Mississauga Condo Market Outlook 1st Quarter 2015

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Summary of 1st quarter condo sales in the Mississauga City Centre Area:

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The average price for a condo in the first quarter of 2015 was $298,451, while the median price was $265,000.  Listings lasted an average of 37 days on the market before they were sold.

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Peel region had accounted for 14% of all condo sales in the GTA.

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2 Bedroom plus den condo’s seemed to be the most popular condos to buy and sell, and the average selling price was considerably higher than the median price.

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The One Bedroom plus den and 2 Bedroom plus den condos had the most transactions in the first quarter of 2015.  The amount of transactions in the $200,000 -$299,000 outweighed every other price range.  2 bedroom plus den condos were preferred by buyers while 1 bedroom plus den condos followed shortly behind.

The Rental Market in Mississauga showed great results.  The Vacancy rate was down to 1.2% and 25% of units in the city centre area were listed for rent.   The number of units listed for rent was down in comparison to 2014 while the number of units actually rented was higher then last year.   

In Summary, market statistics showed strength in One bedroom plus den and 2 bedroom plus den units in the Mississauga City Centre area.  The most popular prince range was in the $200,000’s.  Vacancy rates were low and the rental market showed strong gains.

Strategic Plan: The Future of Mississauga Celebration Square

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On June 3rd,  General Committee, City Council learned about a strategic plan for Mississauga Celebration Square (MCS) that focuses on five goals which are as follows:

• Mississauga Celebration Square will be a leading civic square;
• Mississauga Celebration Square will grow and attract events with tourism appeal;
• Mississauga Celebration Square will be a showcase for digital technology;
• Mississauga Celebration Square will be a welcome community space; and
• Mississauga Celebration Square will be a stage for creative industry development

“These goals provide us with a clear vision for the Square over the next 10 years,” said Paul Damaso, acting director, Culture Division, City of Mississauga. “They will help guide us on matters related to operations, capital investment and future programming priorities.”

To achieve these strategic goals, the City has committed to a number of activities which include

• Produce the premier Canada Day celebration in the Greater Toronto Area. Timeframe: Two to three years.

• Produce a winter lighting program that will position Mississauga’s downtown as a winter destination. Timeframe: Two to three years.

• Facilitate ways for audiences within Mississauga and beyond to experience programming remotely through television broadcasting and internet streaming. Timeframe: Two to three years.

• Undertake a design strategy to continuously improve site navigation and accessibility for all. Timeframe: Two to three years.

• Incorporate functional public art to provide seating, shade, fountains, play equipment, etc. Timeframe: Two to three years.

According to Damaso, the project team connected with more than 1,100 MCS visitors through two online surveys and talked to more than 50 municipal staff. They met with the Mayor and each member of Council. They also engaged more than 20 arts and culture organizations, clients, local partners and subject matter experts through focus groups and individual meetings.

“Our vision is to make Mississauga Celebration Square the premier venue for outdoor events, creative expression and memorable experiences,” said Melissa Agius, manager, Celebration Square, Culture Division, City of Mississauga. “More food options, an expanded reading room and children’s programming are examples of what we will see more of on the Square in the future.”

Council also learned about a public art piece entitled The Book by artist Ilan Sandler that was donated to the City in December 2014. Council will provide direction on location for the piece in the fall.

The corporate report will go to council on June 10 for approval.

Background

Following a $40 million redevelopment in 2011, Mississauga Celebration Square (MCS) is an outdoor public square and state-of-the-art multi-media event venue complete with a permanent main stage, amphitheater and water fountain that transforms into Mississauga’s largest outdoor skating rink each winter.

Mississauga Celebration Square hosts a dynamic mix of free events and festivals throughout the year. The summer season offers an eclectic variety of events, including weekly movie nights and fitness classes, concerts, Canada Day and New Year’s Eve celebrations, food truck rallies and much more. In addition to a programmed venue, the square serves as a “living room” for local residents by providing space for passive recreation and gathering. In 2014, MCS attracted over 580,000 visitors to 55 events held over 143 days.

The Pan Am Flame is Coming to Mississauga

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Join in the spirit of the Games as the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay makes its way through Mississauga on Sunday,  June 14,  2015.

Submit “Being part of the Torch Relay will be a memorable moment that families and residents will always cherish,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “This is a momentous occasion for the City to come together, celebrate our passion for athleticism and culture, and to be part of Mississauga history. To look back and say we were there when the Pan Am flame came to our community will be a tremendous experience for everyone involved.”

