Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Community News and Events Financial Health House and Home
With more than 32 percent of Canada’s population over the age of 55 (as of September 2021), it’s reasonable to expect that many of us in that demographic will be looking for alternative living arrangements sometime in the next 10 to 15 years.
For anyone just starting to navigate the world of adult communities and senior living, it can be a confusing journey. There are so many options available, so choosing the right home for now and for your future is critical. Senior living and care options come in various forms, but the most distinction needs to be made between how retirement homes and nursing homes, also known as long term care (or LTC), are very different.
It is crucial to understand what services each type of home can provide, who they cater to and what costs are involved. It’s also important to understand the process of securing space in either of these options. There are pros and cons to each, but ultimately, your decision will be based on your needs today, consideration for your future care, your desired lifestyle and financial situation.
Not only will the costs vary, the environments will be different in each. There will be variances in the level of care, the activities, and the living spaces. Be prepared to do some research, or talk to someone who specializes in senior moves.
Retirement homes are typically private, offering a variety of services and living arrangements. Many have suites, similar to condominiums although generally much smaller, allowing residents to maintain a certain lifestyle and enjoy their independence. Retirement homes usually work best for anyone who wants to maintain or build an active social life with other individuals in the same age group. They vary widely on what they offer and you’ll have to ask some questions and explore the options and add-ons which you might want or need. You’ll want to examine the fees to determine exactly what is included (such as food) and what à la carte services can be purchased as you need them (such as laundry and light housekeeping).
Retirement homes have become their own wonderful communities over the years, offering self-contained units where your privacy is paramount. Retirement homes have a large list of amenities at your disposal:
- Some or all of your meals
- Planned activities on-site, such as yoga, musical programs and social activities
- Regular outings (think field trips!) to various entertainment venues and shopping venues/malls
- On-site health care staff
- Weekly clinics and appointment for personal care, mental health, and medical check ups, including dental
Some retirement homes have guidelines around how long you can stay there. As your needs change, or in the event of a health crisis, the home may not be equipped to give you all the care you need. If the home cannot provide you with the services you need, you may find yourself at a loss. Be proactive and have a plan in place for future care and be prepared for another move should the retirement home be unable to provide services due to a change in your circumstances.
Most retirement homes will allow a short stay so you can test the lifestyle to ensure it's a for a good fit for you. You can book a tour to view the living options and amenities. If an offer to come for lunch is made, take advantage of this. It will give you a chance to meet some people and test the food yourself. Ask for a floor plan of the living space and an activity calendar to take home with you. Having the floor plan will help you plan where your furniture and belongings could be placed, should you decide to move. The activity calendar will give you a better idea of what is offered and can be a good indicator of what daily life might be like.
Questions To Ask A Retirement Home
- What floor plans are available?
- Are there other locations within this chain?
- Are meals included? How many?
- Can I see some meal menus? How often do the menus change?
- How, when and where are meals served? What happens if I don' like the food choices at any meal?
- Are there options for additional care? What are the fees? What services must I outsource?
- What kind of social events happen? Is there a schedule I can see?
- How often do prices increase?
- What is the policy for changing suites within the community?
- What utilities are included?
- What are some costs I may need to budget for?
- Are there laundry services?
- Which appliances are included in the suites?
- What are the move-in rules?
- What housekeeping services are provided? How often?
- How many staff members are on duty at any given time? Are there medical staff on site?
- How many residents/units are in the community?
- Are pets allowed? Are there any restrictions?
- What is the current availability? How quickly will I need to make a decision when a suitable suite becomes available? Is a deposit required?
- Do you maintain waiting lists?
Long Term Care (Nursing) Homes
Nursing homes, also called long term care homes, or LTCs, are designed for people who need more support in their day-to-day care. Nursing homes in Ontario are government controlled, with placements into homes and access to community services controlled by Home and Community Care Support Services (formerly LHIN, or Local Health Integrated Network). This system is needs-based, meaning people are moved to nursing homes when their medical status deems it necessary. Throughout Ontario, waiting lists are long, and while you can choose 3 to 5 preferred homes, there is no guarantee that you will get space in a home of your choice.
Unlike retirement homes, where rates will vary depending on amenities, living spaces and services, the pricing at nursing homes is consistent. Because the costs are set by the Ministry of Long-Term care, everyone pays the same price, regardless of financial situation. At the time of writing (2022) the basic monthly costs are $1891.31 for a basic room (shared with up to 4 beds), $2280.04 for semi-private, and $2701.61 for private. There is a government subsidy for basic rooms only available to those who qualify. Residents usually pay for any medications or other services not covered by their private insurance plans or the provincial drug benefit program.
