This article appeared on the Vancouver Sun’s Website on December 20th, 2011 and was written by Tracy Sherlock.
Canada’s real estate market is strong compared to its global counterparts, but the boom has lasted longer than in most other countries and shows signs of waning, a Scotiabank report said.
“The Canadian housing market remains an outperformer among advanced nations, with real home prices up 4.8 per cent year over year in [the third quarter],” Scotiabank’s Global Real Estate Trends report said. “While the sector’s continued buoyancy is impressive, monthly data through November suggest prices have levelled off since the spring, with conditions in the majority of local markets in ‘balanced’ territory.”
The report credits “ultralow” interest rates with continuing to attract buyers, while economic uncertainty and some recent slowing in hiring are possible dampers on demand in Canada. Canada is at the top of the 10 countries included in the report. Five countries — the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Spain and (to a lesser extent) Italy — show average house prices significantly lower than their peak values, while the other five countries — Canada, Australia, France, Sweden and Switzerland — still show average prices at or near record highs.
The cycle of rising real home prices is long, lasting on average 12 years, according to the Scotiabank report.
“Italy’s boom was the shortest at eight years, while Ireland and Sweden count 15 years. Canada’s ongoing housing boom is in its 13th year,” the report states.
Canada’s house prices did not rise as steeply as those in other countries, with inflation-adjusted average home prices up 85 per cent since 1998, according to the report.
“Canada’s residential real estate boom started several years later than many of its counterparts, with the economy still feeling the effects of the deep recession of the early 1990s and weak labour markets through mid-decade,” the report says.
Pritchard is located 30 minutes or 39 kilometers south east of the City of Kamloops. The majority of the properties in Pritchard are small to large acreages. There is one area where smaller city lots exist (approximately 0.25 acre lots) and are largely dominated by modular or manufactured homes. Pritchard is a rural area with few amenities close. There are a lot of recreational, outdoor activities that are easily accessible in Pritchard area.
The Pritchard Bridge spans the South Thompson River connecting the residents of the North side of the river with the South shore and highway. The Pritchard bridge is a wooden stringer system and has an opening at it’s highest point to allow boats to pass under. The bridge was constructed in the early 1900’s and it is a single lane bridge with large pull outs so oncoming traffic can pass. The bridge will support heavier loads as it does have a concrete deck and allows for logging trucks to pass over.
Properties & Real Estate
The area of Pritchard is located along Highway #1 East of the City of Kamloops. This area is split by the Highway, one area of Pritchard rests at the valley bottom along the South Thompson River and the other area of Pritchard stretches into the southern hills and mountains. The smaller residential lots are located at the valley bottom across the Pritchard bridge on Decamillis Road, Bostock Crescent, Gerella Road, Gore Road, Anker Road and Foort Road to name a few.
Predominantly, large acreages are found on the south side of the river off of Duck Range Road, Martin Prarie Road (main roads in this area of Pritchard) as well as Harrison Road, Schamps Road and Stark Road. Most of the acreages are located on the south side of Pritchard. There are a few medium and large sized acreages spread on the Northern side of Pritchard off of Pinantan Pritchard Road, Pinantan Road and Kamloops-Shuswap Road.
The only shopping in this area is the Pritchard store located at the corner of the Trans Canada Highway #1 and Martin Prarie Road. Along with basic necessities the Prtichard store offers spirits and liquor as well. The closest shopping to Pritchard is Chase which is 18.5 kilometers east of Pritchard or Kamloops which is 39 kilometers west of Pritchard. There are some smaller shopping centres west of Pritchard such as the new Town Centre in Dallas (opening in 2012) that is 27.2 kilometers and shopping in Valleyview (Coopers, Shoppers Drug Mart, Dollar Store, TD, Interior Savings and other retailers) that is 34 kilometers from Pritchard.
There are local farmers that offer fresh foods in the area as well.
All school aged children are taken to school by bus. To view school information for this area click here.
There are a number of outdoors activities to enjoy in the Pritchard area. In the summer it is easy to power boat from Pritchard, up the south Thompson River to Shuswap Lake. There are a number of fishing lakes in the area, cross country skiing, off road adventures on ATV, dirtbike or snowmobile, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and hiking.
