Smoking Pot Inside Condos

A hot topic right now in the condo world touches on the Federal government’s push to legalize marijuana across Canada. Many condo owners are becoming increasingly concerned as legalization nears, with what legal rights and measures their respective buildings can take in order to prevent smoking pot inside condos and common areas in condo buildings. One condo board in Toronto near Sheppard and Don Mills wants to prohibit the smoking of cannabis, as it already gets countless complaints about marijuana odors wafting between units, triggering asthma and allergic reactions. – nowtoronto.com

Further, Ottawa Public Health agency recently made a recommendation to the province to outright ban smoking pot inside condos and apartments, including balconies. – cbc.com

The question is – Is it within the rights of Condominium Boards to ban this soon-to-be legal substance within privately owned units? According to Michelle Kelly, a specialist in condominium law, bans such as this are done by the Condo Corporation creating a rule (under Section 58 of the Condominium Act). – globalnews.com This rule would then be circulated to owners, and unless the owners call for a vote, and vote against it, it enters into force. Rules such as these are created in order to promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners, and to prevent unreasonable interference. Things such as the pungent smell of second-hand smoke could be considered a nuisance, and therefore a new rule would be reasonable.

Ontario Landlords are also becoming increasingly concerned with the upcoming legalization. The concern lies with the major financial cost that could be associated with removing the smell of marijuana after the tenant vacates. – nowtoronto.com Currently, landlords are able to ban smoking for new leases, yet with existing leases it is illegal to modify any of the clauses before the natural end or termination of the lease.

An even further grey area is whether condominiums can ban smoking for those who have a medicinal license to do so. Many argue that medical consumers would be exempt under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which may result in a legal challenge by Condominium Boards. Needless to say, this hot topic is not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Ottawa’s real estate market has been seeing good days. With strong sales and steady prices, both buyers and sellers are enthusiastic about the market as a whole. More young adults are considering purchasing their first home in Ottawa rather than in cities like Toronto and Vancouver where a need for affordable housing is slowly crippling those cities’ markets. This relative stability has injected an exciting shot of life into a slightly smaller, yet equally valuable part of the real estate market; luxury condos. Ottawa used to be a city of houses. Directly in the downtown core, residences were mostly traditional looking houses or, in the case of apartment buildings, simple structures that were rarely more than a few stories high.

In recent years, it’s almost a competition among talented firms to change the face of the city. Aesthetically pleasing luxury condos are being built as quickly as possible to meet demand amongst the city’s residents.

Ottawa Has A Brand New Face

The Merrit | 1098 Lisgar St

The Merrit | 108 Lisgar St. Photo courtesy of www.OttawasCondominiums.com

Last year, Ottawa saw the resale of more than 24 luxury condos, each worth over $1 million. This is more than double the number sold in 2016. 2018 is also seeing the construction of various luxury projects like Keel and Roca Homes’ The Queen E. These buildings take modern living to a different level and are being snapped up by buyers eager to have the hotel experience in their homes. For instance, 1451 Wellington will invite residents to relax in their personal entertainment suites and will come complete with guest suites that are maintained by professional cleaning staff, along with a lap pool and an elite fitness centre.

While older, more traditional looking houses remain in areas like the Glebe and Centretown, there is no doubt that Ottawa’s real estate market is changing. Nearly every corner of the city’s core could be expecting a new luxury condo development. It’s a significant change from a few years ago when people balked at the idea of paying condo fees for amenities they felt they could do without.

The ‘New’ Luxury Condos Dweller

When noticing the changes in the market, the question inevitably arises about who is actually buying Ottawa’s luxury apartments. Property developers are excited because, unlike other cities where purchasers are typically well-established professionals, Ottawa’s home owners occupy different demographics.

Older individuals who are looking to downsize, perhaps after their children have left the nest, are turning to condos as a headache-free option to access everyday luxury. There are also young professionals who are beginning to settle into their careers and adulthood. With a median annual salary of $86,000, the highest in Ontario, young adults working with businesses like Shopify or Pythian have fuller wallets to play with.

