Friday, October 31, 2008

Mississauga Mortage Interest Rates

The table below shows you the current posted and achievable mortgage interest rates in Mississauga and the GTA.

TERMPOSTED Achievable
RATES*
6 Month 6.20%6.20%
1 Year6.35%4.35%
2 Year6.70%5.35%
3 Year7.05%5.49%
4 Year7.04%5.69%
5 Year7.20%5.59%
7 Year7.65%6.20%
10 Year8.00%6.40%
Variable Rate4.75%
Prime Rate4.00%














Rates Last Updated: Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you would like to get in contact with a mortgage person that I know who can get you these mortgage rates, please let me know.

Thank you,
Mark

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mississauga real estate, Should you be buying a property at this time?


video


Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph Hello,



This is my first video post. I just made it this afternoon on our boat. A student from Sheridan College asked me to answer a couple of questions about first time buyers and whether they should be buying a property.



I am sure I will look back at this video and laugh, but what the heck, you should enjoy this very much!



All the best,

Mark



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, October 29, 2008

Mortgage market has changed dramatically

Hello,

The mortgage market has changed dramatically, due to the financial turmoil.

Hopefully we can get through it in near future.

Please see the following up-to-date rates.

5-year closed fixed rate: 5%-4.95%, depends on mortgage amount. With big amount, it might be even lower.

Variable rate 5 year closed: Prime rate (4%).

For those of you who would like to wait for variable rate to drop, you may wish to take short-term fixed rate first.

Limited time Promotions that I have seen

: 6-month fixed rate: 4.35% or 1-year fixed rate: 4.29%

All the best,

Mark

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rental Fraud Alert - be Careful!

Please be very careful if you are thinking of renting a property through Craigslist or Kijiji. There are some fraudsters out there preying on people who are thinking of renting. If it seems just too good to be true, it likely is.

One method of checking if the property you are thinking of renting is too inexpensive is to email an agent and ask them to either look up the address on the MLS or to give their opinion of rental value. This is one method of checking.

Please read this press release from the Toronto Real Estate Board below.

All the best,
Mark
Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Average Prices and Graph


October 27, 2008 -- A Member, who recently placed a house rental advertisement on Kijiji and Craigslist, has reported that an individual re-issued the same advertisement with his contact information in an attempt to fraudulently collect rental deposits.

The individual advised prospective tenants that he had been transferred to Nigeria on business and as such, the house would be available for rent for four years. He offered to rent the house for a considerably lesser amount than that which the owner had advertised. At least two prospective tenants in the Brampton area were nearly drawn into this scam.

Members are reminded that such occurrences can also be reported to PhoneBusters, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre managed on a tripartite basis by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau Canada.
PhoneBusters can be reached at 1-888-495-8501 or info@phonebusters.com


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, October 27, 2008

blogger labels

I've figured out that my blogger labels continue to give errors in my google webmaster tools under sitemaps and broken links. the reason is that labels with spaces are not indexed properly, I knew this from a long time ago, but overlooked this with blogger, hense all y problems. the only rational solution is to rename all my labels and put dashes or underscores, I chose dashes, since they are easier to insert!

such as

moving-relocation,national-prices,power-of-sale,property-tax-sales,property-taxes,real-estate-humour,real-estate-market,real-estate-strategies

these all have dashes and seem to work better!



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

test of the new blogger labels

this is a test of the new labels for my bloggerToronto 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

Existing Home Sales Scotia Report

Existing Home Sales

— The jump in September existing home sales — up 5.5% m/m — was a surprise. Excluding condos, the increase was even greater, coming in at 6.2%

m/m, the largest since early 2002. The glut of unsold, single-family homes decreased by 6.0%, lowering months supply to 9.4. Adding multi-unit dwellings, the month’s supply rises to 9.9, still high by historical standards.

Home values and prices continue to trend lower; both the median and average price of single family homes fell by over $10,000 last month.

Read more about:Homes for Sale

Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


Thinking of Selling? Best Mortgage Rates Current Home Prices Search MLS
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

( BUS 905-828-3434
mark@mississauga4sale.com
8 Website : Mississauga4Sale.com

Homes for Sale

blogger labels, last set

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

fourth set of blogger labels

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

blogger labels to create new blogger labels for future posts

this post is necessary to create more of my new blogger labelsToronto 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, October 24, 2008

Embracing Change- we live in amazing times

This link below presents astonishing facts about the age that we currently live in.

