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Nov 01

Market Update November 2016

By Michael Camber | Blog , King West Condos , King West Lofts , Mortgages

What to make of the fall 2016 real estate market in downtown Toronto? Let’s have a brief look at what’s happening.

There were rumblings of Ontario implementing a ‘Foreign Buyers’ Tax’ the same way BC had done this past summer. I don’t think it’s going to happen and neither does Premier Kathleen Wynne.

So what has been driving the Toronto real estate market? Some are blaming a different, home-grown source of the surge in demand: investors who are buying houses not as a place to live, but as a place to grow their money.

The craze has thrust many would-be investors into a market with extremely tight housing supply, where they compete with people who want to buy a home to live in, bidding up prices.

We can also look at the current (lack of) condo inventory in downtown Toronto.

Just 1,295 condos for sale on MLS in central Toronto. Down 42% from a year ago. Prices will continue to skyrocket.

Just 1,112 condos for rent on MLS in central Toronto. Down 30% from a year ago. Rents will continue to skyrocket.

So, in a nutshell, unless we see a significant increase in inventory in available condo, loft, townhouse and freehold listings, we can expect a significant increase in pricing – even with the federal government’s recently implemented changes to mortgage qualifications (which I still think was a prudent move by the Feds).

I will keep you posted as usual.

Oct 28

Condo Crush of the Week | Oct 28th

By Michael Camber | Best of King West , Blog , King West Condos

Every once in a while a condo hits the market in King West that takes our breath away. Here is our latest condo crush for the week ending Friday October 28th, 2016.

560 King St W Penthouse 01 | Fashion House Condo | $2,488,000PH01-560 King St W

Penthouse 01 at 560 King St W (Fashion House Condos) is a gorgeous example of what luxury condo living can look like.

PH01-560 King St WDetails: Contemporary & Elegant this premium and ultra rare 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,091sqft. open concept. 10ft ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. A beautiful entrance with custom lattice work, mirrors and custom built-in Closets.
PH01-560 King St WThis luxury suite is an entertainer’s dream, offering a chef’s kitchen with an 11ft Caesarstone kitchen island, marble backsplash, a kitchenette with a 2nd oven, wine fridge and plenty of extra storage. The home has a fully automated audio/video and blinds system.
PH01-560 King St WPrivate 982 Sf. Terrace, Accessible From Every Room
Extras: stainless steel appliances: Dacor 6 Gas Burner, 48″ Liebherr Fridge, wine fridge, 2nd oven, microwave, dishwasher, Maytag washer and dryer, fully automated custom blinds and electric light fixture.
Parking: 2 car parking spots              Storage: 1 storage locker          Virtual tour here
For additional info or to book your private viewing email Michael Camber at


Oct 20

Best Dry Cleaners in King West

By Michael Camber | Best of King West , Blog

Our pick for the best dry cleaner in King West is favorued for not only their ability to get our shirts and delicates spotlessly clean, but also for their A-1 top-notch customer service.

Sure, there are plenty of very capable dry cleaners in the area. Some honourable mentions include Mr Lees Dry Cleaning (725 King St W), Charlotte Dry Cleaning & Alterations (36 Charlotte St) and Sun King Cleaners (35 Bathurst St).

kingwestvillagecleaners-toronto-onWould you believe that our #1 pick will remember your name after only one visit? For those of you who know Wayne at King West Village Cleaners at 1000 King St W (at Shaw) – you know exactly what I am talking about. His customer service and friendliness are legendary in the area.

So much so that loyal customers who have since moved away from the neighbourhood STILL come back to Wayne. Sure, they do a good job of cleaning your clothes and taking care of needed alterations – but it’s their customer service that makes King West Village Cleaners our #1 pick.

Oct 18

Mortgage Changes Update | Foreign Buyers

By Michael Camber | Blog , King West Condos , Mortgages

I would like to let you know as of today, October 18th, 2016 there is one less Mortgage financing option for Non resident buyers.

As of today we lose the ability to fund non residents with 35% down and NO income or credit.

