Housing prices

October 29, 2021

Man discovers dead body in newly purchased France apartment

It's a surprise that we hope never happens to us.

The new owner of an apartment walked in to find the hanged body of the previous owner behind the front door when the locksmith opened up his newly purchased property. While it's odd that the body wasn't found earlier, you think the buyer would have visited the property before signing any papers, apparently the body was undisturbed for eight years, according to a local France newspaper.

Thomas Ngin, a security guard, had been fired from his previous job, dealing with court proceedings with his employer in legal court and facing debt issues.

The bank seized his property and sold it at an auction where it was bought for 415,000 euros (about $598,889) in early October. It explains why the owner never saw the property in advance, but he's likely regretting that decision now.

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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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October 14, 2021

Mark Zuckerberg buys his neighbours' homes for $30 million

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg came up with a unique but pricey way to ensure his privacy: buy out your surrounding neighbours for $30 million.

Thanks to his $19-billion net worth, the Facebook CEO bought four of his neighbours' homes in San Francisco, but it turns out that a mega mansion isn't in the cards. Instead, the 29-year-old will become a landlord and lease the properties to their previous owners, says the San Jose Mercury News.

It turns out that Zuckerberg only started buying the surrounding properties in December 2012, when he heard a developer was hoping to use the Facebook founders status to help sell the property. The last house was sold on October 1, where he paid $14.5 million for a 2,560-square-foot lot or $5,470 per square foot, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Whether you like it or not, the value of your home is affected by your neighbours. If you have a hoarder as a neighbour with an overgrown yard and tons of clutter, it can hurt your home's sale price by five to 10 per cent, President of the Appraisal Institute told Business Insider. This Toronto-couple built themselves a six-foot fence, but let's face it, their home's value will remain lower if their neighbour's junk stays out in the yard.

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September 23, 2021

Most expensive Canadian condo sold for $40 million in Vancouver

It is not surprising that the most expensive condo sale in Canada would happen in Vancouver. A Middle Eastern royal paid a whopping $40 million for a penthouse suite and the unit underneath in the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.

It's a record amount with the deluxe penthouse suite selling for $25 million and the other unit putting the total sale over the top, according to the Vancouver Sun. The condo sits in Coal Harbour, an area known for its pricey properties.

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July 30, 2021

Canadians better off than they think: report

Despite shouldering record-levels of debt, Canadians are actually richer than ever with household net worth eclipsing the $400,000 mark for the first time in history.

The average household's net worth grew by 5.8 per cent at the end of last year from $378,093 at the end of 2011, largely, due to roughly a 5 per cent increases in real estate values and savings, according to a recent report from Environics

This keeps Canadian households ahead of their U.S. counterparts for the sixth straight year although, on a currency-adjusted basis, the gap isn't that dramatic.

In fact, that gap has actually narrowed a bit recently, largely because Canadians continue to borrow where most Americans seem to be saving a bit more. And U.S. housing prices are on the increase.

But will this gap continue?

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July 11, 2021

Do 'rent to own' housing deals actually work out?

If you've been in the U.S. over the last couple of years, you've seen the signs, generally at large intersections: “Rent To Own! No Financing Necessary! Call Now!”

They're touted as a good deal for owners who have trouble selling and buyers who can't get conventional financing.

In most cases, the seller gives the tenant the right to buy the house at some point in the future, usually one to three years out, for a price that's agreed upon today, plus a fee that will keep the option of buying open.

Tenants are also typically required to put down a deposit towards the final sale price which will be held by the homeowner as credit towards the price of the home at the end of the lease option.

While these offerings are nowhere near as common on this side of the border, several small Canadian companies have been using a similar pitch to entice prospective homebuyers into the market as well as targetting cash-strapped homeowners looking to get out from under. 

And for many people, things haven't been working out that well. When one B.C. couple tried the rent-to-own route last year, the deal fell apart early. The so-called prospective buyer ended up squatting in their property.

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May 29, 2021

Are tougher mortgage rules keeping you out of the market?

Canadians end up paying off their mortgages in about two-thirds of the time originally intended, according to research from The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals.

Looking at mortgages paid off over the past three years, the original amortization length was roughly 18  years but, on average, homebuyers ended up with an actual amortization length of just less than 12 years. In other words, we can handle debt pretty well, according to CAAMP's view.

Nonetheless, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened mortgage rules four times in the last five years amid concern that oversupply in some markets could lead to a sharp drop in prices.

The group feels the government's recent changes — raising the minimum down payment for mortgages insured through the government-backed CMHC and lowering the amount of time borrowers have to pay them back to 25 years (it was as high as 40 years only five years ago) — is overdone and is preventing many potential homebuyers from entering the market.

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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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April 24, 2021

Homebuyers need to be on the alert for bogus claims

Most homebuyers shopping in a choppy market are taking their time. But, if you're in the minority of people who have a deadline - because of an impending birth or a new job - this environment offers both opportunities and challenges.

Some people who move too quickly are motivated by timing pressures related to relocation, while others worry they'll be living with their parents because they've sold their home a bit faster than expected.

But the bigger issue is often with stressed sellers who are simply too anxious to get out in a hurry.

When a homeowner is desperate to sell and a buyer is ready to fork over the cash, the truth about a house is often swept under the rug, experts suggest.

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April 19, 2021

Smoking decreases value of homes

Smoking is not only bad for your health but it's also bad for your house.

According to a new survey, smoking in your home can lower it's resale value.

In fact, it can lower the property value by up to 29 per cent. And, based on an average Canadian house price of $378,532, that's a loss of over $109,000.

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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...