fiscal incentives.

Mortgage rates are expected to remain historically low for the foreseeable future – in many cases under 3%. However, the era of easy credit is thought by the authors to be at an end, pointing up banking reforms sweeping Europe and giving a nod to the signs that rates will increase towards the end of 2014 and into 2015. Banks have already begin to demand stricter evidence of employment, higher deposits and raised other barriers to cheap, easy credit, bolstering the economists’ case.

Lower household income growth is forecast based on high unemployment rates – about 10% for the foreseeable future and higher among the young – and falling or stagnating living standards.

Meanwhile, in common with much of the West, France is seeing a demographic shift, as older people over 60 come to predominate. As net sellers of property, this age group tends to depress prices. Household size is also expected to increase.

The final nail in the coffin of the French housing boom is the demise of government programs of fiscal incentives that, since the 1960s, have kept the French housing market on the up. These include incentives for construction; these incentives have ben slashed in recent years and are unlikely to be reinstated.

In fact, what is likely to happen is a correction, as French house prices fall to match french incomes. If you’re thinking of buying a French house, it might be best to wait.

84
Brandenburg Gate

Germany is on everyone’s lips because of the performance of the national football team. The team even made it onto the front of Newsweek, under the headline: ‘Welcome to the German Century.’ In property, though, Germany has been experiencing a quiet, steady, almost teutonically efficient housing boom.

Things have reached the point where you expect the second paragraph of an article on a housing boom top list the financial breaks, low interest rates or safe-haven status of the locale in question. But the German boom has been so uneventful and so sustained because it’s built on top of a real economy. The German housing boom owes its existence to low unemployment, rising construction rates and surging rents.  Property consultants CBRE recently held a survey to determine the most attractive property market, and the answer they got back was: Germany.

While some point to Germany’s economic successes, with exports at record highs on the back of an emphasis on midsize firms and a thriving apprentice system, others observe that during the decade when prices exploded across Europe, German prices remained level. And the signs aren’t all good for a sustainable boom either: German incomes rose about 12% over the last 5 years, not keeping pace with prices – and certainly not with rents, a source of friction in a country with low home ownership rates.

One good sign of a boom in Germany is rising rents. First, that indicates that it’s not a speculator’s market. But in a country where only 53% of residents own their own homes, rising rent is an important indicator of market health, akin to rising prices in a more buyer/owner-heavy market. And Germany’s rents have risen by 15% in the last five years, while prices have climbed by 23% over the same period, according to BulwienGesa, Germany’s leading property index.

That 23% increase in prices for apartments in Germany looks impressive already: contrast it with the rate of price change across Europe as a whole, which is -3.7%, and you see why regional German towns miles from Berlin are of interest to foreign investors, as well as to overseas and domestic purchasers.

And the desire for German property might be driving investors to the country – but it’s also driving residents. About 30,000 people are moving to Berlin alone every year, while approximately 4,000 apartments are built citywide. JP Morgan Cazenove says the result is a shortfall of 15,000 units.

The danger for Berliners – native and newly-minted – is that these rises in rents will drive out to many residents. Luxury refurbishments have been banned by several Berlin local governments for this very reason, and in some areas it’s against the law to install a fireplace or underfloor heating.

However, compared to other European capitals Germany still offers relatively low rents. Average rent in Munich is €14/m2, compared with €44/m2 in London, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.  Purchase prices compare favourably, too: €4,590 in Munich, €9,270 in London. And Munich is Germany’s most expensive city.

If you’re eying German property, the likelihood of good yields supported by a strong economy should encourage you. If you’re thinking of moving there, beware a rising market in a country with so few property owners!

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South Africa - Johannesburg

South Africa’s Property Market Continues to Grow – Despite Economic Pressure Against It

The South African economy has given observers cause for alarm lately. After the downgrade by international ratings agencies there were waves of strikes and rumours of a looming recession.

Platinum workers staged a three-month walkout from the country’s mines and the 220,000-strong engineers’ and metalworkers’ union has voted for strike action just as the platinum strikes were being resolved. Add in rising debt and a weak currency, political uncertainty and a youth unemployment rate that’s officially 36% – but may really be 50% or higher – and you should have a recipe for a crumbling housing market. You should see housing suffer as buyers keep their money in their pockets, vendors settle down to improve, not move, and the construction industry waits it out, reducing market exposure until there’s demand for new stock again.