With the relative stability associated with living in the city, it’s no wonder people are more willing to spend top dollar on luxury developments they can actually enjoy.

It’s likely that Ottawa will be enjoying these good times for years to come. A strong economy, a safe city and steady migration of skilled workers means housing will continue to be a great investment choice.

If you’re hoping to find the perfect luxury condo with all the perks your heart desires, drop us a quick email. As always, Ottawa’s Condominiums will be right in the middle of the action!

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1000 Wellington St #311 | Exclusive Listing at The Eddy - Ottawa's Condominiums

Looking for exceptional urban lifestyle living in one of Ottawa’s trendiest neighborhoods? Welcome to The Eddy, winner of a 2016 Housing Design Award for best designed high-rise building in Ottawa, and one of the few LEED Platinum condos in Canada. Located in the heart of Hintonburg where you are within a 5 minute walk to the scenic Sir John A. MacDonald Riverfront Park, a wide assortment of restaurants, cafes, and trendy shops, as well as the new light rail Confederation Line (LRT). A sophisticated space to call home, this Exclusive Listing at The Eddy offers 2 Bed + Den and 2 Baths. This is one of the largest floor plans in the building at 1,079 sq ft along with a large south oriented balcony at 134 sq ft facing a quiet residential neighborhood.

1000 Wellington St #311 | The Eddy | Exclusive Listing - Ottawa's Condominiums

A “soft loft” design with nine-foot ceilings, an industrial feel, and exposed concrete ceilings and ductwork. Pride in ownership is evident with over $20,000 in custom upgrades, including a generous addition to kitchen cabinetry, built-in closet storage, high-end blind system and more. The details in this condo have been carefully selected to compliment the builder finishes and create a clean style, with uncluttered lines and natural textures. A sweeping island is the focal point for entertaining in this contemporary white kitchen, along with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.

The building adheres to the highest possible eco-friendly standards, with geothermal heating/cooling, rainwater recapture, low VOC finishes and the first puzzle parking garage in the city.  A spectacular roof top terrace with outdoor lounge, fireplace, garden plots, & barbecues to be enjoyed with friends while watch the sunset over the Gatineau Hills and downtown Ottawa. This is the lifestyle you’ve been waiting for!

1000 Wellington St #311 The Eddy Exclusive Listing 3

If you are interested in visiting this spectacular condo, or would like more information at this Exclusive Listing at The Eddy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Link to our virtual tour.

Exclusive Listing at The Eddy Key Details

List Price: $549,900

Square Footage: 1,079 sq ft + Balcony 134 sq ft = 1,213 sq ft

Number of Bedrooms: 2 + Den

Number of Bathrooms: 2

Number of Parking: 1

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two choices to rent or buy

Should I RENT or should I BUY? Two Perspectives

“Rising Interest Rates”, “A Cooling of Housing Prices Expected”, “Banks Tighten Mortgage Rules”…these are the headlines dominating the Canadian real estate scene over the past few months. With this comes the longstanding question that most consumers ask themselves with regards to how they pay for housing – should I RENT or should I BUY?

The Case for Renting

Ben Felix of PWL Capital, in a February ‘18 G&M article, emphasizes that those in the market to buy a home should think carefully about what their motivation is. If your motivation to purchase is solely based on a stigma around renting or an assumption that one is simply “throwing away money” by renting, one should most definitely consider the following factors as well. How long are you planning on living in this home for? If this is a short term purchase (less than 10 years) then the additional costs of purchasing and eventually selling (i.e. legal costs, tax, agent fees) have a lesser chance of being absorbed by any potential increase in real estate prices. Ben also contends that the financial reasons for purchasing a home are flawed and that a renter can build as much wealth, or more, then a homeowner over the course of their lives.

