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MPC applauds Prime Minister’s order to review the mortgage stress test

December 13th, 2019
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his Mandate Letter to Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. One of the prime minister’s stated priorities is that his minister must “review and consider recommendations from financial agencies related to making the borrower stress test more dynamic.”

As the Globe and Mail’s Janet McFarland put it, since 2018 Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) has bee ...

A flaw in Canada’s economic armour

December 9th, 2019
Canada’s resilient economy appears to have developed a crack. The November employment statistics surprised everyone with a loss of more than 71,000 jobs. The unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 5.9% – the biggest monthly increase since 2009.

It is the second consecutive monthly decline. In October the economy shed 1,800 positions. The November losses are particularly stark given ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - November 2019 Stats

December 4th, 2019
After a quieter first half of 2019, home buyer activity has returned to more historically typical levels in Metro Vancouver*.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,498 in November 2019, a 55.3 per cent increase from the 1,608 sales recorded in November 2018, and a 12.6 per cent decline from the 2,858 homes sold in Octob ...

Alleyway home in Toronto makes room splitting into 5 levels

December 3rd, 2019
Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America, but rather than simply grow up and out, city planners are relaxing zoning on its 250 kilometers of laneways so owners can turn garages and sheds into small downtown homes (limited to 8 meters wide (26 feet)).

Zeke Kaplan’s home had a 100-year-old shack occupying the lane before he began construction to convert it into a modern 2 bedroom ho ...

Housing and debt worries weigh on BoC

December 2nd, 2019
The Canadian economy continues to stubbornly support the Bank of Canada’s interest rate policy. Market watchers are pretty much unanimous in their projections that the central bank will stay on the sidelines, again, when it makes its rate announcement later this week.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show gross domestic product grew by 1.3% in the third quarter. That is a slow down, ...

Here’s how much you need to earn to buy the average home in Canada’s biggest cities

November 27th, 2019
After a long period of relentless home price increases, affordability is starting to improve in a number of Canada’s most expensive cities. According to the National Bank of Canada’s third quarter Housing Affordability Monitor, the housing affordability composite index has backpedaled to historical averages thanks to a rise in incomes and lower mortgage rates. Still, how much you can afford a ...

Consumer debt blues brighten slightly

November 26th, 2019
Interest rates are stable and look poised to fall. Inflation is in check. The unemployment rate is at historic lows. We are told wage growth is strong, and households appear to be reducing their debt-load.

Still, many Canadians are worried about making ends meet.

The latest quarterly survey by insolvency trustee MNP suggests 54% of Canadians have growing concerns about their ability to repay ...

CREA: Canadian Real Estate Prices Reach A New All-Time High, But Growth Slows

November 20th, 2019
Canadian real estate sales are back to booming, and they’re pushing prices higher. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows the price of a home in Canada hit a new high in October. Price growth was much stronger in Ontario and Quebec, with Western Canada still dragging.

Canadian Real Estate Prices

The industry’s aggregate price index is still climbing across Canada. The benchmark pr ...

Toronto decline, Vancouver recovery leave Canadian home sales flat

November 18th, 2019
Canadian housing sales took a breather as activity in Toronto pulled back, but strength in the western provinces highlights a sustained recovery at the national level.

Home sales were little changed in October after seven straight months of gains, according to data released Friday by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Toronto was a major drag, posting a 2.9 per cent decline, the biggest dr ...

Architectural Digest | Inside a $5.5M Floating Mansion in Miami

November 12th, 2019
Today we take you to glamorous South Beach in Miami, Florida to tour a truly one-of-a-kind offering. At 400 Alton Road sits the Arkup, a $5.5 million yacht house powered entirely by solar energy. The floating villa has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, an extendable deck for entertaining large groups, and a full kitchen - all with the freedom and functionality of a yacht.


Feel like a quick trip t ...

Residential Market Commentary - Mortgage-free or diversity?

November 8th, 2019
Canadians put a high priority on paying off their mortgage debt – sometimes maybe a little too high.

Paying off debt is always a good move. Wanting to be mortgage free is a laudable goal. Making it your only goal may not be as sound.

Traditionally paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible has been seen as one of the best routes to financial success. Interest rates used to be higher. Som ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - October 2019 Stats

November 5th, 2019
The Metro Vancouver housing market is experiencing a fall pickup in home sale activity.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,858 in October 2019, a 45.4 per cent increase from the 1,966 sales recorded in October 2018, and a 22.5 per cent increase from the 2,333 homes sold in September 2019.

Last month’s sales were 9.8 ...

Canadian Housing Market Trends To Look Out For In 2020

November 4th, 2019
The floodgates have officially opened for Canadian housing market forecasts for the next year.

We’ve already heard that interest rates will likely sink lower in 2020 as the housing market continues to rally through the first half of the year. There’s also speculation around how the Liberals’ October election win will impact housing affordability and whether the NDP will play a bigger role in ...