But data from Statistics SA’s General Household Survey 2013 shows a more positive picture, with the housing market a key component in South Africa’s economy – and looking brighter even as the clouds gather over the rest of the country.

According to those stats, the percentage of people who fully owned their own homes in South Africa, the distinction of ‘formal dwellings’ is made to distinguish them from the many temporary structures that still remain – increased from 52.9% in 2002 to 54.9% in 2013.

Meanwhile households that partially own their own homes have increased by 4% during the same period. ‘In essence, the data reveals that more South Africans now live in properly built homes than ever before, indicating that the standard of living has not only improved, but the property market has grown,’ says Bruce Swain, managing director of South Africa’s Leapfrog Property Group.

The FNB Estate Agent Survey for the second quarter of 2014 supports this, indicating that ‘first time buyers [are] a still-strengthening source of residential demand,’ despite a jump in interest rates in January this year, Mr. Swain says.

South Africa’s property market has to deal, too, with a sharp hike in electricity prices hitting potential buyers in the pocket. The increases came into effect on July this year, and they will see around 7% added to the electric bills of residents of all South Africa’s metro areas.

Weighed against this, the repossession rate has remained steady since its jump of five points earlier this year, and it’s likely to remain level into 2015, experts believe. Partly that may be due to the South African development model, which shows demand-led developments with little speculative construction and a large pool of residual demand to draw on. Further, the low yields – around 5% on prime property – offered by the South African market discourage investor activity, meaning most people who are buying a house in South Africa plan to live in it.

Mr. Swain points out that ‘our agents are reporting stock shortages as the biggest hindrance to selling, so while home owners of second properties, in coastal or country areas, may come under pressure, it seems that the market is slowly edging forward regardless of the economy and price hikes.’

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Canadian House

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has released its 2014-15 home prices and sales forecast, and it’s confusing.

Not much is expected to change in terms of sales volumes, according to CREA but prices are set to jump by a respectable 5.7% through the rest of this year, before levelling off to a negligible 0.7% in 2015.

The CREA report says that an unusually fierce Canadian winter resulted in a slow start to 2014 national sales activity, as energy and money that might otherwise have gone into moving house went instead to repairing damage, to the Canadian house and the Canadian psyche too!

As the first quarter of 2014 ended, CREA said sales momentum was constrained by a shortage of listings in a number of local markets. However, there was a rise in newly listed properties in April and May, supporting an increase in sales activity.

There’s usually a sharp jump in house buying at the beginning of Spring, but thanks to the effects of winter and a stock shortage, this didn’t come into effect until later in the season. Overall, the sales volume from March to May was roughly in line with averages, and the deferrals from earlier in the year are likely to have been depleted by now too. That means the strength of sales momentum in the months at the beginning of summer may not offer a true picture of what the year’s going to be like either.

CREA’s forecast for sales activity in 2014 is largely unchanged from its previous forecast, issued in March. However, interest rates were then expected to rise in the second half of the year, and it’s now thought that this change won’t occur until the end of the year. That means the balance of 2014 will still be a cheap-credit period when it’s a good time to buy a house.

Sales are forecast to reach as high as 463,400 units in 2014, a 1.2% increase on 2013. Compare that with CREA’s forecast figure of 463,700 for the year, or a 1.3% increase, and it seems their forecasts are pretty reliable.

CREA also expects sales to remain in line with 10-year averages. British Columbia is forecast to post the largest year-on-year increase in activity at 8.3%, while Alberta is expected to see a 3.8% rise in sales in 2014. Nova Scotia is forecast to see a 5.1% fall, Quebec a 1.7% fall and New Brunswick and Newfoundland to see falls of 4.2% and 2.6% respectively. Labrador is forecast to see a 2.6% fall.

The changes to Canada’s housing market take place against a background of improving jobs markets and a growing economy, with a slow and gradual increase in the interest rates of fixed and variable mortgages.

In theory this should benefit markets where sales are a little softer and prices a little more affordable. In Canada as a whole, the average house price is projected to rise by 5.7% to $404,300 in 2014, on the back of general growth, a delayed spring buying season, interest rates remaining low throughout the bulk of the year, and demand-led markets in certain areas, especially Calgary and Toronto. In 2015, the average price of a home in Canada is expected to rise to $407,300.

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Homes for sale in usa

According to the California Association of Realtors, home buying in the USA is more influenced by social media than ever before. The CAR’s ‘2014 survey of California Home Buyers’ report shows that more US home buyers are turning to social media for guidance than ever before.

