Monthly Archives: February 2014

Your dream home at a dream price, come visit our show – home!

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TREND HOMES PRESENTS: THE WHIM

4 bedrooms  /  3 bathrooms  /  1483 sq. ft.

If you are searching for your first new house or looking to downsize, the Whim offers all the function you need with the style you desire. The main floor welcomes you with its spacious great room and gorgeous kitchen, where your family and friends are sure to gather.   Upstairs, you will find a large master bedroom with a walk-in closet and ensuite that features double sinks and an oversized shower. The washer and dryer are conveniently located upstairs beside the master bedroom – no trips up and down the stairs to do laundry.  A second full bathroom and two additional bedrooms complete the upstairs.  Whether you are young or simply young at heart, the Whim will meet your needs and surpass your expectations. Visit this Trend Homes showhome in Aurora today to learn more at 3307 Weidle Way.

Showhome Hours : Monday – Thursday 3 to 8 Weekends & Holidays 12 to 5

Trend Homes - Joanne Bendera
Phone: 780-604-4311
aurora@trendhomes.ca

It’s the perfect time to buy a Trend Home in Edmonton

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Alberta – and specifically Edmonton – will continue to boom as the Fort McMurray oilsands prepare to supply the world’s energy needs for at least the next 50 years. The Alberta government anticipates daily oil production to triple to 3,000,000 barrels a day by the year 2020. Ten years later in 2030, that number climbs to 5,000,000 barrels a day. To put that in perspective, bitumen production from the oilsands currently hovers around 1,000,000 a day.

Because of its strategic central location, Edmonton serves as a massive transportation hub for goods and supplies traveling to and from destinations such as Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, northern British Columbia, the North-West Territories and even Alaska. Edmonton is the closest major city to Alberta’s oilsands and as such is home to many of the fabrication shops and manufacturers that provide goods, supplies, and service to the massive construction projects in the northeast portion of the province. Virtually every item, raw material, or person in Fort McMurray arrives there via Edmonton.

  • Alberta is the world’s third largest supplier of natural gas
  • Alberta is the holder of the world’s 10th largest coal deposit
  • Alberta is home to the second largest proven oil reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia. Some estimate that this reserve could be as big as eight times LARGER than those found in Saudi Arabia.
  • Alberta has 57% of all remaining investable energy projects on the globe
  • Tightening oil supplies and expanding demand mean a global market for Alberta’s energy now and tomorrow
  • Oilsands development likely to continue at rapid pace for foreseeable future
  • Oilsands accounts for more than two thirds of investment in the province
  • Over $100 billion worth of investment in oilsands will generate over $1 trillion worth of economic activity

In 2006, former Shell Canada President and CEO Clive Mather told 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon that they estimate there to be as much as TWO TRILLION barrels of oil in and around the Fort McMurray region. At the time of the interview, it was estimated that Saudi Arabia had 260 billion barrels in the ground waiting to be extracted. As Mather told 60 Minutes, “This is a very, very big resource.” (Where Gold and Riches Can Be Found In the Sand; 60 Minutes; June 25, 2006)

It’s not just industry insiders who anticipate Alberta becoming a major player in supplying oil to the rest of the world. A comprehensive 168 page report compiled by the European Union titled the WETO-H2 Study projects that by the year 2050, a barrel of oil will cost approximately $110 Canadian (this estimate may be conservative when you consider the current price of oil). That same EU study states that by 2050 Canada will be the largest producer of non-conventional oil (Fort McMurray’s oilsands) and that Canada will also be one of only four net producers of oil in the world. In addition to its oil forecast, the WETO-H2 Study suggests that coal will play a surprisingly large role in supplying electricity to markets all around the world. Wind, solar, and nuclear technology will be more wide spread but even the combination of all three technologies will be insufficient to meet global demand. In the year 2050, fossil fuels such as coal – of which Alberta has much of – will still be used to supply as much as 50% of

Why do people move to Edmonton? Over the next decade, upgraders, refiners, petrochemical manufactures and complementary industries will all need to be built in order to meet the demand. As construction workers flock to Edmonton looking for one of the many high paying jobs in the energy sector and as our city’s population grows, so too will the demand “normal” jobs like doctors, teachers, servers, bankers, taxi cab drivers, and almost any career you can think of.

