Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Canadian home sales rise 3.6 per cent in May over April

Canadian home sales were up 3.6 per cent in May over April as one of the more unusual and unpredictable spring markets took hold across the country, but transactions were off 2.6 per cent year over year, according to May sales numbers released Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Prices were up 3.7 per cent year over year with the average Canadian house price at $388,910 in May, up from $375,062 a year earlier.
The month over month increase in home sales was the biggest gain seen in more than two years, according to CREA.
“The increase lifted national activity almost to where it had been just before new mortgage rules came into force last summer, marking the first noteworthy increase in the past nine months,” the national housing association said in a statement Monday.
Virtually every major urban centre, including Toronto where prices hit a record $542,174 in May, up 5.4 per cent from May of 2012, saw an improvement in home sales, says CREA. May and June are typically the biggest months for home sales.
The number of homes listed for sale was up almost 2 per cent.
“The pop in Canada’s resale housing numbers adds one more to a series of upbeat economic indicators that exceeded expectations in recent weeks,” said CREA economist Gregory Klump.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Canada’s impending housing collapse not in sight

OTTAWA — Not so fast. The purported collapse of Canada’s housing market does not appear to be in sight, and any correction down the road could likely be a mild one.

Recent data have defied warnings from market watchers of an impending plunge — caused mainly by the impact of tighter mortgage rules imposed by the federal government last summer to slow the race by consumers for record-low lending rates.

The latest figures show sales of existing homes strengthened for a second month in May, up by a seasonally adjusted 3.6%, after declining 10% between July and March.

The Canadian Real Estate Association, in a report Monday, also said home prices were up 3.7% in May from the same month a year earlier, to a national average of $388,910.

For all of this year, CREA pegs the average price rise at 2.1%, to $370,900, weaker but far removed from correction territory. And in 2014, the average value is expected to rise 1.8% to $377,700, the Ottawa-based industry group said.

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“Prices remain stable, perhaps maddeningly so for the legions of bubble mongers,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Mr. Porter noted the May data show “housing remains on track for a fabled soft landing … making a mockery of talk of an imminent collapse.”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Deck Makeover in 10 Easy DIY Steps

One day's work can revive the most tired outdoor spaces. Today's do-it-yourself products make deck restoration as easy as 1, 2, 3, like this:

1. Splash-test an inconspicuous area for water absorption (if the water penetrates into the wood it needs to be protected).
2. Wet the plant life around deck and cover it to protect against product run-off.
3. Wear old clothes, protective glasses and gloves.
4. Clear the deck of all furniture and decorative items.
5. Clean with the most effective solutions like a product called Thompson's WaterSeal Heavy Duty Deck Cleaner. This product label recommends agitation with a deck brush following the application.
6. Rinse with a garden hose or pressure washer and wet the plant life after cleaning process.
7. Repair loose screws or damaged boards on deck surface.
8. Allow deck to dry for a few hours.
9. Protect the finish and your work, with another top-selling DIY product called Thompson's WaterSeal Advanced Formula. It is available in clear, honey gold, nutmeg brown, and natural cedar finishes.
10. Clean up all equipment with soap and water.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ready For Your Next Big Adventure? 4 Tips For a Stress-free Summer Move

The majority of Canadians prefer to make their big move during the summer season. There are a variety of reasons for choosing this time of year: it is easier to transport boxes in non-icy conditions, no need to worry about your belongings freezing during transport, and children's lives are not disrupted by the transition since they are on summer holidays.
Minimize potential moving chaos by asking yourself the following questions:

• Do you need to keep everything? Moving offers a good opportunity to reorganize your life by giving away, donating or recycling items that you no longer need. You'll thank yourself later when there is less to pack and transport.

• How well do you know your moving company? The Office of Consumer Affairs drafted a Consumer Checklist for choosing a moving company and it reminds Canadians to request their moving estimate in advance and be mindful of seasonal rates (a summer move can be pricier). Will your items be held in the transport vehicle overnight or a secure facility? Consider purchasing Replacement Value Protection, which will ensure the company is liable if your possessions are damaged.

• Do you have enough boxes and packing materials? Start collecting boxes and newspapers in advance; ideally you should begin packing non-essential items a month in advance. Pack and clearly label a couple boxes with important first day arrival items, such as toothbrushes, remote controls, medication, and pet food, which could otherwise become lost in the shuffle.

• Once you step in the door, what are your top priorities? After the bed is set up, most people are eager to get connected by hooking up their TV, internet and home phone. Rogers introduced a free concierge service which makes this process easier by setting you up with a personal concierge agent. The agent proactively connects with customers throughout the transition, reviews order details, answers billing questions, and can assist with any changes to your order if your moving date needs to shift.

Entering the next chapter of your life can be a thrilling time, but like any significant life change, the process can be quite overwhelming. Control potential moving chaos by jotting down questions and tracking their completion on your personal checklist.  www.newscanada.com
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Canadian Economy - Job Count Up in May

The Canadian economy added a whopping 95,000 new jobs in May. The consensus estimate among economists was for about 15,000. The unemployment rate in Canada dropped from 7.2% to 7.1%. In the US, numbers were more muted with only 175,000 new jobs as the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6%.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Money Saving Strategies

Getting a low interest rate is only one part of an effective strategy to paying off your mortgage faster! Don't focus all your time and energy on rate comparisons. It is equally important to look for a mortgage with flexible terms that can adapt to your changing financial needs.

Here are two money saving strategies to get you on your way to mortgage freedom:

1. Use a bi-weekly payment schedule -  By simply splitting your monthly mortgage payment into two equal bi-weekly payments, you can easily save on interest costs.  This is because you end up paying 26 bi-weekly payments or 13 monthly payments within one year rather than 12 monthly payments.

2. Round up your payment - You easily save money and time left on your mortgage by rounding-up your payment amount. Money can be tight in the early years of home-ownership, rounding up your payment is a less aggressive way to save money but still allows you to take full advantage of a flexible mortgage product.

Check out this video series for more information or give me a call to discuss further.