There are now 2 options for Non resident buyers:

Option 1) 50% down payment required

documents needed or not needed:
– Proof of down payment in a Canadian Bank account no later than 30 days prior to closing
– Primary residence only (no rentals)
– NO INCOME docs required
– NO CREDIT required
– Max Mortgage $750,000
– Max Amortization 25 years

Option 2) 35% down payment required 

documents needed or not needed:
– Full proof of income required (letter of employment, pay stubs and income tax returns)
– Full proof of down payment required (last 90 days bank statements)
– Letter of reference from a bank outside of Canada
– International Credit Bureau required or last 6 months bank statements
– Max Amortization 25 years
– No max Mortgage
– Rentals welcome (max. 2 properties in Canada)

***Also – Regaring the new Stress Test***

The NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA (NBC) WILL NOW APPLY THIS TO ALL MORTGAGES – EVEN THOSE WITH 20% OR MORE DOWN – as of now only the National Bank does this but others could soon follow.

Again this negatively affects the buyers max purchase power by approximately 20% (having to qualify based on the posted rate of 4.64% and a max amortization of 25 years)

If you have any clients working with National Bank and they have 20% down… please note they can still get normal financing at many ofther lenders with NO stress test.

Questions? Write to me at

Oct 18

Best Sushi in King West

By Michael Camber | Blog , Restaurants

Sushi fans rejoice at the sheer number of sushi options in Toronto. King West has plenty of them and many of them are quite good, regardless of budget or dress code.

Some honourable mentions for a quick cheap sushi lunch include Ichiban Sushi (750 King St W), Sushi & Bento (579 King St W) and my personal favourite cheap lunch take away, CJ Lunchbox (409 Richmond St W).

For something trendier (and pricier) there’s Blowfish at 668 King St W, for some truly interesting flavour profiles.

But our hands-down favourite sushi joint in King West has to be Sushi 930 at 930 King St W. Owner/chef Tomo and his apprentice chefs are dedicated to serving some of the highest quality and freshest sushi around. Seriously.

sushi-930Sushi 930 is easy to miss, on a quiet stretch of King St W near Strachan, it is mainly a takeout counter but do’t let it’s unassuming look fool you. This sushi is the real deal. Tomo sources his seafood from the same suppliers as the most expensive sushi restaurants in Toronto – at a fraction of the price.

Some could argue that Sushi 930 is pricey for a take-out joint but quality this good won’t be found at the cheaper sushi places in the city. For the quality, Sushi 930 offers excellent value and a truly authentic sushi experience.

Oct 17

Best Burrito in King West

By Michael Camber | Blog , Restaurants

Toronto was over-run with burrito joints of all types and in many ways, King West felt like ground-zero. When Burrito Boyz opened in 2004, it quickly became the go-to spot for overstuffed burritos for the hungry lunch, dinner and after-drinking crowd.

Since then, a number of other options have opened up including Fat Bastard and Wilbur Mexicana. The latter is our pick for the best burrito in King West.

Wilbur Mexicana is a newish Mexican quick service spot at the foot of Fashion House Condos at 560 King St W. Wilbur Mexicana takes its name from Wilbur Scoville, the chemist responsible for creating the Scoville scale, the measure of heat used to gauge the “hotness: of hot peppers. Evidence of their dedication to the hot pepper can also be seen in their hot sauce wall.Wilbur Hot Sauce Wall

A great combination of a quick place to grab a taco or burrito for lunch OR a nice spot to grab a meal and beer after work. Another favourite thing about Wilbur Mexicana is their open kitchen where all of their fresh salsas are prepped fresh for their awesome salsa bar, featuring 60 or so different hot sauces.

Now to the burritos: there are 3 main burritos to choose from including the “Wilbur-ito” (Rice, beans (black or refried), jack & Oaxaca cheese, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce), the Cali Burrito (Carne Asada, rice, sweet potato, jack & Oaxaca cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa suave) and finally the S&T (Brisket, shrimp, rice, beans (black or refried), fajita pepper & onion, pickled jalapeno, jack & Oaxaca cheese, sour cream, Asada salsa, lettuce). The latter being our favourite.

