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Posts tagged with: city centre

Property Search - Were Making It Easier To Find Mississauga Real Estate

October 4, 2012 - Updated: April 18, 2014Buying Real Estate


   

    These days, people might say they start doing a property search by going to realtor.ca.  This was indeed advancement from finding real estate for sale in the Mississauga News Paper or other printed media.  There are some problems as pointed out by my clients with using the current property search engine of choice…it can be tricky to get the Mississauga real estate they are looking for.  Some other comments I’m hearing are:  “it’s confusing” and “frustrating to use”. If you haven’t used Realtor.ca, it allows the user to search by map, and by selecting criteria.  Unless the user knows very specific information about what they are looking for searches become very general and results may not be pertinent or not even informative enough.  Property search at www.toddlee.ca was designed to address the needs of real estate shoppers, organizing Mississauga real estate by groups, by using graphics in a unique way and providing Mississauga condos comparative data.

    The first three problems identified with property search by realtor.ca are: they ask you to write in the City Name or Neighborhood or MLS zone.  Firstly, entering the City name “Mississauga” will return this response “Your search returned too many results. Please refine your search and try again” simply because of the share volume of real estate on the market. Then, Realtor.ca will present another message saying this “More than one location was returned. Please select the location you were looking for” in attempt to narrow the criteria.  Realtor.ca will list off districts that probably won’t make any sense to most people.  The second problem is, the average person does not know many of the neighborhood names in Mississauga.  Therefore, that question in very limiting based on the persons knowledge.  Thirdly, almost no one knows what the MLS zones are.  All the property search effort thus far has been a waste of time going this first route.

Picture of MLS search

Picture of MLS results 

    The first way www.toddlee.ca has improved the property search experience is by eliminating wasted time for the person doing a property search.  This was achieved by committing considerable time and effort into grouping all residential real estate by classification: condo apartment or house and then sorting them by neighborhood. This is really significant and different than the alternative property search engines.  Houses are further grouped into sub categories, detached houses for sale, semi-detached houses for sale, townhouses for sale and condo townhouses for sale. The benefit to the person doing the property search is straight forward; there are absolutely no fields to fill out and no typing whatsoever.  All that needs to be done is selecting a choice either using a mouse or a finger in the case of a touch screen.  You will never see a response that you’ve returned too many results and to refine your search!

Picture of Condos For Sale and Houses For Sale

    Map based property search web pages are more useful to show a very general area of real estate.  However, they can have the same problems of returning the same error messages.  Then, once the map is zoomed in enough to show results it can be daunting to search through all the information that is presented. Maps are a great way to find neighborhoods as streets and monuments can be referenced to help the person doing a property search determine where they want to live.  Yet, people find these maps to be too cluttered where the useful information can be hidden amongst the less relevant information.   Finally, some people just don’t understand maps and can’t visualize where they might have seen a particular condo for example.  This leads to frustration as they randomly search for what they were looking for.

Picture of MLS non specific search results

    The second way www.toddlee.ca has made a property search online easier, was to replace the process of zooming in and out of maps and selecting criteria with a simple to understand graphical system.  Neighborhoods are clearly indicated on a master map which shows enough highway and road information to be useful.  Once, a neighborhood is identified as being where the person wants to live, they need only “click” or “tap” the corresponding Icon.  In the case of houses, a list of currently available inventory will appear priced from highest to lowest.  In the case of a condo property search, every condo will have its own icon.  When the particular Mississauga condo is selected a list of real estate inventory is listed also priced from highest to lowest.  The advantage in particular for condo shoppers is the ability to focus on a particular building without ever having to know the buildings address or name.

Picture of the neighborhood map

Picture of neighborhood Icons

Picture of house search results

The Icon, which is designed to be a visual representation of neighborhoods and condos, is key for people being able to use their visual memory in the selection process.  It’s common for customers to ask me to show them the “Marilyn Monroe Condos” (which is not the condos real name).  They know it’s opposite to Square One and that’s usually all they know about these condos geographically speaking.  If they were to look it up on realtor.ca, they might have a hard time finding it using the criteria method as they don’t know the address or maybe even the neighborhood (No, Square One is not a neighborhood).  If they used the map method, they would have to spend time zooming into the Square One area until listings started to show.  Then, they have to somehow find the Marilyn Monroe Condos from all the other condos that are next to them.

    If the Marilyn Monroe Condos were searched using www.toddlee.ca, all they would have to do is look at the map to see that Square One is in the City Centre neighborhood.  Then select the City Centre Icon, which happens to show several buildings including the Marilyn!  Then, all City Centre condos will be shown by their represented Icons.  The Marilyn Monroe Condos would be easily identifiable and selected literally with three clicks or taps…one for Mississauga condos for sale, one for City Centre condos and one for the Marilyn Monroe condos for sale.  What’s the saying? As easy as 1,2,3!

