Featured Property: 327 Royal Avenue, North Kamloops Waterfront, B.C. $399,900

327 Royal Ave river front Property Kamloops BCRiverfront home minutes from downtown Kamloops with self contained inlaw suite. Many recent updates include: roof (4 years), h/w tank (3 years), all windows, all external doors, flooring, paint, bathroom in suite, window coverings and some appliances. There are 3 bedroom son the main floor and 2 bedrooms in the basement. Shared laundry on the main floor. This home is very well kept and shows well. The yard is fully fenced, and has beautiful views of the river and hills. There is a garden area, walnut trees and pear tree. Many nearby properties have private docks, which is a possibility for this property.

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Year of Dragon Heats B.C. Real Estate Market

This article appeared on CBC.ca on January 25th, 2012.

Year of the Dragon Chinese New Year 2012Real estate agents in and around Vancouver are expecting big things this week, thanks to the Lunar New Year, which is typically a great time for sales.

Real estate agent Malcolm Hasman showed four Chinese families through a $7.8 million mansion in West Vancouver on Tuesday. The home has panoramic views, two kitchens and even a heated driveway.

“In the last two days, I’ve had non-stop telephone calls from all the top Chinese agents in the city to show my properties,” Hasman said.

Hasman said the beginning of the Lunar New Year is always a busy time for Chinese buyers, but this year is busier than most.

With recent volatility in the stock market, buyers could be even more eager to invest in property, said Melanie Briggs, of MAC Marketing.

“Based on what we’ve seen in years past in our downtown projects, we’ve definitely seen at least double the volume of sales,” said Briggs. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see triple the number of sales.
Dragon heats things up

The fact that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon is likely also stoking the market, according to Duanduan Li, an Asian Studies professor at the University of B.C.

“People like to choose an auspicious moment, dates and years to do big things because they think this will be more successful,” said Li. “I think the Year of the Dragon is regarded as a very good year to do anything big.”

“Big” in this context could include career changes, having children, said Li. And perhaps spending millions of dollars on real estate.

The dragon is one of a 12 animals represented chronologically in the Chinese zodiacal system. The Year of the Dragon returns in 2024. Next year will be the Year of the Snake.


Connect the Housing Bubble Dots: There Could be Trouble on CMHC’s Horizon, Globe and Mail

This article appeared on the Globe and Mail on January 23rd, 2011 and was written by Ted Rechtshaffen.

A few months ago I heard leading Canadian investor Eric Sprott speak, and he said a very basic thing that struck a chord. He said that you should not be afraid to connect the dots. The dots are usually in front of you, but people don’t often look beyond the single dot.

Today I am going to show six dots that we can all see. When we connect them, the conclusion is that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has a realistic chance of putting the Canadian taxpayer at risk – unless meaningful changes are made.

The key piece of background is that right now, a young couple can put down $20,000 to buy a $400,000 house, or five per cent of the purchase price. Their mortgage will be insured by CMHC (the Canadian government, also known as you and I) in exchange for a fee paid by the young couple.

If that $400,000 house drops in value by 20 per cent, for example, which has happened before in Canada, it will be worth $320,000. But the couple will owe $380,000. Then the odds of them walking away from their house or defaulting on their mortgage become meaningful. Given that this young couple might be in the same position as 50,000 other young couples (about 3 per cent of the Canadian population) at roughly the same time, the odds of a surge in mortgage defaults is very real in Canada.

Here are the dots or facts that we can all see:

Dot #1: “The greatest risk to the domestic economy is household debt,” Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said in an interview with the CBC last week, again sounding the alarm bell on excess borrowing.

Dot #2: The ratio of credit market debt to personal disposable income rose to a record high of 150.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, Statistics Canada said last week, the third-straight quarter the figure has gone up.

Dot #3: Last week, Bank of Montreal offered a five-year mortgage rate of 2.99 per cent. The lowest rate offered in history. Yes, this rate is available to those interested in putting down 5 per cent.

