Monthly Archives: July 2011

Open House Weekend: Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, 2011, Brocklehurst

On Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st, 2011 open houses will be held in Brocklehurst.

2070 Pala Mesa Pl Brock Kamloops For SaleSaturday, July 30th, 2011: 11:00-1:00: 2070 Pala Mesa Place, Brocklehurst, $329,900

Tastefully updated solid Brock home in quiet cul-de-sac. 3+1 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms with suite potential recent updates include flooring, appliances, paint, window coverings, baseboards & more.

2108 Greenfield Ave Brock Real Estate KamloopsSunday, July 31st, 2011: 11:00-1:00: 2108 Greenfield Avenue, Brocklehurst, $264,900

Beautifully updated half duplex in Brock near to schools, parks, transportation, rec centre and shopping. Recent updates include heat pump, high efficiency furnace, windows, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, paint, fencing, deck and more.

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Featured Property: 2149 Grasslands Boulevard, Batchelor Heights, Kamloops, B.C. $434,900

Kamloops House 2149 Grasslands Batchelor Heights Beautiful Batchelor heights home on quiet end of Grasslands with unobstructed river views and a ton of extras. The main floor features a large kitchen and dining room area that leads to the private beautifully landscaped yard with hot tub. The living room has vaulted ceilings and has views up the North Thompson River and surrounding mountains. The master bedroom is spacious and has a large walk in closet and 3 piece ensuite. There are two other bedrooms on the main floor and a lot of closet storage space in all the rooms including the main bathroom. The basement has a bedroom off of the main foyer, a large rec room with gas fireplace, a big 5th bedroom, large storage room, a four piece bathroom and a 9 X 9 laundry room with folding table, laundry sink and storage. The back yard has a pond with waterfall, a large covered hot tub and spacious patio area (cedar & paving stone). The lot goes past the back retaining wall. Heated double garage with 220. In-ground Sprinklers, central A/C (3 ton unit), HE furnace & hot water tank, heavy duty garburator, monitored security system ($28/month) and RV parking. A lot of care and expense went into putting this full package together; don’t pass this great home up.

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Open House Weekend: Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, 2011, Brocklehurst and Westsyde

On Saturday, July 23rd and Sunday, July 24th, 2011 open houses will be held in Brocklehurst and Westsyde.

927 13th Street Brocklehurst Kamloops PropertySaturday, July 23rd, 2011: 1:00-3:00: 927 13th Street, Brocklehurste, $209,000

Centrally located Brocklehurst home with 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom on a private lot. Updates include furnace (5 years), HW tank, 100 amp service, windows, roof and some parts of the bathroom. more

Kamloops For Sale 2211 Greenfield Ave BrockSunday, July 24th, 2011: 1:00-3:00: 2211 Greenfield Avenue, Brocklehurst, $349,900

Spacious, updated Brock home close to Elementary &  Middle Schools, transportation and shopping. This home features a vaulted living room and dining room ceiling, updated kitchen, recently painted inside and out, new flooring, more.

2181 Perryville Pl Westsyde Kamloops HouseSunday, July 24th, 2011: 1:00-3:00: 2181 Perryville Place, Westsyde, $349,900

Immaculate Westsyde home with river views…numerous updates include furnace, hot water tank, central A/C, flooring, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, patio, most windows, external doors, paint, mouldings, more.

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Why Canadian Mortgage Rates are on a Roller Coaster

Deb Fehr Dominion Lending Mortgage BrokerDeborah Fehr of Dominion Lending provided this article below that was written by Tom Fennell on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011.

If there’s one question being kicked around the barbecue more than any other this summer, it’s probably this: should I lock in my variable rate mortgage? But with interest rates bouncing around, to the point where they make a mortgage-rate chart look more like the diagram of a rollercoaster, homeowners can be forgiven if they are hesitant.

After all, every time mortgage rates rise, they seem to come back down again. Recently, Royal Bank tried to raise mortgage rates, increasing the cost of its five-year fixed mortgage by 0.15 per cent, only to quietly lower them a few weeks later.

