September 26, 2017
These are the homeownership costs Canadians forget about
A home is the most expensive thing most of us will ever buy. But the true cost of homeownership is even steeper than many of us realize, according to a new survey commissioned by Intact Insurance.
About 20 per cent of homebuyers in Canada forget to factor in the cost of home insurance and maintenance fees, shows a poll conducted by Angus Reid for Intact.
The study also suggests that many current and prospective homeowners likely got a rude awakening when the Bank of Canada decided this summer to start hiking interest rates, as 17 per cent of Canadians fail to take into account the possibility of climbing interest rates when buying a home.
Other unexpected costs include home inspection and legal fees, mortgage insurance, as well as GST/HST, land transfer and property taxes, according to RateHub.ca, an online rates-comparison site.
Increasingly, though, homeowners also will also have to contend with another factor that could significantly impact their bottom line: climate change.
According to Intact, a whopping 60 per cent of Canadians say that they do not factor the impact of things like flood and wildfire risk.
Here’s a closer look at many of the line items homebuyers often forget to include in their home-buying budget:
If you own a home, you need to have home insurance. Your premiums will depend on a number of factors, such as the value of the property and its contents, its location, as well as its structural condition and specific features, said Intact Property claims manager Marc Barbeau.
Barbeau advises homebuyers to turn to an insurance broker to get the best deal on a home insurance policy that fits their needs. It’s also a good idea to ask the seller about the property’s claims history, which might uncover hidden issues that might not be immediately apparent.
Also, be sure to let your insurance know about any renovation work, which could affect the value of the property, said Barbeau.
A home requires constant upkeep. Many homeowners take up two maintenance projects per year, said Barbeau: It’s important to budget for those ongoing costs.
And whether you just replaced an aging furnace or the shingles on your roof, let your insurance know, he added.
Home inspection costs
Speaking of maintenance costs, you don’t want to walk into your new home and find a number of urgent fixes for which you didn’t budget.
That’s one of the reasons why you should pay for a professional home inspection, which will add $500 to your budget, according to RateHub.
You might also need additional, issue-specific inspections, such as a termite check if you know you’re buying property in an area where other homeowners have had to battle the infesting insects.
Legal fees include the cost of a real estate lawyer, who will take care of most of the paperwork and also ensure that whoever you’re buying from has full ownership of the property, with no competing claims on the title deed. That will add a minimum of another $500 plus tax to your costs, according to RateHub.
If you can’t make a downpayment of at least 20 per cent of the value of your home, you must buy mortgage default insurance. This protects your lender (not you) in case you default on your mortgage payments.
The cost of mortgage default insurance depends on the price of your property, and premiums have climbed a bit since Ottawa introduced new mortgage rules in 2016. According to RateHub, if your downpayment is between 5 per cent and 9.99 per cent of the value of your home, the insurance costs 4 per cent of the purchase price. If the down payment is between 10 per cent and 14.99 per cent, mortgage default insurance is 3.1 per cent. And for a down payment of between 15 per cent and 19.99 per cent, you’ll pay 2.8 per cent. This is a one-time cost: You can pay it in a single lump sum or add it to your monthly payments.
Also, beware of the difference between mortgage default insurance, which is mandated by the government and generally sold by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., and another type of mortgage insurance that is sold by the banks. The latter is widely regarded as a bad deal by personal finance experts, as Global News has previously reported.
Taxes, taxes, taxes
Buying a home invariably comes with a steep tax bill.
A chunk of your money will go to the provincial government (and sometimes the municipal government) for what is known as the land-transfer tax (LLT), which is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of your home. “Much like income tax, the LTT is progressive. You pay a marginal rate depending on the value of the home,” according to RateHub.
Thankfully, some jurisdictions (Ontario, P.E.I., British Columbia, and the City of Toronto) offer a rebate of the LTT for first-time homebuyers.
Once you own a home, you’ll have to pay property taxes every year. These are generally between 0.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the assessed value of your property, according to RateHub.
If the home you’re buying or building is new, you’ll need to pay GST or HST on it.