Tips for Touring LTCs
- Visit the facility on different days and at various times.
- Take note of staff morale, resident activities and interactions between staff and residents.
- Talk to nursing staff about how long they’ve worked there.
- Ask to meet with the administrators.
- Ask about staff-to-resident ratios.
- Read and review the resident care plan.
- Search online for reviews of your preferred LTCs.
- Make note of how meals are served.
- Pay attention to the level of functioning of current residents.
- Look for activity boards or ask to see a list.
Whatever type of senior living facility you choose, your post-retirement life can be comfortable, safe, and enjoyable. Understanding your needs, priorities, and preferences is key to choosing an option that is best suited to you. If you are looking for an active environment, want to be surrounded by people your age, and want the flexibility to come and go as you please, a retirement home may be the right choice for you. And while a nursing home space is driven by a qualification process, you can be assured you’ll have access to care when you need it.
As a Master Accredited Senior Agent, I can walk you through the process of choosing the adult community that is right for you. When the time comes to make a move I can assist with the sale of your current home as well as offer some guidance on how to determine what furnishings and other goods you’d like to keep for your new residence. My goal is to provide you with all the specialized information and professional guidance in the most patient and caring way possible. I’ll work with you to create a personalized plan, to give you peace of mind and help you make the best decision possible.
For further resources, visit my resource page for Burlington retirement homes.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
House and Home Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell. If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.
Start by connecting with your real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.
Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call me if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. I can help customize a plan that works for you.
AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING
Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.
- Contact Your Real Estate Agent
I go the extra mile when it comes to servicing my clients, and that includes a series of complimentary, pre-listing consultations to help you prepare your home for the market.
Some sellers make the mistake of waiting until they are ready to list their home to contact a real estate agent. But I’ve found that the earlier an agent is brought into the process, the better the result. That often means a faster sale—and more money in your pocket after closing.
Real estate agents know what buyers want in today’s market, and we can help devise a plan to maximize your property’s appeal. I can also connect you with my trusted network of contractors, vendors, and service professionals, so you’ll be sure to get the VIP treatment. This network of support can alleviate stress and help ensure you get everything done in the weeks or months leading up to listing.
- Address Major Issues and Upgrades
In most cases, you won’t need to make any major renovations before you list. But if you’re selling an older home, or if you have any doubt about its condition, it’s best to get me involved as soon as possible so I can help you assess any necessary repairs.
In some instances, I may recommend a pre-listing inspection. Although it's less common in a seller's market, a pre-listing inspection can help you avoid potential surprises down the road. We can discuss the pros and cons during our initial meeting.
This is the time to address major structural, systems, or cosmetic issues that could hurt the sale of your home down the line. For example, problems with the foundation or roof are likely to be flagged on an inspection report. Issues with the HVAC system, electrical wiring, or plumbing may cause the home to be unsafe. And sometimes outdated or unpopular design features can limit a home’s sales potential.
Remember, when you’re dealing with major repairs or renovations, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible. Given rampant labour and material shortages, starting right away can help you avoid costly delays. Contact me so I can guide you on the updates that are worth your time and investment.
1 MONTH (OR MORE) BEFORE YOU LIST
Once any large-scale renovations have been addressed, you can turn your attention to the more minor updates that still play a major role in how buyers perceive your home.
Look for any unaddressed maintenance or repair issues, such as water spots, pest activity, and rotten siding. This is the time to take care of those small annoyances like squeaky hinges, sticking doors, and leaky faucets, too.
Many of these issues can be handled by going the DIY route and using a few simple tools. Tackle the ones you can and be sure to call a professional for the ones you’re not comfortable doing yourself. I can refer you to local service providers who can help.
Remember that it’s easy to overlook these small issues because you live with them. When you work with me, you get a fresh set of eyes on your home—so you don’t miss any important repairs that could make a big difference to buyers.
This is a great time to think about some simple design updates that can make a significant impression on buyers. For example, a fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to spruce up your home. A recent survey of Canadian agents found that paint and landscaping were two upgrades that offered the highest return on investment.
HGTV landscape designer Carson Arthur agrees. According to Arthur, landscaping is the best place to invest your money and has the potential to increase your home’s value by up to 7%. If weather permits, lay fresh sod where needed, plant colourful flowers, and add some new mulch to your beds.