What gives?

On the variable side, rates have been stable, holding at 2.1 per cent for so long it seems like the new normal. They are priced based on the Bank of Canada rate. And with the U.S. economy slowing (Alberta created more jobs than the U.S. did in the last quarter), it’s little wonder that Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney decided not to raise interest rates this week – and it’s doubtful he will anytime soon.

While the variable rate has held steady for months, fixed-rate mortgages are far more difficult to predict. Fixed mortgages are primarily priced off of the five-year bond, and as a result are subject to volatility in the bond market, which is being whipsawed by the European sovereign debt crisis.

As more European countries edge toward default, interest rates have risen on their bonds, in some cases to more than 10 per cent. Many investors, however, fearing widespread defaults, have fled to the safe haven of the U.S. bond market. In the process, that has kept U.S. rates in the 2.3 per cent range, and helped keep mortgages rates low in this country, with a five-year fixed term mortgage going as low as 3.29 per cent.

But these bedrock-low rates could rise quickly if the U.S. does not solve its own debt crisis. President Obama has asked Congress to lift the country’s debt ceiling — the amount the country can borrow to meet its obligations. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is refusing to grant the increase until Obama makes deep cuts to government expenditures.

They have until Aug. 2 to solve the impasse and if nothing is done, the U.S. will default on the latest round of payments it has to make on its debts. Bond rating agencies have already said they will downgrade U.S. bonds if a default occurs. If that happens, it will drive up interest rates in the U.S. and push rates up on Canadian mortgages in the process.

“If Europe gets into trouble and the U.S. gets into trouble, money will be looking elsewhere,” says Kelvin Mangaroo, founder and president of RateSupermarket.ca. “Interest rates have been bouncing around and we might continue to see that until the U.S. credit situation gets sorted out.”

Could the uncertainty in Europe actually drive interest rates lower in Canada?

If Obama and Congressional Republicans come to an agreement, there could be a sudden flight to quality as investors buy U.S. bonds. That could drive down interest rates on the U.S. five-year bond, and reduce rates on Canadian fixed mortgages.

“There is always the possibility that they could drop a bit still,” said Mangaroo. “They’ve been lower before, so there is no reason that they can’t go back.”

With so much volatility in the market, should you lock in your mortgage? It’s hard to say, but studies have concluded you are better off holding a variable mortgage. Then again, those studies also include periods of extremely high interest rates, but with rates now at historic lows they would only go marginally lower.

In fact, you can purchase a 10-year mortgage for just 4.84 per cent and a 25-year at 8.35 per cent. In effect, you could lock your mortgage costs in at today’s historic lows and that would pay dividends long after the crisis in Europe and the U.S. has passed and rates are rising again.

Whether to lock in or not is the most common question Mangaroo gets at RateSupermarket.ca. About one-third of Canadian mortgages are variable, but Mangaroo says, “It all comes down to risk profile. And interest rates will be going up, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, you should look at a fixed five-year term which is at 3.5 per cent.”

But one thing is certain. If you hold a variable mortgage, you can breathe a little easier knowing Carney won’t be raising rates anytime soon. Ian Lee, director of the MBA Program at Carleton University, says this is because of the ongoing failure by the European leadership to address, let alone resolve, the growing Eurozone debt crisis and the ongoing inability of the U.S. political leadership to seriously address their annual $1.5 trillion deficit and $14 trillion debt.

“This clearly suggests,” says Lee, “that Governor Carney will think many times before raising interest rates now or in the fall.”

Deborah Fehr, Mortgage Consultant, Dominion Lending
P. 250-571-2472 E. ac.gnidnelnoinimodnull@rhefd W. www.dfehr.ca

 

Link to article

Featured Property: 2108 Greenfield Ave, Brocklehurst, Kamloops, B.C. $264,900

Kamloops Property 2108 Greenfield Ave Brock Real Estate Beautifully updated half duplex in Brock near to schools, parks, transportation, rec centre and shopping. Recent updates include heat pump, high efficiency furnace, windows, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, paint, fencing, deck and more. Bright open floor plan where family room on main floor could easily be a dining room or mud room. Huge living room,  large bedrooms and spacious rec room (currently used as a 5th bedroom). Large private back yard with storage shed, some new landscaping and is fully fenced. Lots of parking and room for an RV. This great home won’t last!

