Image of a bag of money being exchanged for a house to illustrated buying a house as a millennial.

Advice For Millennials Thinking of Buying a House In Toronto Or The GTA From Frank Leo, The #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in the World

With almost 65% of millennials saving money with the intent of buying a house in Toronto or elsewhere, we want to provide first-time homebuyers with the best possible advice and insights when it comes to what could be the largest financial decision of a lifetime.

Taking the right approach when investing in Toronto real estate can make a tremendous difference in your adult life. This goes for buying as an investment or as a primary residence. A small mistake could mean the difference between a benchmark investment and an issue plaguing your finances for years to come.

Remember that Frank Leo & Associates, the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada** led by the #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in the World* are here to answer you Toronto real estate questions at any time. If you have any questions about home ownership that are outside the scope of this article, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us.

Benefits of Being a Millennial Owning a House in Toronto

If you’re considering buying a home in Toronto & the GTA, you’re no doubt aware of some of the many benefits it can provide. You can use it to generate income, use home equity as collateral, or sell at a profit.

For some people, the feeling of not paying rent anymore justifies the commitment of paying for a house.

However, before you make that commitment, which is significant, you should be aware of everything that comes with it. Going into a big decision like buying a house blind is a sure way to make life difficult for yourself.

Understand What Buying a House in Toronto & The GTA Involves

Owning a house is a big responsibility, both financially and in terms of your day-to-day life.

In maintaining a house and the grounds takes a lot of work. It can be a bit of an adjustment for the uninitiated.

It could also limit your mobility when it comes to travel. If you plan on going away for a longer period of time the house will need maintenance.

In terms of finances, buying a house with a mortgage makes it a big financial responsibility. Missing mortgage payments, or in the worst case defaulting on your mortgage can leave you bankrupt and throw your financial future into turmoil.

For that reason taking out a mortgage is not a decision to be taken lightly or without completely thinking through your plans.

Some of the questions you should ask yourself when thinking of buying a home in Toronto or The GTA include:

–  Are you able to afford owning a home in Toronto & the GTA?

–  Can you continue to make mortgage payments even after a change in income?

–  Do you have the financial means to put in a good enough down payment to support the rest of the costs needed to be payed?

–   Is your current debt a heavy burden?

–   Would it benefit you to wait for more favourable market conditions or until you have more savings?

–   Have you considered ALL of the costs associated with buying a house?

–   What kind of a mortgage should you take out?

If you’re seeking advice on buying your first house in Toronto & the GTA, Frank Leo & Associates would be more than happy to provide expert guidance. FOLLOW HERE TO CONTACT US or Call (416)917-5466.

Financing Your First House in Toronto & The GTA If You’re a Millennial

Many millennials think of the Toronto & GTA Real Estate market and wonder if they’ll ever be able to afford a house. Although Toronto & the GTA house prices go up and down, the market is seen as inaccessible to young people in much of millennial culture.

An image showing personal finance calculations for someone thinking of buying a house in Toronto

In reality, many millennials could afford buying a house with a mortgage while taking advantage of some of the financial incentives the Government has instituted to help first time home-owners.

For example, the First-Time Home Buyer’s Credit (FTHBC) introduced by Revenue Canada in 2009 is a terrific place to start when it comes to easing the financial stress of buying a house in Toronto. If you’re a first-time homebuyer thinking of buying a house in Toronto check if you meet the requirements and whether the house qualifies for the credit.

The 15% income tax credit and other credits you may be eligible could mean the difference between affording the home and saving for a few more years.

Is It The Right Time To Buy A House in Toronto & the GTA?

Timing can play a big role when it comes to buying a house in Toronto. Determining when is the right time is a personal financial decision based on:

  • The conditions of the Toronto & GTA Real estate market. Houses could be exceptionally expensive or more affordable
  • Mortgage rates. Depending on the state of the mortgage industry, interest rates on the money you’re borrowing to buy a house could be relatively high or low
  • Your financial situation. Is it a good idea to buy now or save for a bit longer?
  • The Right House. Have you the perfect home for you?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to answering these questions. It comes down to your current situation, your financial plans, and what your plans are for the future. When it comes to financial planning you can seek out the help of a professional, but in regard to any of your Toronto real estate questions you can count on Frank Leo & Associates.