Even just repositioning your furniture can make a huge difference to buyers. A survey published by the International Association of Staging Professionals found that staged homes often sell faster and for more than their list price.
- Declutter and Depersonalize
Doing a little bit of decluttering every day is a lot easier than trying to take care of it all at once right before your home hits the market. A simple strategy is to do this one room at a time, working your way through each space whenever you have a bit of free time.
Start by donating or discarding items that you no longer want or need. Then pack up any seasonal items, family photos, and personal collections you can live without for the next few weeks. Bonus: This will give you a head start on packing for your move!
1 WEEK BEFORE YOU GO TO MARKET
With just one week before your home is available for sale, all major items should be crossed off your to-do list. Now it’s time to focus on the small details that will really make your home shine. Here are a few key areas to focus on during this last week.
I’ll connect again to make sure we’re aligned on the listing price, marketing plan, and any remaining prep. I will be there every step of the way, ensuring you’re fully prepared to maximize the sale of your home.
You’ve already done the major landscaping—now it’s time to tackle the last few details. Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed, hedges are trimmed, and flower beds are weeded.
In addition, now is the time to clean your home’s exterior if you haven’t already. Power wash your siding, empty the gutters, and wash all your windows and screens.
Your house should be deep cleaned before listing, including a thorough deodorizing of the home’s interior and steam cleaning for all carpets. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure the space smells and looks as fresh as possible.
In addition to cleaning, take some time to tidy up. Buyers will look inside your closets, pantries, and cabinets, so make sure they are neat and organized. Small appliances and toiletries should be cleared off the counter-tops.
DAY OF SHOWING
Now you’re all set to go and there are just a few small things you need to handle on the day of showings or open houses. Do a final walk-through and take care of these finishing touches to give potential buyers the best possible impression.
Happy and comfortable buyers are more likely to submit offers! Make them feel at home by adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Open any blinds and curtains throughout the house, and turn on all lights so buyers can see all the potential in your home.
Then tidy up by vacuuming and sweeping floors, emptying (or hiding) trash cans, and wiping down countertops. In the bathrooms, close toilet lids and hang clean hand towels.
Don’t forget to secure jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medications, and any other items of value in a safe or store them off-site.
Finally, it’s best to have pets out of the house during showings. If possible, you should also remove evidence of pets (litter box, dog beds, etc.), which can be a turn-off for some buyers.
DON’T WAIT TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SELLING
If you want to get top dollar for your home, don’t put it on the market before it’s ready. The right preparation can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing the offers you get. The upgrades and changes you need to make will depend upon your home’s condition, so don’t wait to speak with an agent.
Call me if you’re thinking about selling your home, even if you’re not sure when. It’s never too early to seek the guidance of your real estate agent and start preparing your home to sell.
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Community News and Events Financial Health Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
Are you prepared to take action should an ageing parent suddenly need to move from their home? Most people have never had a conversation with their parents about what they see as their long-term living plan. With some careful planning and consideration you can certainly avoid having to make the decision of where to move mom or dad while in crisis mode. Here are two very different client stories.
Dad had a bad fall and sadly, passed away a few days later. We knew Mom couldn’t stay alone in the house. She was frail, had some dementia. Dad had been taking care of her for years, failing to truly address Mom’s physical and mental state. His thinking was that he would outlive her, so alternative living arrangements didn’t need to be addressed. After Dad’s passing, decisions for and about Mom had to be made quickly. How would she manage? Where would she live? How would we handle things?
Once we got over the shock of dad’s death and realized we needed to move quickly, mom went to live temporarily with a daughter in another city, in a less than ideal environment for her. After mom and dad’s house was sold the attention turned to finding suitable accommodations for Mom. Without a network of friends who already had parents who were living in retirement homes, we did what most people would do: we turned to Google. We searched the internet for retirement homes close to our parents' neighbourhood, hoping Mom would feel more comfortable living in a community she was familiar with. We took space available at one of the retirement homes we found online. We made the choice without investigating all the options available to us.
In hindsight, we should have anticipated that our parents would have to move eventually. We should have encouraged them to take the time to consider some alternative housing options and even look for a home that could care for someone with dementia. We ended up picking a place without really having the opportunity for any due diligence, and quite likely the home with the best SEO (search engine optimization) and not the place best suited for Mom’s lifestyle and needs.
We regret not seeking help from someone like Marion. Her vast experience in helping seniors move, and her extensive knowledge of all the options, could have saved us the headache and heartache of making a rushed and uninformed choice.