And not only is there an increased requirement for workers in all fields, the following makes a move to Edmonton even more enticing:

  • Alberta enjoys the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada
  • Wages are steadily climbing
  • When compared to other major Canadian cities, housing is still a bargain

Even after the explosive rise in average home prices, Edmonton remains one of the most affordable Canadian cities in which to live thanks to above average wages. According to a recent RBC Economics report (RBC Housing Trends and Affordability; November 2010) , the Affordability Index of a standard detached bungalow in Edmonton sits at 32.7%. This means that even with an average home price of almost $323,000, only 32.7% of a typical household’s pre-tax income goes towards home ownership costs. Compare this to a staggering 68.8% of pre-tax income going toward home ownership in Vancouver and you begin to understand why people are flocking to Edmonton.

According the to the Edmonton Sun, between April 2008 to April 2009, Edmonton’s population grew by more than 30,000 people (Edmonton Population Jumps By Over 30,000; Edmonton Sun; June 10th, 2009). To put that in perspective, as of 2008, the border city of Lloydminster had a population of 25,523 including both the Alberta and Saskatchewan sides.the planet’s electricity.

3. Infrastructure

As people flock to Edmonton, the demand on existing infrastructure and housing market will continue to escalate and with this increase in demand and housing prices, affordability will begin to be a more prominent issue for new citizens. As a result, people will be forced to move further outside the current city core to find accommodations that fit their budget (either to rent or to buy). With this urban expansion comes the need for infrastructure and transportation improvements to provide connectivity to the city and its jobs.

With such unprecedented population gains as experienced over the past few years, infrastructure projects have been fast-tracked in Edmonton more than any other city in the country. The Anthony Henday Ring Road will provide a high capacity collector road system around the city with connections to major roadways leading into the heart of Edmonton. The expansion of the LRT system is designed to offer additional means of traversing this vast city, while reducing commute times and helping ease inner city congestion.

So what does this mean to the sophisticated investor?

Transportation improvements will deliver a 10% to 20% enhancement of real estate values in the most affected regions. In the future, these areas will outperform the rest. If the market goes up everywhere, these areas will increase by about 10%–20% more. If the Alberta values drop, these will drop by 10%–20% less.

With the completion of the Ring Road and the extension of the LRT, real estate prices in key neighbourhoods will increase more quickly than other regions of the city due to improved transportation linkages. Improved accessibility drives real estate demand. Values in older and more established neighbourhoods are impacted more significantly than in newer developments. In studies of the effect of transportation improvements on real estate in other jurisdictions around the world, it was found that real estate value increases occur for properties located within 800 metres of stations on the new transportation and 800 metres from exits on new major highway improvements. (Edmonton Transportation Report 2010 Edition)

  • Edmonton is the northern starting point of the Edmonton-Calgary corridor
  • Because of its strategic central location, Edmonton serves as a massive transportation hub for goods and supplies traveling to and from destinations such as Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, northern British Columbia, the North-West Territories and even Alaska
  • Edmonton’s population will continue to explode as workers from around the world are making their way west to claim their piece of the Alberta Advantage
  • Infrastructure projects like the Ring Road, LRT expansions and the proposed downtown arena district all make Edmonton the obvious real estate investment choice

All this means massive cash injections and an abundance of well paying jobs. This in turn leads to people from all around the world flooding into the province to partake in the “Alberta Advantage.” While Alberta is awash in opportunity, it’s decidedly short on clean, well-managed rental properties for arriving workers and their families.

Albertans enjoy the lowest personal income tax rate in Canada. Employment, provincial in-migration and retail sales growth are all up. City council is spending funds on infrastructure needs such as the Ring Road. Vacancy rates and unemployment are both low. Oil and gas companies are set to invest billions of dollars north east of Edmonton on projects like refineries. The province is politically stable and economically strong.

Source: www.InvestInEdmonton.com

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Trend Homes: A breath of fresh air!

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With Canadians spending more than 90% of their time indoors, much of it at home, the “healthiness” of their home is a serious issue. Poor indoor air can have a detrimental impact on people’s well-being, from a general sense of feeling tired or “under the weather” to contributing to, or even triggering, allergies and asthma.

A home’s air is affected by many things: off-gassing from building materials, finishes and furniture; excessive moisture leading to mold growth; improper ventilation, and incomplete combustion in heating systems. Our daily activities also have a big impact-moisture from cooking, bathing and laundering; off-gassing from household cleaners; hair, dander and litter dust from pets and even emissions from equipment in a home office.

Today’s new homes are built to give you the best possible indoor environment—a comfortable, enjoyable home with clean fresh air, a comfortable moisture level, and no molds or lingering odours.

