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.
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Property developer Westbank faces lawsuits over sprawling Mirvish Village redevelopment project
High-profile Canadian real estate developer Westbank Corp. is being sued by four construction companies for more than $25-million in unpaid work at the large Mirvish Village rental apartment project in Toronto, writes Shane Dingman and Rachelle Younglai. In a statement, Westbank said the issues stem from disruptions after it took over as its own construction manager on the site, and said that construction is “progressing” as it plans to finish the residential portion of the Mirvish project in 2024.
Westbank said is in the process of settling claims with three of the four companies, though not all the money those companies are demanding has been paid and it is unclear whether they are back at work on the site.
Reluctant landlords: Condo buyers find they are unable to evict tenants
A group of buyers in a Cambridge, Ont., townhouse project are warning that an obscure section of Ontario tenant law can turn the dream of purchasing your first property into a nightmare, writes Shane Dingman. Because the townhouse was part of a complex that had been converted from purpose-built rentals to condominiums, new buyers were not going to be able to move in so long as the tenants they inherited wanted to stay – citing a rarely-used section of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act which protects tenants in this unique situation. The section is so arcane even specialists in landlord-tenant law have rarely seen a case rely on it.
This week’s lowest available mortgage rates
There’s downward progress on mortgage rates again, with leading fixed rates falling 0.05 to 0.35 percentage points in the past week, depending on the lender and term, writes Robert McLister. But markets often do what we least expect. Moreover, expectations of lower rates could actually boost spending and home buying – underpinning inflation and keeping rates higher for longer.
Opinion: To solve the housing crisis, we need to do something about ‘mom-and-pop’ investors
A growing number of home sales are being made by investors and not people who intended to live in those homes, which has put an upward pressure on price and crowded out first-time homebuyers. If we cut investors’ share of future home sales in half, writes Jon Shell, the impact would be both immediate and dramatic. It would open up about 75,000 homes next year for first-time homebuyers and, as the supply of homes ramps up, could make upward of a million available over the next decade.
Home of the week: Upper Beach home in Toronto has spa space above, gym below
29 Swanwick Ave., Toronto
Located in the Upper Beaches neighbourhood, this three-level house opens up to a renovated living room and kitchen – which comes with its own “kitchen garage” to store all those occasional cooking appliances. Down a few steps from the kitchen is a sun-roofed solarium, which the previous owners used as an office. The basement has been renovated into an extended living space with a home gym, and a guest bedroom to the side. The best feature? The “upstairs oasis,” an entire second floor opened up like a loft apartment, with a huge spa-like space featuring a soaker tub.
What do you think is the asking price for the property?
d. The asking price is $1,574,000.