22 Jun 2012

New mortgage rules expected to cool Canadian housing market

The Canadian housing market has been red-hot in recent months, especially in places like Toronto. With economic advisors fearful the spending spree could get out of control for Canadian homeowners, new mortgage rules were recently adopted that are expected to curb the market a bit.Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was worried that homeowners could get in over their heads when it comes to mortgages, leading to a "burst bubble," where people cannot pay back their debt. The new rules are minor changes, but should ultimately curb the high spending by homeowners.For starters, insured mortgages will now be limited to 25 years, rather than 30, giving home buyers less room to spread out payments over time. In addition, those refinancing their home will only be able to borrow against 80 percent of its value, rather than 85.With the rules likely leading to less options for homebuyers, those purchasing a house may have to consider a smaller home than they could have bought…

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31 May 2012

A recent report indicates wages in Ontario are not keeping up with the rate of inflation, leaving residents with less money to spend.The Canadian Press reports wages in Ontario were up just 0.1 percent in March, according to the latest report by Statistics Canada. Meanwhile, the inflation rate was 1.9 percent across the country, meaning Ontarian salaries are not matching the increased cost of living.Other provinces didn't have this problem, and saw wage gains that actually outpaced the rate of inflation considerably. Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Alberta wages rose by 5.9 percent, 4.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.Ontarians with less money to spend may be considering moving into a smaller apartment in order to save on rent. One way to do…

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30 May 2012

With a potential rise in interest rates on the horizon, many Canadians are looking to pay down their mortgages quicker than originally planned, according to Moneyville.ca.A recent survey by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) indicates 23 percent of homeowners are increasing their monthly payments, with an additional 19 percent making lump sum payments to get out of debt quickly. Approximately 10 percent are doing both in an effort to really pay down their mortgage and avoid higher interest rates. Overall, CAAMP believes homeowners will be able to weather an increase in interest rates, as 83 percent of Canadians have at least 25 percent equity in their homes.Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and other top economists say Canadian household…

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11 May 2012

In recent months, Canada's housing market has been described as a "bubble," an economic turn referring to a steep price increase shortly before a huge collapse. Bubbles can be dangerous for real estate markets especially, because the devaluing of a home could mean that homeowners end up owing more than their house is worth.In cities like Toronto where the real estate market is hot and prices have surged in recent months, many economists have warned that the growth is unsustainable and the market is primed to collapse. However, not everyone agrees with this assessment, reports Bloomberg. Gordon Nixon, CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, recently came out to say that the talk of a bubble was overblown."When we look…

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18 Apr 2012

A new report by the Health Care Council of Canada indicates that those who are shouldering the responsibility of caring for an aging loved one alone are in distress, reports The Toronto Star.The report indicates that family members spend anywhere between 18 to 30 hours per week solely on caregiving, depending on the senior's needs. Seniors with "very high" needs are much more likely to have caregivers that report being "in distress" according to the report.The study questions whether the country is doing enough to support caregivers, either through home care workers or assisting with nursing home costs.Putting a loved one into a senior care facility can be a difficult decision, but may be a necessary one. One adjustment for…

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12 Mar 2012

Many customers may envision nearly all self storage facilities as exactly the same, but a few businesses do things that set themselves apart, according to Self Storage News.While some facilities are beginning to offer specialized services like climate-controlled units or home office storage, one facility in Port Aransas, Texas, decided to combine two businesses in one. Not only does the owner, Laura Armstead, rent out units like any other storage facility, but she also runs a gift shop on the very same site.Armstead realized that many self storage customers are people who are buying a new house or renovating their existing one, and are thus in the market for new decorations. Her gift shop fills this niche and has grown…

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31 Jan 2012

In today's trying economy, more people in the U.S. and throughout Canada are trying to down-size their homes in order to spend within their current means. When attempting to sell a home, there are certain tricks to up the buyers' interest, such as placing clutter in storage, or putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls in each room, MoneyVille.com reports.According to the source, staging the home correctly is the best way to sell it. This means removing any trinkets or specialty furniture and putting it in self storage facilities, as sellers need the home to look like anyone could live there. In the same regard, sellers will want to keep the rooms neutral and appealing. A buyer might…