Climate change, aka more home insurance and/or maintenance costs
Changing climate conditions are making flooding and fires ever more frequent, with the former, in particular, becoming a bigger and bigger risk even for a home
September 26, 2017
I have sold a property at 1 RAVINE DR in Port Moody
I have sold a property at 1 RAVINE DR in Port Moody.
Bright and spacious, 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom rancher on prestigious Heritage Mountain! Spacious and fenced, PRIVATE backyard with covered patio. Features double garage with high ceiling and additional RV parking. Bright skylight in foyer and vaulted ceilings and large windows in living room. Kitchen features oak cabinets. Family room boasts gas fireplace surrounded by brick. 3 bedrooms, including large master bedroom with ensuite. 4 ft crawl space provides extra storage. Close to schools, recreation and public transit.
September 21, 2017
New property listed in Silver Valley, Maple Ridge
I have listed a new property at 13907 229B ST in Maple Ridge.
Enjoy STUNNING sunset views from the tranquility of your PRIVATE deck in beautiful Silver Valley! Stunning, beautifully-maintained 4 bedroom 4 bathroom home. Entertain friends in the open-concept layout featuring spacious living room with beautiful rock fireplace and gourmet kitchen with wide centre island, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Den off of great room can be used as office. Upstairs features SPACIOUS master bedroom with a HUGE walk-in closet and 5 piece ensuite. Up a couple more steps are the other bedrooms. Basement includes media room (projector & screen included), kitchen with NEW S/S appliances and granite countertops plus one bedroom and one bathroom with its own separate entry and private patio.
September 21, 2017
New property listed in Arbutus, Vancouver West
I have listed a new property at 2346 18TH AVE W in Vancouver.
Welcome to this Lovely Arbutus Ridge affluent residential neighbourhood in Vancouver's West Side. Great level 50' x 122' lot, perfect to build your Dream Home on this tree-lined street. All this and steps to trendy Granville Street for shopping, restaurants and more.
September 15, 2017
I have sold a property at 1031 PALMDALE ST in Coquitlam
I have sold a property at 1031 PALMDALE ST in Coquitlam.
Another fabulous home by MEK Developments. This stunning 4,200 sq ft 6 bdrm 5 bath home has wall of windows w/ fabulous Mtn Views, Triple Car garage + legal walk-out 2 bdrm bsmt suite. Main offers level entry to Great Rm plan w/ 10' ceilings, S/S appliances, Stone Counters ,Huge W/I Pantry, Wood floors, Built In Ent Centre plus Den. 350 sq ft covered deck on main. 4 bdrms up, Mstr boasting W/I Closet & Ensuite. 2nd Bdrm W/I Closet + Ensuite, Bdrms 3 & 4 have Jack & Jill Ensuite. Down find lg Rec Room + 2 bdrm Suite w/ 9' Ceil & 350 sq ft covered patio & Private access & parking for suite from back alley. 8,052 sq ft fully fenced & landscaped yard, Easy commute, close to skytrain & all levels of schools.
September 14, 2017
New property listed in Central Coquitlam, Coquitlam
I have listed a new property at 1735 CHARLAND AVE in Coquitlam.
Stay centrally located in this quiet 3 bedroom home with full basement! Close to all levels of school, Coquitlam Public Library, Poirier Rec Centre, public transit, parks & shopping - all within short walking distance. Large lot offers tons of parking on the driveway that is also accessible by the lane in the back. Features original oak hardwood flooring & 2x6' construction.
September 12, 2017
I have sold a property at 1606 13325 102A AVE in Surrey
I have sold a property at 1606 13325 102A AVE in Surrey.
The ULTRA. Conveniently located in Surrey Central area. Enjoy northeast city views from this 16th floor 1 bedroom corner unit. 1 block from sky train, Simon Fraser University and plenty of shopping and amenities. On top of being conveniently located to transit, enjoy the amenities this building has to offer, including work out room, meeting room, and social room. This 4 year old building is incredibly secure with underground parking, in suite laundry and the full builder's package including quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. Nice size kitchen and living room leads out to your large covered patio. Great layout for entertaining. Rentals allowed.