We certainly live in an incredible world and are blessed to be experiencing this exponential growth in technology.

I cannot imagine what our children will be doing at midnight when they are 50 years old, probably just 'thinking and looking' and the mouse will move and pages will scroll across the screen and maybe the screen will be projected on feather light glasses that they wear when they want to experience some entertainment.

What will we do with all that computing power and all that information, it just boggles the mind.

As the video tells us, the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years, that means that 50% of what we learn today will be outdated in 2 years, that is almost too difficult to comprehend.


This is the link to the video:

Enjoy!
Mark

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nigerian Advance Fee Fraudsters and Who's among us map of my blog visitors

You may have noticed that I have a small graphic in the right coloumn of my blog that shows a map of the world with red markers showing the location of people that have visited my blog only. The graphic is courtesy of a company called Who's Among Us They provide this graphic free of charge.

I put this graphic on my blog becuase I think it's neat to look at.

I noticed this today that one of my visitors sticks out like a sore thumb and that person is from Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria You may have heard of the Nigerian Scammers and the fact is that a large majority of Advance Fee Fraudsters come from Lagos Nigeria.

I would imagine that I will be receiving a few more of those "offers you can't refuse" to help those poor people transfer out many millions of dollars in cash from a recent inheritance, car crash settlement or something similar and where I receive a paltry 10 to 20% of the net proceeds.

To receive 20% of the bank transfer, all I have to do is help them transfter $40million (that's about $8million to you!) is give them all of your banking information, date of birth, SIN and my first born and we are in business together.

If you want a laugh, browse to http://www.scambusters.org/NigerianFee.html or just search google for nigerian 419 scammers and you will have many hours of hilarious reading.

This is another good link: http://www.419eater.com/html/letters.htm or you can see the trophy room http://www.419eater.com/html/hall_of_shame.htm if you just want to see what the goal is of many of people here in North America and UK who call themselves scambaiters. It's a hoot to read and see.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have worked with a few people over the recent past who recently came to Canada from Nigeria. They were a pleasure to work with and I've become friends with one family. But, if the hit to my blog was from a scammer, I just picture him (because it's rarely a woman scammer) sitting in an internet cafe in Lagos and typing out those 419'r letters and searching sucker real estate agents like me and the thousands of others here in North America, trolling for new blood to send their fraudulent schemes and email letters to.

I've read that thousands of people here in North America have falled for this fruadulent scheme. We live in a very polarized and odd world and the internet has allowed odd things to flourish that never would have worked so well 10 years ago!

Enjoy!
Mark


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, October 22, 2008

Mortgage Rate Update Bank of Canada Rate Reduction

The Bank of Canada reduced the prime rate again yesterday October 21st to 2.25% Canadian banks quickly followed and reduced their bank prime rates to 4.00%

The Bank of Canada reduced its main interest rate by a quarter of a point, less than economists predicted, saying it will probably need to act again to fend off the effects of a credit crisis and global recession.

Bank of Canada Governor trimmed the target rate for overnight loans between commercial banks to 2.25 percent, the lowest since October 2004. Canada's six biggest banks passed the relief on to customers by lowering their prime rates to 4 percent. Canada's dollar fell to the lowest in more than three years as traders bet on more reductions in the central bank's benchmark.

WHAT IS THE BANK PRIME RATE ?

As of October 22, 2008 the Bank Prime Rate was

4.00
%

Bank Prime means "best," and this is the rate that banks charge their absolute best customers for loans. Changes in the prime rate influence changes in other rates, including variable interest rate mortgages. This prime rate rate fluctuates based on economic conditions. Some mortgage companies offer interest rates starting at Less than Prime Rate as an incentive to borrow from them! These are known as "SUB PRIME" Mortgages and we know what happened in the US when too many sub-prime mortgages were given out in the mid 2000's Read more about Sub-Prime Mortgages

For example, see the
Royal Bank Prime Rates

Bank of Canada Prime rates found here

These are the current posted and some 'best' rates



NATIONAL MORTGAGE RATES
TermPosted
Rates*
Best
Rates achievable
6 Month6.20%6.20%
1 Year6.35%4.35%
2 Year6.70%5.35%
3 Year7.05%5.49%
4 Year7.04%5.70%
5 Year7.20%5.65%
7 Year7.65%6.20%
10 Year8.00%6.40%
Variable Rate4.15%
Prime Rate4.00%
* last updated: Oct 21, 2008