The Case for Buying

When looking at the buy side of the argument, I referred to a G&M Report on Business Mag article by Duncan Hood (Why telling people to rent rather than buy is bad advice). The article reinstates that an argument can always be made that renting is a better option as you have lower monthly payments and you can invest the difference to attain a similar overall net worth. This is particularly true in the Ottawa market where over the past 5 years, the stock market has outperformed the housing market with average annual increases of 6% for the S&P/TSX Composite (http://www.1stock1.com/1stock1_766.htm), versus 2.24% for the real estate market (Ottawa Real Estate Board MLS® Residential Sales (including Condominium) Percentage Increase or Decrease Over Previous Year). Duncan goes on to articulate a point that he believes shelves these arguments for renting over buying, and one which I feel has substantial merit.

The point though that I completely agree with Duncan on is that it takes a very disciplined renter to achieve these same or better returns, and in a consumption oriented society, this is wishful thinking. To overcome these consumerist temptations that surround us in our daily lives, purchasing real estate provides a simplified and clear path for the majority of consumers to improve overall net worth over the long term.

To rent, or to buy, that is the question. Feel free to comment on which path is for you.

to rent or to buy?

Which path is for you?

 

Michael Spaull | MBA | Agent
MYhouse Team | Coldwell Banker Sarazen

 

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Coldwell Banker Ottawa
Coldwell Banker Ottawa

Exterior of home for sale in Ottawa Listed by Coldwell Banker Ottawa

Ottawa is on fire

Ottawa is on Fire

No, not literally. Although we can’t be blamed for seeing smoke emerging from the city’s hot housing market. It’s a great time to be in the 613. It’s an even greater time to buy a house within the boundaries of Canada’s great capital.

In the last couple of years, Toronto and Vancouver have been hellish for prospective homeowners. Soaring property prices in these two cities and hefty taxes mean most adults who live in either city can only dream of having a place they can call their own. Those who persevere are often priced out of the city and are forced to make long commutes to their businesses and families elsewhere.

Enter the Nations Capital

In comparison, Ottawa’s market seems like a calm oasis. And it keeps getting better. House and condo sales are on a steady rise, increasing year over year in the city. In 2017, there were 17,803 home sold. That’s a 10 percent increase. Condo sales also saw a 22 percent sales gain.

The fact that residents are scrambling to own their own homes in Ottawa is due to a myriad of factors.

Light rail train image

Light rail has added the additional boost Ottawa needed to push the market up

What is Drawing Buyer In

While Ottawa does provide some of the big city life, it has managed to preserve the small town feel that makes people so comfortable settling down here. At the same time, the city is welcoming exciting changes like a new light rail system which will make it possible to reach opposite sides of town in under 30 minutes. Residents are also earning steady wages as a result of a booming economy, and big businesses that balk at Toronto’s eye-watering rent prices are setting up shop here.

It also means long time Ottawa based corporations are expanding as a result of the economic stability they are enjoying. For instance, the online retail software company, Shopify, recently tripled the size of its Ottawa headquarters and major retailers like Tiffany and Nordstrom are planning major expansions in the downtown core.

Stability and Affordability

Although property sales in the city are increasing, the prices have remained relatively stable, meaning individuals who could not dream of owning homes in cities like Toronto and Vancouver actually have a chance to do so here.

25 year old Alyssa spoke to us about her plans to own a house. Working a steady job, she says, “My partner and I are thinking about moving out. But we don’t want to rent anymore. We’ve been looking around for houses to buy.”

Likewise, 22 year old Maya is also encouraged by Ottawa’s housing prices and believes you’re never too young to be a homeowner. “I’ve been looking at houses in the Riverside area,” she tells us, “They’re fairly affordable and I have enough savings for a down payment. I think I’ll be buying a house soon.”

With choices at every budget the future looks bright

If you’re a prospective buyer with deeper pockets, Ottawa still has the home for you. With an astonishing number of millionaires living in the city, it’s no surprise that luxury properties in exclusive areas have sprung up to meet the demand. Individuals hoping to purchase homes valued at $1 million or more will find they’re spoiled with choice.

