RE/MAX Leaders Named 2023 ‘Newsmakers’ by RISMedia

RE/MAX has many leaders, both in the network and at the brand’s corporate headquarters, who drive meaningful change within the community and industry. Ten of them are being recognized as 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers by RISMedia.

According to RISMedia, the sixth annual list “spotlights some of the industry’s most dynamic individuals for their accomplishments and contributions to their companies, colleagues and clients, and to the larger cause of expanding homeownership.” Nominated in 2022 by RISMedia readers and editors, the 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers are showcased in six categories: Luminaries, Influencers, Trailblazers, Futurists, Achievers, Crusaders.

Five RE/MAX affiliates and five RE/MAX, LLC leaders, including RE/MAX Canada President Christopher Alexander, are among those honoured. Each leader earned a spot for their vision, leadership and impact, with RE/MAX, LLC leadership being recognized across the board for strategic initiatives launched in 2022.

Congratulations to these RE/MAX leaders named 2023 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmakers listed below:

LUMINARIES

Nick Bailey – RE/MAX, LLC

INFLUENCERS

Christopher Alexander – RE/MAX Canada Christopher Audette – RE/MAX First, Alberta, Canada James O’Bryon – RE/MAX Gold, California, Nevada, Arizona David Serle – RE/MAX Services, Florida

FUTURISTS Abby Lee – RE/MAX, LLC Amy Lessinger – RE/MAX, LLC

ACHIEVERS

Josh Bolgren – RE/MAX, LLC

CRUSADERS

Lisa Nguyen – RE/MAX Professionals, Colorado Marcia Ricchio – RE/MAX Newport Elite, Wisconsin

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The post RE/MAX Leaders Named 2023 ‘Newsmakers’ by RISMedia appeared first on RE/MAX Canada.

Are the Bank of Canada’s (BoC) interest rate hikes influencing the GTA real estate market?

There have certainly been some developments in the last year. On the one hand, demand has declined alongside prices. On the other, the average selling price remains above pre-pandemic levels. These developments were seen in the latest Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) update for January.

According to TRREB data, residential property sales were down at an annualized rate of 44.6 per cent in January, totalling 3,100 units. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark, considered a more accurate and comprehensive measurement of prices, was in line with December 2022, but fell 14.2 per cent year-over-year, to $1,038,668.

Here is a breakdown of how the GTA housing market performed by home type:

Detached

Residential Sales: –6 per cent to 1,384 units Average Price: -23.0 per cent to $1,341,848

Semi-Detached

Residential Sales: -45.5 per cent to 240 units Average Price: -22.3 per cent to $1,019,668

Townhome

Residential Sales: -43.5 per cent to 499 units Average Price: -18.0 per cent to $887,610

Condo

Residential Sales: -52.7 per cent to 950 units Average Price: -8.1 per cent to $687,696

Industry experts contend that rising borrowing costs have had a short-term shock to the GTA real estate market, but change could be on the horizon.

“Home sales and selling prices appear to have found some support in recent months. This coupled with the Bank of Canada announcement that interest rate hikes are likely on hold for the foreseeable future will prompt some buyers to move off the sidelines in the coming months. Record population growth and tight labour market conditions will continue to support housing demand moving forward,” said Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President Paul Baron.

New residential listings tumbled 3.7 per cent from the previous year, with 7,699 units. Active residential listings spiked 124.6 per cent, totalling 9,299 units, real estate association numbers confirmed in January 2023.

Here is a look at how some of the other large GTA housing markets performed to kick off the year:

Mississauga (Peel Region)

Residential Sales: 262 units Average Price: $920,587 New Listings: 634 units Active Listings: 747 units

Markham (York Region)

Residential Sales: 146 units Average Price: $1,265,937 New Listings: 290 units Active Listings: 309 units

Oakville (Halton Region)

Residential Sales: 122 units Average Price: $1,361,445 New Listings: 281 units Active Listings: 358 units

Orangeville (Simcoe County)

Residential Sales: 21 units Average Price: $830,577 New Listings: 36 units Active Listings: 42 units

Oshawa (Durham Region)

Residential Sales: 111 units Average Price: $775,233 New Listings: 248 units Active Listings: 230 units What Will the GTA Housing Market Look Like in 2023?

Whether you call it a correction or a downturn, the numbers prove that 2022 fell short of the meteoric pandemic-era gains of 2020 and 2021 in the GTA housing market and the broader Canadian real estate industry.

Will 2023 be more of the same, or will market conditions experience a turnaround?

