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Why are there so many houses for lease in Leaside?

Recent leases of semi-detached two-storey homes in Leaside ranged from $2,800-$3,500/month while detached homes with three or more bedrooms leased for $3,300-$4,299/month. Bungalows typically rent for around $2,500/month. Recent leases were for 93-101% of the asking rent and on average were on the market for 24 days. Of course, the rent varies depending on the location and amount of updating. Not surprisingly, homes on busy roads such as Eglinton rent for less than those on more desirable streets.

It feels strange to be writing an article about Leaside real estate while sitting in my family room at the cottage overlooking a tranquil lake. However, having recently retired from a 34-year career as a real estate salesperson and manager, it feels pretty good. Hopefully my experience will allow me to provide you with some insight into the market.

A question I am often asked these days is why there are so many houses for lease in Leaside. This past summer, there were 17 houses for lease on MLS in Leaside. Six of these were leased in July and three in August.

There are several reasons you see so many houses for lease.

While studies indicate that only 5-8% of homes in Canada are bought by foreign investors, such buyers are significant in the Leaside market. Many buy planning to build a new home on the site either for resale or as a residence for themselves or a family member. For those building a new home, there can be a long waiting period to obtain the required permits. It is for this period that the house is sometimes rented, providing the owner with some income.

Some of those planning to build a new home don’t rent the house while awaiting permits, preferring not to deal with tenants, since they may not vacate the house at the end of their tenancy or may cause other problems. However, when properties are left vacant, sometimes they are not well maintained. Grass is left uncut and hedges untrimmed, so these properties end up creating an eyesore. You can call the City to report such a situation.

In other cases, investors, foreign or domestic, acquire houses for continued rental income. Canada is a safe place to invest, a fact which adds to the appeal for foreign investors. Note that these buyers are not always “foreign” in the eyes of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Many are Canadian citizens, but some of the money used to buy the homes may be coming from off-shore family members.

Almost everyone I know who bought a house as an investment property over the past 10 to 20 years has done very well because of the rapid appreciation in house prices over that period. When the property is sold, some of the profit goes to the CRA as capital gains tax, but the owner has also benefited from the rental income over the years. Leaside has been an easy place for landlords to find good tenants because of its central location in Toronto, proximity to employment centres such as Sunnybrook, excellent retail options, and good schools and community facilities.

Another reason a home is leased is a life-change for the owner, such as a job transfer or change in family situation. In such cases, owners may lease the house during the period they cannot occupy it. Also, a house may be offered for lease if a seller cannot achieve the desired selling price.

Given all these factors, I think it’s fair to say Leaside will continue to see a number of homes for lease.

Craig is a long-time Leaside resident and a graduate of Leaside High School. He is also an alumnus of the University of Waterloo (Urban and Regional Planning) and UBC (Urban Land Economics). He recently retired from a long career in real estate sales and management. You can reach him at LCraigHomewood@gmail.com.