City of Mississauga Property Tax Hike in 2014 - Up 6.1%

Mississauga council passed a 6.1 per cent increase on the city’s portion of the 2014 tax bill Wednesday, as councillors fretted about the city no longer being debt-free, projects going unfunded, and a growing infrastructure deficit. “The property tax is not sustainable for municipalities across the country,” Mayor Hazel McCallion said just before the 2014 budget was given final approval. McCallion, 92, has said this will be her last term but, with the city she has led for 35 years facing dire times financially, after stepping down she’ll continue campaigning for better financial support for cities.
 The city tax increase, plus a 0.6 per cent projected increase in the Peel Region portion, results in a 2.4 per cent hike in the overall tax bill for a Mississauga property owner in 2014 — assuming the provincial education portion remains unchanged, as it has for about a decade. Mississauga’s tax hike alone represents an extra $18 on every $100,000 of assessed property value.
With numerous infrastructure projects having to go unfunded to keep the tax increase reasonable and $36.6 million of new debt on top of the $50 million in debt issued this year (the city had been debt-free for decades), MIRANET, a ratepayers umbrella group, had grim words for councillors about the city’s “economic difficulty.” McCallion acknowledged that a city once flush with development dollars has found that revenue source depleted as it has been built out.
“That is why we’ve been out of debt for so many years, because we’ve had those reserves to call on,” she explained. MIRANET criticized the budget for its failure to set aside funds for the planned $1.6 billion Hurontario LRT, which has yet to receive any senior government money. McCallion is adamant that the city should not have to cover any of the capital cost of the LRT, given that the province is paying the capital costs of Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown project. The province has said municipalities need to pay their share of transit expansion. MIRANET called for a freeze on the salaries of non-union staff, but council voted to approve the 2 per cent pay increase included in the 2014 proposed budget.
The city’s total labour costs, including benefits, have risen from $379 million in 2010 to $445.5 million in 2014. A resident at Wednesday’s meeting questioned the labour costs, suggesting that departments such as planning and building should be scaling back. “Shouldn’t you be cutting back on these staff, now that there’s no new development?” he asked. Development-related revenue is indeed plummeting, such as building permit fees.
Only $19.9 million in development charge revenues are projected to go into city coffers in 2014, compared with the post-2000 peak figure of $52.7 million, garnered in 2007.

Top 5 Renovations

renovated condo

    Working as a real estate agent in Mississauga is a real joy for me.  I’m often showing a condo to a buying client and I get a chance to study their reactions to the condo I’m showing.  Sometimes they can be really excited, other times they are indifferent and on occasion they are repulsed.  Let’s focus on the renovation’s that gets a buyer excited about making an offer for a Mississauga condo.

1.  Lighting

    Lighting can be vague as a description, but generally people want a small boxed space to feel open and aerie.  Lighting of the space both natural and artificial is crucial to achieving this effect.  The choice of window coverings is usually governed to some extent by the condominium rules, however blinds, drapes and shutters of the highest quality and in tasteful colours (usually neutral) makes a good impression.

California Shutters when closed can block out much of the sunlight during the day which is good for people wanting absolute darkness for sleeping or even privacy, while when opened fully can reveal the full glory of the condos view of the city.  Automated window coverings that open and close with the touch of a button takes things to the next level of impressiveness.

Modern lighting (such as chandeliers and pot lights) made of glass, crystal, stainless steel, brushed nickel or fabric can set the mood for showings.  Buyers not only want to be able to see the space, but also appreciate if the light fixtures have been upgraded from the 1980’s ceiling ball or brass coloured fixtures.

2.  Smart Storage Solutions

    Imagine you have lived in a detached house and then were to move into a condo with a livable area that equates to half of what you were used to.  Downsizing is inevitable, but not always practical.  Certain space is reserved as storage in a Mississauga condo.  Finding ways of maximizing this storage spaces potential is huge plus for potential buyers. 

Closet dividers and custom made organizers or ones you can find at places such as Ikea can make your condo stand out from the rest.   Buyers will see the value added to your condo versus the competition.  Also, a well-organized condo that is neat and clean will always give a good impression that the owner has probably kept the good care of the place. Typical places of upgrading storage are the walk in closets, bedroom closets, linen closets, laundry room, kitchen pantry and coat closets.  Also, if you kind spare un-used space adding extra storage to bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms will also catch the buyer’s eye.