Thank you,
Mark

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Canada Optimistic Housing Market Conditions

This is what RE/MAX is saying about our current marketplace in Canada
Nice to see some positive and optimistic news on the housing front here in Canada!
Enjoy!
Mark



There’s been a lot of talk about real estate in the news in recent months. We’ve heard about declining housing starts, falling existing home sales, double-digit price depreciation, subprime fallout and foreclosures – in the United States. Fortunately, we live in Canada. And Canadian real estate markets are far-better positioned than their American counterparts for a good number of reasons.
  1. Subprime mortgages represent less than five per cent of our market nationally.
  2. Foreclosures occur in about one quarter of one per cent of mortgage transactions in this country.
  3. Canadians have more equity in their homes.
  4. We have less debt than our neighbours south of the border.
  5. Speculation has played little or no role in existing home sales in Ontario.
  6. The fundamentals of our economy are relatively solid. Of the G8 countries, only Canada is expected to show growth in 2008 and 2009.
  7. The Canadian banking system is one of the best in the world, relying more on old-fashioned lending than innovative financial products geared toward profit.
  8. The Canadian job market is stronger than the US, adding more than 200,000 jobs so far this year.
  9. Interest rates remain favourable.
  10. Housing values in Ontario major centres did not experience serious, double-digit price appreciation year-after-year for an extended period. Our markets were characterized by stable, healthy growth.
  11. Immigration continues to play a key role in housing markets. Between 2001 and 2006, more than 1.1 million immigrants came to this country, with about half settling in the province of Ontario. Immigrants tend to purchase a home within the first five years of living in Canada.
Real estate is cyclical. There will be peaks and valleys. The more restrained the peak, the more modest the valley.
There is no question that market conditions have moderated from 2007’s record pace. More listings, softer housing values, longer days on market – but most centres are relatively solid. While some buyers and sellers will adopt a wait-and-see attitude, there are those that will continue to venture forward.
They’ll need the services of a knowledgeable, experienced real estate professional to navigate the storm. They will look to you for information in today’s complex real estate environment. Understanding market conditions will be of paramount importance to today’s buyers and sellers, especially as conditions change in markets across the country.
That said, sellers will need to be realistic in setting a selling price. Listing a property at fair-market value will ensure that it will sell in a reasonable amount of time. This is not the time to test the market. Those that are truly interested in selling their properties know that over-priced homes risk stagnation. Buyers in today’s market will need to be careful not to overextend themselves. They should know exactly what they can afford. Pre-approval for a mortgage loan is ideal because it lets buyers know exactly how much they can spend on their new home.
Once educated, your clients will come to rely on your expertise. Make sure your follow-up skills are honed and your customer service is par excellence.
Looking forward, we anticipate a continuation of stable market activity, minus the urgency present in past. Gone are the multiple offers that left both buyers and sellers dissatisfied. The increase in the number of homes listed for sale are a definite advantage for purchasers who now have the luxury of time in making one of the most important decisions of a lifetime. For sellers, the time to trade-up has never been better.
Canadians are great believers in homeownership – a fact underscored by the close to 70 per cent who own homes in this country. History has proven time and time again that real estate is a solid, long-term investment that appreciates at a rate of about five per cent annually. You can’t live in your mutual fund, and after the last month in the financial markets, quite frankly, we’re not sure you’d want to.
New market realities may impact your business in the months ahead. That’s when the RE/MAX Brand and toolbox come into play. There are a wide variety of products and services that will give you an edge in today’s marketplace and a definite advantage when it comes to the competition. Ensuring you incorporate both a buyers and sellers presentation into your marketing materials is a great first step. Rather than focus on what you see or hear in the news, consider opportunities as they present themselves. You are, after all, in control of your destiny.
Sincerely,

Michael Polzler
Executive Vice President and Regional Director
RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Central banks to ease policy rates further - so thinks RBC economists

Central banks to ease policy rates further reports RBC

The immediate reaction to the co-ordinated central bank rate cut was cool, with global equity markets languishing and the cost of funding staying high. Persistent uncertainty kept investors focused on the safety of government bonds, resulting in interest rates on these securities remaining well below earlier forecasts.

The IMF, in its semi-annual outlook, aggressively cut back the forecast for world GDP growth in 2009 to 3% from 3.9%, highlighting that "the downturn in the advanced economies is continuing to deepen". The prospect of a lengthy and widespread economic downturn will likely prompt global central banks to shift policy rates to more stimulative levels and we look for most major economies we follow to lower policy rates further.

