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Bank of Canada Reduces Policy Rate by 25 Basis Points! 📉

📌 For Homeowners: The Bank of Canada has reduced the target for the overnight rate to 4¾%. This means lower interest rates, making it an ideal time to consider refinancing your mortgage. Lower rates can significantly reduce your monthly payments and overall interest costs.

📌 For Aspiring Homeowners: Now is the perfect time to get pre-approved for a mortgage! With the rate reduction, you'll find more affordable borrowing options, making your dream home within reach. Let's get you connected with a mortgage broker to start the pre-approval process.

📌 For Investors: The easing of monetary policy can stimulate economic growth, making real estate investments more attractive. Lower borrowing costs enhance your ability to finance new investment properties and improve your portfolio's profitability.

Whether you're looking to refinance, get pre-approved, or expand your real estate investments, I'm here to help! Let me refer you to a trusted mortgage broker for your pre-approval or refinancing needs. Once you're pre-approved, I'd love to assist you in achieving your real estate goals.

🏡 Ready to Make a Move? Let's Talk! 📞 Contact Me Today! 

Sam Chaim
RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.
(416) 543-7252

sam@samchaim.ca

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Downsizing for Retirement: Simplify Your Life and Maximize Your Golden Years

Ready to cut back, simplify, and enjoy your golden years? Downsizing your home might be the perfect solution. Here's why:

1. Reduced Living Expenses
Transitioning to a smaller home can save you a bundle on utilities, property taxes, and homeowners’ insurance. Less space means fewer maintenance costs and lower monthly bills, giving you more cash flow to enjoy life.

2. Mortgage and Debt Freedom
Selling a larger home with significant equity can often lead to buying a smaller home outright, eliminating mortgage payments. Use the extra capital to pay off existing debts and enjoy a financially stress-free retirement.

3. Unlocked Equity
Your home is likely your biggest asset. Downsizing can convert that equity into liquid assets, providing a financial cushion for living expenses, healthcare, or unexpected costs. This peace of mind lets you focus on enjoying your retirement.

4. Strategic Investment Opportunities
With the equity from selling your home, diversify your financial portfolio. Invest in stocks, bonds, REITs, or maximize contributions to TFSAs and RRSPs. Consult with a financial advisor to make the most of your newfound funds.

5. Location Flexibility
Downsizing makes it possible to move closer to healthcare, shopping, and recreational amenities. Whether it’s an urban center or a peaceful suburb, you can choose a location that suits your retirement lifestyle.

6. Simplified Living
A smaller home means less upkeep, freeing up time and energy for activities you love. Enjoy a more manageable space that meets your mobility needs, ensuring comfort and independence for years to come.

7. More Time for What Matters
With fewer household burdens, you’ll have more time for hobbies, social engagements, and new adventures. Join community clubs, explore new interests, and build meaningful relationships in your retirement community.

Ready to start your downsizing journey? Contact me today!

Sam Chaim
RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.
(416) 543-7252

sam@samchaim.ca

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New property listed in Yonge-St. Clair, Toronto C02

I have listed a new property at 206 33 Delisle AVE in Toronto.
Imagine your lifestyle in this demand upscale building ideally located in the heart of mid-town Toronto, perfect for the downsizer, as a pied-aterre, a move-up or first-time buyer. This almost 800 s.f. suite is thoughtfully designed with the Solarium accessed from the primary bedroom or living room through elegant French Doors. Your unit is a haven of luxury finishes including 9Ft ceilings, and beautiful hardwood floors in Living and Dining room and the Solarium. The Primary Bedroom is carpetted. Kitchen features quartz counters and designer fixtures and finishes. The kitchen will encourage your inner chef in this efficient triangle work space. The bright two-toned cabinetry compliments the top line grey stainless appliances includes panelled dishwasher, ample counter space and efficient corner lazy susan. The luxury bath has French-inspired unique wall sconces, gold faucet and marble counter finished off with a calming vertical tile pattern in the glass enclosed shower. A premium parking spot adjacent to your oversized locker(room) is a practical add-on to the ensuite laundry room which provides additional storage....a small but important detail. Wonderful amenities and a parklike patio include a BBQ centre. There is a Party room, meeting room, indoor pool and a newly updated exercise center with the latest equipment. Security and concierge services are also at your service. Take advantage of some indoor visitor parking too. All this and less than 5 minutes walk to the subway, St. Clair Streetcar and bus routes, restaurants and shopping.
If you know someone who may be interested in this home or is thinking about a move please fell free to share this infomation.
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New property listed in Willowdale West, Toronto C07

I have listed a new property at 7 Stafford RD in Toronto.
Excellent opportunity to move in or invest in this sought after neighbourhood. This well-located renovated(main) home is on a quiet, child-friendlystreet in the heart of North York, near Sheppard and Bathurst. Move in to the vacant 1-1/2 Story main house with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It features a good sized beautifully renovated main/upper floor residence with open concept kitchen to dining room. The master is a private retreat up story featuring a walk-in closet and ensuite 3 pc. bathroom. A combo laundry unit is also on the main floor. Large backyard for your outdoor and gardening pleasure. In addition, and to make this home more affordable or a great investment, enjoy a good income from 2 separate lower-level rental units of 1 and 2 bedrooms. Both suites have private bathrooms. Basement access is from a separate side-entry to a shared foyer and shared laundry in the common area utility room. This home offers a fantastic location, well served by transit, schools and community services. Note: Photos are staged-Main floor is vacant.
If you know someone who may be interested in this home or is thinking about a move please fell free to share this infomation.
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Financing Options: What Every Move-Up Home Buyer Should Know

Whenever the Canadian real estate market topic comes up in conversation, it typically surrounds how first-time homebuyers are struggling to get their feet in the door. Whether the challenges of putting together a down payment or qualifying for a mortgage, aspiring homeowners have many hurdles to overcome.