Bank of Canada holds rates, warns economy will be 'tested'

October 31st, 2019
The Bank of Canada forecast a weaker outlook for the domestic economy amid heightened global downside risks, potentially giving itself more leeway to lower borrowing costs.

In a decision Wednesday, policy makers kept their current 1.75 per cent policy rate unchanged for an eighth straight meeting, calling the level “appropriate” even as they cut their growth forecasts for the next two years. ...

Mortgage business on the move

October 30th, 2019
In an effort to fill in some of the gaps in the country’s housing market data Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has launched a new Residential Mortgage Industry report. The agency says the report is designed to support “evidence-based policy and informed decision making within the housing finance sector.”

Not surprisingly the report confirms that Canada’s big banks have the vast majorit ...

Is real estate still a good investment for Canadians?

October 24th, 2019
Long before the stock market existed, before salt was considered as valuable as gold, and before humans first struck oil, the asset that was most sought after was land. Real estate investing has evolved, but today investors still seek out land as a way to diversify their assets, earn income, and increase their net worth.

These days, however, many are asking whether or not real estate is still ...

Residential Market Commentary - Qualifying rate conundrum

October 23rd, 2019
The Bank of Canada’s Qualifying Mortgage Rate has popped back onto the real estate radar. Back in July the central bank lowered the rate for the first time in nearly three years.

The idea behind the QMR is to ensure that home buyers will be able to afford their mortgage as interest rates rise in the future. It is a stress test that sets the lowest “theoretical” interest rate the buyer will be ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - September 2019 Stats

October 7th, 2019
Increased demand helps housing market reach balanced territory.

Home buyer demand has returned to more historically typical levels in Metro Vancouver* over the last three months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,333 in September 2019, a 46.3 per cent increase from the 1,595 sales recorded in September 2018, and a ...

Where Could a Median-Income Household Afford Real Estate in Canada?

October 1st, 2019
Housing affordability has long been a hot-button issue across Canada and will take centre stage in the upcoming October Federal Election as a top priority for voters. However, given the vast geographical size of the nation, and its many market nuances, buyers’ ability to purchase a home varies widely depending on local prices and incomes; in fact, the Canadian Real Estate Association has note ...

How the parties' housing promises stack up, according to this expert

September 30th, 2019
Housing has emerged as a hot-button topic in the federal election campaign, with party leaders unleashing a slew of headline-grabbing promises over the last few weeks.

The so-called B-20 mortgage stress test, an incentive aimed at helping first-time buyers, and an update to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan are among measures that have been introduced since the current Liberal government came into p ...

Residential Market Commentary - What is a central bank?

September 27th, 2019
As we head into the federal election we’ll be hearing a lot about the economy, interest rates and housing. In this country, one of the key players in all of those things is the Bank of Canada, commonly referred to as “the central bank”.

Since the financial collapse a decade ago central banks and the people who run them have become fixtures in the news. There is hardly a day that goes by that ...

A ‘dumb’ idea to make housing more affordable

September 25th, 2019
The Conservatives and the Liberals have both rolled out policies meant to address housing affordability for new buyers. They don’t really work.

Evan Siddall can’t say the Conservative Party’s campaign pledge to increase the amortization period on mortgages is “dumb.” Not right now, at least.

As president and CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Siddall is a civil servant ...

Vancouver Real Estate Is Once Again The Fastest Cooling Market In Canada

September 24th, 2019
Canadian real estate markets are seeing demand improvements, just not in British Columbia. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows the sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) increased in August. The ratio, which gives a quick snapshot on how soft the market is, generally increased. British Columbian real estate was a notable exception. Cities in the province were the three fastest cool ...

Alternative facts vs. fraud: Millennials believe it’s acceptable to fib on applications

September 16th, 2019
Ongoing affordability challenges and tougher mortgage qualification rules have homebuyers turning to alternative lenders, but some are also turning to alternative facts.

A recent survey by credit monitoring service Equifax suggests there is a growing acceptance of fudging the numbers on mortgage applications, especially among younger house hunters. Nearly a quarter of the millennials (23%) su ...

Residential Market Commentary - Treading water in a rising tide

September 11th, 2019
In the rising tide of interest-rate-cut expectations, the Bank of Canada is treading water. The central bank did meet expectations by holding its policy rate at 1.75% for a seventh consecutive setting, last week.

The reasons are fairly apparent: inflation is on target, GDP growth is good (Q2 was far better than expected even if it was based on some one-off stats), job growth is steady and une ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - August 2019 Stats

September 5th, 2019
Home buyer activity increased to more typical levels in Metro Vancouver* throughout the summer months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,231 in August 2019, a 15.7 per cent increase from the 1,929 sales recorded in August 2018, and a 12.7 per cent decrease from the 2,557 homes sold in July 2019.

Last month’s sales w ...

