Saturday, March 31, 2007

Royal Bank RBC Economics Research - PROVINCIAL OUTLOOK - Latest Edition


Rebalancing regional growth patterns
Our provincial forecasts are more rooted than ever before in the strength of our conviction that the gap between growth in the more heavily resource based provinces and central Canada will narrow during 2007-08.
There are four key reasons for this.

First up is fiscal policy, which has tilted in favour of stimulating central Canada with the recent federal budget funding a federal government spending surge in Ontario. Some of this will begin to flow in 2007, while much of it will carry on for many years. On the heels of Quebec’s election on March 26, six other provinces and the feds are heading towards elections either this year or next (all but British
Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).

Despite higher federal transfers that are likely to be put towards tax relief, Quebec actually gets unfairly criticized for overspending when, in fact, its rate of growth in program spending has been the second weakest of all the provinces in the past four years. British Columbia opted for consumer-oriented tax relief in its budget and has had the weakest spending growth of all provinces. The remaining question mark is Ontario’s government, which appears to have exercised some spending restraint but may be lowballing revenues to leave room for pre-election off-budget spending.

Second is the investment picture where the gap between the west and central Canada is likely to become more balanced. According to Statistics Canada’s
recent investment intentions survey, the country is in the middle of an investment
surge, albeit one that is moderating and with the public sector doing much
of the heavy lifting. This survey was done before recent budgetary measures
that add to private-sector investment incentives, particularly for manufacturers
that now face two-year write-offs on equipment spending.

Third, we firmly believe that central Canada’s manufacturing base will stabilize and that its export prospects will improve. Strong global growth, overblown concerns about the health of the U.S. economy, an expected depreciation in the currency and sustained lower-than-peak commodity input prices should all gradually turn central Canada’s manufacturing base around except for labour-intensive
sectors facing a China-related market share battle for U.S. imports. A cooling
in U.S. dollar-denominated commodity prices will still leave room for attractive
exploration, appraisal and development activity across the west.

Fourth, despite concerns about the phasing out of accelerated depreciation on oil sands projects, the impact won’t be felt for many years, if at all, given current project commitments. The near-term focus remains on those factors pointing to moderately weaker growth prospects in the energy-rich provinces — cooler
commodity prices causing weaker provincial royalties and surpluses, softer profit
growth and less upward pressure on wages. For the prairie provinces, attractive
mining and hydro prospects, a decent early read on crop conditions and farm
subsidies in the recent federal budget should further assist near-term growth.
For our latest macroeconomic and financial market forecast report, go to: www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/fcst.pdf

Source: "Financial Markets Monthly", Economics Departnment, RBC Financial Group.

Read more about the economics of real estate in Ontario and the GTA

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Friday, March 30, 2007

Can the Media drive Real Estate Market Prices Down?


What is the impact on the media on the real estate markets?

I think you will find this an informative perspective on the real estate market, but a long article to read. I found it a very interesting article because it echo's the sentiments down in the US and these types of articles seems to rear their head because the markets are very soft throughout the US.

When our Canadian markets last experienced a downward trend, from about 1990 to 1994, there were many negative articles about the state of the real estate market and I believe that this had a very strong influence on people's decisions to NOT purchase a home or even make a move. I firmly believe that the press influences if not drives our real estate marketplace in the GTA. The next time there is some skepticism in the press, just watch how the local real estate market stalls.

Enjoy, your comments are always appreciated!
Mark

Media coverage can dampen real estate market

Fact or fiction: The media decides whether you buy or sell a home.

Sounds ridiculous, even insulting. But many real estate professionals insist there is a psychological component to buying a house -- and that a lot of negative publicity about the housing market can have an effect on whether consumers will buy, sell or sit.

Chances are, when you are thinking about buying a home (and you're really honest with yourself), factors such as your credit rating, income, debt load, the available houses in your market and the prices in your market are going to have more of an impact than what you read or hear over your morning coffee.

But that's not to say the broadcast and printed word don't have some impact.

Many blame the media for the slowdown that hit the housing market in 2006. "What happened to us is the media," says Ellen Renish, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.

Stories about a real estate "bubble" and its potential to burst caused consumers to "not do anything," she says. "And nothing happened. The bubble stories really stopped things for three months," Renish says. "It was pretty scary."

Looking for deals

When it comes to sales, the biggest factor is "the local economy," says Dick Gaylord, president-elect of the NAR. "But I can tell you that almost every buyer I talk to today thinks they're going to get a phenomenal deal."

In the Midwest this year, one big yardstick is job growth torquing the force of supply and demand. "If jobs come, there will be buyers," says Lawrence Yun, a senior economist with the National Association of Realtors. "And if jobs don't come, there won't be buyers."

"But I think the media does have an influence," he says. "I get calls from Realtors who have been working with buyers for months -- then the buyer reads or hears something that predicts a price crash or large inventory and the buyer decides to wait. The media is trying to portray the reality of the market."

But many times "there tends to be a slight slant that tends to scare potential buyers," he says. "People start placing a lot of reliance on what they read, particularly from major papers."

This is one reason it pays to investigate on your own. Especially since neighborhoods and price ranges in various areas of a region, state and town can be vastly different.

Also, talk with a couple of pros in your area. "You might find out that the market is better than you were led to believe in the press," says David Ledebuhr, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors.

The long-range view
Real estate professionals would like to see more of the long-range perspective in real estate media coverage.

The real estate market is cyclical, says Ron Phipps, broker for Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "For those of us who've been doing this for a while, this is a normal cycle," he says of the current buyer's market climate. "It's not particularly bad."

He worries that the media "amplifies minor changes," he says. "The media is like the wind: It creates white caps, it creates a lot of excitement -- which can cause people to be overwhelmed."

While talk of a real estate bubble "is great theater," the hard fact is that most people buy a home to have a place to live, Phipps says. The price will differ according to what a buyer can afford, but that basic need is always there.

Real estate professionals have also seen a wide range of interest rates in the past two or three decades. And while nobody likes to see climbing rates and the bigger mortgage payments that result, some agents remember when rates for a typical home were in the teens. And, they also remember that lower home prices added some balance to the equation.

"I sold houses when the rates were 16, 18 percent," says Renish.

"And I bought my first house at 9 percent," she recalls.

What part does the economy play?

From a practical standpoint, many of the areas of the country that are seeing depressed growth or declining prices can link it to one or more of several factors: a shrinking jobs market or faltering local economy (including a higher number of foreclosures); overbuilding; or speculators who bought to make income or quick profit and dumped the properties when interest rates started to rise or prices started to decline.

Mike Fratantoni, senior economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association, agrees that jobs are the No. 1 factor when it comes to the health of the home market. "Absolutely, the job market is most important," Fratantoni says. "And we think that the Fed's successive rate increases have not quite worked their way through the economy yet. We do anticipate that as these work into the economy, we will see some slight increase in unemployment," likely by the middle of 2007.

And while the media likely has "some psychological aspect" for the buyer and seller, says Fratantoni, "at the end of the day it's the fundamentals" like affordability, a strong job market and income growth that signal buyers that "it's a good time to get in," he says.

When it comes to buying and selling, "I do think there is something about psychology," says Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Nationally, home prices increased 60 percent in the period between 2001 and 2006, he says. "If you bought a home five years ago, you're in pretty good shape as far as equity building."