Give Wilbur Mexicana a try – it’s a great space and some great Mexican nosh.

Oct 13

Best Steak in King West

By Michael Camber | Blog , Restaurants

With recent arrivals like The Keg Steakhouse, the playing field for a great steak has gotten a little crowded. However, our vote for the best steak in King West goes to Jacob’s Steakhouse, hands down.

Jacob’s Steakhouse (12 Brant St) was opened in 2007 by the King Street Food Company and quickly became one of the most distinguished steakhouses in Toronto. Popular with Bay Street Bankers and professional athletes, Jacob’s sets the bar for ultra-high quality steak and top-notch professional service.

Chef Danny McCallum and General Manager/Sommelier Rob Gravelle run one of the tightest front and back of houses in King West.

jacobs steakhouseOur top picks: Everything from the rotating selection of in-house dry-aged steaks sourced from Canada, the US, Australia and Japan (they offer authentic certified Kobe) to the epic caesar salads made table-side (you must!) to the scratch-made desserts. You really can’t go wrong at Jacob’s Steakhouse.jacobs steakhouse

Oct 12

The 3 Coolest Condos For Sale in King West Right Now

By Michael Camber | Blog , King West Condos , King West Lofts

We love cool condos and when they are in King West (our favourite neighbourhood), we love them that much more. Let’s take a look at the 3 coolest condos for sale in King West right now. One of these could be yours!

478 King St W478 King St W PH02 – Victory Condos – $2,295,000

Victory Condos at 478 King St W King and Spadina is a boutique building tucked between the brick and beam buildings dotted along King. In some ways, it’s an understated building, but this unit certainly isn’t.

This unique penthouse suite has a breath-taking 2400sqft private rooftop terrace, simply massive and perfect for summer entertaining. Outstanding unobstructed views. This is the ideal suite for the entertainer. Amazing 2545sqft interior layout plus an extra 530sqft open balcony. Other features include 11ft ceilings, 7.5ft solid doors, plenty of accent lighting built-in to the ceiling. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout and a walkout from every room in the condo. Did we mention the custom built-in fish tank?


Festival Tower - KWC80 John St UPH04 – Festival Tower – $2,598,800

This luxury King West suite is cool for a number of reasons, not to mention it belongs to a famous movie director (hint: I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts!).

Aside from that interesting tidbit the Upper Penthouse at Festival Towers aka the Tiff Bell Lightbox offers 12f toot ceilings, gorgeous views of Lake Ontario, the CN Tower, Rogers Centre Etc. and is truly in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. Over 2500sqft of luxury living in one of Toronto’s most iconic luxury towers. Great for movie buffs and ground zero during TIFF.


38 Niagara - Zed Lofts KWC38 Niagara St PH04 – Zed Lofts – $1,259,000

The Zed Lofts at 38 Niagara St sits at the corner of Niagara and Bathurst, just south of King St W. Another understated boutique soft-loft building with a very pleasant surprise…

PH04 offers a luxury customized 3-storey corner penthouse loft with a private rooftop terrace,2 balconies, 1000sqft of outdoor living and 1600sqft of interior luxury.

Custom finishes include cherrywood millwork chef’s Poliform kitchen with gas stove, Sub Zero Fridge and a massive master bedroom retreat. Audiophiles will appreciate the Bang & Olufsen integrated sound system.


Interested in seeing any of these sup-cool King West luxury suites? Email us at to arrange a discreet and private viewing.