Bank of Canada Holds Overnight Rate Steady Amid Uncertainty

September 4th, 2019
The Bank of Canada held the target overnight rate at steady at 1.75% for the seventh consecutive decision date but will monitor closely the impact of the US-China trade war on economic activity around the world and in Canada. The second-quarter growth--posted at 3.7%--exceeded the Bank's forecast in the July Monetary Policy Report (MPR), but the Bank expects the economy to slow from that pace ...

Inside UBC's Exchange Residences

September 3rd, 2019
Students have moved in to UBC's new Exchange Residence. The residence has 651 beds, including 71 nano suite units that squeeze a kitchenette, full bathroom, closet, and convertible double bed/desk combination into 140 square feet. Highly central, the residence is steps from the Aquatic Centre and Student Centre. Built above the new UBC bus exchange, the UBC bus loop is virtually at the Exchan ...

Vancouver condo prices see biggest drop in Canada, but still lead the nation: report

September 2nd, 2019
Greater Vancouver’s housing market correction is finally having a noticeable impact on condo prices.

That’s according to a new report from real estate firm Royal LePage, which found that the per-square-foot price of a condo in Greater Vancouver has fallen more than any other major market in the country this year.

The median Greater Vancouver condo is priced at about $764 per square foot, down ...

Perfect Productive Workspace – Minimal Office + Desk Tour

August 30th, 2019
To do our best work, we need three things: clear goals, time to focus, and a distraction-free space. In this video, I'll share my perfect productive workspace, which I use for writing, editing, and designing. I'll also share a few of the tools and processes I use to stay focused.

You can find everything featured in the space here https://kit.com/MatthewEncina/the-per...
You find out more abou ...

Everything you need to know about Canada's new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

August 29th, 2019
The new federal First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) will officially come into effect as of September 2 this year.

Designed to alleviate mortgage costs for first-time home buyers, the FTHBI will provide shared equity loans of 5% toward the down payment of a resale home, and 5% or 10% for newly-built homes.

The idea is that by boosting the size of buyers’ down payments, the FTHBI whittles d ...

Vancouver Real Estate Falls To Bottom Of The List For Demand, Ottawa Tops

August 28th, 2019
Canada’s fast moving real estate market is still seeing demand shift to the East Coast. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data shows the sales to new listings ratio improved in July. On the national level, there was only a small increase. However, that’s because large gains in the East, are being weighed down by large drops in the West.

Sales To New Listings Ratio (SNLR)

The sales to new ...

HouzzTV: 80 Year Old Barn Conversion | Medina, Ohio

August 26th, 2019
As a kid playing in the hayloft of his parents’ dusty 80-year-old barn in Medina, Ohio, Andrew Towne never imagined that one day he would convert the space into a stunning modern home for himself and his then elementary school friend Crystal Madrilejos. But decades later, that’s exactly what happened.

See how this family of four converted nan 80-year-old barn into a warm, cozy home with a one ...

Vacancy taxes prompt sale of luxury condos in Downtown Vancouver

August 23rd, 2019
If you’re in the market for a luxury condo in Downtown Vancouver, you’ve got a lot of choice. There are 15 condos for sale at Trump Tower on 1151 West Georgia St., priced from $1.298 million to $5.88 million.

Across the street at the Living Shangri-La at 1128 West Georgia St. and 1111 Alberni St., there are 17 condos for sale, ranging from $950,000 to $5.788 million.

There are 13 listings in ...

A sunny July, but ominous clouds on the horizon

August 22nd, 2019
The July home sales numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association are offering some encouragement. Sales posted their fifth straight month of increases, up 3.5% from June and up 12.6% from a year ago. They are up 15% from the six-year low posted in February.

The national average price for housing (all types) rose 0.6% in July, compared to June – the biggest increase in two years. Compared ...

Housing market will drag on B.C. economy, offset by major projects: forecast

August 20th, 2019
A slowdown in residential construction investment will be a drag on the B.C. economy over the next year or two, but this will be offset by a boom in non-residential building, according to a forecast released August 16 by Central 1 Credit Union.

Housing starts in the province are currently high, supported by presales in the active markets of the past few years. But this will slow down along wi ...

New data shows parents are helping their kids pass Canada’s mortgage stress test

August 19th, 2019
Much has been written about the Bank of Mom and Dad — a term often used to describe parents who help their children buy homes.

From sympathetic portraits to Millennial hit pieces, the trend has become media fodder.

Yet most coverage skews toward the anecdotal: numbers are harder to come by.

But new research from Teranet provides a deeper look at the phenomenon in the Greater Toronto Area and ...

The ups and downs of unemployment and interest rates

August 16th, 2019
Canadian employment took an unexpected hit in July and that has market watchers turning to the Bank of Canada to see if there will be a response. There are a few forecasters predicting a rate cut by the bank in October, but they are in the minority at this time.