When it comes to the recent decline, "part of it was psychology," Retsinas says. "We had seen interest rates heading up. As we look back, at some point buyers started to wonder, 'Will these exist tomorrow?'"

In addition, home prices had been escalating so much faster than salaries that "the mortgages couldn't bridge the gap between incomes and house prices," he says. "It's almost as if house prices had to take a breather."

All real estate is local
One common complaint from real estate professionals regarding media coverage is the failure to understand and communicate that all real estate is local. So while a bubble, hot market, flipping trend or price decrease gets a lot of media attention, it doesn't mirror the entire market.

"It's a reflection of something going on in one area, in one dynamic spot," says Dave Dalzell, a regional vice president for the NAR. But consumers hear it and get concerned, he says. Then "we have to take and analyze the neighborhood" where they're buying, he says. "My town just had the biggest jump in home values in 20 years," he says. "We think it will slow down some, but won't lose money."

Ken Libby, owner/broker of Stowe Realty in Stowe, Vt., echoes the thought. "The only argument I have with the media is when people try to paint one picture for the whole country," he says. "And you can't do that." By Dana Dratch • Bankrate.com

Read more about the real estate market trends and current status.



Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Thursday, March 29, 2007

3 Steps to take before you purchase your first or next home


This article will outline the 3 steps to take before you buy your first or next home

A little time spent shoring up your credit, crafting your budget and organizing financial documents will go far in smoothing the way to a home purchase. Ideally, you can start working on your home-buying project before you even start shopping for homes. Keep in mind that most buyers take eight weeks to actually shop for a home, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. Your financial prep work should start well ahead of those eight weeks.

"My advice is to start to talk to your local Realtor six months ahead of time," says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, a practicing residential broker in Grand Rapids, Mich., and president of the National Association of Realtors. "Most have a good handle on mortgage people in the area. And, there are a lot of really cool mortgage programs out there for first-time buyers."

3 steps to take before applying

1. Get your credit in shape.
2. Organize your documents.
3. Check your budget.

For example, Combs says some local governments will offer interest rate or down payment subsidies to buyers who agree to buy a home in certain areas. And governments or employers may subsidize teachers, fire fighters, police officers, nurses and other service professionals who have difficulty affording a home in high-priced communities. A hospital trying to recruit and retain nurses, for example, might offer a down payment loan, which is forgiven and turned into a grant if that nurse remains employed with the hospital for several years, says Combs.

Before you begin your house hunting, there are three important steps to take to make sure you are eligible for the best interest rates and to make the mortgage application process a breeze.

1. Get your credit in shape: Order your credit reports
One of the first steps any prospective buyer should take is to take advantage of the free credit reports everyone is entitled to request annually, thanks to federal law. While there are many sites on the Web offering "free" credit reports, many of those offers require that you sign up for a free trial of a credit-monitoring service that will cost money if you fail to cancel during the free trial period. The official site where you can get free, no-strings-attached credit reports annually from the Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit bureaus is www.annualcreditreport.com. You can receive one free credit report from each of these three agencies every year.

David Reed, an Austin, Texas, mortgage banker and author of "Mortgage Confidential: What You Need to Know That Your Lender Won't Tell You," says you should review each of those reports for errors. There could be mistaken entries noting late payments or account information that belongs to someone else. Common names sometimes get mixed up on credit reports, as do "Juniors" and "Seniors" in the same family.

"I see that a lot," says Reed.

If you spot an error, you should write to that specific creditor and request a correction. Bankrate has a work sheet to help you request and track corrections on each of your credit reports.

How's your credit?
While paying down your credit card balances will improve your financial picture, this is not the time to close credit accounts because reducing the amount of credit available to you can actually lower your credit score.

"Don't assume you should just get rid of it," says Combs.

If you already own a home and have an existing home equity line of credit, or HELOC, Combs recommends that you not get rid of it in preparation for a new home purchase. "I think you ought to leave it alone. Sometimes buyers are going to need it; they can use it as an easy bridge loan (to cover the down payment temporarily until you sell the old home) so they don't have to go through the trouble of getting one."

2. Organize your financial paperwork
You also should gather up all the financial documents that a lender will need when you submit an application. They include copies of your income tax returns, W-2 wage statements, paycheck stubs, bank and investment account statements, divorce decrees and child support documents and recent credit card statements. Having those documents handy will also help you put together a realistic budget and help you figure out what you really can afford to pay as a down payment and toward subsequent monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest, plus property taxes and insurance.


Documents to gather:

• Tax returns for the past two years.
• Two most recent pay stubs.
• Most recent credit-card statements.
• Most recent bank and investment account statements.
• Divorce decrees and child support documents.
• Your budget.

3. Craft a budget: How much house can you afford?
There is a difference between the maximum payment a borrower can qualify for -- which can sometimes be surprisingly high -- and the amount you can comfortably afford, says Combs.

"Each person has to know the difference in his own mind," she says. "If you're just getting by with your current rent payment, and the lender says you can qualify for more, give it some thought."

However, first-time buyers, in particular, often don't know how the tax-deductibility of mortgage interest and property taxes can help offset a mortgage payment that is higher than their rent. A good real estate agent can help you figure out the bottom line.

Keep it steady
Once you're closing in on your purchase, and especially after you've applied for a mortgage, do your best not to change your financial picture. "When you sit at the closing table, you will be asked to sign a document that says your credit is the same as it was when you originally applied for the loan," says Combs.

If at all possible, put off job changes. Lenders like to see a steady history of employment and frown on job changes while your application is pending, unless the new job is in the same field and at the same or greater pay. By Elizabeth Razzi • Bankrate.com Elizabeth Razzi is a freelance personal finance reporter and author of "The Fearless Home seller." She is based in the Washington, D.C., area.

Read more about the steps to buying a home

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do I have to pay GST on a resale residential Purchase?


GST and the Resale Home

You don't have to pay GST on the purchase price of a used residential home. In other words, the purchase is "exempt" form GST.

Revenue Canada defines "used residential property" to include a previously occupied house, condominium apartment, summer cottage, vacation property or non-commercial hobby farm. They refer to "used" as residential property that has been occupied as a residence before you bought it.

Used property can also mean a recently built house hat is substantially complete and has been sold at least once before you buy it. For example, if a new house is purchased and resold before being occupied, the home's resale price will normally be exempt from GST.

An owner-occupied home is considered a residential property when it's used primarily as your residence. So, if you are self-employed and purchase a resale home that includes a room used as an office, the entire home still qualifies for the GST exception.

However, if your owner-occupied home is not used mainly for residential purposes (for example, a retail store with a small apartment upstairs), only the residential portion is exempt from GST on resale. The non-residential portion of the purchase price is taxable.

If you are planning to purchase a resale home, the seller can supply you with a certificate stating the property qualifies as "used" for GST purposes.

As with most taxes, there are exceptions to the GST rules regarding resale housing. For instance, most sales of real property by charities, non-profit organizations and other public service agencies are exempt form GST. Contact your REALTOR for additional information.