But while these labours of Hercules are undoubtedly real, move-up buyers also have an uphill battle to overcome as they are contending with comparable issues, from higher borrowing costs to more expensive residential properties in their communities or a faraway distance.

Wait a minute. What is a move-up buyer anyway? This person currently owns a home and intends to sell this property to acquire a new one that is typically larger. The reasons for this decision will vary, but some common factors of moving up include needing more space for a growing family, upgrading to a better neighbourhood, taking advantage of favourable market conditions, and searching for a differently designed home.

At a time of tightening lending standards and above-trend mortgage costs, move-up buyers will need to determine how to finance this transition, which could happen at a snail’s pace or the speed of light. Let’s dig a bit deeper to consider your financing or borrowing options.

What Every Move-Up Home Buyer Should Know About Financing Options

Here are four financing options that every move-up homebuyer should know:

Using Your Home Equity Wisely

Did you buy your home before the coronavirus pandemic? Did you acquire one in the early days of COVID when rock-bottom interest rates fueled a buying frenzy? Whatever the case may be, you might have accumulated a tremendous amount of tax-free equity over the years. It might be enough to fund your next home purchase or the down payment on your next single-family house in Victoria, townhome in Halifax, or two-bedroom plus den condo in downtown Toronto.

Of course, the question becomes: Should you touch your home equity? The reality of the situation is that you can employ the gains from the sale of your home, but you should do so wisely or conservatively. Rather than use up 100 percent of your home equity, perhaps you can dedicate a certain percentage of the proceeds to your move-up acquisition.

Like buying a home will be the most significant financial decision of your lifetime, so is the decision to sell your home, since you might access hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity.

Line of Credit or Bridge Loan

Because you own your home, tapping into credit is a little easier. It will vary on a case-by-case basis, but generally, homeowners will be given favourable terms for a larger amount of capital.

As a result, you could be tempted to fund your move-up purchase with a line of credit. Or, if you need time between selling your current property and buying your next one, you may consider using a bridge loan. While it is imperative to speak with a mortgage broker about your financing options, making the necessary calculations, from interest rates to extra charges, is vital.

Both credit instruments can be useful and affordable mechanisms at your disposal. A line of credit can be an easier way to fund your purchase if it is only a small mortgage or purchase. A bridge loan can be a helpful tool in this transition period of listing your property and buying a new one without enduring immense financial pressure.

Are Second Mortgages Reasonable Options?

Typically, homeowners will use second mortgages to help consolidate debt when they have lost a job, suffer from a health ailment, or endure credit challenges. Private lenders usually offer them, and they come with higher interest rates (in this climate, it can be in the double digits!).

That said, conventional mortgage lenders might be willing to offer second mortgages with customizable terms and conditions. Many families use these financial products to help their kids buy a house or pay for their children’s post-secondary tuition.

At the same time, financial institutions will often push through a home equity line of credit (HELOC), as borrowers can receive up to 65 percent of the value of their home.

Ultimately, it is about weighing your financing options and determining what is best for you, your family, and your wallet. Communicating with both your real estate agent and the bank is crucial.

Cash-Out Refinance

A cash-out refinancing option consists of obtaining a new mortgage for your home, whether from a current lender or a new source. You will then pay the first loan in its entirety by using the second one, which will help you lock in a new interest rate and loan term.

This might seem enticing, but there are a few things you need to know:

  • Users will pay fees and penalties to ensure the long-term savings exceed the upfront costs.

  • Borrowers must meet requirements (length of homeownership, credit score, home equity, etc.).

  • Clients must have a lower debt-to-income ratio.

  • The minimum equity requirement is usually as much as 20 percent in equity.

Other Money-Related Tidbits of Information

In addition to your financing options, it is essential to think about other factors related to your move-up homebuying experience:

  • Refrain from going overboard and over budget on your next purchase.

  • Sit down and calculate your finances, from what you earn to your liabilities to your retirement savings.

  • Determine whether to buy or sell first (there is no right or wrong answer to this quandary).

  • Take your time and do your research on what is available in the real estate market.

  • Work with the right people to make the best decision possible.

Takin’ Your Time

The last few years have been a chaotic time in Canada’s housing market. The roller coaster ride of mortgage rates, the buying frenzy, the dramatic rise in home valuations, the modest correction, and everything else that occurred in the Canadian economy. As we learned, being impatient can often burn buyers and sellers. Therefore, you do not need to put the pedal to the metal. Instead, be patient and precise so you can be confident you made the right choices throughout the move-up homebuying process.

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April 2024 | Bank of Canada Rate Announcement

Big News Alert!

The Bank of Canada decided to keep its overnight rate steady at 5%, sticking to its plan of quantitative tightening. But what does this mean for you? Let's break it down:

Global Economy: Things are looking up! The world economy is expected to keep growing at a steady pace, with the US leading the charge and the euro area on the path to recovery.