Economists will tell you that job numbers are notoriously hard to predict on a month by month basis, so it makes more sense to look ...

Residential Market Commentary - BoC not reacting to U.S. interest cut

August 15th, 2019
As was widely predicted the U.S. Federal Reserve has gone ahead with an interest rate cut. It is the first reduction by the American central bank since the financial collapse more than a decade ago.

The Fed trimmed a quarter-point off its benchmark rate bringing it to a range of 2.0% to 2.25%, and a step closer to the Bank of Canada’s policy rate of 1.75%. It remains unlikely the BoC will be ...

Brookfield to take control of Canadian mortgage insurance giant in $2.4 billion deal with Genworth

August 13th, 2019
Genworth Financial Inc. agreed to sell its Canadian unit to Brookfield Business Partners LP for $2.4 billion as it works to win regulatory approval for its acquisition by China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co.

Brookfield Business Partners LP will purchase 48.9 million shares, or a 57 per cent stake, at $48.86 apiece in Genworth MI Canada Inc., giving it majority control of Canada’s largest privat ...

Towers of trouble: Toronto's condo market has no rule book | Doc Zone

August 12th, 2019
The Condo Game examines the forces at play behind the fastest moving condo market in North America – Toronto - and discovers that the glittering glass hides a sea of troubles. The first startling revelation for many people will be how very much the condo market is focused on investor profit, not affordable housing. One expert even says that it’s really not a housing market but a commodities p ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - July 2019 Stats

August 7th, 2019
Home buyer demand picked up across Metro Vancouver* last month, making July, a traditionally quieter month in real estate, the second highest selling month so far this year.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,557 in July 2019, a 23.5 per cent increase from the 2,070 sales recorded in July 2018, and a 23.1 per cent in ...

CMHC sees 'moderate overvaluation' in Canada's housing market, but little vulnerability overall

August 6th, 2019
Quarterly report finds pockets of concern, but overall lower level of risk

After waving a red flag of warning about Canada's housing market for more than two years, Canada's national housing agency says the overall level of vulnerability has inched down from high to moderate over the past six months.

That's one of the main takeaways of a quarterly report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing ...

The Fed's Quarter-Point Rate Cut Not the Start of Something Big

August 1st, 2019
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) cut the overnight target rate by 25 basis points as expected today. Chairman Jerome Powell, however, said it was designed to "insure against downside risks" rather than to signal the start of multiple rate cuts. President Trump called for "large" rate cuts on Twitter and has for months pressured the Fed to ease monetary policy. It is very unusual for t ...

Is the worst over for Vancouver’s housing market?

July 29th, 2019
Greater Vancouver’s housing market may finally be bottoming out.

Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist of Central 1 Credit Union, tells Livabl that it looks like home sales activity across the province — and Greater Vancouver in particular — appears to be scraping the bottom of the cycle.

“Prices are still expected to drift lower over the second half of the year,” he adds in an email.

In June, Gre ...

B.C. Is Home To The Fastest Cooling Real Estate Markets In Canada

July 26th, 2019
B.C. real estate markets are the fastest cooling in the country right now. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show sales to new listings ratios made a mild decline across the country. Most markets made improvements on a year-over-year basis. However, B.C.’s markets are cooling so fast, it was enough to weight the national market.

Sales To New Listings Ratio (SNLR)

The sales to ne ...

Residential Market Commentary - Interest rate early warnings

July 24th, 2019
The interest rate dominoes are starting to tumble. In a surprise move the South Korean central bank trimmed a quarter-point off its benchmark rate last week. The Koreans were following similar moves by central banks in Indonesia and South Africa. The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have also been hinting they could be getting ready to trim rates as well.

The key difference ...

Canadian home prices hit decade low for growth

July 22nd, 2019
Increases in Canadian home prices haven’t been this sluggish since Canada’s housing market was withering in the wake of the Great Recession.

So suggests the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which is based off property records from public land registries.

In June, the composite index measuring price changes in 11 major markets, showed an increase of 0.5 percent year-over-year, the smal ...

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

July 19th, 2019
OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada has lowered the rate used by mortgage stress tests to determine whether would-be homeowners can qualify, marking the first drop in three years.

The central bank's five-year benchmark qualifying rate is now 5.19 per cent, down from 5.34 per cent.

It's the first decrease in the five-year fixed mortgage rate since September 2016, when it dropped from 4.74 per cent to ...

Housing returns as economic driver

July 17th, 2019
The Bank of Canada has, once again, held the line on interest rates. For the sixth consecutive setting the benchmark, overnight rate remains at 1.75% and the bank continues to signal it is in no hurry to make any changes, up or down.

The rate announcement was no surprise but the quarterly Monetary Policy Report provided some deeper insights about the bank’s thinking.

The bank has made a numbe ...

House Prices Are Falling In 25 Canadian Communities ― Here’s The Scoreboard

July 15th, 2019
Royal LePage's house price forecast sees eastern cities outperforming western ones this year.

