Elevators have become the norm and we often take them for granted. In a condo of more than 20 storeys, there are usually 3 to 4 elevators in service and we rely on these everyday to get around. We sometimes experience a delay, of up to 10min when one elevator is put into service. Yet, day to day we are pretty lucky that the wait is not that drastic and we go about our day as usual, maybe slightly irritated that this mornings wait was an unusual 10min.
However, in Ontario, the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) have been on strike against the National Elevator Escalator Association (NEEA) since the end of April. The Digital Journal has reported that the average wage of an elevator mechanic is $112,000 in Ontario. This leaves many to question: “Why the strike?” They do not ask for higher wages but rather a safer work environment and a signed contract.
This week some of those mechanics on strike have been ordered back to work in the Greater Toronto Area. However, those forced back to work are still not servicing job sites such as hospitals, nursing homes or residential buildings, but rather the residential construction industry. The NEEA passed a never-used clause in the Labour Act forcing those back on the job that work in the construction, especially residential construction industry.
This strike has left many Mississauga condos with either one or two working elevators for almost two months now. Many condo residents have been getting frustrated with the prolonged waiting times of sometimes more than 20 minutes which would result in a bad temper as they try to make it to work, drive their children to day care or make any other appointment they are having. It is especially frustrating for those that live on high floors and cannot use the stairs to get 30 floors down.
CTV news has had a special video news report on how this strike affected residents in Mississauga, especially the elderly who have a difficult time climbing up or down the stairs even from a lower floor. This must prove difficult for parents with small children, dog owners, as well as pregnant women. But even young condo residents don’t envision themselves walking up or down 35 flight of stairs every day.
This has also impacted the real estate business a great deal. It has proven to be difficult to show units that are on higher floors, and sometimes any floors for that matter. Sometimes you are waiting for 20 minutes for the elevator to arrive along with 10 other people. If you are showing a unit on the 5th floor you are lucky to get out first or second. If you are going up to the 27th floor it takes you another good 5-10 minutes to reach this floor with the elevator stopping on all those floors to let people on or off. By the time you are ready to show the unit, your client(s) is/are tired, frustrated and quickly losing interest just thinking that it will take him/her another 20min to get out of the building. If you are showing multiple units in multiple condos then the client(s) will definitely be unmotivated to see anything anymore after such a bad experience.
What Does This Mean For Mississauga Condo Buyers:
I strongly suggest, that until the strike is officially over buyers avoid going on showings during busy hours of the day, when residents are leaving for work or coming back in the evenings. Friday and Saturday late in the evenings are also considered busy times as many are trying to leave for a night out. This will reduce the waiting time by at least 10 minutes and you will only take a few moments to reach the desired unit for sale.
For those looking to purchase pre-construction condos in Mississauga, it appears that at this time the strike has little to no effect on the delays of the new condo projects.
What Does This Mean For Mississauga Condo Sellers:
As a result of the strike, your unit might not show during busy hours of the day, and fewer buyers might be viewing your unit. Don’t be surprised if agents with potential buyers are late with their appointments to see your place. Be patient, since the strike will be over before you know it.
Many residents of the GTA are still in disbelief that hospitals, nursery homes, hotels and residential buildings are still not being serviced and put on a lesser priority list as compared to pre-construction condos who have the elevator mechanics back to work for almost a week now. It is hard to say when the other workers will be back to work.
Update July 5th 2013 : After long negotiations, the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and the National Elevator and Escalator Association (NEEA) have settled. All elevator constructors are expected to return to work by July 10th, 2013.
This entry was posted on
Friday, June 21st, 2013 and is filed
Who would have ever thought, that Mississauga would eventually have one of the most active condo real estate markets in the country; with over forty existing condominiums and 15 proposed for the near future. Mississauga has grown substantially in population and, improvements to infrastructure and design are required to sustain this rapid growth.
The solution offered by the city of Mississauga is called the “Downtown21 Master Plan”. The goal behind the Downtown21 Master Plan, is to make downtown Mississauga, also known as the City Centre area, more pedestrian friendly. At the same time, this plan hopes to set out specific strategies for economic development, new transportation systems and overall environmental improvement.