Inflation: Good news! Prices in most advanced economies are expected to stabilize, which should ease the pressure on your wallet over time.

Canada's Economy: We hit a speed bump last year, but we're getting back on track. Economic growth is expected to pick up, fuelled by strong population growth and increased spending by both households and governments.

Job Market: It's a mixed bag. While employment is growing, it's not keeping up with the number of people entering the workforce. But hey, at least there are some signs that wage pressures are calming down.

Your Money: Inflation has been high lately, but there's hope on the horizon. The Bank of Canada is keeping an eye on prices and aims to bring them back to a more stable level over the next year or so.

So, what's the bottom line? The Bank of Canada is holding steady for now, keeping an eye on inflation and the overall health of the economy. Stay tuned for more updates as the year progresses!

Got questions about how the Bank of Canada's decisions impact you? Wondering about mortgage rates and what's best for your financial future? Whether you need answers or want a referral to an outstanding mortgage broker, reach out to me and let's navigate the world of finance together!

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Understanding the Real Estate Market When Selling Your Home

After sitting on the sidelines waiting out the market, you have decided on selling your home. You are not alone. This past fall, a NerdWallet study found that a fifth of homeowners plan to sell their homes in the next three years, and 41 per cent intend to list their homes in the next five years.

If they plan to follow through on these plans, this could mean an injection of supply in a tight Canadian real estate market, which could help improve the housing affordability situation.

For now, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), home prices are up, demand is robust, and mortgage rates look more likely to have peaked at around the six per cent mark.

So, is this your time to erect a for-sale sign on your front lawn? If so, it is vital to understand the Canadian real estate market when selling your home. What should you be looking for anyway? Let’s dig deeper and assess some trends and factors to monitor during this exciting – and at-times daunting – period.

Here are eight things to consider when selling your home in today’s real estate market:

Work with Your Real Estate Agent

Some homeowners will make the mistake of going it alone. This is a misstep. Whether buying or selling, working with a real estate agent is imperative. Yes, you will pay commissions or fees, but it takes the guesswork out of the intense and crucial process. This industry professional understands the current market, knows the neighbourhood well, and comprehends the many facets of the sector’s rules and regulations. Remember, realtors have your best interests at heart, so it is wise to work with one.

Strategic Pricing

Should you strategically price your home or list it at whatever you want? Depending on where you are located, it could be a buyer’s or seller’s market. As a result, it would be prudent to strategically and correctly list your home’s genuine worth. Ultimately, it is about discovering the ideal listing price that strikes a delicate balance of fair market value and attracting buyers.

Here are a few measures you can employ to garner the right price:

Request a home evaluation to determine your property value compared to the rest of the area’s market conditions.
Perform a home inspection to ensure everything is ready to showcase.
Collaborate with your real estate agent on pricing.

Timing Your Listing

Believe it or not, even in today’s housing market, it is crucial to list your home at the right time. While it is not always possible, it should be prioritized, industry experts say. Why? You want to sell when prospective homebuyers want to acquire a property.

Here are a few things you need to know:

Winter is usually the slowest time of the year, particularly around the holidays.
- People are typically ready to purchase a home when it is warmer outside.
- Selecting the best day of the week can offer a competitive edge.
- Your real estate agent’s online and offline marketing strategy will also consider the timing of your listing.

Check Emotion at the Door

Do you think your home is worth much more than what is being listed? Do you think it will be hard to part ways with the keys to your house that you saw your children grow up in? Would you reject a request from the homebuyer to toss in a new refrigerator?

Whatever the case may be, experts recommend checking your emotions at the door and making intelligent decisions. Remember, your objective in selling your home is to sell it fast and garner the best price possible.

Staging the Right Way

Staging is a critical tool in your selling arsenal. You want to present your home in the best possible light. Even if your home is crammed with so much stuff, you should try to remove many of these things and stage your living room, bedrooms, or kitchens so that they are attractive to buyers.

Here are several tips:

- Conduct a deep cleaning of your entire home.
- Stage your home to appeal to buyers rather than gorgeous furniture pieces (a single-family home will appeal to families, while a bachelor condominium suite will appeal to single professionals).
- Improve your curb appeal by mowing the lawn, installing a neat street number sign, changing the light bulbs, and organizing the yard.
- Snap high-quality photos of your home because many buyers will be performing their search online, meaning they will explore virtual tours, floor plans, and still images.

Yes, during the coronavirus pandemic, the buying frenzy meant anything goes, and buyers were indifferent to the conventional approaches to purchasing a property. Conditions have stabilized, and now it is best to utilize traditional methods in the real estate market.

Repairing Major and Minor Problems

From a leaky roof to a leaky faucet, sellers should be responsible enough to help repair major and minor problems throughout your house – inside and outside. By doing this, you can maximize your listing price rather than having to haggle with a buyer about having to repair or replace something. Additionally, homebuyers will request inspections anyway (they have made a comeback in the post-pandemic market!), so these professionals will inevitably find out sooner or later.

Expect Smart Buyers

In the end, many prospective homebuyers are equipped with a heavy arsenal of knowledge. Be it smartphone apps or an exceptional real estate agent at their side, you should definitely expect intelligent buyers to walk through your doors.

