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GTA REALTORS® Report Mid-Month Resale Housing Market

TORONTO, January 19, 2011 —

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,563

sales during the first two weeks of January 2011 – an 11 per cent decrease

compared to the first two weeks of January 2010.

“While off the record pace experienced last January, sales remain high from a

historic perspective and market conditions remain tight enough to support a

sustainable rate of price growth,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President

Bill Johnston.

The average price for transactions during the first 14 days of January was

$413,565, representing a five per cent increase compared to the first two weeks of

January 2010.

“Average price growth continues to be supported by a positive affordability

picture. A household earning the average income can afford mortgage payments

associated with the purchase of an average priced home,” said Jason Mercer,

TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

New Fianancing Rules

Here is an article that outlines the new rules and how they will affect you if you have a mortgage of $300,000. If you can buy before March 18th you will save about $105 per month on a 300k mortgage. Call me if you want to move before the changes.

Financial Planning

New mortgage rules aimed at curbing soaring household debt

Amortization periods will be reduced to 30 years from 35

Monday, January 17, 2011

By Julian Beltrame

Advertisement

Source: The Canadian Press

The federal government is making home ownership more difficult for Canadians on the margins of affordability, and moved to cut off some types of borrowing.

The new measures were necessary, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday, because a minority of Canadians are “borrowing to the max.”

It is the third time in three years that the finance minister has acted to restrain credit at a time of historically low interest rates.

The new rules reduce the amortization period to 30 years from 35, reducing the amount Canadians can borrow on their first home.

The measure, which comes into effect on March 18, will increase the monthly payment on a $300,000 mortgage at four per cent by $105, according to the government.

As well, Ottawa has lowered the limit on how much money Canadians can borrow using their homes as equity to 85% of the value from 90%.

And the government will no longer insure lines of credit secured on homes as if they were mortgages.

The minister made clear there is not a debt crisis in Canada at the moment, even though household debt has reached a record 148 per cent of disposable income, a higher rate than currently exists in the United States.

But he said he was concerned that some Canadians were getting stretched and would feel the pinch when interest rates rise.

“We are responding to a situation that could develop,” he told a news conference, “and we want to avoid that.

“It’s obvious we could have gone farther. We have not touched down-payment requirements, for example. This is intentional. We are trying to strike the right balance so that we do not create any sort of shock in the market, or any sort of dramatic pressure in the market.”

Ironically, the measures open room for Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to keep interest rates low for a longer period, given that the threat of runaway borrowing has been lessened.

The central bank next pronounces on interest rates Tuesday, but most analysts expect Carney to keep the policy rate at one per cent until at least late spring.

CIBC’s chief economist, Avery Shenfeld, said the impact overall on mortgage lending will be “marginal.”

“It’s the difference between somebody borrowing $200,000 and $180,000 or 190,000,” he said.

“More dramatic would have been to raise the down payment, which would have a larger impact on people’s ability to finance their first home.”

The Bank of Montreal’s Douglas Porter said the measures are the equivalent of raising interest rates by about half a percentage point, but more targeted.

“This is way a way of not affecting a lot of innocent bystanders, including the manufacturing and the tourism sector, by putting more upward pressure on the Canadian dollar,” he explained.

Flaherty said he moved on home-equity loans and lines of credit because some were not using the money to build equity on their residences, but on consumer spending.

“They are used to buy boats and cars and big-screen TVs, and that’s not the business mortgage insurance was designed for,” he said.

“Our measures will help improve the financial situation of households in Canada,” he added.

The tighter rules had been well flagged by both the federal government and the Bank of Canada, which have for months beat the drums on the risks of growing consumer debt.

In a speech earlier in the month, the bank’s deputy governor, Agathe Cote, noted home-equity loans as a share of overall household credit had risen by 170 per cent in the last decade.

The central bank has expressed concern that as Canadians pile on debt, not only do they expose themselves to coming higher interest rates or economic shocks, but they will no longer have sufficient disposable income to spend on other items, thereby potentially damaging the economy.

“If there were a sudden weakening in the Canadian housing sector, it could have sizable spillover effects on other areas of the economy, such as consumption,” Cote said.

Third Best Year for Existing Home Sales

Third Best Year for Existing Home Sales

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 4,395 existing home sales for the month of December, bringing the 2010 total to 86,170 – down by one per cent compared to 2009.

