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Archive for June, 2010

Downsizing in Toronto … or not?

Downsizing with a view

Toronto Condos on Harbourfront

We are blessed to work with many first time buyers even though the majority of our service is with those clients contemplating downsizing from large luxury homes. When is the right time to sell and should we purchase a condo or a freehold townhouse? What is a fair maintenance fee? Can I find what I want near transit, in a safe village like neighbourhood, with garage parking and up to date kitchen /bathrooms? Yes you can and there are good price points in new build condos as well as established freehold town homes. Should I sell now and rent or buy right away? Clearly if one sells and buys in the same market you are insulated from speculation losses. If you choose to sell and rent … in one or two years you may well pay more for the same property you could buy now with today’s dollars. The key is to work with an experienced REALTOR® to see for yourself what the choices actually are. Even if you are just interested in knowing what your home is worth, ask your REALTOR® to show your similar homes to yours so you can actually see first hand what competitive home listings are selling for and why.  Some REALTORS® may specialize in listing only and have juniors or associates deal with the purchasing side. I personally recommend that if a REALTOR® doesn’t have time to deal with you when you want to look to buy then why would you deal with him or her at all. We are full service REALTORS® who represent most of our clients for generations. Being referred to relatives and friends is most encouraging aspect of our business. We recommend you interview three REALTOR® prior to buying or selling. A cohesive fit is essential as your trust must be earned.


GEA Greening Toronto & Ontario = 90,000 jobs

Green Advocate and Power of Example

Jim Harris Green Advocate & Power of Example

The Green Energy Act (GEA) could employ over 90,000 Ontarians in green jobs

Government of Ontario is prepared to initiate the GEA, which focuses on the possibilities for employment if a large investment is made in green practices.  Along with increasing employment opportunities, the program could have a huge positive impact on the environment.

The main goals of the GEA are to ensure that Ontario is the country’s leading green economy, create over 50,000 green collar jobs, and generate billions of dollars worth of economic activity as quickly as possible – ideally in three years.  The plan involves phasing out the province’s coal plants by 2014 and shifting the province’s economy so that it is based on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

Building the Green Economy: Employment Effects of Green Energy Investments for Ontario is a report done by the Political Economy Research Institute, which gives recommendations and ideas regarding the GEA.  The report identifies two levels of investment that would help the GEA.  The first program is the baseline Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP), which would invest $18.6 billion over the next ten years in: conservation and demand management, hydroelectric power, on-shore wind energy, bioenergy, waste energy recycling and solar power.

However, the report also looks at an enhanced green investment program, which is referred to as the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA) plan.  The GEAA plan would involve spending $47.1 billion over ten years and would do everything the baseline IPSP would do, plus it would invest in off-shore wind energy and a smart grid electrical transmission system for Ontario.

Although the baseline IPSP would generate 35,000 jobs, the expanded GEAA program would create 90,000 jobs for Ontarians.  The occupations created would range from construction workers to financial auditors and engineers to research scientists.  For the most part, wages would exceed $20 per hour.

Three types of employment effects would come out of these programs: direct, indirect and induced effects.  The direct effects would be the jobs created within Ontario by the environmentally related activities, such as conservation, hydroelectricity and solar power.  The indirect effects involve jobs associated with these green industries that provide goods and services for the green investment activities, like hardware and metals.  Induced effects would be the employment that is created when the people who are paid via green investment projects spend the money they earn on other products and services within the province.

The baseline IPSP would lead to 15,500 direct jobs, 11,600 indirect, and 8,100 induced, while the expanded GEAA program would create 38,400 direct, 31,100 indirect and 20,900 induced jobs.

The IPSP would create nearly 12,000 MW of new electricity or conservation capacity; the expanded GEAA program would produce over 22,000, though.  In March 2009, the Ontario Power Authority operated with about 27,000 MW of electricity-generating capacity.  This means that the $47.1 billion investment program could either replace or expand capacity by 82 percent in the province (and the IPSP by 44 percent), leading to higher efficiency and a huge increase in renewable energy levels.
By: Jordana Levine … sourced through Jim Harris Green Advocate


Favourite Signs … Actually

Live to Laugh

Live to Laugh

In the restroom: ‘Toilet out Of order. Please use floor below.”