Dot #4: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two U.S. organizations started in 1968 as a government sponsored enterprise (although they became privately owned and operated by shareholders) – have a mandate to help Americans to become homeowners by increasing liquidity for housing lending, and where appropriate, taking on risk. These two organizations were bailed out by the U.S. government in 2008 after the housing market deflated and it is estimated that their bailout will eventually cost taxpayers as much as $124-billion (U.S.) through 2014. When the housing bubble burst in the U.S., the value of many houses fell by 50 per cent.

Dot #5: In November, the Economist magazine said that Canada is among nine countries in the world where house prices are overvalued by 25 per cent or more. It went on to say that Canada is one of only three countries where “housing looks more overvalued than it was in America at the peak of its bubble.”

Dot #6: CMHC is Canada’s national housing agency. Established as a government-owned corporation in 1946 to address Canada’s post-war housing shortage, the agency has grown into a major national institution. CMHC backed loans of $541-billion (Canadian) as of Sept. 30, 2011. At that time, the total equity of CMHC was $11.5-billion. This is 2.1 per cent in equity against its overall loan exposure. To put the $541-billion in perspective: If we go back to those imaginary 50,000 couples that bought a $400,000 house and put down $20,000, that represents $19-billion of mortgages.


Do You Really Know How Much Your Debt Costs You? Globe and Mail

This article appeared in the Globe and Mail on 23rd of January, 2011 and was written by Dawn Walton. I thought this would be a good article for people who are considering buying a home in Kamloops. These low interest rates definitely make homes that may be slightly out of reach more tempting.

Household debt numbers are staggering, yet Canadians continue to pile it on lured by super-low interest rates.

But do consumers appreciate the true cost of borrowing? Not always, according to Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager with KCM Wealth Management Inc. in Vancouver.

“We see a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my God. These rates. They are just giving them away.’ And they are – practically,” he explained, “But it is very easy to get yourself into thinking, I can afford this no problem not realizing that one day the piper is going to come knocking at the door and you’re going to have to pay a heck of a lot more.”

Taking on mortgage debt, which accounts for 69 per cent of total household credit, is particularly tantalizing right now as many big banks are offering 2.99-per-cent fixed-rate mortgages, the lowest ever.

Meanwhile, for the 11th consecutive time, the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate at 1 per cent, which marks the longest pause in rate hikes since the mid-1990s.

But at the same time, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have been warning Canadians about taking on too much debt. Still, expectations are that household debt, loaded on by mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit and car loans, will continue to rise even though it is already at record levels.

In the third quarter, the debt-to-income ratio soared to 152.98 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. It’s been steadily marching toward the 160-per-cent barrier, a level that triggered trouble for the United States and the United Kingdom a few years ago.

“You still have to earn money, pay tax, and have enough money after tax to pay your loan, whatever it is, in whatever [tax] bracket you’re in,” Mr. Mastracci said.

Consider the implications of a non-deductible 5-per-cent loan.

For borrowers in the 35-per-cent tax bracket, consumers would need to earn 7.7 per cent to pay income taxes and still have 5 per cent left to cover the loan interest. For those in the 25-per-cent tax bracket, it would require 6.7 per cent earnings, while those in the 45-per-cent bracket, earnings would have to ring in at 9.1 per cent.

But what about those ultra-low mortgages?

“Don’t get lulled into saying ‘this is really cheap,’ ” Mr. Mastracci said, “It isn’t. Even at 3 per cent, you still have to earn 4.6 per cent – or thereabouts – in order to pay that 3 per cent after you pay the tax.”

Here are some borrowing tips:

  • Don’t borrow more than you need, repay what you can fast and use any savings from getting a low rate to repay loans
  • Shop around, negotiate and don’t take no for an answer
  • Select the shortest amortization and most frequent payback you can afford
  • Place emergency funds in an institution that you don’t owe money

Mr. Mastracci, who expects interest rates to start climbing in a year or so as the economy improves, noted that loans are the biggest impediment to retirement.

