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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Freddie Mac gives American home buyers a nice Christmas gift

Here’s news that would make Canada’s finance guardians wince and wag their fingers at us, and many would-be home buyers jump for joy: a 3 per cent down payment mortgage. The US government-backed mortgage agency known as Freddie Mac will offer the deal, called Home Possible Advantage, beginning in March, 2015. It says it is doing so to increase access to mortgage credit for low- and moderate-income earners and first-time buyers who don’t have a bigger down payment. As anyone who has gone through it knows, saving a sufficient down payment in an expensive housing market like Toronto or New York is one of the biggest obstacles to buying a ... Read More »

Peer-to-peer lending slow to take off in Canada

In Britain, they are predicting that the practice will “revolutionise” the mortgage industry. In Australia, where it is still new, they’re talking about “upsetting the applecart.” In the US, where it is well established, they make it sound as wholesome as mom and apple pie: “We help lenders make loans they feel good about.” And in Canada, where we take our finances very seriously, it will be “displacing traditional financial intermediaries.” “It” is peer-to-peer, or P2P, lending. Despite the talk of revolutionising the mortgage industry, it is still very small, so small that it doesn’t even show up in a pie chart representing the Canadian mortgage market by share of ... Read More »

New record price for low-rise homes in November

For the first time this year, sales of new low-rise homes were down in the GTA in November. Sales fell 11 per cent compared to one year ago; 1,117 new detached, semi-detached and town homes were sold, RealNet Canada reports. Total sales for the year so far, however, are up 45 per cent compared to last year. In the first eleven months of the year, 16,756 new low-rise homes were sold, putting sales in 2014 solidly in line with the ten-year average (16,692). In the high-rise category, there are only positive numbers. November sales of new condos came in at 2,215, up 25 per cent over last year, and 11 ... Read More »

Construction industry needs BIM to spark innovation

Canada has a serious image problem. While the United States is known around the world for being aggressive and proud, and Japan for being avant-garde, Canada is seen as timid, failing to live up to its potential. The country’s industry, particularly its construction industry, is not sufficiently innovative and cutting-edge. Canada is ranked just twenty-sixth of 144 countries for its ability to innovate (World Economic Forum) and twenty-seventh in R&D spending by companies. Pierre Boucher, the newly appointed first president of Canadian Construction Innovations (CCInnovations) believes that we must, and can, change that. It is why CCInnovations was created in 2013. The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) released its own fairly ... Read More »

Litigation over fraud, condo status certificate, took seventeen years

People who live in condominiums get to enjoy whatever amenities the community provides—fitness facilities, barbeque pits, rooftop gardens, party rooms—as well as what are called the “common elements.” These are the areas owned and shared by all the residents, such as lobbies, hallways, gardens, and parking garages: everything, in short, except the interiors of the individual units. Naturally there are regulations about what residents can and cannot do in the common elements. You have to pick up after your pet dog, for instance, after his evening walkie on the front lawn, or you will hear about it from the condo board or management. You can’t throw a party in the ... Read More »

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