Surprisingly, heading into 2023, the GTA real estate sector slipped into balanced territory. As they were in 2022, rising interest rates will play an important factor in the GTA, says Cameron Forbes, RE/MAX Realtron Realty broker, in the RE/MAX 2023 Canadian Housing Market Outlook Report. But it will not only be the central bank’s rate hikes that will influence the housing market.

“We’re seeing three main trends that will continue into next year,” Forbes said. “Continued interest rate increases and associated price adjustments, rising unemployment due to an economic slowdown, and new opportunities to engage in the market for buyers and sellers because of improved affordability. For buyers, this includes having fewer competitors, reduced prices and an increase in choices in the market. Meanwhile, sellers will have a trade-up advantage, reduced competition of listings, a stronger ability to re-locate to the suburbs, and have all of the advantages that buyers do, too.”

Here is a look at where some of the GTA housing markets could be heading over the next 12 months:

GTA

Sales Price Estimate: -11.8 per cent Unit Sales Estimate: – 11.4 per cent

Durham

Sales Price Estimate: -10 per cent Unit Sales Estimate: -10 per cent

Mississauga

Sales Price Estimate: +5 per cent Unit Sales Estimate: +12.5 per cent

Oakville

Sales Price Estimate: +2 per cent Unit Sales Estimate: -5 per cent

York

Sales Price Estimate: +5.5 per cent Unit Sales Estimate: +15 per cent

Other experts contend that weakness in the real estate market should extend into the first or second quarter of 2023 and then potentially rebound later in the year and heading into 2024 when higher interest rates have peaked and are baked into the marketplace.

Economists at TD Economics anticipate that home sales in the Ontario real estate market will fall 15.5 per cent in 2023 and then surge 24.4 per cent in 2024. Home prices are projected to slump more than 11 per cent in 2023 and rebound by 1.7 per cent in 2024.

“Ontario has also been at the centre of Canada’s housing market correction, with the province recording some of the steepest home prices declines of any market in the country. Prices should be pressured down further over the next few months as the impact of rate hikes pushes home sales to lows not consistently seen since the early 2000s,” wrote TD Chief Economist Beata Caranci.

According to RBC Economics, home sales are forecast to slide 10.4 per cent in 2023, while home prices are projected to slide nearly 10 per cent.

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Pandemic living has changed how Canadians think about renovations: according to the RE/MAX 2021 Renovation Investment Report, more than half of Canadians renovated their homes during the year. While only 16 per cent explicitly renovated to increase their home’s market value, nearly 60 per cent said they still considered the return on investment.

Prepping your house for sale can often require an investment to bring it up to current standards and help it compete in the hot real estate market. Especially if you’ve lived in the house for several decades, you may be blind to your home’s shortcomings. Here, we examine the top home renovations to ensure your return on investment.

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Painting is probably the most under-appreciated home improvement and was chosen as one of the top three renovations for return on investment in 18 of the 31 housing markets in a RE/MAX study, including in Toronto. It provides a high return for a relatively low investment and minimal effort. Painting is a very easy way to freshen your home, cover up blemishes on the wall, and it can be done yourself. The end result: a home that looks and feels like new.

When putting your home on the market, consider a professional painter. Choose one who can help select the right palette, skim the walls, seal trim and repair minor damage before applying top-quality paint that’s appropriate for each surface (matte for living areas, egg shell or semi-gloss for trims and doors and proper ceiling paint.)  It doesn’t seem like the most glamorous of renovations or promise the most dramatic before-and-after, but it instills freshness and can flatter your home in ways you’ve never imagined. It’s like dressing for your body type; a colour expert can help select the perfect shades to work with the lighting in your home and ensure it puts its best face forward!

ROI: A fresh coat of paint typically garners a 60% return on your investment.

By the Numbers: Budget for a 2,000-sq.-ft. home: approximately $10,000-$15,000

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When contemplating a profitable renovation, nothing “sinks” a sale price quicker than a house that’s taking on water. Especially in this market, where strong sale prices are being paid for homes with “good bones,” ensuring that the roof and windows are in good shape, gutters and drains are functioning properly and the foundation is dry is crucial to realizing the potential value in a home. Consider items like vinyl windows, a new roof or even waterproofing the foundation. Buyers are wise to structural issues, and learning that a homeowner has done their homework and made the proper investments to prevent flooding and leaks will go a long way in a buyer’s eyes (and offer!).

ROI: Renovations that will save home owners money in the long run will draw a higher return, around 75 per cent, depending on the scale of the reno.

