The smallest houses you can find

The Chamfer Home is a tiny self-sufficient shelter with a clean modern design that is made from eco-friendly materials. Designed by S-Archetype, the portable living unit can operate completely off the grid, which means that it can be anchored just about anywhere – from a city rooftop to a patch of sand near the beach.

Designed to adapt to different lifestyles and needs, The Chamfer Home is the perfect dwelling for the modern nomad. Its stylish design shelters an open plan living space with floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light and great views of the landscape. This tiny mobile home is a charming concept that we hope to see become a reality!

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210-square-foot Toronto home sells for $165,000

A tiny Toronto house that caused a storm in the Twitterverse for its large asking price has found a buyer. The diminutive property sold firm for $165,000, says real estate agent Paul Vallis of Real Estate Homeward. The buyer struck a deal for 28 per cent off the asking price of $229,000 after three weeks on the market for the 210-square-foot house some locals knew as “the shack.” “My client is pretty happy,” says Mr. Vallis of the seller. The converted garage measures 210 square feet on a 14-by-20-foot lot. It has a sitting room and a wee bedroom but no bathroom or kitchen. Mr. Vallis says the purchaser is a real estate investor who will likely rebuild. “It’s an investor who is looking for small, unique properties like this,” he says.
Real estate mavens on Twitter are shocked that house prices in Toronto have become so steep and many pointed to this property as an example.

John Andrew is another market watcher who is shocked.
Prof. Andrew is director of the executive seminars on corporate and investment real estate at Queen’s University and he finds it perplexing that prices for houses and condos in Toronto are still so lofty. He figures that people who were waiting for prices to fall eventually gave up and decided to buy – especially when they saw that long-term mortgage rates are creeping up.
“People who go online after Labour Day are seeing that mortgage rates have gone up since the last time they looked,” Prof. Andrew said. “And they were already kicking themselves,” because they didn’t buy sooner, he adds.
Prof. Andrew was one of those forecasting a fall in prices that didn’t materialize. He knows young first-time buyers who eventually got tired of waiting and gave up their search.
“A lot of people were waiting for prices to come down,” Prof. Andrew said. “They’re not coming down and it almost seems like they’re never coming down.”
Long-term rates have risen almost a full percentage point if you go back about seven months, Prof. Andrew points out. The news has been reported but the gradual increase escaped the notice of a lot of buyers until now, he adds.
“I think this surge right now really is all about mortgage rates.”
Ricky Chadha, an agent with Royal LePage Estate Realty in Toronto, says that he has a few buyers on the go right now who fit that profile. The first-time purchasers are discovering that their target neighbourhood or condo building is no longer in their price range.
“Now what they could have afforded a few months ago is no longer affordable and they have to go for something slightly less.”
Housing markets across the country sprang to life in August – though the comparisons are to a particularly moribund August last year when the federal government’s tighter rules on mortgage insurance had re.......for rest of the article click here

Condo Fees to High?

"Still, some rare apartments have both sky-high prices tags and high maintenance fees. The 18th floor of the Sherry-Netherland, currently on the market for $95 million, has monthly maintenance fees of $60,000. " Read the article here

Why we won’t crash like the USA

By David Larock

Statistics Canada recently changed the way it calculates key economic data to bring its methods into line with agreed upon international accounting standards. As a result, the debt-to-income ratio for the average Canadian household shot up 11 per cent, literally overnight, to 163 per cent (a record high).

This has inspired lots of foreboding talk about how our “soaring” household debt-to-income levels are now higher than U.S. debt-to-income ratios were at the peak of their housing bubble. That may be technically true, but it is also totally misleading.

That’s because the standard method for calculating this ratio uses after-tax income, which isn’t a fair comparison because Canadian personal income taxes cover health care costs and American personal income taxes don’t. (To put this difference in perspective, according to my initial research the average American spends anywhere from 10 per cent to 20 per cent of their after-tax income on health-care related costs.)

While it has become fashionable to predict that Canada is headed for a U.S.-style housing crash, most economists still think that is unlikely and they use plenty of data to support their position.

To be clear, I readily agree that our household debt levels are too high and that’s why I have consistently supported the federal government’s attempts to reign in borrowing by changing the lending policies and regulations used by CMHC and OSFI. But that’s a far cry from believing that our debt levels are about to cause our houses to start spontaneously combusting. (Did I just give Maclean’s an idea for their next apocalyptic magazine cover … or have they used that one already?)