Read more about:Homes for Sale

Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


Thinking of Selling? Best Mortgage Rates Current Home Prices Search MLS
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

( BUS 905-828-3434
mark@mississauga4sale.com
8 Website : Mississauga4Sale.com

Homes for Sale

Monday, October 13, 2008

Economic data point to a U.S. recession so reports the RBC

Economic data point to a U.S. recession

Economic activity data are increasingly suggesting that the U.S. economy has slipped into recession. Data reports have underperformed forecasters' modest expectations across the board with another month of slumping home sales and record price declines.

September's labour market report was much weaker than expected with payrolls dropping. The ISM manufacturing report for September was also soft. The headline index dropped well below the 50-mark to 43.5, indicating sharply declining activity in the sector, while August consumer spending data showed a marked slowing in the third quarter as the impact from fiscal stimulus faded.

The monthly reports signal that the U.S. economy likely contracted in the third quarter with a more marked weakening expected in the fourth.

Read more about:Homes for Sale

Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


Thinking of Selling? Best Mortgage Rates Current Home Prices Search MLS
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

( BUS 905-828-3434
mark@mississauga4sale.com
8 Website : Mississauga4Sale.com

Homes for Sale

Sunday, October 12, 2008

no recession Downside risks present but domestic demand strong enough to keep

Downside risks present but domestic demand strong enough to keep

economy out of recession

The weak U.S. economy and financial market uncertainty will likely result in Canada's economy growing more slowly than in our previous forecast, but has also gone some distance to alleviating concerns about the upside risks to the inflation outlook.

Canada's two-speed economy is likely to persist, with the trade side restraining the overall pace of growth, while the domestic side stays firm and keeps the economy off a recessionary path. Continued support from the improvement in the terms of trade and rising real incomes will underpin household and business demand and will offset some of the impact of the more challenging credit environment.

To-date, borrowing costs for households and businesses have remained well-contained compared to many other countries and the reported tightening in credit conditions has been limited. Still, uncertainty about the global economy and a slowing housing market will likely curb spending going forward.

On balance, Canada's economy is likely to grow at a mild 1% on average in the final quarter of 2008 and early 2009, a favourable result compared to declining growth in the United States, but still well below the economy's potential pace. The downward revision to our economic forecasts and the Bank of Canada's rate cut mean that interest rates are likely to remain lower for longer than we expected when we published

Financial Markets Monthly
in early September. We now expect the overnight rate to finish 2008 at 2.50% rather than 3.00% and for the two-year bond yield to trade around 2.40%.

Ten-year rates are forecast at 3.60% at year-end, lower than our previous projection of 4%.

Read more about:Homes for Sale

Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


Thinking of Selling? Best Mortgage Rates Current Home Prices Search MLS
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

( BUS 905-828-3434
mark@mississauga4sale.com
8 Website : Mississauga4Sale.com

Homes for Sale

Saturday, October 11, 2008

RBC suggests that Chances of additional Fed rate cuts rise as recession talk increases

Chances of additional Fed rate cuts rise as recession talk increases

With conditions in the U.S. economy degenerating and the credit crisis intensifying, we see little scope for a meaningful improvement in near-term growth prospects. The Fed has been focusing on both providing liquidity to the financial markets and ensuring the passage of the rescue package, but the growing downside risks to the global economy prompted the Fed to join other banks in cutting the policy rate before its scheduled meeting later this month.

Our forecast assumes that the passage of the US$700 package and the co-ordinated rate cut will eventually assuage market nervousness and set the stage for a firmer tone in equity and debt markets. However, this process will take time to affect the real-side economy and is unlikely to prevent the economy from tipping further into recession. To address the deteriorating economic outlook, we expect the Fed to cut the Fed funds rate by an additional 50 basis points to a cyclical low of 1% by year-end.

Read more about:Homes for Sale

Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


Thinking of Selling? Best Mortgage Rates Current Home Prices Search MLS
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

( BUS 905-828-3434
mark@mississauga4sale.com
8 Website : Mississauga4Sale.com

Homes for Sale

Friday, October 10, 2008

Canadian banking industry ok?

I found this article on the internet, worth repeating that Canada's banking system is Declared Most Sound!