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Featured Property: 211 Universal Way, North Kamloops, B.C. $44,900

Kamloops Mobile Home 211 Universal Way North Perfect senior downsizer in quiet 55+ park. Large living room & kitchen. Cozy family room & good size master with 2 piece ensuite. One additional bedroom for guests. New flooring, newer furnace & most new windows. Roof inspected & in good condition. Comfortable yard & deck to enjoy the nice summer weather. Comes with small garden shed out back.

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To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Bank of Canada Keeps Key Interest Rate at 1%

This article appeared on CBC.ca on July 19th, 2011.

The Bank of Canada has kept its bench-mark overnight interest rate steady at one per cent, saying the need to keep the country’s economy growing amid the U.S. and European debt crises outweighs the need to slam the brakes on inflation.

In response to the central bank’s decision, the Canadian dollar has gained more than a cent in morning trading.

The Bank of Canada said Tuesday that Canada faces an uncertain international economic situation with European and U.S. debt concerns dominating the fiscal landscape.

“The U.S. economy has grown at a slower pace than expected and continues to be restrained by the consolidation of household balance sheets and slow growth in employment,” the bank said in a press release.

“While growth in core Europe has been stronger than expected, necessary fiscal austerity measures in a number of countries will restrain growth over the projection horizon.”

Thus, while Canada is growing roughly as the central bank had forecast, the country still faces a threat to its slowly-recovering export sales, partly because of weak U.S. economic growth and partly because of a rising Canadian currency.

Tuesday’s rate decision provided further lift for the Canadian loonie. The currency traded at $1.053 US in mid-morning, up from Monday’s Bank of Canada close of $1.043 US.

Growth versus inflation

Economists had split as to whether the bank would raise its overnight borrowing rate or keep the trend-setting interest rate at its current, record-low level as the July decision approached.

Late last year, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney talked extensively about the need for Canadians to rein in their personal debt levels, a signal many experts interpreted as the central banker about to get tough on rising prices.

Indeed, many economists began predicting that the bank would boost rates in July, especially after three months — March, April and May — when inflation popped above the central bank’s one-to-three-per-cent target range for price growth.

Carney, however, began signaling a change of sentiment in June when he talked about the financial “headwinds” Canada faced in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

His wording lead to a subtle shift in thinking among Carney watchers.

“The hard place that Carney is caught between is the growing risk that Canada’s economy will underperform expectations if U.S. demand remains weak and/or Europe’s credit crisis erupts and spews lava across global financial markets,” said BMO Capital Markets economist Sal Guatieri in a commentary prior to Tuesday’s rate announcement.

Economic growth — something central bankers are trained to generally ignore — began pushing out concerns over rising prices in the bank’s thinking, experts said.

Still, many economists believe the Bank of Canada will boost interest rates towards the end of 2011 as long as the Canadian economy keeps to its current decent GDP growth path.

RBC Economics, for example, currently predicts that Canada’s economy will grow at a 3.2 per cent clip in 2011, equal to the growth rate for 2010.
Europe and America

There are growing fears that the Greek debt crisis is spreading to other European countries, especially the continent’s third biggest economy — Italy.

As well, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has so far failed to reach a deal with the U.S. Congress over whether to raise Washington’s borrowing ceiling.

Failure to get an agreement by Aug. 2 risks placing the world’s largest economy in technical default of it debt obligations.

Both situations hold the potential to drive the global economy back into a recession similar to the one in 2008-09 or at least to reduce the potential economic growth for most countries, experts have warned.
Into the winter

Still, the Bank of Canada said it is eyeing rate hikes into the later months of 2011.

“To the extent that the expansion continues and the current material excess supply in the economy is gradually absorbed, some of the considerable monetary policy stimulus currently in place will be withdrawn,” the Bank’s statement said.