Western Canada’s housing market doldrums will continue, while some previously sleepy housing markets in the east will be Canada’s strongest this year, a forecast from Royal LePage predicts.

The real estate brokerage collected median house price data for 63 communities across Canada and offered forec ...

Vancouver is still in a housing crisis. But when will we know if it's over?

July 10th, 2019
It's a question without a defined answer — but one that could have big policy implications down the road

All words have meaning. But sometimes, it's hard to get people to agree on what that meaning is.

Take the words "balanced" or "crisis." They've been used ad nauseam in the last four years in Vancouver as home prices soared to record heights, upending governments and dominating political ...

Greater Vancouver home sales lowest June on record in nearly 20 years

July 8th, 2019
Property sales plummeted across the Lower Mainland in June

Home sales are down across the Lower Mainland and for the first time in two years the composite benchmark price of a home in Metro Vancouver is below $1 million.

Both the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) reported lower than average sales for the month of June. In Greater ...

Residential Market Commentary - Affordability improves, a little

July 5th, 2019
Housing affordability got a little better in Canada in the first quarter of this year, but not so much that anyone would really notice.

The latest report from one of the country’s big banks shows a 0.3 percentage point drop in its affordability measure for Q1. It is a small reduction but it marks the second straight quarter of decline. The measure now puts the cost of home ownership at 51.4% ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - June 2019 Stats

July 4th, 2019
With home buyer demand below long-term historical averages in June, the supply of homes for sale continued to accumulate in Metro Vancouver*.

June 2018 2,425 Sold June 2019 2,077 Sold (-14.4)

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,077 in June 2019, a 14.4 per cent decrease from the 2,425 sales recorded in June 2018 an ...

Residential Market Update - Canada’s interest rate conundrum

June 28th, 2019
The latest flurry of economic data appears to give the Bank of Canada the footing it needs to stand firm on interest rates.

Core inflation came in at 2.1% in May. That is the highest rate since 2012. The central bank prefers the core reading, which strips out volatile items like food and fuel, which were both the big influencers in May.

Canada’s retail sales numbers are generally deemed to be ...

Here’s where there are still hot housing markets in the Vancouver area

June 25th, 2019
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Metro Vancouver housing market.

A new study from REW.ca suggests there is one seller’s market — and several just shy of that status — in the region.

“In the current slowing real estate market, it’s easy to read the headlines and imagine that sales are plummeting all over the region and it’s becoming a buyer’s market. But that’s not necessarily true of all a ...

Pre-sale condo buyers back out of contracts as market slows in Lower Mainland

June 22nd, 2019
When the market was hot, people lined up overnight to get their hands on pre-sale condominiums. Now that the housing market in B.C.'s Lower Mainland has cooled, some buyers are trying to back out of their contracts — unable to obtain the financing they need.

A Vancouver lawyer says clients are coming to him several times a week hoping he can help find loopholes to get out of buying units the ...

CMHC’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Falls Short of Expectations

June 21st, 2019
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation held an official announcement yesterday to release details of its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI).

While officials reiterated how this shared-equity program will help young middle-class Canadian buyers, there were scant new details beyond what has previously been confirmed since the program was first announced in the March budget.

A Recap of ...

Average wages in Canada need to double for millennials to afford a house: study

June 19th, 2019
A new report out of the University of British Columbia says millennials – who make up the bulk of the highly coveted first-time buyer cohort – are still wildly priced out of the housing market.

The report, titled “Straddling the Gap”, says 25 to 34 year-olds are stuck between high home prices, rising rents, stagnant wage growth and the threat of rising interest rates. It says that – over the ...

5,400 sq.ft Reverse Roof House in Billimora by Amit Shastri Architects

June 18th, 2019
PROJECT FACT FILE:
Name: Reverse Roof House
Location: Billimora, Gujarat
Plot Area: 5,400 sq.ft
Built-up Area: 5,500 sq.ft
Start Year: June, 2015
Completion Year: 2018
Cost Range: INR 2,500 - 3,000 per sq.ft

ARCHITECT DETAILS: F
irm Name: Amit Shastri Architects
Based In: Mumbai Principal: Architect Amit Shastri
URL: http://amitshastriarchitects.com/

Photo Credits: Photographix | Sebastian + I ...

Residential Market Commentary - A tale of two job reports

June 17th, 2019
The latest job numbers out of Canada and the U.S. have fired up speculation about what is going to happen with interest rates.

The employment stats for May appear to be telling the story of two economies heading in different directions. Canada’s numbers came in well above expectations last month with nearly 28,000 new, full time positions created. (Part time numbers did not change.) That foll ...

Canada’s mortgage stress tests are broken: economist

June 13th, 2019
The stress tests most mortgage applicants in Canada face are defective — but rather than scrapping them, policymakers should make changes.