  • Construction and design
    Good indoor air quality begins with solid construction that prevents air leakage and moisture penetration. Eliminating dampness and cold spots not only increases comfort, but also prevents mold growth. Exterior walls are well insulated with air barriers, vapour retarders and careful caulking. Energy-efficient windows help to prevent condensation. Open and spacious layouts promote good air movement throughout the home.
  • Ventilation
    Mechanical ventilation is built into every new home, using exhaust fans to get rid of stale or excess moist air generated in the course of everyday living. Many new homes come with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), which is a whole-house system that continuously brings in fresh air from the outside to all living areas of your home and exhausts the stale air. To make sure the system is not simply bringing in problems from the outside, the incoming air is filtered. It is also pre-heated by the outgoing air to save energy—this is the
    “heat recovery” part of the system.
  • Heating and cooling systems
    In a brand new home, systems are selected and installed to safeguard homeowner comfort and the freshness of the indoor air. Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems operate cleanly and safely, drawing combustion air directly from the outside and venting exhaust gasses separately to avoid any risk of noxious fumes inside the home.
  • Building materials
    By choosing the right building materials, builders can reduce the amount of pollutants or contaminants introduced into the home during construction. These include non-solvent-based glues and grouts, water-based paints, formaldehyde-free cabinetry and pre-finished hardwood flooring.
  • Finishing products
    Many products are also chosen for their long-term effect on the indoor air. For instance, ceramic and other hard-surface flooring doesn’t trap dust and mites. Cabinets, countertops and sinks are easy to clean with mild, non-toxic cleaning agents.

    When you begin with the right home, it is easy to maintain a healthy indoor living environment. For additional information, check Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Healthy Housing™ initiative.

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It’s time to move to Edmonton

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Quality Lifestyle

With over a million people, Greater Edmonton offers all the convenience and choice of a big city in an environment of open spaces and fresh air. We’re proud of our clean, safe neighbourhoods. Lower average house prices mean people here are able to own a home at a younger age than in other Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. Taxes are lower here, too.

Health care is provided for all Albertans, and Edmonton’s Capital Health region has been ranked number 1 in Canada for 5 years in a row. Learn more about health care in Edmonton through the stories of people who’ve experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca.

Edmontonians come from all over the world. Each summer, our Heritage Festival celebrates more than 60 cultures. In fact, we’re known as Festival City, because Edmonton hosts over 30 colourful, entertaining festival events every year. Learn more about the Heritage Festival through the stories of people who’ve experienced it at www.edmontonstories.ca.

Quality Work

There are all kinds of opportunities for new Edmontonians to get a good job and to get ahead. Likewise, manysmall businesses flourish here.

EEDC is focusing on Edmonton’s knowledge-based economy. We’re committed to promoting innovation and productivity to enhance individual income and quality of life.

Have a look at the job opportunities available now.

If you are moving to Canada from another country, you must go through the Canadian Immigration process.

To begin working, you must get a Canadian Social Insurance Number.

Quality Education

From primary school to post-graduate programs, Edmonton has a stellar education system.

Parents can choose from a number of options for their children’s early education. Ten different post-secondary institutions offer diverse choices for young adults. Grant MacEwan University is the largest in Western Canada. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology trains more apprentices than any other institute in Canada. The University of Alberta is one of the world’s top research universities.

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Stay at home idea’s for valentines day this Friday #TrendHomesYEG

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Friday is Valentine’s Day!  Can you believe it?!  Yes, it’s the day Hallmark is king and restaurants are filled to the brim.  If you haven’t made your reservations yet, you may be standing for hours at the door come Thursday evening.  For us, knowing that Valentine’s Day is the busiest night of the year for restaurants, we have chosen to stay home this year for Valentine’s Day and keep the home-fire burning instead.  Think you might want to do the same?  If so, then maybe some of these at-home date night ideas may be an inspiration for you as well.  After all, the cost is usually cheaper, the atmosphere is often quieter, and the intimacy has no limits…well, unless you still have kids awake.  In that case, I’d just send them to bed early with a good book!   ;-)   Here is to a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spend the night on the living room floor.  Set up the air mattress.  Roast marshmallows in the fireplace.  Have a picnic dinner on the floor.