By the Numbers: All new, good quality vinyl windows for a 2,000-sq.-ft. home: approximately $15,000 Stripping and replacing the roof with quality asphalt shingles: $8,000 to $10,000 Proper waterproofing of the exterior of a foundation: approximately $60-$80/linear foot

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Investing in new interior doors and hardware; replacing the front door and adding a quality lock-set; and adding baseboard, door trim, crown mouldings and wainscoting are all examples of relatively inexpensive and non-invasive improvements that can immediately punch up the appeal of a home. It really comes down to the quality of the finish though. This is not a time to skimp on materials or workmanship. Hire someone you know and trust, or ask for referrals from friends who you know share similar standards.

ROI: Smaller projects that have less of a “wow” factor, and may even go unnoticed in an open house, draw a smaller return, around 50 per cent of your initial investment.

By the Numbers: Solid wood front door with quality lock-set: $2,500 Solid core interior doors with hardware: $250/per door

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Kitchen renovations like counter upgrades rank among the top three renovations with the highest return on investment in 27 of the 31 housing markets in the RE/MAX study. Since kitchen renovations can easily snowball, consider a quick countertop refresh and appliance-swap as options for a great return on investment. Instead of shelling out upwards of $25-50,000, expect to pay about $3,000 for a quality stone, like granite or quartz,  and between $5-10,000 for quality slide-in or a stand-alone set of kitchen appliances with a pro-look like stainless steel. While you’re at it, switch out your cabinets or put a coat of paint on your existing cabinetry to complete the kitchen refresh.

ROI: Kitchen renovations have the best return on investment, typically garnering a 75-100% return.

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A bathroom makeover is one of the best renovations to do before selling since it has a high return on investment and is one of the main things buyers look for in a home. According to the RE/MAX study, it was one of the top three renovations for return on investment in 17 housing markets, including both Toronto and Vancouver.

Creating one luxury space in a home can have a great effect and return on investment. Focus your attention to on items like a frameless glass shower enclosure, marble-topped vanity or a gorgeous tile backsplash. Analyze your bathroom, pinpoint its strengths and weaknesses and ask yourself, “Where is my eye drawn when I enter this room?” Is the bathtub the focal point? The vanity? A window? This is where your renovations should begin.

ROI: Bathroom renovations, when done well, have a return of 62%, on average.

By the Numbers: Budgets vary but typically range between $5,000 to $15,000

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Flooring is the hardest-wearing element in any home and for many homeowners, replacing aging flooring is a must. New flooring was one of the top three renovations for return on investment in 14 of the housing market in the RE/MAX study. Therefore, it pays to look at the floor you walk on and invest in materials and installation that is done well.

The quality of the installation is essential. Expensive hardwood floors can look terrible if they are lifting or there are gaps between planks, while inexpensive laminate from a big box store can look great when laid properly. Carpeting, however, is rarely a good idea, especially when you’re planning to sell. While some people love the warmth and feel of carpeting in a bedroom or basement, buyers will see carpet and think one thing: carpet cleaners, STAT! Carpets tend to lovingly hold on to memories of previous homeowners, memories that buyers would sooner rather forget. Spare buyers the cleaning fee, or worse, all-out removal, and skip carpeting, or remove it yourself.

ROI: Depending on the flooring you choose, the return is generally 100-150% of your investment.

By the Numbers: Typical hardwood floor: $4 to $6 per sq. ft., plus $2 installation fee per sq. ft. Typical laminate floor: $1 to $3 per sq. ft., plus $1.50 installation fee per sq. ft.

Even though you might not be thinking about selling your home in the near future, it pays to perform renovations with a high return on investment. By updating various areas of your home, you can live more comfortably and rest easy, knowing that if the time comes to sell, you will be in a better position in the seller’s market.

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The post The Best Home Renovations for the Biggest ROI appeared first on RE/MAX Canada.

Following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian real estate market accelerated into a seller’s market. With the Bank of Canada (BoC) slashing interest rates to near zero and the national economy being flooded with billions in fresh liquidity, fully employed households started purchasing residential properties across the country, from cities in British Columbia to small towns in Atlantic Canada. This was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime event in Canada’s housing sector.

As housing supply dwindled and demand spiked, prices responded with meteoric growth. Whether in major urban centres or rural communities, detached homes became the subject of intense bidding wars. At the peak of the pandemic-era housing boom, the national average price topped $800,000.

Since then, the Canadian real estate market has been in moderation mode, with both prices and sales activity subsiding. To paraphrase author T.S. Eliot, the 2020-2021 boom ended not with a bang but a whimper. In other words, according to the RE/MAX Canadian Real Estate Outlook for 2023, a market equilibrium is being slowly realized.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) recently reported that the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) tumbled by 1.6 per cent month-over-month in December and dropped 7.5 per cent year-over-year. Overall, the national average home price is about $626,000. In the upcoming year, prices are expected to fall another 3.3 per cent.

So, now that the country is sliding into a buyer’s market, how will this impact home-buying trends?