Finalize the Sale

After both sides of the transaction have agreed to the terms, it is time to sign a purchase agreement. Your attorney or a notary will have likely performed the legal aspects. The title is clear, the required documents have been filled, and the paperwork officials transfer ownership from you to the buyer. When closing day arrives (yay!), the buyer will visit the attorney’s office to finish the paperwork and offer the funds. At this stage, the transaction is complete, keys are exchanged, and proceeds from the sale will be distributed.

When Selling Your Home, It’s About Confidence

Indeed, buying and selling your home can be an arduous experience. There are many steps involved on both sides of a deal. That said, as long as you have trusted and seasoned professionals on your team, be it a real estate agent or a lawyer, you can be confident that selling your home in today’s real estate market is simple and hassle-free.

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March 2024 | Toronto Real Estate Housing Market Update

March 2024 home sales were lower than March 2023, a result due in part to the statutory holiday Good Friday falling in March this year versus April last year.

Despite a better-supplied market compared to last year, there was enough competition between buyers to see a moderate increase in the average March home price compared to last year’s levels. 

The MLS(R) Home Price Index (HPI) Composite benchmark was up by 0.3% year-over-year. The average selling price was up by 1.3% to $1,121,615. On a seasonally-adjusted month-over-month basis, the MLS(R) HPI Composite was up by 0.2% and the average selling price was up 0.7% compared to February.

There were 6,560 sales in March 2024 - down by 4.5% compared to March 2023. On a seasonally, adjusted basis, sales were down 1.1%.

New listings were up by 15% over the same period. New listings were down by 3% compared to February. 

Connect with me, I’d love to Make A Difference For You!

To a Good Life!

Sam Chaim
RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.
(416)
543-7252
sam@samchaim.ca

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How Climate Change is Affecting Real Estate

Are Canadian homeowners and prospective buyers beginning to take climate change more seriously in the real estate market?

A recent survey for Rates.ca and BNN Bloomberg found that 60 percent of young homeowners were thinking about the possible effects of climate change on the area where they were purchasing their residential property. By comparison, this rate was 31 percent for those 35 and 54 and a little more than one-quarter (27 percent) for those over 55.

However, climate change concerns are not resulting in much action by Canadians. The study learned that only 12 percent have applied for extra insurance to cover them in the event of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.

“We are living with the effects of climate change, and the results of the survey show that a growing number of Canadian homeowners are both aware of the risk and are taking steps to mitigate risk in where they choose to live or through additional insurance endorsements,” said John Shmuel, managing editor of Rates.ca, in a statement.

Indeed, many U.S. and Canadian insurance companies have warned about the growing costs of insuring homes in areas prone to devastating climate change-related weather events, be it floods or forest fires.

Meanwhile, additional studies have been sounding the alarm about climate-related risks, including property valuations. In fact, according to a recent report by the Centre on Climate Adaptation, climate change could reduce the value of homes in Canada by as much as 15 percent by 2050. At the same time, this has been seen in recent years.

A recent University of Waterloo study discovered that in the eight years before 2022, devastating flooding in Canadian communities resulted in a more than eight percent drop in the final sale of home prices. The extreme weather also resulted in a more than 44 percent decline in the number of homes listed for sale, and residential properties were on the market for nearly 20 percent more days before being sold.

“Canadian homeowners are paying closer attention to flood and wildfire risk when purchasing a home,” stated Blair Feltmate, head of Intact Centre on Climate Adaption at the University of Waterloo, in a press release. “With the impact of [extreme weather] featuring almost nightly on newscasts, homeowners are also increasingly aware of how flooding in communities can affect a home’s value.”

Industry observers present the case that the effects of climate change could be factored into a property’s value in the coming years and become the new norm. They say this would help consumers see the connection between climate risks and real estate prices.

But how would this work exactly? For example, potential buyers need to understand which areas are at a higher risk of floods or wildfires, areas that have poor air quality due to excessive air pollution, and areas that are warming faster than others, and similar facts could become associated with the decision-making process when it comes to evaluating and buying real estate.

Extreme weather events result in significant damage to buildings and infrastructure and might require repairs that could be expensive. Some weather-driven events, such as forest fires, can potentially destroy entire neighbourhoods. This not only results in displacement but also increases the burden of homebuilding for homeowners. Other issues can also be problematic, such as mould growth, foundation damage, and structural issues that could occur due to flooding and storms. Areas that are more vulnerable to rising sea levels and storms can also face challenges in terms of real estate prices and sales.

This does not mean the Canadian real estate market should expect the worst. Many major urban centres rank in the top ten of top North American cities that have engaged in sustainability, according to the Commercial Board of Real Estate (CBRE). These include Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

“The cities that take the lead on sustainability today will have a competitive edge as the economy shifts to a low carbon, more sustainable future,” said Robert Bernard, Chief Sustainability Officer at CBRE. “With over 50% of the world’s population living in cities, cities will be critical in driving sustainability and helping communities adapt to climate risks.”

According to housing market experts, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures should be better integrated into housing strategies, and governments should consider investing more in the modernization of green structures and other climate-friendly initiatives. Climate risk assessments should become part of real estate listings and be considered as important as other factors.

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RE/MAX Top Producer 2023

Grateful beyond words! Excited to announce that I've been recognized as a top producer by RE/MAX ahead of our annual convention and awards ceremony.