According to economists, Ottawa’s real estate market won’t be slowing down anytime soon. With a strong economy and steady prices, we’re bound to enjoy Ottawa’s steady growth for years to come.

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New DND Headquarters

Most of us are familiar with the landmark “needle point building” that once housed Ottawa’s largest tech company, the now fallen Nortel, located just off Moodie Drive right near the 417 Highway. This iconic building sat empty for several years after the Nortel collapse, until the Department of National Defense (DND) finally made a successful bid to revamp this large 370-acre campus into their new DND headquarters. – Ottawa Community News 

As with many major retrofit projects, delays were inevitable. Nearly a decade into this 800-million-dollar project, it is running almost two years behind. The end result of this three-phase shift will see 8,500 Civilian and Military personnel being transferred to the old Nortel campus, with the end target being March 31, 2020. – Ottawa Citizen

One area that is seeing significant growth from the first phase of 3,500 workers being transferred is real estate in Ottawa’s west end. Month after month the west end districts have seen the majority of price hike growth on properties, according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Coincidentally, the bottom 10 districts are located around the current DND Headquarters located at 101 Colonel By Drive, which will be shutting it’s doors once the new DND headquarters is staffed. – Ottawa Citizen

Although it is still too early to determine exactly the influence that the new DND headquarters will have, this early evidence is a strong indicator that prices will continue to grow in the clustered communities surrounding this major new employment hub.

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Canadian Mortgage Rates are Rising

Canadian mortgage rates are rising. Back in mid-2017, news sites predicted the Bank of Canada was preparing to raise its interest rates to reflect the current economy. Speculation was rampant as to how much the rates were going to climb, with many economists predicting increases of a quarter of a percentage point. They were right. Lending rates went from 0.5% to 0.75% in early 2017.

And then they went up again. 0.75% to 1%.

Just this month, the Bank of Canada announced they were raising their interest rates yet again, this time to 1.25%, a move once more pegged to the booming Canadian economy. The bank is expected to raise rates to 1.75% by the end of 2018.

Canadian mortgage rates are rising with the country’s six largest banks, anticipating the move, already increasing their prime rates as well as their fixed rates. The industry is speculating that this move is an effort to cool down the blazing real estate market to prevent a crash. Of course, this sudden hike breaks no records and is still significantly lower than pre-2014 mortgage rates.

It’s too soon to predict the long-term outcome of the banks’ actions, but house sales are expected to continue at a similar breakneck pace as evidenced by the increase in activity for the 5th consecutive month, recorded at the end of December 2017. There are simply too many factors affecting the housing market like the low unemployment rate and millennial aging which the rate increase will be unable to buttress.

What does this mean for Canadians

So, what does this mean if you’re a homeowner? Well, if you have a fixed rate mortgage, then you’re free to flip to the other page. That is, until your mortgage comes up for a renewal. In this case, that’s about 47 percent of you with 31 percent due to follow within the next one to three years.

These rates should be of particular interest to variable rate holders as it could affect their mortgages. The increases were anticipated, with several real estate companies advising customers to renew their mortgages or switch to fixed rates as soon as possible. As one or two more increases are expected by the end of the year, it’s not too late to take this advice.

If you’re hoping to purchase your first home and are dissuaded by these reports, don’t be. As a future homeowner, the best move will not be backing away from your property-owning dreams. Rather, you should consider getting pre-approval and locking in a closed mortgage to cushion yourself against any more changes. With the market bracing itself for more action as Canadian mortgage rates are rising, there’s no better time than the present to purchase property.

Overall, market experts are not particularly worried about Bank of Canada’s moves. We’re still a long way from eye-popping 15% rates as anyone who purchased a home in the 90s will tell you. Combine this relative stability with an iron-hot economy, there’s no doubt that the market has more than enough resilience to ride this wave which means, as a homeowner, you can rest easy. Check out this National Post Article.

