The Canadian housing market continues to grow

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Record low interest rates have have forced Toronto-Dominion Bank to boost its forecast for the Canadian housing sector.

Economist Diana Petramala said in an economic report that TD’s forecast in January was banking on an increase in interest rates that has not materialized.

“Interest rates, unexpectedly, reversed course beginning in March. Five-year mortgage rates currently sit at their lowest record on level,” Ms. Petramala wrote, noting that existing home sales in May were well above their 10-year average.

More strength may be bubbling under the surface

The demand for housing pushed May average resale price growth to 7.1% on a year over year basis which is well above income growth. The home price-to-income ratio is at a new high.

Now the economist is suggesting the housing market may have some more strength in 2014 although the general view is the market will cool over the medium term.

“More strength may be bubbling under the surface,” said Ms. Petramala, noting reports of bidding wars may point to very strong demand for single family homes.

On the condo side, lower interest rates combined with prices has made affordability of condos “more favourable” than ever. “First-time homebuyers who were pushed out of the market due to the past tightening in mortgage insurance regulations ma

TD is forecasting that the “moderate” overpriced and overbuilt housing market will not be impacted until 2015 when interest rates start to rise. The bank is predicting condo prices will fall by 2% in 2015.

Single family home prices will also feel the pinch after rising by 8% this year, according to the forecast. In 2015, single family family home prices are expected to rise by 2%.

Ms. Petramala emphasized that housing will continue to be a regional story, even as it turns into a buyer’s market in 2015.

Victoria, Toronto and Victoria are “flagged” as markets more vulnerable to a cool down because of recent strength while Calgary and Edmonton are poised for continued expansion based on employment and populations.

Source: www.FinancialPost.com

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Planning your next move? Use these tips!

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Planning your next move for the summer months? Summer is the most popular time of the year to move, so you won’t be alone. If you can, move on a weekday in the middle of the month to avoid as much traffic as possible. Avoid the last weekend in July, because this weekend is very popular for traveling. In order to make the moving process as smooth as possible, follow these tips for unloading a truck in the summer months:

Avoid Heat and Traffic

Plan to arrive at your new home in either the early morning or late evening to avoid unloading in the heat. Pack an ice cooler with plenty of water, Gatorade, and fruit to keep you energized throughout the day and keep it in the cabin of your moving truck.

When parking your truck, try to find an area with lots of shade. However, remember that a moving truck has a high clearance and will most likely not fit in a garage or a car port. Look for a high tree that can provide shade for the truck, or park next to a building that can provide shade. Rethinking where you park when unloading a truck can go a long way in keeping you and your stuff cool.

Stay Protected

To keep cool during your move, make sure to wear light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing to keep your skin protected. Most newer fabrics have “breathable” technology built in to help keep you cool, which can be very helpful in the long-run. Wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen, and reapply it throughout the day as needed. For more tips on staying cool during your move, read here.

Kids and Pets

Moving day is a big day for every member of the family, so make sure your kids and pets (especially dogs and cats) are occupied while you do the dirty work. Your children will need a safe and cool place to play and stay out of the way of . If you can, arrange for a sitter to watch them while you are unloading a truck. If you have pets – especially dogs and cats – arrange for them to be supervised as well.

Things to Keep Out of Moving Truck

Temperatures inside of a moving truck can also get very warm, so be sure to keep perishables and items that can melt out of the heat by packing them separately and getting them inside immediately. For example, candles in a truck driving in the summer will melt all over your other stuff, so carry them with you instead in a box with dividers. Leather upholstered furniture will “sweat” if wrapped in plastic, wrap it in a pad instead. CD’s, videos and cassette tapes can warp in a hot truck.

Hire Moving Help

Most importantly, make your move go by faster by hiring help.  Research movers in the area to fit your needs best. You can hire even just a couple of workers for an hour or two depending on the size of your moving truck! This decreases the amount of time spent outside, and lets you get a head-start on unpacking!

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Here comes the echo boomer to save the housing market.

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Even though there are just under 10 million Canadian Baby Boomers aged 49-67, they are actually outnumbered by those aged 20-38.