Torchbearers will each complete a 200-metre segment in the 7.6 km relay from Mississauga Celebration Square to Port Credit Memorial Park.  Three Mississauga community members will carry the flame: Shivhoun De Melo, Jack Ranieri and former mayor Hazel McCalllion.  McCallion will complete a special water route along the Credit River.   At 94 years of age, McCallion will be one of the oldest torchbearers along the 41-day torch relay journey.

What:

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay in Mississauga

When and Where:

Sunday,  June 14,  2015

9 a.m. Kick Off at Mississauga Celebration Square:
Free refreshments and snacks brought to you by The Real Canadian Superstore and The Cold Pressery.
Fun for the whole family.
Gymnastics Mississauga demonstrations.
Mississauga Power Basketball and Entertainment to celebrate the Pan Am Spirit of the Games.

11 a.m. The Flame arrives at Mississauga Celebration Square:
Watch history unfold as the TO2015 Pan Am flame arrives.  Jack Ranieri, community torchbearer is the first Mississauga resident to carry the flame!

11:30 a.m. Torch Relay:  Will travel south on Hurontario Street to the Mississauga Waterfront Festival in Port Credit Memorial Park.  Grab your spot along Hurontario and cheer on our torchbearers as the flame travels to Port Credit Memorial Park.

1 p.m. Day Celebration at Port Credit Memorial Park:
In partnership with the Mississauga Waterfront Festival, celebrate the arrival of the Pan Am flame! The community cauldron will be lit and the celebration begins with performances by headliners illScarlett and Carlos Bastidas!

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Mississauga’s Square One Southwest Expansion Under Way!

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Square One Shopping Centre acts as a large hub for downtown Mississauga.  Located right off Highway 403 and Hurontario Street,(also known was Highway 10) the mall lies right at the growing downtown core of the young city. With recent and ongoing condominium developments surrounding Square One, the shopping centre has been catering to the needs of the growing population and demand. In 2013, Square One renovated the mall’s common areas, entrances, restrooms, and elevators.  New retailers that opened last Fall included Ann Taylor, White House Black Market and Topman/Topshop within Hudson’s Bay.

2013 also saw much construction on the mall’s northwest expansion which will add several more stores to the mall later this year.  Now, Ontario’s largest mall is about to get larger still with the addition of an expansion to the southwest which will include a high-end Canadian retailer.

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A flagship Holt Renfrew department store will open at Square One in Spring 2016.  Work is now under way for the 120,000 square foot space designed by Janson Goldstein at a cost of $320M. Taking up just under half of the ground space of the southwest expansion, the addition of the new department store is further enhancing the premium shopping experience that Square One has to offer. “It is important to us to grow Oxford’s existing long term relationship with Holt Renfrew, and we believe the addition of this world-class luxury retailer will elevate Square One’s offerings and further entrench its outstanding reputation. This represents a win for Holt Renfrew, a win for Square One, a win for our customer base and a win for the City” said Blake Hutcheson, President of Oxford Properties.

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A First-Time Buyer Comeback?

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2015 got off to a snowy and sluggish start for residential markets. While running at a faster clip than at the same time 12 months earlier, January’s closing activity clocked in markedly lower compared to the final months of 2014.

Sure, the severe weather experienced by much of the country had a hand in the tepid performance—an annual pace of just 4.8 million sales. But other factors, apart from the season, could be restricting home sales.

First, buyers are not excited by their choices. Inventories are low and falling. The supply of homes fell in January for the second straight month on a year-over-year basis, after having risen for 16 straight months, and are far below what the market needs. Larger inventories not only help to motivate buyers, they also keep prices from rising too quickly.

But the news is not all grim. Demand for new construction is rising, and with it the need for workers. Homebuilders, who have been scrambling to find skilled laborers, may find a larger available pool as hard-hat workers leave the slowing oil drilling industry in favor of construction, which is experiencing wage hikes. As a result, we could see a 30 percent increase in new-home sales this year.

Second, there could be a change in lifestyle as young adult households—millennials—settle in as renters. Does this generation prefer not to be tied down? It’s too early to tell.  The home ownership rate—now at 64 percent —is at its lowest level in more than 20 years.

Practitioners are seeing more activity from buyers as interest rates remain low and financing becomes easier to obtain, at least in some markets.

