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Home of the Week, 4390 Anderson St., Whitby, Ont.Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka/Birdhouse Media

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.

With the five-day office week gone, what will become of downtown office districts?

Throughout Toronto’s underground mall, places that used to be in top locations have their windows papered over. As companies continue to embrace hybrid work, formerly packed food courts, hairdressers, dry cleaners and other retailers catering to office workers in Toronto’s downtown core are facing a long-term slump. As of early March, the percentage of employees in Toronto’s financial hub averaged 43 per cent of prepandemic occupancy levels, reports Rachelle Younglai.

Saving for a down payment in Canada’s big cities

Looking at down payment trends tells us two things: there are some cities where down payments are affordable, and some others are an affordability desert for the middle class, even after price declines.

You could save for a down payment to buy a house in Edmonton, Winnipeg or Quebec City by the end of summer 2025. For Montreal and Ottawa, add another 12 to 18 months. For Toronto and Vancouver, a median income household is looking at 26 and 28.5 years respectively, writes Rob Carrick.

Fixed mortgage rates dip big

It’s been raining rate cuts this week. The nation’s leading fixed rates are down anywhere from five to 25 basis points, depending on the term. (One basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point.)

Lowest nationally available mortgage rates

1-year fixed5.74%Ratehub5.54%QuestMortgage
2-year fixed5.24%HSBC5.24%HSBC
3-year fixed4.99%HSBC4.94%QuestMortgage
4-year fixed5.19%Ratehub4.64%True North
5-year fixed4.79%HSBC4.44%Ratehub
10-year fixed5.74%HSBC5.14%QuestMortgage
Variable6.00%HSBC5.50%True North
5-year hybrid5.40%HSBC6.06%Scotia eHOME

Source: Robert McLister; data as of March 23.

* Home equity line of credit

Self-storage is booming as condos get smaller

Areas seeing the most rapid growth in the self-storage industry are also those building the most high-rise apartment buildings, reports Shane Dingman. There’s 37.3 million square feet of self-storage in Ontario, which grew by 9 per cent in the last three years, and some of the drivers appear to be downsizing, clearing space for hybrid work set ups, and smaller living spaces.

Home of the week: Rural Whitby home with a Westchester vibe

  • Robert Holowka/Robert Holowka/Birdhouse Media

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4390 Anderson St., Whitby, Ont.

A 6,500-square-foot house in Whitby, Ont. where life on the main floor revolves around a great room with a wood-burning fireplace set in floor-to-ceiling Indiana limestone. The vaulted ceilings are two stories high, and a second-storey walkway overlooks the main level.

The circular dining room was inspired by the round dining room table which the owners had custom-made, and two alcoves were designed for the couple’s antique Canadiana hutches.

Guess the price

What do you think is the asking price for this house?
a. $2.9-million
b. $4.8-million
c. $5.1-million
d. $3.8-million

a. The asking price is $4.8-million.