The central bank now forecasts that Canada will expand by 2.8 per cent in 2011 and 2.6 per cent in 2012, the year that the Bank expects the Canadian economy will reach full capacity.

Link

B.C. Home Sales Fall Overall in June, but Rise in Okanagan and Kootenay

This article appeared on the Vancouver Sun on July 16th, 2011 and was written by Bryan Yu.

Provincial home sales recorded a third straight monthly decline in June, falling 2.9 per cent from May to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 70,280 units. In spite of a two-per-cent increase over the same period last year, sales remain weak.

June’s decline largely reflected a 5.5-per-cent drop in Metro Vancouver figures as combined sales in the rest of the province rose 3.8 per cent from May. The largest gains were seen in Kootenay (20.6 per cent), South Okanagan (15.7 per cent) and Chilliwack (16.5 per cent) real estate board regions. In the Okanagan-Mainline region, sales rose 4.2 per cent in June following a 9.4 per cent advance the previous month.

While it’s too early to predict a recovery phase, the outlook for the Okanagan and Kootenay markets has improved slightly. High oil prices continue to boost Alberta’s economy and have led to some of the lowest unemployment rates and the strongest pace of job growth in the country. This could bode well for B.C.’s recreational housing markets over the next few years as discretionary spending picks up.

However, a high Canadian dollar and dramatic price declines in some markets south of the border has made recreational housing in the U.S. a significant competitor for those same dollars.

EXPORTS REBOUND

B.C. exports to international markets rebounded following a drop in April. Total seasonally-adjusted exports rose 17.4 per cent to reach $2.8 billion in May, the highest level seen since late 2008. The underlying trend remains slightly positive (although uneven), but largely reflects higher prices rather than increased physical shipments.

The resource sector led growth in May. Exports of industrial goods and materials reversed April’s 33-percent drop, advancing 27.2 per cent to $562.7 million, while energy exports surged 46 per cent from April to $918.8 million.

There was a sharp rebound in natural gas exports to the U.S. and a 32-percent rise in bituminous coal exports from April, reflecting increased shipments to the U.K, China, Brazil and South Korea.

HOUSING STARTS FALL BACK

Following a 30-per-cent gain in May, led by a jump in multi-family construction, housing starts fell 25.9 per cent in June to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 23,500 units.

In B.C.’s urban areas (which represent about 90 per cent of total activity), multi-family starts declined 36.2 per cent to 14,100 annualized units. Meanwhile, single-detached starts remained flat, dipping 1.4 per cent to 7,100 units.

While June’s monthly decline was relatively steep, month-to-month comparisons of housing starts are volatile, reflecting the large proportion of apartments and other multi-family dwellings that make up the flow of new housing additions in the province, particularly in Metro Vancouver.

VALUE OF MAJOR PROJECTS RISES TWO PER CENT

Estimated first-quarter combined capital costs of major projects under construction in the province rose two per cent to $63.1 billion, according to the B.C. Ministry of Finance. Major projects are defined as those with capital costs of at least $15 million ($20 million in the Lower Mainland).

The bulk of the net gains were observed in the Kootenay ($877 million), Thompson/Okanagan ($624 million) and the Mainland/Southwest ($669 million) development regions. In contrast, completed projects outpaced commencement of new projects in the Northeast by a margin of $600 million and on the Vancouver Island/ Coastal region by $416 million.

Among the 28 major projects that began construction in the first quarter, the highest valued project was the Waneta power plant expansion in Trail, with estimated capital costs of $900 million. Work also started on the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre in Kelowna ($448 million) and the Surrey Memorial Hospital Emergency Department and Critical Care Tower ($512 million).

While the value of total proposed projects in the pipeline dipped by two per cent to $112 billion in the first quarter, 39 major projects with combined capital cost of more than $2.5 billion were added to the list. The largest proposed project was the Telus Garden Communications Centre in Vancouver, a 22-storey office tower and a 44-storey residential tower with an estimated capital cost of $750 million.

Bryan Yu is an economist with Central 1 Credit Union.

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