Read more about GST and buyer costs
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Healthy Spring Market Ahead - RE/MAX forcast


Re/Max forecasts heated spring market Mar 21, 2007

Higher housing values, tight inventory levels, and all-out bidding wars have yet to deter first-time buyers in major Canadian centres this year, says a new report by Re/Max.

“Buyers are finding the means necessary to enter the market, even in the western provinces, where double-digit price gains have been reported and sales to listings ratios hover above the 80 per cent mark,” says Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, Re/Max of Western Canada. “Purchasers simply refuse to be priced out of the market, even though household income has not kept pace with housing appreciation. Something’s got to give – and the trends identified in this report show it’s the how, what, where and when of the equation.”

The Re/Max Affordability Report, which highlights first-time buying activity and trends in 13 housing markets across the country, says that substantial price increases have had little impact on buyer intentions. The greatest year-over-year price appreciation is in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Kelowna, where averages rose 52, 29, 26, and 23 per cent respectively. Average price in the country’s most expensive market – Greater Vancouver - has jumped 11 per cent, topping the half million-dollar mark.

While prices in these markets may now seem costly, entry-level product such as condominiums can start at half the average price, says Re/Max.

Condominiums now represent just under one in every two sales in markets like Vancouver and Victoria. In Edmonton, Calgary, and the Greater Toronto Area, close to one in every three sales involve a condominium apartment or town home. In smaller markets like Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg, condominiums are gaining momentum. Condominium sales represent approximately 12 per cent of total residential sales in Halifax-Dartmouth and Ottawa, says the report.

“Low interest rates and solid economic performance in most major Canadian centres have also played a substantial role in providing purchasers with the confidence to go out and buy their first home,” says Michael Polzler, executive vice-president and regional director, Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Yet, in some centres, there are other motivating factors at play. Price increases, for example, are a reality in the marketplace. One year can set you back – from location to house size – and your dollar just doesn’t have the same purchasing power.”

Re/Max says innovative financing has allowed a growing number of first-time buyers to enter the marketplace. New mortgage products with longer amortization periods are helping to make mortgage payments easier to carry, the company says.

The offloading of family wealth and inheritance are also factors influencing home-buying activity, says Ash. Some first-time buyers are digging into RRSPs and borrowing money from parents, while others are looking to offset carrying costs through in-law suites, now factored into debt service ratios by a growing number of lending institutions.

“Despite a decade of year-over-year price increases, compounded by challenging market conditions this year, entry-level buyers continue to be a driving force in real estate,” says Polzler. He says, “Their undaunted enthusiasm is expected to translate into sales at or ahead of last year’s record levels in the spring.”

This makes sense, Read more about the spring market cycle

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

You can be "Mortgage Free" sooner than you think


You can be mortgage free sooner than you think

(NC)-Are you feeling weighed down by the years remaining on your mortgage? Worried about when you should lock in your variable rate, or unsure of refinancing with rates on the rise? Getting a good interest rate is crucial, but there's a lot more you can do to ensure that you are mortgage free sooner. Flexibility and options are key - and the advice of an unbiased mortgage professional can help you make the most of these alternatives.

The experts at Mortgage Alliance suggest the following:

1. Match your mortgage payments with your pay periods. Not only does it make budgeting easier, but if you have bi-weekly payments you'll be making an extra payment each year (and you won't even feel it!)

2. Shorten your amortization. If you can budget for the higher monthly payments, this will help you build equity faster and take years off your mortgage.

3. Use your pre-payment option. Many people get a mortgage with this feature, but only 3% actually take advantage of it. A few hundred here and there can add up to thousands saved later on.

4. Income increasing? Consider permanently increasing your payments to match. Again, you won't feel the strain, but your equity is increasing and interest decreasing with every extra dollar you put in.

5. Most mortgages allow a lump sum payment in any one calendar year - and if you don't use it, you lose it. Just because you don't have a huge sum to put away doesn't mean it isn't worth it. Even small extra payments could pay big dividends later.

6. Shop around for better terms at renewal. Although it seems easier to just sign the form your bank sends, most people renew at rates higher than what they could have achieved if they had negotiated. Your mortgage professional is not just there for the purchase, but throughout the life of your mortgage.

Information provided by Mortgage Alliance. Visit www.rightmortgage.ca or call 1-877-366-3487 to find out more. Credit: www.newscanada.com

http://www.mississauga4sale.com/Lock-In-Short-Term-Long-Term-Mortgage.htm
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Basement Apartment requirements and considerations


Basic requirement for legal basement apartment in Toronto

There is no single government authority, which provides written certification that any given basement apartment is legal. Smart real estate agents never list a house as having a legal basement apartment since they do not want to guarantee that the basement apartment complies fully with all the applicable fire codes, building codes, Electrical Safety Authority regulations and zoning and housing standards by-laws.

The Ontario Building Code which prescribes minimum requirements for the construction of buildings is a code that applies only when the house was built. The building code changes over the time but for the most part, it does not apply retroactively.

The fire code which prescribes construction and safety issues as they relate to how the building is required to perform should it catch fire, can apply retroactively.

Here are few basic requirements for a legal basement apartment in Toronto :

(1) The detached or semi detached house must be at least 5 years old.

(2) The front of the house cannot be significantly altered to change its appearance from that of a one unit building.

(3) Basement unit must be smaller than the other units.

(4) Minimum ceiling height is 6'5". Ceiling must be continuous. Suspended (T-bar type) ceilings and exposed joists are not acceptable. Furnace room ceiling must be dry walled or plastered too.

(5) Doors must be solid wood or metal and minimum thickness is 1.75". Exterior door must be at least 32"x78". The smallest dimension of the window is 18" and the opening must be at least 600sq in. Windows must be within 3' of ground, and if there is window well it must extend 3' from the house wall to allow room to crawl out.

(6) Bathrooms have to have either a window or fan

(7) In most areas an additional parking space is required for new apartments.

(8) New apartments require building permits before construction begins.

(9) The property owner is responsible to make sure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained.
Carbon Monoxide alarms are required under many Municipal By-laws. They are to be provided in each dwelling unit in a building containing a fuel fired appliance or an attached garage. Even if they are not required by legislation they make good sense with to-day's design methods providing for air-tight construction of dwelling units.
Smoke alarms must be installed in each dwelling unit on every floor including those containing a bedroom or sleeping area. The alarm must be audible in bedrooms when the bedroom doors are closed. The smoke alarm may be battery operated or connected to an electrical circuit with no disconnect switch between the over current device and the smoke alarm. Interconnected smoke alarms may be required if:
· 15 min. Fire Resistance Rating is used between dwelling units
· one dwelling unit must exit through another dwelling unit
If required, interconnected smoke alarms must be installed in every storey above and below grade in each dwelling unit, and in every shared means of escape where applicable. These alarms must be audible in bedrooms when the intervening doors are closed.

(10) An electrical inspection by Electrical Safety Authority and all the deficiencies identified during the inspection must be addressed. Owners should retain the letter of compliance received from the Electrical Safety Authority for future reference purposes. This letter must be made available to the Chief Fire Official upon request.
(11) A continuous separation with a 30 min. Fire Resistance Rating is required between dwelling units and between dwelling units and other areas. This may be provided by existing membrane of lath and plaster or gypsum board.
Openings in Fire Separation shall be protected with rated doors installed in hollow metal or solid wood frames and equipped with self closing devices
Lesser degrees of Fire Resistance Rating may be acceptable with the provision of interconnected Smoke Alarms or Sprinkler Protection. The containment features are intended to provide protection for the occupants living in a dwelling unit from a fire occurring in another portion of the building, outside of their control.


