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In our profession, we are constantly asked “how’s the real estate market doing”? At this time of the year, we are more likely to be asked for a prediction as to what is ‘going to happen this year’.
From our perspective, it would appear that the first half of 2011 will be similar to the first half of 2010 … steady sales and very modest price changes … good things. In other words, the market is stable and predictable. The days of large price increases are behind us and, hopefully, dramatic price decreases are not awaiting us.
New home construction history is a good argument for this analysis. For example, Reed Construction Data Canada reported that housing starts in Canada averaged 222,000 units per year between 2002 and 2008. However we dipped dramatically to 112,000 units in 2009. Since early 2010, the national monthly [housing] start level has averaged slightly below 200,000 units on an annualized basis.
For those selling this year, we would suggest that by March or later your asking price should be ‘on the money’ as opposed to ‘fishing for a higher price’. As you go forward into the spring more and more homes come on the market to compete for the limited amount of buyers. More importantly, the fear of increased mortgage rates (which will likely happen later this year) will encourage buyers to get into the market place earlier as opposed to later in the year. We love to talk pricing strategy.
For those buying this year, get a mortgage commitment letter from your lender as early as you can. Try to get the interest rate ‘promise’ for as long a period as possible. Keep in mind that you have to be in your new home before the commitment runs out. The rules for insured mortgages from Canadian lenders has become more restrictive and, as mentioned above, the interest rates are going to go up. No need to help the banks make ‘record profits’. We can help you get better rates and terms on a new or renewed mortgage.
Finally, our team is off to a great start in 2011, having already sold 10 homes which have included two military house hunters in a cold January. The average agent will only do 14 all year. We hope to continue to be your ‘go to’ real estate source again this year. Our advice is free and is available in both official languages!
Following are the listings and sales numbers for the month of December 2010 and for the entire year (2010). Note that the following chart only includes residential properties while the comments above relate to all property types.
Pricing is more important than ever! Gone are the days of high listing prices and quick sales. If you or anyone you know is in the market to buy or sell, we will be happy to give you an accurate evaluation of how your home might stack up in today’s market!
David Weir BA, CD
Captain Ken Hannon of CFB Trenton and David Weir of Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty present a $500 cheque to Sue Rollins of the Canadian Cancer Society of Hastings Prince Edward. Ken was the winner of a contest sponsored by David to support a favourite charity. Over the past several years, Ken and his colleagues at the the Air Traffic Control Unit have raised over $60,000 to help fight cancer. Sue Rollins can be reached at 613.962.0686 if you would like to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society.
David presents Ron & Christine of Brighton with a digital camera for their participation in our after-service client survey. If you would like to comment on your buying or selling experience, visit our Homepage and click on the ‘win’ button.
FREE Saturday Matinee!
The annual client appreciation movie, Megamind, has been scheduled! As per our January email, Team Weir has invited its real estate clients to join us for a family movie at the Empire Theatre on Saturday, 23 February 2011 at 2:30 PM. The movie, popcorn, and a drink are compliments of David!
This year, the feature presentation is ‘Megamind’, starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, and Tina Fey. The super-villain ‘Megamind’ finally conquers his nemesis, the hero Metro Man … but finds his life pointless without a hero to fight.
After several years of offering our clients the chance to win accommodation for a Florida getaway, we have decided to switch it up. If you’re interested in owning an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G or maybe winning one as a gift for someone else, send Donna an email and she will enter you in the draw. As in the past, the draw is an annual event and takes place each January. Good luck!
CHANGES TO GOVERNMENT-INSURED MORTGAGES
Since October 2009, the Government of Canada has been systematically tightening mortgage financing regulations. The changes have been made in order to ensure that Canadians are prepared for higher interest rates in the future by not taking on too much debt, which will improve the stability of Canada’s housing market.