A Family Affair:
After Mom, who is very spry and alert, had a fall, Mom knew herself that it would be best for her to move sooner than later to another location where other people were around and where she could find the support she needed. While the fall didn’t impact her physically very much, she knew this was another warning sign for the future.
As a family, we spoke about what mom wanted. These conversations can often be daunting and we anticipated some apprehension on her part, but we let her drive the conversation. We discussed some options in finding her a new place to live, taking a proactive approach to what her needs might be in the next five to ten years. Mom was fully on board and made the final decision herself. We had the luxury of planning the timeline and Mom moved on her terms,
We hired Marion to sell her condo and help facilitate the transition to a retirement residence. Marion was able to help us with many other services such as finding trusted professionals to help mom prepare for downsizing. The process was seamless, making it much easier for all of us. We can all rest assured that Mom will be in the perfect spot for her and the transition was made with minimal stress.
Moving onto the next home requires a holistic approach, something I proudly do every day. We need to assess the big picture: where you are now, where you see yourself in the future, what you anticipate you’ll need and how you want to live your life. Forward thinking about how you want to spend your days will be helpful in determining the right living arrangement. It’s also important to consider how long you’ll be able to live in your next home and/or whether it’s just a stepping stone to when your needs change. This is a process that takes time, but making informed decisions while you have the time removes the stress of having to make choices under pressure or during a crisis.
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
House and Home Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
There’s a lot to consider when selling your home, from market conditions and appraisals to where you’ll go next. Don’t forget, however, the importance of design. It’s often one of the first things buyers notice when they walk into a home, and it’s also a detail that you, as a seller, can easily control.
According to Realtor.ca’s 2022 housing market forecast, October of 2021 saw record home sales. Even with the pandemic igniting new restrictions in some provinces, the Canadian housing market is expected to remain hot. This means, if you’re looking to sell in the near future, now is the time to consider how you can stand out.
Updating your home design is one way to do that. Changes like eco-friendly fixtures or upgraded siding can add value to your home now and be highlighted when you market it for sale later. To get the most out of your updates, focus on these popular home design features that will wow buyers in 2022.
Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, give me a call. I can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.
Canada’s largest demographic, millenniala, have been a driving force in the country’s real estate market for the past few years. One thing that remains top of mind for this cohort is sustainable living features. A recent Deloitte survey found that one-third of millennials initiate or deepen their consumer investment in products or services that help the environment—this also includes the houses they choose to live in.
Here are a few eco-friendly design features that will be attractive to these millennial buyers in 2022. Bonus: they can net a significant return on investment (ROI) for you, as a seller, too.
- Energy-Efficient Windows: Windows and doors account for up to 25 percent of home heat loss, according to nrcan.gc.ca. Therefore, upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help homeowners save money.
- Low-Flow Water Fixtures: National Resources Canada also recommends replacing your water-consuming fixtures like shower-heads, toilets, and faucets with ones that have flow rates of about 7.6 L/minute, 4.8L/flush, and 4L/minute, respectively. If you want to take it a step further, ENERGY STAR® certified appliances like dishwashers and washing machines will also make a dramatic difference in water bill savings.
- Native Landscaping: Perhaps unexpectedly, another eco-friendly ‘fixture’ is native flora. Local greenery helps combat biodiversity loss, creates a better habitat for wildlife, and has a greater resistance to pests, according to HGTV. These benefits of native plants add to the eco-friendly appeal of your home.
Wellness Retreat Nooks
As many of our homes became “all-purpose” territory for the entire family, interior zoning efforts were in full effect. From designated offices to closed-door playrooms, everyone needed their own space. Add in mental health concerns, competing schedules, and reduced access to health and wellness facilities, and the result is a huge prioritization of personal care spaces.
At-home wellness amenities, which were once viewed as luxuries, are now on many homeowners’ must-have lists. Intrigue buyers and improve your quality of life in your home with reading nooks, spa-inspired bathrooms, and exercise or meditation spaces. Even if your house doesn’t have the square footage to section off an entire room for relaxation, making simple tweaks to natural light, air purifiers, and indoor plants can help you feel better in your home now, while enabling future buyers to see the opportunity for their own space.
Calming Paint Colours
Paint colors that produce a calming atmosphere will also be a key selling point in 2022. Soft earth tones and natural hues will prevail this year, including various shades of blue, green, brown, and beige. Recent research suggests steering clear of trendy paint colors in favor of a more classic palette to bring the feel of nature indoors in a subtle and soothing way.
