(Ada Derbyshire for FOX News) — It seems like Canadian luxury homes are getting fancier and fancier, and some are getting caught on fire.
The latest blazes seem to be owned by drug suspects who were in an upscale townhouse.
A fire broke out in a two-story townhouse on July 17, but did no serious damage, said Kevin Taheri, co-chair of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office. Taheri said the fire started in a living room.
Taheri said all occupants are fine, and most are believed to be Canadian. He said three of the residents refused to leave their homes, and the two other occupants stayed with friends who came to the scene. He said police were not called.
Earlier this month, Toronto Police charged a Quebec man with arson in connection with the fire that destroyed his Toronto house.
The house belonged to Raphael Raccah, who was wanted by police for parole violations stemming from a drug case.
“Investigators were able to determine that the fire was intentionally set in the mid-range residential building, which was located on Ontario Street in a densely-populated area of the city,” Toronto Police said in a statement.
Taheri told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that most of the houses caught on fire started in the living room, as people watch TV.
“If we would move someone from the living room and start a fire in the kitchen, we could possibly prevent the fire,” he said.
But fire inspector Kevin DaSilva said he believes the fires are part of a nationwide trend. He said some fire department officials believe the fires are started by drug dealers who leave marijuana and other drugs in the homes.
To check on the state of your home:
Buyer beware with these values:
The average value of a condo bought in Ontario soared by 14.6 percent this year, according to a real estate board’s report last week.
Canadian banks have begun offering mortgage insurance for buyers who can put down just 5 percent of the home’s value, a dramatic drop from previous years when lenders required 20 percent down.
Tighter rules governing purchases of real estate and property by foreigners from overseas have also led to a surge in sales, a 12.7 percent surge in November to $2.2 billion from $1.9 billion a year earlier, according to statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Toronto, which is home to the Toronto region.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is looking into expanding mortgage insurance sales after enjoying a “very strong year” in 2018, CEO Victor Dodig said last week.
After $1.3 billion in Canadian residential real estate sales in 2017, which was a 15-year low, Dodig said sales have “gotten back to, I think, more normal levels.”
In the commercial real estate sector, prices have been steadily climbing, too. After an 11.7 percent increase last year, commercial properties sold for an average of $1.9 billion in 2018, according to RealNet, which tracks real estate numbers.
The 619 residential properties sold last year are an average of 21 percent more expensive than in 2016.
Sales prices increased by an average of 20.8 percent in Toronto, and 17.6 percent in Kitchener-Waterloo, Greater Toronto’s primary commercial real estate market.