Toronto condo buyers gain upper hand and the Home of the Week: Canadian real estate news for May 4

Toronto condo buyers gain upper hand and the Home of the Week: Canadian real estate news for May 4
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Home of the Week, 811 Indian Rd., MississaugaVArt3D Media

Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week and one home worth a look.

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As transactions fall, Toronto condo buyers find their leverage

Compared with last year, condo transactions fell 15.5 per cent last month in Toronto’s central 416 area code, while a large influx of small, single-bedroom units are hitting the market, writes Carolyn Ireland. Some experts say the increase in available Toronto condos — which spiked 55.3 per cent last month compared to March 2023 — is likely due to landlords unloading units when mortgages come up for renewal at higher interest rates. Experts say the surge in supply could give new condo buyers some leverage over landlords in terms of prices, which are likely dropping as investors face additional taxes.

New real estate platform offers an alternative to blind bidding

For years, real estate agents have felt “handcuffed” to the practice of blind bidding, simply because of its effectiveness at giving sellers the best possible price — at the expense of buyers, who might be bidding against themselves. But thanks to changes to Ontario real estate legislation, sellers can now choose whether they want to participate in blind bidding, or allow prospective buyers to see and openly compete with other bids. But how to present that new information is up to interpretation, which has left a gap for potential new ways to do business, writes Shane Dingman. It’s resulted in at least one platform, FinalOffer.com, that allows sellers to let potential bidders know about offers they have received and even offer guidance about what prices they might accept above the initial list price.

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The improvements you make over the years to a cottage or investment property can save you on taxes when you sell.flyzone/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Rob Carrick: How to calculate a capital gain on your cottage or investment property – and very likely save money on taxes

Coming changes to the capital-gains inclusion rate have jolted not just wealthy Canadians, but also people with long-held cottages or a second property owned as an investment, writes personal finance columnist Rob Carrick. Luckily, the improvements you make over the years to a cottage or investment property can save you on taxes when you sell. Any improvements, such as a new garage, a renovation, or a new addition to the property, is deducted from the capital gain and reduces the amount of tax owed. Tax experts recommend keeping a list of all the capital improvements made, and make sure to save your receipts.

What happens to office furniture orphaned by hybrid work?

Canada’s national downtown office vacancy rate hit a record high of 19.4 per cent at the end of 2023, as more workplaces stick to hybrid work models. But as these offices sit empty, some businesses have taken advantage of the spare office furniture to save on costs and increase sustainability practices, writes Wallace Immen. Toronto design firm Syllable Inc. recently outfitted an office with preowned office furniture, which it said resulted in an estimated 50-per-cent reduction in the calculation of embodied carbon emissions and nearly $1-million in savings compared with buying new furniture. Among items in high demand – but hard to find used – are storage lockers and pods for private conversations in open-concept layouts.

Home of the week: Light-filled Mississauga home with a Palm Springs vibe

  • Home of the Week, 811 Indian Rd., MississaugaVArt3D Media

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811 Indian Rd., Mississauga

Beginning in the late 1920s, modernist architects working in Palm Springs, California, created an iconic style of clean lines, walls of glass and open spaces. The style is known for blending the connection between interior and exterior spaces, with outdoor areas being treated as extensions of the rooms inside. The previous owners of this three-bedroom home in Mississauga wanted to bring some of that lifestyle up north, transforming it from a “Muskoka in the backyard” vibe to a sunny desert resort. The backyard pool has entirely been redone, which is connected to the home by a cabana surrounded by walls of windows — effortlessly bridging that indoor-outdoor divide.

What do you think is the asking price for the property?

a. $3,199,900

b. $3,499,000

c. $4,099,999

d. $4,250,750

a. The asking price is $3,199,900.