There’s a new kid in town ready to save Canada’s housing market and maybe even the economy — at least for a few more years.

A new report says that Canadian residential real estate has been getting a huge boost from so-called echo boomers, those in the 20-38 age bracket.

“The Canadian housing market keeps soldiering on and, while much focus is cast on brash calls of overvaluation, mortgage rate wars and mortgage rules, demographics are playing a less-publicized yet important role,” said Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic, in a report released Thursday.

“The Baby Boom generation grabs most of the attention on this front, but their children, the echo boomers, pack a heavy economic punch as well.”

Even though there are just under 10 million Canadian Baby Boomers aged 49-67, they are actually outnumbered by those aged 20-38.

In an interview, Mr. Kavcic said the emergence of the echo boomers bodes well for the overall economy but, like housing, the tide will eventually turn because the next cohort coming through simply isn’t as large.

“For the next couple of years, there is enough population to support the retiring population but when you look out past 2018, the bulk of the Baby Boomers are approaching 65 and behind the echo boom there is a significant dip in the population,” he said.

Fertility rates among Boomers has been lower than for their parents, resulting in fewer children. But the gap has been filled by immigration which the economist said has been concentrated in the echo boomer age group.

Source: www.FinancialPost.com

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Tips for grilling fish this summer!

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Nothing is better than grilling fish that you caught the same day. Whether you were out fishing in a beautiful lake, stream, river or ocean, or just popped down to your local grocery store to buy a fish filet, grilling fish is one of the easiest and best ways to have a healthy and delicious dinner. With a little practice and using these tips you can grill your fish perfectly every time.

Preparing the Fish

Cut your fish into portions. If there are thicker areas you may want to have them separated because they will need to cook a bit longer. Always leave the skin of the fish on. This allows your fish to maintain more moisture during the grilling process. If you are using a bony fish you may want to de-bone it as well as you can prior to grilling.

You can marinate the fish ahead of time if you desire. If you aren’t going to marinate it, then you will want to lightly brush your fish with oil on both sides. A little bit of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste alone can give you sPreparing the Grill

You want to make sure that your grill is clean and ready to cook. You can find tips on that here. You will want to preheat your grill on high heat prior to cooking your fish. When the grill is heated and ready to go, you may want to brush it lightly with oil to ensure that the fish will not stick. If you are using a grilling basket to make it easier to flip and move your fish on the grill, you will want to brush it with oil instead.

Cooking the Fish

Set the grill at medium-high to high heat. Start cooking the fish with the skin down towards the flames. Keep an eye on your fish, but avoid moving it often. You will want to flip it once with your spatula when it is about half way cooked. Grilling time can vary greatly depending on the thickness and type of your fish. You will know your fish is done grilling when it can easily be flaked with a fork. Let it cool slightly then serve it up with some grilled vegetables or your favorite side dish. Bon Appétit!

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Canadian homebuilding beats expectation this May

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Canadian housing starts picked up more than expected in May and April was revised higher, suggesting housing will contribute to economic growth in the second quarter after a harsh winter put the brakes on construction, data released on Monday showed.

A report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 198,324 in May from an upwardly revised 196,687 units in April. That surpassed analysts’ expectations for a May reading of 185,000.

“Activity is picking back up to its pre-winter trend, another sign that it was the weather and not a fundamental slowdown that dampened Canadian growth in the last few months,” Bill Adams, senior international economist foThe trend so far in 2014 looks to be another year of activity more or less on par with 2013, and markedly lower than before the mid-2012 tightening of Canadian mortgage underwriting standards.”

While housing starts are within a healthy range now, a significant increase in months to come could catch the attention of Ottawa policymakers, said BMO economist Robert Kavcic.

“Canadian homebuilding activity has firmed up after a volatile winter. While current levels of starts are still within the range supported by fundamentals, a significant and sustained upward move from here could turn policymakers’ heads,” he said in a note Monday.

Canada’s housing market has risen unsteadily for the last five years and appears to be settling down for a soft landing, with housing starts slowing from red-hot 2012 levels in 2013 and maintaining the slower pace so far in 2014, on average.