Click here to view properties for sale in Pritchard.
Cheapest is not always best. We know that’s true when we’re shopping for anything else. But we still tend to believe that lowest rate is the one and only factor in choosing a mortgage. Most Canadian homeowners would be shocked to discover that their low-rate mortgage could actually cost them more in the long run.
Why? Because the right mortgage is about a lot more than just rate.
It’s true that even a small reduction in rate can mean interest savings over the life of your mortgage. And mortgage brokers are experts at seeking out competitive rates from a wide range of lenders. But they also look deeper. Sometimes those cut-rate mortgages come with higher fees, penalties, or restrictive terms, which could prove more costly over the long term than a slightly higher-rate mortgage with flexible terms.
One of the best ways to save interest, for example, is to use pre-payment options. If you get a quarterly bonus, a tax refund, or a seasonal income boost, then you have some excellent opportunities to slash your mortgage costs. Putting extra money against your mortgage principal could save you thousands of dollars in interest. If your cut-rate mortgage doesn’t permit pre-payments, that’s a huge missed opportunity.
Also watch for low-rate “teasers”: cut-rate mortgages with a short timeline. Sometimes a lender will offer a rate that is good for just 30 days, after which the rate will jump. If closing takes a little longer, or there’s a glitch in documentation, then you need to be prepared with a backup plan. These teasers can be stressful – and not always the best deal anyway.
An accredited independent mortgage broker will determine the features and privileges that best meet your personal situation, looking at:
Most people spend more time choosing the right car than choosing the right mortgage, although it’s likely the largest expense they’ll likely ever undertake.
Make sure you have a mortgage that is custom-built for your personal situation. Cheapest isn’t always best. And obviously the most expensive mortgage is rarely the best choice either. But the right combination of rate and features – matched to your needs – is the fastest route to mortgage freedom. It’s your mortgage broker’s job to help you with that route-planning: a map for your financial future.
Brenda Colman, AMP, Mortgage Consultant, Invis KamloopsP. 250-318-8118 E. ac.sivninull@namlocadnerb W. www.BrendaColman.ca
Lots of updates in this centrally located Sahali home with a view. Within walking distance to schools, transportation & shopping. 3 bedrooms on the main floors & 1 down. Spacious master bedroom with an ensuite. French doors off of the kitchen leading to a huge covered deck that overlooks the yard. Large, private parklike yard that is fully fenced. Deck has a gas BBQ hookup. Large rec room down with laundry. Extra long double garage 21×23. Recent upgrades include high efficiency furnace, hot water tank, insulation, new windows, roof, some upgraded flooring & paint.
Click here to view more pictures of this property.
This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News on December 23rd, 2011.
Multi-family housing and home renovations kept builders busy in 2011, says the president of the Canadian Home Builders Association-Central Interior. But new house construction took a hit, a one-two punch from the global economy and uncertainty around B.C.’s Harmonized Sales Tax, Brian Hayashi said Friday.
“New homes were significantly down. We think it’s a combination of things: the bad news of the global economy. A number of realtors and homebuilders have said sales stopped when the HST vote happened,” he said.
Of course, new home sales also turned sluggish when the HST was first created, but they did pick up after about six months, he said. “This time around, we don’t know.”
His group is working on a campaign for the new year to let buyers know it’s an ideal time to purchase a new house, Hayashi said. “Costs are going down. There is no advantage in waiting for the GST/PST to come off,” he said.
While new house sales are slow — with the exception of a flurry of selling in late November — there also isn’t a lot out on the Kamloops market, he said. “The other concern is when sales do pick up, there’s going to be a shortage. And whenever there’s a shortage, prices start to go up.”
Hayashi said his company, Nexbuild, has stayed busy with commercial work and home renovations. There are also energy-savings grants that homeowners should be aware of. “We’re looking forward to things picking up in new energy retrofits, some grants and incentives out there,” he said. “The renovation market continues to be strong. The energy retrofits, people staying put and upsizing or downsizing or even just maintaining. That’s a good opportunity for local builders.”
