Niagara's Class 6 Rapids - The White Water Walk

Experience a first-hand lesson in the raw power and peril of the Niagara River’s Class 6 white-water rapids. The roar of the river provides a deceptive calmness, the perfect ambiance for your walk among the many viewing platforms that put you right at the river’s edge. For those looking for an up-close and personal view of nature’s power, you will not want to miss this.

This self-guided tour includes many stories about the geology of the Niagara Gorge and the plant and animal life you may see on your visit to Niagara Parks.

Mandatory Lease Agreement in Ontario

mandatory lease agreement banner.jpg

As directed by the Rental Fairness Act 2017, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing created the mandatory residential lease with 5 reasons in mind:

  1. To use “easy to understand language to help
  2. Landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities,”
  3. To reduce illegal provisions,
  4. To reduce misunderstandings caused by verbal agreements, and
  5. To reduce dispute resolutions with the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The Act also introduced additional protections.  Here are some highlights.

Landlord’s Personal Use: Due to abuse of the Landlord’s own use provision, the landlord must give 60 days’ notice before the end of the tenancy, and pay the tenant one month’s rent as a penalty. Alternatively the landlord can offer another unit acceptable to the tenant.

What if a buyer requires a rental unit? The payment penalty of one-month’s rent is not required in this case, but the property cannot have more than 3 unit rental. Once an offer becomes unconditional, and notice to terminate is given to the tenant, the landlord can apply to the Landlord Tenant Board to affect the termination. The Buyer must sign an affidavit stating that they or a member of their immediate family will occupy the unit on closing, and be required to attend any court hearing to confirm.

Added Statement in Agreement of Purchase and Sale: In the notice of termination clause in the Offer, it should additionally state that the buyer intends to occupy the property for at least one year and to indemnify the seller for any damages suffered because the buyer did not move in. This is important because there are a number of penalties that can be imposed, as well as an administrative fine of up to $25,000.

You Can Add Additional Clauses to the Agreement.

As the lease agreement states, “An additional term cannot take away a right or responsibility under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. Any conflicting term will be void and not binding.

Smoking

In the lease, the landlord and tenant can agree to allow or prohibit smoking in the unit and on the landlord’s property. Even if smoking is allowed, the landlord can apply to the Board if it substantially interferes with “reasonable enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants, causes undue damage, impairs safety, or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord.”

What About Marijuana?

 “Landlords will be able to spell out a ban on smoking marijuana in rental units for new leases post-legalization — the same as they do for tobacco use,” this according to a Toronto Star article dated January 22, 2018 by Peter Goffin of the Canadian Press.

Author and Lawyer, Mark Weisleader, recommends a number of additional terms to include with the Lease Agreement. In it, he recommends a No Smoking/Marijuana Clause to disallow smoking of any kind including marijuana, as well as prohibiting the growth of cannabis in a unit.

The mandatory agreement does not apply to month-to-month rentals and lease agreements prior to April 30, 2018.

 

4 Tips for a Healthy Picnic

Summer is the season for fun in the sun and outdoor picnics are a popular summertime activity in Niagara. This is not surprising if we take into consideration the region’s unparalleled natural beauty, but when heading out for a picnic with family, friends, or a significant other this summer, remember to stay healthy while enjoying the great outdoors.

1.      Bring plenty of hand sanitizer!

While some picnic facilities have public restrooms, good soap and warm water are usually hard to find when you’re on a picnic. Hand sanitizers are a great way to kill the germs on your hands before eating or coming into contact with others, especially small children.

2.      Bring simple foods

When heading out for an all-day picnic, it can be tempting to bring lots and food and other knickknacks as you worry that you might need them all at some point during the day. Remember that the simplest options are both the easiest to carry and usually the healthiest ones. Instead of greasy foods and five-course meals, bring healthy alternatives like cherry tomatoes, grapes, berries, carrot sticks, celery, olives, cheese cubes, crackers, and sandwiches.