(12) A single means of egress - provision for the escape of persons from each dwelling unit in the event of fire - may be acceptable if the following conditions are met:
· It is properly separated with a 30 min. Fire Resistance Rating
· The flame spread rating of means of escape does not exceed 150 (wood paneling is unacceptable)
· The means of escape does not involve entering another dwelling unit or other occupancy and leads directly to the outside at ground level.
Two means of escape are required if one means of escape is through another dwelling unit. An existing means of egress may be acceptable if the building is sprinklered.
By Nalliah Thayabharan
Registered Home Inspector. Member of OAHI & CAHPI-Ontario
ASHI certified Inspector.
Expert Building Inspections Ltd
905 940 0811 www.expertinspector.com

You may wish to read more about basement apartments in Mississauga

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Friday, March 23, 2007

Relax, your cottage by the lake isn't just a dream



Relax, your cottage by the lake isn't just a dream


(NC)-As you breathe in that deep breath of fresh air you know you've found that idyllic spot where you've always dreamed of spending your golden years. It's the perfect cedar-shingled cottage right on the lake, where you can relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. Like a growing number of Canadians in their peak income years, a vacation property has always been part of your retirement plan and now that you've found it, only one step remains; financing it.

In the past, financing for a recreational property has been more challenging than for a principal residence, as traditional lending institutions have found second homes to be a less than desirable investment. But as the recreational property market continues to grow across the country Canadians longing for a summer, winter or all-season retreat, are finding they have other options.

"A growing number of Canadians are factoring a vacation property into their retirement planning," says Stan Falkowski, president of Mortgage Intelligence Inc. "While recreational property mortgages are still relatively new to the market, they can provide Canadians with an easy and affordable way to make that cottage, chalet or retreat a reality."

A recreational property mortgage, like the one available through Mortgage Intelligence, can help qualified homebuyers make that beach sunset or ski chalet possible with as little as 15 per cent down. Whether a homebuyer is purchasing a waterfront home, resort-style condominium or timeshare property, this type of product can provide a mortgage on an owner-occupied second property located in a known vacation area. To make qualification even easier this product can also function as a blanket mortgage utilizing a principal residence as additional collateral.

"Vacation properties are more than just a financial investment for most Canadians. They quite often become the spot where families come together," adds Falkowski. "By visiting a Mortgage Intelligence broker Canadians can get the financing they need to realize their vacation property dreams and start a whole new string of family traditions."

More information on how a recreational property mortgage can help Canadians realize their dream of vacation property ownership is available online at www.mortgageintelligence.ca or toll-free at 1-800-268-8815. Credit: www.newscanada.com

More on Vacation Properties in Ontario

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Federal Budget Commentary from CREA - March 2007


Federal Budget Misses Investment Opportunity

No firm action on capital gains


OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government has failed to provide an opportunity for Canadians to increase their investments in real property.

This opportunity would have come in a proposal from The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) to allow the deferral of capital gains tax and recaptured capital cost allowance when an investment property is sold, and the proceeds of the sale are invested in another investment property within one year.

The Association, on behalf of more than 88,000 REALTORS(R) in Canada, has been calling on the federal government to make such changes to the capital gains tax for several years now. CREA's proposal would provide several economic benefits, including a boost in Canada's productivity, expansion of rental housing, and encouragement of urban regeneration.

"Small investors are holding onto their real property investments because of the tax consequences associated with selling and reinvesting, and this is unduly influencing typical market activity," noted CREA Chief Executive Officer Pierre Beauchamp. "Despite our disappointment, CREA remains committed to working with the federal government to develop a policy that will encourage investment in real property."

Canadian REALTORS(R) were also disappointed to learn that the federal government did not revise the current Home Buyers' Plan to include a market adjustment for the maximum RRSP withdrawal limit - a move that would have been beneficial to first-time homebuyers.

"The maximum loan limit under the Home Buyers' Plan has been losing ground as a percentage of rising average resale home prices for more than a decade," noted Beauchamp. "Plan users are being forced to finance bigger mortgages, causing their debt burden to rise even as interest rates remain low."

The $20,000 maximum loan limit for a home downpayment has not been adjusted since the plan was established in 1992, which has had a negative impact on its effectiveness.

The lack of inflation adjustment is an obvious oversight in the design of the plan. Canadians REALTORS(R) have been calling on the federal government to raise the maximum loan limit to $25,000 to account for inflationary gains over the past 15 years. REALTORS(R) would also like to see the loan limits adjusted every five years to account for inflation.

"Though we are disappointed that these much needed changes are not reflected in the 2007 Federal Budget, we hope that the federal government will make improvements to the plan - and the affordability of Canadian housing - a priority in the immediate future," added Beauchamp.

About The Canadian Real Estate Association

The Canadian Real Estate Association is one of Canada's largest single-industry trade Associations, and represents more than 88,000 REALTORS(R) across Canada. CREA's primary mission is to represent its members at the federal level of government and to act as a watchdog on national legislation affecting or impacting the real estate industry. CREA also works to defend the public's right to own and enjoy property.

This article is courtesy of The Canadian Real Estate Association

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Variable rate mortgage - Is it right for you?

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph
Is a variable rate mortgage right for you?
(NC)-If you are not a market watcher, a variable rate mortgage may make you nervous. With this type of mortgage, the interest rate payable fluctuates with the prime lending rate. While a variable rate mortgage can save you money when you are financing your home purchase, you need to be comfortable with the associated risks.

As a general rule, variable rate mortgages ordinarily offer lower interest rates than fixed rate mortgages. In the long run, variable rate mortgages have proven to be a good bet to save money. More and more Canadians have been turning to variable rate mortgages to finance their home buying.

Some people may shy away from variable rate mortgages as their monthly payment amount may change. But with products like CIBC's Better Than Prime Mortgage, your monthly payment amount will be the same, even if the prime lending rate fluctuates. This will help you budget effectively and take advantage of lower rates.

There are three basic types of variable rate mortgages available on the market today:

1. Interest rate changes with prime or stays just below prime- these types of mortgages can be either closed or open. If there is a discount on the prime rate, the mortgage is usually closed.

2. Interest rate is discounted and has a special introductory offer- this type of variable rate mortgage carries an introductory rate that is discounted from the prime lending rate for a specified length of time. After the introductory period, a smaller discount may apply for the remainder of the term.

3. Interest rate fluctuates and is capped- this type of mortgage offers the security of a cap on the interest rate, which means that your interest rate will never rise above a certain level, often the 5-year fixed rate. The interest rate is usually higher than the prime lending rate, but this type of mortgage offers protection against rising interest rates. These mortgages are usually closed.