CAR said more than three quarters of home buyers used social media in their home search, a radical rise from the 2011 figure of 52%. Buyers said they primarily used social for social purposes – 44% used it to ask friends for suggestions or advice, and the same number used it to obtain neighbourhood information, while 42% viewed their agents’ Facebook profile pages.

Add in the figures on mobile tech use and it’s obvious that the way people buy property is subject to the same paradigm shift that has affected other purchases. Mobile technology was used in 91% of home purchases at some point, with buyers saying they used mobile to search for comparable home prices in 78% of cases, to search for homes in 45% of cases and to take photos of homes and amenities in 43% of cases.

As social media use increased, direct use of the intenet in the form of search engines declined. This decline was also rapid and radical: in 2013, 68% of buyers Googled theri agent. In 2014, 50% did. The difference is thought to be accounted for by buyers using Facebook as a search engine, and agents’ Facebook profile pages like websites.

While the housing market has become more social it’s also become more competitive: more than 9 in 10 buyers made one or more offer, and the average number of offers made per buyer was 3.6% in 2014 so far, as against 3.0% in 2013. And buyers viewed more houses, too: on average buyers viewed 20 homes in 2014, as against 10 in 2013.

After all that extra shopping, you’d hope buyers would be pleased with their houses – but that’s not the story. Only 50% were satisfied with their purchases, down from two thirds in 2013. Nearly half of all buyers said they felt they had ‘settled’ for their homes.

Perhaps the timing of their purchase decisions was motivated by the way they felt about the market. Buyers saw this as a good time to buy. 54% of buyers cited price decreases as a major reason for buying, and 29% pointed to low interest rates, while 17% mentioned favourable financing and pricing; on the other hand, 81% of buyers believed that prices would rise within 5 years and 60% saw prices rising within a year.

If California’s new Facebook generation of real estate buyers is correct, the market in California could be poised for a boom – partly fuelled by their purchases. But what does the method of purchase have to say for the rest of us?

California is one of the most tech-savvy places on earth. It’s home to Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and more. Are a disproportionate number of buyers looking to Twitter and Facebook because they’re in the most silicon-dense region of the planet, or is this a worldwide trend?

Investors in China have been moving into social media, using it to connect with agents across the globe and buy houses in Houston or their own Colorado acres sight unseen, relying on social media at every step of the purchase. But they’re in a specially constrained situation too: most of us can spend our money where we like, unlike Chinese investors who face strict governmental regulation, but we don’t as much of it to spend as the overseas investors who put $1.1 billion worth of transactions through social in the last six months of 2013.

The likelihood is that we’ll see social integrated into web and local searching, but with its unique mix of professionals and friends, and its emphasis on responsiveness and connectivity, social media is likely to become much more important to property sales and purchases over the next few years.

372
Sydney Property

Australia has some of the highest house prices in the world, and some of the highest relative to income. They’re rising, too: while even booming Germany’s house prices are still undervalued, Australian house prices are about 30% above historical norms and 20% up in terms of price-to-income ratio over their long-term norms.

Comparisons with other places put that in perspective. House prices in Sydney are about 50% higher than in notoriously expensive New York, where the ‘micro-home’ trend began out of necessity, a consequence of property prices rising on the back of the largest pile of accumulated wealth anywhere in the world. The median price in Mildura, a small country town sitting on the border between New South Wales and Victoria, is about the same as Chicago – America’s third largest city. For comparison, that’s as if prices in Whitstable were higher than those in London. And wages are rising in Australia, but it’s not incomes powering this boom: wages in Australia rose by about 2.6% from 2013-2014, while house prices jumped over 10% in the same period, with Sydney seeing a rise of 15.4% to the end of the financial year and Melbourne seeing 9.4%.

If incomes aren’t rising to keep pace with house price rises, the extra money to inflate the housing market must be coming from somewhere, right?
Partly it’s coming from domestic demand rising and a lag in supply. Wages aren’t rising as fast as property prices are but the Australian economy is healthy enough that many natives want to buy  a house. But it’s the high, and rising, proportion of overseas investors that are geting all the attention.

In the first nine months of the current financial year, overseas purchasers put AU$24.9 billion into the Australian property market – including AU$5.5 billion into established homes, and represented 13% of the total value of property sold. Sales to foreigners have almost doubled from the previous financial year. And while about 78% of sales to foreigners were of new property, that AU$5.5bn of established home purchases rankles in a country where foreign money is typically directed to new builds, where it can stimulate the real economy by providing jobs instead of merely inflating the housing market.

