Buy Now or Rent Longer? 5 Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Your First Home

4. October 2022 08:16

 

Deciding whether to jump into the housing market or rent instead is rarely an easy decision – especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. But in today’s whirlwind market, you may find it particularly challenging to pinpoint the best time to start exploring homeownership.

 

A real estate boom during the pandemic pushed home prices to an all-time high.1 Add higher mortgage rates to the mix, and some would-be buyers are wondering if they should wait to see if prices or rates come down.

 

But is renting a better alternative? Rents have also soared along with inflation – and are likely to continue climbing due to a persistent housing shortage.2 And while homebuyers can lock in a set mortgage payment, renters are at the mercy of these rising costs for the foreseeable future.

 

So, what's the better choice for you? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying versus renting. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to schedule a free consultation and we'll help walk you through your options. You may also find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

 

  1. How long do I plan to stay in the home?

You'll get the most financial benefit from a home purchase if you own the property for at least five years.3 If you plan to sell in a shorter period of time, a home purchase may not be the best choice for you.

 

There are costs associated with buying and selling a home, and it may take time for the property’s value to rise enough to offset those expenditures.

 

Even though housing markets can shift from one year to the next, you’ll typically find that a home’s value will ride out a market’s ups and downs and appreciate with time.4 The longer you own a property, the more you are likely to benefit from its appreciation.

 

Once you’ve found a community that you’d like to stay in for several years, then buying over renting can really pay off. You’ll not only benefit from appreciation, but you’ll also build equity as you pay down your mortgage – and you’ll have more security and stability overall.

 

Also important: If you plan to stay in the home for the life of the mortgage, there will come a time when you no longer have to make those payments. As a result, your housing costs will drop dramatically, while your equity (and net worth) continue to grow.

 

  1. Is it a better value to buy or rent in my area?

 

If you know you plan to stay put for at least five years, you should consider whether buying or renting is the better bargain in your area.

 

One helpful tool for deciding is a neighbourhood’s price-to-rent ratio: just divide the median home price by the median yearly rent price. The higher the price-to-rent ratio is, the more expensive it is to buy compared to rent.5 Keep in mind, though, that this equation provides only a snapshot of where the market stands today. As such, it may not accurately account for the full impact of rising home values and rent increases over the long term.

 

According to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association, a homeowner who purchased an average-priced Canadian home 10 years ago would have gained roughly $285,000 in equity — all while maintaining a steady mortgage payment.6,7

 

In contrast, someone who chose to rent during that same period would have not only missed out on those equity gains, but they would have also seen average Canadian rental prices increase by around 34%.8

 

So even if renting seems like a better bargain today, buying could be the better long-term financial play.

 

Ready to compare your options? Then reach out to schedule a free consultation. As local market experts, we can help you interpret the numbers to determine if buying or renting is a better value in your particular neighbourhood.

 

  1. Can I afford to be a homeowner?

 

If you determine that buying a home is the better value, you’ll want to evaluate your financial readiness.

 

Start by examining how much you have in savings. After committing a down payment and closing costs, will you still have enough money left over for ancillary expenses and emergencies? If not, that’s a sign you may be better off waiting until you’ve built a larger rainy-day fund.

 

Then consider how your monthly budget will be impacted. Remember, your monthly mortgage payment won’t be your only expense going forward. You may also need to factor in property taxes, insurance, association fees, maintenance, and repairs.

 

Still, you could find that the monthly cost of homeownership is comparable to renting, especially if you make a sizable down payment. Landlords often pass the extra costs of homeowning onto tenants, so it’s not always the cheaper option.

 

Plus, even though you’ll be in charge of financing your home’s upkeep if you buy, you’ll also be the one who stands to benefit from the fruits of your investment. Every major upgrade, for example, not only makes your home a nicer place to live; it also helps boost your home's market value.

 

If you want to buy a home but aren’t sure you can afford it, give us a call to discuss your goals and budget. We can give you a realistic assessment of your options and help you determine if your homeowning dreams are within reach.

 

  1. Can I qualify for a mortgage?

 

If you’re prepared to handle the costs of homeownership, you’ll next want to look into how likely you are to pass Canada's mortgage stress test and get approved for a mortgage.

 

Every borrower who applies for a mortgage from a federally-regulated lender, such as a bank, must pass a mortgage stress test – even if you have an ample down payment.(Some smaller lenders that aren't federally regulated, such as credit unions, may also put your mortgage application through a stress test, but they aren't required to do so.)9

 

To conduct the test, a lender will consider your qualifying income, estimated expenses (such as condo fees or non-mortgage-related debt), and prospective mortgage amount and calculate whether you'd still be able to afford the mortgage if your rate rose by a certain amount. You can also conduct your own mock stress test by inputting some income and expense estimates into the Government of Canada's Mortgage Qualifier Tool.10 However, be aware the government's minimum qualifying interest rate could change by the time you’re ready to buy.

 

Every lender will also have its own approval criteria separate from the feds' minimum. But, in general, you can expect a creditor to scrutinize your job stability, credit history, and savings to make sure you can handle a monthly mortgage payment.

 

For example, lenders like to see evidence that your income is stable and predictable. So if you’re self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation proving that your earnings are dependable. A lender will also compare your monthly debt payments to your income to make sure you aren't at risk of becoming financially overextended.

 

In addition, a lender will check your credit report to verify that you have a history of on-time payments and can be trusted to pay your bills. Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your odds of securing a competitive rate.

 

Whatever your circumstances, it’s always a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. Let us know if you’re interested, and we’ll give you a referral to a loan officer or mortgage broker who can help.

 

Want to learn more about applying for a mortgage? Reach out to request a copy of our report: “8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate”

 

  1. How would owning a home change my life?

 

Before you begin the preapproval process, however, it’s important to consider how homeownership would affect your life, aside from the long-term financial gains.

 

In general, you should be prepared to invest more time and energy in owning a home than you do renting. There can be a fair amount of upkeep involved, especially if you buy a fixer-upper or overcommit yourself to a lot of DIY projects. If you’ve only lived in an apartment, for example, you could be surprised by the amount of time you spend maintaining a lawn.

 

On the other hand, you might relish the chance to tinker in your very own garden, make HGTV-inspired improvements, or play with your dog in a big backyard. Or, if you’re more social, you might enjoy hosting family gatherings or attending block parties with other committed homeowners.

 

The great thing about owning a home is that you can generally do what you want with it – even if that means painting your walls fiesta red one month and eggplant purple the next.

 

The choice – like the home – is all yours.  

 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS

 

The decision to buy or rent a home is among the most consequential you will make in your lifetime. We can make the process easier by helping you compare your options using real-time local market data. So don't hesitate to reach out for a personalized consultation, regardless of where you are in your deliberations. We'd be happy to answer your questions and identify actionable steps you can take now to reach your long-term goals.

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

  1. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) -
    https://stats.crea.ca/en-CA/

  2. Financial Post -
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/nowhere-to-live-rents-in-canada-surge-as-home-prices-fall

  3. Wealthsimple -
    https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-ca/magazine/buying-vs-renting-your-home

  4. Trading Economics -
    https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/housing-index

  5. Investopedia -
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-to-rent-ratio.asp

  6. CBC -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/average-home-price-ticked-2-lower-in-july-1.1281984

  7. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) -
    https://stats.crea.ca/en-CA/

  8. CMHC -
    https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmip-pimh/en/TableMapChart/TableMatchingCriteria?GeographyType=Country&GeographyId=1&CategoryLevel1=Primary%20Rental%20Market&CategoryLevel2=Average%20Rent%20%28%24%29&ColumnField=2&RowField=TIMESERIES#timeperiod

  9. Government of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preparing-mortgage.html

  10. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada -
    https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/MQ-HQ/MQ-EAPH-eng.aspx

 

 

8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate

6. September 2022 03:54

Interest rates have risen rapidly this year, triggered by the Bank of Canada’s efforts to curb
inflation. And the July MNP Consumer Debt Index found that 59% of Canadians “are already
feeling the effects of interest rate increases.” 1
Why has the impact been so widespread? In part, due to the rising popularity of variable rate
mortgages. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in the latter half of last
year, the majority of mortgage borrowers opted for a variable over a fixed interest rate. 2
Variable mortgages are typically pegged to the lender’s prime rate, which means they are
immediately affected by rising interest rates. Homeowners with fixed mortgages aren’t impacted
as quickly because their interest rate is locked in, but they will face higher rates, as well, when
their mortgages are up for renewal. And many homebuyers are finding it increasingly difficult to
afford or even qualify for a mortgage at today’s elevated rates.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen your position if you have plans to buy a
home or renew an existing mortgage. Try these eight strategies to help secure the best
available rate:

1. Raise your credit score.

Borrowers with higher credit scores are viewed as “less risky” to lenders, so they are offered
lower interest rates. A “good” credit score typically starts at 660 and can move up into the 800s. 3
If you don’t know your score, you can access it online from Canada’s two primary credit
bureaus, Equifax and Transunion. 4
Then, if your credit score is low, you can take steps to improve it, including: 5
● Correct any errors on your credit reports, which can bring down your score. You can
request free copies of your reports through the Equifax and Transunion websites.
● Pay down revolving debt. This includes credit card balances and home equity lines of
credit.
● Avoid closing old credit card accounts in good standing. It could lower your score by
shortening your credit history and shrinking your total available credit.
● Make all future payments on time. Payment history is a primary factor in determining
your credit score, so make it a priority.
● Limit your credit applications to avoid having your score dinged by too many inquiries. If
you’re shopping around for a car loan or mortgage, minimize the impact by limiting your
applications to a two-week period.
Over time, you should start to see your credit score climb — which will help you qualify for a
lower mortgage rate.