The strong showing in April and May is likely a rebound from a weather-related slump in the winter, and took the two-month average 12.9 percent higher than the 175,000 recorded in the first three months of 2014, RBC economist Laura Cooper said in a research note.

“In the near-term, this rebound in residential investment is expected to lift overall GDP growth in the second quarter; however, with the weather-related volatility having likely now run its course, we anticipate that the pace of new home construction will cool once again over the second half of this year to levels similar to that averaged over the first half,” Cooper said.

May’s strength came from the single-detached housing sector, where starts rose 5.4%, as construction of multiples — typically condos — edged 0.8% lower.

The gains were fairly broad-based across the country, with starts in Quebec, British Columbia and the Atlantic region rising strongly, while Ontario was flat and the Prairies were lower.

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Benefits of owning a modular home.

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Are Modular homes more or less expensive than those built on site?

Pre-fab homes can typically save you quite a bit of money.  Because they are constructed in a factory they can be built fairly quickly, a matter of weeks as opposed to months, which can be quite significant. The reason for this is that there are no extreme weather delays. Furthermore all inspections are performed at the factories during each phase of construction by a third party inspector, and are completed before the homes are transported to their new locations.

What are the benefits to owning a modular home?

Modular homes can be more affordable. Their shorter build time will save you money on the overall construction. Home inspections are not needed as these are all done in factory. They are much more energy efficient, therefore your monthly expenses will be substantially less. Modular homes are environmentally friendly due to their efficiency. There are a great variety of homes from which to choose, there are many top architects that specialize in designing modular homes. As with any home, modular homes can be built on to and expanded.

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Get your BBQ ready for the summer!

 

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It is getting to be that time of year where you want to be outside and light up the grill. Whether poolside, or on your back patio, summer is grilling season and you want to make sure to get your propane grill ready for summer.

Inspecting Your Propane Grill

Time and seasons are not always kind to the pieces and parts that make your grill work. Look underneath the grill for the hose that connects your propane tank to the grill. If it looks at all frayed or worn you will want to replace it. Next in the body of the grill remove the grates and heat directors if they are present to take a look at the burners. You want to make sure that the burners are not in any way obstructed by ash, burnt food or other. If it is, then you will need to clean it with a brush. If you have have an electronic starter make sure that it is still sparking. If it is battery powered you may need to replace the battery. Go through your grill and make sure any connections, bolts, or other are connected and tightened as intended.

Fill and Connect Your Propane Tank

Go to your nearest propane refill station to get your propane tank filled. Unlike with exchanging tanks you can get even a partially filled tank refilled and only pay for the propane you need. In addition when you are getting your propane tank filled your tank will be inspected to make sure it is in usable shape. When you get home attach your tank to your grill. Set all burners to off and open the tanks valve. If you hear gas escaping you will want to go back and check all connections, hoses and valves again.

Cleaning Your Grill

Use a brush or broom to remove any cobwebs, last fall’s leaves, or any other cruft that has made its way into your grill. Most of your grill you should be able to clean with warm soapy water and a sponge or towel. To clean the grates in your grill you will want to turn your grill on for 10-15 minutes. Then turn it off and allow it to cool for a while before cleaning it with a stiff wire grill brush and a little bit of elbow grease. If you have cast iron grates you may want to brush them lightly with vegetable oil using a paper towel to ensure that they maintain their seasoning and are less likely to rust.

Test It Out

This is the best part of getting your grill ready for summer! Invite some friends, find a couple of new recipes and fire up that grill! Go here for more propane grilling tips.

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Edmonton Real Estate market average home prices for May 2014 – Expect better quality at a more affordable price point with Trend Homes

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According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton the average price of a single family home (SFD) in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)1 in April has dropped slightly from the high in March, even with the sale of 13 homes over a million dollars.

In April, the average SFD price was down more than $5,000 to $427,685; a decrease of 1.5% from March but up 5.9% from the same month a year ago. The all-residential average price was $365,045; up 0.4% from March and up 4.5% from a year ago. The higher SFD prices this year have put pressure on affordability and increased demand at the lower price end of the market. The average price for a condominium rose 1.1% from March to $251,300 (up 2.8% Y/Y).