Our award-winning real estate service has helped 1,000’s or people find their dream homes in Toronto & The GTA over three decades. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help make your real estate dreams a reality.

Making Your Down Payment When Buying A House in Toronto & The GTA As A Millennial

In addition to other home-ownership costs, mortgage insurance is another expense you will have to pay on a monthly basis if you don’t own 20% equity. In practical terms, that means anyone buying a house who makes less than the traditional 20% down payment will have to buy this insurance.

Mortgage insurance protects the lender from losses if you are suddenly unable to make mortgage payments.

Making a larger down payment also means you start out with a higher share of equity in the property. Having more equity gives you more financial options in the future.

Remember the Stress Test

In order to be approved for a mortgage in Canada you need to undergo a financial stress test. As of October 17, 2016, this stress test is mandatory for all insured mortgages in Canada, even if you make a 20% down payment.

Historically this test only applied to people making a downpayment of less than 20%. These new rules were put in place to ensure that you can afford to keep making payments even if mortgage rates were to increase.

Image of a calliper measuring to determine if someone has enough cash when buying a home

In addition to qualifying for the rate provided by your lender, the stress test requires that you qualify for the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed mortgage rate. The BOC’s rate acts as a sort of benchmark that gives an indication of your financial status to help prevent people from defaulting on their mortgages.  

This mandatory measure includes a requirement that as a home buyer you are not spending more than 39% of your income on home costs. Those costs include taxes, mortgage payments, utilities, etc.

Finally, your TDS (Total Debt Service) ratio cannot be over 44% and needs to include all other debt payments.

All of these conditions might seem like obstacles for millennials thinking of buying houses in Toronto. However, they’re there to prevent Canadians from falling into dire financial circumstances if their mortgage rates were to increase, unexpectedly.

Be aware of how your financial standing stacks up to the stress test requirements. Check where you stand before getting too invested in buying a house.

Get Informed About Toronto & The GTA Real Estate

Buying a home requires research, knowledge and an understanding of the home-buying process. Having insight and experience on your side is even better. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just looking through Toronto & GTA real estate listings and picking a house.

Over 3 decades we’ve been helping people in Toronto & The GTA navigate the real estate market and we’ve developed an expert understanding of it.

That’s what makes us the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada.* If you’d like the #1 Team on your side when navigating the home-buying process, we’re here for you.






Led by the #1 RE/MAX Agent in the world*, Frank Leo & Associates has helped 1000’s people in Toronto & The GTA navigate the real estate market.

That’s what makes us the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada.**

Consider speaking with Frank and his team of associates help you navigating the home-buying process, FOLLOW HERE TO CONTACT US TODAY or Call (416)917-5466.

* Dollar Volume in 2017

** Dollar Volume  January – May 2018

The Skyline of Toronto & GTA Real Estate highlighting how it's a good place to invest

Toronto & GTA Real Estate: A Strong Place to Invest When It Comes to Real Estate Investment in Canada

The Toronto & GTA Real Estate market just saw a major jump. The Toronto real estate statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Board for this summer show a major upswing when it comes to housing sales. The increase is drawing even more attention to one of Canada’s top cities for Real Estate investment. In fact, Toronto has earned the title of making Canada’s biggest gain in home sales this year.

If you have any questions about the statistics presented in this article or about Toronto & GTA real estate in general, look no further than Frank Leo & Associates headed by the #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in the World* for the answers. Contact us to have your questions addressed.

Toronto & GTA Real Estate Statistics 2018: Toronto Homes Sold

Toronto has seen an increase in homes sold this summer compared with the same time last year.

By the numbers, that means a 2.4% increase compared with last year’s numbers for June 2017. In Total, we’ve seen 8,082 homes sold through the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Toronto MLS Listing System, as reported by Greater Toronto Realtors® in June 2018. Between May and June of 2018, the sales are up 17.6% on a monthly basis.

Average Price of Toronto Homes Sold

In terms of average selling price, it’s edged up by 2% on a year-by-year basis. By June 2018, the average price of a home sold in Toronto reached $807,871. Between May 2018 and June 2018, the average home price jumped up by 3%, a considerable change for the market (after preliminary seasonal adjustment).

On a year-over-year basis the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) went down 4.8%. However, it stayed more or less the same in terms of month-over-month change. Changes to the amount of different types of properties which were sold between June 2017 and June 2018 is one of the reasons that can account for the differences in the average price and the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), year-over-year. In June 2018 low-rise homes accounted for a larger share of home sales, for example.

Buying A Home In Toronto Becoming More Attractive

Jason Mercer, The Toronto Real Estate Board’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels, expects to see, “improvements in sales over the next year.” In the same statement he has indicated that it is likely that the number of new listings posted each month will also stay more or less consistent.

What does that mean for the market?

It could mean that the competition between buyers which is characteristic for the Toronto & the GTA real estate market could actually increase. The cumulative effect of that competition is likely to drive Toronto Real Estate Prices up even higher.

Accounting For Toronto’s Real Estate Market Boom

Although these changes are largely positive for homeowners seeking to sell property in Toronto & the GTA, these changes to the Toronto Real Estate market can be accounted for by recent policy changes over the past year which have affected home buyers. These include adjustments to the Fair Housing Plan, the now-mandatory stress test, and higher costs of borrowing.

Garry Bhaura, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, suggests that these conditions are starting to move more real estate buyers back into the Toronto real estate market.

Your Toronto & GTA Real Estate Questions, Answered

Still have questions about the Toronto & GTA Real Estate Market?

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a house in Toronto & The GTA, you can count on Frank Leo & The #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada** for expert advice. Frank Leo & Associates have been helping buy and sell houses in Toronto & The GTA for three decades.

We’re here to answer all of your questions and meet all of your real estate needs, so get in touch.

* Dollar Volume 2017

** For Dollar Volume January – May 2018





Image of house and coins on paper demonstrating frank leo's net worth tips for real estate in Toronto & The GTA

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tips For Toronto & GTA Real Estate

Regardless of the state of Canada’s economy, global markets, or the stock market, protecting your net worth can be a wise course of action. In this Frank Leo Net Worth tips article we’ll cover how Toronto & GTA Real Estate can not only protect your wealth from shrinking and protect from inflation, but even generate more income.

Please note that while Frank Leo & Associates are the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada* lead by the #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in the World**, we are experts in the field of Toronto & GTA Real Estate, not finance. This article should not be taken as financial advise or replace the need to see a financial advisor.

If you have have any questions about Toronto real estate MLS Listings, buying or selling a house in Toronto, or mortgage-related questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Click here to talk Toronto real estate with us.

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tip 1: Minimize Inflation

Investing in Toronto Real Estate – as opposed to stocks or bonds – can be a way to protect your net worth from inflation.

Stocks, bonds, and other equity investments can decrease in value when inflation sets in. That means your net worth also decreases and your buying power goes down.

Real Estate is one of the select few assets which stays proportional to inflation. As inflation sets in landlords increase rents and property values typically go up with them.

As an example we can look at how inflation affected residential house prices in Texas between 1979 and 1985. The Texas home prices index rose from 100 to 175.8 in that time. In practical terms, that means every $100 invested in a residential real estate asset in 1979 would was worth $175.8 just 6 years later.

The Huston consumer price index also jumped from 100 to 142.9 over that same period. The difference between the two figures (32.9%) represents the increase in the purchasing power of each $100 invested in Texas residential real estate.

A cashbox meant to demonstrate Frank Leo's net worth tip of using real estate to protect from inflation.

If you have any further questions regarding real estate investment in Toronto & The GTA the Frank Leo Team would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us with your questions today.

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tip 2: Real Estate Is A Tangible Asset

Residential real estate is a unique investment because it’s an assets which can actually fulfill people’s basic needs.