2. Keep steady employment.

If you are preparing to purchase a home, it might not be the best time to make a major career
change. Unfortunately, frequent job moves or gaps in your résumé could hurt your borrower
eligibility.
When you apply for a new mortgage, lenders will typically review your employment and income
history and look for evidence that you've been financially stable for at least two years. 6 If you’ve
earned a steady paycheck, you could qualify for a better interest rate. A stable employment
history gives lenders more confidence in your ability to repay the loan.
That doesn’t mean a job change will automatically disqualify you from purchasing a home. But
certain moves, like switching from corporate employment to freelance or self-employment
status, could force you to delay your purchase, since lenders will want to see proof of steady,
long-term earnings. 6


3. Lower your debt service ratios.

Even with a high credit score and a great job, lenders will be concerned if your debt payments
are consuming too much of your income. That’s where your debt service ratios will come into
play.
There are two types of debt service ratios: 7
1. Gross debt service (GDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go
towards covering housing expenses (mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and 50% of
condo maintenance fees)?
2. Total debt service (TDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go
towards covering ALL debt obligations (housing expenses, credit cards, student loans,
and other debt)?
What’s considered a good debt service ratio? Lenders typically want to see a GDS ratio that’s
no higher than 32% and a TDS ratio that’s 40% or less. 7
Low debt service ratios will also help you pass a mortgage stress test, which is required by all
Canadian banks and some other types of lenders. The stress test is designed to help ensure
you can continue to afford your mortgage payments even if interest rates rise. You can use the
government of Canada's Mortgage Qualifier Tool to calculate how much you can afford to
borrow.

If your debt service ratios are too high, or you can’t pass a mortgage stress test, you may need
to consider purchasing a less expensive home, increasing your down payment, or paying down
your existing debt. A bump in your monthly income will also help.

4. Increase your down payment.

Minimum down payment requirements vary by loan size and property type. But, in some cases,
you can qualify for a lower mortgage rate if you make a larger down payment.
Why do lenders care about your down payment size? Because borrowers with significant equity
in their homes are less likely to default on their mortgages. That’s why you will be required to
purchase mortgage default insurance if you put down less than 20%. 8
It’s important to note that some lenders offer discount rates for borrowers who put down less
than 20% – because the required default insurance protects them from any potential loss.
However, the cost of CMHC or private mortgage default insurance will typically exceed any
interest savings. You'll also have to pay interest on that insurance if you add it to your
mortgage. 9 The bottom line: you’ll save money in borrowing costs if you can afford a larger down
payment.
Fortunately, there are a couple of government-initiated resources designed to help eligible first-
time home buyers with a down payment, including: 9
● Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – Buyers may withdraw up to $35,000 (tax-free) from their
Registered Retirement Savings Plan(RRSP). The money must be used to build or
purchase a qualifying home and repaid to the RRSP within 15 years.
● First-Time Home Buyer Incentive – Buyers can take advantage of a shared-equity
mortgage with the Government of Canada. Essentially, the Government will put 5% or
10% towards your down payment, interest-free, in exchange for a limited equity share of
your property. The repayment is due in 25 years or when you sell your home.
We’d be happy to discuss these and other programs, tax rebates, and incentives that might help
you increase your down payment.

5. Weigh interest rate options.

All mortgages are not created equal, and some may be a better fit than others, depending on
your priorities and risk tolerance. For starters, there are several interest rate options to choose
from: 10
● Fixed — You’re guaranteed to keep the same interest rate for the entire length of the
loan. Many buyers prefer a fixed rate because it offers them predictability and stability.

However, you’ll pay a premium for it, as these mortgages typically have a higher interest
rate to start. And if rates fall, you’ll be locked into that higher rate.
● Variable — Your interest rate will rise or fall along with your lender’s prime rate. You can
choose either an adjustable or a fixed monthly payment. However, if you opt for a fixed
payment, the amount that goes towards principal and interest each month will fluctuate
depending on the current rate. Variable-rate mortgages typically offer lower interest rates
to start but run the risk of increasing.
● Hybrid – Can’t decide between a fixed or variable rate? Hybrid mortgages attempt to
address that dilemma. A portion of the mortgage will have a fixed rate and the remainder
will have a variable rate. The fixed gives you some protection if rates go up, while the
variable offers some benefit if rates fall.
What’s the best choice if you’re looking for the lowest mortgage rate? The answer is…it
depends. If mortgage rates don’t rise much higher, or drop back down in a couple of years, you
could win by opting for a variable rate. However, if they continue to climb, you may be better off
with a fixed rate.
Keep in mind that the spread between variable and fixed rates has narrowed as rates rise. 11
However, it's still easier to meet the stress-test requirements for a variable mortgage, since the
threshold is lower. 12 So, your choice may be limited by your ability to qualify.

6. Compare loan terms.

A mortgage term is the length of time your mortgage agreement is in effect. At the end of the
term, a mortgage holder will need to either pay off their mortgage or renew for another term.
There are three major types of mortgage terms: 13
● Shorter-term – These can range from 6 months to 5 years, and they are the most
popular type in Canada. Borrowers can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate.
● Longer-term – These are longer than 5 years but generally no more than 10 years in
length. Longer-term mortgages are more likely to feature fixed-interest rates and hefty
prepayment penalties.
● Convertible – Offers the option to extend a shorter-term mortgage to a longer-term
mortgage, typically at a different interest rate.
Which loan term offers the lowest rate? A shorter-term mortgage will typically feature a lower
interest rate than a longer-term mortgage. However, the rate on a 1-year or a 3-year mortgage
could be higher or lower than a 5-year mortgage depending on the current economic climate
and whether it’s fixed or variable.
Many lenders offer especially attractive rates for 5-year mortgages due to their popularity. 14 But
to find the best rate, you’ll need to compare your options at the time of purchase or renewal.

7. Get quotes from multiple lenders.

When shopping for a mortgage, be sure to solicit quotes from several different lenders and
lender types to compare the interest rates and fees. Depending upon your situation, you could
find that one institution offers a better deal for the type of loan and term length you want.
Ideally, you should begin this process before you start looking for a home. If you get
preapproved for a mortgage, in most cases, you can lock in the mortgage rate for 90 to 120
days. This is especially important when interest rates are rising. 15
Some borrowers choose to work with a mortgage broker. Like an insurance broker, they can
help you gather quotes and find the best rate. They’re paid a commission by the lender, so it
won’t cost you anything out of pocket to use a broker. However, make sure you find out which
lenders they work with and contact more than one so you can compare their
recommendations. 16
Don’t forget that we can be a valuable resource in finding a lender, especially if you are new to
the home buying process. After a consultation, we can discuss your financing needs and
connect you with loan officers or brokers best suited for your situation.

8. Ask for a discount.

When shopping for a mortgage, don’t be afraid to negotiate. In Canada, it’s commonplace for
lenders to discount their advertised interest rates, which are called posted rates. And in many
cases, all you have to do is ask. Of course, the strength of your application will come into play
here – so don’t neglect strategies 1 through 4 above. 17
Keep in mind that interest rates aren’t the only thing on the table. You can negotiate other
contract terms, as well, like prepayment options and rebates. And if you get a great offer from
one lender, you can leverage it by asking your preferred institution to match or beat it. 17

Getting Started

Unfortunately, the rock-bottom mortgage rates we saw during the height of the pandemic are
behind us. However, today’s 5-year fixed rates still fall beneath the historical average — and are
well below the all-time peak of 20.75% in 1981. 18
And although higher mortgage rates have made it more expensive to finance a home purchase,
they have also ushered in a more balanced market. Consequently, today’s buyers are finding

more homes to choose from, a better value for their investment, and sellers who are willing to
negotiate.
If you have questions or would like more information about buying or selling a home, reach out
to schedule a free consultation. We’d love to help you weigh your options, navigate this shifting
market, and reach your real estate goals!