3.      Stay hydrated!

When spending time outdoors on hot summer days perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking alcoholic beverages like beer may be tempting, but the most effective way to hydrate your body is with cool fresh water. Bring plenty of water in a cooler or frozen and leave it out to unfreeze before enjoying it.

4.      Enjoy a healthy and refreshing desert

While cake, chocolate, and other calorie-rich foods sure taste great, when you are out for a long time on a hot summer day the healthiest and most refreshing option is fruit! Enjoy a slice of watermelon, some grapes, an apple, or a peach and you will feel refreshed without feeling guilty about consuming all those delicious calories.

For more tips about planning a health picnic, or for ideas about great picnic spots in Niagara, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Cracks Down on Real Estate

Tax Avoidance on Real Estate over $636 Million

To crack down on non-compliance on real estate transactions, the Canada Revenue Agency reviewed 30,000 files over the past 3 years in Ontario and B.C. They found $592.6 million in additional taxes resulting in over $43.7 million in penalties. The CRA news release dated May 17, 2018 also said, “Specifically in 2017-2018, the CRA assessed $102.6 million more in additional taxes than in 2016-2017. Penalties increased by $19.2 million from one year to the next.”

To uncover tax avoidance on real estate deals, CRA collaborates with provinces, territories and municipalities and continues to improve on tools to combat non-compliance.  One legal tool to uncover taxes and GST/HST on assignment sales is their unnamed persons requirement.

So What is the “Unnamed Person Requirement?” 

New homes, rental properties and substantially renovated properties are subject to HST. So Builders and Developers are required to remit the HST on selling, renting a new unit for the first time or on personally moving into one of the properties. Under the “unnamed persons requirement” issued to developers and builders, CRA can obtain the identity of any buyer who is not reporting properly for income tax and HST purposes.

As well, purchasers of new homes can apply for a new home HST rebate provided the home is used for their primary residence. In many cases, as the builder includes the HST in the price of the home and pays it on behalf of the buyer, the builder also applies for the rebate as it is taken off the price to benefit the buyer. If the buyer is not going to use the property as their primary residence, the rebate does not apply and must be paid to the builder on closing. This HST rebate provision can also get abused by some buyers.

Flipping Property

On flipping property, any profit must be reported as business income and not as capital gain. Buyers also cannot avoid compliance by pretending to use the property as their non-taxable primary residence.

CRA is also looking closely at “pre-construction assignment sales” in which a condo or home is sold to another buyer before completion of the home or unit. 

Re-assessments and Gross Negligence  

Failure to properly report can result in re-assessment of taxes owing and arrears interest. For “gross negligence” a penalty of 50% of the tax avoided would be imposed.  A Financial Post article dated May 25-18, by Jamie Golombek, CPA, mentions a case that involved a real estate salesperson and her granddaughter. In 2006, the salesperson purchased Unit 6 and the granddaughter purchases Unit 5. The deals both closed in June 2010 and were resold by the next month. No income relating to the condos was reported with their individual 2010 tax returns. CRA reassessed and established that the buyers failed to report business gain of $103,206 on Unit 6 and $106,025 on Unit 5. They failed to further report their profits and so CRA charged both with gross negligence. 

In court, after hearing arguments, the salesperson grandmother was found guilty of gross negligence. The granddaughter a 21-year old was relieved of gross negligence as she relied on her grandmother and father, both real estate agents, to tell her if reporting her income was necessary.

Father's Day In Canada

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fathers-Day banner.jpg

In Canada, Father's Day is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and fanfare. Since, the tradition of celebrating Fathers Day moved to Canada from US, Fathers Day in Canada is also celebrated on third Sunday of June. Just as in US, people in Canada too wear roses to express gratitude for their father. Traditionally, if the person is wearing red rose, it symbolizes the person's father is alive. Likewise, white rose means that the person's father has passed.

father and child.jpg

Children in Canada express affection and honour for their dad by presenting them cards, flowers and chocolates. In modern times, several other gifts of love including neckties, shirts, electronic gadgets, stationery items, etc. are also gifted to father by loving children. Another noticeable trend about Fathers Day celebration in Canada is that apart from their biological father people wish “Happy Father's Day” to their grandfathers, stepfathers, foster father, uncles or any other man who is as affectionate and loving towards them as a father.