Notice in a farmers field: “The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free but the bull charges.”

In the laundromat: “Automatic washing machines: Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.”

On the grounds of a private school: “No trespassing without permission.”

In a restaurant window. “Open seven days a week, and weekends too.”

On an automatic restroom hand dryer: “Do not activate with wet hands.”

In a maternity ward: “No children allowed.”


Canadian household net worth climbs to $6.0 trillion in the first quarter … says RBC

Royal LePage JOHNSTON & DANIEL Div. BrokerageThe Canadian housing market continued to show strength in the first quarter of 2010 Real Estate Holdings make up 85.5% of all Canadian non-financial assets. (Up 24.9 Billion vs previous quarter)

Canadian household net worth increased by 1.3% ($74 billion) in the first quarter of 2010 to $6.0 trillion, which marks the fourth consecutive quarterly improvement in household net worth and reflects a 96% recovery off of the net worth lost during the recent economic downturn.

Increases in both financial and non-financial assets drove the improvement in household balance sheets. Canadian stock markets continued the positive trend that started in the second quarter of 2009 with the S&P/TSX composite index up a modest 2.5% in the first quarter of 2010, pushing the value of household financial assets (which include equities, mutual funds and pension assets) up by 1.8% ($71.3 billion).

Household liabilities grew 1.5% ($21.7 billion) in first quarter to $1.4 trillion, led by a $16.4 billion increase in mortgage debt reflecting the continued strength in the real estate market. Consumer credit growth eased to $3.9 billion (from $8.3 billion in the previous quarter) reflecting a slowdown in demand for durable goods. The growth in liabilities matched the growth in net worth, keeping the household debt-to-net worth ratio at 24.4% for the third consecutive quarter, slightly below the all-time high of 24.9% seen in the first quarter of 2009. The household debt-to-personal disposable income ratio edged up to a new record of 148.9% from 147.0% in the final quarter of 2009. (Credit market debt, which includes only consumer credit and mortgages, edged up to 22.2% of household net worth from 22.1% in the previous quarter and up to 135.7% of personal disposable income from 133.7%.)

The increase of household net worth continues to help repair the cumulative $552 billion decline that resulted from the economic downturn, and balances now stand at 96% of their pre-recession levels. Low interest rates have encouraged the expansion of household borrowings that has led to strengthening in demand and asset prices, particularly in housing. The strength of the recovery during the first quarter of 2010, along with firmer than expected core inflation, led the Bank of Canada to begin its gradual removal of its stimulative monetary policy and raise the overnight rate 25 basis points to 0.50% earlier this month. Because economic activity is expected to continue to improve, the Bank will likely continue to withdraw monetary stimulus, although we expect the pace of tightening to remain moderate with the policy rate expected to finish 2010 at a still stimulative 1.50%.

David Onyett-Jeffries, Economist, RBC Economics


Gardens Gardens Gardens … The Best Of




Toronto Homes & Gardens
Toronto Homes & Gardens

The Best Gardens

… have one thing in common. Commitment!
Dig in and create a year round oasis of perennials, fountains, herbs, lights, and especially beauty! Every garden reflects your personality, taste and creativity. Marry it with your homes architecture and it’s like framing a beautiful work of art.
There are numerous garden centres on every corner of the city. One of the favourites in the centre core is Summerhill Nursery & Floral  . For one of the largest selection visit Sheridan Nurseries with 9 locations around Toronto
Happy Gardening
… Coming soon; eating what you plant, seasonal advice from the experts.




LOL … Definitions that really make sense …

Live to Laugh

Live to Laugh

Cannibal: Someone who is fed up with people.
Egotist: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
Flabbergasted: Appalled over how much weight you have gained.
Abdicate: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Coffee: A person whi is coughed upon.

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