Despite the single-family home slowdown, Kamloops’ construction demand has been fairly stable going into 2012, he said. “So I’m hoping it’ll pick up. We’re not looking at a big boom or anything, the world is going to affect us, but I would say we’re doing really well. We’re really fortunate here.”
Brian Ledoux, president of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association, agreed with Hayashi’s observations about multi-family housing doing better than new single-family homes. “New construction and residential sales were low, just based on the way the HST rules bounced around, nobody knew what to do,” he said. “Information didn’t get out well enough for the public to understand what was happening, so they decided not to do anything.”
But used houses sold well, in fact by year’s end, the total number of homes sold was close to matching last year’s, said Ledoux. The count taken a few weeks before 2011 ended was 1,980 homes sold, compared with around 2,100 or 2,200 at the end of 2010, he said.
He knew of only one house that sold that was priced over $1 million this year, but there were several in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. Interest rates attracted first-time home buyers, he said.
House prices in Kamloops have actually been declining since 2007, but are now leveling off, said Ledoux. He predicted the housing market in 2012 will see a slow and steady increase in sales.
Knutsford is located 15 minutes south of the city of Kamloops. The Old Merritt Highway 5A runs through the Knutsford area. Some areas of Knutsford are within a five minute drive of Aberdeen Mall. Knutsford mainly consists of small to large acreages, farms and ranches. There are a couple of small mobile home parks in the area as well. Knutsford is known for it’s wide open rolling hills with views for miles. Knutsford is located at a higher elevation than the city of Kamloops and tends to get a little more snow in the winter but in the summer it is not quite as hot.
The Knutsford Hall is a popular place for locals to meet for events and gatherings and has a capacity of up to 110 people. The Hall is located on Highway 5A just outside of Aberdeen.
Properties & Real Estate
The two mobile home parks in the area are Knutsford Knoll Mobile Home Park (2867 Highway 5A) and Knutsford Tent and Trailer Park (2721 Highway 5A). These parks are easily accessible from the highway.
The majority of Knutsford is dominated by ranches and farms. Many of the properties are located off of Long Lake Road, Highway 5A, Rose Hill Road, Goose Lake Road, Weir Road, Jackson Road, Separation Road and Edith Lake Road. There are a number of smaller roads in Knutsford that also lead to large properties. Click here to view a map of Knutsford.
The majority of the properties in Knutsford are on septic system. For water, homes are either a drilled well or have water delivered. There are a few select properties that border Aberdeen that do have city services.
There are no multi-family or townhouse developments in this area.
Click here to view properties for sale in Knutsford.
Knutsford does not have it’s own shopping district. You will find ranches and farms that sell eggs and other products but there are not any large commercial developments.
Most areas of Knutsford are within five to 15 minutes of the Aberdeen area of Kamloops. Aberdeen has a number of stores and shops such as the Aberdeen Mall, Costco, many restaurants, and more. Knutsford is a great location for people who want to live in a country setting but also want to be close to city amenities.
Highway 5A leads directly to Highway #1 which is the main route through Kamloops making other shopping districts such as Downtown Kamloops and Valleyview very accessible.
Knutsford is serviced by school bus and students have the choice of a few schools. It will take about 15 to 30 minutes by school bus to most schools in the area. Click here for further school information.
There are many outdoors activities to enjoy in Knutsford such as horseback riding, motor sports, hiking, boating (Stump Lake is close as well as other small fishing lakes), fishing and more. Stump Lake is the only lake in the area that allows gas powered boats, other lakes such as Edith Lake, Separation Lake, McLeod Lake and Flat Lake are only fishing Lakes.
Knutsford is also very close to the city of Kamloops and can access many city amenities like the Tournament Capital Centre and other popular activities in Kamloops.
Click here to view properties for sale in Knutsford.
This article appeared on the Canadian Real Estate Magazine on December 14th, 2011.
The B.C. real estate market may finally have reached the equilibrium investors and others have long hoped for, with Multiple Listing sales in November falling only marginally from the previous year and price growth restricting itself to a 1 per cent gain.
“After waning during the first half of the year, consumer demand has steadily increased since the summer months, bringing home sales within seven units of the November 2010 level,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “BC home sales continued to gain ground in November.”
A total of 5,640 units were sold last month compared to 5,647 units in November 2010. The average MLS residential price was up 1.1 per cent to $529,140 in November compared to the same month last year.
“Low mortgage interest rates remain a key driver in the housing market, helping to maintain affordability and purchasing power,” said Muir.
But affordability on B.C.’s Lower Mainland — or rather the lack of it — has worried local investors trying to make acquisitions in markets they have inreasingly found themselves shut out of this year.
That rapid value growth continues to moderate, with a falling number of buyers able or willing to purchase at prices in some cases more than 30 per cent higher than their 2010 numbers.
Year-to-date, the dollar volume for B.C. residential sales increased 15.5 per cent to $41 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.2 per cent to 72,632 units, and the average residential price rose 11.9 per cent to $563,991 over the same period.
This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News on December 12th, 2011 and was written by Cam Fortems.
Sun Peaks celebrates its 50th anniversary this season. This is the second in a two-part series highlighting some of the history of the development of the ski resort.
There is no bigger or better example of the power of globalization on the economy of the Thompson region than Nippon Cable Co.’s investment at Tod Mountain.
The purchase by the privately held Japanese company of a historical ski hill in B.C.’s Interior — a hill that struggled financially through a succession of owners — ignited what would become $750 million worth of development a mere 45 minutes from downtown Kamloops.
That investment, starting with Nippon’s purchase of mountain tenure and development rights in 1992, 31 years after it opened, came at a key time for the region’s economy.
Seed capital to build lifts and create a master plan would encourage hoteliers and housing developers to put money into the resort, creating million-dollar homes, jobs and result in thousands of new tourists from Europe and Asia coming here each year.
Resort spending diversified Kamloops’ economy, helping shield the city from the shock of closure of Weyerhaeuser’s Kamloops sawmill, shut down of Teck’s original Afton project and the Convergys call centre, to name a few of the biggest that would fall in the intervening years.
While investment at New Afton and Highland Valley Copper dwarfs Nippon Cable’s investment, those companies are
“The biggest reason (for investment) was the potential,” said Sun Peaks Corp. vice-president and general manager Darcy Alexander.
“The Coquihalla was just built in ’87 and it opened up the Interior. The population in the Interior was growing. It had good economic prospects. The attraction of Tod was its ability to serve everyone, from beginners to experts.”
At its peak, the mountain sees about 1,300 people working on the hill, including part-timers, seasonal workers and volunteers.
The mountain is dominated by the corporation, which has a statutory seat on the resort municipality’s council. Its master plan sets out the future of development in a detailed way that municipalities typically lack.
The “corporation,” as its known on the hill, remains dominant. But Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks and one of the original key staffers on the mountain, noted there are now 83 businesses registered with the association. Most of those owners are resident.
Those businesses range from construction firms to hotels, cafes and property management companies.
“It’s diversified,” Nicolson said. “There’s been a shift in the past five or 10 years. You might have had a similar number of services with construction before, but they were based elsewhere.”
Among the original small businesses now part of the 18-year-old Sun Peaks is Bolacco Café, which set up in the Coast
Sundance Lodge in 1996.
“There was nothing here,” said Konrad Glowczynski, who co-owns the lodge along with his wife, Elizabeth.
Konrad, originally from Poland, lived in Italy and Vancouver before coming to what was largely an unknown mountain in the B.C. Interior. And like many who move to a ski resort, it was about lifestyle rather than money.
“It was a struggle in 1996,” he acknowledged.
Today, winters are busy in the peak season and August is also a good month. But Glowczynski said he and other restaurateurs would like to see more business during non-peak times, particularly during week days.
“I don’t downhill anymore,” said Glowczynski, who raised three children on the mountain. “I cross-country. I came here, not for the business, but the lifestyle.”
Alexander’s goal to increase and spread out traffic is the same, something he is confident will occur in time.
Today the resort has about 7,500 beds — a remarkable growth story considering it started from just a handful of residences on Tod Mountain.
Veteran Kamloops hotelier Tim Rodgers said the resort has undoubtedly been good for the city, but not for its hotel industry.
Before there was nightly accommodation on Tod Mountain, Kamloops hotels offered packages to out-of-town skiers. Skier visits at one hotel reached about 1,200 a year.
“Now I’m lucky if I get 10 a year,” said the Best Western Plus manager.
Sun Peaks also draws tourists who would otherwise stop in the city.
“They’re definitely a competitor,” Rodgers said. “In summer they have low rates and we lose buses. (But) for the city, it’s a huge economic gain.”
One of the biggest benefits citywide is service by WestJet from Calgary and Vancouver, something Rodgers said wouldn’t be here without the skiers that Sun Peaks attracts.
The resort is part way through phase 2 of its master plan, which anticipates 24,000 beds at build out. That will be accompanied by a second village site and more lifts on the mountain.
“For the first 15 to 18 years it rolled along just as we thought,” said Alexander, who managed the resort from Day 1, after starting with Nippon Cable at a Kelowna golf resort several years earlier.
“The recent downturn has really slowed things from a timing perspective.”
Despite that slowdown and shaken faith from the United States market in real estate investments, Alexander said the resort has grown to a place where it is sustainable.
As it is, Sun Peaks can brag on several fronts, including status of Delta Sun Peaks as the only four-diamond hotel in the area, creation of a resort municipality and presence of 11 lifts accessing 1,500 hectares of terrain.
“We have one of the bigger ski resorts in B.C. and Canada in terrain,” Alexander said. “Are we at a critical mass? Yes…. We don’t need to grow to be successful at this stage.”
This article appeared on the Kamloops Daily News on December 12th, 2011 and was written by Catherine Litt.
A couple of weeks ago, Daily News reader Aileen Adams asked our Readers’ Reporter to track down the status of three empty lots on Tranquille Road.
The properties, all deep in the heart of the North Shore’s business district, have been vacant for years and Adams was curious to know if anything would ever come of them.
As it turns out, one of the properties has already begun a major transformation since Adams inquired.
It’s at the corner of Tranquille Road and Wood Street and is owned by Missagh Manshadi, a Kamloops pharmacist who also holds a smaller corner property at Tranquille and Elm.
“It’s going to be the jewel of the North Shore,” Manshadi said on Monday, as he described his plans for a mixed-use development called Carmel Place, now under construction at Tranquille and Wood.
When it’s finished in 15 months, Carmel Place will have commercial/office/retail space on the bottom and 38 units of affordable rental housing on top, managed by the non-profit Door to Roof Society.
The project is expected to cost Manshadi up to $8 million, but it’s money he’s convinced is a good investment.
“My plan was to somehow give back to the city in two ways,” said Manshadi, “by helping the North Shore community but also helping to provide reasonable apartments for rent.”
The Carmel Place development comes at a time of renewed interest in the North Shore core. Across the street from Manshadi’s project, the owners of the former Village Hotel are in the midst of transforming their building into the new Northbridge Hotel and Suites, which will market itself to visiting sports teams.
Just a few blocks north, the latest phase of the Library Square development is underway.
“We’re ready to go,” North Shore Business Improvement Area manager Peter Mutrie said of the increased activity.
“Now’s the time to buy in, because when it goes, it’s going to go fast — and in five years, you’re going to wish to hell you had bought in.”
Manshadi bought in at time when the Tranquille strip was considered a risky investment and the so-called smart money was on projects in Sahali and Aberdeen.
But Manshadi, who drives through the North Shore every day from his home in Westsyde to his pharmacy on St. Paul Street, believes the smart money should be on Tranquille’s future.
“I see the potential in the North Shore,” he said. “It’s a growing community.”
To that end, Manshadi hopes his investment through Carmel Place proves successful.
If it does, he wants to create a similar mixed-use development on his other vacant property at Tranquille and Elm.
As for the third vacant lot our reader inquired about, the future is less clear.
The property at Tranquille and Clapperton is actually two separate lots — both former gas stations. One used to be a Super Save and is for lease. The other is a former Mohawk owned by Husky Oil.
The Daily News has yet to hear back from Husky Oil as to its plans for the property.
Meanwhile, the North Shore BIA said it could be years before that side of the property sees any action.
“These oil companies own a lot of property across the country and it just sits in their real estate portfolio,” said Mutrie.
“There’s no particular big rush to move these things. They’re in the oil business and they own some real estate and pay some taxes (on the properties) and, 40 years later, they still own property.”
