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Bank of Canada Raises Over-Night Rate: Jan 2018

Today, the Bank of Canada elected to increase its target for the overnight rate to 1.25%, up from 1%. Why? The economy is near full capacity, we are near the target inflation rate, and  recent financial data suggests it’s time to slow down.

With estimates by the Bank that the GDP growth in 2017 reached 3.0%, the Bank feels this will drop in 2018 and thus the overnight rate may remain stable for a while and perhaps even fall if predictions come true later in the year.

The current state of the NAFTA negotiations is also causing some concerns relative to future economic predictions. A down tick in trade could vastly impact business investment in Canada. Even with this uncertainty there is positive news. The lower business capital gains rate in the US has freed up cash for more investment by US companies and Canada stands to gain from export opportunities.

With all the uncertainty, the Bank of Canada recognizes however that higher interest rates may be warranted over time if warranted. The Bank however does not want to be the cause of any stagnation over time or cause the inflation rate to falter.

The Bank states it will “remain cautious in considering future policy adjustments” carefully analyzing the data to evaluate “the economy’s sensitivity to interest rates, the evolution of economic capacity, and the dynamics of both wage growth and inflation.”

The Banks of Canada’s next interest rate statement is set for March 7th. You can read the full Bank of Canada rate hike announcement here.

I welcome any questions about how these recent interest rate changes can possibly impact your home buying or mortgage needs, so please don’t hesitate to give me a phone call or drop me an email. I’m here to help you.

At Your Service,

Michael J Preston

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SETTING THE STAGE FOR A PERFECT HOME SALE – STAGING YOU HOUSE

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Staging Your House Right is Key!

When you put your home on the market, your goal is to sell it quickly and for top dollar. Properly staging your house right from day one will create an amazing impression that will generate a huge buzz!

Staging isn’t so much an expense as it is an investment. Not only is your home likely to sell for a higher price but it will probably sell much faster which is important because homes that sit on the market can quickly lose their value.

Staging your house starts with an ultra clean, de-cluttered and de-personalized home. Buying a home is an emotional decision so buyers must be able to envision themselves living there which is why photographs, trophies and kids’ artwork have to go.

A stager also ensures your home is inviting to buyers by enhancing the functionality and flow of each room. They can remove and store furniture so the house looks as spacious as possible and use lighting and other tricks to warm up the feel of your home. A properly staged home will also look much more appealing to those browsing online which will generate more showings.

If you want to stage your home yourself, you’ll have to go beyond the basics. Start cleaning up the front yard, the porch, the garage and don’t forget the back garden. Buyers have a tough time visualizing themselves in unfurnished rooms so turn your craft room back into a bedroom or transform an awkward nook into a reading spot by setting out a comfy chair and lamp.

Lighting is Very Important

Great lighting will create a warm and welcoming ambience so make sure you update your light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs. Buyers will also be snooping through your cupboards and closets as storage space is often an important factor so don’t forget to stage those areas as well.

Remember, staging your house right it is much more likely to make a great first impression and capture the hearts of home buyers. Whether you pay a professional to stage your home or do the work yourself, staging is a worthwhile investment that will massively increase the odds of your home selling quickly and for top dollar.

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Are your home’s strange sounds keeping you up at night?

Is your home talking to you? Time to pay attention.

Home house keeping you up at nightPart of settling into a new home is figuring out what noises are normal. Most are nothing to worry about but some could signal a deeper issue. Here are a few that you should pay attention to:

  1. Furnace Noises – A humming noise is normal but loud pops, scraping, grinding or squealing sounds should be checked out professionally.
  2. Scratching Sounds – The dreaded sound of scratching likely means you have rodents that are making themselves at home so take notice before it gets out of hand.
  3. Running Water – Check for leaks and water damage around the home. If you can’t figure it out quickly, call a plumber as it could mean a broken pipe.
  4. Gurgling Toilet – Gurgling noises coming from the toilet could signal a blockage in the toilet or drain, a blockage in the vent stack or a main sewer drain blockage.
  5. Noisy Fridge – Some whirring and clicking is normal but if your fridge is cracking or popping, it could be a compressor or a temperature regulation issue.