That’s the overall message economist Will Dunning is sending to Ottawa by way of a new report written for lending-industry group Mortgage Professionals Canada.

“[N]o serious person or organization is suggesting that the stress tests be abandoned. They are ...

'Pretty cheap money': Canadian mortgage rates falling to their lowest level in 2 years

June 12th, 2019
House prices may be as high as ever in many parts of the country, but Canadian homebuyers are being offered some of the lowest mortgage rates seen in years as lenders battle to drum up new business.

Rates on a standard five-year fixed-rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest level in two years, according to rate comparison website, Ratehub.ca.

Borrowers just about everywhere across the count ...

Debt blamed in credit crisis could help Canada with housing risk

June 11th, 2019
The type of securities blamed for triggering a credit crisis in the U.S. a decade ago could now be part of the solution in Canada, where a cooling housing market is a key risk to its US$1.7 trillion economy.

The Bank of Canada is discussing ways to encourage a more robust market for residential mortgage-backed securities with potential investors. Only about $1.5 billion of Canadian uninsured ...

Residential Market Commentary - Standing pat, but still optimistic

June 5th, 2019
The Bank of Canada remains optimistic, but understated, about the Canadian economy.

As expected the central bank remained on the sidelines for its last interest rate setting, holding at 1.75%. It cites an increase in global trade risks as the overriding factor in that decision.

The Bank is encouraged by the end of the Canada – U.S. tariff battle over steel and aluminum, along with the increas ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - May 2019 Stats

June 4th, 2019
May sees modest increase in home sales while housing supply reaches five-year high

Monthly *Metro Vancouver1 home sales eclipsed 2,000 for the first time this year in May, although home buyer demand remains below historical averages.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,638 in May 2019, a 6.9 per cent decrease from th ...

Metro Vancouver at 'epicentre' of further downside in BC housing prices: report

June 3rd, 2019
For the third consecutive year, annual resale transactions in BC real estate will continue to decline, resulting in the fewest home sales since 2013, according to a new report released today.

The latest Central 1 economic forecast said that any hopes for a better year for BC’s housing market were “dashed early as the culmination of federal and provincial policies continued to weigh heavily” o ...

Bank of Canada Maintains Overnight Rate

May 29th, 2019
In a terse statement, the Bank of Canada maintained its benchmark overnight rate for the fifth consecutive meeting and stated that economy was performing in line with the projections in the Bank's April Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Following a slowdown in economic activity late last year and in the first quarter of this year, the Bank's press release said that evidence was mounting that econ ...

IMF urges Canada not to change policy despite calls to ease mortgage stress test

May 23rd, 2019
The IMF says it would be 'ill-advised' to stimulate activity in the housing sector

Canada should hold off on changes to make homebuying more affordable but should speed up efforts to reduce trade barriers within its borders, advises the International Monetary Fund.

The organization calls for policies that focus on ensuring a sound financial system, enhanced co-operation between federal and ...

$89B in home equity lost across Metro Vancouver over past year, report claims

May 22nd, 2019
Report blames stress test, taxes aimed at stabilizing market — but households won't necessarily feel pinch yet.

Properties across Metro Vancouver lost $89.2 billion in homeowner equity over the past year, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report was prepared by analyzing publicly available housing data, and was released by Step Up Now, a volunteer group that lobbies against taxat ...

My Lane Home | North Vancouver's First Modular Coach House

May 21st, 2019
Functional Design, Precision Building, and Affordability are the foundations of the My Lane Home team. Donna and Paul Binotto had a vision of creating an organization dedicated to innovative solutions to the ongoing lower mainland housing issues, focussing on the multi-use of space through functional design and on innovative, reliable and sustainable construction practices. Specifically, lane ...

Residential Market Commentary - Dirty money in the real estate market

May 16th, 2019
Some startling numbers released last week show how deeply Vancouver real estate is influenced by money laundering.

A report prepared for the British Columbia government says about $7.4 billion was laundered through the province in 2018. More than two-thirds of that money, about $5 billion, was used to buy real estate.

It is estimated that money laundering activity raised the benchmark price o ...

'Done with asking nicely': B.C. announces public inquiry into money laundering

May 15th, 2019
British Columbia will hold a public inquiry into money laundering, sparked by a set of explosive reports showing widescale laundering in the province's real estate, gambling and luxury car sectors.

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the decision, flanked by Attorney General David Eby and Finance Minister Carole James after a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning.

"It became abundantly clear to us ...

Where are Canadian interest rates heading in 2019? It depends on who you ask

May 14th, 2019
If you’d asked a big bank economist last year where interest rates were headed in 2019, they’d probably have said they were going up.

They had good reason to believe it. The Bank of Canada had hiked its policy rate, which influences mortgage rates, five times since summer 2017, including three times in 2018. The central bank also said this past October that “the policy rate will need to rise. ...

