October 28, 2021

Rather than downsize, retiring boomers hope to stay put

If you read the headlines, just about every urban boomer is leaving the suburbs behind and moving into condos or lofts in a trendy downtown area

Yet there's little evidence that most Canadians are actually that open to the idea of moving into a smaller residence as they grow older.

A majority of Canadians aged 50 and over – 83 per cent – said staying in their own homes and paying for home care is the most appealing option for them, accordsing to Royal Bank research.

Even then, while the majority of us want to ''age-in-place'', this doesn't necessarily mean that we expect to stay in the same house. Most people are attached less to a particular pile of bricks and mortar than to a local area – to a network of friends, services and familiar places.

Among those who were already retired, a decision to move out of their home was most often due to a change in their health – 66 per cent – rather than to cash in on their home equity or get closer to restaurants.

"Remaining in familiar surroundings – in a home of their own, in their current neighbourhood and close to family and friends – is definitely how Canadian Boomers wish to live when future health changes occur,” says RBC head of retirement and aging strategies Amalia Costa.

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June 21, 2021

Real estate is a hot topic for Canadians

1302218_50183007The start of summer is officially here and the conversation quickly turns from the weather to -- well, real estate of course.

Forget hockey. A new national survey revealed that talking about real estate is becoming Canadian's new national pastime.

It is a hot topic, with 84 per cent of Canadians admitting they think about real estate on a regular basis, according to a poll by Zoocasa.

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May 31, 2021

Canadians in market to buy condos

CondoWell we're movin' on up. To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

The Jeffersons lived the high life, and according to a new report from BMO Bank of Montreal one-third of Canadian homebuyers are looking to purchase a condominium in the next five years.

But what is it that is attracting buyers to the condo lifestyle?

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May 22, 2021

Home buying looks good for most Canadians

1099196_67954355Thinking of buying a new home? You may not be alone in your thoughts.

According to the BMO Housing Confidence Report, nearly half of Canadian homeowners intend to buy a property in the next five years signalling a high level of confidence in the housing market.

Despite reports of a cooling down in market, in our eastern Ontario neighbourhood 'For Sale' signs are popping up everywhere. The houses are only staying on the market a few weeks -- if that.

It seems that everyone on our street is catching the moving bug after witnessing their next-door-neighbours packing up and heading for larger homes in desirable neighbourhoods.

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October 23, 2021

Is Ontario's new home warranty program up to scratch?

Did you buy a new home in the last year? Are you happy? Or do the pipes rattle every time someone turns on the shower.

If you got something to say, then watch your mailbox or inbox in the next week or so for the opportunity to rate your builder.

Sent out by Tarion, the private corporation that regulates Ontario builders and provides warranties on new houses and condos, the surveys are used to provide feedback on builder customer service and new buyer satisfaction.

But don't expect that anybody will be really listening, says one disgruntled home inspector, who feels Tarion is not as responsive as its mandate suggests.  

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June 28, 2021

Despite landlords' objections, Ontario caps rent increases at 2.5%

To ease the squeeze on tenants facing big rent hikes, residential rent increases are now capped at 2.5 per cent starting in 2013 under legislation passed last week by the Ontario government.

Click here for a historical view of previous rent increase guidelines. The average from 2004 to 2012 was 2 per cent whereas it was 3.1 per cent from 1993 to 2003.

Landlords started to howl about this ceiling months ago, of course: “The government is unilaterally imposing a cap without any discussion with an entire industry and is initiating a policy that will be particularly devastating for small landlords," according to Vince Brescia, president of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario.

Landlords are concerned that such price caps could replicate the devastating housing market conditions seen in Ontario 25 years ago, when fixed rent controls were out of whack when compared with rising housing costs. 

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April 16, 2021

Should Canada restrict foreigners from buying its real estate?

I’ve been at this job here at MSN Money for a little more than three years, and I can recall quite clearly the patter of financial headlines back in early 2009, when I started.

What’d they say? They said that Toronto’s housing market, rising steep and steeper yet, was unsustainable. Get ready for the crash, folks, because it's coming soon.

But then … it didn’t come then, and hasn’t come yet. In between has been the same discourse, a similar kind of rationale you’d imagine applied to Apple stock the last few years, too: now this  has got to be the peak. Buy now and lose your shirt.

Though what if a burst in Toronto’s housing market, as well as that other Canadian city where real estate prices are even higher, never comes?

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February 01, 2022

Just what makes a "good" real estate investment?

A “good real estate investment” can mean different things to different people. But, when you're talking money at least, you're looking for a reasonable return on the money you put up.

What that means is that if you're going to put your cash (which includes your down payment and closing costs as well as reno expenses) into real estate, your net worth should improve by a greater amount than if you invested in a similarly risky asset, says Leonard Baron, author of Real Estate Ownership, Investment and Due Diligence 101 – A Smarter Way to Buy Real Estate.

And simply hoping that markets will go up and up doesn't always work out, he caustions.

For example, if your property rental income minus expenses produced $250 per month positive ($3,000 per year); and your invested cash equity was $50,000, that’s a cash on cash return of 6.00% ($3,000/$50,000) and you'd be doing pretty well.

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January 30, 2022

Is there any difference between renting a condo or an apartment?

A lack of apartment building construction combined with a glut of new condo construction has given birth to a new kind of landlord who buys one or two condo units and rents them out, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

While rents may barely cover mortgage, tax and other expenses in certain markets, the hope is that the rental income evens things off bit until the unit increases in value.

Fair enough, but are you sure you want to be the one paying the rent? First off,  rents for condominium apartments are anywhere from 30% to 40% more than traditional rental apartment buildings -- in the GTA, at least.

You’ll likely get a newer (albeit smaller) unit and, in many cities, you’ll have better access to the downtown core. But tenants who rent a unit in a condominium complex and are used to the standard leases of traditional apartment buildings, may be in for a few surprises.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...