Fears of a housing correction in Canada’s two hottest markets are unlikely to be realized according to one mortgage lender’s experts. Robert Kavcic of Bank of Montreal says that he expects homes in Toronto and Vancouver to continue to appreciate during 2016.
A larger number of people will move to the cities from Alberta and Saskatchewan looking for work and opportunities. Economic growth in Ontario and BC with better job prospects, together with continued low mortgage rates, will make a move more attractive. The oil price rout and its knock-on effects will exacerbate price declines in the oil regions though “The real estate correction is already happening – just not where most expected,”
Housing in Calgary will be “weak,” according to the Calgary Real Estate Board which cites continued economic volatility as the reason.
CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie said in a release. “Weakness in the energy sector is overshadowing all aspects of our economy and with more people looking for work and fewer opportunities; we could see some families making adjustments to their housing situation. As we move into the second year of this environment, we expect to see additional housing supply pressure and further price declines,”
Sales activity is expected to decline 2.2% to 18,416 units, according to the association. The average price is expected to decline by 3.44% to $438,652.
“Market intelligence really matters in today’s operating environment. Pricing trends have and will continue to vary depending on product type, price range and location,” Calgary's REB president Cliff Stevenson said. “Sellers in this market need to have a good understanding of activity within their specific niche of the market. This is where a real estate professionals can really help navigate market conditions and real estate options, which are always unique to each consumer.”
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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - January 20, 2016
The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is evolving as expected with total CPI continuing to test the bottom of the Bank's 1-3 per cent target range due to low energy prices. However, the Bank expects that inflation will rise over the next year, reaching its 2 per cent target by mid-2017. On the economy, the Bank sees economic growth firming after a slowdown in the fourth quarter of last year. The Bank projects that the Canadian economy will grow a modest 1.5 per cent this year before strengthening to 2.5 per cent in 2017.
In not moving on interest rates this morning, the Bank is recognizing that there is little that monetary policy can do to offset a significant supply-side shock such as the dramatic decline in oil prices. Indeed, given Canada's floating exchange rate, the loonie has already adjusted to help partially absorb the negative impact of falling commodity prices on exports. Keeping in mind that the Canadian economy is still projected to grow at a rate very close to its somewhat diminished potential for 2016 and that inflation will be spurred by a dramatically lower Canadian dollar, we anticipate that the Bank will reassess the need for monetary stimulus once the worst of the oil-shock had passed. That means, barring a significant deterioration in the economy, the Bank will more than likely remain sidelined for 2016.
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Top Grants and Rebates for
Property Buyers and Owners
1. Home Buyers’ Plan
Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency. Learn more or to participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan or call 1.800.959.8287
2. GST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing $350,000 – $450,000. There is no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above. Canada Revenue Agency. Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287
3. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program
Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil. Learn more. 1.250.387.0604
4. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)
A federal non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers of detached and attached homes, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2014) x $5,000. For the 2015 tax year, the maximum credit is $750.Learn more. 1.800.959.8281
5. BC Home Owner Grant
Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,100,000. The basic grant gives home owners:
- a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
- an additional grant of $200 to rural home owners elsewhere in the province; and
- an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.
Learn more or contact your municipal tax office.
6. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs:
- Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.
- Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.
- Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.
Learn more. 1-888-355-2700
7. Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)
A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. Learn more. 604.433.2218 or toll-free 1.800.257.7756
8. BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit
Assists eligible seniors 65+ with the cost of certain permanent home renovations to a principal residence to improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home. The maximum amount of the refundable credit is $1,000 per tax year and is calculated as 10% of the qualifying renovation expense (maximum $10,000 in expenses). Learn more. Canada Revenue Agency or toll-free 1.800.959.8281
9. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. Learn more. 604.731.5733
10. Energy Saving Mortgages
Financial institutions offer a variety of mortgages to home buyers and owners making their homes energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. Learn more. 1.800.769.2511
11. Low Interest Renovation Loans
Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity Home Energy Loan personal loan offers home owners up to $50,000 at prime + 1% for up to 15 years for energy efficient renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution.
12. Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant (Pilot Program)
Grants of up to $3,000 per household to assist with energy retrofits for Vancouver homes built before 1940 and homes listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register. This pilot runs to August 31, 2016. It is sponsored by Vancouver Heritage Foundation and the City of Vancouver Sustainability Group with assistance from City Green Solutions. Qualifying retrofits include insulation, air sealing, window repairs and storm windows, and high efficiency forms of heating and hot water. Learn more. Terms/Conditions Grant application
13. Energy Conservation and Assistance Program
BC Hydro and FortisBC offer free energy assessments and energy saving products to income-qualifying households. Qualified contractors will install upgrades ranging in value from $300 to $5,000 depending on the need of the home.
14. Fortis New Home Energy Rebate Offer
Fortis and BC Hydro customers can receive rebates when building ENERGY STAR new homes of when installing high-efficiency natural gas fireplaces. Learn more.
15. Smart Thermostat Pilot Program
City of Vancouver and Vancity are offering a $125 rebate for a home owner purchasing 1 of 3 smart thermostats which automatically controls the climate in your home. This pilot program runs to December 2016. Learn email@example.com
16. Home Energy Rebate Offer
BC Hydro and FortisBC offer home owners rebates for upgrades and improvements, including insulation, space and water heating systems and ventilation to reduce the average customer’s energy bill by 30%. There is a bonus offer for completing three or more of certain upgrades. Total value of available rebates: $5,300 per household. Learn more.
17. Energy Savings Kit Program
BC Hydro and FortisBC offer income-qualifying customers a free energy saving kit containing products to help save energy and money. Learn more.
18. ENERGY STAR Appliances
BC Hydro Power Smart and various municipalities are offering $100 mail-in rebates to home owners buying ENERGY STAR® clothes dryers and refrigerators. Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, Richmond, Vancouver and West Vancouver are participating. Learn more.
19. FortisBC Rebate Program for Homes
Rebates for home owners including a $300 rebate for purchasing an EnerChoice fireplace, or up to $1,800 off an ENERGY STAR water heater, or a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. Total value of available rebates: $5,300 per household. Learn more. 1.800.663.8400
20. Fortis Rebate for Rental apartment buildings
In October 2015, FortisBC launched the Rental Apartment Efficiency Program for owners and managers of rental apartment buildings nine units and larger. The program includes a water-efficient shower head and a kitchen and bathroom faucet aerator directly installed in each unit, a building energy assessment and ongoing professional assistance. Learn more and FAQ’s.
21. Rain Barrel Subsidy Programs
Many Metro Vancouver municipalities offer rain barrels for sale, often at a discount for residents. Richmond sells them for $30. Burnaby sells them for $70. Coquitlam sells them for $72. West Vancouver sells them for $55. Other municipalities have similar offers.
22. Water Wise Kits
23. Local Government Water Conservation Incentives
Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water.
Toilets: North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, and the District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Richmond offers a $100 utility rebate. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.
Clothes washers: replace your old clothes washer with a new, high efficiency ENERGY STAR clothes washer and receive a $100 or $200 rebate from Richmond.
24. Local Government Water Meter Programs
Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Burnaby (scroll down), Delta, Richmond and West Vancouver have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.
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