Immense popularity of Fathers Day festival has turned the occasion commercial to a significant degree. Days before the festival markets wear a festival look as gift and card sellers try to lure the people and harp on the emotional significance of the occasion.

Dining out with family is another popular Fathers Day tradition in Canada. No wonder, restaurants and eating joints witness a bumper rush on the occasion.

Summer Solstice

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Unlike many of the special days we celebrate each year, the summer solstice is literally thousands of years old. In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year is on June 21 or 22 and  it has been given great meaning by a range of civilizations.

This year, take a suggestion from these many different historical groups—from the ancient Greeks to the Romans and Chinese—and start afresh. By looking to the past we can understand how our predecessors have sought to improve themselves and the world around them…

1. Run Like the Greeks

woman getting active 250.jpg

The ancient Greeks held great influence over the Mediterranean several thousand years ago. Like many of the groups that would come after them, they saw great meaning in the summer solstice. Many festivals were held at this time, the most important being the run-up to the Olympic games.

In fact, the summer solstice marked the one-month count down to the beginning of the athletic games, which included activities like running and wrestling. Take a hint from the Greeks: use the summer solstice as a new beginning for your exercise regime, and make your routine more intense and try new activities that will allow you to build your strength and endurance.

2. Spring Clean

For the Romans, who once ruled a massive expanse of land stretching across several continents, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate Hestia, the goddess of domestic life and the hearth. In other words, it was a celebration of the home and family.

spring cleaning 400.jpg

Take a hint from the Romans: use the summer solstice as time to get serious about taking care of important home chores, like cutting the grass or cleaning out the attic. It might also be a good time to start a new renovation project, which could significantly boost the value of your home.

3. Plant a Tree

plant a tree 300.jpg

Few Westerners are aware of the great empires that existed in China several thousand years ago. But there, as now, a unique and rich culture flourished. For the ancient Chinese, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate the earth, as opposed to the winter solstice, which marked a celebration of the heavens.

This summer solstice, celebrate the earth by giving back to it. Plant a tree in your backyard or a local park. Help clean up a public place or work with your neighbors to sweep trash off the streets.

4. Have a Bonfire

bonfire 250.png

Sitting around the bonfire and talking with friends and family—it may just be the quintessential summer activity. And guess what? It’s also what the ancient Vikings of Scandinavia used to do to celebrate the summer solstice.

The key, of course, is to be safe when building your bonfire. Don’t build one if you have overhanging trees or you’re too close to a building. Make sure you’ve got lots of space and keep all children well away from the flames!

5. Go Dancing

couple dancing in field 125.jpg

With the temperature rising, summer marks a great time to hit the clubs and patios. As the weather warms up, so too do the dance floors.

Historically, the summer solstice has been celebrated with a variety of special dances. The Sioux, a Native American group, celebrated the event with a colourful ceremonial sun dance around a tree. For many groups like the Sioux, the summer solstice meant celebrating new beginnings through song and dance.

6. Plan a Trip

road-trip-sign 225.jpg

There’s no better time to travel than summer, which gets started with the summer solstice. The longer and warmer days of the summer months allow travellers more time to see the sights and explore historical destinations.

Take, for example, Stonehenge in England. Built by the Druids thousands of years ago, many modern Druids continue to gather at the remarkable landmark to mark the summer solstice (as well as the winter solstice, spring equinox, and autumn equinox).