Survey indicates that Canada has the most stable banking system in the world right now.
By Reuters


CANBERRA, Oct 9 - Canada has the world's soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

But Britain, which once ranked in the top five, has slipped to 44th place behind El Salvador and Peru, after a 50 billion pound ($86.5 billion) pledge this week by the government to bolster bank balance sheets.

The United States, where some of Wall Street's biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40, just behind Germany at 39, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.

The United States was on Thursday considering buying a slice of debt-laden banks to inject trust back into lending between financial institutions now too wary of one another to lend.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report based its findings on opinions of executives, and handed banks a score between 1.0 (insolvent and possibly requiring a government bailout) and 7.0 (healthy, with sound balance sheets).

Canadian banks received 6.8, just ahead of Sweden (6.7), Luxembourg (6.7), Australia (6.7) and Denmark (6.7).
UK banks collectively scored 6.0, narrowly behind the United States, Germany and Botswana, all with 6.1. France, in 19th place, scored 6.5 for soundness, while Switzerland's banking system scored the same in 16th place, as did Singapore (13th).

The ranking index was released as central banks in Europe, the United States, China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland slashed interest rates in a bid to end to panic selling on markets and restore trust in the shaken banking system.

The Netherlands (6.7), Belgium (6.6), New Zealand (6.6), Malta (6.6) rounded out the WEF's banking top 10 with Ireland, whose government unilaterally pledged last week to guarantee personal and corporate deposits at its six major banks.

Also scoring well were Chile (6.5, 18th) and Spain, South Africa, Norway, Hong Kong and Finland all ending up in the top 20. At the bottom of the list was Algeria in 134th place, with its banks scoring 3.9 to be just below Libya (4.0), Lesotho (4.1), the Kyrgyz Republic (4.1) and both Argentina and East Timor (4.2).

Enjoy your long weekend!

Mark

Financial Meltdown past few months in GTA

This will give you some perspective on the drop in the TSX over the past few weeks.

The TSX Index is down about 36% from its high of just over 3 months ago. If you are like me, you are probably a little concerned about your investments in the markets.

If you've been watching the news or reading the papers you might be thinking this is a unique and horrific event. You might also be wondering what you should do in the short and long term.

First, this market meltdown is not unique. There have been 3 bear markets with even steeper losses in recent times including the tech boom and bust from August 2000 through to September 2001 with a decline in the markets of 39%.

As for being horrific and insurmountable – the one common feature of a bear stock market is: they all end and are replaced by bull markets.

If you believe the world will continue to develop and grow; if you believe Canada is well positioned with many of the resources needed to facilitate that growth; if you believe you need to achieve "real" returns in excess of the rate of inflation, you should believe it's time to invest.

There appears to be many opportunities in the financial markets. But, when is the bottom and have we hit it yet and is now the time to invest? My rsp's have dropped about 40% since July of this year, one would say, plow in a pile of cash into the market and reap the rewards over the next year or two. Or is the market still going to continue to drop? Anybodys guess. Some will turn out winners and some losers.

This graph bwlow shows the TSX Index values since January 2000 and you may note that even at today's value, an investment of $100,000 made in September 2001 is now worth about $147,000 – an increase of 47%. Click the graph to see it full size.







A review of the performance of various investments over the past ten years is quite enlightening. The chart below reflects the ten year period ending August 31, 2008 with an update to October 8, 2008 shown to the right for 5 selected Canadian funds.

The "safe" options have made steady money and continue to do so although the rates of return are quite modest.



House prices in the GTA have done very well with 12 consecutive years of increasing prices up until the 3% decline recorded this September. It may be that house prices have peaked and it could be a number of years before appreciable increases are seen again. If you are a client of mine, you know that the appreciation of the investment is not critical for a rental property, the tenant is paying off the investment for you. That's your largest return.

Even after allowing for the sharp decrease in market values over the past 3 months, the 5 selected mutual funds have each outperformed both the safe options and the housing option. So, if you've been invested in good quality funds over the past decade you have done well even though you may not feel this way over the past couple of months.

I say it may be the best of times because it looks like a good time to invest. More specifically it looks like a good time to borrow to invest.

· Interest rates are low (Prime + ¾% is available based on credit score only)


· The cost of borrowing is tax deductible


· Some are offering free interest for the first 3 months

Borrowing to invest is not for everyone. It should only be considered by those who:

· Are prepared to commit to a 10 year minimum period


· Are comfortable in their ability to maintain a payment schedule


· Understand it is possible to incur losses in the short and long term.