This phenomenon may have little to do with lifestyle choices and more to do with economic realities. After all, the number of millennials—those in their 20s and early 30s—-living with their parents is at sky-high levels, and it’s doubtful that staying with mom and dad is their idea of freedom. More likely, they’ve felt -hampered trying to find stable, good-paying jobs, let alone obtain mortgage financing in today’s overly strict environment.But there are hopeful signs here as well.  Jobs and wages are steadily improving. The mortgage credit box is opening up a bit.

When you look at these trends along with the improving prospects for home construction amid a strengthening economy and continuing low interest rates, first-time buyers could be poised for a comeback in 2015. Overall, we could see a good year ahead. The formation of more new households is something parents, as well as their young adult children, can smile about.

How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage Rate

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CALGARY — When the Bank of Montreal and TD Bank dropped their special five-year fixed mortgage rates earlier this month, it drove everyone “crazy” to see how much attention they received.

Spring mortgage market kicks off with a new low rate from Bank of Montreal — but you can do better.

Call it March Madness for the mortgage market, as banks begin a full-court press to lure in homebuyers as Canada heads into another vibrant spring for the country’s hottest housing spots.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Montreal took an early lead, beating the competition with the lowest rate on a fixed five-year mortgage — ever.

The founder of RateHub.ca, a website that compares financial products, says homebuyers can do better if they shop around and do their homework.

BMO got the ball rolling by reducing its rate to 2.79% from 2.99% and TD quickly matched that.

And while it’s the lowest rate advertised among the big banks, it isn’t the lowest on the market, Furtado said.

“The banks do have such strong brands in Canada, so they are still a source that people go to look at the rates. So if you were only looking at banks’ websites, 2.79 would seem like a good deal,” she said.

“But if you were price comparing, including mortgage brokers, or you were going in and haggling and negotiating with your bank, you’d realize that the rates available were a lot lower.”

Many bank customers don’t realize they have negotiating power when it comes to mortgages, said Penelope Graham, with RateSupermarket.ca, another comparison site.

In Canada, she said, “going with a lender is almost hereditary. You bank with who your parents banked with. Banks know this. They want to retain your business and they do anything they can as well to make it as convenient as possible for you,” she said.

“Probably the most important thing that you can do before that process is to know what else is offered on the market and to know where you stand as a borrower. The better your credit score and your borrowing history is, the more leverage you are going to have.”

The ability to make a big down payment also works in your favour, Graham added.

— THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Things to Watch When Buying a Pre-Construction Condo – Shawn Gandhi

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Buying a condo unit during the preconstruction phase might seem to be a straightforward proposition. Future unit is bought from the architectural drawings at the developer’s sales site. However, in real life, buying a unit before it’s constructed may work out to be anything but straightforward.

Developers often redesign the layout of units as they go, as a result of changes made necessary during construction. Moreover, they draft the purchase contracts to their advantage. For example, if they are late in completing the complex, the purchaser is forced to agree to delays, or to occupy the unit while the complex is still awaiting occupancy permits of units that may still be under construction.

Unwary buyers could also become victims of developers who sell them units in the early stages where they are still in possession of more than 51% of the condo project. Over time, developers may become unable to sell the rest of the units.

A condominium unable to attract new buyers may experience a rapid decline in the value of its units. Upon realizing that there was no longer demand for their units, developers may use their powers as majority stakeholders in a complex, to force a buyback of the already sold units, often at heavily reduced prices.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last year about hapless unit owners muscled by developers to buy back their condo units for the purposes of converting them to rentals. One of them was a lady who bought her unit in Boynton Beach, Fla., for $309,900 in 2006. Using a statutory loophole, the developer tried to force the owners to sell their units back at discounted prices. By 2013, it acquired back some 90% of the units and offered the aforementioned woman less than half of the original price for the unit. She refused. To make matters worse, that unit’s appraised value went down to $74,000 by 2014. The unit owner sued the developer by employing a reputable law firm, PeytonBolin PL of Fort Lauderdale. The principal attorney of the law firm, Mauri Peyton, advised me recently that litigation is still ongoing.

Whether this and similar cases will turn out to be successful remains to be seen. Nevertheless, picture yourself in that position: Would you like to be stuck in it?

Buyers are well advised to consult a knowledgeable attorney and insert their own contingencies into purchase contracts. By specifying a fixed date of completion, buyers can position themselves to get their deposits back should the developer miscalculate the timing of completion. Timing of completion should be determined by the buyer. I strongly suggest yet another contingency where the proceeds from the unit’s sale, along with deeds, be kept in escrow by the developer’s attorneys, until such time that developer sells at least 51% of the units to the other individual unit buyers.