Picture of condo search

Picture of the City Centre Icon

Picture of City Centre Condo Icons

    The final reason that people are disappointed with doing a property search online is the lack of comparative data.  Especially in the Mississauga condo market as there are many units in the same building that are identical.  It can help the buyer to know not only the current asking prices, but to know how much previous condos sold for.  This data requires computation and at www.toddlee.ca we have done that for all Mississauga condo real estate.  Our condo comparison chart called the Matrix, you will find calculated are the average two bedroom condo sold price, two bedroom condo fee, two bedroom square footage and 2 bedroom condo fee cost per square foot. In addition to being able to compare condo data, there are also Mississauga condo reviews.

Picture of Marilyn Monroe Condos For Sale

Picture of Marilyn Monroe Condo Review

Picture of the Condo Matrix

    We understand here at www.toddlee.ca that there are many people wanting to buy real estate, and we strive to make doing a property search online easier. We are continually trying to stretch the boundaries to improve customer service and soon we hope to add pre-construction condos to the mix.  Also look out for some really cool videos soon.  Thank you once again for reading Todd’s Real Estate Blog, and we hope you visit again to keep up with real estate news, tips and commentary’s.

Todd Lee is a real estate agent serving the Mississauga and surrounding communities.  If you have any comments or questions please contact us at info@toddlee.ca.

By Todd Lee

Tagged with: property search real estate realtor.ca todd lee www.toddlee.ca mississauga real estate detached house property search semi detached house property search townhouse property search mls marilyn monroe condos city centre

Buying Mississauga Condos: It just makes Money sense.

June 30, 2012 - Updated: April 18, 2014Condo Investments

 

    My clients often ask me the question: is Toronto the best place to buy a condo for investment purposes?  It’s easy to see there are plenty high rises buildings in development as you drive along the Gardiner Expressway.  Why wouldn’t there also be lots of money to be made?  Otherwise, why are there so many buildings going up?  My quick answer is, yes. The Real Estate Market is hot especially for rentals or the investor might be able to cash in big by flipping.  However, there is a “but” to this answer.  With so many condos built and being built the market can get over saturated. The most recent information from TREB indicates just that, as year over year appreciation was lower for condos in comparison to other segments in the Real Estate Market.  This is not to say you won’t make money on condos, but maybe not as much.

    This is where buying condos in Mississauga comes in as a great opportunity for the condo shopper.  While not being Toronto, Mississauga is located very close to the centre of Canada’s financial center and all of its vibrant night life, restaurants, attractions, museums, university’s, shopping etc… are within driving or public transit range .  This is not to say Mississauga is a barren waste land either.  The fact is, Mississauga has a very diverse population, has a vibrant city centre, a lakeshore, sports stadium, a Performing Arts Centre, night life, restaurants, trails, parks, great schools and is also home to the busiest Airport in Canada and to 61 of the Fortune 500 Canadian companies. Mississauga in essence is a mini version of Toronto but is also debt free and does not seem to be hit routinely by strikes and protestors.

   Investing into Real Estate is just like any other business venture.  Costs of investment and the potential return have to be studied and analyzed.  Let us examine the statistics posted by The Toronto Real Estate Board for the quarter one of this year.

The average sell price to list price for condos is around 97%-98% in Mississauga and Toronto.  We will simplify the comparison by just using the average list price for condos.  In Toronto, the average list price for a condo for Q1 was $360,892.00 while the average in Mississauga was $254,584.00.  What this means is on average the condo buyer will spend about $106,000 less to buy in Mississauga which obviously represents a cheaper cost.

Figure1.  Summary of Condo transactions created by TREB.

    If we focus on just the Toronto downtown core we also see the most popular units sold are one bedroom and one bedroom + den.  This segment of Toronto does represent the average price of condos listed.  By comparison, in Mississauga City Centre the most popular units sold are; two bedrooms +den and a close second place, two bedrooms and 1 bedroom +den.  The average of these units dose represents the average list price of condos in Mississauga.  Clearly, being able to purchase a bigger sized unit in Mississauga represents a greater value!

Figure 2.  Summary of condos sold in Down Town Toronto.

Figure 3. Summary of condos sold in Mississauga City Centre.

    Now let’s examine the percentage of appreciation for condos.  TREB lists the first quarter 2011 average price in the city of Toronto as $348,779.00 and for Peel Region (Mississauga represents the vast majority of condo sales in this region.  TREB did not collect data far back enough to see Mississauga’s exact numbers) $231,010.00.  As well, the average price in Peel for quarter 1 2012 was $246,688.  Doing the math the appreciation results from quarter to quarter looks like this:

Figure 4.  Condo Market Summary created by TREB.