THANK YOU to my incredible clients, supporters, followers, friends, and fans for your unwavering support. This couldn't have been achieved this without you!

It’s a great start to the year and looking forward to continuing to Make A Difference For You in Toronto's real estate scene!

To a Good Life!

Sam Chaim
RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.
(416)
543-7252
sam@samchaim.ca

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February 2024 | Toronto Real Estate Housing Market Update

Home sales and new listings in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up on an annual and monthly basis in February 2024. Selling prices also edged upward compared to a year earlier. Population growth and a resilient regional economy continued to support the overall demand for housing. Higher borrowing costs kept home sales below the February sales record reached in 2021. There were 5,607 GTA home sales reported through TRREB’s MLS® System in February 2024 – an increase of 17.9% compared to February 2023. Even after accounting for the leap year effect, sales were up by 12.3% yearover-year.

New listings were up by an even greater annual rate than sales in February, pointing to increased choice for buyers. On a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis, February sales were lower following two consecutive monthly increases while new listings were flat. Monthly figures can be somewhat volatile, especially when the market is approaching a transition point.

Home selling prices in February 2024 remained similar to February 2023. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite benchmark edged up by 0.4%. The average selling price of $1,108,720 increased by a modest 1.1%. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, both the MLS® HPI Composite and the average selling price edged upward.

Take advantage of the thriving housing market in the Greater Toronto Area! Find your dream home or capitalize on the demand by listing yours today.

Connect with me, I’d love to Make A Difference For You!

To a Good Life!

Sam Chaim
RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc.
(416) 543-7252
sam@samchaim.ca

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Canada's job gains double expectations, but unemployment rate ticks up higher

Exciting News for Canada's Job Market! Despite the unemployment rate ticking up, job gains have surpassed expectations, with 41,000 new jobs added in February.

As a Realtor, this signals positive momentum for the housing market! More jobs mean more potential homebuyers entering the market.

While employment growth may be trailing population growth, the surge in full-time work indicates stability and confidence in the workforce.

With job gains spread across various sectors, including accommodation and food services and professional services, the economy shows resilience and diversity.

As we navigate these economic shifts, rest assured that the real estate market remains a solid investment option.

Let's continue to monitor these trends and seize opportunities together!

Have questions? Thinking of buying or selling? I’m here to help you make the best financial decisions. Reach out today!

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March 2024 | Bank of Canada Rate Announcement

Exciting update from the Bank of Canada! Today, they've decided to maintain the policy rate at 5%, signalling a commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.

Despite global economic growth slowing down, Canada's economy showed resilience, growing more than expected in Q4, albeit at a modest pace.

With employment growth trailing population growth, there are signs of easing wage pressures.

CPI inflation eased to 2.9% in January, but underlying pressures persist.

The Bank remains focused on balancing demand and supply, inflation expectations, and corporate pricing behaviour.

Now is the time to take action in the real estate market. Whether you're looking to sell, buy, or invest, take advantage of the opportunity presented! I'm here to guide you and help you make informed decisions.

Reach out today and let's discuss how you can leverage this moment for your real estate goals!

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What’s Going On With The Stress Test?

At a time when mortgage rates are hovering between five and six per cent and home prices remain above their pre-pandemic levels, discussions surrounding the mortgage stress test have been prevalent across the Canadian real estate market.

The mortgage stress test is a federal government mandate requiring that borrowers prove they can afford higher payments if mortgage rates rise in the future. Typically, the stress test is the current mortgage rate plus two per cent. At the height of the current tightening efforts by the Bank of Canada (BoC), the stress test was north of eight per cent.

The purpose behind the rule is to prevent borrowers from taking on more than they can afford and to stop lenders from lending money to financially stressed or would-be fiscally challenged clients.

But now that the post-crisis real estate market is an environment where interest rates are at their highest levels since before the Global Financial Crisis, critics have wondered if the stress test is excessive, with some urging Ottawa to ease or suspend the measure.

For now, it appears that everything will remain the same, according to the country’s chief banking regulator.

What’s Going on With the Mortgage Stress Test?

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the qualifying rate for uninsured residential mortgages will continue to be higher than 5.25 per cent, or the mortgage contract rate plus two per cent. Peter Routledge, the OSFI chief, stated in a December 2023 report that the stress test has resulted in a more robust and resilient mortgage financing system as it helps both borrowers and lenders better manage risk.

The federal government reiterated the OSFI’s stance shortly after its confirmation.

Others agreed, including Fitch Ratings.

The credit ratings agency supported the OSFI’s decision, calling it a positive for the Canadian real estate market, the nation’s banking system, and the broader economic landscape.

Underlying Risks in a Stable Mortgage Market

Despite everything that has transpired since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, both the Canadian real estate market and the mortgage industry have remained solid and cushioned the blows from the crisis-era fallout. In other words, delinquencies and forced sales have been largely absent in Canada.

However, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently warned that approximately 2.2 million mortgages will have to be renewed in 2024 and 2025. This would represent nearly half (45 per cent) of all outstanding mortgages, totalling roughly $675 billion.

Even if the central bank engages in lowering its benchmark policy rate and the bond market responds, it might not be swift enough to prevent borrowers from paying higher rates.

In fact, the CMHC projected that as households renew in the coming years, the higher mortgage rates will equal about $15 billion in additional payments for households each year.

