Friday, February 28, 2014

CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums


OTTAWA, February 28, 2014 — Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

CMHC’s capital management framework is consistent with international practices and Canadian guidelines for mortgage insurers. Increased capital targets are consistent with Canadian and international industry trends and makes the financial system more stable and resilient.

“The higher premiums reflect CMHC’s higher capital targets” said Steven Mennill, CMHC’s Vice-President, Insurance Operations. “CMHC’s capital holdings reduce Canadian taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market and contribute to the long term stability of the financial system.”

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 unit) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges.

Loan-to-Value Ratio Standard Premium (Current) Standard Premium (Effective May 1st, 2014)
Up to and including 65% 0.50% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.65% 0.75%
Up to and including 80% 1.00% 1.25%
Up to and including 85% 1.75% 1.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.00% 2.40%
Up to and including 95% 2.75% 3.15%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 2.90% 3.35%

CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and, going forward, plans to announce decisions on premiums in the first quarter of each year. The homeowner premium increase follows changes CMHC made to its portfolio insurance product earlier this year.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable housing solutions that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.
For additional highlights please see attached backgrounder and key fact sheet.

Backgrounder

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium is calculated as a percentage of the loan based on the loan-to-value ratio. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and amortized over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments.
  • CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and has adjusted them several times since being commercialized in 1998. Adjustments have included both increases and decreases to the premiums.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to May 1, 2014, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for residential housing of 1-to-4 units. This includes owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums.
  • In 2013, the average CMHC insured loan at 95% loan-to-value was $248,000. Using these figures, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to the monthly mortgage payment for the average Canadian homebuyer. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.
95% Loan-to-Value
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000
Current Premium $4,125 $6,875 $9,625 $12,375
New Premium $4,725 $7,875 $11,025 $14,175
Additional Premium $600 $1,000 $1,400 $1,800
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $3.00 $4.98 $6.99 $8.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization
*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

85% Loan-to-Value
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000
Current Premium $2,625 $4,375 $6,125 $7,875
New Premium $2,700 $4,500 $6,300 $8,100
Additional Premium $75 $125 $175 $225
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $0.37 $0.62 $0.87 $1.12

Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization
*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

For more information visit http://www.cmhc.ca/en/hoficlincl/moloin/moloin_013.cfm

University of Ottawa and the impact on the surrounding area

Some interesting points on University of Ottawa and housing

* Over the past 10 years, the university has grown by 10,000 full time students and only added 294 residence beds

* The university only has enough on campus housing space for 7% of it's 40,000 students

* Ottawa U has 2,885 residence beds

* vacancy rate in Sandy Hill is approximately 1% lower than the rest of Ottawa

* In 2017 a stop on Ottawa's light rail transit

* University of Ottawa has Canada's largest law school

* University of Ottawa has 450 programs in 10 faculties

* U of O is the largest French/English bilingual university in the world
* Approximately 3,000 foreign students
* over 75,000 students in Ottawa (Ottawa U, Carleton, St. Paul University and Algonquin College)
* Ottawa's population expected to grow by 30% by 2031


Multi-Use Pathway and Donald Street Reconstruction


The Project

The City of Ottawa has identified a requirement for a multi-use pathway connection between Range Road and North River Road.  An Environmental Study Report was completed in January 2012. This project will include a new multi-use pathway including a bridge crossing the Rideau River and connections to existing pathways on the east and west side of the river.  The project also includes the resurfacing of the parking lot at Strathcona Park and the reconstruction of Donald Street.

University of Ottawa has approximately 40,000 students and is growing.  They have on campus housing for approximately 10% of their students.  Even with the approval of the new nine storey complex at Friel and Laurier, which contains 180 rooms, the lack of housing for students is a growing problem.  This walking bridge is designed to allow students access to housing in Overbrook and Vanier.

