Housing slowdown? New condo sales are booming in Toronto

Toronto’s resale housing market has cooled off considerably since Ontario’s move to rein in frenzied activity. Meanwhile, demand is only increasing for new condo units.

Sales of new condos in the census metropolitan area totalled 12,138 in the second quarter, up 62 per cent from a year earlier, according to data provided by BMO Nesbitt Burns. Inventory levels have more than halved over the same span.

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Toronto-Dominion Bank raising rates, variable rate mortgage customers to face increased costs

One of the country’s largest banks has moved a key prime rate up 15 basis points for variable-rate mortgage customers, a change that will affect some Canadians with floating rate products.

Toronto-Dominion Bank began quietly telling the lending industry on Monday that its prime lending rate was going to jump from 2.7 per cent to 2.85 per cent on November 1 for one segment of its business — a move that coincides with new federal mortgages rules that many have said will cost the banks money and ultimately be passed on to consumers.

“This will impact customers who hold a variable interest rate mortgage,” said a TD spokesperson in an email. “There is no impact for our customers who hold fixed-rate mortgages. At TD, we have two prime rates: TD Mortgage Prime is the base rate for variable interest rate mortgages and TD Prime is the base rate for other products with a variable interest rate, like FlexLine and lines of credit.”

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More mortgage changes: you’re not paying more…but you’re going to be able to buy less house

Canada’s first-time home buyers may have to shelve their dream house fantasies due to lending changes announced last week by the federal government, mortgage brokers say.

Ottawa moved last week to tighten mortgage lending rules that will limit the amount many Canadians can borrow to help ensure that when interest rates rise, they’ll still be able to make their payments.

Mortgage broker Frank Napolitano says that means the size of mortgage many buyers will be able to qualify for will be less once the rules take effect on Oct. 17.

“First-time homebuyers will probably have to probably scale down the type of home that they may have planned to buy,” said Napolitano, managing partner at Mortgage Brokers Ottawa.

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Four major changes to Canada’s housing rules

The Liberal government has announced sweeping changes aimed at ensuring Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford in an era of historically low interest rates.

The changes are also meant to address concerns related to foreign buyers who buy and flip Canadian homes.

The current rules

Buyers with a down payment of at least 5 per cent of the purchase price but less than 20 per cent must be backed by mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in the event that the home buyer defaults. These loans are known as “high loan-to-value” or “high ratio” mortgages.

In situations in which the buyer has 20 per cent or more for a down payment, the lender or borrower could obtain “low-ratio” insurance that covers 100 per cent of the loan in the event of a default.

Mortgage insurance in Canada is backed by the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Insurance is sold by the CMHC and two private insurers, Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company. The federal government backs the insurance offered by the two private-sector firms, subject to a 10-per-cent deductible.

Below is a breakdown of the four major changes Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced this month.

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Things to do in Toronto: Wine & Spirit Festival

It’s a beautiful early summer day. You’re enjoying the breeze off of the water, the sun warms your face as you close your eyes, head tilted toward the sky, and breathe deeply. With your toes in the sand you take a sip of your fresh strawberry daiquiri. Your friends laugh and tell you that if you relax any more you’ll probably fall asleep. You agree. You’re not at the cottage, or on holiday in the tropics, you’re at Sugar Beach on Toronto’s waterfront at the city’s first outdoor Wine & Spirit Festival.

Rolling into its eighth year, this hidden gem of a downtown festival ticks all the boxes when it comes to a great time. Beautiful surroundings…check. Family-friendly environment (Sugar Beach is a City park)…check. Fun, interactive seminars…check. Delicious local food options…check. And an impressive selection of some of the finest local and international wine, spirits, craft beer and cider. Check!

While the Wine & Spirit Festival boasts a beautiful locale and enough fun activities to keep you occupied all day, it’s about more than that. It’s about discovering your next favourite Ontario wine, or trying innovative products that are so new they aren’t even in stores yet; or being able to judge one of the entertaining and informative cocktail or culinary competitions in the Wine & Spirit School. And if you just want to sit on the beach and check out some great local musicians on the main stage, that’s okay too. It’s all about relaxing and seeing where the day takes you.

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