Ultimately, this could result in consequences for the economy since the funds will be reallocated from other sectors, the CMHC says.

Mortgage Rates in 2024

Financial markets are bracing for rate cuts this year. Investors think they could happen as early as March, while economists believe the likelihood is sometime in the middle of the year. This will lead to lower bond yields and, as a result, lower mortgage rates, with experts saying the conventional five-year fixed mortgage could slide to around 4 per cent. But whether this will help or hinder the Canadian real estate market and the national economy remains to be seen.

Whether you're a homeowner, prospective buyer, or industry enthusiast, connect with me to discuss more about the latest developments shaping the Canadian real estate landscape.

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It's Chai time celebrating 18 Years in Real Estate

I fully appreciate your support over the years. Thank you for your business, your referrals, for reading my reports and generally appreciating and encouraging my work as I celebrate 18 years in the business, a “Chai” achievement, and still top 10. Looking back onto the detour taken to my second career, as a realtor, and my success,  I owe it all to you and thank you for helping me get to this point. I am looking forward to more of your broad smiles through your continued success and happiness in your home and investments.

Despite the winter weather and borrowing rates remaining high, January’s home sales of 4,223 were 37% higher than January 2023. A great start to 2024! Buyers were plentiful. However, while the number of new listings was up, they were only up 6%, thereby contributing to tighter market conditions raising the specter of increased bidding wars, which has already started. 2 weeks ago, a listing of mine attracted 2 early low offers that were, on my advice, rejected. 8 days later we had 4 offers competing and sold the home for 6.8% more at more than 97% of asking. My prediction is multiple offers will become the reality again this year as the Bank of Canada starts cutting its borrowing rates, likely in the second half of 2024.

We simply do not have the housing supply to support our population increase through immigration to Canada and Toronto real estate prices reflect it. The various governments have responded with programs to boost supply to satisfy demand but red tape, permit delays and funding obstacles continue to keep housing starts stymied.  Prices are rising and will continue to rise more dramatically while all levels of government posture to garner votes rather than achieving progress to balance the Buyer/Seller field. The land is there, builders are ready, willing, and able. Yet building permits contiue to take years, not months, to be issued.

How about more purpose-built rental buildings?  Everyone knows we need more! But with a one-sided Landlord and Tenant Act and related rent control system in favour of tenants, few builders are prepared to build rental units. While the idea of rent controls is a good one, unless it finds more balance, it continues to fail everyone. While the situation is challenging and regrettable there is no quick fix.  

Think about it? Borrowing rates are about to fall while house prices and rents are bound to increase. If you are considering upgrading your current home, downsizing, or looking to purchase an investment property, great real estate opportunities exist today! Perhaps you have a child who will be entering university in a few years, is a pre-construction condominium the right fit for you? Each situation is different and merits analysis andadapted  guidance that works for you.

Give me a call, let's talk! After all, I am here to help you and you won’t do better than your friend and Point Man in Real Estate, MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR YOU!

To a Good Life!

Sam Chaim

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Happy Chinese New Year

Embrace the fiery spirit of the Dragon and ignite new beginnings this Chinese New Year! As we welcome prosperity and good fortune, let's soar towards our real estate dreams with determination and courage. Wishing you a year filled with abundance, joy, and successful investments.

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January 2024 | Toronto Real Estate Housing Market Update

Home sales were up in January 2024 in comparison to January 2023. This annual increase came as some homebuyers started to benefit from lower borrowing costs associated with fixed-rate mortgage products.

New listings were also up year-over-year but by a lesser annual rate compared to sales. The resulting tighter market conditions when compared to the same period a year earlier, potentially points toward renewed price growth as we move into the spring market.

There were 4,223 sales reported through TRREB’s MLS® System in January 2024 – an increase of more than one-third compared to January 2023. The number of new listings was also up year-over-year but by a lesser annual rate of approximately 6%.

Stronger sales growth relative to listings suggests buyers experienced tighter market conditions compared to a year ago. On a month-over-month seasonally adjusted basis, both sales and new listings were up. Sales increased more than listings which means market conditions tightened relative to December 2023.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite in January 2024 was down by less than 1% year-over-year in January. The average selling price was down by one per cent year-over-year to $1,026,703. On a month-over-month seasonally adjusted basis, both the MLS® HPI Composite and the average selling price also trended lower.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell, connect with me as I’d love to Make A Difference For You!

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Three Ways to Stand Out In The Spring Market

Spring – the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the “For Sale” signs are sprouting up on lawns all around you. This can be one of the best times to list your home, which also makes it one of the most competitive times. So, how can sellers stand out in a busy spring market? We asked RE/MAX affiliates across Canada to share their top tips.

Clean up Outside
Pressure washing your driveway, sweeping your front walkway and picking up winter debris such as twigs and branches are incredibly important steps to take to make your property look its best once the snow has cleared.

It’s important to wash windows and frames on the outside of your house and touch up exterior doors and trim with paint if necessary. Roof gutters and siding should also be cleaned and maintained.

Any extra cars should be parked away from the property, and spring toys and bikes shouldn’t be left outside.

Steps can also be taken to improve landscaping. Adding flowering plants and shrubs will add colour to your home. Be sure to tidy flower beds and maintain your lawn. If you have a pet, be sure to clean up any droppings on a regular basis.

