Bank of Canada stands pat in year’s final rate decision, balancing COVID-19 risks with vaccine optimism

[Globe and Mail - December 9, 2020] The Bank of Canada stood pat on monetary policy in its final scheduled interest-rate decision of an eventful 2020, balancing the near-term economic risks from the second wave of the COVID-19 virus with the arrival of vaccines to alleviate the pandemic. The central bank announced Wednesday morning that its governing council had opted to leave the bank’s key policy rate unchanged at a record-low 0.25 per cent, where it has sat since a series [...]

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Vancouver real estate: 2020 sales so far surpass whole of 2018, 2019, and December has just started

[Georgia Straight - December 8, 2020] A new market report by Vancouver-based Dexter Realty shows that 2020 will finish with a bang. Residential and land sales so far this year in the city of Vancouver exceed annual numbers for 2018 and 2019. These are numbers from January to November 2020, and sales in December have yet to be counted. The same picture is mirrored on a regional scale across areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). This means that any [...]

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5 reasons to get a second opinion on your mortgage renewal

[Invis Synergy Mortgage - December 2020] Given the large financial commitment of a mortgage, it's surprising that so many homeowners sleepwalk through the mortgage renewal process and don't look at all their options in the marketplace. Many accept whatever their lender offers or just have a short negotiation to shave a few points off. While it's tempting to choose what is easiest, it's so important to have a mortgage expert give you a second opinion and start working for you as [...]

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Vancouver’s Empty Home’s Tax – declarations due by February 2, 2021

[Vancouver.ca - 2020] Empty Homes Tax due dates Previous years' unpaid tax added to property tax bill: December 31, 2020 Declaration for 2020: February 2, 2021 Empty Homes Tax payment for 2020: April 16, 2020 Properties deemed or declared vacant will be subject to a tax of 1.25% of the property’s assessed taxable value. The city said the tax will climb to three per cent for the 2021 tax year. Each year, every owner of residential property needs to make a property status declaration. This will determine if [...]

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Liberals planning national foreign buyers tax in bid to lower housing prices

[Financial Post - December 2, 2020] In this week's fiscal update, government says plan will benefit first-time homebuyers and put more homes on the market. TORONTO — The Liberal government says it will take steps over the next year to tax foreign homeowners who live outside of Canada as part of a plan to lower housing prices. It’s an idea that has been growing in popularity over the last few years in provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, [...]

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Why debt is still a four-letter word for housing markets

[Financial Post - November 10, 2020] One usually expects an increase in job losses to impact housing markets by triggering a decline in sales and mortgage debt. The COVID-19-induced job losses are different. Despite the increase in job losses, sales and mortgage debt have also increased in many cities across Canada. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) in a report released in October warned about elevated household debt levels and the implications for the housing markets. The report said that heavily [...]

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Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

[CTV - December 1, 2020] VICTORIA -- Insurance companies in British Columbia have agreed to end a pricing practice that has been identified as one of the key factors in skyrocketing property insurance premiums for condominiums. Earlier this year, the B.C. Financial Services Authority said premiums have gone up by 40 per cent on average for a number of reasons. Finance Minister Selina Robinson says an agreement to end so-called best terms pricing on Jan. 1 is a positive step. Insuring multi-unit properties [...]

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How long can interest rates stay low once a vaccine arrives?

[CBC - November 10. 2020] Jubilation over the good news about a vaccine has taken markets by storm. Shortly after the news broke on Monday that the U.S. drugmaker Pfizer had a COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough that appeared 90 per cent effective, the Dow Jones industrial average soared more than 1,500 points, , a rise of more than four per cent. The Toronto market also took off. Canadian oil and gas shares shot up on the prospect of people climbing back into cars for road trips [...]

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10 Changes You Can Make For a Healthier Home

[Best Health Mag - November 18, 2020] Expert Jamie Gold shares the small changes you can make to your home optimize your physical and mental well-being. It’s hard to find a trendier word these days then "wellness."  The pursuit of optimal mind and body amazingness is baked into everything from the turmeric lattes we’re supposed to be drinking to the forest bathing we forgot to do because we were too busy counting our steps and wondering if showering counts as self-care. That [...]

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Builders aim to pandemic-proof new homes

[Western Investor - November 27, 2020] Outdoor elevators, touchless doors, zero-recycled air and changes to open floor plans among design reactions to COVID-19 Vancouver developer Qualex-Landmark is among the first to implement a number of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in two new residential projects, part of a trend that is gaining traction across North America. “Just as the Spanish flu gave us the vanity room, which originated as a hand-washing basin immediately inside the front entry of a home, [...]

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