Key Plan map showing projects limits.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Strange indicator of an improving economy

Hard economic times had kept Amy Derose and her husband Lawrence locked in an unhappy marriage for the sake of their engineering firm in Pompano Beach, Fla.
“The business was hanging on by a thread and we had to hang on,” said Derose, 53, who had been married 35 years and worked as the business manager. “We couldn’t afford to split. He needed me in the business and I needed him.”
With Florida’s economy and housing market recovering, “we are definitely on the upswing” and revenue is rising at their 24-employee company. That is allowing the couple to move forward with their divorce this month after years of showing up to work as if nothing were wrong personally. Now, she is looking for a job and “couldn’t be happier.”
The number of Americans getting divorced rose for the third year in a row to about 2.4 million in 2012, after plunging in the 18-month recession ended June 2009, according to Census Bureau data. Whatever the social and emotional impact, the broad economic effects of the increase are clear: It is contributing to the formation of new households, boosting demand for housing, appliances and furnishings and spurring the economy. Divorces are also prompting more women to enter the labor force.
“As the economy normalizes, so too do family dynamics,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pa. “Birth rates and divorce rates are rising. We may even see them rise strongly in the next couple of years, as households who put off these life-changing events decide to act.”
Divorces were at a 40-year low in 2009, according to Jessamyn Schaller, an economics professor at the University of Arizona, citing data from the federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics. The divorce rate more than doubled between 1940 and 1981 before falling a third by 2009, according to figures from NCHS, based in Hyattsville, Md.
The rise in divorces has coincided with an increase in household formation. Almost 5.3 million households have been formed in the past four years after the figure slumped to fewer than 400,000 in 2009, according to the Census Bureau. That is bolstering the need for apartments, condos and furnishings.
“Separations and divorce often create additional housing demand by creating two households when there was one,” said David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders in Washington.
That has contributed to the rebound in home construction. Housing starts surged 67 percent to 923,400 in 2013 from 2009, according to Commerce Department data. Multifamily housing starts have almost tripled since the recession and accounted for 33 percent of residential construction in 2013, up from 20 percent in 2009.
Newly single men have been renting apartments in suburban markets as they seek to stay close to their children and attend school events, said Gregory Mutz, AMLI Residential Properties Trust chief executive officer. The Chicago-based company develops and acquires luxury apartments in the United States.
“In unhappy marriages, they have started having the macroeconomic ability to unwind,” he said. That is creating “a little bit of a tailwind” for apartments.
About 150,000 divorces were postponed or avoided between 2009 and 2011, said Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland who linked breakups to the economic cycle in a January 2014 paper.
Both marriages and dissolutions are tied to unemployment, University of Arizona’s Schaller found in a May 2012 paper. Each one percentage point increase in the jobless rate is associated with a 1.5 percent decrease in the marriage rate and 1.7 percent drop in the divorce rate, she calculated.
Unemployment slid to a five-year low of 6.6 percent in January from 10 percent in October 2009. Home prices increased 22 percent in third quarter of last year compared with the first quarter of 2012, partially recovering a 35 percent drop from 2006's second quarter, according to the S&P Case-Shiller U.S. Home Price index.
Rising stock and home prices are giving couples greater financial security. Household net worth for the third quarter last year was more than $8 trillion above its pre-recession peak of $69 trillion reached in same period in 2007, data from the Federal Reserve showed in December.
In Florida and Arizona, two states that saw home-price gains after severe drops, divorce rates rebounded in 2011 to above 2008 levels, according to the health-statistics agency.
Now that “home prices are going up many people who were postponing their divorce might start thinking about it,” said Abdur Chowdhury, a professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The economist published a July 2011 paper that examined the impact of recessions on divorce.
“In many cases after divorce, people sell their homes and divide up the proceeds,” he said, which provides “each of them with a nest egg to begin their separate lives.”
Attorney Sandra Bonfiglio saw her family law practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., rebound last year close to 2009 levels after dropping 20 percent in 2010 near the worst of the state’s housing crisis, she said.
When the real estate bubble popped, “people did not have enough money to litigate,” she said. Breakups had been complicated because couples jointly owned homes with loans that exceed their value, she said.
While an improving economy may be allowing more divorces, there can be high costs — both emotional and financial — for those involved, especially women.
Divorced women are more likely than married women to be working or seeking jobs because of “economic necessity,” said Ariane Hegewisch, study director for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington.
“Women may carry a greater burden of the costs of child care, but also to be more restrained in the paid work they can earn as primary caregiver for their family,” she said.
An estimated 67 percent of divorced women were in the labor force in 2011, compared with 60 percent of married women and 58 percent for all women, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The unemployment rate for women fell to 5.9 percent in January.
After a breakup, women’s per capita household incomes drop as much as 15 percent, and they have higher poverty rates, said Nicholas Wolfinger, sociology professor at the University of Utah.
“Divorce takes a devastating economic toll on women,” he said.
After Stephanie Jackson and her husband divorced in December, the 41-year-old mother of two said she has gotten a part-time job as a bookkeeper while studying to be a paralegal. She estimates her income will be about $6,000 this year and has lost her health insurance.
“I have gone from an upper-middle-class mom to being a welfare mom,” said Jackson, whose children are nine and 13. “I am on food stamps and free lunches.”
Even so, ending an unhappy marriage was “worth every moment of hardship,” said Jackson, of Lilburn, Georgia. “I had to take full ownership of my life, my choices, my future, and my happiness.”
In Florida, Derose is now looking for a job, as the business she owned with her husband, Lawrence, will remain with him after the divorce. Lawrence declined to comment because the divorce is still pending.
Even with her changed circumstances, “I walk around with a smile on my face,” she said. “I am very happy.”
By Steve Matthews, Bloomberg News - complete article, please click here 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Proposed makeover for former CFB Rockcliffe has ‘got it pretty much right’: planner