  • Toronto condos + 3.5% in value.
  • Peel region condos +6.7% in value.

    The conclusion should be made that by percentage, appreciation of condos in Peel and more specifically Mississauga and Brampton is higher than in Toronto by almost double.  This also indicates a possible trend that wise investors are leaving Toronto for greener pastures west of the city.  One probable reason is the land transfer tax situation in Toronto.  It’s been well documented in the media that buyers are seeking other opportunities to invest their money as the cost of Real Estate is getting to be high in part, because of this tax.

    As an example if the investor (not a first time homebuyer) were to buy the average priced condo in Toronto they could expect to pay $7200.00 in Land Transfer Tax.  OUCH!  By comparison if the same investor were to buy a condo in Mississauga for the same price the Land Transfer Tax would only be $3888.00 thus saving $3,312.00.  Take also into consideration the average condo in Mississauga is cheaper and bigger than in Toronto.  If we use the average condo price in Mississauga, the result is $2294.00 of tax payable, representing a savings of $4906.00 in Land Transfer Tax versus Toronto condos!

    Another aspect of investing into condos is the potential to make rental income.  The goal for any landlords is to make money.  Thus, it’s very important to charge a tenant a rent which covers all of their investment expenses or even exceed it.  In reality most are not successful in reaching this goal, but are rather satisfied to have their tenants help to pay down the mortgage while covering the cost of condo fees and utilities.  The appreciation in value of the condo over time plus the accumulation of equity without having to put up all the money themselves can still be lucrative in the long run.  The key to renting is simple.  The Landlord must have a reliable tenant and any vacancy will add to the expense of the investment property.

    Let us have a look at the vacancy rate for condos in Toronto vs. Peel as per CHMC, 2011 Fall Rental Market Survey.  We can see the rate in Toronto is very disproportionate at 1.3% in comparison to Peel which is at 0.3%.  The disparity can be explained by perhaps the type of tenant.  In Toronto one bedroom condos is king for sales.  If we assume many of these are being rented to business clients or students, it’s less likely they will stay long term causing the Landlord to fill vacancies with more regularity.  We know the two bedroom +den is king in Mississauga which can mean young couples or small families are renting, thus are more likely to stay longer meaning less vacancies.

Figure 5.  GTA Condo Vacancy Rate

    The last factor to consider is the cost of financing your investment.  The Federal government hinted that in the first quarter of 2012 that interest rates will probably increase this year. They also made it clear they think certain Real Estate Markets were too hot and perhaps growing without following the fundamentals.   Since the early part of the year when this was stated, some things around the world have changed.  The Euro market was in turmoil.  Now the European Union has made some changes to protect hard hit Euro economies making markets around the world more confident and perhaps negating the need to raise interest rates so soon.  However, the Feds still want to control the debt levels that Canadians are taking on.  The Feds response was to change the Mortgage rules to make it more expensive to borrow for Real Estate. They took away 30 yr. amortizations so the maximum is now 25 yrs.  To illustrate I will give an example of a monthly mortgage payment for $500,000.00 amortized by 25yrs and 30yrs.

  • 25yr mortgage = $2104.08/month, also requires an income or at least $78903.00/yr.
  • 30yr mortgage = $1902.07/month, also requires an income of at least $71328.00/yr.

    That $300 makes a huge difference in affordability as the buyer would have to make at least $7600 more a year.  Therefore, investing in Mississauga condos, the more affordable option puts you the investor at less leveraging risk.

    Another factor to consider when determining your potential to buy is how much down payment you can afford.  Assume you want to avoid the CHMC insurance fees for high risk mortgages.  You will need to have 20% of $360,892 for the average condo in Toronto which works out to $72,178.40.  In Mississauga the 20% down payment for the average condo would be $50,910.80.  In other words, you could save $21,267.60 by investing in Mississauga.

    Ultimately as a condo investor you have to ask yourself the questions…Do you prefer a rate of return of 3.5% or 6.7%?  If you are buying the condo to live in or rent would you rather have a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom +den?  How often do you want to find Tenants?   How much can you afford to be leveraged without going into financial disaster if things don’t work out the way you had hoped?  How much down payment do you have?  After reading my blog I think you will be better prepared to answer that question yourself.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always if you are interested in my Real Estate services please don’t hesitate to contact me at:  info@toddlee.ca

*All statistics and charts are from the Toronto Real Estate Board.

By Todd Lee

Date posted - 30/06/2012

 

 

 

Tagged with: todd lee mississauga condos buying renting investing city centre brampton peel toronto condos

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