For more information about whether a variable rate mortgage is right for you, contact your local CIBC branch or call 1 800 465-CIBC (2422). You can also visit the CIBC website at www.cibc.com. Credit: www.newscanada.com

More information on Mortgages and Rates

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Housing Affordability and Home Sales Across Canada - RE/MAX 2007 Report


First-time buyer tenacity boosts home sales despite further erosion of affordability, says RE/MAX

Heated Spring real estate market forecast from coast-to-coast.
Higher housing values, tight inventory levels, and all-out bidding wars have yet to deter first-time buyers in their quest to realize homeownership in major Canadian centres this year, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

Despite a decade of year-over-year price increases, compounded by challenging market conditions this year, entry-level buyers continue to be a driving force in real estate. Their undaunted enthusiasm is expected to translate into sales at or ahead of last year’s record levels in the Spring.

The RE/MAX Affordability Report, which highlights first-time buying activity and trends in 13 housing markets across the country, found that substantial price increases have had little impact on buyer intentions. The greatest year-over-year price appreciation occurred in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Kelowna, where averages rose 52, 29, 26, and 23 per cent respectively. Average price in the country’s most expensive market – Greater Vancouver – has jumped 11 per cent, topping the half million-dollar mark. While prices in these markets may now seem costly, entry-level product such as condominiums can start at half the average price.

Buyers are finding the means necessary to enter the market, even in the western provinces, where double-digit price gains have been reported and sales to listings ratios hover above the 80 per cent mark. Purchasers simply refuse to be priced out of the market, even though household income has not kept pace with housing appreciation. Something’s got to give -- and the trends identified in this report show it’s the how, what, where and when of the equation.

Case in point is the surge in condominium sales from coast-to-coast. Affordability and accessibility have made the condominium lifestyle a popular choice. Condominiums now represent just under one in every two sales in markets like Vancouver and Victoria. In Edmonton, Calgary, and the Greater Toronto Area, close to one in every three sales involve a condominium apartment or town home. In smaller markets like Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg, condominiums are gaining momentum. Condominium sales represent approximately 12 per cent of total residential sales in Halifax-Dartmouth and Ottawa.

Low interest rates and solid economic performance in most major Canadian centres have also played a substantial role in providing purchasers with the confidence to go out and buy their first home. Yet, in some centers, there are other motivating factors at play. Price increases, for example, are a reality in the marketplace. One year can set you back – from location to house size – and your dollar just doesn’t have the same purchasing power.

Yet, buyers have found inventive ways to address that as well. Innovative financing has allowed a growing number of first-time buyers to enter the marketplace. With most prepared to up the ante to realize “the dream of homeownership”, unique new mortgage products with longer amortization periods are helping to make mortgage payments easier to carry.

The offloading of family wealth and inheritance are also factors influencing the up swell in home-buying activity. Some first-time buyers are digging into RRSPs and borrowing money from parents, while others are looking to offset carrying costs through in-law suites, now factored into debt service ratios by a growing number of lending institutions.

You may use this link to download and read the entire report

Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mississauga Sales are steady for February


Sales hold steady in February

According to statistics released by the Mississauga Real Estate Board, MLS® home sales in the region served by the Board held steady this February compared to the same month last year. Activity also posted strong double-digit gains compared to the previous month.

A total of 836 homes were sold in the area served by the Board in February 2007 – 25 per cent more than in January and two per cent less than in February 2006. The value of all homes sold in February was $272,300,872.

The average price of a home sold in the region served by the Mississauga Real Estate Board this February was $325,719. This is three per cent less than the average price of $335,252 posted in January, and four per cent more than the $314,470 posted last February. The Board cautions that the average residential price is a useful figure only for establishing trends and comparisons over a period of time. It does not indicate an actual price for a home due to the wide selection of housing available in the area.

There were 1,477 residential properties added to the local MLS® system in Mississauga this February – four per cent less than were added at the end of February 2006. There were also 2,360 active MLS® listings posted by Mississauga REALTORS® at the end of the month.

About the Mississauga Real Estate Board
Established in 1954, the Mississauga Real Estate Board represents approximately 1,500 real estate Brokers and salespersons from Mississauga and surrounding areas. Members of the Board may use the REALTOR® trademark, which identifies them as real estate professionals who subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. Advertisements of local MLS® property listings and information about the services provided by a REALTOR® can be found at www.mreb.ca .

I've included the Disclaimer from the original article, just in case someone wishes to take me to task on the information presented above. Thank you, Mark
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The information contained in this report has been prepared by The Canadian Real Estate Association, in co-operation with the Mississauga Real Estate Board. The information has been drawn from sources deemed to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness of the information is not guaranteed. In providing this information, neither The Canadian Real Estate Association nor the Mississauga Real Estate Board assumes any responsibility or liability. Copyright© 2006 The Canadian Real Estate Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission.
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Canadian Economy, Jobs and Stock Markets Rebound


HIGHLIGHTS
- Canadian economy rebounding from a weak Q4
- North American job growth keeps humming along

- Equity markets back on track after last week’s shuffle


In so far as stock markets usually serve as media
focal points and headline grabbers, last week’s
equity selloff raised some concerns about financial
market volatility. But with no new major
developments coming out of China this week, some
solid economic data from both the U.S. and Canada,
not to mention a bullish statement from the European
Central Bank, provides comfort that the global
economy remains strong.


Neither the Federal Reserve nor the Bank of Canada
see last week’s stock market corrections as being
disruptive or shifting us away from solid
fundamentals. The major U.S. and Canadian stock
market indices gained some ground this week and have
already recovered a significant portion of last
week’s losses. As of Thursday’s close, the TSX had
gained back 40% of last week’s net loss while the
S&P500 and DJIA had recovered about 25% of their
respective drops.


North American job growth keeps humming along


Furthermore, U.S. employment prospects remain
healthy. 97,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls
in February. This was slightly below expectations,
but revisions to prior months’ data (+55,000 jobs)
put the latest numbers in line with trends seen in
the last couple of years. A massive shedding of
construction jobs (-62,000) was not enough to
overturn the gains from others sectors (+168,000). A
larger-than-usual portion (39,000) of those job
gains were in the public sector but we still see in
the net numbers a sign of the ability of the
private-sector economy to keep pumping out new jobs
in various sectors. This helps alleviate worries
that net job creation will suffer dramatically due
to a reversal of fortunes in construction
employment. The unemployment rate nudged down to
4.5% and wage growth held at 4.1% on an annual
basis, marking an ongoing concern for the Fed as it
tries to put a lid on potential cost-pull inflation.


American exporters also did well in February, with
their fortunes improving on the count of strong
European and Asian demand. The U.S. trade deficit
narrowed as we expected, and net exports contributed
positively to direct GDP growth accounting.


Housing is still expected to take a bite out of
overall economic growth in the first quarter, as
much as 1 percentage point. The jury is still out as
to whether or not the housing market has found a
bottom yet. The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book does
mention that there are signs of stabilization in
many districts, but the evidence is tenuous at best.
The knock-on effects to consumer spending are still
largely unseen however, and the combination of
decent trade and consumer spending growth should
keep the economy ticking at round 2.0-2.5% over the
next few quarters.