The majority of overseas buyers are Asians; a Credit Suisse report indicated that about 18% of new homes in Sydney and 14% in Melbourne are being bought by Chinese buyers. The report also found Chinnese more and more in the role of ‘marginal purchasers’ – ie, those responsible for the price rises by being willing to pay the most.

As a result of all this foreign purchasing, the Australian parliament is conducting an inquiry into foreign buying of domestic real estate, and there are calls to limit overseas buying. Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer told a radio interviewer that occupancy will be a key issue for the inquiry: ‘I think what there’s concern about is whether or not apartments are being occupied,’ Ms. O’Dwyer said. ‘So whether or not it’s fulfilling the original mandate to provide additional; dwellings that can be purchased, in the end, by other Australian investors and home owners.’

Australia already has laws dealing with purchases by individuals overseas. Offshore buyers must purchase only new properties and penalties exist to enforce this policy. Meanwhile, if you have temporary residence and you’re living in Australia, you can buy property in Australia – but you’ll need approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and must sell when you leave the country.

For some, of course, no laws against overseas purchase could ever be tight enough, but Opposition leader Bill Shorten was probably speaking for most of Australia when he welcomed the inquiry, saying, ‘I’m never concerned by people buying houses in Australia to live in them. We need to make sure that housing prices aren’t the phenomena of purely tax policy or other economic priorities.’

What this attitudes probably means for buyers of holiday homes is unclear, but expatriates are unlikely to be strongly affected by more stringent enforcement or new laws aimed at preventing absentee landlords keeping homes empty for tax purposes.

375
California

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) has released data showing that the majority of sales in California are by voluntary, rather than distressed, vendors. The organisation said higher home values had continued to fuel more equity sales, which have stayed above 80% of closings for the past 11 months. However, pending home sales fell in May as investors pulled out of a market characterised by rising prices.

While the market in California has been getting healthier for a long time, the rise in May to 89% of closings saw equity sales up 12% on May 2013 after 22 straight months of increase.

At the same time, though, home sales as a whole actually fell slightly, according to the CAR. It’s probable that the reduction in results from investors reducing exposure to a market with rising prices. The median house price was up in May 2014 both month-on-month and year-on-year for the third consecutive month, and is higher now than it was in 2007. The picture is complicated by the fact that while sales as a whole fell, sales of already-existing homes rose, by 4.9% month-on-month. That’s a jump to 4.89 million sales, beating out experts’ predictions of a rise to 4.75 million and hitting the highest number since August 2011.

The figures seem to be revealing a market rich in vendors but relatively poor in developers, where housing building has slowed and a supply squeeze has begun to nip sales growth. As a result, there are buyers, but few investors. Steve Brown, of the National Association of Realtors, said, ‘the temporary pause in rising interest rates and more homes for sale is good news, especially for first-time buyers.’

This rising price trend has put pressure on sales. The statewide price has risen year-on-year for the last 27 months and there have been 23 straight months of double-digit annual gains; ‘prices are still nearly 12% higher than a year ago, which is presenting affordability challenges to homebuyers,’ explains Lesley Appleton-Young, CAR Vice President and Chief Economist.

The other squeeze on California’s housing sales is undersupply. Great news for vendors and a sweet sound to the ears of owners who have struggled with negative equity prior to being pushed back above water by a contracting market, it’s not great news for the market as a whole. As Ms. Appleton-Young says, ‘though housing inventory is up from last year, it’s still half of what is considered normal, with some of it being overprices. A tempering in home prices and the recent drop in mortgage rates, however, should help spark the market in the upcoming months.’

The LA times reported that economists predicted that the slowdown in price growth, coupled with cooling sales in some areas, ‘doesn’t foreshadow a decline in values, but signals more sustainable growth.’

418
Australian Housing

April saw the third consecutive month of falling residential building approvals in Australia, according to the latest round of research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Their data shows that totals, seasonally adjusted, fell by 5.6%. Detached house sales were essentially flat in the month, with a barely-noticeable 0.1% fall. Approvals for other types opt dwelling fell by 13.5% month-on-month and were down 17% from a year earlier.

However, it’s important to note that other indicators were substantially higher than this time last year – detached house sales are still 16.1% higher than a year ago, for instance, and sales as a whole may be lower, but they’re falling from their January maximum when they were higher than they have been for  a decade.