Sources:
1. MNP Consumer Debt Index -
https://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/mnp-consumer-debt-index

2. Global News -
https://globalnews.ca/news/8970237/canada-mortgages-variable-fixed-cmhc/

3. Loans Canada -
https://loanscanada.ca/mortgage/minimum-credit-score-required-for-mortgage-approval/

4. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/order-credit-report.html

5. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/improve-credit-score.html

6. RATESDOTCA -
https://rates.ca/resources/how-long-at-job-before-applying-mortgage

7. NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-are-debt-service-ratios

8. Royal Bank of Canada -
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/mortgage-default-insurance.html

9. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/down-
payment.html#toc2

10. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/choose-mortgage.html

11. Canada Mortgage Professional -
https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/what-do-falling-bond-yields-mean-for-fixed-
rates/416463

12. The Globe and Mail -
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-best-mortgage-strategies-for-a-rising-interest-rate-
environment/

13. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/mortgage-terms-amortization.html

14. WOWA.ca -
https://wowa.ca/mortgage-rates

15. NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-mortgage-pre-approval

16. Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preapproval-qualify-mortgage.html

17. NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/negotiating-mortgage-fees

18. RateHub.ca -
https://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history

10 Pro Tips for a Smooth Home Move

4. August 2022 04:12

 

The process of buying a new home can be both exhilarating and exhausting. But the journey
doesn’t stop when you close on your property. On the contrary, you still have quite a bit to do
before you can begin the process of settling into your new place.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything in a day. You don’t have to do it all alone, either.
When you work with us to sell or purchase a home, you’ll have an ally by your side long after
your transaction has closed. We’ll continue to be a resource, offering advice and referrals
whenever you need them on packing, hiring movers and contractors, and acclimating to your
new home and neighbourhood.
When it comes to a life event as stressful as moving, it pays to have a professional by your side.
Here are some of our favourite pro tips to share with clients as they prepare for an upcoming
move.


1. Watch out for moving scams.

Maybe you receive a flyer for a moving company in the mail. Perhaps you find a mover online.
Either way, never assume that you’re getting accurate information. According to The Canadian
Association of Movers, moving scams are on the rise — with seniors, in particular, being
targeted. 1


How can you tell if a moving deal is too good to be true? Trust your instincts. If the price
appears too low or you can’t pin down the mover’s physical business address, try someone
else. The same goes for any moving company representative who dodges questions. Reputable
movers should offer transparent pricing, conduct in-home estimates, and provide referrals and
copies of their insurance documents upon request. 1 For help finding trustworthy movers, reach
out. We’d be happy to share our recommendations.


2. Insure your belongings.

Your moving company promises to take care of your custom piano or your antique furniture. But
don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see how much insurance they carry and talk about how
the claims process works. That way, you’ll know what is (and isn’t) covered in case of loss or
damage. If needed, consider paying extra to upgrade to full replacement value protection. 2
Of course, some items are priceless because they’re irreplaceable. You might want to move
your more sensitive valuables (jewellery, documents, family heirlooms, etc.) in your own vehicle
just to be safe. For added peace of mind, call your home insurance provider if you’re moving
anything yourself. In many cases, your personal property will be covered while in transit for a
limited period of time.


3. Start packing when you start looking for a new home.

As soon as your house hunting begins in earnest, think about packing away things you won’t
need for the next few months. These could include seasonal or holiday decor, clothing, and
books. Tackling just one or two boxes a day will give you a head start.
If you're going to put your current home on the market, you'll want to declutter anyway.
Decluttering will make your home seem larger, and depersonalizing helps buyers envision their
own items in the space. Consider selling, donating, or throwing out possessions you no longer
need. The things you want to keep can be placed in storage until you officially start moving to a
new place.


4. Pack to make unpacking easier.

Have you ever opened a packed box only to find that it’s filled with an assortment of items that
don’t belong together? This isn’t efficient and will only make unpacking harder. A better way to
pack is to bundle items from a single room in a labelled box. Labels can let movers know (and
remind you) where to place each box, whether it’s fragile, and which side needs to be up. Some
people like to assign colours to each room in their new home to make distributing colour-coded
boxes a breeze.


Feel free to unleash your inner organizer with this project. For example, you could create a
spreadsheet and assign each box a number. As boxes are packed, simply fill in the spreadsheet
with a list of contents. Anyone with access to the spreadsheet can log in and quickly find a
desired item.


5. Think outside the box when transporting clothes.

Who wants to worry about boxing up clothes? If you plan on hiring professional movers, ask if
you can leave clothing in your dressers. In many cases, they will use plastic to wrap the dresser
so the drawers don’t fall out during transport. If keeping your clothes in your furniture makes it
too heavy, the movers might be able to wrap and move drawers by themselves.
Another easy transport trick involves turning clean garbage bags into garment bags. Poke a
hole in the bottom of a garbage bag, turn the bag upside down, slide it over five to seven
garments on hangers, and lay the items flat in the back seat or trunk of your vehicle. The bags
will help prevent wrinkling, and your clothes will be ready to hang up when you get to your new
home.


6. Document prior to disassembling appliances and furnishings.

Few things are as confusing as looking at a plastic baggie filled with nuts, bolts, and screws
from your disassembled dining room table or sorting through a box of electrical wires and cords
to see which ones fit your TV.

The best workaround to easier reassembly is to document the disassembly process. Take
photos and videos or thorough notes as you go. Whether it’s your headboard or treadmill, be
very precise. And just a tip: Construct your beds first when you get to your new home. After a
long moving day, the very last thing you want is to be assembling beds into the wee hours of the
morning.


7. Prioritize unpacking kids’ rooms.

Children can become very stressed by a big move. To ease their transition, consider prioritizing
unpacking their rooms as their “safe zones.” 3 You aren’t obligated to unpack everything,
certainly. However, set up your children’s rooms to be functional. That way, your kids can hang
out in a private oasis away from the chaos while you’re running around and moving everything
else.


Depending upon how old your youngsters are, you might want to give them decorating leeway,
too. Even if it’s just letting them choose where furniture goes, it gives them a sense of buy-in.
This can help ease the blues of leaving a former home they loved.


8. Be a thoughtful pet parent.

Many types of pets can’t handle the commotion of moving day. Knowing this, be considerate
and seek ways to give your pets breaks from the action. You might ask a friend to pet-sit your
pooch or keep your kitty in a quieter room, like a guest bathroom.
Be sure to check in on your pet frequently. Pets like to know that you’re around. Give them
treats, food, and water throughout the day. When it’s time to transport your pet, do it calmly. At
your new property, give your pet access to just a room or two at first. Pets typically prefer to
acclimate themselves slowly to unfamiliar environments. 4


9. Plan for your move like you’re planning for an exciting vacation.

When you plan vacations, you probably look up local restaurants, shops, and recreational
areas. Who says you can’t do the same thing when moving? Create a list of all the places you
want to go and things you want to do around your newly purchased home. Having a to-explore
list keeps everyone’s spirits high and gives you starting points to settle into the neighbourhood.
And don’t feel that you have to cook that first night. Once the moving trucks are gone, you can
always pop over to a local eatery or order SkipTheDishes for major convenience. The first meal
in your new home should be a happy, welcoming treat. And if you’re relocating to our neck of
the woods, we would love to introduce you to the hot spots in town and recommend our local
favourites.

10. Pack an “Open Me First!” box.

You won’t be able to unpack all your boxes in one day, but you shouldn’t go without your
sheets, pillows, or toothbrush. Designate some boxes with “Open Me First!” labels. (Pro tip:
Keep a tool kit front and centre for all that reassembling.)
Along these lines, use luggage and duffel bags to transport everyone’s personal must-have
items and enough clothing for a couple of days. That way, you won’t have to rummage through
everything in the middle of your move looking for sneakers or snacks.
When packing your “Open Me First!” boxes, think about which items you’ll need in those first 24
hours. For example, toilet paper and hand soap are musts. A box cutter will make unpacking a
lot easier, and paper towels and trash bags are sure to come in handy. Reach out for a
complete, printable list of “Open Me First!” box essentials to keep on hand for your next move!

LET’S GET MOVING

Getting the phone call from your real estate agent that your bid was accepted is a thrilling
moment. Make sure you keep the positivity flowing during the following weeks by mapping out a
streamlined, efficient move. Feel free to get in touch with us today to help make your big move
your best move.

 

Sources:

1. Mover.net -
https://www.mover.net/planning-a-move/consumer-alerts/moving-fraud

2. Mover.net -
https://www.mover.net/planning-a-move/info-about-moving/moving-protection

3. Aha! Parenting -
https://www.ahaparenting.com/read/moving-help-child-adjust

4. Ontario SPCA -
https://ontariospca.ca/blog/how-to-successfully-move-homes-with-your-pet/

7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

4. July 2022 03:56

July 2022 - MVP - Blog Post Image.jpg

 

No matter what’s going on in the housing market, the process of selling a home can be
challenging. Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a treasured family residence.
Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating and settling in a new place. Almost all sellers
want to make the most money possible.
Whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be riddled with obstacles —
from issues with showings and negotiations to inspection surprises. But many of these
complications are avoidable when you have a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent by
your side.
For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers make. These can
cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial proceeds. Fortunately, we can help you
avert these missteps and set you up for a successful and low-stress selling experience instead.