In this blog post, I will cover some of the fundamental changes offered by the Downtown21 Master Plan, and its influence on the future of the Mississauga condo market.
The Plan In Detail
Mississauga has always strived to have a well balanced downtown core. The Downtown21 Master Plan will undergo some changes that are reflected in areas such as the employment, retail, commercial and civic sphere. This in turn will be balanced by residential development, entertainment, and facilities used by business visitors and tourists. Some of the changes which are to be implemented include:
1) The new urban design will be unique and pedestrian-friendly. It will have a strong focus on pedestrian access and amenities.
2) A complete Downtown Core road system which will contribute to the improvement of vehicular, cyclist and pedestrian movement within and throughout the Downtown Core. Most important transit waiting areas will be weather protected.
3) The creation of parking facilities that are sensitive to pedestrians and active streetscape.
4) Implemented development and activities that will enhance the Downtown Core as a destination. This includes development that will increase tourism within the Downtown Core.
5) Continuation to expend the Downtown Core’s retail commercial presence.
6) Expansion of transit and vehicular access to and from the Downtown Core To Pearson Airport and Cooksville Go Transit.
Specific Areas For Improvement
All changes implemented will be seen in the following areas:
Civic Centre Area- more pedestrian walkways and improved pedestrian links, visual openness and introduction of active uses at the street edge. It will accommodate more parking spaces and a variety of programs such as music concerts and theatre events, displays and exhibitions, festival and other special events.
Confederation Parkway Area- public art, further development of the pedestrian system, minimal building setbacks, continuity of built form etc.
Duke Of York Corridor- integrated character, development of pedestrian system, street related built form, public art, easy transit access and high standard of public amenity.
Rathburn Corridor- linkage of pedestrian walkways, continuity of built form, and improved connection to the east.
Burnhamthorpe Corridor- urban development of main streets (ie Hurontario), additional road connections, and architect designs.
Hurontario Corridor- structured parking, more intersections, central landscaping, pedestrian linkages, urban development and prestige buildings and more.
Downtown Core Additions- hotels, restaurant, office spaces, entertainment, recreational faciltities, retail spaces and civic and cultural facilities and proposed transit systems BRT and LRT.
Square One Shopping Mall Expansion
Although Square One shopping mall, which is in the heart of the Mississauga, is not officially part of the Downtown21 Master Plan, it is undergoing a lot of changes as well. Square One Mall is already one of Canada’s largest retail malls, with over 360 retail stores. Currently, it is undergoing a $84 million dollar interior renovation. This massive face-lift includes modernizing the common areas, restrooms and escalators and is expected to be completed by winter 2013. The food court is also getting a new look with some exciting new venues opening. But, perhaps what can be most exciting for many is that Holt Renfrew is investing over $320 million dollars to build a new flagship store right in Square One. This world class luxury retailer carefully analyzes and studies each geographical area before opening a store. Residence of Mississauga should be honored and thrilled that Holt Renfrew picked Mississauga as the next upcoming prime real estate area. This is great news for condo owners and investors.
Downtown21 Its Influence On The Real Estate Market
All of these new changes will attribute in a positive way to the future development of the real estate market in Mississauga. It’s great to live in a city where the people who are making decisions at the top, understand that in order for the city to continue to be attractive to new comers and tourists, it must be willing to continuously adapt. The Downtown21 Master Plan, is exactly what Mississauga needs at this stage. By making the downtown core more walkable, by building on new and existing public transit, and by having a well balanced residential development, entertainment, and business sector, Mississauga’s condo market will condo to blossom in the years to come.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below.
This entry was posted on
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 and is filed
What is an Assignment?
An assignment condo sale refers to buying a condo off a previous buyer before it is officially registered in the Land Registry System. To illustrate the most common type of example in today’s market, please see the following scenario:
A buyer purchases a pre-construction condo through the condo sales office. His or her intention is to live in that condo once it’s completed in a few years. However, plans change after about a year or so, and that buyer decides they want to sell their pre-construction condo prior to taking occupancy or ownership of the unit. This can be accomplished using an assignment sale, where the original buyer finds a new buyer for their condo. This new buyer assumes the responsibilities and enjoys all the benefits which were offered to the original buyer.
Assignments Condos VS. Resale Condos
When you buy a resale condo, you are essentially buying “real estate”; meaning it’s a property which physically exists and which you can touch and see. This property is also officially registered in the Land Registry System. On the other hand, when you buy an assignment, you are not buying “real estate” but rather the “right to own real estate”. Meaning: you are buying a piece of paper which says you will own a condo at a future date.
The biggest differences between assignments and resale condos, is that with assignments you are not required to obtain a mortgage and the closing date is years, not days, away. On the other hand, if you purchase a resale condo, you can typically get away with paying as little as 5-10% down and have a closing date that is 30 days away or even less.
Can I sell my Mississauga Condo via Assignment?
It depends on whether or not your original purchase and sale agreement has an assignment clause attached to it. An assignment clause is essentially the builder’s legal way of allowing you to sell your pre-construction condo before its ready. Not all condo builders allow for assignments to be sold and those that do allow for assignments to be sold typically charge between $3000-5000 should the option be exercised.
When buying your pre-construction condo, carefully review your condo agreement with your Realtor and ensure that this clause is included. Even if you think you are not going to sell your condo prior to occupancy, it is always a good idea to have the assignment clause as a “back-up” option.
How to sell an Assignment Condo?
Most builders do not allow you to put your condo assignment for sale on the MLS website. Since the MLS website is the most popular way of selling your condo, this really imposes a challenge for those looking to sell their unit. The option to advertise to sell your condo is thus limited to other websites such as kijiji and craigslist. The easiest way to sell your unit would be to find a friend who would be interested in taking over your investment.
What Buyers need to know about Assignments?
Since assignments are not advertised well, finding them can get tricky. If you find someone selling an assignment, you can potentially score yourself a great deal provided that the assignment is priced right. You should know that in most instances to complete the assignment sale, as a buyer, you will be required to pay the 15-20% of the purchase price, plus any profit the buyer asks for. Always consult with the builder and a qualified lawyer before proceeding with the assignment sale.
What Sellers need to know about Assignments?
As addressed above, in order for a seller to sell their condo by way of assignment, he or she will need written permission from the builder. Advertising on MLS is in most cases prohibited, thus finding a buyer can seem challenging at times. Understanding why most buyers get discouraged from considering an assignment should also be noted. These reasons include:
Price – If a buyer can get the same condo for the same price directly from the builder, then why should they buy it from you?
Closing too far away – You simply cannot expect to buy a pre-construction condo and sell it six weeks later. Condos take some time to appreciate in value
Closing costs – For pre-construction condos closing costs are an unknown variable. This gets some buyers worried. Historically speaking, these costs are around the $8000 mark for a one bedroom in Mississauga.
Condo Assignments are not for everyone. At times condo assignments can be a great way for a desperate seller to unload his pre-construction condo and for a buyer to strike a great deal. However, they do require extra patience and expertise which many buyers, Realtors and lawyers have a hard time committing to.
At the present time, I myself as a Realtor; do not handle assignment condo sales. This might change in the near future.
This entry was posted on
Saturday, April 20th, 2013 and is filed
As many of you already know, in Canada, taxes are due each year on the last day of April. Now I know that for many, taxes are one of the least favorite things to talk about, yet lots of people seem to be misinformed about tax basics and the implications they have on real estate. By no means am I a tax expert, but in this blog post I want to clear up some of the basic tax questions I get asked.
Capital Gains Tax– Capital gains occurs when you sell a property at a higher price than you paid for it. The difference is known as your “capital gain”. Any property (with exception to your primary residence) is subject to a capital gains tax.
Calculating Capital Gains Tax – The formula for calculating capital gains tax on real estate is : Capital gain x 50.00% x marginal tax rate = capital gain tax. This can be best illustrated through the following example.
Let’s say you bought a 2 bedroom investment condo in Mississauga back in 2007 for $300,000, and now you have sold this condo for $350,000. You have made a $50,000 profit, of which $25,000 is subject to capital gains. This $25,000 is then multiplied by your marginal tax rate. Lets say your reported income was $80,000 (so you’re looking at 35% marginal rate). Thus, your capital gain tax would approximately amount to $8750.
Secondary Residence vs. Primary Residence – The most frequently asked question amongst my buyers is ‘ if they could claim their Mississauga condo investment property as a “primary residence”, also known as a “principle residence” ‘. The simple answer is no. According to Canada Revenue Agency a principle residence can be a house, a condo, a cottage or even a mobile home, which has been occupied primarily as your residential home, and has been owned by you or jointly with another person during the tax year. Owning two principle residences is possible, if the properties in question are in separate cities and are both used as a place to live in during the tax year. However, do exercise caution and seek professional advice, when claiming two properties as principle residences.
Renting Your Condo Unit As a Non-Resident – If you are not a permanent resident in Canada but do wish to hold real estate in Canada, then I would strongly advise you to hire a professional accountant. They should explain to you that the first step is to obtain a tax account number. You should also know that your rental income will be subject to a 25% withholding tax. Now, I know this rate may seem high, however not to worry, as this will be reduced when you file your NR4 slip. The NR4 form reports the gross rents you collected and the withholding tax that you remitted to Canada Revenue Agency. Finally, as with other parts in the world, when you file your annual tax return on your investment property, you can deduct tax expenses such as: property tax, repairs, general maintenance, insurance, condo fees and fees paid to any agencies who take care of your property.
Paying Your Taxes – In Canada taxes are due on April 30th of each year. Unlike in other parts of the world, Canadians do not have an option to file for an extension. If you are late with your taxes, you will be subject to a 2% penalty for each month you are late. Make sure to stay organized so that when tax time arrives you are ready to submit everything !
Once again, I would always encourage people seeking any tax advice to speak with a licensed tax personal. I do have some names which I can recommend for anyone searching for a good accountant. For more quick tips please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website found here.
This entry was posted on
Friday, April 5th, 2013 and is filed
In this blog post we covered some of the interesting facts for Mississauga downtown condos. Enjoy!
Currently there are over 20 pre-construction condos planned for downtown Mississauga
The Onyx condo, is the only newer Square One condo which has a rooftop patio and a lounge on the 36th floor
The Marilyn Monroe condos have Mississauga’s fastest elevators and if you live anything higher than the 30th floor you can expect to have your ears “pop” on the way down
Out of all the newer Square One condos, the SkyMark condo has the lowest condo fees per square foot and they even include hydro!
Limelight is the only condo in Mississauga with a full sized basketball court
According to RealNet, PSV Tower 1 was the fastest selling pre-construction condo in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) this spring
As of October 10th 2012, there are currently over 509 older and newer condos for sale in the Huronatrio and City Center Area
A Parking Spot in downtown Mississauga sells between $15,000-$25,000 depending on the condo and parking location
The Chicago condos have a rock climbing wall as a part of their amenities – How cool is that?
The average selling price for a Square One condo in September 2004 was $204,412. Fast-forward 8 years, and the average selling price for a Square One condo in September 2012 was $291,257. That’s up by 43% or 5.3% per year!