Buying in a Buyer’s Market

Most Canadians (73 per cent) say home ownership is the best long-term investment, up from 49 per cent in 2021. At the same time, nearly half (45 per cent) concede that higher interest rates will “impact their ability to buy or sell a home in 2023.” Because of this, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) do not intend to purchase a home in early 2023.

However, with economic and market conditions expected to improve in the second half of 223, it might be a good time to assess the housing market, says Elton Ash, the Executive Vice President at RE/MAX Canada.

“We’re confident that as economic conditions improve and the market continues to even out into Q3/Q4 2023, a more-regular pace of activity will resume,” he said in the report. “It’s especially critical during challenging economic times, that staying informed and working with an experienced real estate professional can help Canadians clarify some of the unknowns, help them find a home within their means, and ultimately make the best decision possible.”

The hesitancy is understandable considering the uncertainty in the broader economy, but homeownership is still a “solid” investment, according to Christopher Alexander, the President of RE/MAX Canada.

“It’s good see the majority of markets moving toward more balanced conditions, which is typically defined by 45 to 90 days on market. This is a much-needed adjustment from the unsustainable price increases and demand we saw early in 2022,” Alexander stated. “Many Canadians have understandably expressed hesitancy about engaging in the real estate market early in 2023, in the wake of rising interest rates and broader economic uncertainties. However, despite this, a greater number of Canadians consider real estate to be a solid long-term investment compared to this time last year.”

Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, will be monitoring how buyers respond to an increase in listings during the typically busy home-buying spring season. But he also says the central bank reaching the peak of its tightening cycle could play a critical role in the home buying process.

“It will be interesting to see what buyers do when listings start to come out in big numbers in the spring, and even more interesting to see what happens a little later then the Bank of Canada, now widely thought to be at or very near the top of its tightening cycle, starts to eventually cut rates. All the other fundamental factors needed for the market to take off again are still out there,” Cathcart noted.

Whatever the case may be, the Canadian real estate industry is ostensibly shifting into a buyer’s market. So, how can prospective homeowners participate in this type of environment?

The first crucial component is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This gives you the confidence to purchase a home that fits within your budget.

Working with an experienced real estate agent you trust is the second critical aspect. This industry professional should know about the communities you are interested in residing in and understand the latest market conditions.

Generally, in a buyer’s market, there will be plenty of supply at your disposal. Therefore, refrain from focusing on a single residential property and look at a range of options.

Here are some other tips:

Ensure you have the down payment (and a little more). Keep your search within your budget. Widen your desired location as there is more inventory to consider. Take your time since housing market conditions are more stable and do not consist of the panic atmosphere of the last couple of years. Make a reasonable offer – but not your best. .fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-9{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-9 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:1024px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-9{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-9 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-9{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-9 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-10{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}

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There is nothing like receiving a handwritten note from a loved one, delivered the old-fashioned way directly to your mailbox. Sure, bills, letters, cards, and more can easily and more efficiently be accessed online, but where is the fun in that?

You have nearly reached the end of your home-buying journey, and although the road has been long and winding, you have reached the final stage! Your fingers are itching to dive into unpacking and settling into your new home, but first, you need to let your family, friends, companies, and government agencies know where they can reach you.

For family and friends, you can easily send a change of address card via mail or email, but there are a few more steps when it comes to informing government agencies. Nowadays, most services enable you to easily change your address online, which can be completed in a matter of hours. However, a few, like your registry, will require you to visit in person to complete the paperwork. Here are the main services for which you need to change your address:

Canada Revenue Agency – It is very easy to update your address online. Click here to change your address with the CRA and ensure your tax information is accurate.

Canada Post – Use Mail Forwarding to forward any personal or business mail from your old address to your new one so that you don’t miss any important information. This should be completed a few weeks before your moving date to ensure nothing gets missed.

Local Registry – Known as Service Ontario in Ontario and by other names in other provinces, this is where you can update your driver’s license and health care cards. If you are moving to a new province, you will also need to get a new license plate.

Bank and credit card company – Any information that proceeds through your bank, such as accounts, loans, or lines of credit, will need to be updated with your new address. If you have bought a new home, then your mortgage will already have the address.

Insurance broker – All home or rental insurance will need to be updated to reflect your new address. You will also need to update your auto insurance so that your new address is printed on your card. You should know that insurance rates often change based on address.

Employer – If applicable, it is important to change your address for the purpose of tax information and your Employment Insurance.

Medical Personnel – Your doctor, dentist, and any other medical practitioners that you see will need to be updated with your new address. This also includes the veterinarian.

Memberships and subscriptions – If you are a member of a place such as a gym, it will be necessary to change your address information.