  • Make dinner together.  Choose the menu and get the ingredients ahead of time, then have fun cooking, taste-testing, and eating together.
  • Have a board game night.  Choose a favorite board game and feel free to play the traditional way or with an extra romantic twist.  The choice is yours.
  • Watch a romantic movie together.  Need some movie ideas?  Check out this Top 25 List of Romantic Favorites.
  • Turn your living room into a ballroom.  Move the furniture out of the way, turn on the music and dance like prom night all over again.  Don’t know how to dance?  Rent an instructional DVD from your local library and use the night to learn together!
  • Read a book together.  It could be something as romantic as a book on marriage or a silly as a favorite picture book from your childhood.
  • Set the mood.  Think candles.  Think flowers.  Think multiple-courses or fondue.  What would you expect to see and taste at a fancy restaurant?  Try to recreate that atmosphere around your own dining table.  For extra gusto you may even want to dress up in your finest attire.  Woowee!
  • Revel in wedding day memories.  This one will probably mean more to us girls than our hubbies but looking at old wedding albums or watching our wedding video is a great way to rekindle the fires.
  • Enjoy hot chocolate/tea/coffee on the back porch together.  There’s nothing like sitting together in the peace and enjoyment of God’s creation to build a deeper level of communication.
  • Get your sport on.  While it may not sound very romantic to start, playing soccer in the backyard or a round of H.O.R.S.E. in front of the basketball goal does wonders for relationships.
  • Give each other a massage.
  • Play a video game together.  I remember when Goose and I used to do this when we were first married.  We loved it.  I think this may be one of our choices for Thursday, no doubt!
  • Create a campfire in the backyard or light up the grill.  Roast hot dogs, wrap up in a warm blanket and just enjoy watching the fire burn.
  • Go star gazing.  Put a blanket on the ground or wrap up in sleeping bags in your backyard and just enjoy gazing at the stars.
  • Go back and read your journals, letters, and memos from when you were dating. 
  • Have a karaoke night.  Get out your favorite romantic songs and have fun lip-syncing to each other.
  • Have a Nerf gun war.  I mean seriously, how fun would it be to sneak around the house in the dark (so as not to wake up the kids) and then shoot each other?!  Ha!  I may have to add this one too!
  • Order in.  Have pizza or Chinese delivered but be sure to use the chopsticks
  • Have a spa night.  Think bubble bath…foot massages…the works!
  • Put a puzzle together, then glue and frame it.
  • Create sugar cookies.  Bake them.  Decorate them.  And eat them.  For an added Valentine’s Day flare you could even write your own little sweetheart messages on top and exchange them.
  • Read Song of Solomon together. 
  • Write your lifelong bucket list together.
  • Look through your old high school yearbooks or baby photo albums together. 
  • Get artistic.  Try drawing or painting each other’s portraits and then framing them!
  • Make a list of all the places you want to visit together were money no limit.
  • Do Mad Libs together. 
  • Create a blueprint of your dream house. 
  • Have a staring contest.  Sit on the couch, hold hands, and stare each other in the eye.  The first one who looks away has to do whatever the other one asks of him or her!
  • Have a dessert cook-off.  Each of you find a new dessert recipe you’d like to try, bake them side-by-side in the kitchen, and then taste test them both to see which you like better!
  • Write a gratitude list together.  Make a list of everything you are thankful for as a couple and then tell God about it!
  • Make a video for your kids telling them about how you met!
  • Take your hubby on a love scavenger hunt.
  • Play with your kid’s toys after they go to bed.  Seriously, how long has it been since you’ve built a Lego castle?
  • Have dinner on your roof.  Talk about something you’d never forget.  Make sure the roofline isn’t too steep though.
  • Play 50 questions.  Write out 25 questions each and then ask them to each other.
  • Go window shopping together on Pinterest or Craigslist or some other favorite online shopping haunt.
  • Use your children’s coloring books and crayons to have a coloring contest.
  • Choose a new hobby to try out together.  For added inspiration you can always check out the World’s Longest List of Hobbies.
  • Make the date not about you.  Make something to leave on a neighbor’s porch or choose a new Compassion child to sponsor together.

Source: www.CornerstoneConfessions.com

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The inside scoop on the best season to sell your house to buy a Trend Homes design

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Common belief has held that the best time to sell a home is in the spring, and the best time to buy is in the fall. Although there is merit to this argument, not everything can be so definitive and concrete. There are so many variables at play that all must be weighed before jumping into the real estate ring

1. The Best Time to Sell

Spring is most commonly believed to be the best time to sell. It’s the most agreeable weather for showings, most people want to get settled before summer, it’s easiest logistically for moving (who wants to move boxes and furniture through snow?), provides longer days and daylight, avoids the school season and shifting schools mid year for kids, and shows off the landscaping and gardens. However, this is also statistically the time with the most competing sellers on the market. This will affect you most if your home is one of many identical houses in a subdivision. Consider professional staging as a way to make your home stand out if forced to sell in this high-competition season.

