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Archive for June, 2018

Enhanced platform to boost Canadian buyers’ searches

June 15th, 2018
Last week, the Canadian Real Estate Association and real estate information portal Local Logic have announced a new partnership which will see the latter provide property-specific neighborhood data for over 300,000 advertised listings.

Local Logic will buttress Canada’s largest real-estate website,, with crucial information such as proximity to transportation hubs and vital services, along with CREA’s precise data on neighborhood discovery and noise levels, nearby facilities like shops and schools, and many others.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with one of the top brands in real estate,” Local Logic CEO Vincent-Charles Hodder stated. “This partnership is further evidence that the real estate industry in Canada acknowledges the importance of neighborhood and lifestyle data for home buyers.”

 “Through a pilot on, we saw a significant increase in the number of consumers who connected with REALTORS® from listings with this hyper-localized neighbourhood information so it’s clearly influential in the home buying journey,” CREA Interim Vice-President of Marketing and IT Patrick Pichette said.

This piece was written by Ephraim Vecina of REP magazine. It is a follow-up to his article on the same topic which was published on May 25th. We decided to publish them together as both address a similar topic.

Online platform facilitates real estate services on demand

by Ephraim Vecina

25 May 2018

Ever-increasing responsiveness to consumer needs is a main motivator in Canadian fintech, and this has become especially apparent in real estate platform Casalova, which boasts of facilitating on-demand communication between would-be buyers and agents in less than half a minute.

This far outstrips the industry average of 15 hours, Casalova stated.

“The real estate market in Canada is a $14 billion annual industry, yet it takes 15 hours – on average – for an agent to respond to client inquiries. We live in an on-demand world: from Uber and Airbnb to online banking and shopping, people expect a response the moment they're looking for it,” Casalova CEO and co-founder Ray Jaff said. “Our platform is eliminating a major service gap in real estate.”

One of Canada’s leading real estate marketplaces, Casalova aggregates verified listings from multiple sources including the MLS, Royal LePage, RE/MAX, and all other major brokerages. As of May 2018, over $50 million in sale and rental transactions nationwide have closed on Casalova.

We are pleased to have permission from REP magazine to re-publish some of their material. To view the magazine, go to

Caution with wording of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Court holds buyer to contract after property found to be former grow-op.

The standard clause “to the best of the seller’s knowledge and belief,” contained in an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, has had its meaning settled by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

As I recently wrote, the initial court case arose after a couple sold their home.

A home seller’s knowledge of a grow-op in the residence was the subject of a recent Court of Appeal decision. 

In the APS, the sellers made a representation and warranty that the house had not been used as a marijuana grow-op during their ownership — and “to the best of the sellers’ knowledge and belief,” it had never been used as a grow-op.

The wording of the warranty made it enforceable both before and after closing.

The sellers had no idea, however, that the house had indeed been used as a grow-op by a prior owner in 2004. But, before closing, the most recent buyer’s lawyer discovered proof of the grow-op. Believing the house to be stigmatized, the buyers refused to close and sued for the return of their deposit. The sellers countersued for breach of contract and damages because they had to sell the house for $86,100 less than the first buyer agreed to pay.

In a decision which sent shock waves through the real estate industry, the initial judge ruled that the buyer was entitled to terminate the transaction because the representation was not true upon the closing date.

Written by Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron, a frequent speaker to groups of home buyers and real estate agents. 
He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.

June 9, 2018

Households increasingly leaning upon debt to stave off insolvency

A new study conducted by Ipsos for personal insolvency practice MNP LTD revealed the extent of Canadian households’ reliance on debt, with 58% of those with consumer debt stating that they would need an increase of at least 37% in their household incomes to live debt-free.

The problem is exacerbated among lower-income and insolvent households, which stated that they would need to make 49% more income.

Albertans in debt stated that they are more likely (69%) to need significant increases (21% or higher) in their household incomes in order to live without any consumer debt. Other provinces whose residents are raring for higher household incomes amid the debt-heavy climate are Atlantic Canada (62%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (59%), Ontario (55%), Quebec (51%), and British Columbia (50%).

 “It used to be that people would save for big purchases and have some money tucked away for emergencies. Now Canadians look straight to HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit) or credit cards or other forms of debt when it comes to paying for unexpected car repairs, home maintenance, and even basic household expenses,” MNP LTD president Grant Bazian said.

“When debt becomes a financial survival tool it makes people particularly vulnerable to exploitative and high-cost lending. They have to spend more to service their debts – particularly as interest rates rise – so they have less money to make ends meet. And so begins the vicious cycle of debt,” Bazian added.

by Ephraim Vecina    04 Jun 2018

U.S. steel tariffs threaten Canadian condo markets

The U.S. government yesterday announced that it is slapping tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, and that could be disastrous for Canada’s condominium markets.

“What’s going to happen is, depending on if Canada retaliates in kind, it will drive up our rebar prices, and we use many thousands of tons of rebar in building reinforced concrete buildings, which are all of our condominiums,” said Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario. “That’s not good because, at the end of the day, that could have an effect on the market, which has been stressed recently by increased charges and interest rates. That could put some projects in jeopardy, in terms of cancellations, and that could have a real impact on the market.”

The U.S.’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on aluminum.

Typically, when costs rise, they’re passed onto consumers, who, in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, struggle with affordability. Lyall hopes the Canadian government is mindful of that when it responds.

“The costs are ultimately born by the consumer, so in our view Canada should not retaliate in kind on construction rebar because we’re going to bury ourselves,” he said. “I’m hopeful this matter will get sorted out with the NAFTA deal before long anyway, and there’s no point in throwing a wrench in the consumer’s direction in the interim.

“We’re talking big money here. I don’t want to speculate on what the increases could be, but, on a percentage basis, they’re well into the double digits.”

Toronto’s condo market has been on fire—more so now that the mortgage stress test has precluded buyers from the single-family detached market.

“With 250 cranes up in the sky, Toronto is still the hottest market in North America by a mile,” said Lyall. “It’s a tough market—a stretched market—and there have been some real challenges, price-wise, on the various costs associated with that, including development charges.”

However, Lyall was adamant that he isn’t prophesying doom and gloom for the condo market. While he called the tariffs “a serious threat,” he doesn’t believe the sector is in total imperil.

“But these things are unpredictable because, when that happens in a market like this, it creates uncertainty, then people get cautious and then it could cause some cancellations, which could have an effect on government coffers—they make a lot of money off of us—and new homebuyers.”

Sam Crignano, president of Cityzen Development Group, which builds high-rise residential towers in downtown Toronto, echoed Lyall before adding that he wasn’t surprised to hear about the tariffs. Although he believes news of the tariffs is disconcerting, he isn’t panicking.

“It creates uncertainty, which is never good for any industry—especially ours,” said Crignano. “We’ve heard about this for quite some time, and all the news we’ve gotten about tariffs is the prices will increase, but it would be nice to hear why prices will increase. If we’re importing a lot of aluminum from the U.S.—and don’t forget, we’re a big producer too—I’d be surprised if we can’t domestically produce what the demand is.”

by Neil Sharma  01 Jun 2018