Unlike luxury commodities like gold, or intangible wealth like equity, a house is a type of necessity. It can fulfill a need, not just satisfy a desire. It will always have that tangible value.

Although no one can say where the market will go with certainty, it is reasonable to conclude that residential real estate will always have value because people will always want to own nice accommodations.

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tip 3: Toronto Real Estate is a Good Deal

Long term, real estate can be better overall for your net worth than equity assets. You may be wondering how that is if real estate appreciation (even if you added potential rental income) underperforms the appreciation of stocks plus the dividend income they provide.

If we look at all the variables and see the investment in context, we’ll begin to see how real estate can be a better deal.

Let’s compare taking out a mortgage and leveraging money from a stock broker as two types of investments. The better these investments, the more secure your net worth.

An Image of a model house and clock beside increasingly large coin stacks representing Frank Leo's Net Worth Tips

For many people, investing in real estate turns out to be the superior investment. For one, borrowing money to buy a house in Toronto comes at relatively low interest rates. Let’s say you buy a house in Toronto for $1,000,000 and make a standard 20% down payment. Your return will be 15%, assuming the property appreciates at 3%.

Generally, these figures are better than what one could expect to make from equity investment as a non-professional trader.

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tip 4: You Choose When to Sell

When you buy a house in Toronto & The GTA, the investment belongs to you. Although you may owe money to the bank in the form of a mortgage, the property is yours and that means you can do what you want with it. You choose when to sell.

With a stock you could be forced to sell at an inopportune time. Selling at the wrong time could cut in or completely undercut your margins.

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tip 5: Build Net Worth With Real Estate

Just like other financial assets, your Toronto & GTA real estate can help you build net worth in addition to protecting it. As outline above, it could even be a higher return than the typical 2% which many bonds and stocks yield.

Unlike equity, you don’t have to sell your property to turn a profit. As a landlord you can make up to double-digit returns on your investment.

Answering Your Toronto & GTA Real Estate Investment Questions

Do you have further questions about real estate investment in Toronto & The GTA?

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling your property in Toronto an  the GTA, you can count on the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada* led by the #1 Individual RE/MAX in the World** to deliver insights and answers.

We’ve been serving Toronto & The GTA by buying and selling real estate for nearly 30 years and over that time we’ve developed a sharp understanding of the market and found the answers to the questions our clients are asking.

Contact us to have your real estate questions answered.





* For Dollar Volume January – May 2018

** Dollar Volume 2017

Image of Frank Leo standing in front of increasingly large stacks of coins representing building home equity

Frank Leo’s Net Worth Tips – Building Your Home Equity With Real Estate in Toronto & The GTA

If you’ve heard the phrase, “building home equity,” but not sure what it means it can be summarized like this: your home equity is the “amount” of your home you actually own. It’s the difference between the amount you owe on the mortgage loan and what your home is currently worth.

For example:

Let’s say you purchased a home worth $500,000 and you owe $100,000 on the mortgage. The $500,000 value of the home minus the amount owing of $100,000 leaves you with $400,000. That’s your equity.

Building your net worth with home equity is one of the common question topics we hear from our real estate clients in Toronto & The GTA. If you’d like your real estate questions addressed, contact the #1 RE/MAX Team in Canada* led by the #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in the World** for expert answers.

What Can You Do With Home Equity?

Home owners commonly use the home equity they worked hard to build up on net-worth-building projects like investing in another property, paying down other debts, renovating a property, or even leisure costs like taking a vacation.

So what does using your home equity actually involve?

To put it simply, using your home equity typically involves borrowing against the value of the amount of the home you own.

Here are some of the options you have for using your equity:

  • Get cash for the value of your equity if you choose to sell your home and pay any costs related with the sale
  • Borrow money with a home equity loan or a HELOC (Home Equity Line Of Credit). Most mortgage companies offer a range of products which allow you to borrow against your equity
  • Get a second mortgage
  • Use the equity value for a down payment on the purchase of another property
  • You can opt for refinancing, which involves breaking the terms of your current mortgage contract and taking out the equity of your home and adding it to your current loan balance

If you’re interested in learning more about building net worth by investing in Toronto & GTA real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert advice from Frank Leo, The #1 Individual RE/MAX Agent in The World, and The #1 RE/MAX in Canada.