OTTAWA — It’s like a small town dropping in on the big city. That is how Ottawans might regard their newest neighbourhood-in-waiting after Canada Lands Company unveiled its plans for the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.

Canada Lands, the Crown corporation that owns the 125-hectare site, held a public meeting Tuesday to reveal its intention to a mixed-use district of about 5,200 houses and apartments for 10,000 to 15,000 residents. The one-time military base, located a mere five kilometres from Parliament Hill, is the largest development parcel of land within the Greenbelt. It occupies an escarpment overlooking the Ottawa River valley, east of St. Laurent Boulevard and north of Montreal Road. The area is surrounded by other mature neighbourhoods and communities such as Manor Park, Rockcliffe Park, Rothwell Heights, Fairhaven, Thorncliffe Park and Vanier.

The plan, which will likely be submitted to the City of Ottawa this spring, is the culmination of a series of public consultations, workshops and studies that CLC has conducted over the last few years. On Tuesday evening, company officials expressed confidence that their project will find general acceptance with both the public and the politicians.  “We’ve listened to what people have told us and we think we’ve got it pretty much right,” said Don Schultz, real estate director for the Rockcliffe project.

Certainly, there were those who thought a few things — for example, where’s the health centre? Why no housing for seniors? What about a wetland to attract frogs and dragonflies? — needed more attention. One streetwise observer warned that “a pathway at the back of retail stores is asking for trouble.” Another questioned why six- to eight-storey apartments were proposed for a well-treed area that once housed officers and their families. And, of course, there were some who thought Canada Lands was “ruining a beautiful parkland ... by this awful intensification.”

By and large, though, those who attended Tuesday’s presentation gave CLC credit for taking area residents’ concerns to heart. “There’s a few glitches, but I like it,” said Al Crosby, a longtime Fairhaven resident. “They (Canada Lands) have done an excellent job in the pre-consultation process and I think they’ve achieved a balance (between environmental concerns and developmental aspirations).”

Perhaps the biggest concern for nearby neighbours was increased traffic congestion, particularly on Beechwood Avenue, Hemlock Road and the Rockcliffe Parkway.  Schultz said the company has taken that concern seriously, designing the community to be highly transit friendly.