How Landscaping Increases Property Value

by Josh Fredman

If you want to make an investment that adds value to your home, consider landscaping, which covers practically everything on your property other than the house itself. Landscaping upgrades can involve things like patios and decks, flowerbeds, barbecue pits, watering systems and plants of all sorts. As you enter into a landscaping project, you have plenty of choices about what kinds of upgrades to make.

Economics

landscape before after 2 250.jpg

It doesn’t take much to understand the economics of increasing property value through landscaping upgrades. A well-placed, properly sized tree, for example, can provide visual enjoyment simply by looking pretty. It can also smell good and sound peaceful in the breeze. It can shield your home from summer heat. It can provide recreation for your kids, or support for a hammock. A good tree provides pleasure and utility, and these things translate to increased property value. The same idea applies to all landscaping: If a given improvement offers something that prospective buyers want, then your property value will rise.  Also, as the tree grows, the value of replacing the tree grows as well.  Thus buyers will value larger and more established  trees and shrubs higher than those newly planted.

Quantifying Value

Though experts agree that landscaping improvements usually raise a property’s value, it can be extremely difficult to predict exactly what kind of gains a specific homeowner will see in her individual circumstances. Thornton Landscape president Rick Doesburg uses 15 percent as a ballpark figure when advising clients, but he stresses that estimates vary by home and notes that the lasting effect of landscaping requires ongoing maintenance. Virginia Tech horticulturist Alex Niemiera arrived at a similar figure -- 12.7 percent -- in his research. In extreme cases, property values can more than double, and they can actually decrease if the landscaping contains undesired features that the local market doesn’t support.

Costs

landscape before after 1 250.jpg

When considering the property value increase of a landscaping upgrade at your home, you must take into consideration the cost of actually installing the new landscaping, as well as the cost of continually maintaining it. If your primary intent is to increase your home’s value rather than derive added enjoyment from your yard, treat these costs as investments and make them cost-effective. Professional landscapers can discuss the options with you. For example, perennials and bulbs can add color and style to your property all year long. Other cost-effective improvements include aesthetically pleasing architectural improvements, such as stone walkways and terracing that require little or no maintenance.

Other Considerations

Landscaping upgrades have a number of variables that go into the property value equation, some of which you cannot control. For example, according to Mark Henry of Clemson University, the quality of landscaping on your neighbors’ lots also affects your home’s value. Even the general quality of landscaping in your whole neighborhood has an impact. If one of your adjacent neighbors has a particularly bad yard, you might want to talk with him to see if he would be willing to make any improvements.

Another important factor to consider is the contractors who do your landscaping upgrades. Many companies vie for this kind of business, and choosing the right contractor can make a lot of difference. Find a contractor with whom you are comfortable, who is honest and patient, and who can show you a good track record. Lastly, pay attention to the details. Michigan State University horticulturist Bridget Behe notes that a subtle, small change, such as curving the edges of your flowerbeds, by itself can increase your home value by 1 percent.

Getaway to the Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls

Bird Kingdom is the World’s Largest Free-Flying Indoor Aviary. Discover hundreds of tropical birds as you explore the pathways throughout the multi-level rainforest. Meet friendly parrots and exotic animals at Bird Kingdom’s Animal Encounters. Explore the ruins of the Night Jungle that is home to curious owls, bats and fascinating creatures. Lorikeet Landing provides an unforgettable experience where you may feed and interact with the playful lorikeet birds. Bird Kingdom is an exciting adventure that is fun for all ages. 

Be sure to bring your camera as you encounter exotic birds and animals up close in their natural habitats.

No Deposit Can Equal No Deal

Three Ways to Submit a Deposit

An agreement of purchase and sale provides for a deposit to be submitted by the buyer. The agreement makes following three options available:

  1. “Herewith” or at the time of presenting the offer;
  2. “Upon acceptance”, defined as 24 hours from acceptance in the preprinted portion of the agreement, and
  3. “As otherwise provided.” This allows the parties to agree to a longer period to deliver the deposit, and can be a better choice for out of town buyers.  