A well-manicured curb appeal can make the difference when everything is in full swing. Don’t overdo it with the flowers and plants, as there are also people thinking about high maintenance yards when buying a home, which could end up being a turn off, even when it looks pretty.

Freshen Up Inside

The inside of your home should be tidy with no clutter. Light fixtures, appliances and windows should be cleaned. Be sure to move large appliances and clean in and around where they usually sit.

If you have a garage, make sure you keep the floor swept. Make sure doors and windows throughout the house aren’t squeaking.

You might want to consider purchasing a new welcome mat at the front door, adding new bedding and purchasing candles that have a nice smell that’s not overwhelming. A fresh bouquet on your kitchen table or counter is a great way to keep the space smelling and looking great.

Once your house is clean, get professional photos taken to make each room look its best. Good photography can go a long way in helping a home stand out from the others.

Be Sure the Price is Right

The spring market is an incredibly popular time of year for sellers to list their homes. If you have priced your home too high, buyers will likely opt to look at similar, more reasonably priced homes. I will take in many factors to help you list your home at a price that is competitive with other listings, yet a fair deal for you.

Also consider putting the home on the market a bit earlier than the regular spring crowd. This will limit the amount of competition and get the eyes of serious buyers on your property first.

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Real Estate Terms: RE/MAX Home Buyer’s Glossary

Home Buyer’s Glossary: Real Estate Terms You Should Know

Amortization
The length of time allotted to paying off a loan – in home-buying terms, the mortgage. Most maximum amortization periods in Canada are 25 years.

Assessed Value
The dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for taxation. This valuation forms the basis for determining property taxes owed by the owner.

Balanced Market
In a balanced market, there is an equal balance of buyers and sellers, which means sellers often accept reasonable offers, homes sell within a good amount of time, and prices remain stable.

Bridge Financing
A short-term loan designed to “bridge” the gap for homebuyers who have purchased their new home before selling their existing home. This type of financing is common in a seller’s market, allowing homebuyers to purchase without having to sell first.

Buyer’s Agent
The buyer’s agent represents the homebuyers and their interests in the transaction. On the other side of the transaction, the listing agent represents the seller and their interests.

Buyer’s Market
In a buyer’s market, there are more homes on the market than there are buyers, giving the limited number of buyers more choice and greater negotiating power. Homes may stay on the market longer, and prices can be stable or dropping.

Closing
This is the last step of the real estate transaction, once all the offer conditions outlined in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale have been met and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. Once the closing period has passed, the keys are exchanged on the closing date outlined in the offer.

Closing Costs
The costs associated with “closing” the purchase deal. These costs can include legal and administrative fees related to the home purchase. Closing costs are additional to the purchase price of the home.

Condominium Ownership
A form of ownership whereby you own your unit and are interested in common elements such as the lobby, elevators, halls, parking garage and building exterior. The condominium association is responsible for building and common elements maintenance and collects a monthly condo fee from each owner based on their proportionate share of the building. Condos often have guidelines regarding noise, use of common areas and allowable renovations within the units.

Contingency
A condition or clause in a real estate contract that specifies certain events must occur or certain conditions must be met before the contract is legally binding.

Curb Appeal
The visual attractiveness of a property when viewed from the street or sidewalk. It’s often the first impression potential buyers have of a home and can significantly impact their perception of its value.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)
A financial metric used by lenders to evaluate a borrower’s ability to manage monthly payments and repay borrowed money. It is calculated by dividing an individual’s total monthly debt payments by their gross monthly income, often expressed as a percentage. A lower DTI suggests that the borrower has a good balance between debt and income, making them a less risky loan candidate.

Deposit
An up-front payment is made by the buyer to the seller at the time the offer is accepted. The deposit shows the seller that the buyer is serious about the purchase. This amount will be held in trust by the agent or lawyer until the deal closes, at which point it is applied to the purchase price.

Down Payment
The down payment is the amount of money paid upfront for a home to secure a mortgage. The minimum down payment in Canada is five percent of the home’s total purchase price. Down payments of less than 20 percent of a home’s purchase price require mortgage loan insurance. The mortgage loan amount is the selling price minus the deposit and down payment.

Dual Agency
Dual agency is when one real estate agent (or real estate brokerage) represents both the homebuyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. There are limitations and requirements around dual agency, which differ by province.

Equity
The difference between a home’s market value and the amount owing on the mortgage. This is the portion of the house that has been paid for and is officially “owned.”

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage guarantees your interest rate for a pre-determined amount of time, typically five years. When the term expires, you can stay with the same lender or switch to a different one.

Freehold Ownership
A form of ownership whereby you own the property and assume responsibility for everything inside and outside the home.

Foreclosure
The legal process through which a lender takes control of a property due to the owner’s failure to make mortgage payments. Initiated after a series of missed payments, foreclosure ultimately results in the sale of the property, usually at a public auction, to recoup the lender’s losses.

Gross Debt Service
The percentage of your total monthly income that goes toward housing costs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. recommends your GDS remains at or below 39%. Check out CMHC’s Gross Debt Service calculator.

High-Ratio Mortgage
A high-ratio mortgage is a mortgage where the borrower has less than 20% of the home’s purchase price to make as the down payment. A high-ratio mortgage with a down payment between 5% and 19% of the purchase price requires mortgage loan insurance. In Canada, 5 percent is the minimum amount required for the down payment.

