General Bob Rees 24 Jun

Dave has some really great points here, thank you Dave!



Some home improvements provide more of a payback when you sell the house down the road.

Here’s a list of the four home improvements which will provide the biggest payback when you sell.

  1.  Adding square footage – while this can be a very expensive project, adding to the size of a house can re-coup between 50-83% of your initial investment. Putting a bonus room on top of your front facing garage increases the square footage without having to enlarge the foundation.
  2. A deck addition – adding a deck makes a house feel larger and allows you to enjoy your backyard during the warmer months. Typically you can get between 65-90% of your investment back .
  3. Re-modeling the kitchen – one of the most important rooms in the house is the kitchen. A well done project will get you between 50-120% back when you sell the house but remember not to over-do the project. A million dollar kitchen in a $500,000 home won’t be fully appreciated by future buyers.
  4. A bathroom addition – the second room buyers check out is the bathroom. While re-modeling a bathroom will recoup a lot of the renovation costs adding a second bathroom to a one bathroom home is huge. Many home owners find that they get between 80-130% of the cost of the project.

If you are thinking about buying a home or renovating your present home, speak to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about how they can help you to finance any of these projects in your mortgage and pay low interest rates.

Dominion Lending Centres

How to get a 5% down payment for a $500,000 purchase

General Bob Rees 21 Jun

This is a great program if you are trying to get into the market. Informative article from my colleague Angela. Worth checking out.

How to get a 5% down payment for a $500,000 purchase

We have seen a return of the buyers’ market and many people are asking, how long will this last? While some renters without a down payment might be asking, how can o put a plan in place to own?

With the cost of living so high, and student debts coming out of school, many consumers question how they’re going to come up with a down payment for a home.

Here are some ways you can get it done.

  • Decide how much you can save and pick a plan that works for you:  a) A 36-month plan saving $700/month will get you $25,200 (you will need about $2,000 for closing costs if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer) b) A 24-month plan savings $600/month for $14,400
  • Get a gift from a family member
  • Borrow the down payment, or a portion (which may also help with credit building)
  • A combination of all of the above

For those of you that want to partner with government for down payment and profit of home ownership, a new government program can be a helpful tool provided it stays past the October election. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/nhs/shared-equity-mortgage-provider-fund

You might me reading this and thinking, ‘yeah right, that is not reality.’ Or for some people, you know it might just be exactly what will help them move forward.

Perhaps you have graduated from school and your parents don’t charge you rent. Imagine if you could put one of your paycheques every month aside and try living within those means and budgeting accordingly.

Or say you have a partner and one of you just started work in a specific trade and the other’s paycheque went towards the “home purchase plan.”

Also, if you are within the qualifications to buy, you will be earning a combined household income of $125,000-plus per year, so taking those funds right from your paycheque into your RRSP will have additional tax benefits too where you can use the refund for closing costs or amp up your down payment.

Here’s an example of how this worked for a lab technician and chef with a two-year old daughter.

They did a combination plan as they moved up to Canada from the U.S. two years ago, both got stable jobs and had no outside debt. They were paying $1700 a month rent. They used a $10,000 line of credit they took to put into investment to help establish Canadian credit. After getting the line of credit and placing it into a safe investment, they:

  1. Set up an RRSP and placed $600 a month on the loan and $700 a month into their RRSP.
  2. Now this family is used to having a cash outlay of $3,000 per month which will be the actual expectation they have for when they buy a home.
  3. With this plan, they take a mortgage for a test drive, save money on taxes, establish a great credit score and worked away toward their goal.

Are there holes in the plan? Yes, home prices may go up, there was interest on the loan they paid and they may have to adjust or modify their plan. Their employment can change, however, this practice will only benefit them no matter what life brings their way and there is a sense of empowerment when you have a plan and can see how you can get there.

Do you or someone you care about want to know how they can be set up with a multifaceted plan to help them move forward with a goal of owning a home?

Angela Calla
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

New First Time Home Buyers Plan being released by the Federal Government – Sept 2019

General Bob Rees 21 Jun

Have you heard about the New First Time Home Buyers Plan being released by the Federal Government?  See below for link as well as details.




High Points:

  • Reduces the maximum amount a buyer can borrow
  • available to first-time home buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000.
  • The amount of the insured mortgage plus the CMHC incentive would be capped at four times the homebuyers’ annual incomes, or up to $480,000.
  • The incentive is worth up to 5 per cent for the purchase of an existing home and up to 10 per cent for a new build.
  • money must be paid back after 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever occurs first.
  • The government will share in the upside or downside of any change in property value
  • when the time comes for a property owner to pay back the incentive, the value of the incentive will be increased or decreased by the same percentage that the overall value of the property has risen or fallen.