“Market conditions were anything but uniform in 2010. We went from super-charged sales activity during the first four months of the year, to a marked drop-off in transactions in the summer and then in the fall saw sales climb back to levels that are sustainable over the longer term,” said TREB President Bill Johnston.

“New Federal Government-mandated mortgage lending guidelines, higher borrowing costs and misconceptions about the HST caused a pause in home buying in the summer. As it became clear that the HST was not applicable to the sale price of an existing home and buyers realized that home ownership remained affordable, market conditions improved,” continued Johnston.

The average home selling price in 2010 was $431,463 – up nine per cent in comparison to the 2009 average selling price of $395,460. In December, the average annual rate of price growth was five per cent.

“At the outset of 2010, we were experiencing annual rates of price growth at or near 20 per cent. This was the result of extremely tight market conditions coupled with the fact that we were comparing prices to the trough of the recession at the beginning of 2009,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

“Balanced market conditions in the second half of 2010 resulted in more moderate home price appreciation,” continued Mercer. “Expect the average selling price to grow at or below five per cent in 2011. With this type of growth, mortgage carrying costs for the average priced home in the GTA will remain affordable for a household earning an average income.”

Median Price
In December, the median price was $355,000, from the $349,000 recorded during December of 2009.

January Newsletter Featuring Don’t Pay Another Cent in Rent To Your Landlord

The latest version of our HomeMarketWatch Insider newsletter
is now available on our website at:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=gold_newsletter.asp&t=sicNews

Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to
homeowners — money-saving tips, household safety checklists,
home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc.
Whether you are currently in the market for a new home, or not,
we hope that this information is of value to you.  Please feel
free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.

—————————————————————–
If another person has forwarded this issue to you, and
you would like to subscribe yourself, go to the following link:
http://stayincontact.com/sub.asp?Param=aL922QQjfjDfcmfk
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This month’s features…

FEATURE REPORT:
– Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?

ALSO THIS MONTH:
– Don’t Pay Another Cent in Rent To Your Landlord
– 10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner

—————————————————————–
*** THERE’S MORE ON THE WEB… ruthballantyne.com ***

Hire My Entire Team For LESS Than the Price of One Agent:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=team.asp&t=sicNews

FREE Quick Over-the-Net Evaluation:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=homeeval.asp&t=sicNews

Find Out What the Home Down the Street Sold For:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=gold_findout.asp&t=sicNews

How To Beat Out Other Buyers to Hot New Listings:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=vip_buyer.asp&t=sicNews

Ask One of Our Experts Your Real Estate Question:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=gold_askexpert.asp&t=sicNews

Find Out How Much You Can Afford In Your Next Home:
http://ruthballantyne.com/redir.asp?page=silver_mortgagecalc.asp&t=sicNews

Happy New Year!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=acxnmaVTlZAframeborder%3D0allowfullscreen

As the year come to a close, I would like to wish you and yours all the best for a Happy and Prosperous New Year

 

In Scotland New Year is called Hogmanay.  It is a great festive time, seeped in many customs and traditions.  Hogmanay is a bigger celebration than Christmas, especially for adults.   This may stem from the ban on Christmas that existed for 400 years.

Nobody knows for sure where the word “Hogmanay” came from. Opinions differ as to whether it originated from the Gaelic oge maidne (“New Morning”), Anglo-Saxon Haleg Monath (“Holy Month”), or Norman French word hoguinané, which was derived from the Old French anguillanneuf (“gift at New Year)  This is my favorite as it goes well with the Scottish tradition of First Footing. 

Here are some of the Hogmanay traditions:

I can remember my mum furiously cleaning the house for New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year. It is considered ill luck to welcome in the New Year in an unclean house so the house was made especially pretty on New Year’s Eve.

Another old Scottish tradition at midnight the man of the house would open the back door to let out the old year, then open the front door to let the New Year in.     People would also open the windows to let the old year out. Some Households would make as much noise as possible to scare off the evil spirits and would read the ashes of the last fire of the year to see their luck (like tea leaves) for the New Year.  Scottish people are superstitious and dramatic.

All over Scotland, the tradition is to hold Hogmanay parties  or Ceilidhs (pronounced “Kailey”),  involving singing, dancing, the eating of steak pie or stew, storytelling and consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, which usually extend into the daylight hours of January 1 and maybe the 2nd and 3rd.  The first stroke of the Chimes at the New Year is known as the Bells.  At midnight people link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne.