MISTAKE # 1: Setting An Unrealistic Price
Many sellers believe that pricing their home high and waiting for the “right buyer” to come along
will net them the most money. However, overpriced homes often sit on the market with little
activity, which can be the kiss of death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop. 1
Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below) market value, your home
can be among the nicest that buyers have seen within their budget. This can increase your
likelihood of receiving multiple offers. 2
To help you set a realistic price from the start, we will do a comparative market analysis, or
CMA. This integral piece of research will help us determine an ideal listing price, based on the
amount that similar properties have recently sold for in your area.
Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no offers) or too low (and
leaving money on the table). We can help you find that sweet spot that will draw in buyers
without undercutting your profits.

MISTAKE #2: Trying To Time The Market
You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate,
that’s easier said than done.
Delaying your home sale until prices are at their peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers
should keep these factors in mind:

1. Predicting the market with certainty is nearly impossible.
2. If you wait to buy your next home, its price could increase, as well. This may erode any
additional proceeds from your sale.
3. If mortgage rates are rising, your pool of potential buyers could shrink—and you will
have to pay more to finance your next purchase.
Instead of trying to time the market, choose your ideal sales timeline, instead. This may be
based on factors like your personal financial situation, shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal
patterns in your particular neighbourhood. We can help you figure out the best time to sell given
your individual circumstances.

MISTAKE #3: Failing To Address Needed Repairs
Many sellers hope that buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during a home
showing. But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and
costly — problems lurking out of sight.
Even if you do receive an offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional
home inspector, who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a major issue
could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse yet, walk away from the
purchase altogether.
To avoid these types of disruptions, it’s important to make necessary renovations before your
home hits the market. We can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your time
and investment. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection.
This extra time and attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify
any major structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could impact a future sale. 3

MISTAKE #4: Neglecting To Stage Your Home
Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The goal is to “set the stage” for
buyers to help them envision themselves living in your home. Some sellers opt to skip this step,
but that mistake can cost them time and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real
Estate Staging Association found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for
$40,000 over list price. 4
Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting, or rearranging your
furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering, and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you
might focus on power washing, planting flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door.

You may not need to do all of these tasks, but almost every home can benefit from some form
of staging. Before your home hits the market, we can refer you to a professional stager or offer
our insights and suggestions if you prefer the do-it-yourself route.

MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers On Price Alone
When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on one thing: the offer price. And while dollar value is
certainly important, a high-priced offer is worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table.
That’s why it’s important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as:
● Financing and buyer qualifications
● Deposit size
● Contract contingencies
● Closing date
Depending on your particular circumstances, some of these factors may or may not be
important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home, you might place a
high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing date.
Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting a deal that works well for them. We can help
you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that works best for you.

MISTAKE #6: Acting On Emotion Instead Of Reason
It’s only natural to grow emotionally attached to your home. That’s why so many sellers end up
feeling hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults.
Repair requests can feel like judgments. And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings
through your security monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor
choices, either!
However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity because you refuse to counter a
low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead, try to keep a cool head and be willing to adjust
reasonably to make the sale. We can help you weigh your decisions and provide rational advice
with your best interests in mind.

MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring An Agent
There’s a good reason 90% of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent.
Homes listed by an agent sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home,
according to a recent US-based study. 5

Selling a home on your own may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality, there is a
steep learning curve. And a listing agent can:
● Skip past time-consuming problems
● Use market knowledge to get the best price
● Access contacts and networks to speed up the selling process
If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant time and effort while minimizing
your personal risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective
marketing and negotiation strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s
commission.
We can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make your selling process
as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an offer for your home that’s better than
you expected.

BYPASS THE PITFALLS WITH A KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDE
Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire us as your listing agent, we’ll
develop a customized sales plan to help you get top dollar for your home without any undue
risk, stress, or aggravation. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, reach out today to
schedule a free consultation and home value assessment.

 

Sources:


1. Realtor.ca -
https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/2666/1362/the-importance-of-having-a-realtor%C2%AE-price-your-
home/
2. Royal Bank of Canada -
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/sellers-vs-buyers-market.html
3. Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors -
https://www.cahpi.ca/en/blog/3-reasons-you-should-hire-a-cahpi-inspector
4. Real Estate Staging Association -
https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548
5. National Association of Realtors -
https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics

Higher Rates and Short Supply: The State of Real Estate in 2022

7. June 2022 04:25

June 2022 - MVP - Blog Post Image.jpg

 

Canada's housing market hit a boiling point last year as homebuyers clambered for real estate in regions with significantly more demand than supply. But now that homeowners and buyers alike are feeling the pinch of rising interest rates and record inflation, the market appears to finally be simmering down.

 

That, in turn, could create a welcome opening for shoppers to be more selective with their searches. However, buyers hoping for a major downturn in prices may be left disappointed. Although home values in some segments are beginning to sag under the weight of higher borrowing costs, a persistent housing shortage is expected to keep prices high.

 

Read on for a closer look at some of the top factors impacting Canada's real estate market and how they could affect you. 

 

RISING MORTGAGE RATES ARE COOLING AN OVERHEATED MARKET

 

Over the past couple of years, homebuyers have faced record-high price appreciation and intense competition—in part due to historically low mortgage rates that were a result of the Bank of Canada’s efforts to keep the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.1

 

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), in 2021, both the number of sales and average home price hit at an all-time high, with demand for new homes far exceeding supply.2 This trend continued through early 2022, despite widespread predictions that the Bank of Canada was gearing up to increase interest rates.3

 

But now that the central bank has officially begun pushing its key interest rate back up from emergency levels, the housing market is responding, with the pace of home sales cooling in March and April.4 The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts that the housing market will continue to moderate in the coming year.5

 

The feds plan to keep raising interest rates as necessary to fight inflation, which means target rates could rise by another 1 to 2% or more over the next year.6 That, in turn, will cause both fixed and variable mortgage rates to rise.

 

As Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers noted in May: “We need higher rates to moderate demand, including demand in the housing market. Housing price growth is unsustainably strong in Canada.”7

 

What does it mean for you?


If you’re shopping for a new home, expect mortgage rates to keep rising into 2024.8 So, you’ll need to act fast if you want to get in at a lower rate. However, the cooling effect should make for a less competitive market. We can help you chart the best path.


If you’ve been thinking about selling, higher mortgage rates may shrink your pool of potential buyers, so don’t wait too long to list. And if you are up for a renewal, you should also act quickly or risk paying a higher rate. Contact us to discuss your options.

 

 

DEMAND AND PRICES ARE STARTING TO SOFTEN IN SOME SEGMENTS

 

Nationally, home prices soared a record 26.6% last year, an unsustainable rate of appreciation by any measure.9 But now that the Bank of Canada has put rock-bottom rates in the rear view window, sales have begun to slow.

 

Soon after the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in early March, the real estate market responded. According to the CREA, in March, home sales fell by 5.4% on a month-over-month basis and the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) ticked up just 1%, “a marked slowdown from the record 3.5% increase in February.”10 

By April, home sales dropped by another 12.6% over the previous month as homeowners and buyers continued adjusting to higher rates.. “Following a record-breaking couple of years, housing markets in many parts of Canada have cooled off pretty sharply over the last two months, in line with a jump in interest rates and buyer fatigue,” said CREA Chair Jill Oudil. Meanwhile, prices are still rising in some markets, but are sagging in others, causing the HPI to dip in April for the first time since 2020.11

 

As the Bank of Canada continues pushing up rates, more buyers may give up on their homeownership dreams if they feel too squeezed by the combination of high rates and high prices. Still, many experts say a major downturn in prices is unlikely. That's in part due to the fact that there still aren't enough homes available to meet the demands of a growing population, says CREA CEO Michael Bourque. “The supply of new homes is not even close to keeping up with demographic changes and population growth.”12 As long as housing remains a scarce asset, prices will remain relatively elevated.

 

What does it mean for you?

 

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, now may be the perfect time to jump in the market. There are deals to be found if you know where to look. But don’t wait too long, or higher mortgage rates will erode any cost savings. We can help you find the best opportunities in today’s market.

 

For homeowners, the outlook is still bright. Governmental interventions are being put in place to stabilize the market–not crash it. And demand for housing and a strong job market should help protect your investment.

 

 

INVENTORY REMAINS TIGHT

 

According to the CMHC, housing starts trended higher in April after a small downturn in March. Overall, new homes are still being built at a faster clip today than in the past, but at a slower pace than we saw in 2021, noted CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan.13 Homebuilders are facing a wide range of challenges, including persistent inflation, rising rates, and ongoing labour shortages.