It Should be an Amount the Buyer Doesn’t Want to Lose

Regardless of how it’s submitted, a deposit secures the agreement in a number of ways. The buyer has “skin in the game”, money he stands to lose if he doesn’t follow through with his promises under the contract. To that end the deposit should be meaningful. That is, it needs to be an amount that the buyer would not want to lose. It commits the buyer to act in good faith in striving to meet any conditions (such as obtaining mortgage financing, a home inspection for instance) and to complete the purchase.

no cash changing hands.jpg

What Happens When No Deposit is delivered?

The purchase agreement clearly states that “time is of the essence.” So meeting any obligation under the contract has to be adhered to within the time period stated, including delivery of the deposit. Otherwise the seller can take the view that the offer has been repudiated, hence the buyer is in breach of contract.

So What Can the Seller do?

The seller can choose from two courses of action:

  1. Write a letter to the buyer stating that if the deposit is not received within say twenty-four hours from the date the letter was communicated, the seller will declare the contract terminated.
  2. The seller can also pronounce the offer null and void immediately after the time for receiving the deposit expires.

When There’s More than one Buyer

The issue becomes even more important when other interested buyers are waiting in the wings. As an example, recently a second offer for more money was accepted by the seller as a back-up offer, conditional on the seller being released from the first offer. The first buyer not only failed to deliver their deposit within the twenty-four hours stated, the seller still had not received it by the end of the fourth day. On day five, and due to the breach, the seller declared the first offer null and void.

Releases Not Necessary But a Precaution

The seller’s lawyer agreed with the seller’s decision and felt any challenge by the rejected buyer would be an assured win for the seller. Yet to avoid such a possibility, the lawyer asked for signed releases if possible. The buyer signed releases without a problem and likely to his benefit as well. If he were to legally challenge the seller’s repudiation of the offer, the seller could still be awarded the deposit in spite of the fact that the seller did not receive it or lose any money.    

More Than Pretty Colours: The Health Benefits of Daffodils

With springtime upon is it is important to remember that relatively common plants such as the daffodil hold natural healing properties that are beneficial for our health. The daffodil is native to Europe and the British Isles, and it can be found growing throughout Europe and North America. Historically daffodils were appreciated for their beauty, but they were also widely used for the flower’s medicinal properties.

Daffodils are an effective remedy for the cough and cold, and they are believed to have a positive effect on the liver and gallbladder. The plant is said to act as a natural antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, and it is also used in cosmetic products because of its positive effects on the skin and its pleasant smell.

In addition, daffodils are said to be good for helping to speed up the healing of wounds. It is common practice in some parts of the world to apply crushed daffodils onto wounds and cuts for faster healing and drying. Applying daffodils may also have a soothing effect for people who have suffered burns to their skin.

This spring when you see beautiful daffodils in bloom, remember that their benefits extend far beyond their pleasant appearance. Mother Nature is full of natural health benefits and remedies just waiting to be rediscovered, and if you would like to learn more please don’t hesitate to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

 

Get the Jump on Spring at the Butterfly Conservatory

Although spring is here technically, you may not be seeing it outside.  Why not visit the Butterfly Conservatory and get that taste of spring?

Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, visitors to the Butterfly Conservatory are transported to a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly coloured butterflies. Over 2,000 butterflies, made up of 45 different species, call this beautiful space home. The self-guided walking tour of the Butterfly Conservatory begins with a short, informative video presentation.

For directions or more information, visit the Niagara Parks website:  https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit/attractions/butterfly-conservatory/

 

Downpayment Sources for First Time Buyers

first time home buyer 600.jpg

How can first time buyers afford to buy a home today?

With the recent rise of home prices first-time buyers need more down payment than ever before. They have also had to grapple with:

  • The increased costs of mortgage insurance as provided by CMHC plus other default insurers and
  • he stress test imposed on insured mortgages by the government in fall of 2016.