Utilities – Assuming that you have not done so already, all utilities, including internet and TV, will need to be switched over to your new address.

Education institutions – If you have children that will be attending the same school as before the move, you will need to notify their school that you have moved and provide your new address.

This may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately, once everyone has been informed, you can go back to unpacking and organizing and can rest easy knowing that your friends and family will be able to easily find you to wish you well in your new home.

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The post Address Change Checklist appeared first on RE/MAX Canada.

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The post Canada Housing Market Risk Low, Despite Short-Term Contraction appeared first on RE/MAX Canada.

While interest rate hikes served to destabilize most major Canada real estate markets beginning in 2022, homeowners are well-positioned to ride out the coming storm in large part due to lower loan-to-value ratios on new mortgages, according to a report released today by RE/MAX Canada.

.fusion-body .fusion-button.button-1{border-radius:2px 2px 2px 2px;}View the interactive report

The RE/MAX Canada 2023 Canada Housing Barometer Report examined average price and new mortgage values published by CMHC-Equifax Canada in 12 major markets from British Columbia to New Brunswick, to compare loan-to-value (LTV) ratios between Q3 2012 and Q3 2022. The report found that LTV ratios had declined in 67 per cent of markets (eight) over the past decade, with the greatest drops noted in London and Moncton (21 per cent), Halifax (15 per cent), Hamilton (14 per cent), Toronto (10 per cent) and Ottawa-Gatineau (nine per cent). Four markets, including Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Regina, were up over 2012 levels, a trend that is set to reverse in the years ahead as Alberta and Saskatchewan’s economic engines gain momentum and drive home-buying activity. The lowest loan-to-value ratios were found in the most expensive markets, including Vancouver (50 per cent), Toronto (53 per cent), and Hamilton (54 per cent) while the highest loan-to-value ratios were found in Regina (88 per cent) and Edmonton (83 per cent). Nationally, loan-to-value ratios hovered at 57 per cent.

“While challenges certainly exist in today’s high interest rate environment, risk factors for the overall housing market are greatly reduced when homeowners own a larger proportion of their homes,” says Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada. “With half of loan-to-value ratios within the 50- and 60-per cent range in Canadian markets, homeowners are better able to withstand downward pressure on housing values and fewer will find themselves underwater, carrying upside down loans.”

(Source: CMHC-Equifax Canada Average Value of New Mortgage Loans; Canadian Real Estate Association; Fraser Valley Real Estate Board; Calgary Real Estate Board; Toronto. Notes regarding average prices: *Ottawa-Gatineau contains blended data to reflect the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA. Earliest statistics available for the Gatineau region are from 2014, creating an eight-year history for the CMA. ** Greater Vancouver contains data blended with Fraser Valley to reflect Vancouver CMA.)

Three factors were largely responsible for the downward pressure on loan-to-value ratios over the past decade, according to the Canada Housing Barometer Report: equity gains, the pandemic facilitating the ability to work remotely in smaller markets, and the transfer of intergenerational wealth, particularly in the latter half of the last decade and the early 2020s.

“Government implemented measures to reduce risk to the country’s housing markets, including the much-maligned stress test, have also gone a long way in maintaining the overall health of the Canadian market,” explains Elton Ash, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Canada. “The housing market in Canada has a reputation for stability relative to other international markets, and prudent policy plays a substantial role.”

Canadian buyers are much better qualified than a decade ago as a result, according to the RE/MAX report. A recent CMHC-Equifax Canada report confirmed a significant reduction in the number of buyers with credit scores under 660 in the past decade. Nationally, that number fell to 4.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2022, down from eight per cent a decade earlier. Ottawa-Gatineau, at 3.9 per cent, had the lowest share of new mortgage holders with credit scores below 660, while Winnipeg had the highest at 6.4 per cent. The loan-to-value ratio in all markets was down from decade-ago levels.

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(Source: CMHC-Equifax)

Mortgage delinquency rates have also fallen in most markets across the country, with the national percentage sitting at just 0.14 per cent – down just over 63 per cent from levels reported in 2012. The lowest rates can be found in Ontario and British Columbia, where the delinquency rates are below 0.08.

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(Source: CMHC-Equifax)

Rapid population growth was identified as a primary catalyst in driving home-buying activity over the past decade, with the quarterly population estimate rising 12.1 per cent nationally from Q3 2012 to Q3 2022. Interest rates also played a starring role over the 10-year period, with the overnight rate dropping to 0.25 per cent in May of 2009 and maintaining relatively low levels throughout the 2010s, climbing in 2018 and 2019 only to fall again to 0.25 per cent in 2020.