If you borrowed a $100,000 to invest 10 years ago:

· Total cost of borrowing was $61,700


· The net cost of borrowing was $41,340 (based on a 33% tax rate)


· The taxable capital gain ranged from $75,000 to $165,000


Would you be willing to commit to a net monthly cost of less than $300 for the opportunity to invest $100,000 today?

Or, would you be willing to invest some money into the real estate market where you will gain significantly over the longer term?

The choice is yours to make.

I wish you all the best,

Mark


Mortgage rates update, you may be shocked!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a challenge keeping up with the changing mortgage interest rates (& everything financial!). The most significant changes have been with variable interest rate mortgages. Within a matter of days, the pricing changed from Prime less .60% to Prime plus 1%.

Is it more difficult to arrange a mortgage today? Not really, it's true the lenders are more diligent in their review of documentation; however, if you have good credit, capacity to repay & documentation to confirm down payment & source of income - business hasn't changed.

The lenders are asking more questions about borderline applications & these may be more difficult to finance through some prime lenders.

Also, effective next week, updated guidelines for high ratio (insured mortgages) will be announced. I'll keep you posted on these changes.

Enjoy the long weekend,
Mark

Update on Mortgage Interest Rates

The table below will show you current rates after the .5% reduction yesterday in the prime by the Bank of Canada

TERMPOSTED Obtainable RATES*
6 Month 6.2%6.2%
1 Year6.35%4.7%
2 Year6.7%5.29%
3 Year7.05%5.35%
4 Year7.04%5.49%
5 Year7.2%5.54%
7 Year7.65%6.05%
10 Year8%6.15%
Variable Rate4.5%
Prime Rate4.5%














* Best obtainable Rates Last Updated: Thursday, October 09, 2008

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Thank you for reading my blog and if there is anything else I can help you with please don't hesitate to contact me,

Mark

A. Mark Argentino
P. Eng. Broker
Specializing in Residential & Investment Real Estate


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RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.

Providing Full-Time Professional Real Estate Services since 1987

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Homes for Sale

how Canada transitioned from Imperial to the Metric System

This article was emailed to me, not sure where it's from, but it's very informative and interesting. It outlines how Canada implimented the metric system and some of the trials and tribulations that we experienced along the way.

Enjoy!

Mark


Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government first began implementing metrication in Canada in 1970 with the Metric Commission being established in 1971. By the mid-1970s, metric product labeling was introduced. In 1972, the provinces agreed to make all road signs metric by 1977. There was some resistance to metrication. The metrication of gasoline and diesel fuel sales in 1981 prompted 37 Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament to open a "freedom to measure" gas station in Carleton Place, Ontario, selling gas in both imperial gallons and litres. Some government employees lost their jobs due to their opposition to the government's forced metrication.

The election of the PC government of Brian Mulroney in 1984 slowed, and ultimately stalled, metrication in Canada. The Metric commission was abolished in 1985. Today, Canadians typically use a mix of metric and Imperial measurements in their daily lives.

Notwithstanding the end of officially-sanctioned metrication in Canada, most laws, regulations, and official forms exclusively use metric measurements. However, imperial measures still have legal definitions in Canada and can be used alongside of metric units.

Canadians typically discuss the weather in degree Celsius, purchase gasoline in litres, observe speed limits measured in kilometres per hour (km/h), and their road signs and maps measure distances in kilometres. Automobiles have metric speedometers and odometers, although many speedometers include smaller figures in miles per hour (MPH) for trips to the United States. Fuel economy for new vehicles is published by Transport Canada in litres per 100 kilometers but window stickers in dealer showrooms include "miles per imperial gallon" conversions even though neither of these units has been used in fuel sales or road signs in three decades. The railways of Canada continue to measure their trackage in miles. Canadian railcars show weight figures in both metric and imperial.

Food and many retail products are sold in metric. Some products, however, are sold in imperial sizes, but labelled in metric units. An example of this is butter, which is sold in a 454-gram package (and labelled as such), even though it represents one pound. This is known as "soft metric" (as opposed to a "hard metric" system, where packages and measures are generally sold in round, even numbers; in a hard metric system, butter would come in a 500 g package). Similarly, fast food restaurants often advertise measurements of food and drink in U.S. customary units converted to metric units, either because the containers are made to U.S. standards, or the franchise is U.S.-based and uses a standard size for its products. Thus, in Canada a 20 fl. oz (U.S.) bottled soft drink is labelled as 591 mL. Beer in bottles continues to be 12 imperial fluid ounces (labelled as 341 mL), but beer in cans is filled to 12 U.S. fluid ounces (labelled as 355 mL). There is also a larger sized beer bottle which is labelled as containing 1,183 mL. This corresponds to exactly 40 U.S. fluid ounces. Supermarkets will often advertise foods such as meats and produce "per pound," since such prices may appear lower to consumers than prices advertised by kilogram.