Findings to Answer the Question

A most convincing answer to the question comes from a recent survey by the Mortgage Professionals of Canada authored by their economist William Dunning.

  • Before 1990 the average downpayment for first time buyers was 21% and 66% had down payments of less than 20%.
  • Between 1990 and 2013, that average down payment hovered between 21% and 22%. The percentage of first time buyers with less than 20% down ranged from 56% to 62%.
  • In the most recent buying cycle, between 2014 through 2017, the average down payment increased to 26%, and the percentage of first time buyers with less than 20% dropped to 42%.

Under the National Housing Act, any purchase with a down payment of less than 20% requires mortgage insurance which varies in cost depending on the percentage down. A down payment of 5% to 10% attracts the highest premium of 4% which is applied to the mortgage. On a $300,000 mortgage $12,000 would be added and the mortgage payment is based on $312,000 total.

The cost of mortgage insurance has increased as follows for 5% to 10% down: until May 31, 2015: 3.15%, as of June 1, 2015: 3.60%, and as of March 17, 2017: 4.00%.

Benefits of Increasing Down Payment

Finding sources to increase down payments can avoid the cost of mortgage insurance. In turn, it decreases the loan amount giving the buyer a better chance of passing the stress test which, as of January 1, 2018, is being applied to most mortgage amounts. Currently it has been reported that some 20% of mortgage applicants are unable to obtain the mortgage applied for due to failing the stress test.

More than One Source for Down Payment

In the latest buying cycle (2014 -2017), most first time buyers used an average of 2.2 sources of funds for their down payment. Only about 47% used one source.

Where Down Payments Came From

The following gives how much of the down payments came from various sources. Though buyers rely on any number of sources, parents have played a greater role in assisting with down payments through loans and gifts.

The most important source continues to be personal savings at 52%. Loans from financial institutions are next highest at 21%; family gifts at 10%; family loans at 5%; and 9% from RRSP/Home Buyers Plans.   

Thanks to William Dunning for this report.

New Mandatory Rental Agreement in Ontario

mandatory lease agreement banner.jpg

The agreement will have to be used by most private rentals

Back in April of 2017 the Ontario Government introduced the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. One of their intentions was to create a standard residential rental lease agreement.

This agreement is now available and will become mandatory for use by April 30th. This standard lease template, therefore, will have to be used for all new leases, by “landlords of most private residential rental units – from individual landlords to property management companies.” The following is just a smattering of what the form encompasses.

The Purpose of Having a Standard Lease

According to the Ministry of Housing website, the purpose of having a standard residential lease/rental agreement for all of Ontario is fourfold:

  1. “Easy to understand language to help
  2. “Landlords & renters understand their rights & responsibilities,
  3. “Reduce illegal terms in leases and misunderstandings caused by verbal tenancy agreements,
  4. “Reduce the need for Landlord and Tenant Board hearings to resolve disputes.”

Applies to Most Rental Situations

The lease does not apply to care homes such as retirement homes, mobile home parks and land lease communities. Most social and supportive housing exempt from the Residential Tenancies Act are also excluded. Example: public housing with rent geared to income. The ministry is planning to create different and standard lease agreements for these special groups.

The lease is mandatory and does apply to single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, condominiums and secondary units such as basement apartments.

Some Aspects of the Form

Of course the form spells out the names of the parties, the term of the tenancy and identifies the rental unit. It also allows for a description of vehicle parking spaces. The agreement must spell out what specific services are included (i.e. air conditioning, additional storage space), and who pays for electricity heat and water.

As well, it specifies that the tenant does not have to move out at the end of the term, staying on as a monthly tenant.

On ending a tenancy, the tenant has to give at least 60-days notice.

  • With a fixed term tenancy the “notice cannot be effective before the last day of the fixed term.
  • With a monthly tenancy the “notice must be effective on the last day of a rental period.”
  • In situations of sexual or domestic violence, the tenant can give 28 days’ notice at any time regardless of a fixed term tenancy.  