Residential Market Commentary - The Fed holds firm

May 9th, 2019
Market watchers have received one of the strongest signals yet that interest rates are not going anywhere, anytime soon.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has held the line on its trend-setting policy rate, maintaining it in the range of 2.25% to 2.50%. The central bank also made it clear (or, at least, as clear as central banks ever do) that it will not be moving rates given the current state of the ...

Don’t kill the mortgage stress test — modify it: CIBC’s Benjamin Tal

May 7th, 2019
Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist of CIBC, speaks with the Financial Post’s Larysa Harapyn about interest rates, Canadians’ insolvency rates and the B-20 mortgage stress test, introduced in January 2018 to cool the housing market.



Residential Market Commentary - Bank of Canada pulls up a seat on the sidelines

May 3rd, 2019
As expected the Bank of Canada has, once again, moved to the sidelines when it comes to interest rate policy. This time, though, the bankers appear to have unfolded their lawn chairs, taken a seat and put their feet up; settling-in for an extended period of inactivity.

The central bank’s benchmark policy rate was left unchanged at 1.75% during last week’s setting. More significantly, the Bank ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - April 2019 Stats

May 2nd, 2019
Reduced demand and increased supply remain the trend across Metro Vancouver’s housing market

Decreased demand continues to allow the supply of homes for sale to accumulate across the Metro Vancouver* housing market.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,829 in April 2019, a 29.1 per cent decrease from the 2,579 sales ...

Self-employed increasingly turning to private lenders for mortgages

April 30th, 2019
The self-employed are among the growing number of Canadians turning to private lenders in order to obtain a mortgage.

While many prospective homeowners are driven to alternate lenders because of government-mandated stress tests and poor credit scores, the self-employed often have additional burdens to overcome in proving their income.

According to the Bank of Canada, private lenders have doub ...

Toronto, Vancouver Condos Now Only For Top Earners: Report

April 29th, 2019
MONTREAL — If you need any further proof that big-city housing prices are out of control and a whole generation of Canadians risks being shut out of home ownership, look no further than a new report from real estate site Zoocasa.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Real Estate Association, Zoocasa calculated that you would need to be in the top 10 per cent of Toronto's earners ...

Residential Market Commentary - New realities have home buyers adjusting

April 26th, 2019
Canadian home buyers continue to accept and adjust to the new realities of the market, but that doesn’t mean they are happy about it.

A home ownership survey conducted earlier this year suggests nearly 40% of homeowners see themselves as being (or having been) “house poor”. That means they are spending more than 30% of their total income on housing; mortgage, taxes, utilities and maintenance. ...

Apartment Therapy + The New Homesmiths | We Live in a Shipping Container

April 25th, 2019
Seven gray metal rectangles create a stacked array of straight lines on a quiet street in New Orleans. These shipping containers once traveled along the Mississippi River. Now stationary, they make up the extraordinary home of Kicker Kalozdi, founder of premium bag company DamnDog, and his wife Anne Kalozdi, who is a biomedical engineer. They designed and built this house made out of shipping ...

Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ¾ per cent

April 24th, 2019
The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 ¾ per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 ½ per cent.

Global economic growth has slowed by more than the Bank forecast in its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR). Ongoing uncertainty related to trade conflicts has undermined business sentiment and activity, contributing to a syn ...

Why house prices are unlikely to rise any time soon

April 19th, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a townhouse development in Maple Ridge, B.C., in March. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Two years ago, the Canadian housing market experienced one of its hottest springs ever, with prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver rising at an alarming rate. But since then, real estate has lost its sizzle, thanks to the implementation of foreign buyer taxes, higher interest rates ...

Mortgage Stress Test: The Operation Was a Success, But...

April 17th, 2019
CIBC's Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal released a report on the effects of the B-20 rules.

You usually need to be in a recession to see household credit rising this slowly. And most of that slowing is happening in the mortgage space--not exactly surprising, given the ongoing adjustment in the housing market. The market is still in price-searching mode, and the adjustment is not over yet--e ...

Why 3D Printing Is The Future Of Housing

April 16th, 2019
Technology has drastically changed our lives over the years. Books, movies, and music have become digitalized. Cars are becoming computerized. Smartphones we carry in our pocket are more powerful than supercomputers from the mid 90’s. However, there’s one major aspect that has largely remained the same. And that is housing.

But that will all change with the advent of 3D printing, which will a ...

Patience, perspective key to surviving real estate slump

April 15th, 2019
From left, Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief at Business in Vancouver; Cynthia Jagger, principal at Goodman; Scott Brown, president and CEO of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing; Carla Guerrera, founder and CEO of Purpose Driven Development, Planning & Strategy; James Lang, associate vice-president of Colliers International. Photo Dominic Schaefer



Since August, residential real estate sales in ...

Residential Market Commentary - Bond yield inversion: the case for calm

April 11th, 2019
Anyone who has been watching knows that bond yields are falling and taking fixed rate mortgages with them. The recent economic slowdown in both Canada and the U.S. has pushed down yields on five year government bonds on both sides of the border. Those yields are used as the basis for setting interest rates on fixed mortgages.

An economic indicator known as the yield curve is has been getting ...

NYC Apartment Tour | Penthouse 57 A - Madison Square Park Tower

April 9th, 2019
NYC Apartment Tour: $16 MILLION LUXURY APARTMENT! An exclusive luxury apartment tour at one of New York City’s most luxurious million dollar listing penthouse apartments: Madison Square Park Tower!

Spanning the entire 57th floor, this 4,655 square foot, four-bedroom, four and one half bath residence unquestionably features the most stunning 360-degree views in Manhattan. Designed for the most ...

Canadian incomes aren’t growing fast enough, and that’s a problem for Canada’s housing market

April 8th, 2019
Household income growth is grinding to a halt in Canada, and that’s bad news for future economic growth as a whole and the housing market in particular, suggests a recent report from Desjardins Economics.

Desjardins Deputy Chief Economist Mathieu D’Anjou notes in the economic study that while disposable household income shot up 3.4 percent in 2017, at last year’s close, growth had only inched ...

Falling home prices not only in Vancouver, but also in markets around world

April 4th, 2019
Prices for prime properties in distant cities increasingly move together in the same direction because they're all impacted by similar international trends in wealth creation and mobility.

A five-bedroom home with panoramic ocean views on Mathers Avenue in West Vancouver was just listed for sale at $3.8 million, which is 21-per-cent below its assessed value.

It was listed at the end of 2018 f ...

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver - March 2019 Stats

April 2nd, 2019
Prospective home buyers remain on the sidelines in March

Metro Vancouver* home sales dipped to the lowest levels seen in March in more than three decades.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,727 in March 2019, a 31.4 per cent decrease from the 2,517 sales recorded in March 2018, and a 16.4 per cent increase from the ...

This chart shows how far BC’s housing market has fallen since tougher mortgage rules were introduced

April 2nd, 2019
To demonstrate how BC home sales activity has dropped off in the 14 months after policymakers changed the qualification process for uninsured mortgages, a provincial real estate association has drawn a line in the sand — or rather, a chart.

With the release of the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA)’s February home sales statistics earlier this month, the industry association inc ...

Residential Market Commentary - Budget Help for House Hunters

April 1st, 2019
The new federal budget certainly got the attention of house hunters, realtors and mortgage professionals. Unfortunately the announcement turned into a cliff-hanger and we will have to wait for the next episode to find out what is really going to be delivered.

The budget contains two key components aimed at addressing affordability concerns and making it easier for first-time buyers to get a h ...

Q1 2019 Bank Earnings

March 28th, 2019
The dust has settled after the latest round of Big 6 bank earnings, which indicated a sluggish start to the year on the mortgage front.

Residential mortgage growth was subdued in the quarter, hit by a housing slowdown in the country’s largest markets, Toronto and Vancouver, but exacerbated due to higher activity a year ago as homebuyers rushed to purchase ahead of the B-20 Guidelines.

We also ...

Canada's Inverted Curve Steepens as Real Yield Turns Negative

March 26th, 2019
Canada has joined the U.S. in the inverted yield curve club, signaling a growing risk of recession that may keep Stephen Poloz on hold for his final 14 months as head of Canada’s central bank.

The yield on Canada’s 10-year bond dipped to 1.57 percent Monday, or 10 basis points lower than the rate on the three-month Treasury bill, compared with a gap of 6 basis points Friday. That inversion ha ...

Non-residents own 4.9% of Metro Vancouver homes, much higher in new condos: CMHC

March 25th, 2019
Relatively small percentage of homes are jointly owned by a mix of resident and non-resident owners, according to federal housing agency

While there is a common perception that overseas buyers have snapped up much of Metro Vancouver real estate, the number of homes owned purely by non-residents across the region is 4.9 per cent, according to a study of Statistics Canada data by Canada Mortg ...

Bank of Canada to hold interest rates through 2020: TD Securities

March 20th, 2019
The Bank of Canada will likely hold off raising interest rates through all of 2020, and could even cut rates later this year, according to TD Securities’ senior rates strategist for Canada.

“Near-term risks skew decisively towards easing. If the [Bank of Canada] moves in 2019, it is more likely to be a cut,” Andrew Kelvin wrote said in a note to clients Thursday.

Last week, the TD Bank strate ...

2019 Federal Budget - Housing Market Overview

March 19th, 2019
The announcement of a new CMHC First-Time Home Buyers Incentive Plan represents a shared equity mortgage program that would give eligible first-time homebuyers the ability to lower their borrowing costs by sharing the cost of buying a home with CMHC.

The incentive would provide funding (equity sharing) of up to five percent of the purchase price of an existing home, or 10 percent of a newly c ...
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