After the bells, people go out visiting friends and family.  This is called first footing.  Some people carry a gift or a bottle of whiskey.  Traditionally people would carry a lump of Coal to give as a gift to the friends and family signalling prosperity for them in the New Year.  A toast of Lang May Yer Lum Reek (may your fireplace always have smoke- Live long and prosper)  or a Guid New Year to ane an a and mony may ye see (A good new year to one and all and many may you see).

The last time I spent New Year in Scotland we went to a Dance at the Ex Service Mans Club and then the entire family made their way down to Rick’s Gran and Granddad’s house to first foot them.  His Gran was happily waiting for us all with a good few bottles and a big pot of Stovies.  That was the beginning of a week-long New Year’s Party as we first footed every family home.

My Uncle Bobby and Aunt Jean were the New Year’s Day hosts.  Each New Year’s Day we would visit them and enjoy another party with a Steak Pie Dinner, Neeps (Turnip) and Tatties (Potatoes).  There would be another sing song and dance as the celebrations continued. 

Haste ye back, we loue you dearly,

Call again you’re welcome here.

May your days be free from sorrow,

And your friends be ever near.

May the paths o’er which you wander,

Be to you a joy each day.

Haste ye back we loue you dearly,

Haste ye back on friendship’s way.

 

Andy Stewart –Haste ye Back

Auld Lang Syne – Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne* ?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Lang my yer lum reek!

All the best for a Healthy Happy and Prosperous New Year,  Enjoy it, when it comes.

Merry Christmas!

Sometimes it takes a couple of days to decide what I might write about when it comes time to blog from my heart. This week I started to think about Christmas’s and what I remember and what I have forgotten about the holidays. I do not remember Christmas as a child in Scotland and while researching what to write about I found that Christmas was banned in Scotland for nearly 400 years. In the late 1950’s the ban was lifted and Christmas and the U.K. tradition of Boxing Day again become a Holiday for the Scottish people. We left Scotland in 1965 so there was not a lot of time to get the traditions back.
So I started to look back on what I do remember about my Christmas’s past. When I was 11 I remember lying in bed for an extra-long time on Christmas morning because I did not ask for anything in particular. My parents bought me skis and I was not excited about them. I remember my cousin Janice got skis too. That made it seem not so bad. I could go skiing with Janice. That was until Janice fell and broke her leg and that was the end of my skiing career.
So, this exercise was enlightening. I did not remember the presents. I remembered the people, the feeling of fun and the parties. When I think of Christmas, when I was younger I immediately go to our basement on Fidelia Crescent. I can see a full basement with 3 or 4 8 foot tables. We had an “L” shaped basement and we always had the whole family for Christmas. My dad’s 3 sisters and my mum’s sister all moved to Canada within a few years of us so we had a full family here in Canada. After a few years we had adopted a few friends that were now family and dinner for 30 or 40 was not unusual. I remember turkey, ham and lasagna for dinner. There was dancing, singing, musical instruments and jokes. Everyone had to participate and do their party piece or show your bum out the window.
It was always a great party that went on to the wee hours of the morning. Thinking of those party nights my favourite memories is of my Mum singing. It was an evening favourite when she would sing The Way We Were. It was her party piece. She sang many songs but this was my favourite.
When my parents bought a house in Florida, we spent Christmas in Florida at their house for about 10 years. The parties continued although smaller with many visitors from Canada and Scotland and always a sing song.
I guess it’s funny how things from your childhood make you happy. I love to sing and love a sing song. When I visit my dad we still have one night after dinner that turns into a sing song. We sing all of the old favourites, although neither of us can hit the notes to The Way We Were.
It is funny how things work. I started to think about the song. The words are so true. So I leave you this memory of my Christmas’s past… “Memories, may be beautiful and yet, what’s too painful to remember we simply chose to forget, so it’s the laughter, we will remember, whenever we remember, the way we were The Way We Were.”
Wishing you and your loved ones a Christmas to remember – May your table be full of good food, good company and great memories. Enjoy the day and Merry Christmas to all.

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$269,800

Welcome To This Wonderful 3 Bedroom Family Home Centrally Located In A Quiet Neighbourhood. It Features A Combo Lr/Dr With Bright Picture Window & French Doors, Updated Eat-In Kitchen With Walk-Out To Oversize Deck & Huge Yard. All Bedrooms Have Hardwood Floors. Master Bedroom Boasts A Cozy Sitting Area & Large Closet. Finished Basement Complete With Bar, 3 Piece Bath, Large Rec Room & Lots Of Extra Storage! Upgraded Front Door With Automatic Locking Feature.