Vancouver, BC – December 14, 2011. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential unit sales in the province remained relatively unchanged in November compared to the same month last year. A total of 5,640 units were sold last month compared to 5,647 units in November 2010. The average MLS® residential price was up 1.1 per cent to $529,140 in November compared to the same month last year.
Click to Enlarge
“BC home sales continued to gain ground in November,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “After waning during the first half of the year, consumer demand has steadily increased since the summer months, bringing home sales within seven units of the November 2010 level.”
“Low mortgage interest rates remain a key driver in the housing market, helping to maintain affordability and purchasing power,” added Muir.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 15.5 per cent to $41 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.2 per cent to 72,632 units, while the average MLS® residential price rose 11.9 per cent to $563,991 over the same period.
Not all debt is created equal – and not all debt is bad. In fact, you need some debt to establish a good credit rating. Being a responsible borrower means knowing which types of debt can help you reach your financial goals and which types leave you further behind. So how do you distinguish between debt that’s good and maybe not so good? Good debt includes any investment or purchase that helps improve your overall financial position:
Mortgage loans. We are benefiting from historically low mortgage rates, and over the long term, property has gained in value. You also build equity as you pay down your mortgage. This combination of low mortgage rates and increasing home equity creates smart debt.
Investments. Certain investments generate income and capital gains. Often, the interest expense on money borrowed for investments is tax deductible. Borrowing money to maximize your RRSP contributions is also good debt, since you’re investing in your future and benefiting from tax sheltered investment growth.
Bad debt involves purchases where the value becomes lower than the original cost, and which can carry a high rate of interest, making them harder to pay off:
Credit cards. Though you need to activate and use at least one credit card to generate credit history, irresponsible use can get you deep into debt. If you usually carry a balance on your card and make only the minimum payment each month, you’ll end up paying significantly more in the long run.
Buying a new vehicle. Before you start shopping for new wheels, keep in mind that cars start depreciating in value as soon as you drive them off the lot. Try not to buy more car than you need!
Deferred purchases. Be wary of advertisements for big purchases like furniture or home electronics at places where you “do not pay until 2015!” Sellers add financing charges to the cost of these items, and you could also be slapped with a steep interest rate until the item is paid off.
Preventing or reducing credit card or other bad debt may seem overwhelming at first, but it is manageable. Avoid cash advances, since these carry high interest penalties; use your debit card or cash instead. Only use your credit card to buy what you can afford, and pay off the balance in full each month. If you’re still unsure about your debt situation, set up a meeting with your mortgage broker. He or she can take you through your finances and advise you how you can use your home equity to trade bad debt for smart debt, and give you some financial breathing room. The right refinancing package can help put an end to the monthly squeeze of too much credit card debt or too many loans, and help you get back into your financial comfort zone.
Brenda Colman, AMP, Mortgage Consultant, Invis KamloopsP. 250-318-8118 E. ac.sivninull@namlocadnerb W. www.BrendaColman.ca
This article was provided by Brenda Colman of Invis in Kamloops.
Everyone loves to make forecasts for the New Year. With that in mind, we’ve put together a glimpse into the year ahead for Canadian homeowners – so you can plan for some great opportunities!
1. Low rates early in the year! So many financial experts were wrong last year when they predicted we’d see a rise in mortgage rates. But their loss is your gain. We are beginning 2012 once again at historically low mortgage rates.
2. “Green” money available until the end of March. The popular Eco-Energy Retrofit Grant is still available until March 31, 2012. You can access up to $5000 for improvements for energy-saving renovations to your home, but you’ll need to act fast. Before you begin work, you must arrange for an NRCan-licensed energy advisor to perform a residential energy assessment of your home. After the work is complete, a post-retrofit evaluation must be done by March 31, 2012. Full details are available at www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca. To register, go to www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/register.
3. The wealth train is leaving the station! At some point rates will begin to rise to more normal levels of 5 or 6 per cent, and it’s possible the trend upward might start in 2012. If you are carrying household debt outside your mortgage, you have a great opportunity right now to board the “wealth train”. Roll your high-interest debt into a low-rate mortgage. Start spending sensibly, saving smart, and you’ll be well on your way to slashing your debt and building your wealth. When interest rates begin to rise, debt derails even the best financial plan. Do it now.