Building Your Home Equity

As defined above, building home equity simply means that the value of the amount of your home that you own is going up.

You can take measures to actively build up your equity. There are also some conditions which will make your equity go up on its own. These two types of building equity are typically divided into active and passive equity building.

How Do You Build Home Equity Passively?

As long as the market value of your home stays consistent, your home equity will slowly increase as you pay the mortgage off. As you own more and more of the house, your home equity gets larger and larger.

Even if you own your house in Toronto and are no longer making mortgage payments, your home equity can still grow passively. Your equity grows when the market value of your home increases. Your properties value could increase for reasons including higher demand for housing or more development in the area.

Two people shaking hands in front of a house which was bought to build equity

With a bit of research and expert advice from a seasoned real estate agent the value of the home you decide to purchase will increase over time.

When the value of your home increases your home equity increases. Conversely, if your property value decreases so does your home equity.

Also keep in mind that while your home equity goes up with rising market price, so does your property tax. That increase may affect your financial situation.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate how passively building home equity works.

When you buy a home in Toronto, let’s say it’s worth $600,000.

After making a downpayment and paying off your mortgage for a few years you still owe $300,000. That makes your home equity $300,000 since that’s the amount of the house you have paid off.

If your Toronto property goes up to $700,000 because of Toronto’s real estate market, you will have $400,000 in home equity even though you’ve paid $300,000 on your mortgage.

How Do You Build Home Equity Actively?

Building home equity passively can take a long time. People who hope to leverage the value of their home equity to build their net worth typically take an active approach to building their equity.

There are many different ways to actively build your home equity and different combinations will work for different people. The best combination for you depends on your financial goals and situation.

How to Increase Your Home Equity By Improving Your Property

In terms what you can do with your home to increase your home equity value, home improvements are at the top of the list. Investing in a home improvement like updating your kitchen, landscaping the backyard, or building an addition are all great ways to build equity.


Whether the project is big or small, make sure that your renovation or upgrade is likely to increase your home’s value. Not all renovations are guaranteed to increase the value of your property.

Also bear in mind that renovations cost money – some more than others. Make sure that your renovation will pay off before breaking ground. Be sure that you’ll be able to make a return on the money you invest in the renovation with your home equity boost.

Some homeowners choose a renovation which they personally want which also increases home equity value. Others do whatever the market dictates will provide the highest ROI. If you’re upgrading your home just to build equity, be sure to choose an upgrade which provides the highest return.

Maintain Your Property to Build Home Equity

Keeping your property well-maintained is just as important as upgrades and improvements. A beautifully upgraded bathroom won’t do much to raise the value of your property if the rest of the house is in disrepair.


Although it may be not be as exciting or drastic as a renovation, routine home maintenance is critical for maintaining property value. In some cases, home maintenance can actually grow your home equity.

For example, if you own a historic home or some elements of your home reflect an older style which is highly valued, keeping it well maintained will certainly pay off.

When it comes to home upkeep there are a few major categories to attend to:

  • Keep the property around the house trimmed and under control
  • Ensure the exterior drainage is functioning
  • Prevent leaks and make sure the roof is well maintained
  • Clean the home’s ventilation system
  • Replace or repair any cracks or defects in the windows
  • Keep the home’s exterior looking good (e.g. paint job, damaged bricks)
  • Check for cracks in the foundation
  • Maintain plumbing in good working order
  • Repair the driveway or any pavement that’s cracked or warped/sunken

Scheduling monthly, quarterly, and annual checks for each of these home maintenance categories respectively is mandatory if you want to keep your home equity growing.

Make Your Down Payment Larger To Get A Head Start on Home Equity

Purchasing a home with a low down payment isn’t always the best option. Although it may seem tempting to free up your financial situation for other purchases by making a lower down payment, it reduces the amount of equity you will own.