Looked at by region, seasonally adjusted building approvals actually increased in Victoria by 14.8%, in South Australia by 12.2%, and in Western Australia by 4.4%. By contrast New South Wales saw a fall of 22.8%, Queensland prices fell 20.2% and Tasmania saw a 10.4% decline.

Australia’s Housing Industry Association (HIA) insists there’s no reason to worry, though.

‘The monthly volume of building approvals in April 2014, continued to recede from the decade high achieved back in January, although with close to 15, 000 dwellings approved in the month it is still a very positive result,’ said HIA economist Gordon Murray.

‘The pace of building approvals late in 2013 and early 2014 moved well ahead of the pace of home building commencements. So while we have seen building approval activity moderate over recent months, the pipeline of residential building work already approved should sustain a historically high level of activity throughout the middle part of 2014,’ Mr. Murray went on to say.

The evidence is there to back up Mr. Murray’s claims – that the Australian housing market may be correcting, but that’s not a euphemism for ‘crumbling.’ Lending for new home building continues high, and actually rose in April to reach the highest level since 2010, bearing out Mr. Murray’s expectations that the backlog of approved homes still in the pipeline should assure adequate supply.

It’s also beginning to look as if many habitual renters in Australia might be in a position to buy. Vacancy rates in rented accommodation are lower than usual when seasonally adjusted, according to data from SQM research, meaning that while more homes should come on the market in 2014, 2015 and 2016 this won’t necessarily help landlords. Instead many people will make the switch to purchasing property.

There’s one factor adding buoyancy to the Australian market that we haven’t touched on yet: the Australian population is rising. Data provider Timetric said in a statement, ‘a growing population and improving economic and social conditions have led to a rising demand for new homes. The market is set to grow at an annual rate of around 7% in nominal terms up to 2018.’

What will happen to the Australian property market as residents head to the cities – from Australia and overseas – is hard to predict. But a slow-down in the homebuilding rate isn’t the first crack in Australia’s new walls. It;’s the sign of a healthy market adjusting.

520
Auction by Candle

In Paris, the new way to pick up a property is at a vente a la bougie, or sale by candle. While the tradition dates back to Medieval auction rooms, when business was conducted at a more leisurely pace and the darkness was both more ubiquitous and more convivial, it’s been revived in the age of internet banking, when a languid approach to bidding might see you outbid by a telephone from another continent.

The spectacle of a vente is such that they’re widely attended by people who don’t have any intention of buying anything. The charm of the event is what they come for. But others come with a clear idea of walking away with deeds, and at the Chambre des Notaires near the Place du Chatelet in Paris, properties worth hundreds of thousands of Euros change hands – by candlelight, in broad daylight.

At its heart the vente is run like a normal auction. But there’s no gavel  – the candles are used as a  timing system instead.

Enter a vente as a buyer and you can start bidding when a candle is lit for the property. When no more bids are entered, a second candle is lit. Only when this is extinguished, and the auctioneer has announced the fact – le dernier fou etiente! – is the sale complete.

A vente offers a unique bidding environment. It’s much less hurried than the typical British auction, yet far faster than the standard French housing sale, a long-winded process which is binding without being final for several months. When you buy a house in France you pay a deposit as soon as your offer is accepted. Officials including a notary public are involved and the business of buying can take six months or even more. During that time you’re committed to the sale and financially involved, but the house isn’t yours: you can’t move in or walk away. Contrast that with a vente and you can see that is isn’t just pageantry that makes them popular.

After you win the bidding at a vente, you have to pay the vendor within 45 days. As soon as your money is in their bank you’re entitled to take possession of the property. There’s no room for wriggling or gazumping: the market, represented by the people in the room at the time, decides the price in the open and the results are published on the website of the Chambre des Notaires.

Despite their advantages, there’s one party involved who doesn’t usually get a very good deal at ventes –the vendor. Search the ventes site encheres-publiqiues.com and you can find the dates of forthcoming auctions and of the properties available (if your French is up to it). You can also find starting prices that make you realize another good reason ventres are well attended, like an Aquitaine chateau starting at £733, 000.

That’s great if you’re looking to snap up a bargain, but not so great if you’re the vendor, so many ventre sales are by the government dispensing of the properties of the intestate, or bank seizures.