4. Never renew with your eyes closed. When your mortgage comes up for renewal your lender sends out a note suggesting you renew at their current offer. Never renew your mortgage with your eyes closed! This is your moment of opportunity to negotiate the best possible deal. Who knows if the same lender is the best choice? If a renewal is in your financial future this year, bring us your renewal notice. There are some great options out there; we’ll help you look around.
5. Check out the re-advanceable mortgage! This is a brilliant mortgage concept for those who want to pay down their mortgage and have flexibility should an unexpected opportunity or expense arise. The re-advanceable mortgage is the perfect solution. If an emergency comes up, an unexpected investment opportunity, or a special renovation project, you can access your equity without a fuss. It may be the “last mortgage you’ll ever need”.
6. Time to build an income buffer? It’s a bit ironic, but it’s always hardest to get money at the very time that you need it. If there is even a chance that your household income could take a hit this year, then talk to us about building a financial buffer using today’s low mortgage rates. Maybe you won’t need it. But if you do, you’ll be grateful you made the arrangements when you did. With the European debt crisis still reeking economic havoc worldwide, unemployment and income fluctuations are still a risk.
7. Speed up your mortgage pay-down. Before rates rise, take the opportunity to beat down your mortgage principal. Build a plan to take advantage of your lender’s prepayment privileges! Consider changing from monthly payments to weekly or bi-weekly payments, and take some or all of your tax refund and put it against your mortgage principal. Your interest costs will go down with every dollar you’ve reduced on your principal amount.
8. Build a financial cushion. Your high-interest credit card should never be your emergency fund. This year, build a financial cushion: get in the habit of putting a small sum from every paycheque into a special emergency fund. A nice plump emergency fund is smart saving.
9. Staying put? Instead of moving to get the home you want, consider the many benefits of staying put. The right renovation – an addition, a new family room, a fresh kitchen – might be all it takes to turn the house you’re in, into the home of your dreams. It is almost always less expensive to renovate than to relocate – if an upgrade to your lifestyle is what you’re after!
10. Get your annual mortgage checkup. It’s your financial “medical”; early detection of problems can save your financial life! We like to know how your mortgage is working for you – and look for opportunities to make the most of your greatest budgeting asset! Book a mortgage review and make sure your plan incorporates what may be ahead in 2012: it could pay big dividends in the year ahead!
Brenda Colman, Mortgage Consultant, Invis KamloopsP. 250-318-8118 E. ac.sivninull@namlocadnerb W. www.BrendaColman.ca
The Demographia 7th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey for 2011 is out. It rates metropolitan markets for affordability of the housing in each market. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and China (Hong Kong) are all discussed. I have included a portion of the report below. You can access the full report by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.
The 7th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey expands coverage to 325 markets in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. This edition marks the addition of Hong Kong. The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey employs the ―Median Multiple‖ (median house price divided by gross annual median household income) to rate housing affordability(see chart ES-1 on page 7) . The Median Multiple is widely used for evaluating urban markets, and has been recommended by the World Bank and the United Nations Harvard University Joint Center on Housing.
Housing Affordability in 2010
Housing affordability was little changed in 2010, with the most affordable markets being in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand continue to experience pervasive unaffordability.
Among all 325 markets surveyed, there were 115 affordable markets, 106 in the United States and 9 in Canada. There were 94 moderately unaffordable markets, 74 in the United States, 17 in Canada and 3 in Ireland. There were 42 seriously unaffordable markets and 74 severely unaffordable markets. Australia had 27 severely unaffordable markets, followed by the United Kingdom with 21 and the United States with 15. Canada had 6 severely unaffordable markets, while New Zealand had 4. China’s one included market, Hong Kong, was also severely unaffordable.
Vancouver remains one of the most Severely Unaffordable markets with only Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong being more unaffordable.
I found this audio track on the NPR (National Public Radio: United States). They discuss the Canadian economic position versus the American. It is a short three minute piece. This was posted by the NPR on December 11th, 2011. I have included the short introduction below and the link to the broadcast.