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20 Jan 2012

As the lull in the economy continues, more families in Canada are deciding to downsize or relocate for better work opportunities. In order to sell faster, some sellers may opt for an open house, though this can mean finding a quick storage solution to hide those knick-knacks and valuables, Moneyville reports.According to the source, there are two types of open houses. The first kind is solely set up for real estate agents to view, as a way to see if the home matches what their own clients are looking for. The second type is when a house is open to the general public.The news outlet reports that the second option can bring in anyone from nosy neighbors to potential buyers,…

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11 Jan 2012

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a new trend in the Canadian housing market is rising – multi-family homes. This new trend may come with different challenges, like finding storage solutions for excess furniture and valuables from a single family home.CMHC found that in Vancouver, British Columbia, there were 17,867 housing projects started in 2011, this in comparison to 15,217 homes built in 2010. The growth may show signs that the economy in BC and areas like Toronto or Quebec is starting to pick up, or at the very least that citizens are getting wiser with their investments."Multiple-family starts fuelled growth in new home construction in 2011," said Robyn Adamache, CMHC's senior market analyst. "There were 14,181…

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29 Nov 2011

When consumers have settled on a storage unit, they'll often question what belongings or home furnishings should occupy the space. But just as important as what to include is what not to include. The contents renters can and cannot include vary from company to company, but storage listing website StorageFront.com has published a list of items that virtually every facility prohibits. This includes radioactive materials. These toxic substances are often found in medical supplies, which is why health services personnel and sales representatives should be especially aware of whether they contain them. However, as the source indicates, the vast majority of medical supplies have no radioactive material. Foods are something else that shouldn't be housed in storage units, especially if…

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21 Oct 2011

As recent reports have indicated, real estate has been a hot commodity in Toronto, as some people are buying alternative living spaces because they're downsizing or need extra room. However, as U.S.-based financial services company Bankrate indicates, homeowners can maximize their living space without spending a dollar.For instance, the source says many people like to label their rooms so that only certain activities go on there, such as a living room, dining room or game room. But interior designers tell Bankrate that rooms can and should be multi-purpose. For example, because office electronics are getting smaller and more portable, it may be a good idea to make dining rooms, which are often underused, a den or office space as well.Another…

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15 Sep 2011

While the real estate picture in Toronto has been stellar for several months now, the high rate of sales isn't being offset by an increase in supply, a new report details.According to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association and the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada Ontario Region, 93,000 people are on affordable housing waiting lists in the Greater Toronto Area alone. What's more, vacancy rates are in record-low territory at 2.7 percent in Durham, 2.2 percent in Toronto and 1.8 percent in both Peel and York.Harvey Cooper, manager of government relations for CHF Canada, said the problem is particularly acute for families with low annual income levels."This year's findings clearly demonstrate that the gap between homeowners and tenants' incomes is growing…

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14 Sep 2011

In recent weeks, several economic indicators have suggested that Canada's economic prowess is regressing. A new report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is providing officials with a potential explanation for why this is happening. According to FCM's report, inefficient public transportation, limited community services and a lack of affordable housing are preventing the Canadian economy from growing. These insufficiencies are profoundly affecting Canada's new immigrants, according to Claude Dauphin, FCM vice president, a problem which can be rectified by local and federal government officials. "Municipalities are the front-line, first-responders for many immigrants' needs, yet we collect just eight cents of every tax-dollar paid in Canada and have been given no formal role in developing federal immigration policies and programs,"…

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7 Sep 2011

People continue to flock to Toronto, as the latest housing report from the Toronto Real Estate Board indicates home sales were swift last month.According to the TREB, in August, more than 7,500 properties were sold in the GTA, a rise of 24 percent in year-over-year sales. Last year during the same 31-day period, just under 6,100 homes were purchased.While sales increased, the ability to afford a home in the GTA did not, as the report indicated the average home sold for $451,663 – a price hike of 10 percent when compared to August 2010.Richard Silver, president of the TREB, said home affordability could be aided, however, with the removal of the land transfer tax, which officials are not expected to…

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23 Jun 2011

Large purchases should never be rushed into, and a new study is finding that Canadians take that maxim seriously when it comes to purchasing a home. According to an online survey conducted by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation of 3,500 mortgage customers, the average Canadian homeowner takes approximately 11 months to plan out all the details that come with homeownership before putting money down. “Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most Canadians will make in their lifetimes,” said Pierre Serre, vice president of Insurance Product and Business Development for the CMHC. “CMHC is committed to supporting homebuyers throughout their decision making process.” The study also found Canadians take advantage of the internet when planning out…

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