You can expect to hear some noises coming from your home as the various building materials will contract and expand. Just keep an ear out for anything unusual and don’t hesitate to call a professional if in doubt!

Let’s chat….

Michael J Preston 705-309-1747
Broker of Record, Lakeview Realty Inc., Brokerage

 

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WASHING THE WASHING MACHINE 

WASHING THE WASHING MACHINE
If your washing machine is giving off a musty smell, it’s time for a wash!

Washing the washing machine may seem strange but over time, soap scum and bacteria build up in front loading washing machines which creates a musty smell.

Start by cleaning the rubber door gasket with white vinegar and water.  Next, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to the detergent compartment, then pour 2 cups of vinegar in the drum and run an empty load at the hottest setting.

Clean your washing machine every month to keep it in tip top shape.  If you leave the door open between loads, promptly remove laundry as soon as the load has finished and don’t use too much detergent, you’ll help keep your washing machine fresh and clean.

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2018 Mortgage Rule Changes in Canada.

Tighter Rules Could Mean No Mortgage for Some Canadians.

The new mortgage “stress test” came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 in Canada requiring virtually all prospective home buyers to meet tighter lending restrictions. According to some estimates, the tighter qualifying standard could shut out some 10% of lower down payment buyers compared to regulations in 2017.

Toronto and Vancouver will likely see the biggest impact from the new restrictions but the effects will no doubt ripple into smaller communities.

The new “stress test” will affect home buyers applying for mortgages that are less than 80 per cent of the value of the property they wish to purchase. Borrowers will have to qualify for rates that are higher than the contractual mortgage rate they would actually be eligible to assume. This effectively reduces the buying power of a consumer with an uninsured mortgage by about 20 per cent, according to some industry experts.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) published the final version of Guideline B-20 − Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures.

OSFI is setting a new minimum qualifying rate, or “stress test,” for uninsured mortgages.

  • Guideline B-20 now requires the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages to be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%.

These rules assure that all mortgage holders can cope with any unforeseen rising interest rates and are now similar to those rules already in effect for borrowers with down payments under 20 per cent.

Many concerns were submitted as comments and responses were issues by OSFI on topics such as mortgage renewal qualifications. These comments can be reviewed here on the OFSI website.

“These revisions to Guideline B-20 reinforce a strong and prudent regulatory regime for residential mortgage underwriting in Canada,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rudin.

Paul Taylor, President and CEO of the Mortgage Professionals Canada, is concerned about how much these changes will impact the real estate market and suggests that it could stress smaller communities. Taylor says, “Reducing the number of people who can afford those homes now is only going to exacerbate the problem,” He goes on to say, “When house prices come down, you can potentially create a recessionary environment in pockets across the country.”

Time will tell, probably sooner than later, what effects these mortgage qualification rules will bring about for Canadians.

If we can help you with obtaining a mortgage please contact Michael J Preston at 705-309-1747.

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Waterfront and Residential Non-Waterfront Sales Activity Slow Down in Muskoka and Orillia

Waterfront and Residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 111 units in November 2017. This was down 28.8% from last November’s record high for the month.

On a year-to-date basis, residential non-waterfront sales were running 3.9% below the first 11 months of 2016 but remained above all other years going back to 2003.

Sales of waterfront properties came in 64.9% below last November. On a year-to-date basis, waterfront sales were down 17.2% from the first 11 months of 2016. Both the waterfront and non-waterfront sales figures for November 2017 stood in below the five and 10-year averages for the month of November.

“While activity always slows down at this time of year, sales in November 2017 were quieter than normal,” said Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “Even so, because of how strong the market was earlier this year, particularly the residential non-waterfront segment, 2017 will still be one of the best years on record for sales in the region.”

The median price for residential non-waterfront property sales was a record $340,000 in November 2017, an increase of 30.8% from November 2016. The median price for waterfront sales was $460,000 in November 2017, rising 12.2% from November 2016.

The dollar value of all residential non-waterfront sales in November 2017 totalled $38.2 million, falling 18.2% from November 2016. This was however the second highest dollar volume of any November on record. The total value of waterfront sales was $21.6 million, down 62.3% from November 2016.

Smart buyers see the Waterfront and Residential non-waterfront sales activity slow down as an opportunity to negotiate better pricing for the available properties.