For condo units, the landlord must provide and the tenant must agree to abide by the declaration, by-laws and rules.

A Comprehensive Document: Of the 14 pages, the agreement itself is 8 pages and the appendix is 6; quite extensive. We’re hoping everybody reads the important general explanations in the appendix. Go to: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page18704.aspx for your copy.

Niagara Region Residential Sales Prices Statistics for February, 2018

Residential Sales & Average Sale Prices YTD

For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 28-Feb-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*

Sales and average prices are a measure of the last month only.

   
  
   
   
  
    
  
   Normal 
   0 
   
   
   
   
   false 
   false 
   false 
   
   EN-CA 
   X-NONE 
   X-NONE 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	text-autospace:ideograph-other;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}
 
    Unit sales :    
  
   
   
  
    
  
   Normal 
   0 
   
   
   
   
   false 
   false 
   false 
   
   EN-CA 
   X-NONE 
   X-NONE 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	text-autospace:ideograph-other;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}
 
 Up 5% in Grimsby and even in West Lincoln   Unit Sales Are Down in other areas :   
  
   
   
  
    
  
   Normal 
   0 
   
   
   
   
   false 
   false 
   false 
   
   EN-CA 
   X-NONE 
   X-NONE 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	text-autospace:ideograph-other;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}
 
 Fort Erie (-31%), Fonthill/Pelham (-44%), Niagara Falls (-25%), Niagara-on-the-Lake (-45%), Port Colborne/Wainfleet (-31%), St. Catharines (-20%), Thorold (-42%), and Welland (-26%).  *The above stats are based in whole or in part on MLS® System data owned by the Association covering January 1, 2018 to February 28, 2018 vs. January 1, 2017 to February 28, 2017.

Unit salesUp 5% in Grimsby and even in West Lincoln

Unit Sales Are Down in other areas: Fort Erie (-31%), Fonthill/Pelham (-44%), Niagara Falls (-25%), Niagara-on-the-Lake (-45%), Port Colborne/Wainfleet (-31%), St. Catharines (-20%), Thorold (-42%), and Welland (-26%).

*The above stats are based in whole or in part on MLS® System data owned by the Association covering January 1, 2018 to February 28, 2018 vs. January 1, 2017 to February 28, 2017.

Fun Facts About St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, but how much do most of us actually know about this special day? Here are 5 fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day that you might not have known about!

1.      St. Patrick’s Day was once synonymous with the colour blue, not green! “Saint Patrick’s blue” was a light shade of blue that was associated with St. Patrick, but the colour green came to represent St. Patrick’s day in the late 18th century after the holiday became linked to the Irish independence movement.

2.      St. Patrick wasn’t Irish! Although he is celebrated as the “Apostle of Ireland” and Ireland’s primary patron saint because he introduced Christianity to Ireland in 432 A.D., St. Patrick himself was most likely Welsh or Scottish.

3.       The shamrock represents the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick is said to have used the three-leaved clover to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish.

4.      The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates back to the 1760s. The year 1762 is when the earliest known parade probably took place, and not in Ireland but in New York City!

5.      Drinking alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day is a modern practice. Despite often being associated with drinking alcohol (and especially beer), St. Patrick’s Day was once a strictly religious holiday, and bars and pubs in Ireland were actually closed for business on March 17. It was only in 1970, when St. Patrick’s Day became a national holiday in Ireland, that the idea of drinking alcohol to mark the occasion really took root.

Did you know all of these fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day? Before doing my research, I sure didn’t! Just remember: it takes more than the luck of the Irish to make money in real estate. When buying or selling your largest investment, having an experienced realtor on your side is the smartest bet. Feel free to give me a call anytime at 905-356-9100.

