How not to slaughter your personal finances this holiday season

[Source: The Globe and Mail, December 7, 2016] For reasons I’ll discuss in an upcoming column, I see 2017 as an expensive year for Canadian households. One way to prepare is to go easy on your spending this holiday season. This edition of the newsletter is devoted to the idea of combining fun and frugal. First off, we should acknowledge that Canadians are world leaders in binge shopping in December. Next, let’s agree that a present for your spouse is probably [...]

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Bank of Canada sees stronger global growth, keeps rates steady

[Source:  The Globe and Mail, December 7, 2016] The Bank of Canada is keeping its key overnight rate at 0.5 per cent, pointing to a stronger global economy coupled with continued uncertainty regarding international trends. Donald Trump’s election win in the United States has created expectations in financial markets that Republicans in Washington will inject new fiscal stimulus into a U.S. economy that is near full capacity, a development the bank says has pushed Canadian bond yields “significantly” higher. The bank says [...]

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Vancouverites learning to love life with less living space

[Source: The Globe and Mail, November 11, 2016] Young families aren’t leaving Vancouver. People aren’t in despair because they can’t buy a house with a yard. They’re learning to adapt to and even love an urban life in which they have less space but more connections with their neighbourhood. And it’s not this region’s tightly constrained geography or the sole effect of foreign capital washing in that makes housing so expensive. Instead, it’s policy decisions that reserve so much of the available [...]

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Vancouver acquires Arbutus rail corridor from CP for $55-million

[Source: The Globe and Mail, March 7, 2016] Fifteen years of bitter fighting over an unused rail corridor on Vancouver’s west side have ended with an announcement the city has agreed to buy the nine-kilometer line from CP Rail for $55-million to transform it into a greenway. That opens the door for radical change along the line. “This is Vancouver’s chance to have a New York-style High Line,” a smiling Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told a news conference on Monday, referring to [...]

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OPINION: Homeowner Property Rights in Vancouver

[Source: Shpoa, Fall 2016] Given the recent controversies arising over such issues as 'affordable' housing, heritage preservation, 'green' objectives and densification, many homeowners are affected by new laws and regulations that are, in some cases, devaluing their properties by limiting redevelopment options and disturbing the overall composition of the neighborhoods in which they live. Questions are arising about the legality of measures being taken by various levels of government, to serve their political agendas, and to the degree to which property [...]

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Real Estate Market Has a Record October but Headwinds Coming From Higher Rates

[Source: Financial Post, November 15, 2016] TORONTO — Canadian existing home sales reached a record level in October, data published Tuesday shows, but the market faces an increasing threat from tighter mortgage rules, which have helped send interest rates higher. The Ottawa-based Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents about 100 boards across the country, said there were 42,473 sales last month across the country, a two per cent increase from a year earlier and the best-ever showing for the month. October’s sales [...]

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Planning a home renovation? Tips for keeping your finances in order.

[Source: Global News] When dreaming of a home renovation, visions of new cabinets, counter tops and appliances are often the first things that come to mind. But, figuring out how you’re going to pay for it? That’s likely a little further down the line. It may not be the most exciting part of a reno, but experts say planning your financing well in advance is key to a successful project. Reprioritizing where to spend your home improvement dollars is smart, but before you [...]

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Opinion: Empty Homes Tax a Sensible Property levy for Vancouver

[Source: Vancouver Sun, November 17, 2016] Making housing affordable in Vancouver is difficult.  On the demand side, ours is a beautiful, safe and stable city. Those features are likely to grow in value over time. On the supply side, mountains and oceans impede our ability to build out and pervasive single-family zoning that makes it difficult to build up. Tax policy has also made it hard for locals to find decent homes that they can afford. We have high taxes on [...]

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First-time Home Buyers Face Stressful Economics

Source: [The Star, November 15, 2016] RBC hikes rates a day after province offers tax refund to new buyers. First-time buyers in Toronto's hot property market must be wondering when they will catch a break.  A second major bank announced Tuesday it was raising its mortgage rates — a day after the province introduced a tax refund designed to help first timers step on to the property ladder. Although the two events are unrelated and mortgage rates remain extremely low overall, housing [...]

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Minimum Down Payment Requirement – Effective February 15, 2016

Chana Charach, MB CANADA - NEW MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT REQUIREMENT - Effective February 15, 2016 For homes priced up to $500,000.00 the minimum down payment is 5% For homes priced over $500,000.00 the minimum down payment is 5% plus 10% on the portion above $500 k. Example:  If you want to buy a $750,000 home, you'll need to have a minimum down payment of $50,000, which is what you get when you add five per cent of $500,000 and 10 per cent [...]

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