However, virtually all supermarket scales are metric, and the products advertised by the pound in a supermarket flyer are inevitably weighed and sold to the customer in the store based on a price "per 100 grams" or "per kilogram."

Similarly, floor space is usually measured in square feet, as a 1,500-square-foot (140 m²) house may be more appealing to a homebuyer than the same size house that is advertised as 140 square metres. Construction materials, including construction lumber and drywall, continue to be sold in imperial measurements; retrofitting metric-sized (designed for 400 millimetre centres) wallboard on old 16-inch (406.4 mm) spaced studs is difficult. Interestingly, however, the zoning bylaws and building codes that govern construction are in metric (as are virtually all official documents), although some building codes will also contain imperial equivalents.

Canadians typically measure their personal height in feet and inches and weight in pounds. In addition, Fahrenheit is often used for cooking, similar to U.S. cooking measurements, although some appliances in Canada are labelled with degrees Celsius or are convertible, and metric cooking measures are widely available. Stationery and photographic prints are also sold in sizes based on inches and the most popular paper sizes, letter and legal, are sized in imperial units. The Canadian Football League continues to play on a field measured in yards, and golfers expect courses to be measured in yards.

Free trade with the United States has further complicated matters. Since the United States is Canada's largest trading partner, Canadian exporters and importers must be accustomed to dealing in U.S. customary units as well as metric.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the use of metric or imperial measurements varies by age and region. For example, some older Canadians persist in using Fahrenheit in discussing temperature, often referring to it as "the old system," despite the virtually exclusive use of degrees Celsius in weather reports.

Canadians younger than 40, in contrast, most of whom have received only metric instruction in school since the early 1970s, are typically more familiar with metric measurements; though traditional units are commonly used for height and weight, and often used for length, a general understanding of traditional units does not generally go much beyond that unless perhaps the user has spent a significant amount of time in the United States. Metric is more widely used in Quebec. The use of imperial units is more common in rural areas in the rest of the country, where opposition to metrication was strongest, rather than in urban areas.

Canadians are exposed to both metric and imperial units, and it is not unusual for there to be references to both feet and metres, acres and hectares, and grams and ounces in the same conversation. Quantities of Canadian land are likely to be expressed in acres as opposed to hectares, and courses and distances will be measured in feet and other English units for the indefinite future, because a conversion to the metric system would require a resurvey of the land, and doing that would destabilize the security of land titles.

In the health care system, SI units dominate. For example, for measurements of blood cholesterol, the units are millimole per litre, whereas they are milligram per deciliter in the United States. While both units are composites of "metric" units, the litre is not an official SI base unit. Because most fasteners, machine parts, pumps, piping, and all building materials are sold in imperial or U.S. customary units, engineers in Canada often use imperial units.

As in the United States, most prefer to work in metric then convert to imperial for specification. Canadian engineers are educated in both systems and are keenly aware of the differences between the imperial, US customary and metric systems Trades associated with machine work, such as machinists, automotive, and heavy duty technicians, frequently use both metric and imperial.

Machines made in Canada often incorporate parts from other countries and thus the finished product will have metric and imperial parts on it. Farm and industrial equipment manufactured in Canada will most often use imperial fasteners and structural steel, but fluid capacities are always listed in metric.

Building trades such as plumbing and carpentry use imperial units exclusively. Rough lumber, drywall, plywood, fasteners, pipes, and tubing are all sold in imperial units.

Electricians commonly use metric terms such as volts and amperes, but wire is sized in American wire gauge and conduit in inch diameters. In 2005, the Ontario government announced changes to the secondary school math curriculum that would allow imperial units to be taught along with metric units.

This marked a huge turn from when the previous governments did everything to make sure that the curriculum only used the metric system.

This was done in light of the fact that much of the private sector has either refused or been very slow to metricate, thus many students had been leaving school unprepared for the units used in the workplace. Many other provinces and territories also include the imperial system of measurements as part of their educational curriculum.

So there you have it. Now you know the whole story!

Mark