Population growth is expected to continue in the years ahead, given the federal government’s commitment to increase immigration levels, but interest rates will likely remain relatively high in the foreseeable future, which should temper home-buying activity to some extent, particularly in the first half of the year.

“As we head into 2023, there are likely to be challenges, but a healthy number of homebuyers are expected to continue to enter the country’s housing markets from coast to coast,” says Ash. “The trend toward smaller markets should continue to play out in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Western Canada —areas where in-migration from more expensive markets has occurred recently. Major centres in Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to see strong growth in the year ahead as provincial economies continue to operate on all cylinders. However, there could be some tough times ahead for larger markets that are seeing an uptick in over-extended buyers, as well as increased financial hardships for parents who helped their kids into home ownerships by taking out Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOCs). While most chartered banks are typically willing to work with homeowners in distress situations, buyers that chose to work with private lenders are having a different experience, as evidenced in recent stories in the media.”

While overall risk to the Canadian housing market remains low, risk mitigation remains top of mind for regulators, given real estate’s impact on the Canadian economy. The sector has accounted for 10 to 17 per cent of GDP in recent years. The government’s OSFI stress test is among the additional measures aimed at reinforcing the country’s real estate market going forward. While still in development, it would look at addressing three key factors: mortgage size and debt load, new debt service ratios, plus a new interest rate stress test. Given the success of the Stress Test to date (qualifying buyers at two per cent above posted rates since 2018), it’s clear some constraints can prove invaluable. That being said, further measures that would make it increasingly difficult for Canadians to realize home ownership, while well-intentioned, may potentially cause more harm than good.

“At the end of the day, what’s evident by the loan-to-value ratios and by policies to discourage speculation and over-extension is that real estate is and will always be a long-term hold,” explains Alexander. The Canada Housing Barometer Report shows that most purchasers are aligned with that philosophy, as demonstrated by their tenacity to get into the market and hold steady. Savvy homebuyers and homeowners are looking to offset carrying costs by reducing their footprint—choosing smaller homes, as reported in Ottawa, or renting out basement suites in their homes, a trend noted across the board, but especially apparent in London and Saskatoon. Some buyers are purchasing duplexes and other multi-unit properties and living in one of the units. Multi-generational sales are also happening with increasing frequency across Canada, whereby two or three generations live together. This trend was strong in Toronto’s 905 region, as well as in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

“The bottom line is that the dream and desire for home ownership is unmistakable,” says Alexander. “The mechanisms in place to underpin stability are working, and although more challenging conditions in 2023 may cause some to temporarily take pause, the longer-term outlook remains positive. Once the Bank of Canada has signalled that it is done with quantitative tightening, the market is expected to return to more normal levels of home-buying activity overall.”

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As any parent knows, having kids means making sure your home is a safe and comfortable place for them to play, explore, and grow. But small renovations are a great place to start if you want to go beyond the basics of childproofing and creating a genuinely family-friendly space. Read to learn more about a few simple yet effective child-friendly home renovations.

Install Carpet

Carpet can be a great way to make a home more child friendly. Carpet provides a soft and comfortable surface for children to play on and is safer than hardwood or laminate floors, as it reduces the risk of slipping and falling. When selecting carpet for your home, consider using softer materials such as nylon or wool that are more comfortable for crawling and playtime. Also, be sure to choose carpets with a low pile that won’t trap crumbs or pet hair. A low-pile carpet also makes it easier to clean up spills and messes. Additionally, if you are concerned about allergies, look for carpets with hypoallergenic properties.

Invest in Sturdy Furniture

When it comes to child-friendly home renovations, investing in sturdy furniture is essential. Kids are curious and full of energy, and their furniture needs to be able to handle that. Look for pieces made from durable materials like wood, metal, or plastic that won’t easily break when your little ones are playing. Choose furniture with rounded edges, so there are no sharp corners to injure them. Make sure any upholstered pieces have tightly woven fabric that won’t easily rip or snag. For more budget-friendly options, consider pieces that can grow with your kids, such as adjustable-height desks and chairs. These will last years and save you money in the long run. Finally, look for pieces that are easy to clean and maintain to make it simpler for you when accidents do happen.

Install Padding on Sharp Corners

Sharp corners can be dangerous for curious toddlers just learning to crawl and explore their environment. To ensure the safety of your little ones, consider adding padding to sharp corners in your home. This can easily be done by purchasing corner protectors or creating homemade solutions. Corner protectors come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, so it’s easy to find something that fits your style. You can also make your own with felt, foam rubber or even cardboard! Simply measure the size of your corner and cut the material to size, then attach it with glue or double-sided tape. This is an inexpensive and easy way to make sure your little ones stay safe from sharp corners.

