8 Unusual Factors that Can Affect Your Home’s Value

Most of us think that it’s all about location when it comes to real estate, and that is true for the most part. However, there are a multitude of quirky or even unusual factors that can affect your home’s price; and we’re not just talking of lot size, number of bedrooms, total square footage, number of bathrooms, and when the home was built.

In this article, we’ll tell you about some factors that seem unimportant or of no value at first, but can have a huge impact on your home’s marketability and price. Keep on reading to know more below!

Your House Number

Home Values

Believe it or not, some numbers simply don’t sit well with some people, be it because of their cultural background or just a personal quirk. The number 4 is frowned upon by some Asian cultures and a few 6s in a row would throw off those with a certain religious inclination, therefore the home might have to be priced lower to generate a sale. Statistics also show that for homes listed for more than a million, about 25% have 9 as the last non-zero digit.

What’s In a Name?

Home Values2

Your street’s name play a huge role in driving up your home’s price. Generally speaking, an address on a boulevard or an avenue allows you to command a higher price than one on a random street.

Trees Are The Your Friend

Home Values3

The presence of mature trees generally improves property value and lends a certain aura of prestige unto the property. Have a few mature trees lining up the street and buyers would come knocking on your door.

Death Is Never Good

Home Values4

Most provinces require that a death on the property has to be mentioned when selling a place, thereby possibly scaring off some buyers. Some even require you to mention supernatural occurrences such as ghosts.

Neighbours

Home Values5

Noisy and/or nosy neighbours is a turn-off! Inconsiderate neighbours will chase away buyers right from the moment they get a glimpse of the noise or unusual behaviour. On the other hand, a simple house in a good quiet neighbourhood usually sells for more than the asking price.

Details and Finishes

Home Values6

Almost everyone knows that fancy finishes and materials such as chrome and granite can drive up a home’s value, but do you know that crown moulding does the same (for the most part)? Add some crown moulding to add extra class to your home.

Popular Stores Nearby

Home Values7

Having Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Trader Joe’s nearby can boost your property’s value by as much as 40%. People will pay for convenience, that’s a fact.

Your Sports Fan Gear

Home Values8

Whether you are wearing your sports fan gear or got them on display, a home buyer who’s a fan if the rival team is likely to perceive you and your home as not good in their book and either offer a lower price or won’t go through with the sale. If they are a fan of the same team, the opposite happens. This is why it is best to keep things neutral by removing personal items when staging a home.

With home selling season these days encompassing the entire year, selling your Oakville home may still be a bit intimidating for you. Let our agents help you for a smoother transition. Contact us today!

10 Top House-Hunting Mistakes to Avoid

House-hunting is not for the weak of heart. It is more than just calling some real estate agents, seeing a few houses, and moving in right after you found one you like. Things can get very challenging when looking for a new home more so if you’re targeting buying a home in a hot neighbourhood. You need to be smart about your search and come up with a game plan for house-hunting success!

Below is our compilation of the top 10 house-hunting mistakes that you need to avoid.

Listening to Advisers Who Don’t Live With You

Input from some people is great, but not if they won’t be living with you anyway. Opinion from other people might confuse you and won’t really help you because they would often be speaking about their needs, not yours.

Going in with No Mortgage Pre-Approval

The last thing you want to convey when house-hunting is for real estate agents and home sellers to think that you’re not serious about your search. This can mean losing out to another buyer who can make a solid offer. More so, mortgage pre-approval lets you know exactly what you can afford.

Not Seizing the Moment

Go see a new listing if you’re interested. Waiting just a few hours can mean someone might beat you to it in a tight market.

Not Checking the Neighbourhood

How would you feel waking up to the neighbour’s loud drum practice on your first morning in your new home? How about having a hard time getting out in the morning because there is a school nearby and the street is filled with family vehicles and school buses? Always check the small details.

Getting a Crush on Sparkly New Features

Newly renovated and newly constructed homes have a tendency to make someone want to own them right off the bat, but you have to think that a home is more than new features! Note that most low-quality finishes and materials look great when new but are worthless in the long run.