Until such time, the unit buyer should be paying occupancy fees to developers, equivalent to the monthly maintenance fees plus the anticipating monthly mortgage payment. Such arrangement would provide that after expiration of specific time, buyers would be entitled to a refund on their deposits and/or sale proceeds, in cases when complexes weren’t finished on time, or respectfully, where 51% of the complex isn’t sold to the other unit holders. Shy away from any purchase in which the developer isn’t willing to accept your conditions as, otherwise, you may be putting yourself at the developer’s mercy.

Condominium fees are guaranteed only for the first year of operation from the time unit owners take control of the complex. Developers often calculate their initial budget on the low end to make condo units more appealing to buyers.

Almost as a rule, in the second and third years after an association assumes the complex from the developer, unit owners get hit with considerably higher monthly maintenance fees to cover the developer’s cost overruns. Buyers should assume and expect that there will be an increase in maintenance fees from the first year onward, following the completion of a new condominium.

1.)  Watch out for contracts that force you to buy the condo unit even if completion of the whole complex’s construction is delayed.
2.)  When buying during preconstruction, count on higher maintenance fees than originally calculated by the developer.
3.)  Check the reputation and track record of the developer and builder before you buy.

The Toronto Raptors Tickets Contest Winner!

THE TORONTO RAPTORS TICKETS WINNER!

Hey Guys, Quick update on the Raptors Contest.

Thank You to everyone who entered. I really appreciate your love and support!

Congratulations to the winner (Angela).

The tickets and a Toronto Raptors shirt were delivered to her the morning of the actual game.

She went to the game and enjoyed a RAPTOR WIN over the Houston Rockets!

Stay tuned to www.shawngandhi.com for tons of exciting giveaways and contests.

The Ten Day Cooling Period – Shawn Gandhi

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In Ontario, The Condominium Acontract.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxct provides purchasers with a protection known as the “Ten Day Cooling Period”.  This act is only applicable for new condo sales straight from the builder and does not apply to re-sale transactions.

In essence the Ontario Condominium Act puts some obligation on the builders to act in good-faith.  On purchasing a unit, the buyer is required to provide a valid photo I.d. and cheque for the deposit.  Once all agreements are signed and information is exchanged the purchaser is given an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and Condominium Documents.

It is in the purchasers best interest to review these documents closely and take them to their lawyer and have everything explained to them carefully.  These documents include important information about the condo such as closing costs, maintenance fee’s, disclosure statements, features and finishes, completion dates, additional charger etc. etc.  In Ontario it is recommended for a purchaser to make sure his LEVIES are capped.  It is agreed and understood the buyer is waiving the condition by not rescinding their agreement before the end of the ten day cooling period.  If the buyer wants to cancel the agreement they can do so by informing the builder and filling out the required paperwork in the specified time period.  Subsequently the purchasers deposit will be returned in full without deduction.  Since the ten day cooling period is included for the benefit on the purchaser they do not need a reason to cancel the agreement.

The ten day cooling period is a neat tool used by the province to make sure purchasers are making well-informed decisions.  Make sure to look through all documents and have your lawyer advise you accordingly.

Square One is getting a makeover, and a new direction

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Erin Kleinberg is reporting from Toronto Fashion Week for Square One using Instagram and Twitter. If that piques your interest, you may belong to Square One’s new target market.

The staid shopping mall in Mississauga is repositioning itself to attract fashionistas, the type of people who know that Kleinberg co-founded The Coveteur and is CEO and designer of her own, eponymous fashion line.

When Square One opened 43 years ago, it was surrounded by open fields, said Greg Taylor, who took over as general manager last year.  That green space has since filled with civic buildings including Mississauga’s City Hall, the Living Arts Centre and Celebration Square. Perhaps more important, new condo towers along Hurontario St. and west of Square One have brought more shoppers closer. More condo towers in the area are planned.

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Square One General Manager Greg Taylor and Marketing Director Toni Holley pose for a photo inside a renovated section of the mall.
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“Mississauga is maturing. There is a densification of the downtown. We happen to be a big part of that development,” said Taylor.

Right now, shoppers see Square One as a handy one-stop shopping destination, said Taylor, but it’s not necessarily top-of-mind for luxury shoppers or those looking to communicate social prestige or material success — the so-called aspirational shopper.

When its new, southern expansion is completed in the spring of 2016, Square One will house just over 1.8 million square feet of enclosed retail space, including the first Simons in Ontario (at 113,000 square feet) and a 120,000-square-foot flagship Holt Renfrew, which will launch the mall into the luxury market. The expansion will cost $237 million.