Install Baby Gates

Baby gates are essential for protecting your child from hazards and keeping them from accessing areas that may be off-limits. Installing baby gates can be a great way to add an extra layer of safety and security to your home.

When it comes to installing baby gates, you’ll want to look for ones that are easy to use, adjustable, and sturdy enough to provide a secure barrier for your little one. There are a variety of different styles available, so you’ll need to decide which one is best suited for your particular needs.

If you have stairs in your home, you’ll want to make sure you invest in a gate designed specifically for stairways. These gates have special features designed to keep your little one safe and away from stairs. You’ll also want to consider any gaps or doorways you may need to block off and get the right type of gate for each area.

Once you’ve installed the gate, take a moment to double-check that it’s secure and safe for your child. If you have any questions or concerns about installing baby gates, consult a professional to ensure you’re doing it correctly. With the right gate installed in the right places, your home will be much safer and more secure for your little one.

Add Storage

Creating a child-friendly home often requires making changes that may seem small but can make a big difference. Adding storage is an integral part of ensuring that your home is safe and comfortable for your children.

Storage can help keep toys, books, and other items organized and out of the way, making it easier for your children to find what they need and for you to keep track of things. Storage options range from large built-in cabinets and shelves to smaller bins or toy boxes. Smaller options like baskets and crates can also work well if you don’t have room for large built-in storage.

When selecting storage solutions, look for durable items that will stand up to everyday use by your children. If you have small children, avoid storage with small pieces that could be choking hazards and opt for storage with smooth edges and rounded corners instead.

Adding storage to your home can make a big difference in creating a safe and comfortable environment for your children. With careful selection of the right storage solutions, you can ensure that your home is both child-friendly and organized.

Install Cabinet Locks

Installing cabinet locks is an essential step to making your home safe and secure for children. These locks will prevent children from accessing potentially dangerous items in cabinets, drawers, and other storage areas around the house. Cabinet locks come in a variety of styles, so it is important to consider which option is best for your home.

From adding safety features to updating the look and feel of your home, these small renovations can have a big impact on the comfort and safety of your family.

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Lethbridge is in the south-central region of Alberta, close to the US border and the Rocky Mountains. Its prime location makes it a central hub for transportation and business for Southern Alberta. The city has experienced significant population growth in the past two decades and currently sits around 100,000 residents, making it the fourth largest city in Alberta. While an underrated city, Lethbridge has a lot to offer to newcomers. Let’s learn about some of the reasons you should consider moving to Lethbridge.

Beautiful Moderate Climate

One of the big things that draw newcomers to Lethbridge is its moderate climate, made possible by the proximity of the Rocky Mountains. It can sometimes be very windy, with warm summers and mild winters. During the winter, warm winds blow in from the mountains, bringing mild temperatures and melting snow. The 320+ days of sun per year make Lethbridge one of Canada’s sunniest cities.

Low Cost of Living

Compared to Alberta’s two major cities, Calgary and Edmonton, Lethbridge is a considerably cheaper city in which to live. According to the government of Alberta, the average weekly earnings in the city are $1268, while the average cost of living comes in at $1,530 per month. Reasonable home prices are another major factor that drives individuals and families to move to Lethbridge since they are generally a fraction of the price of homes in Calgary and Edmonton. Lethbridge ranked 6th on the top places to invest in real estate in Alberta by the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN).

Quality Education

In addition to its five high schools and four middle schools, Lethbridge is home to two post-secondary institutions. The University of Lethbridge is the largest, known for its leading research programs and 200+ degree, diploma, and certificate courses, including graduate programs. Lethbridge College was the first publicly funded community college in Canada and has transfer agreements with other Alberta universities for students to continue their studies if desired. The two institutions account for about 20 percent of the city’s population during the school year since many move in from outside of town.

Abundant Job Opportunities

Lethbridge is the central hub of Southern Alberta and has plenty of opportunities in various industries. Of Lethbridge’s top 10 employers, nine are in health care, education, and government services (the tenth is in freight transportation), and these account for more than 13,000 jobs in Lethbridge, about 20 percent of employed residents. As an agricultural and manufacturing hub, Lethbridge is also a good place to move for work in other key industries like agri-food, manufacturing, and logistics.

Easy to Get Around

Lethbridge has a small-town feel, and most places you will need will be very close to where you live. It generally takes about 15 minutes to get anywhere in the city by car or a few minutes longer during rush hour. There are also paths for walking and biking throughout the city and a transit system that can get you where you need to go.