As the U.S. job market continues to turn out steady
performances, the Canadian job market remains in
overdrive. Even though the Canadian economy managed
to create only 14,000 net new jobs in February, this
respite was expected after job creation looked like
it was on steroids in the months prior. The 22,000
gain that had been made in manufacturing employment
in the last 3 months was unfortunately wiped out in
February as Qu├ębec alone shed 33,000 jobs in that
sector. How much of this loss is temporary and
related to the CN strike – which fortunately is
behind us now but did manage to cause disruptions in
supply and demand logistics across the country – is
something to sort out. Regardless, there is no
denying the long-term struggles that forestry and
manufacturing in particular are facing in Central
Canada. In other words, looking at the sectoral
distribution of job gains, we see the handoff from
goods to services continuing, as the goods-producing
sector – manufacturing in particular – continues to
shed jobs while the services industry picks up the
slack and then some. So overall, an average of
42,000 net new jobs have been created in Canada in
the last 6 months, which is strong by any measure –
recall that trend-like monthly averages are closer
to 15-20,000. Following in step, unemployment rates
across the country are at 30+ year lows with a
national average that now stands at 6.1%.


Canadian economy rebounding from weak Q4


The strong domestic outlook was also supported by
January’s international trade data. Export volumes
rose by 1.3% while import volumes declined by 3.8%,
resulting in an important boost to the Canadian
trade surplus. Most of the export growth was
destined for the U.S., whose domestic market
typically absorbs ¾ of our exports. The decline in
import volumes was broad-based. Beyond the often
noisy monthly changes, exports are picking up their
cruising speed as volumes have been on the rise in
the last 3 months and year-over-year as well. Tied
to a fairly optimistic and resilient U.S. consumer,
Canadian exporters’ fortunes still look positive
going forward, especially after going through a
steep appreciation of the Canadian dollar – which
has now stabilized in the 84-87 U.S. cents range.


After posting a meagre 1.4% real GDP growth in Q4,
the Canadian economy was already showing signs in
December that it would fare better in the first
quarter. This week’s round of data further
strengthens our view that the domestic economy is
rebounding. We expect first quarter real GDP growth
to come in above 3.0% at an annualized rate, which
is itself above potential and more than double the
rate observed in the fourth quarter.


Central bank meetings


So far then, the economy is tracking the Bank of
Canada’s (BoC) forecast rather well and, as such,
this means that the BoC is unlikely to change its
neutral stance any time soon. Choosing to maintain
the interest rate pause – as was unanimously
expected – the BoC left the interest rate target at
4.25% on Tuesday.


Other central banks also had rate setting meetings
this week. The Bank of England held its rate steady
at 5.25%, but will likely raise it by 25bp in its
next meeting on April 4. The European Central Bank
increased its key rate by 25bp to 3.75% and clearly
signalled that further increases are coming, so
there is at least another 25bp hike in the pipeline.
As a whole, the economies of the Euro-zone have been
growing at the decent pace of 2.5% recently and wage
inflation pressures loom as unions are looking to
flex their collective bargaining muscle,
particularly in Germany.

Article courtesy of R.Paul Chadwick Manager of Residential Mortgages, TD Canada Trust
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Monday, March 12, 2007

Not just any home - It's your FIRST home - CLOSING THE SALE - 5th in a series of articles for first time buyers


Closing the deal - 5th in a series of articles when buying your first home

After the mortgage has been approved and before the deal is closed, you must deliver certain documents and monies to your lawyer and the lender’s lawyer. These include:
• A copy of the accepted Offer to Purchase and any conditional waivers that have been added
• Proof of fire insurance
• A survey signed by a qualified land surveyor. In the case of an existing home, the survey on file may be acceptable. Or you may want to explore title insurance, which may not require a survey

Your lawyer will search the title to the property, check into any taxes or liens on the property, draw up and finalize your mortgage documents. A Statement of Adjustment will confirm all the transaction details and balance of the down payment and adjustments. This payment to your lawyer in trust is due together with the actual cost of the lawyer’s fee plus closing costs and disbursements.

Closing Day
This is the day you get the keys and legally take possession of your new home. Congratulations!
• Your lender will provide the mortgage money to your lawyer
• You must provide the balance of the purchase price to your lawyer
• You will also be responsible for paying legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes
• Your lawyer pays the vendor, registers the home in your name and provides you with a deed and the keys.

This article and series brought is courtesy of:
Marilyn Eidner, AMPMortgage ManagerHalton/MississaugaScotiabankCell: 647-271-7040Fax: 905-822-0811 marilyn.eidner@scotiabank.com www.scotiabank.com/meidner

Complete Buying Flowchart

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com



Saturday, March 10, 2007

Not just any home - It's your FIRST home - OFFER TO PURCHASE - 4th in a series of articles for first time buyers


The Offer to Purchase - 4th article in a complete series of articles about what to consider when purchasing a home
Once you’ve found a home that meets both your needs and your price range, you can present the vendor with an Offer to Purchase or an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. This offer or agreement is legally binding, so give yourself time to think before you sign; the offer should not be made casually. You may want to have your lawyer look it over to ensure that your interests are protected.

An offer or agreement will include:
• Basic personal and property details
• The purchase price offered
• The chattel or items in the home which will be included in the purchase price
• All financial details
• The closing date – usually 30 – 60 days from the date of agreement
• Request for a current land survey of the property
• Expiration date and time indicating when the offer becomes null and void

A ‘conditional’ offer or agreement will also include:
• That the offer is conditional upon obtaining mortgage financing or that the house passes a home inspection etc.
A deposit of approximately 10% usually accompanies the offer and is presented to the vendor by their agent. Often the vendor will make changes and return as a counteroffer which you may accept, reject or even revise. Most often, they hinge on money, so it’s best to know what your absolute upper limit is before you start negotiating or you may get caught up in the action and offer more than you really can afford.

The process of buying a home has its ups and downs. As long as you’re prepared for them, the ride can be exciting and rewarding. Especially on the day the deal is done!

This article and series brought is courtesy of:
Marilyn Eidner, AMPMortgage ManagerHalton/MississaugaScotiabankCell: 647-271-7040Fax: 905-822-0811 marilyn.eidner@scotiabank.com www.scotiabank.com/meidner

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com



Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not just any home - It's your FIRST home TAKING OUT A MORTGAGE - 3rd in a series of articles for first time buyers


Your Team of Professionals - part 3 in a series
Without a select group of professionals, purchasing a home would be almost impossible. A good way to start looking for any professional is to ask for referrals from satisfied friends. You will require the services of:
1. A Real Estate Representative to look after your interests.
2. An appraiser to independently assess the market value of the home. Check for the appraiser’s qualifications and licence.
3. A Lender – financial institution or mortgage broker. Of course, we’re partial to our Scotiabank Mortgage Partner.
4. A Lawyer to ensure your legal interests are being protected. Your legal representative will process all the official paperwork and arrange the disbursements and title upon closing.
5. A Home Inspector to independently assess the quality and condition of the home’s systems and structure. Check for the inspector’s qualifications and licence.
6. An Insurance Broker for your home insurance – you won’t get the lender’s money without it!

Taking out a mortgage
Buying a home usually means taking out a mortgage. That means you borrow money to buy a home, using that home as collateral for the loan. Mortgages today can be 100% funded and amortized over periods of up to 35 years. Variable and fixed rate, open and closed terms, split mortgages and different payment options – many decisions best left to you and your lender to discuss and tailor to your financial situation.
Be prepared to provide plenty of personal information. They need to fully assess your ability to repay the loan using your GDS and TDS ratios and they’ll need documents pertaining to your assets, liabilities, earnings and employment history as well as permission to do a full credit history check.