 

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A major announcement on the new Lebreton Flats Development

A major announcement on the new Lebreton Flats Development is expected according to sources involved in the talks between the RendezVous LeBreton Group and the NCC, a tentative land deal has been reached over the future development of Lebreton Flats – ottawacitizen.com. The development, which is planned to have over 4,000 housing units, a major public square, and a landmark new hockey arena, has an estimated price tag of over $3 billion and will without a doubt have a huge impact on the City of Ottawa.

Some may question the significance of this project and whether it’s the best use for this highly coveted piece of Ottawa real estate, as well as whether tax payer dollars should be spent on the infrastructure to support its build out. I stand to argue that this project is one of, if not the most important development projects needed for the City of Ottawa in recent years.

Let’s think BIG PICTURE. What is it about a centrally located arena that adds value to a community? – The Economic Case for a Downtown Event Centre. For starters, having an event centre that is located in an area that is equally accessible to those in both the West AND East ends of Ottawa improves the quality of entertainment and ensures a strong fan base for attendance at the games. Yes, this is a money making entertainment business and in order to deliver a high quality entertainment product, a revenue stream from a strong fan base must exist. Locating the hockey arena on Lebreton Flats will create equal accessibility for Ottawa area residence and along with the restaurants, shops, and more expected to be built alongside the arena, create a more appealing atmosphere of complimentary service businesses to attract a larger fan base to games.

My second point surrounds the issue of smart urban planning and efficient use of tax payer dollars. A city cannot be sustained by spending endless sums of money building new infrastructure further and further out into untouched farm land, which is what Ottawa has seen for far too long now. Urban intensification is now a widespread phenomenon across North America, and it’s happening to lessen the burden on cash strapped municipalities.

Yes there will be those who protest “not in my backyard” but the reality is, development always occurs in someone’s “backyard”. Another positive outcome from this development will be the 1,100 affordable housing units that will be integrated into the RVL project and will help lessen the burden on the cities 10,000+ waiting list for affordable housing. Ottawa’s new LRT line will also play a huge factor in creating and sustaining this new community – LeBreton will attract big Ottawa commercial real estate investments. With the line running directly through Lebreton Flats, residents will have a  very convenient alternative method of transportation to get around, and with that creating an overall healthier environmental footprint for the city.

The upside of RendezVous LeBreton and the number of Ottawians that will gain enjoyment from its new urban housing options, entertainment offerings and commercial spaces, far outweigh any downside. With a major announcement on the new Lebreton Flats development coming, let’s be of the mindset of one wanting to continue to grow into a world class city and to welcome RendezVous LeBreton as a next step on this path.

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Rental Fairness Act

The Ontario rental market is on fire. Rental properties, yes rentals, are going into multiple offer scenarios and have been renting for above asking rents. In cities like Toronto, Landlords have been benefiting from the increase in rental prices. Due to the massive price increases on properties in the last 18 months, rents have been steadily climbing to the Landlords benefit.  Some Tenants have suffered by being served abnormally high rental increases and have been forced to move due to rising housing costs.

In April, the Ontario Government announced the Fair Housing Plan, a 16-point plan to help regulate the Ontario real estate market. Some of these points were implemented immediately, while others are still being formulated. As of September 1st, 2017, the Rental Fairness Act has been passed into legislation. There are Four major changes that Landlords and Tenants need to be aware of:

  1. Rent Control

In 1991 a previous Ontario government passed a bill to spur the development of residential rental units by allowing all rental units built after November 1, 1991, to not be subject to rent control. This created more rental inventory and helped the overall rental market.  Landlords were free to raise the rents on these units as they saw fit, which wasn’t a problem until recently. Toronto is the main reason for this law coming into effect. Landlords were able to use this rule to raise rents to any desired rate. Landlords would do this to either bring the rental rate up to market rent, force a Tenant to vacate so they could sell the unit, turn the unit into an Airbnb rental, or any other reason they saw fit. As a result, any unit built after November 1, 1991, is now subject to rent control.