“A big part of the solution is going to be public transit,” he said, citing plans for special transit corridors that will give buses priority at traffic lights, extra lanes at intersections and, in some places, bus-only lanes. The idea, he said, is to “make it as convenient and comfortable as possible” for residents to use transit services.

The plans as presented show intended sites for different types of houses — detached houses, townhouses, stacked townhouses and four-storey apartment buildings, along with residential buildings of up to eight storeys — as well as two parks, two schools, open areas, storm ponds and, never to be forgotten, woodlot green space.

In his presentation, Schultz alluded to the company’s willingness to address green space concerns, pointing out that about 90 per cent of the existing trees in the development area will remain standing. Indeed, one park is specifically slated to be built around a 200-year old Burr tree in order to preserve it.

Schultz also noted plans to “provide for employment” within the community itself. “Fruitful discussions” are underway with the nearby Montfort Hospital and the National Research Council on this matter. As well, CLC hopes to locate variety of small business outlets — laundries, drugstores, retail outlets and the like — in the community core. And there is every intention of building appropriate monuments that commemorate both the areas military history and its importance to its one-time aboriginal occupants.

The project has been a long time coming. In 2006, Canada Lands unveiled a project called Rockcliffe Landing that would have established a community of between 10,000 and 15,000. A year later, the Algonquins of Ontario filed a land claim temporarily prevent the Department of National Defence from selling the land. Only in 2011 did the land sale go ahead, after the Algonquins signed a $10-million deal with the federal government that allows them to buy some of the site and develop it in keeping with Canada Lands’ overall plans.

Canada Lands intends to submit its project to the city for its consideration this spring, with a view to sending in the bulldozers to install streets and services in 2015. The lots will be offered to builders in 2016.

For the complete article, please click here 

Vancouver, Ottawa among top five quality-of-life cities in North America

Canadian cities dominate North America’s top-five list for quality of life in a closely watched annual survey.
Vancouver is rated first among North American cities in the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living rankings, followed by Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal in second, third and fourth places, respectively.
On a global basis, Vancouver clinches fifth place, followed by Ottawa in 14th, then Toronto (15th) and Montreal (23rd).  San Francisco occupies fifth spot for North America and number 27 globally.

Once again, the top city in the world for quality of life is Vienna, according to the survey.  Zurich is second, followed by the New Zealand city of Auckland and then Munich.  The top-ranking Asian city is Singapore, which is 25th globally. Dubai is tops in the Middle East and Africa, 73rd overall.

“On the whole, North American cities offer a high quality of living and are attractive working destinations for companies and their expatriates,” said senior Mercer researcher Slagin Parakatil.  “A wide range of consumer goods are available, and infrastructures, including recreational provisions, are excellent.”

Mercer’s annual Quality of Living survey is conducted to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when sending them on international assignments.

The global consulting firm based its index on 39 factors grouped in 10 categories:

  • political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.)
  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.)
  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc.)
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.)
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feds end cash-for-visas program

A new concern among the country’s high-end markets, especially Vancouver, is the federal government’s cancellation of the Immigrant Investor Program in the budget last Tuesday. Under the cancelled program, wealthy foreigners with at least $1.6 million in assets could gain Canadian residency by lending the government $800,000 for five years. Most of the applicants under the program were Chinese—45,000 of the pending 59,000 applications, according to a Hong Kong paper cited in a Forbes article.
The government’s rationale for killing the investor visa program was that those taking advantage of it have not contributed significantly to Canada. In fact, the government says that immigrant investors pay much less income tax than other Canadians and were Canadian in name only.
However, those wealthy investors did buy a lot of real estate. One realtor estimated that about 35 per cent of homes worth $2 million and over in Vancouver were bought by the foreigners. Without those buyers, will the luxury home market wither? A realtor from Vancouver told CBC news that most of the buying in that market is from the wealthy Chinese. If they can no longer come to Canada, “we have killed 80 to 90 per cent of the buying in West Vancouver.”
Others disagree. The B.C. Real Estate Association said in a report released today that the only impact they foresee is “less pressure” on detached homes in West Vancouver. The average price for a detached home jumped from $748,651 in January 2013 to $812,536 last month. Less pressure would be a distinct advantage.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Another level