 

Increased federal investment could help counteract at least some of those challenges. The federal government recently announced plans to help double the pace of housing construction over the next decade by funding significantly more new and affordable housing. It also announced additional relief measures, including a temporary ban on foreign investment, doubling first-time buyers' tax credit, and halting blind bidding wars.14

 

In addition to fewer homes being built, new listings are also down, according to the CREA’s sales report. But a decrease in demand is offsetting the impact in some areas. “A little more than half of local markets were balanced markets…a little less than half were in seller's market territory.”11

 

What does it mean for you?

While supply remains at historically low levels, even a modest bump in inventory can help take pressure off of buyers. If you’ve had trouble finding a home in the past, give us a call to discuss what we’re currently seeing in your target neighbourhood and price range.


If you’re a homeowner, it’s still a great time to sell and cash out those big equity gains. Contact us to find out how much your home is worth in today’s market.

 

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 

While national real estate trends can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We can help you assess your options and make the most of this unique real estate landscape.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Bank of Canada -
    https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/press-release-2020-03-27/
  2. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/8516543/canada-home-sales-record-crea/
  3. CBC -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-housing-february-1.6385274
  4. Canadian Real Estate Association -
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/stats/
  5. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2022/housing-markets-moderate-historic-2021-levels
  6. Bank of Canada -
    https://www.bankofcanada.ca/press/press-releases/
  7. Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bank-canada-says-strong-demand-risks-higher-inflation-2022-05-03/
  8. Better Dwelling - https://betterdwelling.com/canadian-mortgage-rates-to-surge-demand-will-be-slowest-in-recent-history-moodys/
  9. CBC -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-housing-december-1.6317503#
  10. Canadian Real Estate Association - https://www.crea.ca/news/march-home-sales-and-new-listings-ease-back-following-surge-in-february/
  11. Canadian Real Estate Association - https://www.crea.ca/news/home-sales-drop-in-april-as-mortgage-rates-shoot-higher/ 
  12. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/8716412/canada-housing-market-cooling-bubble-interest-rate/
  13. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2022/canadian-housing-starts-trend-higher-april
  14. Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau - https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2022/04/13/helping-young-people-get-housing-market

5 Ways to Write a Winning Offer in Today’s Real Estate Market

23. May 2022 10:23

Our nation is in the midst of a shifting real estate market. But even as the buying frenzy begins to slow, many properties are still receiving multiple offers.1

So what’s the best way to compete as a buyer–especially if you’re wary about overpaying?

While a high offer price gets attention, most sellers consider a variety of factors when evaluating an offer. With that in mind, here are five tactics you can utilize to sweeten your proposal and outshine your competition.

We can help you weigh the risks and benefits of each tactic and craft a compelling offer designed to get you your dream home—without giving away the farm.

1.   Demonstrate Solid Financing

The reality is, no one gets paid if a home sale falls through. That’s why sellers (and their listing agents) favour offers with a high probability of closing.

Sellers particularly love all-cash offers because there’s no chance of financing issues cropping up at the last moment. But all-cash offers are rare, and if sellers are assured that financing will come through, buying with a mortgage doesn’t have to be a disadvantage.

The most important step you can take as a buyer is to get preapproved before you start looking for homes. A preapproval letter shows sellers that you are serious about buying and that you will be able to make good on your offer.2

It’s also important to consider the reputation of your lender. While sellers may not know or care about a lender’s reputation, their agents often do. Some lenders are much easier to work with than others. If you’re unsure who to choose, we are happy to refer you to reputable lenders known for their ease of doing business.

2.   Put Down a Sizeable Deposit

Buyers can show sellers that they’re serious about their offer and have “skin in the game” by putting down a large deposit. This, however, is not the same as a down payment.

The deposit is typically held in a trust account by the seller’s brokerage or lawyer.3 If the purchase goes through, it is applied to the down payment and closing costs. If the sale falls through, however, the buyer could lose some or all of that deposit, depending on the contract terms.

Deposit amounts vary, but offering a higher deposit can help demonstrate to the buyer that you are serious about the property. We can help you determine an appropriate deposit to offer based on your specific circumstances.

3.   Ask for Few (or No) Conditions

Most real estate offers include conditions, which are clauses that allow one or both parties to back out of the agreement if certain requirements are not met. These conditions appear in the purchase agreement and must be accepted by both the buyer and seller to be legally binding.

Two of the most common conditions are:4

  • Financing: A financing condition gives the buyer a window of time in which to secure a mortgage. If they are unable to do so, they can withdraw from the purchase and the seller can move on to other buyers.
  • Inspection: An inspection condition gives the buyer the opportunity to have the home professionally inspected for issues with the structure, wiring, plumbing, etc. Typically, the seller may choose whether or not to remediate those issues; if they do not, the buyer may withdraw from the contract.

Since conditions reduce the likelihood that a sale will go through, they generally make an offer less desirable to the seller. The more conditions that are included, the weaker the offer becomes. Therefore, buyers in a competitive market often volunteer to waive or exclude certain conditions.

However, it’s very important to make this decision carefully and recognize the risks of doing so. For example, a buyer who chooses to waive a home inspection condition may find out too late that the home requires extensive renovations. If you back out of a home purchase without the protection of a condition, you could lose your deposit.5 We can help you assess the risks and benefits involved.

4. Offer a Flexible Closing Date

When it comes to selling a house, money isn’t everything. People sell their homes for a wide variety of reasons, and flexible terms that work with their personal situations can sometimes make all the difference. For example, if a seller is in the process of planning a significant move, they may appreciate an option to advance or postpone their closing date.

This flexibility can provide a powerful advantage for first-time homebuyers. If you have a month-to-month or easily transferable lease, for example, you may be able to offer a more flexible timeline than a buyer who is simultaneously selling their existing home.

Of course, the value of these terms depends on the seller’s situation. We can reach out to the listing agent to find out the seller’s preferred terms, and then collaborate with you to write a compelling offer that works for both parties.

5. Work With a Skilled Buyer’s Agent

In this real estate market, one of the greatest advantages you can give yourself is to work with a skilled and trustworthy real estate professional. We will make sure you fully understand the process and help you submit an appealing offer without taking on too much risk.

Plus, we know how to write offers that are designed to win over both the seller and their listing agent. The truth is, listing agents play a huge role in helping sellers evaluate offers, and they want to work with skilled buyer’s agents who are professional, communicative, and courteous.

Once your offer is accepted, we’ll also handle any further negotiations and coordinate all the paperwork and other details involved in your home purchase. The best part is, you’ll have a knowledgeable, licensed advocate on your side who is watching out for your best interests every step of the way.

 

Helping You Get to the Right Offer

In many cases, a competitive offer doesn’t need to be condition-free or significantly above asking price. But if you’re serious about buying a home in today’s market, it’s important to consider what you can do to sweeten the deal.

If you’re a buyer, we can help you compete in today’s market without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, we can help you evaluate offers by taking all the relevant factors into account. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

  1. Bloomberg - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-12/home-prices-could-start-to-cool-in-canada-s-hot-housing-market
  2. NerdWallet - https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-mortgage-pre-approval
  3. Nesto - https://www.nesto.ca/mortgage-basics/house-deposit-vs-down-payment/
  4. Real Estate Council Alberta - https://www.reca.ca/2020/02/05/conditional-sales/

Seller’s Checklist: A Timeline to Prep Your Home for Sale

7. April 2022 10:16

 

We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell.1 If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.

Start by connecting with your real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.

Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call us if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. We can help customize a plan that works for you.

 

AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING

Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.

 

●      Contact Your Real Estate Agent

We go the extra mile when it comes to servicing our clients, and that includes a series of complimentary, pre-listing consultations to help you prepare your home for the market.

Some sellers make the mistake of waiting until they are ready to list their home to contact a real estate agent. But we’ve found that the earlier we’re brought into the process, the better the result. That often means a faster sale—and more money in your pocket after closing.

We know what buyers want in today’s market, and we can help devise a plan to maximize your property’s appeal. We can also connect you with our trusted network of contractors, vendors, and service professionals, so you’ll be sure to get the VIP treatment. This network of support can alleviate stress and help ensure you get everything done in the weeks or months leading up to listing.

 

●      Address Major Issues and Upgrades

In most cases, you won’t need to make any major renovations before you list. But if you’re selling an older home, or if you have any doubt about its condition, it’s best to get us involved as soon as possible so we can help you assess any necessary repairs.

In some instances, we may recommend a pre-listing inspection. Although it's less common in a seller's market, a pre-listing inspection can help you avoid potential surprises down the road. We can discuss the pros and cons during our initial meeting.

This is the time to address major structural, systems, or cosmetic issues that could hurt the sale of your home down the line. For example, problems with the frame, foundation, or roof are likely to be flagged on an inspection report. Issues with the HVAC system, electrical wiring, or plumbing may cause the home to be unsafe. And sometimes outdated or unpopular design features can limit a home’s sales potential.

Remember, when you’re dealing with major repairs or renovations, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible. Given rampant labour and material shortages, starting right away can help you avoid costly delays.2 Contact us so we can guide you on the updates that are worth your time and investment.