  1. Formal Leases

This one is a little surprising. You would think that most Landlords and Tenants have a formal lease in place, but this isn’t always the case. This law is easily the most obvious and necessary to protect both parties. All Tenants now have the right to demand that a formal lease be signed. If the Landlord doesn’t comply with the request of a formal lease within 21 days, the Tenant can legally withhold rent until a lease is provided. Should the lease be provided, the Tenant must repay the withheld rent in full. Should the Tenant not receive the lease after 30 days, they have the right to terminate the lease.

  1. Termination of a Lease by a Landlord

This new law has been the biggest talking point of the Fair Housing Plan. Previously, Landlords had the right to evict a Tenant when the Landlord or the Landlords family needed to move into the unit, the unit was undergoing extensive renovations, or the unit was being demolished. With the new laws, there are two new rules to consider. First, Tenants must be given a compensation of one months rent if the Landlord terminates their lease. This compensation must be paid before the Tenant vacates the unit. Second, if the Landlord takes back the unit for themselves to inhabit, they must live in the unit for a minimum term of one year before they are able to re-rent it, renovate it, or demolish it. If the Landlord does any of this before the one-year period they can be subject to a fine.

  1. Key, Fob & Utility Deposits

Previously, Landlords would occasionally require Tenants to pay additional deposits for keys, fobs, or utilities. Under the new laws, this is strictly prohibited. It is illegal for Landlords to request a deposit for anything other than first and last months rent.

Overall, the Rental Fairness Act is designed to bring a greater balance between Landlords and Tenants. Only time will tell if this Act benefits both parties.

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Southminster Condos

Church and Developer partnerships are becoming the norm. Many religious congregations are facing dwindling memberships, high operating costs, and major deferred maintenance bills. Some congregations are questioning their short-term cash crunches and long-term viability. The silver lining for most congregations is their primary asset, their land. Built generations ago, some churches are to be located in mature neighbourhoods and congregations were able to purchase large parcels of land at a relatively low cost.

 Developers on the other hand are primarily concerned with finding land. Without a significant supply of quality land, developers are unable to build. Typically, developers buy land for 5-10 years down the road to have inventory; commonly known as land banking. Seems simple enough; buy land and build for today and have additional land to build on after. Right? Wrong! As cities continue to grow, urban land becomes more valuable and harder to find.

With separate yet interdependent problems, both parties have becoming willing partners. Windmill Developments have successfully proven their ability to partner with the Anglican Church to develop its site in the downtown core, Cathedral Hill, located on the corner of Sparks St and Bronson Ave. They struck a land-lease with the Church and built a luxury 21 story condo building with unprecedented views of Parliament, The Ottawa River, and The Gatineau Hills.

Fast forward to today, Windmill Developments are working with Southminster United Church to develop another parcel of land. Ideally located, Southminster United sits in the historic neighbourhood of Old Ottawa South. Southerminster Condos will be only the second condominium development in the neighbourhood. What makes Old Ottawa South such an interesting neighbourhood from a land perspective is that it’s partially landlocked. The Rideau Canal boarders the northern part of the neighbourhood, while the Rideau River boarders the southern part. Due to this, it’s land value is vastly increased.

Southminster Condos itself is quite small with only 4 town-homes and 14 residential condo units proposed. This would be a perfect fit for the street scape of the neighbourhood and would keep the charm and feel of Old Ottawa South intact. However, the project faces a zoning change, heritage overlays, and potential community push back.

Overall, Southminster Condos has the potential to become a landmark site in Old Ottawa South like Cathedral Hill has in Centretown. With city and community approval, continued collaboration between Churches and Developers can continue and they can create a rich piece of history in the process. Finally, something the whole community can be proud of.

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