Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week, with the lowest mortgage rates available in Canada today, commentary from our mortgage expert and one home worth a look.
Underwater loans on the rise
Canadian mortgage insurers are guaranteeing billions in loans for which borrowers owe more and more than the value of their property, Rachelle Younglai reports. Underwater loans refer to mortgages where the principal is higher than the market value of the home. A drop in home prices over the past year has chipped away at the equity in homeowners’ properties and a rising number of them now owe more than their homes are worth.
Four-figure rents for room mates
Rents above $1,000 for living with roommates are increasingly common not just in Toronto but across the country, reports Erica Alini. The average advertised rent for a spare bedroom in a home, condo or apartment in Vancouver was $1,410 in March. In Toronto, it was $1,309, and in Montreal $916.
In other urban centers such as Victoria, Calgary, Ottawa and Halifax, as well as several mid-sized cities in Southern Ontario, renting with roommates sets Canadians back $800 to $1,000 a month on average.
This week’s mortgage rates: The calm before the Fed
Short-term mortgage rates took a turn for the worse this week, wrote Robert McLister. The lowest nationally-advertised uninsured two- and three-year fixed offers increased by 20 and 15 basis points, respectively. (One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.)
Expect a drop in new home construction, CMHC says
Canada’s housing agency forecasts that home building could plunge 32 per cent this year if inflation and interest remain high and add to the already rising cost of building materials and the current shortage in construction. Residential building costs are up almost 20 per cent over the past year, reports Younglai. The agency called the situation “alarming” given the housing affordability crisis already underway in the country.
Home of the week: Pool deck and ravine lot off the Bridle Path
23 Misty Cres., Toronto
Houses are expensive in Toronto, but some neighborhoods are more expensive than others. Windfields Park sits just above the famous Bridle Path area (home of Drake’s mansion, among other multi-multi-million dollar acreage).
From the front foyer with its marble slab floor, an archway with dual niches frames the main living and entertaining space of this modernist mini-mansion. Centered in the living space beyond is a curving free-floating staircase – made of steel with wood treads and curved glass railings.
“Up close you can really appreciate it: they spent a lot of money – $200,000 on the stairs alone – to create some kind of feature when you come in,” the owner said. Halfway up the landing serves as a platform for those ravine views. “Credit to the fabricator: they tried and failed many times to get that curve just right.”
There are six bedrooms: one on the main level (handy as a change room for pool guests), one in the basement as a nanny suite and four upstairs. Finishes everywhere are unique and often sourced in Europe: from plumbing fixtures to hardware to lighting. Even the doors are bespoke: they are nine feet taller than the typical seven-foot so they don’t look out of scale with the 12-foot ceilings.
There are other fun features: a dog shower in the mudroom, a third sitting area at the top of the second floor facing the views, a primary bath soaker tub with eye-level window ravine views, and a walk-in-closet the size of most Toronto condo apartments.
What do you think is the asking price for this house?
a. The asking price is $13.8-million.