Home Appraisal
A qualified professional provides a market value assessment of a home based on several factors such as property size, location, age of the house, etc. This is used to satisfy mortgage requirements, giving mortgage financing companies confirmation of the mortgaged property’s value.

Home Buyers’ Amount
This is a $5,000 non-refundable federal income tax credit on a qualifying home, providing up to $750 in tax relief to assist first-time buyers with purchase-related costs.

Home Buyers’ Plan
federal program that allows first-time homebuyers to withdraw up to $35,000 interest-free from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to help purchase or build a qualifying home. The borrowed amount must be repaid within 15 years to avoid paying a penalty.

Home Inspection
The home inspection is performed to identify any existing or potential underlying problems in a home. This protects the buyer from risk and gives the buyer leverage when negotiating a reduced selling price.

Home Warranty
A warranty that protects the homeowners against future problems with the home for a determined period of time. New home builders are required to offer warranty protection to homebuyers, such as Tarion in Ontario. Home warranty requirements and providers differ by province. Home warranty programs also exist for resale homes.

Land Survey
A land survey will identify the property lines. This is not required to purchase a home, but it is recommended and may be required by the mortgage lender to clarify where the owner has jurisdiction over the property. This is important if issues arise between neighbours or the municipality, should the owner wish to make changes in the future, such as installing a pool, fence or other renovations involving property lines.

Land Transfer Tax

This is the tax payable by the buyer to the province in which the transaction occurred upon transferring land. The amount varies depending on the municipality, land size, and other factors. Most provinces have Land Transfer Tax, though it may have a slightly different name (such as property purchases tax). If you are a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible to receive a rebate, typically processed at the same time as the land registration, to offset the costs.

Low-Ball Offer
An offer on a home that is significantly below its market value or the asking price set by the seller. In a buyer’s market where supply exceeds demand, you might have more leeway to make a lower offer. When demand exceeds supply in a seller’s market, making a low-ball offer is generally not advisable as sellers have the upper hand.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
A database where real estate agents list properties available for sale or rent. It is a centralized platform allowing agents to share comprehensive information about listings, including photos, features, and prices. The MLS is often considered the most accurate and up-to-date source for real estate listings, and it provides the data for many consumer-facing real estate websites.

Mortgage Loan Insurance
If your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price, mortgage loan insurance is required. It protects the lender in case of payment default. Premiums are calculated as a percentage of the down payment, changing at the 5%, 10% and 15% thresholds.

Mortgage Pre-approval
A mortgage pre-approval helps buyers understand how much they can borrow before going through the mortgage application process. It allows you to make an immediate offer when you find a home since you know how much you’ll be approved for that lender and locks in the current interest rate for a period of time, insulating you against near-term rate increases.

Offer
An offer is a legal agreement to purchase a home. An offer can be conditional on several factors, the most common being financing and a home inspection. If the conditions are not met, the buyer can cancel their offer.

Porting
Transferring your mortgage (and the existing interest rate and terms) from one property to another.

Refinancing
Replacing an existing loan with a new one, typically to secure more favourable terms such as a lower interest rate. Homeowners often refinance their mortgage to reduce monthly payments, shorten the loan term, or access equity for home improvements or debt consolidation.

Seller’s Market
In a seller’s market, there are more buyers than there are homes for sale. With fewer homes on the market and more buyers, homes sell quickly in a seller’s market. Prices of homes are likely to increase, and there are more likely to be multiple offers on a home. Multiple offers give the seller negotiating power; conditional offers may be rejected.

Title Insurance
Title insurance is not mandatory in Canada, but it is highly recommended to protect both the buyer and the mortgage lender against losses related to the property title or ownership, such as unknown title defects, existing liens against the property’s title, encroachment issues, title fraud, errors in surveys and public records, and title-related issues that could prevent you from selling, leasing or obtaining a mortgage. Your lawyer can advise you on this.

Underwriting
The process by which financial institutions like banks and insurers assess the risk associated with a loan, insurance policy, or investment. Underwriters evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness, the property’s value, and other factors to determine loan eligibility and terms. This risk determines whether the loan should be approved, and if so, at what interest rate and down payment requirements.

Variable Rate Mortgage
A variable rate mortgage fluctuates with the prime rate. Your monthly payments remain the same, but the proportion of your payment going toward principal versus interest can change.

Virtual Deals
The home-buying process completed using technology in place of face-to-face contact. Some common technology tools include 360 home tours and video showings, video conference calls, e-documents, e-signatures, and e-transfers.

Mastering real estate terminology and understanding the nuances of real estate terminology in Canada are critical steps for anyone buying, selling, or investing in property. Whether you’re navigating mortgage rates set by the Bank of Canada or simply trying to interpret the language of a property listing, a solid grasp of the terms used can empower you to make smarter decisions and provide you with the tools you need to navigate the Canadian real estate landscape with confidence.

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January 2024 | Bank of Canada Rate Announcement

The Bank of Canada maintains its overnight rate at 5%, with a focus on restoring stability. 

Global growth slows, inflation eases, and our nation's economy faces challenges.  Despite near-zero growth, a gradual recovery is anticipated in mid-2024. 

Seeking a trusted mortgage broker to guide you through the financing maze? Connect with me, and I'll hook you up with an exceptional mortgage broker who understands your unique needs.

Unlock the door to your dream home effortlessly! 

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