A survey of American homebuyers found that a certain paint colour was able to increase a home’s value by 1.6%. If we Canadians see even a 1% increase, that’s $7,208 more for the average home, which is priced at $720,850, according to the Financial Post.
A crowd-pleasing hue to refresh the walls with is BEHR’s 2022 paint colour of the year, known as Breezeway. This shade of green with silver undertones was created to mimic sea glass. As the BEHR website describes it, Breezeway “evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”
Outdoor Living Updates
Don’t forget to think about your yard when considering design changes for your home. As interiors become more productive, many Canadians are looking to the outdoors for a break. HGTV predicts the “exterior living room” trend will continue in 2022, so making outdoor upgrades in the spring when the ground thaws could reap serious benefits. Whether your exterior square footage looks like a balcony, small patio, or expansive yard, it only takes some imagination and effort to turn it into a comforting oasis.
Front porches, in particular, are seeing a big revival, says Greenhouse Canada. Power-washing your siding; adding a fresh coat of paint on the door, brick, or floorboards; and finishing it off with some exterior lighting will go a long way in upping the curb appeal. Don’t forget to add window boxes, big planters, and young trees that require minimal maintenance but add more life to the space.
Finish off the space with some comfortable outdoor furniture to make the outdoors as well-designed as the indoors. If you need help deciding how to update your outdoor area, let me guide you.
Designated Work Spaces
It may come as no surprise that after the pandemic is over, 80 percent of new teleworkers want to continue to work at least half of their hours from home, according to Statistics Canada. However, this desire needs to be weighed against the availability of space in a home.
If you can, try turning a bedroom or den into a work-from-home office. When designing the space, make it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Position a desk near the window for natural light, install a bookshelf unit, arrange a few succulents on the work surface, and hang a few framed posters or a cork bulletin board on the wall. You want the space to foster productivity as well as be a place in your home you enjoy spending time.
When you get ready to sell, I can help you highlight your designated workspace. Given the high demand for this design feature, it can help you interest more buyers and attract more competitive offers—if marketed creatively.
Plus, Canadians who transitioned to working from home because of the pandemic may be eligible to claim a $500 deduction for home office expenses—making this renovation that much more feasible.
Luxury Kitchen Retouches
The kitchen has always been a main focal point of interior design, and that’s no different in 2022. Families will always need this space to come together in their own homes.
This year’s buyers want a kitchen with new upgrades and retouches, but you don’t have to renovate the entire kitchen to make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips on how to create a kitchen that buyers will love without spending too much money on renovations:
- Repaint the kitchen, keeping the calm and nature-inspired colours in mind that are most popular right now. Taking a kitchen from dark to light by painting cabinets and walls can make all the difference.
- Update the hardware. These kitchen “accessories” stand out and add personality to an otherwise standard kitchen.
- Update light fixtures to bring in more light while also adding a fresh look and feel in the space.
Unique Accent Walls
An accent wall gives a home character while balancing it with the calming feel of natural- and neutral-coloured walls. But, we’ve seen accent walls before, so bolder moves are expected for 2022. Here are some on-trend options that go above and beyond a solid-colour accent wall:
- Jewel or metallic tones
- Textured wallpaper
- Painted ceilings
- Built-in shelves
- Wood paneling
- Sprawling wall tiles
If you’re planning to sell in the next year, talk to me before adding an accent wall. Depending on your target buyer, it may be a design feature that actually hurts your home’s value. I can run a free Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help you understand what would resell best in your neighbourhood.
Exterior Siding Updates
An exterior siding refresh can make an old home feel entirely new and have a big impact on its resale value. This primarily affects curb appeal, but it’s also an important factor in keeping interiors warm and protected from Canada’s harsh winters. The average cost for new siding ranges from $4.80 - $51.60 per square foot. That variation depends on which of the many siding materials you choose, from fiber-cement to brick, wood, vinyl, metal, or stone.
While all these options can infuse the exterior with character and curb appeal, there are a few other factors to consider before taking on this kind of project. While brick adds more sophistication, it is on the pricier end and is susceptible to salt erosion, making it a less enticing option for those on the coasts. On the other end of the cost spectrum, vinyl is a very popular option that does not fade, is easy to maintain, and comes in many colour options. However, vinyl will crack over time after facing harsh Canadian winters.
Give your home a simple and attractive facelift before putting it on the market. If you’re not sure how to get started yourself, my team can connect you with a trusted vendor to guide you through the process.