 

1 MONTH (OR MORE) BEFORE YOU LIST

Once any large-scale renovations have been addressed, you can turn your attention to the more minor updates that still play a major role in how buyers perceive your home.

●      Make Minor Repairs

Look for any unaddressed maintenance or repair issues, such as water spots, pest activity, and rotten siding. This is the time to take care of those small annoyances like squeaky hinges, sticking doors, and leaky faucets, too.

Many of these issues can be handled by going the DIY route and using a few simple tools. Tackle the ones you can and be sure to call a professional for the ones you’re not comfortable doing yourself. We can refer you to local service providers who can help.

Remember that it’s easy to overlook these small issues because you live with them. When you work with us, you get a fresh set of eyes on your home—so you don’t miss any important repairs that could make a big difference to buyers.

●      Refresh Your Design

This is a great time to think about some simple design updates that can make a significant impression on buyers. For example, a fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to spruce up your home. A recent survey of Canadian agents found that paint and landscaping were two upgrades that offered the highest return on investment.3

HGTV landscape designer Carson Arthur agrees. According to Arthur, landscaping is the best place to invest your money and has the potential to increase your home’s value by up to 7%.4 If weather permits, lay fresh sod where needed, plant colourful flowers, and add some new mulch to your beds.

Even just repositioning your furniture can make a huge difference to buyers. A survey published by the International Association of Staging Professionals found that staged homes often sell faster and for more than their list price.5 We can refer you to a local stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the DIY route.

●      Declutter and Depersonalize

Doing a little bit of decluttering every day is a lot easier than trying to take care of it all at once right before your home hits the market. A simple strategy is to do this one room at a time, working your way through each space whenever you have a bit of free time.

Start by donating or discarding items that you no longer want or need. Then pack up any seasonal items, family photos, and personal collections you can live without for the next few weeks. Bonus: This will give you a head start on packing for your move!

 

1 WEEK BEFORE YOU GO TO MARKET

With just one week before your home is available for sale, all major items should be crossed off your to-do list. Now it’s time to focus on the small details that will really make your home shine. Here are a few key areas to focus on during this last week.

●      Check-In With Your Agent

We’ll connect again to make sure we’re aligned on the listing price, marketing plan, and any remaining prep. We will be there every step of the way, ensuring you’re fully prepared to maximize the sale of your home.

●      Tidy Your Exterior

You’ve already done the major landscaping—now it’s time to tackle the last few details. Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed, hedges are trimmed, and flower beds are weeded.

In addition, now is the time to clean your home’s exterior if you haven’t already. Power wash your siding, empty the gutters, and wash all your windows and screens.

●      Deep Clean Your Interior

Your house should be deep cleaned before listing, including a thorough deodorizing of the home’s interior and steam cleaning for all carpets. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure the space smells and looks as fresh as possible.

In addition to cleaning, take some time to tidy up. Buyers will look inside your closets, pantries, and cabinets, so make sure they are neat and organized. Small appliances and toiletries should be cleared off the countertops.

 

DAY OF SHOWING

Now you’re all set to go and there are just a few small things you need to handle on the day of showings or open houses. Do a final walk-through and take care of these finishing touches to give potential buyers the best possible impression.

●      Pre-Showing Prep

Happy and comfortable buyers are more likely to submit offers! Make them feel at home by adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Open any blinds and curtains throughout the house, and turn on all lights so buyers can see all the potential in your home.

Then tidy up by vacuuming and sweeping floors, emptying (or hiding) trash cans, and wiping down countertops. In the bathrooms, close toilet lids and hang clean hand towels.

Don’t forget to secure jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medications, and any other items of value in a safe or store them off-site.

Finally, it’s best to have pets out of the house during showings. If possible, you should also remove evidence of pets (litter box, dog beds, etc.), which can be a turn-off for some buyers.

 

DON’T WAIT TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SELLING

If you want to get top dollar for your home, don’t put it on the market before it’s ready. The right preparation can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing the offers you get. The upgrades and changes you need to make will depend upon your home’s condition, so don’t wait to speak with an agent.

Call our team if you’re thinking about selling your home, even if you’re not sure when. It’s never too early to seek the guidance of your real estate agent and start preparing your home to sell.

 

Sources:

  1. RBC - https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/a-turning-point-more-sellers-enter-canadas-housing-market-in-february/
  2. ConstructConnect - https://canada.constructconnect.com/canadata/forecaster/economic/2021/07/labour-shortages-high-material-costs-strong-demand-more-pressure-on-house-prices
  3. RE/MAX - https://blog.remax.ca/canadian-real-estate-renovation-trends/
  4. National Post - https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/curb-appeal-in-the-business-of-home-ownership-a-little-landscaping-can-go-a-long-way
  5. International Association of Staging Professionals - https://d3oaxt0bwkjnjn.cloudfront.net/documents/home-staging-industry-statistics-2020-min.pdf

Tags:

Hedge Against Inflation With These 3 Real Estate Investment Types

13. March 2022 11:34

Hedge Againast Inflation with Real Estate

The annual inflation rate in Canada is currently around 5.1%—the highest it’s been in 30 years.1 It doesn’t matter if you’re a cashier, lawyer, plumber, or retiree; if you spend Canadian dollars, inflation impacts you.

Economists expect the effects of inflation, like a higher cost of goods, to continue.2 Luckily, an investment in real estate can ease some of the financial strain.

Here’s what you need to know about inflation, how it impacts you, and how an investment in real estate can help.

WHAT IS INFLATION AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME?

Inflation is a decline in the value of money. When the rate of inflation rises, prices for goods and services go up. Therefore, a dollar buys you a little bit less with every passing day.

The consumer price index, or CPI, is a standard measure of inflation. Based on the latest CPI data, prices increased 5.1% from January 2021 to January 2022. In comparison, the CPI increased 1.0% from January 2020 to January 2021.3

How does inflation affect your life? Here are a few of the negative impacts:

  • Decreased Purchasing Power

We touched on this already, but as prices rise, your dollar won’t stretch as far as it used to. That means you’ll be able to purchase fewer goods and services with a limited budget.

  •  Increased Borrowing Costs

In an effort to curb inflation, the Bank of Canada is expected to raise interest rates.4 Therefore, consumers are likely to pay more to borrow money for things like mortgages and credit cards.

  •  Lower Standard of Living

Wage growth tends to lag behind price increases. Even as labour shortages persist in Canada—which would typically trigger pay raises—wages are not increasing at the same pace of inflation.5 As such, life is becoming less affordable for everyone. For example, inflation can force those on a fixed income, like retirees, to make lifestyle changes and prioritize essentials.

  •  Eroded Savings

If you store all your savings in a bank account, inflation is even more damaging. As of February, the national average deposit interest rate for a savings account was around 0.067%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation.6

One of the best ways to mitigate these effects is to find a place to invest your money other than the bank. Even though interest rates are expected to rise, they’re unlikely to get high enough to beat inflation. If you hoard cash, the value of your money will decrease every year and more rapidly in years with elevated inflation.

REAL ESTATE: A PROVEN HEDGE AGAINST INFLATION

So where is a good place to invest your money to protect (hedge) against the impacts of inflation? There are several investment vehicles that financial advisors traditionally recommend, including:

  • Stocks

Some people invest in stocks as their primary inflation hedge. However, the stock market can become volatile during inflationary times, as we’ve seen in recent months.7

  • Commodities

Commodities are tangible assets, like gold, oil, and livestock. The theory is that the price of commodities should climb alongside inflation. But studies show that this correlation doesn’t always occur.8

  • Inflation-Protected Bonds

Real Return Bonds (RRBs) are inflation-protected bonds issued by the Canadian government that are indexed to the inflation rate. Bonds are considered low risk, but returns have not been rising at the same rate of inflation, making them suboptimal investments.9

  • Real Estate
    Real estate prices across the board tend to rise along with inflation, which is why so much Canadian capital is flowing into real estate right now.10

We believe real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Owning real estate does more than protect your wealth—it can actually make you money. For example, home prices rose 20% from 2021 to 2022, nearly 15% ahead of the 5.1% inflation that occurred in the same timeframe.11

Plus, certain types of real estate investments can help you generate a stream of passive income. In the past year, property owners didn’t just avoid the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation; they got ahead.

TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

Though there are a myriad of ways to invest in real estate, there are three basic investment types that we recommend for beginner and intermediate investors. Remember that we can help you determine which options are best for your financial goals and budget.

  • Primary Residence

If you own your home, you’re already ahead. The advantages of homeownership become even more apparent in inflationary times. As inflation raises prices throughout the economy, the value of your home is likely to go up concurrently.

If you don’t already own your primary residence, homeownership is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

Though the task of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can make homeownership easier to achieve. If you’re not sure how to get started with the home buying process, contact us. Our team can help you find the strategy and property that fits your needs and budget.