 

New Rules Affect Mortgage Renewal

Are you one of over 1 million Canadians who will renew your mortgage in 2018? If so, you have reason for concern.

mortgage stress test 600x.jpg

Few People Are Aware of the Stress Test

As of January 1, 2018 the Stress Test has been introduced and must be implemented for all new mortgage approvals. Interestingly, it’s stunning how many people know little or nothing about the stress test. More often than not, when the phrase “stress test” is mentioned, the reaction is, “what’s that?” As of January 1st, anyone applying for a mortgage would have to undergo the stress test in the following manner.

Example of the Stress Test:

  • You might be looking at a contract interest rate of about 3% today;
  • At 3%, let’s say you will qualify for the mortgage you want.
  • To be approved, however, you must be stress-tested at the current qualifying rate of 5.14% or your contract rate of 3% plus 2% whichever is greater.
  • In this instance you would have to qualify at 5.14%.
  • The stress test might cause you to fail and so your mortgage application would be denied.

Renewals Don’t Have to be Stress-Tested, But...

You do not have to be stress-tested if you are renewing your mortgage with your current lender if that mortgagee is federally regulated by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

...Transferring Requires a Stress Test

For a number of reasons, but mostly because of negotiating a better rate, you may want to transfer your mortgage to a different lender and, if that lender is federally regulated, you must undergo the stress test; that is, qualify at the greater of the qualifying rate or the contract rate plus 2% as mentioned. If you were to fail the stress test, you would be forced to stay with your current lender. Will Dunning, Chief Economist for Mortgage Professionals of Canada, says that this could put you “in a disadvantageous situation for negotiating” a new interest rate. Dunning estimates that “as many as 200,000 Canadians who renew mortgages will fail the stress test, and this may limit their ability to negotiate the lowest possible interest rates.”

Lenders Not Required To Stress Test Are Encouraged To Do So

Provincially regulated lenders, such as Credit Unions, are not required to perform stress tests. They are, nevertheless, encouraged to do so.

In a recent application a senior wanted to borrow an additional $25,000 against her home, valued at $300,000, to purchase a new car. This would increase her registered line of credit from $50,000 to $75,000. She has no other debts and an excellent credit rating of 790. On her income, however, she failed the stress applied by her bank. She then went to a Credit Union who also stress-tested her. A debt of $75,000 against a $300,000 home gives her a very low loan-to-value ratio of 25%. Yet the mortgage was denied. There has got to be something wrong with this.  

Niagara Region Residential Sales Prices Statistics for January, 2018

Residential Sales & Average Sale Prices YTD

For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 31-Jan-2018 vs. Prior Year*

Sales and average prices are a measure of the last month only.

   
  
   
   
  
    
  
   Normal 
   0 
   
   
   
   
   false 
   false 
   false 
   
   EN-CA 
   X-NONE 
   X-NONE 
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   
   
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
 table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0cm;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	text-autospace:ideograph-other;
	font-size:10.0pt;
	font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}
 
    Unit sales :  Are even in Grimsby and up 14% in West Lincoln.   Unit Sales Are Down : Fort Erie (-13%), Fonthill/Pelham (-31%), Grimsby (0%), Niagara Falls (-12%), Niagara-on-the-Lake (-60%), Port Colborne/Wainfleet (‑18%), St. Catharines (-24%), Thorold (-33%), Welland (-40%) and West Lincoln (-8%).  *The above stats are based in whole or in part on MLS® System data owned by the Association covering January 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2018 vs. January 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2017.

Unit sales:  Are even in Grimsby and up 14% in West Lincoln.

Unit Sales Are Down: Fort Erie (-13%), Fonthill/Pelham (-31%), Grimsby (0%), Niagara Falls (-12%), Niagara-on-the-Lake (-60%), Port Colborne/Wainfleet (‑18%), St. Catharines (-24%), Thorold (-33%), Welland (-40%) and West Lincoln (-8%).

*The above stats are based in whole or in part on MLS® System data owned by the Association covering January 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2018 vs. January 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2017.