Our home was for sale for many months with another Broker ..My wife and I had built a new home and our former residence was , subject to staged furniture , vacant. Greg  gave us good advice on pricing . Bennett Property Shop kept us up to date on all showings and feedback . After open houses they followed up with all Visitors and once again provided us with feedback . There was some small repairs to perform after acceptance of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and Greg once again provided us with guidance and assistance in having the work completed . My profession as a lawyer has giving me great experience with Brokers . Without criticizing the first broker who worked very hard ,sometimes it is just a matter of good luck .What it takes is hard work and Bennett Property Shop provided that.

Stephen R.Polowin
SolowayWright
Barristers Solicitors

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Federal budget 2014: Ottawa plans boost for small banks

Ottawa plans to make it easier for new banks to establish themselves in the financial sector while also improving the access to funding small banks get from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
The federal government says it plans to “improve the ability of new entrants and smaller banks to compete” while preserving the strength of the sector.
The 2014 Budget says the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has appointed someone to “reach out” to those small banks and trusts and deal with some of the challenges they face competing with the big banks.
Among the changes to ensure this happens, the government is promising to make sure small banks will have better access to funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. CMHC’s new allocation methodologies are being refocused so portfolio insurance and securitization programs are more accessible to smaller lenders.
“I sure hope [there’s more competition],” said Gregory Thomas, executive director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in talking about the changes. “Canada could use one or two strong national credit unions.”
To read the complete article from  at the Financial Post, please click here

January Ottawa Real Estate Board Stats


Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 589 residential properties in January through the Board's Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 594 in January 2013.

"Residential sales this January were virtually identical to January 2013. Our members sold five more freehold residential properties and 10 fewer residential condos. Statistically, the difference is less than one per cent," says President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, Randy Oickle. "The market activity is encouraging for homeowners considering the deep freeze Ottawa experienced this past month - a time when people are more apt to stay in and stay warm instead of venturing out to search for a home."

January's sales included 126 in the condominium property class, and 463 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties that are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

"The number of properties listed in January more than doubled the amount from the previous month - a normal occurrence at the beginning of the year as the holidays draw to a close and people begin to plan for the year ahead," explains Oickle. "Interest rates continue to be low, with some whisperings of the rates decreasing and not increasing, as had been predicted in the last half of 2013. The Ottawa resale market has remained steady. There have been no major increases or decreases in sales or prices notwithstanding the government's intervention in mortgage rules over a year ago."

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $346,744, an increase of one per cent over January 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $265,775, a decrease of 1.1 per cent over January 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $368,779, an increase of 0.9 per cent over January 2013. The Board cautions that average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The next three years will bring 16,000 new jobs to Ottawa

- BMO releases report on outlook for economy, labour market and housing market in Ottawa

- Diverse economy a major strength for Canadian capital

- Federal finances on improving track

- BMO has created a new division for Eastern Ontario with its headquarters in Ottawa

The next three years will bring 16,000 new jobs to Ottawa, according to a new report released today by BMO Economics.
The report on the Canadian capital and primary economic hub of Eastern Ontario is the latest in a series of economic, housing and business overviews for various cities and regions across Canada that will be published by BMO throughout this year.

"Ottawa, traditionally an area of stability within Ontario's economy, is also faced with challenges stemming from government spending restraint," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "While, this restraint has posed a near-term headwind for Ottawa's economy, improving government finances should support growth in the years ahead."

Mr. Kavcic noted that fiscal restraint is weighing on the Ottawa economy as the Federal government aims to balance its budget. "For Ottawa, this means that growth will remain stagnant in the public sector, which accounts for nearly a third of the city's economic activity. The good news is that fiscal restraint is largely a short-term issue. With the fiscal plan firmly on track and the long-run benefit of sound finances, combined with the U.S. recovery benefiting the manufacturing sector, the national capital's outlook is positive."