Whether you already own a primary residence or are still renting, now is a good time to also start thinking about an investment property. The types of investment properties you’ll buy as a solo investor generally fall into two categories: long-term rentals and short-term rentals.

  • Long-Term (Traditional) Rentals

A long-term or traditional rental is a dwelling that’s leased out for an extended period. An example of this is a single-family home where a tenant signs a one-year lease and brings all their own furniture.

Long-term rentals are a form of housing. For most tenants, the rental serves as their primary residence, which means it’s a necessary expense. This unique quality of long-term rentals can help to provide stable returns in uncertain times, especially when we have high inflation.

To invest in a long-term rental, you’ll need to budget for maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and insurance. You’ll also need to have a plan for managing the property. But a well-chosen investment property should pay for itself through rental income, and you’ll benefit from appreciation as the property rises in value.

We can help you find an ideal long-term rental property to suit your budget and investment goals. Reach out to talk about your needs and our local market opportunities.

  • Short-Term (Vacation) Rentals

Short-term or vacation rentals function more like hotels in that they offer temporary accommodations. A short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is rented for 30 days or less. The furniture and other amenities are provided by the property owner, and today many short-term rentals are listed on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

A short-term rental can potentially earn you a higher return than a long-term rental, but this comes at the cost of daily, hands-on management. With a short-term rental, you’re not just entering the real estate business; you’re entering the hospitality business, too.

Done right, short-term rentals can be both a hedge against inflation and a profitable source of income. As a bonus, when the home isn’t being rented you have an affordable vacation spot for yourself and your family!

Contact us today if you’re interested in exploring options in either the long-term or short-term rental market. Since mortgage rates are expected to rise, you’ll want to act fast to maximize your investment return.

WE’RE INVESTED IN HELPING YOU

Inflation is a fact of life in the Canadian economy. Luckily, you can prepare for inflation with a carefully managed investment portfolio that includes real estate. Owning a primary residence or investing in a short-term or long-term rental will help you both mitigate the effects of inflation and grow your net worth, which makes it a strategic move in our current financial environment.

If you’re ready to invest in real estate to build wealth and protect yourself from rising inflation, contact us. Our team can help you find a primary residence or investment property that meets your financial goals.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources: 

  1. Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-51-january-2022-02-16/
  2. MacLeans - https://www.macleans.ca/economy/inflation-worsening-2022-canada/
  3. Statistics Canada - https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220216/dq220216a-eng.htm
  4. Bloomberg - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-25/canada-set-to-raise-rates-in-inflation-fight-decision-guide
  5. The Globe & Mail - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-stealth-pay-cut-wages-arent-keeping-up-with-inflation/
  6. Trading Economics - https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/deposit-interest-rate
  7. Reuters - https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/canada-stocks-tsx-down-after-hot-inflation-data-dismal-shopify-forecast
  8. Research Gate - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350016324_Gold_and_Inflation_in_Canada_A_Time-Varying_Perspective
  9. Maple Money - https://maplemoney.com/inflation-protection-are-real-return-bonds-or-tips-the-answer/
  10. Storeys - https://storeys.com/canadians-using-real-estate-outrun-inflation/
  11. WOWA - https://wowa.ca/reports/canada-housing-market

 

8 Popular Home Design Features for 2022

16. February 2022 09:18

8 popular home design features for 2022

There’s a lot to consider when selling your home, from market conditions and appraisals to where you’ll go next. Don’t forget, however, the importance of design. It’s often one of the first things buyers notice when they walk into a home, and it’s also a detail that you, as a seller, can easily control.

According to Realtor.ca’s 2022 housing market forecast, October of 2021 saw record home sales.1 Even with the pandemic igniting new restrictions in some provinces, the Canadian housing market is expected to remain hot. This means, if you’re looking to sell in the near future, now is the time to consider how you can stand out.

Updating your home design is one way to do that. Changes like eco-friendly fixtures or upgraded siding can add value to your home now and be highlighted when you market it for sale later. To get the most out of your updates, focus on these popular home design features that will wow buyers in 2022.

Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

Eco-Friendly Fixtures

Canada’s largest demographic, millennials, has been a driving force in the country’s real estate market for the past few years. One thing that remains top of mind for this cohort is sustainable living features. A recent Deloitte survey found that one-third of millennials initiate or deepen their consumer investment in products or services that help the environment—this also includes the houses they choose to live in.2

Here are a few eco-friendly design features that will be attractive to these millennial buyers in 2022. Bonus: they can net a significant return on investment (ROI) for you, as a seller, too. 

  • Energy-Efficient Windows: Windows and doors account for up to 25 percent of home heat loss, according to nrcan.gc.ca.3 Therefore, upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help homeowners save money. 
  • Low-Flow Water Fixtures: National Resources Canada also recommends replacing your water-consuming fixtures like showerheads, toilets, and faucets with ones that have flow rates of about 7.6 L/minute, 4.8L/flush, and 4L/minute, respectively.4 If you want to take it a step further, ENERGY STAR® certified appliances like dishwashers and washing machines will also make a dramatic difference in water bill savings. 
  • Native Landscaping: Perhaps unexpectedly, another eco-friendly ‘fixture’ is native flora. Local greenery helps combat biodiversity loss, creates a better habitat for wildlife, and has a greater resistance to pests, according to HGTV.5 These benefits of native plants add to the eco-friendly appeal of your home. 

Wellness Retreat Nooks

As many of our homes became “all-purpose” territory for the entire family, interior zoning efforts were in full effect. From designated offices to closed-door playrooms, everyone needed their own space. Add in mental health concerns, competing schedules, and reduced access to health and wellness facilities, and the result is a huge prioritization of personal care spaces.  

At-home wellness amenities, which were once viewed as luxuries, are now on many homeowners’ must-have lists. Intrigue buyers and improve your quality of life in your home with reading nooks, spa-inspired bathrooms, and exercise or meditation spaces. Even if your house doesn’t have the square footage to section off an entire room for relaxation, making simple tweaks to natural light, air purifiers, and indoor plants can help you feel better in your home now, while enabling future buyers to see the opportunity for their own space.

Calming Paint Colours

Paint colors that produce a calming atmosphere will also be a key selling point in 2022. Soft earth tones and natural hues will prevail this year, including various shades of blue, green, brown, and beige. Recent research suggests steering clear of trendy paint colors in favor of a more classic palette to bring the feel of nature indoors in a subtle and soothing way.6

A survey of American homebuyers found that a certain paint colour was able to increase a home’s value by 1.6%.6 If we Canadians see even a 1% increase, that’s $7,208 more for the average home, which is priced at $720,850, according to the Financial Post.7

A crowd-pleasing hue to refresh the walls with is BEHR’s 2022 paint colour of the year, known as Breezeway.8 This shade of green with silver undertones was created to mimic sea glass. As the BEHR website describes it, Breezeway “evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”

Outdoor Living Updates

Don’t forget to think about your yard when considering design changes for your home. As interiors become more productive, many Canadians are looking to the outdoors for a break. HGTV predicts the “exterior living room” trend will continue in 2022, so making outdoor upgrades in the spring when the ground thaws could reap serious benefits.9 Whether your exterior square footage looks like a balcony, small patio, or expansive yard, it only takes some imagination and effort to turn it into a comforting oasis.

Front porches, in particular, are seeing a big revival, says Greenhouse Canada.10 Power-washing your siding; adding a fresh coat of paint on the door, brick, or floorboards; and finishing it off with some exterior lighting will go a long way in upping the curb appeal.11 Don’t forget to add window boxes, big planters, and young trees that require minimal maintenance but add more life to the space.

Finish off the space with some comfortable outdoor furniture to make the outdoors as well-designed as the indoors. If you need help deciding how to update your outdoor area, let us guide you.

Designated Work Spaces

It may come as no surprise that after the pandemic is over, 80 percent of new teleworkers want to continue to work at least half of their hours from home, according to Statistics Canada.12 However, this desire needs to be weighed against the availability of space in a home. 

If you can, try turning a bedroom or den into a work-from-home office. When designing the space, make it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Position a desk near the window for natural light, install a bookshelf unit, arrange a few succulents on the work surface, and hang a few framed posters or a cork bulletin board on the wall. You want the space to foster productivity as well as be a place in your home you enjoy spending time.

When you get ready to sell, we can help you highlight your designated workspace. Given the high demand for this design feature, it can help you interest more buyers and attract more competitive offers—if marketed creatively. 

Plus, Canadians who transitioned to working from home because of the pandemic may be eligible to claim a $500 deduction for home office expenses—making this renovation that much more feasible.13

Luxury Kitchen Retouches

The kitchen has always been a main focal point of interior design, and that’s no different in 2022. Families will always need this space to come together in their own homes. 