Not Being Sure What You Want

You have to know what features you want before shopping for a home or you’ll risk not finding any or being overwhelmed with possible choices. This would save you time too by narrowing your search.

Being Mesmerized By Décor

Don’t forget to assess whether you’re just loving the staged decorations or the home itself. Unless the home sellers are going to leave everything with the house, you’ll end up with a shell that you’re not sure you like anyway.

Not Settling for Anything Less Than Absolute Perfection

Your 100% dream home may not exist, so why not consider one that ticks most of your boxes although not all of it? It’s easy to fall for thinking that something better will be available soon.

Not Taking Your Time in an Open House

You need to have a real feel of the house and explore it in detail before you make the decision of making an offer for it. Check nooks and crannies, open cabinets, use the bathroom, inspect the kitchen and so on. Make sure you don’t skip the basement and the attic!

Forgetting to Have An Agent

House-hunting in a hot market without an agent is a waste of time, energy, hope, and effort. Up your chances of sealing a deal by having an agent who can get you first dibs on new listings. Less negotiation error too!

Need help house-hunting in OakvilleContact us and find out what makes our agents the best this side of the GTA. We also make magic happen when it is time to let go of your Oakville home!

September Brings in Rebound of Average Toronto House Price

Average home re-sale price rose up 6% or $43,000 in September as compared to the previous month. The data was from the Toronto Real Estate Board’s records.

Home sales were also down by 35% as realtors were able to sell just 6,379 homes. Just a little over two thirds compared to September 2016.

Awakening Market?

The above occurrences are making realtors think that the market is levelling off or could be waking up.

Realsophy president John Pasalis says that the above are good signs because they show that the market isn’t falling further although he was quick to add that price increases are often seasonal.

The average home price for September this year is about $20,000 or 2.6% more than the previous year’s but the number of homes sold is 35% lower. The drop is attributed to the drop of detached homes sale of 40%.

Condo sales rose up at an average of 20% more than a similar time last year largely to prices attracting first-time buyers. It should be noted that the number of listings fell down in Toronto but increased for the rest of the regions. East Gwillimbury, Aurora, and Richmond Hill actually have an oversupply that offers are often below the listed price, a huge contrast to what is happening in Toronto shared Caroline Baile, an Aurora-based broker from Royal LePage. She added that although they do get sales, they average at just 97% of listed price.

Two Markets?

Realtors are saying that what is happening in the area is very much like having two markets, with the downtown and surrounding areas in high demand and low inventory therefore commanding a higher price, and then the opposite in areas outside the main hubs. Coveted locations are selling well, with offers coming in even before the home is officially listed more so in the first third of the year.

Tight Watch

Its not just the above one has to think of when trying to find a home in the Toronto area, the banks should be watched as well. Real estate agents are on high alert mode regarding new announcements from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution as the bank regulator is due to initiate new rules to protect consumers and lenders from increases in interest rates in the future.

The new guideline will affect uninsured mortgage applicants, making sure that they can cover required downpayments to qualify for bank loans that are now charging interest that is 2% above the central bank rate.

TREB’s market research shares that things are looking good because despite the changes in housing rules, borrowing rates in Toronto remain low and the population maintains a high employment rate. It also looks like people have learned to bid their time when buying a home and that the foreign buyer tax has had no adverse effect on the real estate market.

Concerned about how this news will affect your mortgage or your plan to apply for a home loan? Contact us today for answers and how we may help.

New Provincial Housing Measures Push Toronto Condo Rentals to Rise

A report from Urbanation Inc. shared that the Toronto condo rental market is getting hotter as the real estate market is cooling down as a result of the announcement of new provincial housing measures in April.

A New Housing Problem?

Real estate consulting firm Urbanation looked into the condominium rental market for the second quarter of 2017 and revealed that the new increased demand for condos may have been caused by the changes in housing that the province recently announced.

It should be noted that Toronto introduced its Fair Housing Plan in April of this year – a measure that included speculation tax for non-residents and widened rent control for buildings that were built after 1991. After the provincial announcement, Urbanation found out that condo leases grew 12%, hitting a record high. The rental values also rose up 11% and caused it to surpass the usual average of $2,000 for the first time in the area. Condo vacancies are also nearly non-existent.

In view of all these changes, it looks like those who already have an apartment are holding on to them longer as Urbanation observed that there are currently far less turnovers. Figures show that condo leases were an average of 17.9 months a year earlier and is now at 21.5 months this year at their latest report.

Urbanation senior vice-president Shaun Hildebrand says that the figures show that the province is grossly under-building rentals. He added that the rent controls measures that are in place are going to make the housing situation worse over time because less people would want to move out so there will be less turnover resulting in less supply. He also added that when and if this continues, the result will be a very unfavourable market for anyone who may have to move homes due to work or other circumstances.

There’s Hope for a Better Housing Situation Soon

Things are not all bad though. The silver lining to all that is going on now is that there is now an increase of proposals to build rental properties although not at a fast enough rate.

Last quarter’s under construction rental units numbered at 5,821, a number that is less than the 5,992 under the same period last year but at least higher than the figures for the first quarter of 2017.

Mr. Hildebrand brings up that a positive thing to note is that the long-term trend point to a growing number of proposals. He further shared that the demand for more rental units can at least encourage developers to invest into building more purpose-built rentals.

Hildebrand added that there could be another thing to look forward to later in the year when some buyers may choose to go back to home ownership market and new condo developments rise up.

Interested to dip your toes into owning a home or perhaps improving your current one but don’t have the funds to do so? Contact us at Homebase Mortgages so we can talk about how we can help.

Would You Bet Against Warren Buffet About A Canadian Housing Crash?

People constantly talk about predicting that the Toronto Housing Market is going to burst, but would you really believe them when investment genius Warren Buffet himself bought shares at mortgage lending company Home Capital Group Inc.? This isn’t just a show of support! This is a vote of confidence from the financial guru himself!

A Game-Changing Move

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a company by Warren Buffet, is buying an investment of 38% shares in Home Capital for a whopping C$400 million ($300 million). They are also providing a C$2 billion credit line to support the Toronto-based Home Capital Inc. This deal means that Buffet is wading waist deep in a housing market that’s been called over-leveraged and overvalued due to the fact that home prices in Vancouver and Toronto still continue to rise in the wake of record-breaking household debt levels.

It should be noted that Home Capital got involved in one of the huge controversies affecting the Canadian housing market when they were accused by regulators of misleading their investors about mortgage fraud in April. This issue sparked rumors that this event would be the driving force that will bring down the housing market – a housing market correction that has been predicted in the past by the International Monetary Fund and Fitch Ratings Inc.

Buffet’s investment and huge credit line extended to Home Capital strongly suggest that he’s not thinking that the Canadian housing market will collapse anytime soon; but let’s not disregard the fact that he is reaping huge rewards for the risk because he got a 33% discount for buying the shares. He will also be making 9% interest on tapped portions of the loan.

Investors are Flocking In

In a Home Capital statement issued by Buffet in last month, he said that Home Capital’s leading market position, its ability to start and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its strong assets make his move a very attractive investment.

Buffet is just one of the long lists of investors that have taken a keen look on Home Capital’s assets in recent time. Yes, even in the middle of run on deposits and housing market risks. Other interested investors include Onex Corp., Catalyst Capital Group Inc., Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and others, shared people who have insider information on the matter.

Home Capital is also discussing refinancing their current line of credit with a Canadian pension fund with some of Canada’s major banks. The company also sold a C$1.2 billion portfolio of commercial mortgages to Toronto-based private equity firm KingSett Capital Inc.

Alan Hibben, one of Home Capital’s new board members says that Buffet’s investment is a positive indicator that there is little risk of crash in the Canadian housing market. The question is, will Buffet’s move allay fears of a housing crash? Time will tell.

Want the latest news on Canada’s housing market and mortgage situation? Be sure to follow our blogs at Homebase Mortgages. In case you are interested in refinancing your mortgage, getting a home equity loan, or securing a private mortgage, simply contact us for assistance.

Small Number of Foreign Buyers in Toronto, an Effect of Speculation Tax?

Recent reports share that non-Canadian citizens who bought homes in Ontario are just a small percentage of recent buyers after the speculation tax was implemented for foreign buyers.

Effect of Speculation Tax?

The Ontario government released a report sharing that only 4.7% of the recent real estate sales in Ontario are by foreign buyers. This data reflects the portion of the 18,282 recent home sales that were passed to foreign buyers in Toronto and Golden Horseshoe area a month after the foreign buyer tax was implemented.

In April of this year, the Liberal government implemented a non-resident speculation tax together with other measures in an attempt to cool down the red hot Toronto real estate market. They were hoping that the new tax would help control home prices even with surging demand.

The figures shared recently only covered home purchases made between the 24th of April to the 26th of May. It showed that less than 5% of the 18,282 homes that changed hands were bought by non-citizens or foreign businesses.

The Need for More Homes

Ontario Real Estate Association head Tim Hudak shared that the province’s statistics are closer to 4.9% than 4.7% according to the TREB. He also added that in view of all these, the ultimate solution would be to increase housing supply in Toronto, not make it more difficult for certain groups of people to purchase. Hudak further said that homes like stacked flats, townhouses, or midrise buildings would be the best way to address the need for more homes.

It is to be noted that the province released their data on foreign buyers a day before a housing forum convened. That forum included community and economics groups and experts and met to talk about finding ways to address housing demand and making homes more affordable.

Rushed Government Decisions?

PC Finance Critic Vic Fedeli believes that the Liberals released the data to finally have something to base their decision on. He added that unfortunately, the rushed announcement made for an awkward situation for the government because they didn’t know yet the real impact of their policy at the time.

In a phone interview, Fedeli shared that the release was loosely put together and that they are concerned that there’s lack of preparedness and lack of data concerning the matter. He further said that the government should be dealing with the red tape and arcane regulations that are slowing down housing projects instead of raising taxes.

Ontario’s speculation tax covers Greater Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, North to Barrie and east to Peterborough. It exempts a small group of non-citizens such as spouses of a permanent resident or citizen and refugees.

The tax is part of the province’s 16-point Fair Housing Plan that sought to give young families and individuals the opportunity to purchase a home and stabilise the housing market.

The Canadian Real Estate Association shared that they recorded a 25.3% drop in sales in Greater Toronto in the period between April and May 2017. They called it the biggest monthly drop recorded in the past 5 years.

Keen on getting in on the housing action but is short of funds? We can help you at Homebase Mortgages. Contact us to inquire how.

Will Bad Credit Stop You From Getting a Home Equity Loan?

It’s no secret that getting a home equity loan can save your sanity when you need financial help for home improvements, managing your finances, or perhaps for emergency funds when getting these funds through traditional means is not possible.

Other types of loans usually come with a high interest rate or are relatively difficult to get, while a home equity loan is an easier option that comes with secure terms and friendlier interest. This is why a lot of people who need to get their finances in order opt to go for one, but what if you have bad credit?

Is it possible to get a home equity loan with bad credit?

The above is a common question, more so for people who have a lower credit score because of reasons such as having quite a lot of debt or being unable to pay some bills in the past. Bad credit will hinder you from getting other loans, but fortunately, a home equity loan isn’t off limits for people with bad credit.

Home equity loan lenders are often willing to accept applications from people with lower credit score or those who has a credit score that’s in the lower end of the spectrum.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if you’re looking for a loan provider to take care of existing debts, or you have other funding needs but already have quite a substantial debt, then you still got a chance to obtain some funding even though you have a low credit score.

Note that a source of income will have to be validated and your income should be of enough value to allow you to be able to afford paying off a loan. Having these will increase your chances of getting a loan as well as getting a favourable interest rate for your approved loan.

So how can you work on your credit score?

It often takes a few weeks to a few months for your loan to get approved, which means that you got some time to show that you are responsible enough to adhere to the terms of the loan when approved. You can try to pay off other debts to get an improved mark and improve your chances of getting approved.

How do you use your home equity loan wisely?

You can start by being extra cautious. Never take out more than you need and make sure that whatever you take can be paid off on time.

Keep in mind that your home is in line when you go for a home equity loan. No matter how small the loan is or whatever other financial issues you have to take care of, taking care of the loans that’s tied to your home should be your priority.

As for ustilising your home equity loan wisely, it can be used to:

  • Pay for home renovation or home improvement projects.
  • Consolidate debt
  • Take care of high interest loan
  • Pay off other loans or debts with a high interest rate

Curious about getting a home equity loan? We’ll be happy to assist you! Contact us today so we can tell you everything you need to know before getting a home equity loan.

Reasons Why Canadians Might Have Nothing to Fear Regarding Housing Market Correction

Is the housing market in the verge of a correction? CIBC’s economic team and chief economist Avery Shenfeld won’t say so, but fellow economists Nick Exarhos and Andrew Grantham bring up whether a housing market crash could bring down the entire economy in Canada – just like what happened to our neighbor, the U.S.A., last decade.

Is Market Correction Looming?

The 3 economists share that we aren’t really that close to a correction and that gloomy forecasts could be wrong. They also share that they’ve been often asked whether people should fear or be happy about a significant house price pull-back. The 3 economists were quick to share that a house price pull back isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that there is a possibility that it won’t trigger the same type of economic issue as what occurred south of our border a decade ago.

Will It Be Different for Us?

While some people worry, the trio says that any consequences of a house price correction will mostly be influenced by what triggered it, to begin with.

For instance, if public policy would change and cause an increase in house and apartment construction, this will bring down market prices and rent due to increased supply but at the same time, will also be great for our GDP (gross domestic product), leaving our economy at an advantage.

Another feared trigger of a crash is a huge surge in interest rate; but then, the Bank of Canada will only be doing so because our economy is doing so well. This is far from being the same as what happened down south in which poor quality credit was their downfall.

The trio shared that the U.S. housing crisis was brought upon partly by poor mortgage origination standards, something that’s not the case in Canada.

The trio also shared the following quote about circulating stories regarding record Canadian debt: “Forget about the aggregate debt-to-income ratio for the country as a whole. What matters is who has the debt, and their specific income.” This means that a development in this regard may not even affect you and followed with, “In the U.S., a surge in dubious sub-prime mortgages caused arrears rates to climb before the recession hit job growth, and the resulting forced selling led the turn in house prices by a few quarters. There is no similar advance warning being seen in Canadian arrears rates,”

Another thing they brought up is that there are no records of many major price declines in Canada, more so in the absence of a trigger such as a recession or an increasing interest rate.

A possible “wealth-effect” might be experienced where people will experience a shrinking of their net worth, but then, only 0.4% of nominal GDP growth was contributed by the housing sector to Canada’s economy last year. It won’t have that much of an impact compared to the grand scheme of things.

The trio further added that a correction by itself wouldn’t cause a national recession and that it is usually a recession that will cause house prices to drop, not the other way around.

Still not sure what to do regarding your mortgage in view of this news? Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss things with you so that your needs will surely be met.

Are Lower Interest Rates the New Normal in Canada?

Neutral interest rates are coming every Canadian’s way, but will it be the new normal or just a fleeting thing? Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says interest rates may still fluctuate, but he’s certain that they would be significantly lower than prior the financial crisis.

Poloz made the statement during a Q and A session after his talk on global trade growth and he added that it could be an effect of the lower forecast for long-term global growth. He also added that the interest rates can even go lower if present conditions are to continue and said those that are involved in the pension business needs to adapt to it or get used to it. Needless to say, he believes that neutral interest rates are here to stay for quite some time.