Before you start loading up on canned soup and fire extinguishers, consider this sampling of recent comments from the experts I read:

* A report by BMO economists in January 2012 first pointed out the flaw in using after-tax income to compare Canadian and U.S. debt-to-income ratio levels. Instead, they argued that using a debt-to-gross income ratio would provide a better apples-to-apples comparison. Using this revised methodology, BMO economist Sal Guatieri reported recently that Canada’s debt-to-gross income ratio (121 per cent) is still well below both the current (146 per cent) and peak (166 per cent) U.S. levels. That presents a very different comparison from the popular one being bandied about in much of the mainstream media.

* David Rosenberg, a well-known Canadian economist, wrote recently that our ratio of housing starts to the civilian population is “not far off the average of the last 10 years, whereas as in the U.S. back in the 2006-07 peak, that ratio was 25 per cent above the long-run norm.” In other words, Canada has not seen the kind of short-term spike in speculative real-estate investing/borrowing that we saw in the U.S. during the latter stages of their housing bubble.

* Mr. Rosenberg also notes that Canadian policy makers and regulators have been pro-active in responding to our rising household debt levels while their U.S counterparts were basically asleep at the switch until it was too late (hyperbole mine).

* Further to that last point, Benjamin Tal, an economist with CIBC, recently noted in an interview with Rob Carrick that overall Canadian household debt is now rising at its slowest pace in 10 years, while consumer debt levels are actually falling for the first time in 20 years. That kind of momentum makes for a trend in the right direction.

* In a separate report, Tal notes that the crash in U.S. house prices was far more extreme in cities with above-average levels of sub-prime lending, where prices corrected by an average of 40 per cent. This is more than double the average decline seen in U.S. cities with below-average levels of subprime loans.

“Eradicate subprime from the U.S. housing market and, instead of the most severe house price meltdown since the Great Depression, you get a soft landing.” By comparison, Canadian subprime loans account for about seven per cent of our total mortgage debt outstanding while U.S. subprime loans peaked at a little under 25 per cent of their total mortgage debt outstanding before their housing crash.

The bottom line: Like any informed observer who can see beyond his own short-term self interest to what is best for the whole economy over the long term; I am concerned about how ultra-low interest rates have pushed our household debt levels to record highs. But I reject the implication that we have driven over the debt cliff to financial ruin and are now in free fall just waiting to hit the ground.

Madonna's Condo is on the market

Property Facts
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 8
Square Feet: 6000
Price: $23,500,000
Total Monthly Payment : Approx $131,619.42

Superstar Madonna may be on a world tour, but that doesn't mean she can't conduct a little business on the side.

She's just listed her Central Park West duplex for $23.5 million, our friends at Curbed report. Maybe the paperwork delayed her concert Monday night in Miami? Fans certainly weren't happy that Madonna was hours late, but your faithful Yahoo! Homes correspondent can attest to how long it can take to sign aaaaaaall. Of. Those. Papersssszzzzz. Uh? Oh, sorry, fell into a bored snooze for a second. Anyway, we're inclined to cut her some slack (even if superstars don't really sign their own papers).

Madonna reportedly moved out of the property months ago, but she's had quite a history with it. She and Sean Penn bought a unit in the building in the mid-1980s, and then she combined it with two more units, her brother Christopher Ciccone told Architectural Digest in 1991. It's now a six-bedroom, eight-bath property of more than 6,000 square feet.

If you are interested in purchasing this condo you can visit the website here

The rest of the article can be read at Yahoo!Homes Yahoo Homes

Ozzy and Sharon's house

After selling the Beverly Hills mansion featured on their popular MTV reality series, The Osbournes, Ozzy and Sharon shelled out $12,388,500 for this Cape Cod-inspired mansion in the guard-gated community of Hidden Hills. The eccentric couple hired designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to redecorate the home, who blended antique French furniture, glittering chandeliers and hand-painted silk wall coverings for an eclectic look that's lavish yet comfortable. Spread over 11,000 square feet, the spacious home offers six en suite bedrooms, a guest apartment with a kitchenette, a wood-paneled study with a fireplace and an expansive studio/home theater. The luxurious estate is now listed for $12.999 million. You can check out the photos here

A Floating Island For Millionaires?

Luxury hotel expert Gabor Orsos has combined his favorite aspects of mainland real estate and yacht living, all with a $4.8 million price tag. The Orsos Island offers a man-made eco-friendly alternative to buying land, but is it actually an island?