This year’s buyers want a kitchen with new upgrades and retouches, but you don’t have to renovate the entire kitchen to make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips on how to create a kitchen that buyers will love without spending too much money on renovations:

  • Repaint the kitchen, keeping the calm and nature-inspired colours in mind that are most popular right now. Taking a kitchen from dark to light by painting cabinets and walls can make all the difference.
  • Update the hardware. These kitchen “accessories” stand out and add personality to an otherwise standard kitchen. 
  • Update light fixtures to bring in more light while also adding a fresh look and feel in the space. 

Unique Accent Walls

An accent wall gives a home character while balancing it with the calming feel of natural- and neutral-coloured walls. But, we’ve seen accent walls before, so bolder moves are expected for 2022. Here are some on-trend options that go above and beyond a solid-colour accent wall:

  • Jewel or metallic tones
  • Textured wallpaper
  • Painted ceilings
  • Built-in shelves
  • Wood paneling14
  • Sprawling wall tiles 15

If you’re planning to sell in the next year, talk to us before adding an accent wall. Depending on your target buyer, it may be a design feature that actually hurts your home’s value. We can run a free Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help you understand what would resell best in your neighbourhood.

Exterior Siding Updates

An exterior siding refresh can make an old home feel entirely new and have a big impact on its resale value. This primarily affects curb appeal, but it’s also an important factor in keeping interiors warm and protected from Canada’s harsh winters. The average cost for new siding ranges from $4.80 - $51.60 per square foot[1] .16 That variation depends on which of the many siding materials you choose, from fiber-cement to brick, wood, vinyl, metal, or stone. 

While all these options can infuse the exterior with character and curb appeal, there are a few other factors to consider before taking on this kind of project. While brick adds more sophistication, it is on the pricier end and is susceptible to salt erosion, making it a less enticing option for those on the coasts. On the other end of the cost spectrum, vinyl is a very popular option that does not fade, is easy to maintain, and comes in many colour options.17 However, vinyl will crack over time after facing harsh Canadian winters. 

Give your home this simple and attractive facelift before putting it on the market. If you’re not sure how to get started yourself, our team can connect you with a trusted vendor to guide you through the process. 

Keep These Home Design Features on Your Radar in 2022

These design features can infuse personality into your home while helping to close the deal if you plan to sell in 2022. The average buyer knows just what they’re looking for in a space they plan to call home, so with some investment and foresight, you can give your house an edge over the competition—and boost resale value in the process.

However, you don’t need to make all these changes to attract more buyers. We can help you determine which design features you should add to your home by sharing insights and tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. We can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area, which will help us decide what changes need to be made. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!

 

Sources:

  1. Realtor.ca – https://www.realtor.ca/blog/what-2021s-housing-market-looked-like-and-whats-to-come/23723/1361
  2. Deloitte – https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/2021-deloitte-global-millennial-survey-report.pdf
  3. NRCAN – https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/make-your-home-more-energy-efficient/keeping-the-heat/section-8-upgrading-windows-and-exterior-doors/15643
  4. National Resources Canada – https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/make-small-changes-add/21850 
  5. HGTV – https://www.hgtv.ca/green-living/photos/native-plants-in-canada-by-province-1938068/
  6. Zillow http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2021-07-15-Homes-With-Light-Blue-Bathrooms,-Dark-Blue-Bedrooms-Could-Sell-for-Up-to-4,698-More-Than-Expected
  7. Financial Post – https://financialpost.com/real-estate/average-home-price-in-canada-hits-all-time-high-of-720850
  8. Behr - https://www.behr.com/colorfullybehr/behr-announces-2022-color-of-the-year-and-trends-palette/
  9. HGTV – https://www.hgtv.ca/decorating/photos/biggest-home-decor-trends-2022-1952424/#currentSlide=4
  10. Greenhouse Canada - https://www.greenhousecanada.com/garden-trends-report-sees-a-definite-shift-in-consumer-tastes/
  11. Toronto Sun – https://torontosun.com/life/homes/front-porches-make-a-comeback
  12. Statistics Canada – https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00012-eng.htm
  13. Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-22900-other-employment-expenses/work-space-home-expenses.html
  14. Accent Walls – https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/ideas-how-to/decor/diy-wall-panelling.html
  15. Accent walls - https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/ideas-how-to/decor/accent-wall-ideas.html
  16. Reno Assistance -  https://www.renoassistance.ca/en/siding/house-siding-costs/
  17. D’Angelo and Sons – https://dangeloandsons.com/best-exterior-siding-for-canadian-winter/

A Return to ‘Normal’? The State of Real Estate in 2022

21. January 2022 14:24

 

Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that led to a record number of home sales and a historically-high rate of appreciation, as prices soared by a national average of 19.9% year over year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.1

There were signs in the second quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In June, the pace of sales slowed while the average sales price dipped 5.5% below the springtime peak.2

But just when the market seemed to be cooling, home prices and sales volume ticked up again in the fall, leading the Royal Bank of Canada to speculate: “Canada’s housing market run has more in the tank.”3

So what’s ahead for the Canadian real estate market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.

MORTGAGE RATES WILL CREEP UP

The Bank of Canada has signalled that it plans to begin raising interest rates in the “middle quarters” of this year.4 What does that mean for mortgage rates?

Expect higher variable mortgage rates to come. In fact, according to industry trade blog Canadian Mortgage Trends, some lenders have already begun raising their variable rates in preparation. And according to the site, “Current market forecasts show the Bank of Canada on track for seven quarter-point (25 bps) rate hikes by the end of 2023, with Scotiabank expecting eight rate hikes.”5

Since September, fixed mortgage rates—which follow the 5-year Bank of Canada bond yield—have also been climbing.5 Fortunately, economists believe the housing sector is well-positioned to absorb these higher interest rates.

Derek Holt, Scotiabank vice president and head of capital markets economics, told Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine in November, “The large increase in cash balances that occurred over the pandemic combined with the record-high amount of home equity on Canadian balance sheets, to me, paints a picture of a household sector that can manage the rate shock we’re likely to get.”4

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment, make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to take advantage of historically-low rates. We’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.

 

VOLUME OF SALES WILL DECREASE

A record number of homes were sold in Canada last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that 656,300 home purchases took place, which is an 18.8% increase over 2020.6 So it’s no surprise that the pace of sales would eventually slow.

The association predicts that, nationally, the number of home sales will fall by 12.1% in 2022, which would still make 2022 the second-best year on record.1

It attributes this relative slowdown to affordability challenges and a lack of inventory but expects sales volume to remain high by historical standards. “Limited supply and higher prices are expected to tap the brakes on activity in 2022 compared to 2021, although increased churn in resale markets resulting from the COVID-related shake-up to so many people’s lives may continue to boost activity above what was normal before COVID-19.”6

What does it mean for you? The frenzied market we experienced last year required a drop-everything commitment from many of our clients, so a slower pace of sales should be a welcome relief. However, buyers should still be prepared to compete for the best properties. We can help you craft a compelling offer without compromising your best interests.

 

THE MARKET WILL BECOME MORE BALANCED

In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus, a shift to remote work, and economic stimulus triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labour shortages hindered new construction.

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to Abhilasha Singh, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, “almost all indicators of housing market activity shot through the roof.” But, she continued, “The housing market is now showing signs of returning to earth.”7

The Royal Bank of Canada expects to see demand soften gradually as rising prices and interest rates push the cost of homeownership out of reach for many would-be buyers.3 And while the supply of available homes continues to remain low, according to Singh, “the pace of building in Canada remains elevated compared with historical averages thanks to low interest rates.”7

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with less competition and a slower pace of sales, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.

 

HOME PRICES LIKELY TO KEEP CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER PACE

Nationwide, home prices rose an average of 19.9% in 2021. But the rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022. The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts that the national average home price will increase by 5.6% to $718,000 in 2022.6

Singh of Moody’s Analytics agrees that price growth will slow this year and could “reach a near standstill in late 2022 but avoid any significant contractions.”7

However, some experts caution against a “wait and see” mentality for buyers. “Affordability is unlikely to improve [this] year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” Rishi Sondhi, an economist at TD Economics, told Reuters. “We think rate hikes will weigh on, but not upend, demand, as the macro backdrop should remain supportive for sales.”8

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. We can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

Sources:

  1. Toronto Sun -
    https://torontosun.com/life/homes/real-estate-market-on-track-to-break-records
  2. National Post -
    https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/the-great-real-estate-cool-down-has-come
  3. Royal Bank of Canada -
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/canadas-housing-market-run-has-more-in-the-tank/
  4. Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine -
    https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/how-likely-is-a-canada-housing-crash/315742
  5. Canadian Mortgage Trends -
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2021/11/fixed-rate-increases-costing-todays-homebuyers-over-10000-more-in-interest/
  6. Canadian Real Estate Association -
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/
  7. Moody's Analytics -
    https://www.moodysanalytics.com/-/media/article/2021/10-canada-housing-market-outlook.pdf
  8. Reuters -
    https://www.reuters.com/article/canada-property-poll-idCAKBN2IM06V
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