2. The Worst Time to Sell

Yes, the holiday season is not the ideal time to sell. People are busy or stressed out and are prioritizing family and holidays rather than home buying or selling. Mid December to mid January is the highest travel season, and thus there are fewer buyers around to view homes. There’s also the perception that you are desperate or need to sell if you are listing your home during this time. Buyers will try to be more aggressive with you as a result.

However, it is a misconception to say that January and February are not ideal months to sell. The Toronto market has shown great sales in these months and these tend to be high transaction periods for my team.  There are tons of buyers and activity on the market, and especially if the weather is moderate.

3. Show Off Your Home’s Best Assets

Sell when the features of your home have the most impact. If you have a pool with beautiful stone work or tiling, be sure to sell your home in appropriate weather. Buyers will love your pool when they are viewing on a hot day or be dazzled by pool lights at night versus a pool cover with piles of leaves or melted snow in the winter.

If you have tons of windows and skylights, show your home when the sun is shining and you can have the longest showing days (spring and summer).

If you have a small bungalow, but an amazing landscaped garden, show when your garden is in full bloom. Buyers may be swayed by the sight of your garden and overlook other shortcomings.

If you don’t have central air, and you like your house hot and use lots of standing fans, sell your home in the fall or early spring when the weather is more moderate and appealing to the general masses. You can have the windows open for fresh air and avoid the clutter and noise of fans.

If you have a showpiece fireplace, have it burning for late fall and winter viewings. Buyers will want to make some cocoa and curl up in your living room.

4. The First Weeks of Summer—Take Caution

Cocktails, patios, and cottages, in no particular order or combination, are the holy trinity for Torontonians once the weather shifts into summer. After being cooped up all winter and during the wet spring, Toronto becomes obsessed with the outdoors and socializing. Good luck tearing potential buyers away from their summer holidays to come view your home during early summer. You will have a lot less action on your listing during this time.

5. Condos and Lofts

Typically, condos and lofts have a longer sales period as freehold homes, given that the buyers are typically first-time home buyers, or do not have kids. The buyers are not restricted by school seasons and landscaping issues, and moving is less impeded by weather, as they have loading bays and elevators.

You can always sell you home, regardless of the season, but you need to be realistic about the circumstances of your sale. Sometimes life forces your hand, but as long as you are realistic with your expectations and smart about your strategy, you should be able to maximize your value.

Speak to your realtor to advise you about the sellable features of your home, what is sought after in your neighbourhood, and what season will best showcase your home!

Source: www.HGTV.ca

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Quick tips for unpacking:

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Just bought a TREND – Home ? Here are some quick unpacking tips…

Having moved many times and in many situations, only one thing has been a constant; the hassle of unpacking. It’s my least favorite thing to do and, based on how many people I’ve talked to who still have things in boxes years later, I’m not alone. With that little confession out of the way, I can confidently say that it has gotten better over the years. Here are my tips on how to make unpacking quick as possible.

Organize: The key to unpacking quickly, is packing well! Waiting to the last few days or minutes (yikes!) to pack is problematic. Sometimes this leads to going around your place throwing things in the boxes, which can make unpacking a nightmare. Organizing your belongings before putting them in boxes is always going to be your best bet for making sure you aren’t giving yourself extra work when unpacking at your new place. Think of this as your opportunity to go through all that stuff you were meaning to get to, but never did. Extra tip: While organizing make sure to throw out any trash and give away items that you don’t need or want anymore before you move.

Label your boxes:Labeling all your boxes makes sure you, or your Moving Helper, is able to place the box in the correct room and that when you unpack, you’re able to find all the important things. Try these tips:

  1. First, make sure you have a certain number of boxes for each room and keep them separate. Mixing your silverware with your bedding and toothbrushes can make things a bit complicated when you go to unpack.
  2. Second, number your boxes and write down the basic contents of each one, either on the box itself, or in a separate notebook. Having a reminder of what is in each box will help you find a place for everything when the time comes to unpack. Extra tip: Create an “Unpack First” box with all the things you need immediately. This may include a change of clothes, toilet paper, shower items, snacks, a first aid kit, tools needed to reassemble furniture, and a towel.