Owners Oxford Properties spent $84 million on a renovation in 2013 that added height and light to the main concourse, new flooring and an expanded food court. A $62 million expansion opened in September, adding new stores including Brandy Melville and the largest Forever 21 in Ontario.
The walkways are lit by natural light streaming in from clerestory windows. The new south wing will have the same airy feel.

The renovation includes a new emphasis on attracting professional, educated female shoppers, ages 25 to 45, who live in the GTA and love brands. Women ages 18 to 24 are a secondary target market.

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When its new, southern expansion is completed in the spring of 2016, Square One will house just over 1.8 million square feet of enclosed retail space, including the first Simons in Ontario. 

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To woo fashionistas, Toni Holley, marketing director for Square One, handed the shopping centre’s Instagram and Twitter accounts to industry insiders to post about fashion weeks in cities as they took place in February and March in New York, London, Milan, Paris and, this week, Toronto.

“I am literally just sharing what I see and what I hope might be interesting,” said Hanneli Mustaparta, reporting from Paris for Square One. Mustaparta is a photographer, director, model and blogger with a large following.

“I have never been to Toronto but I have heard from my friends that there is a really cool fashion scene.”

Square One’s effort to rebrand comes as malls in and around the GTA up their games, investing in renovations, new spaces and new tenants.

“Competition is just staggering between malls,” said Arthur Fleischmann, partner and president of john st. advertising.

Having a single flagship store is no longer enough. Shoppers are looking for the right mix of retail banners in a mall and will not hesitate to drive 20 minutes or more to find it, Fleishmann said.

Conventional malls are also facing increased competition from discount shopping malls, Fleishmann said. It does help, for now, that the Canadian dollar has sunk relative to the U.S. dollar, making a shopping trip to Buffalo less enticing.

The advantage Square One has is that it remains a pleasant place to shop, without the crowding sometimes found at Toronto Eaton Centre or the parking headaches at Yorkdale.

“Half the experience of shopping at Yorkdale is finding parking,” said Fleishmann.
The expansion at Square One in Mississauga will cost $237 million.

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TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR
The expansion at Square One in Mississauga will cost $237 million.

Renovations and upgrades at area malls have been underway for years, sparked in part by the announcement in 2011 that U.S. discount retailer Target was expanding into Canada, and in part by interest from Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom in expanding north of the border.

Cadillac Fairview was able to snag five of the six Nordstrom stores opening in Canada after it asked struggling Sears Canada to return leases on choice properties, said Wayne Barwise, executive vice-president, development, Cadillac Fairview.

The first Nordstrom in Canada opened at Cadillac-Fairview’s Chinook Centre in Calgary last fall. The Ottawa Nordstrom opened March 6.

Barwise pointed out that Toronto Eaton Centre is also in the middle of a major renovation, adding a Nordstrom to the space vacated by Sears. A Saks is scheduled to open in an area of The Bay on Queen St. in the spring of 2016.  The downtown mall also snagged popular Japanese retailer Uniqlo.

And there may be further change afoot.

“There’s a big question mark as to what is going to happen to Sears Canada in the next few years. If they decide to wind down operations, that’s another 100-plus stores,” said Barwise. Despite the increased competition from area malls, Barwise is not worried about the Eaton Centre being eclipsed.

“We get one million visitors every week. No one has that kind of statistics. And it’s just going to get better with the addition of Saks and Nordstrom,” he said.

With Target now shuttering 133 stores in Canada, some malls will lose what they had hoped would be a strong anchor tenant.

The flood of space may lead some mall tenants to ask for rent rebates, said retail real estate expert John Crombie, senior vice-president, retail leasing Canada, at Triovest.

Still, retail landlords in Canada tend to have the upper hand. There are often waiting lists of retailers hoping to get into the Eaton Centre, Barwise said.

In Canada, almost two-thirds of malls are controlled by less than a dozen landlords. The market is much more fragmented in the U.S.

“Tenants in the U.S. and Europe have more power,” said Crombie.

Mall owners do deep research before making any moves, said Jeffrey Berkowitz, president, Aurora Realty Consultants.

“They are trying to be ahead of the curve and understand trends globally so they know what the more interesting brands and banners will be. They’re not asking ‘Where should we be in December?’ They’re thinking ‘Where should we be five Decembers or 10 Decembers from now?’ ”

They also share many of the same customers.

“It’s rare to find customers today who only shop in one mall,” said Berkowitz.

 

–The Toronto Star.