The approval process may take a couple days, but allow for a couple of weeks. An application for mortgage loan insurance will be submitted to the mortgage insurer to approve (or reject), but final approval is still subject to a review of the property and a credit review of your finances.
It’s best to start with a pre-approval from your lender. This gives written approval for an amount and establishes an interest rate guaranteed for a certain period of time. It gives you a head start on house hunting.

This article and series brought is courtesy of:
Marilyn Eidner, AMPMortgage ManagerHalton/MississaugaScotiabankCell: 647-271-7040Fax: 905-822-0811 marilyn.eidner@scotiabank.com www.scotiabank.com/meidner

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph
A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Equity Sell-off but Canada and US poised to accelerate



HIGHLIGHTS
- Equity sell-off will have fleeting economic impact
- 2007 GDP growth in Canada and the U.S. poised to accelerate


This is certainly a good week to take a step back and
regain perspective. Nothing that happened in financial
markets this week has caused us to change our outlook
for Canada, the U.S., or the global economy. The
carnage in equity markets appeared to key off of a
nasty game of whisper down the lane in China on
Tuesday. The first person in line said “Beijing is the
capital of China,” and the last person in line swears
they heard “Beijing is implementing a capital tax on
equity gains of 20 per cent in China.” The government
did announce on Wednesday this wasn’t true, but in
general, Chinese authorities remain keen to reign in
liquidity and prevent overheating. This is why they
made moves this week to shore up the stock market and
will continue to do so in the future. As in any
emerging market, Chinese equities will continue to be
subject to growing pains and higher volatility
correlated more with regulatory changes than any
connection with economic performance or prospects (See
TD Economics special report on China earlier this
week: http://www.td.com/economics/special/rk0207_china.pdf).

Because of this disconnect and its relatively small
size, the Chinese stock market is not systemically
important on a global scale. Rather, what we saw was a
reflection of the fractious debate regarding the
future path of the global economy. Sixty per cent of
China’s exports are foreign firms listed in exchanges
outside of China and 40% of the earnings of companies
listed on the S&P 500 originate from outside of the
United States. For these reasons, evidence of
entrenched economic weakness in either economy would
be systemically important. While we continue to
believe the U.S. and Canadian economies will coast
through the current mid-cycle slowdown – and on this
account we are in the majority – there is still a
vocal minority of doomsayers. We do not discount the
weaknesses these individuals point to. We simply don’t
think the outcomes they subscribe to are likely to
happen.

The Least Likely Outcomes

The Recessioniks are the largest minority. They
believe that the correction in the U.S. housing market
will spread through to the rest of the American
economy. Data on new home sales for January showed
further weakness in the U.S. housing market, but
existing home sales – the larger market by far –
unexpectedly improved. Concerns over sub-prime lending
are tied to the weak housing market. The sub-prime
market is a small percentage of total lending,
however, and because interest rates are on hold at
moderate levels and there has yet to be any
significant pullback in lending to prime borrowers,
fears of contagion seem unwarranted. Taken at face
value, larger than expected weakness in U.S. durable
goods and core capital goods orders would help to
support the case for recession, as well. Both are a
sign that manufacturing activity may be slowing.
Additionally, core capital goods orders serve as a
forward indicator of firms’ investment plans. But
whether you are in a recession or mid-cycle slowdown,
investment always slows. In both cases, residential
investment tends to be the first to fall, followed by
non-residential investment. It is impossible to
distinguish a recession from a fleeting economic
softpatch looking only at investment data.

But the Recessioniks also point to Q4 GDP, which was
revised down this week from an initial estimate of
3.5% to 2.3%. The earlier figure certainly emboldened
markets to think the slowdown was over, but the lower
figure dashed that perception. In fact, output growth
is now in the range we thought we’d see at this stage
given a mid-cycle slowdown. Moreover, the revisions
were the result of firms slowing their accumulation of
inventories. While this drawdown may continue in the
first quarter, its implication for growth in the
second half of the year is positive for production and
investment once firms start to reload.

The Stagflationiks are the next minority. They share
the Recessioniks concerns, but feel that a contraction
in economic activity will be coupled with inflationary
pressures ala the oil crises of the 1970’s. This would
force central banks like the Bank of Canada (who meet
next week but aren’t expected to make any changes) and
the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in order
to maintain stable prices. The core PCE deflator
showed consumer prices in the U.S. rose by 2.3%
year-over-year since January. Prices are hovering just
above the Fed’s implicit range of 1.5-2%. But given
the current global climate, any substantial economic
weakness is much more likely to be coupled with
deflationary pressures, not inflationary ones. Ample
global liquidity has been fueling rapid investment
growth internationally, especially in China where it
accounts for nearly half of GDP. This is a lot of
productive capacity which, if not needed, would lead
to softening prices as producers try to move
merchandise.

The Most Likely Outcome

So this leaves TD Economics in the most likely camp –
the Likeliniks. The most probable scenario given all
the information we have received to date is that U.S.
GDP will continue to grow at a pace below 3% – but
well above the 0% and worse needed for a recession –
and will accelerate into 2008 as housing, investment,
and inventory weaknesses unwind. What is key for this
story is consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds
of the economy. Consumer spending continues to track
the path of a mid-cycle slowdown and is nearly a full
two percentage points above where it would be given a
recessionary path (see graph). January’s U.S. personal
income and spending data showed consumer income was up
1.0% while spending was up 0.5%. U.S. consumers
continue to have the income to spend, they continue to
have the desire to spend, and with spending growing
slower than income, consumers have even managed to cut
back on borrowing.

The Canadian economy appears similarly poised to
accelerate. Although GDP growth for the fourth quarter
of 2006 came in at a meager 1.4%, this was slightly
higher than expected, and Q3 GDP growth was revised up
from 1.7% to 2.0%. Moreover, monthly GDP growth for
December of 0.4% points to a strong hand-off to the
first quarter. Like in the U.S., inventories were a
large part of the story and represented a drag on GDP
growth of nearly four percentage points. With a strong
handoff from December and the inventory overhang
largely unwound, Canadian GDP could come in for a
showing at or above 3% in the first quarter of 2007.

Alan Greenspan earlier this week said it is possible
the U.S. economy could slip into a recession at some
point in the future without any qualification of what
he meant. Saying the U.S. or Canadian economies could
slip into a recession is like saying an Olympic
swimmer could drown in the deep-end of the pool. Is it
possible? Yes. Is it more likely than if he or she was
standing in the shallow end? Of course. Is it the most
likely outcome? No.

Article courtesy of R.Paul Chadwick, Manager of Residential Mortgages,TD Canada Trust

Read about the real estate market


For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph
A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL:
mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website:
Mississauga4Sale.com

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not just any home - It's your FIRST home - HOUSING COSTS AND AFFORDABILITY - 2nd in a series of articles for first time buyers


Homebuying costs - This is Article 2 of a series of articles regarding purchasing a home for first time buyers

Buying a home involves many financial considerations. Some expenses are one-time costs and others are ongoing commitments. On top of that, there are other costs that you may not be aware of. Separated into four groups, they are:

1. The Down Payment – If you have a down payment of 25% or more, you may qualify for a conventional mortgage which does not require mortgage loan insurance. Anything less (minimum 5%) and the mortgage is a high-ratio mortgage and needs to be insured against default. This premium is usually added to your mortgage payment. CMHC and Genworth Financial are both mortgage insurers.