September 5, 2017
August Sales Stats
Condominium sales drive August activity
Competition for condominiums and townhomes pushed Metro Vancouver* home sales above typical levels in August.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 3,043 in August 2017, a 22.3 per cent increase from the 2,489 sales recorded in August 2016, and a 2.8 per cent increase compared to July 2017 when 2,960 homes sold.
Last month’s sales were 19.6 per cent above the 10-year August sales average.
“First-time home buyers have led a surge this summer in demand in our condominium and townhome markets,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Homes priced between $350,000 and $750,000 have been subject to intense competition and multiple offers across the region.”
There were 4,245 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2017. This represents a 1.1 per cent decrease compared to the 4,293 homes listed in August 2016 and a 19.2 per cent decrease compared to July 2017 when 5,256 homes were listed.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,807, a 3.5 per cent increase compared to August 2016 (8,506) and a 4.2 per cent decrease compared to July 2017 (9,194).
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2017 is 34.6 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 16.3 per cent for detached homes, 44.8 per cent for townhomes, and 76.3 per cent for condominiums.
Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
“Conditions in our detached home market are distinct today from the dynamic in our condominium and townhome markets," Oudil said. "Detached homes have entered a balanced market. This means there's less upward pressure on prices and that buyers have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions."
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,029,700. This represents a 9.4 per cent increase over August 2016 and a one per cent increase compared to July 2017.
Sales of detached properties in August 2017 reached 901, a 26 per cent increase from the 715 detached sales recorded in August 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,615,100. This represents a 2.2 per cent increase from August 2016 and a 0.2 per cent increase compared to July 2017.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,613 in August 2017, a 20.1 per cent increase compared to the 1,343 sales in August 2016. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $626,800. This represents a 19.4 per cent increase from August 2016 and a 1.7 per cent increase compared to July 2017.
Attached property sales in August 2017 totalled 529, a 22.7 per cent increase compared to the 431 sales in August 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $778,300. This represents a 12.8 per cent increase from August 2016 and a 1.9 per cent increase compared to July 2017.
September 5, 2017
Why are house prices in Vancouver still rising?
House prices in Vancouver have continued to rise a year after the British Columbia government imposed a foreign-homebuyer tax on the metropolitan area – and this has a lot to do with the insufficient supply of housing, according to Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank.
“We don’t anticipate a significant drop in home prices in any way. Interest rates are going up but they’re going up very gradually, and really what matters is the supply-demand balance,” Diana Petramala, economist at TD Bank, told BuzzBuzzNews.
In July, Vancouver saw a 14% drop in new listings year-to-date. This was the greatest drop in the number of homes for sale in any city across Canada, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
With the benchmark price of a Greater Vancouver home, including condominiums, cracking the $1m mark in July, a supply shortage appears to be behind the price surges.
“The market is still fairly tight, by most measures, which is why prices have rebounded and are still continuing to grow,” Petramala said.
Moderating price growth is in the cards for Vancouver, according to TD Bank’s latest Canadian Regional Housing Outlook, which was published towards the end of August.
In the report, Petramala and Beata Caranci, chief economist of TD Bank, highlighted the key factors impacting market activity in Vancouver and other real estate markets. For Greater Vancouver, policymakers played a significant role in cooling the formerly sizzling real estate market, even though home prices remain elevated there.
The region saw a dramatic decline in housing demand after the BC government announced measures to track foreign investment in February 2016. By the time the tax came into effect in August of last year, three-quarters of the downturn in sales had already occurred, the report said.
Within six to 12 months, markets typically rebound to some extent following government policy modifications, and this was the case in Vancouver.
“We had a bit of a Trump bump in interest rates between November and early 2017, and then that quickly reversed course by March which held for a little bit of a recovery. But sales are still structurally lower because of the amount of government policy that was implemented over 2016,” Petramala said.
Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, I can get one of my mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage.
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