The view of a laptop with Online Banking open for someone building home equity

It may be worth waiting to buy your home in Toronto in order to generate more cash to make the down payment. The traditional down payment of 20% not only gives you more equity from the start but also means you don’t need to purchase and pay for mortgage loan insurance.

If you are thinking of refinancing your existing mortgage to get a better interest rate, taking the cash-out option will actually increase your mortgage balance. A higher mortgage balance means lower equity.

Instead, you can ask your lender about cash-in options for refinancing your home. With this option you could end up lowering your mortgage balance and potentially even qualifying for a better rate on your mortgage.

Make Higher Monthly Payments to Build Home Equity

When you take out a mortgage you agree to make payments towards the loan balance at regular intervals. Part of each payment goes to paying down the principal and part of it pays the interest on the loan.

This amortization table demonstrates how the amortization process works. Amortization is a financial term for paying the loan balance with fixed payments over time.

Although each monthly payment is the same, the proportion that goes to interest and the principal changes over the length of the loan. The closer you get to paying off your loan, the higher proportion of the payment goes towards the principal. Your last payment will be the remaining balance of your loan with 0% interest.

Less money spent on interest means more equity, faster.

When you make higher payments each month, you pay off the principal faster and therefore build equity faster.

There are also other financial decisions you can make to build equity.

Choose a Shorter Term to Build Equity Faster

The shorter the term of your loan, the sooner you’ll pay down the principal. The less principal you have left, the more home equity you have. In short, longer-term loans build up equity more slowly than shorter-term loans.

If your goal is to build equity, a shorter 15-year mortgage will better serve your goals. In addition to building your equity sooner, shorter-term mortgages also often carry lower interest rates. When you’re paying lower interest rates for a shorter period of time, you’re building equity faster and paying less interest across the entire length of your loan.

While these terms seem like a no-brainer, they’re only going to work in your favour if they are within your financial means. Ask your mortgage lender to help you compare the costs of a 30- and 15- year loan and you might discover that you can afford the latter. You can also consult our mortgage calculator to aid in your research.

At first glance it may seem that a 15-year mortgage doubles the monthly home loan payments. In reality, the monthly payment will not necessarily be twice the amount and may fall within your budget.

Make Extra Payments to Build Up Your Home Equity

Regardless of the length of your mortgage loan term, making extra payments at any time will help you build home equity faster. It will also help you build up more over time. As we’ve mentioned, the less you spend on interest the more goes towards your principal, thereby building up your equity.

When you go above and beyond your monthly payment it reduces your debt and builds your equity. Make sure to check with your lender that the money you pay over your required payment goes towards the principal.

If you happen to come into some money or prefer to convert your savings into home equity, you can make lump sum payments towards the principal at any time.

Avoid Interfering With The Terms of Your Mortgage

Taking out a second mortgage or refinancing your mortgage will affect how quickly you can pay down your debt. While it is possible that refinancing might be a favourable option for you, it’s typically best to stay on track with the same mortgage and see it through to the end, at least as far as building equity is concerned.

Since you’ll be paying mostly interest while your loan is still new, starting over will set back your progress for paying down the principal and building equity. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or second mortgage will reduce your home equity growth.

Do Your Best To Pay Off Your Principal

When it comes to paying off your principal, you’d be surprised at how much even one extra payment a year can make towards building your home equity. Each extra mortgage payment you make helps.

One extra payment towards your principal each year can potentially shave years off of your home loan. If making extra payments is a stretch for your regular budget, even an occasion influx of cash like a bonus or tax rebate will help.

Getting A Good Price On Your Home Will Help You Maximize Equity

If you work with an experienced Realtor that will get you a terrific price on your home, you’re already ahead when it comes to building home equity. If you have a professional negotiator helping you buy a home, you could end up getting a great price. Your Real Estate agent can also help you choose the right time to buy.

An experienced Real Estate Team like Frank Leo & Associates can help you find the right home for the right price. Contact Frank Leo & Associates today to get 30 years of Toronto real estate experience on your side.

* For Dollar volume January – May 2018

** Dollar Volume 2017