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Home of the Week: A 38-acre Elora home with everything from a pool to a ‘party barn’.Visual Advantage

Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week and one home worth a look.

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Downtown Toronto faces a crush of rising office vacancies that could threaten building valuations

Downtown Toronto’s largest office landlords are plagued by a growing problem: too many empty floors. But all buildings are not equal, and a new analysis pulls back the curtain on what’s going on behind the shimmering glass of all those skyscrapers that define the city’s skyline, revealing a deeply divided office market, write Jason Kirby, Rachelle Younglai and James Bradshaw. While some towers are chock-full of tenants, one-third of the biggest office buildings in the core of Canada’s most important financial district are at least one-fifth empty, with some grappling with even larger voids of up to 50 per cent. Even those with high-profile skyscrapers have had to woo tenants with incentives such as more cash to improve their office space or a period of free rent.

Q&A: Ask us your questions about downtown Toronto’s rising office vacancies

Bank of Canada warns of steep jump in mortgage payments

Homeowners who are due to renew their mortgages over the coming years will face steep jumps in payments, according to an annual report by the Bank of Canada. For those with a variable rate mortgage, the median monthly payments could increase by more than 60 per cent, write Mark Rendell and Rachelle Younglai. Homeowners who purchased their homes early in the pandemic – when the bank’s policy interest rate was at an emergency low of 0.25 per cent – could be facing interest rates of 5 per cent or more when they’re scheduled to renew. The report also showed that renters are facing greater financial stress than homeowners, and have been increasingly missing payments on car loans and credit cards.

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According to a survey of Globe readers, a roof replacement could cost up to $30,000.invincible_bulldog/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Rob Carrick: How much are homeowners spending to replace a roof or furnace and fix a toilet?

Something you often hear about home ownership is that it’s a forced savings plan. What you never hear is that owning a home is a forced spending plan as well, writes personal finance columnist Rob Carrick. Home repair costs are the great unknown of home ownership, but based on a survey of his newsletter readership, the range is anywhere from $200 to replace a gasket under a toilet to $30,000 for a flat roof. There’s a rough rule in personal finance that you should expect to pay an average annual 1 per cent of the value of your home in maintenance and repairs, but it’s hard to make practical use of this estimate. Take a look at some of the other expenses incurred by readers in this week’s column.

Real estate board hits back at Wellness program dissidents

Legal filings in a civil court case related to the controversial Ontario Realtor Wellness Program insurance plan allege one of the country’s largest real estate boards is attempting to use litigation to silence protests, writes Shane Dingman. In June, 2023, the Ontario Real Estate Association passed changes to its insurance and benefits plan that would force the association’s almost 100,000 realtors to pay increased dues to cover so-called “wellness” programs, which sparked outrage among some realtors. In a March statement, lawyers of two realtors who oppose the changes allege that the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board brought a lawsuit against them to “silence dissent and intimidate the defendants.”

Home of the week: A 38-acre Elora home with everything from a pool to a ‘party barn’

  • Home of the Week, 7679 6th Line, Elora, Ont.Visual Advantage

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7679 6th Line, Elora, Ont.

The home was named Ash and Thorn Farm by the previous owners, who built the home almost 10 years ago on a 38-acre property covered in ash trees and hawthorns (hence the name). Up the laneway on the property, the first thing you encounter are the red-roofed “party barns” and stables on the left – which have been renovated with a 26-foot bar and pool table – with the home and a newly-added pool to the right. The house is built for entertaining. A slide on the main floor (yes, a bright yellow slide) leads to an extra-tall basement with an in-home movie theatre, climbing wall, personal gym and a full wet bar.

Guess the price

What do you think is the asking price for the property?
a. $2.9-million
b. $3.5-million
c. $4.5-million
d. $5.2-million

c. The asking price is $4.5-million.

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