There were 1,983 adjusted all-residential sales (1,836 reported) in April 2014 compared to 1,689 sales in March. Listings also rose in all categories to fill the demand which is common for this time of year. There were 2,977 residential properties listed in April compared to 2,548 last month; an increase of 16.8%. The overall sales-to-listing ratio in April was 62% compared to 60% last year and average days-on-market was 42. End-of-month residential inventory was 4,910, up 11.3% from March.

“The Edmonton CMA is experiencing the highest job and population growth in Canada and that should continue for the foreseeable future,” said President Greg Steele. “Edmonton is a diverse city and housing options exist in all price ranges but competition at the lower-priced end of the market is increasing. Entry level buyers may have to be a little more patient or scale back their expectations to find the home they can afford.”

The most active region of Edmonton is North Central north of Yellowhead Trail between 66 Street and 142 Street where there were 167 sales in April;  an increase of 0.6% over March and 23.7% over last year. Fully 20% of all SFD sales were in North Central in April. Areas in the Southeast, Southwest, and South of the Anthony Henday each had sales of about 140 SFD properties in April. The only region of the city to see a decrease in the number of sales year-over-year was the Southeast (Millwoods).

The highest priced homes were located, as usual, in the Southwest region but they saw an 8.7% drop in April compared to March. Homes in the West and Anthony Henday regions also saw price drops month-over-month. Homes in the North, Central, and Southeast were all sold on average below the city–wide average while homes in the West and southern regions (except Southeast) were priced $50,000 or more above average. (Next month we will feature outlying communities.)

“New housing is being built all around Edmonton but the biggest region of new home construction is south of the Anthony Henday,” said President Greg Steele. “Because this housing is often sold directly by the builders and not listed on the MLS® System, our figures do not include many of these sales. Buy

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ers should ask their REALTOR® to show them new home options in these areas as well.”

 

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Canadians home sales heat up in April as spring market roars to life

 

Canadian home sales were up 2.7% from March to April, boosted by the Vancouver and Toronto markets, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

However, sales through the Multiple Listings Service were down 0.3% compared with a year ago and one per cent below the 10-year average.

The national average price for a home sold in April was $409,708, up 7.6% from a year ago.

The aggregate co

The association says the April sales were up compared with March in half of all local housing markets, dominated by a rebound in Vancouver and Toronto.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 51.9% in April compared with 52% in March, suggesting the market was in balanced territory.

mposite MLS Home Price Index was up 5.02%.

 

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Canada’s next housing bubble: Real estate agents

 

The housing boom has not only resulted in record real estate prices, it has spawned an unprecedented number of realtors.

The number of people selling real estate reached 108,706 during the first quarter of the year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. To put it another way, that’s one realtor for every 245 Canadians over the age of 19.

No where is the bubble in agents more apparent than Toronto, perhaps the hottest market in the country for property. The Toronto Real Estate Board wouldn’t provide an exact number for its members but TREB’s boiler plate statement this month said it had reached more than 39,000 — or about one for every 140 people in the Greater Toronto Area.

Just over a year ago in December, 2012, that number was 35,000. That number grew from 31,000 a year earlier. TREB had about 20,000 members a decade ago.

We have almost as many people selling houses as making them. Statistics Canada said in its labour force survey for the year 2013, there were 131,000 carpenters. There are only 202,200 cooks in Canada.

You do two deals and you make $50,000

So what’s going on? Much of it is an influx of speculative careers from would-be real estate agents who see a quick buck to be made because they know someone selling their house and they want to get the listing and the fat commission — up to 5% of the house price — that comes with it.

“You’ve got some nice person making $30,000 or $40,000 as a receptionist. This is the American dream. You do two deals and you make $50,000,” says Lawrence Dale, a long-time thorn in the side of both CREA and TREB having sued both.

There is no data on commission rates but the general rule in Ontario is 5% of the sale price is split by two realtors on a deal while other provinces have a sliding scale where the percentage increases at higher amounts.

Toronto prices are soaring, especially single family homes. TREB reported this past week that average single detached home in Toronto sold for $965,670 last month, a 13.2% increase from a year ago. At $1-million, there’s $50,000 to be split by realtors.

Source: www.FinancialPost.com

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