America’s biggest trade partner, Canada, sailed through the economic downturn almost unscathed, with low unemployment, no mortgage crisis and not a single major bank failure. As part of WBEZ’s Front and Center series, Brian Mann reports on how Canada emerged as one of the world’s most stable and prosperous economies. Link to Audio
The real estate market in Canada is headed toward a 10%-15% drop in prices over the next few years, as interest rates eventually increase, said the CIBC’s Benjamin Tal on Thursday.
The CIBC economist also forecast that the Canadian economy will have a lackluster 2012, although will avoid recession.
Tal said the average price of a house has risen 28% from a cyclical low in January 2009. But that average has been largely skewed by strong activity in relatively expensive markets of Vancouver and Toronto, he said, whereas the overall national market is more multi-dimensional.
“But even a multi-dimensional market can overshoot,” said Tal. “And the likelihood is that prices in the Canadian market and its sub-segments are higher than what can be explained by factors such as income growth, rent, and household formation.”
He fell short of calling the pending price drops a sign of a bubble in the Canadian market, however.
Short of a huge macro shock, the risk is small that in the near term a large-scale forced selling materializes and triggers a precipitous plunge in house prices,” said Tal.
As for the national economy, CIBC predicted a 3% growth in the global economy next year, well below the 5% pre-recession rate.
“As an open economy, Canada can’t help but feel the disappointment of a barely half-speed world,” said Avery Shenfield, chief economist at CIBC.
Shenfield said Canada’s economy will grow by 2% over the next two years, with the jobless rate remaining about the same as now.
This article appeared in The Province on December 7th, 2011 and was written by Garry Marr.
One of Canada’s leading real estate companies says the rising housing market may not appear to make much sense.
But appearances are deceiving and Re/Max says sales and aver-age prices will continue to climb in 2012 – and that Vancouver’s average house price will break through $800,000.
“Canadian residential real estate defied conventional logic and out-performed expectations in 2011,” the company said in its year-end report on the market.
Re/Max expects 2011 to finish with prices up seven per cent and the average home across the country selling for $363,000. The market won’t be as robust in 2012 but consumers can still expect another two per cent jump in prices, it added.
Sales for 2011 are forecast to climb by three per cent from a year earlier with 460,000 homes sold by year end. For 2012, expect less than a one per cent increase in activity with only an addition-al 4,500 sales.
“The Canadian housing market has demonstrated tremendous resilience in recent years but 2011 stands out,” Re/Max spokesman Michael Polzler said. “Residential real estate markets actually experienced an upswing in the volatile third and fourth quarter.”
For Greater Vancouver, the aver-age house price in 2011 will have climbed 16 per cent from 2010 to almost $790,000, Re/Max said.
Sales this year should rise to 32,700 units, up from 31,144 reported last year.
“Given strong underlying fundamentals, the Greater Vancouver residential real estate market is expected to bounce back in 2012,” Re/Max said.
“Sales are forecast to hold relatively steady at 33,000, while [the] average price is projected to climb a further four per cent to $820,000.”
Re/Max looked at 26 markets across the country and predicts 23 will show an increase in aver-age price for this year. Sales were up in 22 of those 26 markets. The company says 81 per cent of markets studied will see price increases in 2012.
Among the reasons cited for the Canadian housing market’s continued strength against the odds has been population growth which has gone up by 11 per cent since 2000.
“Population growth and immigration are major factors expected to prop-up housing demand and household formation in the coming years,” says the company.
Condominiums are expected to continue to garner a growing share of the housing market with investment and income-producing properties in high demand. Low vacancy rates are said to have driven those markets in 2011 and those conditions are expected to continue.
Sunny quiet country living in a new home w/no HST and spectacular panoramic mountain views. This elegant two storey home has vaulted ceilings throughout comes with a gorgeous designer kitchen, large living room for entertaining, bonus room upstairs, wrap around stamped concrete deck, large master bedroom with its own spacious viewing deck, hot tub, and 5 piece ensuite with fabulous crystal chandelier. Extras include: hot water on demand, Dennon multi-zone surround sound system, 1 km of trail with access to acreage behind house, hook-ups and space for a second dwelling, shop or shed.
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