Be Efficient with Time

An example of what not to do – Don’t sit in your box while you still have more to unpack.

Living out of boxes makes it difficult to make your new place feel like home. Unpack efficiently by opening one or two boxes at a time and finding a place for all the contents in them. Extra tip: I know sometimes it’s also very easy to get caught up in reminiscing about each item as you take it out of the box. When pulling out old pictures or a favorite stuffed animal you haven’t seen for a while, it can be tempting to spend some extra time with the items before putting them away. If you’re this kind of person (which I am), make sure to account for it by allowing yourself a bit more time to devote to unpacking.

Get Help from the Pros…If you’re like me and, after reading all these tips, don’t feel motivated at all to start this very time consuming activity of packing and unpacking, I have great news for you: you don’t have to! Let the professionals handle it. Many Moving Helpers offer the packing and unpacking service and would love to do it for you.

Source: www.MovingInsider.com

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Compare our standards to other builders: Part 2

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Professionally cleaned air ducting before possession importance of indoor air quality.

Premium siding and stone on exterior so there are no hidden fees for area requirements.

4’ wide poured concrete sidewalk with oversize apron to steps no skimpy walks here.

Low Flush Toilets assists in saving money and the environment.

Home Run Waterline System Pex Type A c/w copper manifold done the right way.

Heats runs are wrapped with foil tape which lowers heating costs.

Quality controlled construction with CSA approval on every home No exposure to rain and elements during construction. Materials are installed in 18º environment even during winter, peace of mind knowing no corners were cut and the whole process was supervised from start to finish.

Open web joists in basement makes future Basement framing easier with No teleposts to work around. All heating and plumbing is run through joists therefore no mechanical drops in the ceilings are needed so feels more spacious.

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Buying a house? Here’s how to get a BIG Tax refund

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The $25,000 Ottawa allows you take out of your retirement fund to buy your first home sure doesn’t go as far as it used to.

Under the home buyers’ plan, Canadians can take $25,000 out of their registered retirement savings plan and pay it back over the next 15 years without incurring any penalty. For a couple that means $50,000.

But the dollar amount has been stuck at $25,000 since 1999 while house prices have continued to escalate. At $50,000, you’re barely making the  minimum downpayment if you are buying a home in Vancouver with a mortgage backed by the government.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says the average price of a home will climb to $391,000 next year, meaning that $50,000 is less than 13% and not enough to avoid costly mortgage default insurance.

“I don’t know how effective the plan is now, so I’m not sure what would happen, if you increase the amount,” says Don Lawby, chief executive of Century 21 Canada.

It’s not just the amount. The tax-free savings account is now just as an effective savings vehicle. As of 2014, Canadians were allowed to contribute $31,000 and the amount increases every year. You can also withdraw money from a TFSA and put it an equal amount back later.

“I think you almost need a combination of the two plans together to fund that kind of investment,” said Mr. Lawby, about buying a house. “It depends on where you live in Canada.”

The home buyers’ plan was launched with a $20,000 withdrawal limit and it jumped to $25,000 in 2009.

One of the arguments against increasing the limit is it will encourage young Canadians to rob their retirement savings to buy a first home. Paying the money back over 15 years — there are significant penalties if you don’t — means you might not have the money to make current contributions.

“Some people say the RRSP is not the most efficient way of saving for a house,” says Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC World Markets.

He says there hasn’t been an acceleration in the use of the home buyers’ plan because first-time buyers are being squeezed out of the market.

“Older people and people buying second properties don’t use their RRSPs to buy homes,” says Mr. Tal. “You would expect given rising prices there would be more use [of the plan.].”

Vince Gaetano, a principal of monstermortgage.ca, says the home buyers’ program is mostly being used by people as a tax loophole.

“This is the most popular time of the year to do it. They manipulate the system to deliver a tax return on the downpayment they will [already be] making on their purchase,” he says.

If you know you are buying your first home in the next 90 days, you make a $25,000 contribution or $50,000 for two people. That means a big refund in April. You then withdraw the $25,000 or $50,000 to pay for that initial home.

“Most people have the RRSP room. If you are buying a house by June and you have the downpayment in cash, you make the contribution to trigger the the refund,” said Mr. Gaetano, noting the $25,000 has to be in the plan for 90 days before you can take it out.

“You can garner $20,000 in refunds,” said Mr. Gaetano, pointing out it will depend on what your marginal tax rate is.

Source: www.FinancialPost.com

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