Bob Rees

May Shows Signs of Improvement In BC and Alberta

General Bob Rees 21 Jun

May Shows Signs of Improvement In BC and Alberta

Statistics released late last week by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales increased in May. Together with monthly gains in the previous two months, activity in May reached its highest level since early last year when the new B-20 stress testing was introduced. While last month’s home sales stood 8.9% above the six-year low posted in February 2019, this latest uptick has only just returned May’s sales level to its 10-year historical average (see chart below). Nationwide, sales were up 1.9% month-over-month, and relative to a year ago, sales rose 6.7% marking the biggest year-over-year gain since the booming summer of 2016.

Sales were up in only half of all local markets, but that list included almost all large markets, led by gains in both the Greater Vancouver (GVA) and Greater Toronto (GTA) areas. There were encouraging bursts of activity in Victoria, Calgary and, to a lesser degree, Edmonton. Resale activity was up 24% from April in Vancouver, Victoria posted a 10% gain, and Calgary resales rose 6.6% month-over-month.

These are early signs that the cyclical bottom has been reached in that region of the country. Market conditions are still soft, though. Property values remain under downward pressure for now with the MLS Home Price Index down from a year ago in May in Vancouver (-8.9%), Calgary (-4.3%) and Edmonton (-3.7%). That said, the rate of decline moderated in Calgary and Edmonton, which is a further sign that these markets are stabilizing.

New Listings
The number of newly listed homes edged downward by 1.2% in May. With sales up and new listings down, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 57.4% in May compared to 55.7% in April. Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, almost three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in May 2019.

There were 5.1 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of May 2019, down from 5.3 in April and 5.6 months back in February. Like the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory is within close reach its long-term average of 5.3 months.

Housing market balance varies significantly by region. The number of months of inventory has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador, giving homebuyers in those parts of the country ample choice. By contrast, the measure remains well below long-term averages for Ontario and Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and fertile ground for price gains.

Home Prices

MLS® HPI data are now available on a seasonally adjusted basis in addition to the actual (not seasonally adjusted) figures. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI edged down 0.2% in May 2019 compared to April and stood 1.4% below the peak reached in December 2018.

Seasonally adjusted MLS® HPI readings in May were up from the previous month in 12 of the 18 markets tracked by the index; however, home price declines in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia contributed to the monthly decline in the overall index. Markets where prices rose in May from the month before include Victoria (0.5%), Edmonton (0.2%), Saskatoon (0.4%), Ottawa (0.7%), Niagara (0.2%), Oakville (0.8%), Guelph (0.5%), Barrie (3.6%), Montreal (0.5%) and Greater Moncton (0.5%), with gains of 0.1% in the GTA and Regina. By contrast, readings were down from the month before in the GVA (-1.0%), Fraser Valley (-1.1%), the Okanagan Valley (-1.3%), Calgary (-0.1%) and Hamilton (-0.7%), while holding steady on Vancouver Island outside Victoria.

Trends continue to vary widely among the 18 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results remain mixed in British Columbia, with prices down on a y/y basis in the GVA (-8.9%), the Fraser Valley (-5.9%) and the Okanagan Valley (-0.7%). Meanwhile, prices edged up 1% in Victoria and climbed 4.7% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in Guelph (+5.7%), the Niagara Region (+5.4%), Hamilton-Burlington (+3.4%), Oakville-Milton (+3.4%) and the GTA (+3.1%). By contrast, home prices in Barrie and District held below year-ago levels (-6.1%).

Across the Prairies, supply remains historically elevated relative to sales and home prices remain below year-ago levels. Benchmark prices were down by 4.3% in Calgary, 3.6% in Edmonton, 3.9% in Regina and 1.3% in Saskatoon. The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until demand and supply return to better balance.

Home prices rose 8% y/y in Ottawa (led by a 12.2% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.3% in Greater Montreal (led by a 7.6% increase in condo apartment unit prices), and 2% in Greater Moncton (led by a 15.9% increase in apartment unit prices). (see Table 1 below)

Bottom Line: The Bank of Canada is counting on a rebound in economic activity in the current quarter and believes growth will accelerate further in Q4 and 2020. That should keep the Bank on the sidelines for some time. Currently, the markets are expecting the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in July and to continue to do so in 2020. Indeed, President Trump is lobbying hard for rate cuts. It is unlikely that the Bank of Canada will follow the Fed unless the trade war with China worsens. Political pressure is mounting on the administration to reduce trade tensions. Trade uncertainty is the only thing right now that would derail the Canadian recovery.

Dr. Sherry Cooper

Dr. Sherry Cooper

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres