Brian Cyr Logo

The weather outside is frightful! So, maybe this is the perfect time to tackle those tasks around the home that you have been putting off. Did you set a goal for 2020 to become more organized? Well, if you did, here are some helpful tips to get your home in tip top order.

Start purging

The first step to getting organized is taking time to go through your closets, cabinets and drawers and get rid of items that are no longer needed or used. Separate your piles into three categories: store, keep and trash. This way, you can easily sort through your things and decide where it’s going. When you are finished, each pile can be taken care of accordingly.


Store it

Now that you have purged the items that you no longer need or want, it’s time to organize the items you are left with. Use different storage containers in your cabinets and in your drawers, to avoid them becoming a catch all. Avoid using containers with lids for items like bath and kitchen products. You want to make sure that putting things away is as easy as taking it out.

Avoid clutter zones

Where does clutter accumulate in your home? Is it the dining room table? The kitchen island? Rather than having random items landing on spaces where it doesn’t belong, discourage this practice. The best way to do this is by decorating areas where clutter ends up. For example, if your dining table is where it tends to build up, add a floral arrangement and placemats. This will serve as a reminder to put items back where they belong.

Keep a bag handy

How often do you bring out an item of clothing only to put it on, hate it, and hang it back up in the closet? When you have an item that you no longer like, or doesn’t fit properly, rather than placing it back into the space, put it in a bag or container. Once it is full, you are ready to donate. If you have older children, this can be done in their rooms as well.

Make items accessible

When organizing, make sure to keep the items that you use most at the forefront. Keep items that are used less near the back or tucked away in spaces that aren’t as accessible. This way, items are easily located and are more likely to stay where they belong. The harder it is to find things, the messier and more chaotic your drawers and cabinets will become.


Take a good look

Because we spend so much time in our homes, clutter can often become a fixture that we don’t notice. Look at your home from a different perspective. Imagine that you are a visitor and do a once over of your space. This will help you recognize items that are out of place or no longer needed. You may even want to consider taking some photographs and reviewing them. Sometimes we just need to look at things through a different lens. Literally!

Answer some questions

It can be hard to let go of things. However, it’s important to ask yourself some questions in order to help organize your home. Have you used it in the last year? If the answer is no, you likely don’t need it any longer. Do you need it, or love it? Again, if the answer is no, it’s time to part ways. Does it fit the life you want to live? If you are holding onto items that no longer fit your lifestyle, then say goodbye.


Getting organized can be daunting. However, if you take some time to purge, you will be amazed at how liberated you feel. And, you may be surprised at how much extra space you have!

Read full post

When choosing the perfect shade for your home, there are many factors to consider. From popular trends to personal preferences, there are endless options. One thing you may want to think about prior to tackling the walls, is a certain colour that has been deemed top dog. Yes, there is in fact a crowning, and the Pantone Color of the Year was recently announced. And, we are certain it won’t have you singing the blues; or at least we sure hope it won’t. The hue of the year is PANTONE 19-4052 TCX Classic Blue, and the beautiful tone will surely have homeowners inspired to break out the paintbrushes and incorporate it in some way in their space.


Image via Pantone


Pantone is best known for providing a universal language of colour, which enables individuals to make colour choices throughout any project. Using advanced technology, Pantone provides colour consistency across many different platforms. From graphics to fashion, the Pantone Standards help with providing colour guidelines as well as trend forecasting. Pantone began in 1963 when they introduced the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®. This unique system allows for the reproduction of consistent colour anywhere around the world.


For the last twenty years, the Pantone Color Institute invests an incredible amount of time to studying colour trends that have happened throughout the year. They look at influences such as fashion, marketing and social media. These factors all help to determine which colour will be crowned as the Pantone Color of the Year. The chosen colour is influential in design, fashion and brand marketing.


This year’s winner, PANTONE 19-4052 TCX Classic Blue, is a lovely shade and we will likely be seeing much more of it. Pantone’s website describes the colour as, “a timeless and enduring blue hue elegant in its simplicity.” Colour psychology has found that blue elicits feelings of calmness and serenity. This makes it an ideal colour for your bedroom or bathroom. The colour blue also helps to encourage productivity. Therefore, it is often used in office buildings, board rooms or home offices.


Image via Pinterest


Classic blue is also an excellent option for adding a pop of colour throughout your home. You might want to consider it as an accent wall in your living room, update your cupboards or island in your kitchen, or add some much-needed dimension to a space like your laundry room or mud room. Classic blue, as its name suggests, is a timeless colour choice with a variety of uses throughout your own home.


Image Via Pinterest

 

What do you think about the winner of the Pantone Color of the Year? Are you already on trend in your home? Or, has their choice left you singing the blues? Let us know! We would love to see your spaces and hear your thoughts on this year’s top colour.

Read full post

With the arrival of the new year, you may be considering tackling some projects around your home. Perhaps it’s your master bathroom, basement or, most commonly, your kitchen. Often considered the gathering spot of the home, renovating your kitchen is a worthwhile undertaking. However, there are certain upgrades that will give you a larger return on investment. Even if you aren’t planning to sell, it’s a good idea to think ahead and ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Here are four ideas that will pay off.

Grab the paintbrush

It seems obvious, but one of the easiest ways to upgrade your kitchen is to change the paint colour. When choosing a colour, especially for resale, it’s important to consider a palette that will appeal to the masses. For the cost of the paint and some tools, a new coat of paint is sure to give you an excellent return on your investment. Paint provides an instant upgrade and can be easily changed if the colour is not exactly what you had in mind. You can also test out several colours to ensure the one you do pick is just right.



Tackle the cabinets

Depending on your budget, you have a few choices here. The first is to tear out your existing cabinets and replace them with new ones. However, you can also roll up your sleeves and update your current cabinets with paint. Hiring a professional to do this for you is another option as it does take a large amount of time, effort, and elbow grease. Looking for an inexpensive and quick update? Purchase some new pulls and handles for your cabinets and drawers. Voila! A simple and chic new look.


Boost your backsplash

An eye-catching backsplash can do wonders for your kitchen. From white subway tiles to a sleek metallics, your options are endless. You may choose to add a pop of colour with your backsplash or keep it modern with a monochromatic colour scheme. Whatever you choose, make sure it is easy to clean and can withstand the messes that occur in the kitchen. And, remember to have some fun. Since it covers a smaller space, let your creativity run free.



Add some lights

A dated light fixture can keep your space stuck in the 80’s. By adding a beautiful pendant light, or sparkling fixture, your space will be instantly brought into the new decade. Not only do lovely light fixtures look aesthetically pleasing, they also serve a practical purpose. Since the kitchen is often the busiest spot in your home, it should be well lit and be a welcoming space for your family and visitors.


With these tips, you will be spending the new year basking in the beauty of your new kitchen. And, the good news is that you’ll excited to entertain all your friends and family, so you can spend more time in the comfort of your home.

Read full post


With the holiday season here, I wanted to take some time to give back to our amazing community. While it is always important to acknowledge the wonderful aspects of our lives, during this time of year, we are even more reminded about how fortunate we are. However, for many, this time of year is filled with hardships and struggles. So, I decided to embark upon a Christmas Community Support Campaign in the week leading up to Christmas. Here is a recap of everything I have been up to this season.


Sunday, December 15

I started the Christmas Community Support Campaign off with helping the St. Albert Kinette Christmas Hamper Campaign. We headed to Save-On-Foods with our large customer service van and filled it with approximately ten shopping carts of much needed groceries. I am honoured to be able to help this amazing charity that provides groceries to nearly 300 St. Albert families during the Christmas season. My heart was full, the van was full, and now many bellies will be full as well.




Monday December 16

For day two of the Christmas Community Support Campaign, I headed to Superstore to do some more grocery shopping. I took to the aisles to fill my cart with food to help Marie Poburan Schools provide food hampers to Sifton School in Edmonton. Thanks to the generous support of the families and staff at Marie Poburan School, over thirty hampers of holiday food was delivered. A huge shout out to the grade four students of Marie Poburan for lending a hand. It was an incredible experience.



 

Tuesday, December 17

To support the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign, day three brought me to Costco. I was excited to spend a couple of hours helping raise funds for a great cause. Did you know that every dollar earned during the Kettle Campaign stays in the community? Also, you wouldn’t believe how many friends and clients I ran into during my time at Costco. It was a great experience, and I hope that you consider donating when you see the Salvation Army volunteers around the community.


Wednesday, December 18

In support of the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch, I headed down to The Bookstore on Perron to purchase a bunch of brand-new books to donate to the Digital Link Book Drive. Little Warriors is an incredible organization that is focused on the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.



I also decided to try something different! As an avid member of the hockey community, I couldn’t help but notice people struggling to get rid of the snow on the outdoor rinks around St. Albert. So, I decided to bring an early Christmas gift to some of the rinks around the community. I headed to Home Depot, purchased some shovels and delivered them. Hopefully they help get rid of the snow and make for more time spent enjoying the ice rather than cleaning it off.


Thursday, December 19

Day five! I put some miles on the company service van to help deliver a truckload of books to the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch. It was incredible to see all the boxes and we estimate that between 8,000-10,000 books were collected by the community. The books brought to the Be Brave Ranch will quadruple the number of books they currently have. The children will have an amazing surprise when they return to the ranch after Christmas.




It was an amazing week and I am grateful that I can support and give back to the community I love. From the entire team and I, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2020!

Read full post

As the temperature continues to drop, it’s important to ensure that you are paying close attention to your home. As the snow falls and the wind picks up, this time of year can do a number on your heating bills and to your house. And, there may be one major culprit: your insulation. Insufficient insulation can lead to detrimental effects regarding the structure of your home as well as your health. In order to make sure you have proper insulation, there are signs to keep an eye out for. There are also ways to make sure that your home is keeping your family warm and toasty.


Changes in temperature

Do you find yourself continuously heading to the thermostat to adjust the heat during the winter months? Does it seem like you can never get the temperature to a degree where everyone feels warm and comfortable? Are you layering on the sweaters and blankets? If so, this might be a good indicator that your insulation needs to be replaced.

Sky high energy bills

While there can be several reasons why your energy bill is astronomical, you should consider having your insulation checked if this is the case. If heat is escaping out of the walls or attic space of your home, you are likely paying much more than you should be. Consider where else that money could be spent in your home. The investment of making sure your insulation is up to par is well worth it in the long run.

Leaks and/or mold

One of the most common signs of poor insulation is mold or water damage. If your insulation has become damp, then you are in trouble. You will want to have your insulation replaced immediately. Poor insulation also leads to hindering air flow, which can result in mold. This can be detrimental to both the structure of your home and to your health. If someone in your house suffers from conditions such as asthma, they may find that the colder temperatures impact overall health. Mold is also dangerous when inhaled and can lead to lung conditions due to the hazardous spores it releases.

Frozen pipes

When your insulation is installed properly, your pipes are well protected. However, if this isn’t the case, you run the risk of having issues with frozen pipes, roof and even with your water tank. The last think you want to deal with is a flooded basement during the holidays (or any time!). Therefore, make sure to have your insulation checked by a professional to save you from unwelcome damage and unsightly expenses.


When it comes to the structure of your home, it’s imperative that it is serving you in the best way possible. Investing in proper insulation will ensure you will have a warm home during the winter, and a cool one during the summer. Also, it will save you money and keep you and your family in good health.

Read full post

‘Tis the season for holiday lights and decorations. If you are hosting a festive meal during the holidays, you will want to have your home decorated in a warm and inviting way. We have a few holiday decorating tips to make your holidays merry and bright.


Stick to a simple and festive colour palate

For a consistent and cohesive look, choose one or two festive accent colours, or two shades of the same colour, and find simple ways to tie them in to your existing décor. You can accomplish this with ribbons, winter flower displays, patterned pillows, cozy blankets and Christmas stockings. If you’d like to stick to the traditional red and green, try incorporating different hues in the same colour family for an elevated and modern look.


Bring in the warm and the cozy

To turn your home into a warm and inviting haven, try lighting a Christmas scented candle and using warm, dim lighting. You can also replace your lightweight linens with chunky textures, such as knits of velvets, and decorate with warm, fleece throw blankets to keep your guests warm. Rearrange your furniture to face the Christmas tree or fireplace to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere during the holiday season.


Put extra ornaments to good use

Over the years, people can collect more Christmas ornaments than one tree can hold. Instead of cramming them all onto your tree, try using them as tasteful decorations in your home. Place brightly coloured balls in a large apothecary jars of different heights around the house. You can also stack shiny ornaments in a bowl with boughs of evergreen, pinecones and a white string of lights for a beautiful centerpiece. As a decorative window treatment, attach a faux green garland to the top of a windowpane and attach extra ornaments.


Incorporate natural fragrant greenery

The smell of the outdoors can set a festive, wintry mood. Try decorating your holiday table with boxwood cuttings, evergreen sprigs or a poinsettia for texture, colour and fragrance. Attach fresh holly sprigs and magnolia leaves to napkin rings for a sophisticated table setting. Holiday candles can also help set the mood. Why not give a fir-scented candle a try?


Store bought is fine

It is not always essential to have a real tree. Store bought accessories and faux greenery can be perfectly acceptable. Try dressing up your stairway banister with a simple, store-bought garland and weave in some ribbon. Add another across a doorway, mantel or bookshelf and decorate it with holiday cards and photographs. If you would like to add some pizazz, you can upgrade your store-bought wreath with a bow and inexpensive decorations.


By following these simple decorating tips, your home will be beautifully adorned for the holidays.

Read full post

When it comes to renovations, some areas of your home will bring in more value than others. Often, the money you put in cannot be recouped when it is time to sell, so it is important to invest in some areas of your home that will bring back the most return on your investment. Here are some areas of your house that you can safely renovate while adding resale value to your home.


Increase light and space

One of the best things a property owner can do to elevate appeal is to increase flow and light in their space. This can be achieved in a few ways. Consider knocking down some walls to extend floor space and brighten up the area. An open floor plan makes your home feel larger and is great for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings can create the illusion of more space, and skylights can add abundant natural light. Adding new large windows can also help bring in sunshine. Each of these options come at various price points.


Increase curb appeal

The curb appeal of your home is incredibly important when it comes time to sell. The first impression of your home will be from the outside looking in. It is said that a good first impression of a home adds five percent to its value. Make sure that exterior paint is in good repair. The driveway should be paved properly, the front steps should be swept, and the lawn space should be well-maintained. If you have a deck, consider adding some stylish furniture and colourful potted plants.


Create a home office

If you have extra space, consider adding a home office. With businesses giving employees more options for telecommuting, this extra space adds value. Make sure there is plenty of desk space,  grounded outlets and even an extra phone line.


Consider adding a deck

Studies have shown that if you add a deck to your home, you will likely recoup up to 80 percent of the cost when it comes time to selling your home. When installing a deck, take the time to plan out unique features such as built-in seating or a fire pit. Using higher quality materials will increase the life of your deck.


Finish your basement

Finishing your basement can easily add resale value to your home. A basement space can be turned into a playroom for the kids or a media room relatively easily. Consider adding a bathroom when you do the remodel, as this can increase the value of the project even more.


There are plenty of different home renovation projects that you can do to increase the resale value of your home. The projects you undertake can make your home more appealing to the buyer, while also adding to the potential that your home will go for more when it is on the market.

Read full post

When dealing with a drainage problem in your basement, it may be difficult to determine where the problem is coming from. Could it be a leaky roof, poor drainage or worse, a crack in your foundation? Getting the help of a professional to determine the cause of your drainage issue first is a good idea. Here is a guide to everything you need to know about weeping tile, should you decide to have it installed.


What are weeping tiles?


Weeping tiles are porous 4-inch pipes that discharge underground water. They were originally named weeping tiles back when terracotta tiles were used for drainpipes. Today, the products used are plastic tubes with small slits designed to redirect water away from the home. Weeping tiles were invented by Henry Flagg French. He wrote a book about the subject back in 1859 and was heralded for solving the drain-clogging problem of the era.


How do weeping tiles work?


How weeping tiles work is really quite simple. The plastic pipes are placed, holes side up, into a trench around the perimeter of your home or inside under the basement floor. As ground water rises, it flows through the holes into the pipe. The water then follows the pipe’s incline to discharge away from the house, or into a sump pump where it is pumped away from the house.


Types of weeping tiles


There are two main types of weeping tiles

  • Exterior weeping tile, or French drains, manage water at ground level before it can get into your basement. This system consists of a trench that is sloped away from the house, as well as gravel and pipe. When surface water soaks into the ground, it is filtered through the gravel, then through holes in the pipe and directed away from the house.
  • Interior weeping tile is only used when exterior weeping tile has failed. This system is installed under the basement floor, where water is directed to a sump pump, through the pipes and into an exterior storm sewer. While installing weeping tile beneath a basement floor is like installing one outside, it can be more expensive. The process is similar to installing a sump pump. A 12-inch wide by 12-inch deep trench is cut around the entire perimeter of the basement, and a pipe is placed inside, filled with gravel and covered with concrete.

Weeping tile maintenance


To keep your weeping tile system working efficiently, regular plumbing checks and maintenance are required. There are a few things you can do to help maintain the life of your tile:

  • Clean out leaves from eaves troughs and redirect downspouts away from your house.
  • Keep window wells free of debris and add a cover.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working properly and add a better back-up.
  • Have any slow draining sinks or toilets checked for clogs.
  • Walk around your property to check for pooling water.

Now that you’re an expert, make sure to ask a professional to check your home drainage issue to see if this problem might be resolved with weeping tile!

Read full post

With the holiday season upon us, there are many wonderful holiday events to enjoy in and around the city of St. Albert. Here is a list of six great holiday events, which will get you and your family into the holiday spirit!


1. The Magic of Lights


The Magic of Lights is a great way to take in beautiful holiday light displays without having to leave the comfort of your car! This drive-through light display will delight your whole family, while staying warm and dry from the elements.

When: November 22, 2019 – January 4, 2020

Where: Highway 19 & Highway 2, Nisku

Cost: $25 + GST per car


2. Enjoy Light Festival


The Enjoy Light Festival (or ELF), will transform St. Albert’s own Enjoy Center into an enchanted winter wonderland with whimsical lighting displays that will create an interactive and unforgettable experience for guests of all ages!

When: November 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Where: The Enjoy Centre

Cost: $9.95 - $19.95 (Children 3 and under free!)


3. Christmas Glow


This year’s Glow theme is “Glow Around the World.” Experience a magical family-friendly indoor wonderland. Enjoy interactive light gardens, illuminated structures, delicious food, festive drinks and daily live entertainment, all under the twinkle of a million lights.

When: November 28, 2019 – January 2, 2020

Where: Edmonton Expo Centre

Cost: $16.99 - $22.99


4. St. Albert Snowflake Festival


Let the holidays begin in Downtown St. Albert! Perron District will light up with the warm glow of Christmas lights. There are festivities for guests of all ages, including a live ice sculpture display, horse drawn wagons and a petting zoo. Santa and his elves will be waiting in Santa’s village to greet children and spread Christmas cheer.

When: Friday, November 22, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Where: Perron Street, St. Albert.

Cost: Free!


5. Winter Whyte Light Up


The Old Strathcona Business Association is turning McIntyre Park into a winter wonderland with a whole host of activities! There will be extended hours at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, Free Santa Photos at the Strathcona Public Library, an 18+ Speakeasy at the ATB Financial Arts Barns, Firepits and S’mores and more!

When: November 20, 2019 from 4 – 7 PM

Where: Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park

Cost: Free


6. Zoominescence


Zoominescence will stage a spectacular exhibition of artistic light installations within the unique setting of the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The festival aims to celebrate light, artistry, imagination and the strong spirit of our community in the winter. There will be beautiful light displays, animals, skating, hot chocolate and fun for the whole family.

When: Every December Weekend, plus December 26

Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo

Cost: $8.50 per adult, $6 per child


With so many holiday events to enjoy in and around St. Albert, there will be no shortage of holiday cheer to go around. What’s your favourite holiday event to attend? Comment below!

Read full post

There’s no doubt about it – Winter is here. With that, it’s important to make sure your home’s most important feature throughout the winter – your furnace – will survive the frosty weather. We’ve compiled a list of important considerations to determine if your furnace will survive the coldest months of the year. We also have a few suggestions on how to extend your furnace’s life.

Consider your furnace’s lifespan

Typically, furnaces last about 15 years. If your furnace is older than that, it might be worth thinking about getting a new one before a true deep freeze sets in. Regular maintenance can help keep your furnace in great shape. Make sure to have your furnace looked at by a qualified professional. If the repairs end up being more than half the value of a new furnace, it might be time to think about getting a new one.

Inefficiency

Furnaces that are in their best condition, like new or well-maintained furnaces, operate efficiently. As they get older, performance and furnace efficiency start to drop. Who wants to deal with higher heating bills or uneven heating? Regular maintenance can help avoid these problems. However, if you’ve noticed that your heating bill has already risen, talk about it with a professional. He or she will be able to help you identify the problem.

Unusual noises and smells

If your furnace is making unusual noises (don’t be afraid to get up close to listen) or emitting weird smells, there should be cause for concern. If you hear buzzing, rattling or humming, call a professional to get it inspected right away.


Now that you know what to look out for, here are a few tips on helping your furnace power through Alberta winters.

Keep your air filter clean

When it’s extremely cold outside, your furnace needs all the help it can get to keep your home warm. Having a clean air filter will prevent your furnace from working harder than it needs to.


Hold off setting back your thermostat

We often set our programmable thermostats to a lower temperature while we’re away from home in order to conserve energy. While this may seem like a great idea, it may be more trouble than it's worth in the dead of winter. When it’s freezing outside, it’s harder for your furnace to bring your home back up to the desired room temperature. Keeping your thermostat at a consistent setting until the weather warms up outside might be your best bet.

Ask a neighbour to check on your house when you’re gone

If your furnace goes out during extreme cold weather and you’re not home, your house may be at risk for problems such as frozen pipes. If you’re going on vacation, have a neighbour or family member check on your home to ensure your heat is working. The last thing you want upon arrival is a colossal mess.


We hope these considerations and tips help your furnace survive even our coldest winter months.

Read full post

Welcome, November! While some of us may be dreading the return of the cold weather, we are excited to partake in a large list of fun activities in and around St. Albert to keep us warm.


1. Dig In Dining Week


Until November 10th, indulge in St. Albert’s first annual Dig In Dining Week, a gastronomic extravaganza showcasing the culinary talents of St. Albert chefs. Enjoy two and three-course meals at special prices across restaurants in St. Albert. You’re not going to want to miss the chance to try the delicious culinary offerings your city has to offer.


2. Farm Fair International


Also running until November 10th, Farm Fair International is one of Canada’s top agricultural shows. Guests are invited to partake in a wide variety of western entertainment, including a heritage ranch rodeo and stock dog trails. In the Winter Marketplace, visitors can find anything and everything western. Apparel, saddles, home décor and fashion accessories will all be on sale. Saddle up and head on down to Farm Fair International.


3. Six The Musical


Running from November 1st through 24th, the Citadel Theatre is running an interesting historical remake. Six musical remixes 500 years of historical heartbreak by retelling the story of the six wives of Henry VIII and turning it into a seventy-five-minute celebration of girl power. Should be an interesting show!


4. Explore the St. Albert Public Library


The St. Albert Public Library is rife with fun activities for the whole family. From Lego Fun at the Library to Drop in Game Jam, and from Walking Storytime to Teen Tuesdays, the St. Albert public library has a plethora of programs that will be sure to pique an interest among your family members.


5. Just for Laughs Comedy Night in Canada hosted by Rick Mercer


One of the kings of Canadian comedy is coming to the Edmonton area. Rick Mercer, along with several award-winning Canadian comedians, will be on stage at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on Friday, November 8th. This year, Just for Laughs is partnering up with Movember, and one dollar from every ticket sale will be donated to Movember Canada to support men’s health.


6. Margaret Atwood: Word after a Word after a Word is Power at the Garneau Theatre


Poet and Novelist, Margaret Atwood is a Canadian literary giant. While millions of readers worldwide know her books cover to cover, few know the woman behind the type. Screening on November 11th and November 14th, this documentary explores Atwood’s interesting life, from her early years as a poet and novelist to her current international success.


7. Country Craft Fair


The Country Craft Fair showcases members of the St. Albert Place Visual Arts Council, with unique works of art for sale. Just in time for the holidays, this beautiful craft show will feature paintings, quilts, glasswork, fibre, floral and paper art, pottery, photography and more. The fair runs on November 16th and 17th. Don’t miss out!  


With such a large list of things to see and do in November, there’s no chance of getting bored. Did we miss any great events happening in November? Comment below.

Read full post

The cold weather has officially made a comeback in St. Albert and it’s time to think about ways to prepare your home for the colder months. Here are a few tips for getting your home ready for winter.


Check your furnace


It’s a great idea to have your furnace professionally checked in the fall, before the deep freeze settles upon us. There’s nothing like having your furnace break down in the middle of a cold snap in January. A routine maintenance check will help ensure that your furnace is running efficiently. Depending on the age of your furnace, annual checks may even be included in the sale.


Inspect all windows and doors for leaks


To prevent your home from loosing heat, make sure that all of your windows and doors are properly sealed. Here is where weather stripping can play an important role – check your windows and doorframes and replace them where necessary. If you’re noticing a draft anywhere, caulk any areas that could benefit from it.


Sweep the chimney


If you plan on curling up in front of a roaring fire at any point this winter, it may be a good idea to get your chimney cleaned before entertaining the thought. Have a professional chimney sweep come to clean and inspect your chimney to make sure both the chimney and vents are in good condition before setting a fire. This prevents chimney fires and carbon monoxide from entering your home.


Clean your gutters


It’s a good idea to start the season with clean eaves troughs. That way, when snow begins to melt in the spring, it will have a clear path to escape, avoiding ice damning which could creep under your shingles and eventually into your home. When you are cleaning out the gutters, take a look at the downspouts and make sure that they extend away from your home by at least five feet. This will ensure that water runs away from your house and not towards it.


Inspect the roof


While you are cleaning out the eaves troughs, it’s also a good idea to take a peek at your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. Call in a roofer to help you with the repairs and ask them to check the seal around the chimney and air vents.


Drain your hose and turn off any external faucets


We all use our garden hoses throughout the summer, but it is essential to drain off the hose and turn off the outside tap before the cold settles in. Any water left inside can damage both the faucet and the hose, so make sure to winterize both to prevent any burst pipes.


Trim your bushes and trees


Make sure that any overgrown bushes, shrubs or trees are trimmed back away from the house, especially away from power cables. When the inevitable heavy snowfall hits, this will prevent any potential damage to property or power lines.


With these simple home maintenance steps, your home will be ready for winter in no time. Do you have any suggestions on how to get your home ready for winter? Comment below!

Read full post


You may not know, but there is a distinct difference between remodeling and renovating. We are here to break it down for you, so that you can understand the difference, and how it might impact your own home or one you may purchase in the future.


Renovation


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, renovation means to “restore to a better state (as by repairing or rebuilding)”. In other words, dilapidated buildings or poorly maintained houses are sometimes considered to be in a state of disrepair. To renovate a house or building means to revive that structure from a state of disrepair and bring it into a better, or more beautiful and functional, state of repair.


Renovations can be small, like when you improve on an existing building or house. Or, they can be drastic, like when you gut your home and improve on it greatly. Remember, construction involving renovation often refers to “restoring” or “repairing” an existing structure, replacing the old with the new.


Remodeling


Again, according to Marriam Webster, remodeling means “to alter the structure of”. If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, you’re looking to change the appearance of it. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation, you’re looking to repair and update it (think, new cabinetry, rather than simply painting it).


Remodels generally work to change the appearance, structure or function of a room. In other words, a remodel aims to improve upon or transform the existing design and layout of a room. Remodeling refers to “changing” or “transforming” a building or a home.


Examples


Let’s say you’re looking to make some improvements to your bathroom.


In a bathroom remodel, you might paint the walls, buy and install a new mirror, change up the door handles and the toilet paper roll holder. You might even go all out and buy a stunning new shower curtain and bath rug. Set up some candles around the edge of the bathtub and you’ve got yourself a newly remodeled bathroom oasis!


With bathroom renovations, on the other hand, you’re looking at a more complex undertaking. That leaky faucet? Switch it up for a nice new energy-efficient and auto-temperature-controlled one. Install a fancy new toilet with a bidet function. Sure, you’ll paint the walls, but not until you’ve gutted them to make the bathroom a little bigger. And while you’re at it, why not install that snazzy new light fixture? Replace the tub entirely for the latest model of shower-tub combo.


Why is this important?


Why is it important to know the difference between a renovation and a remodel? You’ll want to be able to accurately communicate with your general contractor what changes you want to make to your home or building. As you can tell from the above example, there is a huge difference between a remodel and a renovation, which means there are certain costs associated with each type of construction. Finally, now that you know the difference, you can make an informed decision when you are looking for a home that has either been recently been renovated or remodeled.

Read full post

The St. Albert clock tower (aka, the Perron Street clock tower) is a beautiful building. It is also one of the most characteristic landmarks of the St. Albert skyline. It is a nice welcomed beacon as you drive past in the morning, and a constant reminder of the time as you drive past on your way home. But do you know the real reason why the St. Albert clock tower was built? You may find it surprising…


Since its construction in 1995, the Perron Street clock tower has been acting as a University of Alberta research facility. Surprising, right?


In the mid-1990s, Dr. Mike Hatzinikolas, a university professor of civil engineering at the University of Alberta, approached the then-mayor of St. Albert, Anita Ratchinsky, with an interesting idea. He was studying how bricks weather and erode over time and needed a new building in order to study the process properly. An older building’s bricks would have already begun the erosion process, so he needed to construct a brand-new building for his research. The mayor and council agreed to his proposal, and the St. Albert clock tower was born.


Construction began in June of 1995 and by September, St. Albert had a brand-new clock tower. While it looked nice on the outside, many residents of St. Albert had no idea of the research implications on the inside. The four walls were constructed using different methods, each displaying a different construction style. Next, Dr. Hatzinkolas and his team hung a series of weights, pendulums and machines to conduct measurements on the structure. The weights were designed to measure the brick’s erosion over time. After about a year, the research team had all the data they needed for their study and left the clock tower to tick along in peace.


After almost 20 years, there was renewed interest in the tower from the University. New engineering professors at the University thought that the tower could still produce valuable data and they wanted to run new and exciting experiments. The researchers brought in new technology to measure the walls and found some interesting results.


A St. Albert Gazette article from January 2013 explains:


“While they cautioned it is still early, their preliminary observations show the south wall of the tower is gaining a significant amount of heat due to solar radiation, sometimes double what current standards dictate. The outside wall is also not contracting as much in the cold compared to the inside walls. To date, the wall has shrunk only one or two millimetres.”


While the clock tower will stand forevermore as an iconic landmark in our city’s downtown, it’s original purpose was for something much more. The pursuit of science!

Read full post

With the cooler temperatures inevitably on their way, it’s important to ensure that your home is ready for the harsh elements that winter brings. One of the most important aspects of your home is its roof. While it is a significant financial commitment to replace your roof, it is also one of the most crucial. It is vital to ensure that you identify any problems quickly in order to avoid larger problems down the road.


There is still time to get your roof done before the real snow hits. And, if you aren’t sure you are ready just yet, it is something you may want to consider when spring rolls around next year.


There are several signs that indicate your roof is in need of replacing. Here are some to keep an eye out for:

  • Bald spots where granules are missing
  • Cracked or missing shingles
  • Drooping and sagging
  • Moss growth
  • An old or worn appearance

It is also important to keep in mind the age of your roof. If it is at least 20 years old, your roof might have reached its expiry date. For instance, a typical asphalt shingle roof typically lasts 20 to 25 years. However, a roof installed over an existing layer of shingles should be replaced after 20 years.


So, once you have discovered that your roof needs replacing, what does that mean for you home overall? There are many befits of a brand-new roof and here are some of our top reasons why.


Boost in Home Value

 

A new roof significantly increases your homes value. A dilapidated roof can be an instant turn off for many buyers. The fact of the matter is that they don’t want to have to deal with having to replace the roof themselves. Even if your home isn’t hitting the market, investing in your roof now definitely has the potential to pay off down the road.


Increases Curb Appeal

 

First impressions mean everything, and it’s no different when it comes to your home. Whether or not you are planning to sell, you want your home to look great. A new roof can completely change the look of the exterior of your home and has a massive impact on its curb appeal. The best part is that there are many roofing options available, so you are sure to find something that fits your style and aesthetic.


Lower Insurance Premiums

 

Who doesn’t want to save money? After you replace your roof, make sure to contact your insurance agent, as there are discounts that you may be qualified for.


Avoid Larger Problems

 

After we get hit with massive amounts of snow all winter long, we know what happens next. Melting. And, we all know how damaging water can be to a home. Avoid a huge mess in the spring by taking care of your damaged roof now. Indoor pools are great, but not when they unexpectedly end up in your kitchen and dining room.


Make sure the roof over your head is doing its job. And, if you aren’t sure if you need to have your roof replaced, contact a licensed roofing contractor and get a professional opinion.

Read full post

Year-over-year prices remain stable
Decline in unit volumes typical of mid-summer market

Edmonton, August 2, 2017: In the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), all-residential unit average prices for July 2017 are down 2.44% compared to June 2017, but only down 0.11% relative to July 2016.

Average sale prices for single family homes decreased both month-over-month and year-over-year, decreasing to $446,892, down 1.51% compared to June 2017 and down 0.44% relative to July 2016. Average prices for duplexes/rowhouses and condominiums were stable in June. Average prices for condominiums rose in July 2017 to $261,861. This represents a 0.68% increase compared to June 2017, and a 2.18% increase compared to July 2016. Duplexes and rowhouses average price decreased to $343,883. This represents a 1.87% decrease from June 2017, and a 2.48% decrease from July 2016.

The number of all residential units reported sold was 1,622. Although this represents a month-over-month decrease of 13.12%, it also reflects a year-over-year increase of 0.37%. Single family unit sales were 1,003 units, representing a decrease of 15.86% compared to June 2017 and an increase of 0.60% compared to July 2016. Reported condominium sales were 415, which is down 9.98% month-over-month and down 3.04% year-over-year. There were 181 duplex/rowhouse unit sales in July 2017, which is down 41.04% compared to June 2017 but is up 9.70 compared to July 2016.

“It’s typical for unit sales to slow in July, which is shown in the year-over-year comparison,” says James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “Inventory is still strong for buyers, and marginal adjustments in year-over-year prices indicate a stable market for sellers.”
In July, inventory was 8,756, which was an increase of 2.04% compared to June 2017, and an increase of 10.70% compared to July 2016. Total new residential listings in June were 3,114, down 9.13% from June 2017 and up 8.43% from June 2016.
“Sellers must remain patient but mindful of their positioning in the market with many options for buyers to consider, so consulting with their REALTOR® to remain competitive is essential,” says Mabey.

The all-residential average days-on-market was 53 days, holding steady from June 2017 and three days shorter than July 2016. On average, single family detached homes sold in 48 days, condominiums sold in an average 60 days and duplex/rowhouses sold in 55 days.

-30-

MLS® System Activity for July 2017

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

Download

3 Average prices indicate market trends only. They do not reflect actual changes for a particular property, which may vary from house to house and area to area. Sales are compared to the month end reports from the prior period and do not reflect late reported sales. The RAE trading area includes communities beyond the CMA (Census Metropolitan Area) and therefore average and median prices may include sold properties outside the CMA. For information on a specific area, contact your local REALTOR®.

The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (Edmonton Real Estate Board), founded in 1927, is a professional association of real estate Brokers and Associates in the greater Edmonton area. The Association administers the Multiple Listing Service®, provides professional education to its members and enforces a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. The Association also advertises property listings and publishes consumer information on the Internet at YEGisHome.ca and ereb.com, as well as in the Real Estate Weekly and REALTOR.ca. REALTORS® support charities involving shelter and the homeless through the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

Trademarks are owned or controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA (REALTOR®) and/or the quality of services they provide (MLS®).

---

Contact

REALTOR.ca

REALTORS® Community Foundation

Real Estate Weekly

Real Estate Council of Alberta

©2011 REALTORS® Association of Edmonton 14220 112 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5M 2T8T: 780-451-6666 TF: 1-888-674-7479 F: 780-452-1135 
Read full post

You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start? It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender: Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Preapproval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.

 

2. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision: The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.

 

3. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy: Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself. A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.

 

4. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase: Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.

 

5. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value: Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, overpriced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.

 

6. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying: Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.

 

7. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move: If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.

 

8. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation: Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.

Read full post

Edmonton, February 2, 2017: Reported unit sales for all residential listings in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were strong in January, increasing 19.4% compared to the same month in 2016. Reported unit sales were also up relative to December 2016, increasing by 3%.

Unit prices were consistently stable with only modest decreases across each category. Compared to January 2016, condominium prices increased 8.7% and duplex/rowhouses increased 8%. Both categories decreased only slightly relative to December 2016, with condominiums down 0.37% and duplex/rowhouses down 0.46%. The average price of a single family home remained stable at $416,859, which is down 0.49% relative to January 2016, and down 0.97% compared to December 2016.

“2017 has started strong, with an increase in year over year unit sales and prices remaining stable,” said James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “While it is still early in the year, the rise in sales suggests that consumer confidence in the housing market is on the rise.”

The average days on market for all residential listings increased, which is typical for the winter season. Single family homes average days on market was 68, compared to 62 days on market in the previous month. Condominium average days on market increased to 82 relative to 80 days in December 2016. Duplex/rowhouses continue to be popular, with the average days on market decreasing to 68 days, which is 10 days faster than in December 2016.

All residential inventory decreased 2.7% compared to January 2016, and increased by 7.4% relative to December 2016. While the overall listings for January more than doubled compared to December 2016, from 1,067 to 2,185, they decreased year-over-year by 7.6% when compared to January 2016.

“REALTORS® always look forward to fresh inventory in the spring. Inventory was a big story in 2016, so it is positive to see more seasonally-appropriate inventory for 2017,” said Mabey.

-30-

MLS® System Activity for January 2017

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

Read full post

CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

OTTAWA, January 17, 2017 — CMHC is increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017. For the average CMHC-insured homebuyer, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President, Insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

Capital requirements are an important factor in determining mortgage insurance premiums. The changes reflect OSFI's new capital requirements that came into effect on January 1st of this year that require mortgage insurers to hold additional capital. Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long term stability of the financial system.

During the first nine months of 2016:

  • The average CMHC-insured loan was approximately $245,000.
  • The average down payment was approximately 8%.
  • The average gross debt service ratio (GDS) was 25.6%. To qualify for CMHC insurance, a homebuyer’s GDS should not exceed 32% of their total monthly household income.
Down payment between 5% and 9.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $2.82 $4.70 $6.59 $8.47 $10.35 $15.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

Premiums are calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage being insured. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and repaid over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments. Additional details and scenarios are included in the backgrounder below.

CMHC regularly reviews its premiums and sets them at a level to cover related claims and expenses while also reflecting the regulatory capital requirements.

CMHC is Canada’s most experienced mortgage loan insurer. Our mortgage loan insurance enables Canadians to buy a home with a minimum down payment starting at 5%. As a Crown corporation, CMHC is the only mortgage insurer whose proceeds benefit all Canadians.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

For additional highlights please see the attached backgrounder.

For more information, follow us on TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
Media Relations
613-740-5413
kjleblan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Backgrounder

  • CMHC’s standard mortgage loan insurance premiums will be changing as follows:
Loan-to-Value RatioStandard Premium (Current)Standard Premium (Effective March 17, 2017)
Up to and including 65% 0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.75% 1.70%
Up to and including 80% 1.25% 2.40%
Up to and including 85% 1.80% 2.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.40% 3.10%
Up to and including 95% 3.60% 4.00%
90.01% to 95% - Non-Traditional Down Payment 3.85% 4.50%
Down payment between 10% and 14.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $4.94 $8.23 $11.52 $14.81 $18.10 $27.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

Down payment between 15% and 19.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $7.06 $11.75 $16.46 $21.16 $25.86 $39.96

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

  • During the first nine months of 2016
    • Nearly 50% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $300,000
    • Nearly 95% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $600,000
    • Less than 1% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of more than $850,000
  • CMHC follows OSFI guidelines for federally regulated mortgage insurers in Canada.
  • Calculating the gross debt service ratio (GDS) allows potential homebuyers to estimate the maximum home-related expenses they can afford to pay each month.

GDS = Principal + Interest* + Property Tax + Heat
Monthly Income

*Interest is calculated using the qualifying rate

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after March 17, 2017. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to this date, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The changes do not impact mortgages currently insured by CMHC.
Read full post

The Liberal government has announced sweeping changes aimed at ensuring Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford in an era of historically low interest rates.

The changes are also meant to address concerns related to foreign buyers who buy and flip Canadian homes.

 

Below is a breakdown of the four major changes Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Monday.

The current rules

Buyers with a down payment of at least 5 per cent of the purchase price but less than 20 per cent must be backed by mortgage insurance. This protects the lender in the event that the home buyer defaults. These loans are known as “high loan-to-value” or “high ratio” mortgages.

In situations in which the buyer has 20 per cent or more for a down payment, the lender or borrower could obtain “low-ratio” insurance that covers 100 per cent of the loan in the event of a default.

Mortgage insurance in Canada is backed by the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Insurance is sold by the CMHC and two private insurers, Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company. The federal government backs the insurance offered by the two private-sector firms, subject to a 10-per-cent deductible.

 

The change

Expanding a mortgage rate stress test to all insured mortgages.

What it is

As of Oct. 17, a stress test used for approving high-ratio mortgages will be applied to all new insured mortgages – including those where the buyer has more than 20 per cent for a down payment. The stress test is aimed at assuring the lender that the home buyer could still afford the mortgage if interest rates were to rise. The home buyer would need to qualify for a loan at the negotiated rate in the mortgage contract, but also at the Bank of Canada’s five-year fixed posted mortgage rate, which is an average of the posted rates of the big six banks in Canada. This rate is usually higher than what buyers can negotiate. As of Sept. 28, the posted rate was 4.64 per cent.

Other aspects of the stress test require that the home buyer will be spending no more than 39 per cent of income on home-carrying costs like mortgage payments, heat and taxes. Another measure called total debt service includes all other debt payments and the TDS ratio must not exceed 44 per cent.

Who it affects

This measure affects home buyers who have at least 20 per cent for a down payment but are seeking a mortgage that may stretch them too thin if interest rates were to rise. It also affects lenders seeking to buy government-backed insurance for low-ratio mortgages.

 

Why

The government is responding to concerns that sharp rises in house prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver could increase the risk of defaults in the future should mortgage rates rise.

------

The change

As of Nov. 30, the government will impose new restrictions on when it will provide insurance for low-ratio mortgages.

What it is

The new rules restrict insurance for these types of mortgages based on new criteria, including that the amortization period must be 25 years or less, the purchase price is less than $1-million, the buyer has a credit score of 600 and the property will be owner-occupied.

Who it affects

This measure appears to be aimed at lowering the government’s exposure to residential mortgages for properties worth $1-million or more, a category of the market that has increased sharply in recent years in Vancouver and Toronto.

Why

Vancouver and Toronto are the two real estate markets that are of most concern for policy makers at all levels of government. These measures appear to be targeted at those markets.

------

The change

New reporting rules for the primary residence capital gains exemption.

 

What it is

Currently, any financial gain from selling your primary residence is tax-free and does not have to be reported as income. As of this tax year, the capital gains tax is still waived, but the sale of the primary residence must be reported at tax time to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Who it affects

Everyone who sells their primary residence will have a new obligation to report the sale to the CRA, however the change is aimed at preventing foreign buyers who buy and sell homes from claiming a primary residence tax exemption for which they are not entitled.

Why

While officials say more data are needed, Ottawa is responding to extensive anecdotal evidence and media reports showing foreign investors are flipping homes in Canada and falsely claiming the primary residence exemption.

------

The change

The government is launching consultations on lender risk sharing.

What it is

Currently, the federal government is on the hook to cover the cost of 100 per cent of an insured mortgage in the event of a default. The federal government says this is “unique” internationally and that it will be releasing a public consultation paper shortly on a proposal to have lenders, such as banks, take on some of that risk. The Department of Finance Canada acknowledges this would be “a significant structural change to Canada’s housing finance system.”

Who it affects

Mortgage lenders, such as banks, would have to take on added risk. This could potentially lead to higher mortgage rates for home buyers.

Why

The federal government wants to limit its financial obligations in the event of widespread mortgage defaults. It also wants to encourage prudent lending practices.

 

Source: 

 OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Read full post
Categories:   Market Report Nov 15
Copyright 2020 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.