3.  Hardwood Flooring

    Hardwood flooring throughout the condo is becoming pretty much a norm now for buyer’s expectations.  It’s easier to clean and also is better for people with allergies.  It also looks superior to the old fashioned shag carpet of the 70’s and early 80’s.  It’s more durable than broadloom, looks better than the parquet that might be the original flooring and is real, not fake such as engineered hardwood or laminate which is so common in the new build Mississauga condos.  Colour choice will depend on your overall interior design scheme, but make sure you get at least 4” width, as anything smaller looks cheap.

4.  Bathrooms

    Many older Mississauga condos are in dire need of upgrading the bathrooms.  This in definitely one of the places the condo buyers get repulsed at.  Often over time owners have neglected to do basic maintenance so things like mildew form, tiles work gets cracked or falling off, drywall may be bubbling, toilets look as though you are at a truck stop, doors are falling off the hinge, flooring is outdated or dirty.   Upgrading the sinks, lighting, mirrors, fixtures, cabinets, toilets, bathtubs, walk in’s and tile work…basically the whole enchilada.  Buyers know bathrooms are expensive and that’s why they want to see at the very least a well maintained clean and organized bathroom.  What they really want is a modernly upgraded bathroom with materials like granite for the countertops and nice clean lines and neutral colours for the tile work.

5. Kitchens

    Both men and women are at home at the kitchen these days.  So it stands to reason that upgrading this one space which will probably benefit either of the sexes is a good place to put your money.  Large tiling for the floors, hard durable granite for the counter tops, custom cabinetry with easy closing drawers and lighting under the cabinets.  Stainless steel appliance and combination range hood with microwave is smart to keep countertops open.

 


Dominating Mississauga Condo Market

    According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, Mississauga condos accounted for 540 of the 566 total transactions in Peel Region for the first 3 months of the year.  The city of Brampton mustered only 25 total leases. Caledon which is not known for condos managed only one lease.

    Of the 540 Mississauga condo rental transactions, 279 involved one bedroom condos at the average lease rate of $1,394.  Two bedroom condos were the second most popular among leases totaling 242 transactions at a rate of $1680.  There were 1,160 total condos listed at that time making for a list to lease ratio of 47%.

    By contrast the city of Toronto totaled 3339 condo leases during the same period.  One bedroom condos went for an average of $1,647 while 2 bedrooms brought in on average $2,250.  Toronto landlords listed 6863 condos making for a list to lease ratio of 49%.

    Some key numbers reported by TREB in their First Quarter Market Report was the GTA saw a 13% increase on a year over year basis for condominiums rented.  The 1 bedroom average monthly rent for condos was up almost 4% at $1,597 when compared to Q1 of 2012.

  According to TREB, the 2012 Fall Rental Market Survey indicated that Peel contributed 22.7% or the GTA condo rental transactions while only having a vacancy rate of 0.6%.  On the other hand Toronto accounts for 23.6% market share while having more than doubled the vacancy rate of Peel at 1.4%.

What does this mean for a Mississauga condo investor?

    The numbers don’t lie.  There are lots of people trying to make money as indicated by the share volume of listed leases.  Even though the lease to rent ratio is sub 50%, landlords who do lease their condos are making more money.

    This is can be attributed to a couple factors.  Perhaps renters are looking for nicer accommodations with modern renovations.  Some condo owners may need to invest some money to make their condo more desirable.

    Another factor in some condos not being able to get a lease is location.  Certain locations are attractive because of amenities which are nearby which tenants want.  Access to public transit and conveniences are a big draw for people.  Square One condos are a prime example of this and condo fees can be higher than in other parts of Mississauga.


What can be the future for Mississauga Condo renting?

    In my opinion the trend probably won’t change over the next year.  There seems to be no shortage of condos on the market right now.  The condos which are competitively priced with respect to location, size and have the fit and finish tenants are looking for will have no problems attracting business.

    On the other hand landlords who expect top dollar for run down condos will eventually have to make a decision to get out of the business or spend the money to make their potential tenants happy.