Oct 05

How New Mortgage Rules Will Affect King West Condo Buyers

By Michael Camber | Blog , King West Condos , Mortgages

Are you thinking of buying a King West condo for sale and wondering how Oct 4th’s mortgage rule changes will affect your ability to get a mortgage? Read on…
Oct 4th’s announcement was a surprise to everyone who has an interest in mortgages including lenders, insurers, mortgage brokers, realtors and, above all, consumers. Immediately after the announcement we began researching the details of the changes to mortgage rules and developing an appropriate response. So far, there has been very little analysis and no clarification on aspects of the changes. 
Our feeling is that these measures have been enacted due to the fact there does not seem to be any indication that interest rates will be rising anytime soon. With these unprecedented low rates two housing markets have continued to rise at a very rapid pace relative to historical norms. As history has shown, a steep rise generally leads to an eventual steep fall, which is not good for anyone. With this in mind the Minister of Finance is attempting to apply changes in hopes of smoothing out the peak and ultimately any future valley in our real estate
What are the changes to mortgage rules?
The Minister of Finance announced changes to 3 areas: 
1. Consistency among Insured Mortgages 2. Tax Fairness 3. Managing Risk
Of these, Consistency Among Insured Mortgages contains the change most relevant to our industry as some consumers will either not qualify at all, or, if they do, it may be for a reduced amount. It applies to borrowers with less than 20% down payment.
For a number of years the government has required lenders to stress test variable rate mortgages and fixed rate mortgages with a term of less than 5 years against a higher benchmark rate. Yesterday the Minister extended this requirement to all insured mortgages, including fixed-rate mortgages with terms of five years and more. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages are not affected by this measure.
The stress test requires lenders to qualify lenders at the higher Bank of Canada benchmark rate, currently 4.64%, instead of the contract rate which today could be, say, 2.5% for a five year fixed rate mortgage. With the stress test borrowers may qualify for a smaller loan which in turn will provide a buffer should rates rise in the future.
This measure will come into effect on October 17, 2016
How Will The New Measure Be Applied?
The announced measure will apply to new mortgage insurance applications received on October 17, 2016 or later. This measure will not apply to mortgage loans where, before October 3, 2016: a mortgage insurance application was received; the lender made a legally binding commitment to make the loan; or the borrower entered into a legally binding agreement of purchase and sale for the property against which the loan is secured. Mortgage loans for which mortgage insurance applications are received after October 2, 2016 and before October 17, 2016 are also not affected by the rule change, provided that the mortgage is funded by March 1, 2017. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages are not affected by this measure.
How Will This Affect The Market?
We don’t believe this measure will change the nature of our market in the near term as there is extremely low inventory, rates are at historically low levels and the GTA is growing.
Consumers who are on the margins of qualifying for a mortgage will be most affected – many of these will be first time home buyers. It has been estimated that 10% of borrowers may be impacted.
What Should Clients Be Advised?
Clients who are currently approved or pre-approved should always be advised to consult a mortgage broker. It is generally safe to advise clients that if they purchase prior to October 17, 2016, the existing rules will be in effect for them. Agreements of Purchase and Sale that are signed on or after October 17, and mortgage applications that are submitted on or after October 17, will be subject to the new stress test rules.
At this time we do not feel the second and third change will have any effect on the market.
Sep 26

The #1 Selling Real Estate Agent in King West

By Michael Camber | Blog , King West Condos

Michael Camber launched back in the spring of 2003. At the time, the internet was still in it’s infancy and, in many way, so was King West.

Michael’s goal was to create an encyclopedic online resource that people could use to discover the King West condos and neighbourhood he loved so much. quickly became an incredibly popular resource for some of King West’s earliest buildings and established Michael Camber as a popular Realtor for those looking to make the neighbourhood their home.

Today, Michael Camber is the #1 selling real estate agent in the C01 Niagara neighbourhood’s of Liberty Village and King West in both condo units sold and total dollar volume.

Michael provides his seller clients with better exposure, better marketing and a customized approach dedicated to attaining the highest price in the least amount of time. In a neighbourhood saturated with stylish condo units, distinction is the key to success. Michael helps his seller clients stand out from the crowd.

Sara Camber specializes in working with King West condo buyers.

Sara Camber specializes in working with King West condo buyers. Email her at if you are thinking of making a purchase.

For buyers, Michael and his team of dedicated buyer agents will make sure you know of every suitable condo as soon as it hits the market and get you in there first. Once you’ve seen your dream condo you will be armed with the knowledge to make an educated purchase. Informed buyers make smart purchases. Make sure you start with a seasoned and experienced King West Condo real estate agent.

When a move is in your future, call Michael at 416-520-0779 or e-mail