2. The Mortgage Payment – This is your regular mortgage payment. It includes the principal plus interest. The payment may also include a portion of the regular property taxes.

3. The Closing Costs – Many of these costs may be associated with your home purchase:
• Appraisal fee
• Survey fee
• Property Insurance
• Utility and tax adjustments
• Land transfer tax
• New service hook-up fees
• Lawyer (notary) fees
• Moving costs
• Home inspection fee
• Water quantity and quality certification
• Condominium fees
• New furnishings
• Decorating costs
• Renovations or repairs

4. New Homeowner Costs – the ‘oops – forgot I’d need one of those’ costs, like a lawnmower or snow blower to maintain your new property.

Generally, affordability can be estimated using two rules:

1. The Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio – your monthly housing costs (principal, interest, taxes and heating) should not be more than 32% of your gross monthly income.

2. The Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio – your entire monthly debt load shouldn’t be more than 40% of your gross monthly income.


This article and series brought is courtesy of:
Marilyn Eidner, AMPMortgage ManagerHalton/MississaugaScotiabankCell: 647-271-7040Fax: 905-822-0811 marilyn.eidner@scotiabank.com www.scotiabank.com/meidner

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com



Monday, March 05, 2007

Canadian Economy looks to be in good shape says report by RBC



Canada’s economy ends 2006 on firmer footing
  • Canada’s economy grew at a sub-potential 1.4% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2006, slightly stronger than the 1.2% growth expected by forecasters. Third-quarter growth was revised up from 1.7% to a 2% annualized increase, matching the second-quarter pace.


  • The economy ended the year on firmer footing with a 0.4% month-over-month growth rate in December, outpacing monthly gains in both November and October. For the year as a whole, the economy posted a 2.7% real growth rate.


  • Domestic demand growth slowed in the fourth quarter, while the trade sector supported growth. A sharp drop in the pace of inventory accumulation trimmed about four percentage points off the quarterly growth rate.


  • Export growth outstripped imports for the first time in six quarters. As a result, the trade sector boosted GDP growth in fourth quarter after the sector trimmed growth in the other three quarters of 2006.


  • Consumer spending slowed but still held up reasonably well, posting a 3.1% annual increase with most of the strength coming from purchases of services and durable goods. Business fixed investment picked up pace mainly on the back of investment in non-residential structures with spending on machinery and equipment slowing.


  • The weak spot in the report was the sharp slowing in inventory investment, which has weighed heavily on growth in three of the past four quarters. Non-farm inventories were drawn down for the first time in 10 quarters.


  • We expect consumer and business spending will accelerate in early 2007 but that trade, which acted as a support to the economy in the fourth quarter, will be a drag once again as import demand outstrips exports. The sharp inventory correction that occurred in 2006 is unlikely to continue in 2007.


  • Our optimism about the near-term outlook makes it difficult for us to see the slower growth in the fourth quarter affecting the Bank of Canada’s policy stance and we expect that the overnight rate will hold steady at 4.25%.



Consumer sentiment continues to sour - University of Michigan index

  • Consumer sentiment continued to sour in second half of February according to the University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment, with the index dropping to 91.3 from 96.9 in January. The early February report showed that the index slipped to 93.5 from January’s elevated level.


  • Both the current and future indices fell, with the present conditions index dropping 4.6 points and the expectations index falling 6.1 points. This survey runs counter to the upside surprise in the Conference Board’s measure, which popped up to a pre-9/11 high in February.


  • Consumer spending was slightly softer in January and the mixed read on the confidence surveys plus instability in equity markets is likely to prevent consumer activity from matching the very robust pace of late 2006. While the Michigan index stood at its lowest level in five months, it remained above the levels recorded in much of 2006 and does not point to a sharp slowing in consumer activity ahead.

March 2, 2007

Source: "Financial Markets Monthly", Economics Departnment, RBC Financial Group.


For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Do you require an advance on your pay for deposit, downpayment or other purchases?

You may be in the position where you need an advance on your paycheck. This particular post is a paid review of the website paydayloansabc.com

This particular site deals with comfort and convenience when people are applying for loan advances. There are many reasons why people need a payday loan advance. And these reasons to obtain a payday advance are as varied as the face in our country.

With the technology that is available today, there is absolutely no reason for people to leave the comfort and privacy of their homes in order to apply for a loan advance. If you are in that position where you need an advance on your paycheck, then give this company a try.

Payday Loans ABC brings you this convenience without compromising the security of receiving a confidential fast cash loan. Payday Loans ABC can be found placed in proud ranking on many of the Internet’s most respected directories and resources for payday cash advances.

The site states that the loan approvals only take minutes and this would certainly be an advantage to people that may not have the time to visit an actual location to apply for their loan advance. Remember that this is a paid review of payday loans. I wish you all the best with your endeavours in life.

For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Not just any home - It's your FIRST home - HOUSING NEEDS AND UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET - 1st in a series of articles for first time buyers


It’s not just any home. It’s your first home.
Chances are you’ve gone through the floor plan of your first home a thousand times. You’ve mapped out where the area rug will go, what colour the guestroom will be and what flowers you’ll plant in the spring.
But before you fill out your change of address cards, the first thing you should do is talk to a Scotiabank mortgage specialist. We’ll talk to you about how you can:
• Achieve home ownership faster
• Pre-arrange your mortgage so you can find the right home at the right price
• Choose the mortgage solution that works best for you
• Reduce your total cost of borrowing and simplify your finances through the Scotia Total Equity™ Plan
• Pay off your mortgage sooner.

Because after all, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. And we want to help ensure it’s the right one.

Purchasing a home is an exciting journey. It involves making a lot of important decisions and employing many home-related professionals along the way. Information is key and preparation is essential to a successful transaction. First-time home buyers may find this guide useful in determining their needs and preparing for the home purchase process.

What are your housing needs?In deciding where you want to live, you will have to carefully consider the following:
• Location, (location, location)
• Proximity of Services
• Property value history
• Future development plans
• Type and style of home
• What you can afford

Determine in advance what is most important to you in relation to your short and long term goals. Review the home features you absolutely have to have and what you might do without. Use a worksheet to record all the details and impressions of each home you view to keep each home’s features distinct in your memory.


Understand the housing marketYour home is an important investment decision. You want it to increase in value as much as possible.
Look at the larger market conditions because the more you know the more control you have. Check out timely market information through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation online at www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca and research your locations through their Market Analysis Centre.
The internet is a tremendous source of information for all aspects of your home purchase – Scotia and other Bank sites, Builder sites, Real Estate Associations, Canadian Bankers Association, CMHC and Genworth Financial Canada just to name a few.


For more information please contact A. Mark Argentino

A. Mark Argentino, Broker, P.Eng.,
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage
2691 Credit Valley Road, Suite 101, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 7A1

BUS. 905-828-3434
FAX. 905-828-2829
E-MAIL: mark@mississauga4sale.com
Website: Mississauga4Sale.com