So even if the idea of a ventre doesn’t tempt you, is this a good time to  buy a house in France? Knight Frank argue yes, pointing out that their French sales team has received 144% more enquiries than this time last year, and that foreign money is beginning to inflate the French commercial market. Many Chinese investors, for instance, are in France looking for vinyards. Meanwhile residential sales are healthy and three distinct regions -  the French Riviera, Provence and Paris, which Caterine Ryall, of Paris-based agents Sextant France, calls ‘one of the most structured and transparent in the world’ – are performing particularly well. The trend away from ‘fixer’ properties toward turnkey houses, often new builds, is as pronounced here as in Italy, meaning if you’re happy to do some renovation you could step into a bargain – maybe even by candlelight!

559
Toronto

Toronto has something to offer everyone. It is home to several diverse, luxurious, and historical neighborhoods that leave home buyers with a plethora of options. Home buyers looking for that ideal piece of Toronto need look no further than 5 luxurious communities; Bridle Path, Lawrence Manor, Chaplin Estates, Davisville and Willowdale East.  All 5 offer enticing combinations of value, prestige and access to the city.  There is something here for even the most discerning homebuyer.

Bridle Path: Average Home Price $2,234,881 CAD (April 2014)

Bridle Path is also known as “Millionaires Row” because many of the homes sell well in excess of a million dollars.  It is host to some of the wealthiest home owners in Canada as a result. Bridle Path contains an exclusive collection of homes nestled within the lush Don River Valley and surrounding parklands. This provides an ideal backdrop for these stately homes, many of which are situated on two-acre lots. There are few roads running through the community which gives the region a quiet and secluded feel while still being located close to shopping, schools and entertainment along Bayview Avenue.

Lawrence Manor: Average Home Price $1,388,570 CAD (May 2014)

Lawrence Manor was mostly farmland in the early 1900’s. The land was purchased by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation for residential development. At the time the Lawrence Plaza was the largest shopping center in Toronto, drawing attention to the newly developed area. The neighborhood is family oriented and is easily accessible by public transit and major highways.  It has a large Jewish community and it is home to Jewish schools and cultural centres, synagogues, restaurants and retail shops.

Chaplin Estates: Average Home Price $1,058,073 CAD (March 2014)

Right from the beginning Chaplin Estate was known and marketed as a high class residential district. There was a long list of building restrictions and by-laws such as those that excluded semi-detached homes. The area was first called Eglinton and was settled by the Chaplin family in 1860. The area hosts desirable examples of Tudor, Georgian and English Cottage Style architecture.  The majority of homes were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The neighborhood hosts few if any rental opportunities although occasionally a homeowner does choose to rent their home. Chaplin Estate has a wealth of shopping and entertainment options close by.  The luxury shopping center known as The Eglinton Way is located a short walk from Chaplin Estates. The Young Street shopping district is also close by.  Residentscan also enjoy the convenient amenities such as the North Toronto Community Centre. The main road is Eglinton Avenue which means that there are a number of transportation options available to residents such as the 2 subway stations and it is a 15 minute drive to the city center. Due to all these factors this neighborhood has become desirable with young families.

Davisville:  Average Home Price $704,659 CAD (March 2014)

Davisville brings a small town feel to the heart of the city.  This is a “planned neighborhood” in Toronto’s evolving urban sprawl and will remain untouched by the rapidly rising condo developments.  The homes in the area were mostly built in the 1920’s and retain the Edwardian and English Cottage style charm of that period.  Homes are situated on narrow lots that allow each home to have a small yard. The area is predominately made up of two demographic niches, young families and aging couples.  Seniors make up approximately 20% of the population, with some staying in the same home for over 30 years.  Young families benefit from the close proximity of several public and private schools.

Willowdale East: Average Home Price $687,902 CAD (February 2014)

According to an infographic by Real Estate Brokers, Slavens & Associates the average price of a detached home in this area is $1,330,637 and the average condo price is $552,356. Willowdale East has seen the older bungalows being slowly replaced by newer homes as the area experiences a rebirth. The majority of the residents are first generation Canadians. Newcomers to the area have been attracted to the well regarded schools which have specialized arts programs. Restaurants and retail shops reflect the increasing levels of diversity in the area.

Bridle Path, Lawrence Manor, Chaplin Estates, Davisville and Willowdale East all offer unique levels of luxury and convenience.  Toronto is a proven world class city with many options for anyone to choose from. Each neighborhood has features and amenities that any buyer could fall in love with.  Regardless of needs, buyers should be able to find an ideal home in one of these luxurious neighborhoods.