Should a Changing Climate Change How You Buy Real Estate?

Across the internet homebuyers are on edge – should you buy a home near a lake or ocean, or will that be gone in 20 years? If you’ve watched The Weather Network lately you know that climate panic can be a very real thing, but you need to be able to separate out the hype from the facts.

Yes, the climate is changing and parts of Canada are seeing a drastic uptick in the amount of severe weather events, but looking at things objectively will help you make the right decision for you.

Rising Sea Levels Are a Concern

But not as big a concern as you might think. The levels are expected to rise over the next century, not the next decade.

Climate change can be a tricky subject to cover, but everyone has their worries. If you check out the latest projects from the International Panel on Climate Change sea levels are changing by inches, not by feet, and that’s over large periods of time.

Environment Canada has some great charts and graphs on the changes on their website (just google environment Canada climate change and you’ll find all kinds of great materials).

Flood Risks Don’t Just Happen Along the Coast or Lakefront

Every buyer needs to keep in mind that a 25 year mortgage can be a long time – and an area that wasn’t prone to flooding, severe weather or even wind storms and cold snaps a quarter of a century ago may experience them years later. We live in a changing world, and nothing ever stays the same.

Regional temperatures across Canada have been warmed anywhere from .7C to 2.5C above normal in the last two years, and that means risk of floods and other severe weather can increase – especially in areas where that hasn’t been seen before.

But it all boils down to understanding your risks and assessing whether or not it’s worth it. Sure,

25 Years is a Long Time

Again, most people are choose the max of 25 years for their mortgage, and that’s a long time. While Northern Ontario probably isn’t going to turn into a tropical paradise anytime soon, it’s important to remember that things do change. Buying on the outskirts of Vancouver today could put you smack in the heart of downtown 20 years from now.

But buying a home on the lake today will probably net you even more of a return tomorrow, say real estate experts. Even with a changing climate, people like to be close to the water, they like living with mature trees, and they like nice big outdoor spaces.

Instead of fretting about climate change, start looking at what environmental risk factors your property or property you want to buy faces. Is the house sitting on top of a one-time coal mine? Are they building a Sriracha Asian hot sauce plant a mile away, why are the sellers selling? What do you need to know before you buy? Make sure you do your research and find out!

The Goodale Miller Team, based in Oakville, Ontario, is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  To learn more visit

Toronto: Canada’s Leader in High-Rise Construction

Even with the home market stabilizing, Toronto is still leading the CONTINENT in high-rise construction. There are actually so many projects going on right now in Toronto that there are more cranes up in the city than the rest of the nation combined.

That’s a lot of cranes!

It all starts with home starts that were started (say that 20 times really fast) back in 2011, 2012 and last year. Many of these projects are nearing completion, which means that housing is about to get a whole lot more affordable across the GTA.

But what does this mean for the rest of Canada? What will happen to all those jobs once construction starts to slow down? Who does all this construction really benefit, anyway?

Toronto The North American Leader in High Rise Construction

There are more cranes up in Toronto today than anywhere else in Canada – and that’s saying something. The last few years construction has boomed across the Greater Toronto Area, leading to more jobs, more homes and greater prosperity.

In fact, Southern Ontario today has some of the wealthiest cities and best ranked places to live across Canada and some of the northern United States.

What it boils down to though is that as long as the construction industry continues to boom, so will Canada. Many experts are concerned that with rising interest rates, home affordability issues and slowing construction over the next two years the boom could be over. Only time will tell.

New York City Second, Montreal Third

New York City ranked second in North America, while Montreal was an extremely close third. New York began to pick up construction in high rise residential towers and buildings back in 2012 and 2013, and it’s expected to exceed Toronto’s capacity as the number one high-rise boom city by 2016.

But, like everything else in real estate, anything could happen. Aliens could invade, the demand for residential and commercial construction could both bottom out, people might decide they’d rather live in the desert in domes made of detritus.

When it comes to these kinds of things anything is possible – probably not probable, but totally within the realm of possibility. Either way, Toronto is on the road to meeting the extraordinary high demand for housing and both NYC and Montreal are playing catch up.

Majority of All High-Rise Construction Residential Buildings

Today the majority of high rise construction is residential buildings – and while commercial high rise construction is on the decline across most of North America (even occupancy has dropped in the double digits), Toronto is one of the few cities on the continent that can make it work.

New residential construction accounts for 70% of the cranes up across the GTA today. Not counting cranes and looking at remodeling and reconstruction, many commercial buildings are being reconfigured for modern use (floors of cubicles transformed into open working spaces, etc.)

Either way, Toronto is expected to stay the construction leader in high-rise development for some time to come.

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. For a listing of luxury homes for sale in the Oakville area visit their homes for sale page here:

Have Condo, Will Sell: Why the Busy Condo Market is Saving Canadian Real Estate

It’s no secret that single-family homes across Canada are hard to find – so much so that condos are booming again. Just a few months ago every armchair economist and supposed real estate “expert” was talking about how the glut of condos in the market would crash the Canadian real estate market for good.

But they didn’t. If anything, they’ve rescued a slowing real estate market.

With fewer single family homes available, the ones that you can find on the market today are astronomically expensive. If anything, condos are a viable alternative until prices begin to stabilize later on this year and into next year.

Homes in the Top Markets Just Too Expensive for Most

Single family homes, the semi-detached dreams that everyone is looking for, are just too expensive – especially if you want to buy somewhere like Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

But condos are different. Condos are right next door to those beautiful homes but can cost anywhere from 25% to 50% of the price in the same market. That means in Toronto where the average home (if you can find one!) may cost $650,000, a condo in the same neighbourhood could cost $350,000. If you only need two or three rooms, and that could be the magic number that makes the best neighbourhoods a little more affordable.

Home Prices Moved 2% Year on Year

Condo prices across Canada have gone up by 2%, while single family semi-detached homes are up by as much as 12% year on year, depending on what city you’re looking at. That’s a major price difference!

The bad news for those traditional homes sales are actually tapering off – prices aren’t rising because homes are just that much more valuable – it’s because the supply of homes has dwindled.

This is great if you’re a seller; but with home prices and home sales expected to level off through the rest of the decade, if you’re thinking about buying you’re going to get the short end of the stick.

Understanding that you won’t see a 30% jump in the value of your home in the next five years (no matter what your realtor tells you) means you won’t worry about the home you do buy 10 years from now not being a good return on your investment.

Condos Sales Rose 12.6%

While home sales have stalled, condo sales rose almost 13% year on year. It may be the short supply of homes on the market, it may be the more attractive prices, but either way, condos are a huge hit.

There’s no doubt that greater condo sales have helped the rest of the real estate market hit a soft landing. It seems like all those rules that came out of Ottawa have actually worked, that there will be no American-style housing crash here in Canada.

Only time will tell! Are you thinking about buying a condo? Do you think the extra cost of a single family home is really worth it?

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. You can visit their website here.