“The more debt you take on, the harder is to get out from under and ultimately save for retirement,” he said, “Just make sure you can afford it, that your cash flow can stand it.”


Featured Property: 25-1221 Hugh Allan Drive, Aberdeen Mews, Kamloops, B.C. $209,900

25-1221 Hugh Allan Dr Aberdeen Real Estate MLS Listing

Great two storey townhouse with two spacious bedrooms, large open living space, laminate flooring & a view. The kitchen has updated countertops, painted cabinets, hardware, tile floors, appliances & a dishwasher. There is a laundry room off of the kitchen that has updated flooring. Large patio off of the dining room to enjoy the city & mountain views. The second storey has a large storage closet, two bedrooms & the main bathroom. The master bedroom has tons of closets & a private covered patio. Recent updates include a new furnace/air conditioning unit ($5000), new hot water tank, updated paint & tile foyer. The main entrance has an under stairs storage area. Owner occupied home, day before notice is appreciated re: dog. There are no rental restrictions in this complex & there is a pet restriction (1 dog or 2 cats).

To view all homes for sale in Kamloops click here.

Featured Property: 149 Seymour Street West, South Kamloops West End, B.C. $319,900

Kamloops Heritage Home for Sale PropertyDowntown living Heritage Style Diamond in the Rough. This home has panoramic views. 10ft ceilings in dining & living rooms. Both dining & living rooms are extremely open & spacious. Nice enclosed front porch & entryway. Updates have been done to the main bathroom, hot water tank, central furnace & plumbing. The comfortable family room could be used as a master suite as it has adjoining bathroom or restore it to the bachelor/1 bedroom suite it once was. This home also comes with a beautiful fully terraced yard (not your usual downtown postage stamp). The gardens & patio make for breathtaking outdoor living. The home has been designed with handicap access as well. This home does have a 1 car garage/shop & loads of additional parking. It does require some love & attention, but for the discerning buyer it is loaded with potential.

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Featured Property: 331 Willow Street, Chase, B.C. $159,900

331 Willow St Chase Real Estate MLS listingsCozy bungalow on quiet street with lots of character. Two bedrooms & 1 full bathroom, updated laminate floors & paint, gas fireplace, private fenced yard and workshop. The yard has a garden, water feature with pond, fruit trees and separate dog run. The basement is partially finished with a rec room perfect for movies, laundry room and lots of storage. The roof is 8 years old, updated furnace and hot water tank (within the last 4 years). Tons of parking, very close to golf course, waterfront and shopping. Day before notice for showings appreciated.

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Open House Weekend: Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2012, Brocklehurst, Kamloops

Saturday, January 21st and Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 open houses will be held in Brocklehurst, Kamloops.

80-1655 Ord Road Brocklehurst Kamloops For SaleSaturday, January 21st, 2012: 1:30-3:00: 80-1655 Ord Road, Brocklehurst $124,900

Immaculate 11 year old home with open concept living. Vaulted ceilings, new interior doors, updated countertops & tile backsplash in kitchen. The bedrooms are very large & spacious with oversize closets. more

58-1697 Greenfield Glenwood Townhouses Kamloops BrocklehurstSaturday and Sunday, January 21st and 22nd, 2012: 12:00-1:30: 58-1697 Greenfield Avenue, Brocklehurst, $199,900

Court order sale. Centrally located Brock townhouse with 3 bedrooms, and 2 full bathrooms. Updated kitchen, bathrooms, some new vinyl windows, large storage area, private yard. more

964 Ryan Pl Brocklehurst Home For Sale KamloopsSunday, January 22nd, 2012: 1:30-3:00: 964 Ryan Place, Brocklehurst, $319,900

Immaculate Brock home on a large lot with many updates. Open great room floor plan on the main floor that features a large gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances & a large island, new flooring, paint & light fixtures. more

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