Every single Square One condo build after 2001 has a balcony
In May 2009, over 50 Pay and Display parking machines where installed around the Square One area
Mississauga Celebration Square, which is located in the heart of downtown Mississauga, received over 1 million visitors since it opened in June 2011
In September 2012, the average Square One condo took 36 days to sell and sold for 97% of the asking price
This entry was posted on
Monday, October 8th, 2012 and is filed
Since Ontario is expected to grow by another 4million people over the next 30 years, the federal government and the Province of Ontario are partaking in a few transit projects to move all the residents efficiently and effectively as possible. They aspire to build a new transit system that will get transit riders from one point to the next as quickly as possible and as easy as possible. The vision is to make it easier to travel from and through Mississauga and the GTA. In 2009, the Bus Rapid System (BRT) was developed as a successor to the Bus Bypass Shoulders and another BRT system. The project is expected to finally conclude in 2013, connecting Winston Churchill Blvd and Erin Mills (adjacent to Highway 403) and along 403 between Erin Mills and Mavis Road on the West and connecting the 403/Eglinton corridor from City Centre to Renforth Dr to the East. The system is expected to cover 18km along Highway 403 and Eglinton Ave. It will link with local buses and inter-regional transit and subway systems. What does this mean for residents in downtown Mississauga?
This shift to the new transit system will allow passengers to travel in a shorter period of time and it will also move significantly more people without additional costs to the public road network. It also connects riders to its neighboring municipalities, allowing for easy access to GTA’s entire transit system.
The second project known as the Light Rail Transit System commenced in 2009 and is expected to be complete in 2030. The Light Rail transit is supposed to run along seven routes connecting Etobicoke and Scarborough to Toronto. In Mississauga, the proposed transportation system would run along Hurontario Str., from Port Credit all the way to downtown Brampton. This 20km stretch would be covered in 39minutes and is expected to accommodate about 30million transit riders by 2031.
In my personal opinion, Mississauga will highly benefit from both of these new transportation systems. Not only will residents of Mississauga be able to commute in and out of the city faster, but it will also translate to fewer cars on the road, which leads to less road damage, less pollution and a more eco friendly environment.
This entry was posted on
Sunday, February 19th, 2012 and is filed
Think your 500 square foot condo is small? Check this tiny house in Boston. Its only 10.5 feet wide and 30 feet long.
Interesting to say the least
This entry was posted on
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 and is filed
Last weekend, the first privately commissioned piece of public art was unveiled at Cityzen‘s and Fernbrook Homes‘ Absolute World condo development.
The art piece is made up of 3 individual horses and it’s titled “Buen Amigo” Spanish for good friend.
I wonder if other condo developers will follow by integrating art of their development.
This entry was posted on
Friday, December 9th, 2011 and is filed
Mississauga is fortunate enough to have one of the biggest shopping malls in North America. Here is a 33 year old photo of Square One shopping center on its opening date. Square One was built in 1973 and officially opened to the public in 1973. Did you know that back then the center of the mall, including the food court, was outdoors? It wasn’t until 1984 that the mall became enclosed.
This entry was posted on
Thursday, November 17th, 2011 and is filed
Mississauga’s downtown core is very unique to say the least. It’s composed of over 40 condos, an array of office buildings, a few hotels, a library, two movie theaters, various places to dine, an outdoor entertainment park and in the middle of all this, a massive 300 store shopping mall – known as Square One. All it takes is a simple drive by Mississauga downtown to see that the two other major GTA condo markets (Downtown Toronto and North York) simply do not offer the same type of living as the one found in the downtown Mississauga.
On a more macro level, Mississauga has been recognized as one of the most ideal places to reside in the Greater Toronto Area. It’s conveniently located near various highways, which make a trip like the one to Toronto Pearson Airport a 20 minute breeze. From an economic point of view, 60 of the Fortune 500 companies base their global headquarters in Mississauga. Interestingly enough, many of those who work outside of Mississauga (such as Downtown Toronto) still choose to commute to work and live in the city they love. The city’s demographics have now reached a population of 750,000, with the biggest percentage increases found at the downtown core.
Given the above points, it is not a surprise that many choose Mississauga, more specifically the Square One condos, as their home. The condos found near the center of city include both older condos which offer plus size apartments as well as new developments which offer luxury and convince at a fraction of the cost of owning a freehold. Square One condos attract people from all ages and walks of life. Whether its the young 25 year old entrepreneur or the baby boomer who is looking to downsize and retire, the downtown condo market has something for everyone.
This entry was posted on
Monday, November 7th, 2011 and is filed