Keep These Home Design Features on Your Radar in 2022
These design features can infuse personality into your home while helping to close the deal if you plan to sell in 2022. The average buyer knows just what they’re looking for in a space they plan to call home, so with some investment and foresight, you can give your house an edge over the competition—and boost resale value in the process.
However, you don’t need to make all these changes to attract more buyers. We can help you determine which design features you should add to your home by sharing insights and tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. I can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area, which will help us decide what changes need to be made. Contact me to schedule a free consultation!
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Financial Health House and Home Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that led to a record number of home sales and a historically-high rate of appreciation, as prices soared by a national average of 19.9% year over year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
There were signs in the second quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In June, the pace of sales slowed while the average sales price dipped 5.5% below the springtime peak.
But just when the market seemed to be cooling, home prices and sales volume ticked up again in the fall, leading the Royal Bank of Canada to speculate: “Canada’s housing market run has more in the tank.”
So what’s ahead for the Canadian real estate market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.
MORTGAGE RATES WILL CREEP UP
The Bank of Canada has signalled that it plans to begin raising interest rates in the “middle quarters” of this year. What does that mean for mortgage rates?
Expect higher variable mortgage rates to come. In fact, according to industry trade blog Canadian Mortgage Trends, some lenders have already begun raising their variable rates in preparation. And according to the site, “Current market forecasts show the Bank of Canada on track for seven quarter-point (25 bps) rate hikes by the end of 2023, with Scotiabank expecting eight rate hikes.”
Since September, fixed mortgage rates—which follow the 5-year Bank of Canada bond yield—have also been climbing. Fortunately, economists believe the housing sector is well-positioned to absorb these higher interest rates.
Derek Holt, Scotiabank vice president and head of capital markets economics, told Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine in November, “The large increase in cash balances that occurred over the pandemic combined with the record-high amount of home equity on Canadian balance sheets, to me, paints a picture of a household sector that can manage the rate shock we’re likely to get.”
What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment, make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, and make home-ownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to take advantage of historically-low rates. I’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.
VOLUME OF SALES WILL DECREASE
A record number of homes were sold in Canada last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that 656,300 home purchases took place, which is an 18.8% increase over 2020. So it’s no surprise that the pace of sales would eventually slow. Don't forget though that these stats reflect national averages and number for every community vary. You're best to check with a real estate sales representative in your area for specific details.
The association predicts that, nationally, the number of home sales will fall by 12.1% in 2022, which would still make 2022 the second-best year on record.
It attributes this relative slowdown to affordability challenges and a lack of inventory but expects sales volume to remain high by historical standards. “Limited supply and higher prices are expected to tap the brakes on activity in 2022 compared to 2021, although increased churn in resale markets resulting from the COVID-related shake-up to so many people’s lives may continue to boost activity above what was normal before COVID-19.”
What does it mean for you? The frenzied market we experienced last year required a drop-everything commitment from many of our clients, so a slower pace of sales should be a welcome relief. However, buyers should still be prepared to compete for the best properties. I can help you craft a compelling offer without compromising your best interests.
THE MARKET WILL BECOME MORE BALANCED
In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus, a shift to remote work, and economic stimulus triggered a huge up-tick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labour shortages hindered new construction.
This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefited sellers and frustrated buyers. According to Abhilasha Singh, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, “almost all indicators of housing market activity shot through the roof.” But, she continued, “The housing market is now showing signs of returning to earth.”
The Royal Bank of Canada expects to see demand soften gradually as rising prices and interest rates push the cost of home-ownership out of reach for many would-be buyers. And while the supply of available homes continues to remain low, according to Singh, “the pace of building in Canada remains elevated compared with historical averages thanks to low interest rates.”
What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with less competition and a slower pace of sales, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so we can discuss your specific needs and goals.
HOME PRICES LIKELY TO KEEP CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER PACE
Nationwide, home prices rose an average of 19.9% in 2021 however the rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022. The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts that the national average home price will increase by 5.6% to $718,000 in 2022.
Singh of Moody’s Analytics agrees that price growth will slow this year and could “reach a near standstill in late 2022 but avoid any significant contractions.”
At the same time, some experts caution against a “wait and see” mentality for buyers. “Affordability is unlikely to improve [this] year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” Rishi Sondhi, an economist at TD Economics, told Reuters. “We think rate hikes will weigh on, but not upend, demand, as the macro backdrop should remain supportive for sales.”
What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. I can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.
I'M HERE TO GUIDE YOU
While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact me to schedule a free consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.