The Effect on Pension Funds

From the time of the 2008 global financial crisis, the world’s pension funds had to deal with uncertainty, record-low interest rates, and feeble growth. This is because pension funds have to use long-term interest rates to calculate their future expenses or liabilities. Lower interest rates mean the pension provider has to have more money to be able to pay future benefits. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported late last year that conditions now give them doubts whether annuity schemes and defined-contribution systems can deliver adequate pensions later.

What Can We Expect?

The shock of lower commodity prices can have an adverse effect on the Canadian economy so to Poloz lowered the central bank’s key rate to just 0.5%, still a bit above the historic low of 0.25% but still very low. This is to cushion the Canadian economy. He says that the higher neutral rate in the past is linked to the baby boom era, a 50-year period of more labour-force participation and overall better growth. He quickly added that that period is over during a meeting between the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

It should be noted that with all these unpredictability, Poloz still says that current headwinds can still cause a positive change wherein interest rates will go back to more normal levels as it was prior to the financial crisis.

Poloz touched on an important topic on his speech. He says that the rapid pace of trade growth prior to the crisis isn’t likely to happen soon. However, he remains optimistic, saying that he’s not seeing any sign of a looming global recession. If any, he expressed confidence that the current trade slow-down can be slowly reversed as the global economy recovers – and he knows what he’s talking about, being a former CEO and president of Export Development Canada.

Poloz further shared that current signs point to the global economy having reached a balance point, something that has a positive outcome in the future.

As for the overall export of Canadian goods and services, EDC chief economist Peter Hall predicts an expansion of 2% for this year, as compared to 7% last year. It does look like that a slowed-down growth and a lower interest rate is the new norm, isn’t it? We’ll let time decide on that.

Interested in taking advantage of the low interest rates for a second mortgage or home equity loan? Then contact us and we might be able to help you out!

6 Major Transit Projects in Toronto to Look Forward To

2016 is the year of exciting updates and upgrades to Toronto’s transit system. Below, we share with you 6 of the upcoming major transit projects in Toronto that you should absolutely look forward to.

SmartTrack

The heavy rail that’s supposed to go along Eglington has been taken off the table, and the residents have been asked to voice out their opinion regarding extending the Crosstown LRT west of Mount Dennis. Planners involved in the project have been asked to take a look at possible new locations and how best to connect the LRT to the airport jobs hob.

Electrified GO Service

There is a plan to create a two-way all-day service by electrifying 5 of the 7 GO lines. This means that two-way service will be available at 15-minute intervals in key sections. This project will build 6 substations and 11 switching stations aside from powering 262 kilometres of track. This will also involve building 78 overhead bridges and installing barriers.

New SmartTrack/GO Stations

A short list of 50 new station locations is being looked into by the provincial agency Metrolinx as part of the electrified GO expansion. There is a huge chance that a lot of the stations will be in the city to connect SmartTrack riders. The stops included are Finch, Lawrence, Ellesmere, Gerard-Carlaw, Unilever, Bathurst-Spadina, Liberty Village, and St. Clair.

Relief Line

City Planners have unveiled their chosen route that will be from Pape station to the new hub at Nathan Phillips Square. This route was planned to reduce the crowding at the south end of the Yonge subway and the TTC’s Yonge-Bloor station. What makes this feasible is that it won’t add up to the congestion at Union Station and will promote transit and foot connections in the financial district, Regent Park, and the rest of the downtown.

Scarborough Subway Extension

As part of the move to encourage job growth at the Scarborough City Centre, the Danforth subway is planned to have an extension going there. This planned extension’s route will be along McCowan Rd. When completed, this extension will also include an eastern extension of the Crosstown LRT going to Morningside avenue all the way to the U of T campus.

Integrated Fares

To make it easier to cross municipal borders whilst in transit, one of the options being considered is a fare-by-distance or zoned system. This new development is considered crucial for SmartTrack’s success. Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat said that this will address a current bizaare situation wherein buses usually leave full of people while GO trains leave not even half full.

Another thing of note is that Metrolinx’s the Big Move (their 2008 regional transportation plan is being reviewed. The review will note any changes and information that have changed, such as the plan for the Scarborough transit.