Mr. Kavcic also said that information and communications technology, while not carrying the same economic punch as it did in the 1990s, will see some growth with the announcement of Cisco Systems bringing 1,700 jobs to Ontario; at least some of those jobs are expected to be located in Kanata.

"Ottawa remains a key centre for a number of businesses, over and above the public sector," said Sandra Henderson, Senior Vice President of BMO Bank of Monteal's new Eastern Ontario Division, headquartered in Ottawa. "Let's create these 16,000 jobs together. BMO is committed to Ottawa businesses getting their share of the $10 billion in credit we have made available, giving them access to the capital they need to grow and build on the momentum that is taking hold in this city.

"Ottawa is a priority for BMO. We are increasing our investment and bolstering our senior leadership team locally in order to help our customers take advantage of the growth opportunities this region has to offer over the next few years and beyond," noted Ms. Henderson.

The report, released today, revealed:

Labour market
  • The unemployment rate was above 7 per cent, before falling in recent months.
  • The jobless rate in December, at 5.9 per cent, is still low by provincial standards, but above readings as low as 4.9 per cent earlier in the recovery when stimulus spending was at its peak.
  • Fortunately, the lull in employment is expected to be relatively brief, and Ottawa's labour market should be able to add about 16,000 jobs through 2016, holding the jobless rate below 6 per cent, and staying near the low end of Canada's major cities.
Housing
  • Existing home sales were down 3.1 per cent y/y in the first eleven months of 2013, back to levels consistent with the 10-year average.
  • Average prices have levelled off, up on fractionally since mid-2011 after a strong post-recession rebound. In fact, the resale market has tilted in favour of buyers over the past year, with the sales-to-new listings ratio sinking to near the lowest level since the recession and the late-1990s.
  • Affordability in the city is favourable, with the average home price sitting at roughly 3.3x median family income, well below Canada's other major cities.
  • Homebuilding continues at a steady pace in Ottawa, with housing starts averaging 6,500 units in 2013-activity perked back up earlier in the year after hitting depressed levels in late-2012.
  • Despite softer conditions in the resale market, there are currently nearly 7,000 housing units under construction in the city, the highest level in almost 40 years.
Construction
  • Non-residential construction and infrastructure investment remains healthy-real non-residential building activity was up 21 per cent y/y through the first three quarters of 2013.
  • Among projects currently underway is the massive $2.1 billion build-out of the light rail transit system, expected to run through 2018. This is the city's largest infrastructure project since the Rideau Canal, and will span 13 stations over 12.5 km, including a 2.5 km stretch underground through downtown.
The full report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Millionaires looking to add real estate

In 2014 people with net assets in excess of $1 million are looking to add more real estate, according to Bloomburg

Client here the for the article on investment real estate.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Regulations coming for Ontario Home Inspectors

Ontario Realtors want to see the home inspection industry in the province regulated, and they are working with the Ministry of Consumer Services to make it happen. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) backed the government’s efforts to enhance consumer protection today by responding to, “A Closer Look: Qualifying Ontario’s Home Inspectors,” an independent findings report that recommends regulation of the home inspection industry. Today is the final day for public review and feedback on the report. 

“For prospective buyers, the information disclosed in a home inspection may influence their decision to buy a home,” says Phil Dorner, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Professionals with this much influence should be licensed and have proper training.”

Currently in Ontario, anyone can call themselves a home inspector. In October 2012, The Minister of Consumer Services, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, committed to working with home inspection associations, consumer advocates, and real estate industry representatives on mandatory qualifications for home inspectors to enhance consumer protection. In August 2013, the Minister asked a volunteer panel of experts to review home inspector qualifications in Ontario. The panel developed a report with 35 recommendations for the home inspection industry.

“One of our main recommendations is to establish parameters for licensing the industry,” says Johnmark Roberts, the panel’s Realtor representative. “Regulating the industry will help ensure homebuyers and sellers receive reliable, informative and professional advice when making one of the largest decisions of their lives. We are proud to work with Minister MacCharles and her government to regulate the home inspection industry and enhance consumer protection.”