New Guidelines – Effective March 18th 2011
1. Lowering the maximum amount consumers can borrow when refinancing their home.
This change will lower the maximum mortgage amount for refinances to 85% of the appraised value of the property from the current 90%. This change will help to promote savings in homeownership and ensure that homeowners don’t become overextended by using all the equity they have built up in their home when refinancing.
2. Reducing the maximum amortization period for new government insured mortgages.
The maximum amortization for all new default insured mortgages will be reduced to 30 years from the current 35 years. This change will help reduce total borrowing costs for consumers, helping them to build up equity more quickly.
As an example, a $300,000 mortgage with a 4.5% interest rate and an amortization of 35 years has a monthly payment of $1412 and total interest cost of $293,059 over the life of the mortgage. The same mortgage with a 30 year amortization has a monthly payment of $1512 but total interest cost reduces to $244,551. The difference of roughly $100 a month in monthly payment reduces the interest cost by almost $50,000 over the life of the mortgage.
New Guideline – Effective April 18th 2011
3. Withdrawing government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes.
Home equity lines of credit generally offer a variable interest rate and often have no repayment terms associated with them, which exposes borrowers to an increase in interest costs should interest rates as expected. Due to an increase in the household debt associated with these loans, the federal government wants to limit the amount of equity for which these loans can be granted Loans that have repayment terms associated with them will still be eligible for default insurance.
Information Courtesy of Mary Rushlow, RBC Royal Bank Senior Mortgage Specialist 613.966.5515
AN INTERESTING ‘FIRST’ MORTGAGE STATISTIC
The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, which represents the mortgage brokerage industry, released a study late last year that showed mortgage debt in Canada surpassed $1-trillion for the first time. About 22 per cent of all new mortgages had amortization rates longer than 25 years, up from 18 per cent the year before.
BUYING OR SELLING A HOME WITH A RENTED HOT WATER TANK?
In 2002 Direct Energy signed a consent order with the Federal Competition Bureau that protects customers from long-term contracts and exit fees related to hot water tank rentals.
The consent order expires in 2012 but Direct Energy asked for relief based on the intense competition from door-to-door rivals using the same tactics. The Competition Bureau agreed to long-term contracts and exit fees with water heaters installed after 16 September 2010, or in new homes built after January 1st, 2011. Direct Energy refers to a ‘buy-out schedule located on our website’.
When offering to purchase a home with a rented water heater, ask for a copy of the contract to see if you are liable for an exit fee or long term contract. Find out if there’s a termination fee to end the contract early and, if applicable, ask us to adjust your offer so the seller pays this fee. As always, Team Weir is looking out for you!
For more information, check out Ellen Roseman’s article about a couple who received a nasty shock after purchasing their home last November.
Surfing and downloading from the internet may get more expensive for many Canadians as internet companies Shaw and Primus have announced plans to impose new fees and caps on internet usage.
Over the past year, the CRTC, Canada’s communication regulator, let Bell and Rogers start charging extra for customers who download a lot of data. The growing demand for live-streaming and online movies gobbles up huge chunks of bandwidth on the World Wide Web. Click here for the entire CBC News article.
THINK YOU NEED A SECOND FRIDGE?
If you’re thinking of putting a second refrigerator in the garage for extra storage space don’t forget to consider the impact on your hydro bill. Depending on the size and model, an extra refrigerator could cost at least $100 a year ($8.33 monthly) to operate.
You may want to consider buying a new refrigerator. If you do, be sure to buy only the size you need (no larger) and compare features and energy use. Side-by-side models use more energy than top-and-bottom ones. Also be sure to purchase an Energy Star®-rated product to save as much as 40 percent on energy costs.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Valentine’s Day originates from the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. During the festival, young men would draw the names of women from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration. Often they would fall in love and marry.
- According to Welsh tradition, a child born on Valentine’s Day will have many lovers.
- Venus is the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid is associated with Valentine’s Day because he is believed to be the son of Venus.
- Since the Aztec empire, chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac used in the pursuit of love.
- A kiss on Valentine’s Day is considered to bring good luck all year.