Proximity to Other Areas

Lethbridge is in a prime location for access to other landmarks. Calgary is only a two-hour drive north by car, and many residents enjoy the convenient access to its larger businesses. Going south, the border is only an hour’s drive before crossing into Montana. The Rocky Mountains are about a 90-minute drive west, where many residents enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, or simply enjoying the crisp mountain air. While Waterton National Park is the most common tourist location, the Crowsnest Pass is also a beautiful location to visit in the Rockies. Just remember your winter tires if you want to cross into BC during the winter months!

Abundance of Recreational Activities

Within the city of Lethbridge, there is always something to do and enjoy. The city has an independent business culture, including some notable eateries like Two Guys and a Pizza Place, featured on Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! Residents are big supporters of their baseball and hockey teams, the Lethbridge Bulls and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Lethbridge has an active arts scene with its own symphony orchestra, local theatre groups, and music concerts that host major artists like Bryan Adams, Styx, and Three Days Grace.

There are many features that make Lethbridge an ideal place to live. It has a reasonable cost of living compared to other parts of Canada, a strong economy, and plenty to see and do while still having the feel of living somewhere small and intimate.

 

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The post 7 Reasons to Move to Lethbridge in 2023 appeared first on RE/MAX Canada.

Are you working from home but struggling to find the perfect spot to set up your office? If you’re living in a small space, it can be challenging to carve out an area that meets your needs. But don’t worry! With some creativity and strategic planning, it’s possible to incorporate an efficient office into even the smallest of homes or apartments.

The trend of working from home is on the rise. With more companies embracing the remote work lifestyle, more and more people are making their homes their offices. Whether you’re a full-time telecommuter, freelancer, or just need a spot to stay productive, having an office space in your home is essential. But if you’re living in a small apartment or a crowded house, it can be tricky to fit an office into your existing space.

Fortunately, there are some creative ways to make it work. All it takes is a little bit of planning and thoughtfulness. By thinking outside the box, you can transform your small space into a functional office that serves your needs and helps you stay productive. Here are some tips to help you get started.

How to Choose the Right Spot in Your Home for Your Office

When setting up an office in a small space, choosing the right location in your home is essential. You want to make sure that you have enough room for your office furniture, supplies, and any other items you may need.

First, you’ll need to think about the type of work you’ll be doing in your office. Do you need a dedicated space for long hours of work, or do you just need a place to do occasional tasks? Consider this when choosing the location for your office to ensure it has enough space for your needs.

You should also consider the amount of natural light in the area. Natural light helps create a pleasant atmosphere and can also help with productivity. Additionally, you’ll want to consider any potential noise from the surrounding area, such as family members, pets, traffic, etc.

Choosing a room that is relatively far from the house’s main living areas may also be beneficial. This will help to create a sense of separation between home and work. If you don’t have an extra room available, consider making a corner in a larger space, such as the living room or bedroom.

Finally, think about what you need to be productive. This could include having access to an electrical outlet, internet connection, or other technology such as a printer. Make sure these items are easily accessible and close to your desk.

You can create an environment conducive to productivity and focus by choosing the right location for your home office.

What Type of Office Furniture to Use

When creating your home office, choosing the right furniture can make or break the overall look and feel of the space. The type of furniture you choose will depend on the size of the office and the activities you plan to do in it. Here are some tips on selecting office furniture for small spaces:

Choose Multi-Functional Pieces: When space is limited, opt for pieces that can serve more than one purpose. Furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes will help you make the most of your space. For example, an ottoman can double as both extra seating and a storage bin for office supplies. Or consider a desk with drawers for additional storage space.

Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding your office with too much furniture can make it seem cluttered and cramped. To maximize space, opt for minimalistic pieces that won’t take up too much room. This can include things like wall shelves, floating desks, and small side tables.

How to Maximize Storage and Organization in Your Office

When setting up an office in a small space, storage and organization can be challenging. However, there are several strategies you can use to maximize the storage and organization in your office.

Use Vertical Space: When dealing with limited space, using vertical space is essential. Wall shelves and cabinets are great for this purpose. You can also use wall-mounted organizers for paperwork and other items you need to store. Install Drawers Underneath Desks and Tables: If you have a desk or table in your office, consider installing drawers underneath them. This will provide additional storage space without taking up extra floor space. Utilize Baskets and Bins: Baskets and bins are perfect for organizing smaller items such as pens, paperclips, and other office supplies. They can also be used to store important documents and files. Get Creative: If you’re feeling creative, try repurposing objects that you already own into storage solutions for your office. For example, an old dresser can be used as a filing cabinet, or an old nightstand can be turned into a printer stand.

By utilizing these tips, you should be able to maximize the storage and organization in your small home office. Remember, thinking creatively and finding solutions for your specific needs and space constraints is essential when working with limited space. By following these tips, you can easily create a functional and stylish home office in even the smallest of spaces.

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