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Here’s what BC realtors say you can expect from the housing market in 2019

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Photo: Paul Joseph/Flickr

Brighter days are ahead for BC’s housing market.

At least that’s what the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is saying in a new forecast.

The association predicts that resale activity will rebound in 2019 after finishing up this year with activity down 23 percent annually for a total of 80,000 transactions.

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BCREA anticipates next year 89,500 homes will change hands, representing a year-over-year increase of 12 percent.

That is above BC’s 10-year average of 84,800 sales per year.

“Despite the drag from mortgage policy, strong performance of the BC economy continues to be highly supportive of housing demand,” reads the BCREA 2018 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast.

Expanded stress testing, which the federal government introduced in January, has been a drag on the market as it has made it more difficult for some mortgage applicants to qualify.

“The erosion of affordability and loss of purchasing power induced by the stress test, as well as by moderately rising interest rates, are expected to temper housing demand through 2019,” BCREA notes in the report.

Pricewise, BCREA generally expects home values to increase in tandem with inflation. In Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley, the association forecasts growth of between 3 to 5 percent next year. Although BCREA considers the Vancouver market balanced, supply levels are still low enough to insulate it somewhat from the fallout of stricter mortgage rules.

There were 12,984 active listings in Greater Vancouver in October, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. It has been four years since there were as many listings on the market. “While slower housing demand is reminiscent of 2012 when maximum amortizations were reduced to 25 years, active listings are still a fraction of their level at the time,” says BCREA.

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New home? Prepare for the unexpected

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(NC) Buying a house, getting married or having your first baby are all major life events that are likely to affect your finances. But whether you’re in the midst of a major life event or not, it’s important to check in on your finances regularly to maintain good financial health.

Your financial health encompasses things like your spending, savings, borrowing and future financial plans. It also means dedicating a set amount of savings for unexpected future events. It can even include optional credit protection insurance, such as TD protection plans, to help cover your debt balances in case of death, a covered critical illness or total disability.

Even though it can be tough to think about the unexpected, life is unpredictable and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Find more information at td.com.

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(NC) Throughout life, you may have moments where you’ll make a large purchase or invest in a costly item, like your family home. But whether you’re in the market for your first new property or already have a mortgage, leaving this asset unprotected can be costly.   

Insuring your housing financial debt, as well as debt for other big-ticket items like a new boat for your lakefront cottage or keepsake jewelry like an engagement ring, is a smart investment in your well-being.

To help protect your debt balances like a mortgage, your bank may have optional credit protection insurance products.

“Your home is one of your biggest assets, yet illness can happen at any stage of life. Worrying about your mortgage when the focus should be on health isn’t a situation anyone would wish for,” explains Shirley Malloy, vice president at TD. “Fortunately, we offer mortgage protection to provide coverage for your outstanding balance should you face a covered critical health event.”

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Is your internet too slow? It’s probably not you

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(NC) We all know the aggravation of a school lesson that just won’t stop freezing or the family video call that looks more like a photo montage. And, as we adjust to the impact of COVID-19 on our day-to-day, that slow connection can have frustrating consequences.

Working from home and learning remotely, both need fast, stable internet, something not enough Canadians have yet. Even if you have fast devices in your home, if the infrastructure in your area is not optimal, your connection won’t be either.

Right now, cities have the infrastructure needed to ensure access. But rural and remote communities are hugely underserved, with fewer than half having high-speed internet, and fewer than a third of households on reservations have high-speed connections.

Fortunately, change is coming. The Universal Broadband Fund is backing projects across Canada right now to ensure the reliable, high-speed internet connections families need to work, study, access services online, and safely stay in touch with each other.

The fund existed before COVID, but as a response to the pandemic, its timetable has been moved up by four years to a target of 98 per cent of Canadians with high-speed internet access by 2026. With the faster pace, at least 90 per cent of us should be connected by the end of 2021.

The fund is focused on improvements in rural and remote communities across Canada to fix the disconnect between internet access for urban and rural households.  This means more remote work opportunities, better access to remote learning and safer access to healthcare, no matter where you live.

It’s not just for good connections at home, either. The improvements mean much better access to mobile networks on highways between remote communities. The result is better, safer navigation and access to emergency services for your family, even on the road in the middle of nowhere. Mobile projects will be focused on serving Indigenous communities and the roads leading to them.

The shape these improvements will take in your area will depend on where you live. Canada is huge, and its communities are hugely diverse, with diverse needs. Keep an eye out for local projects — they’re a small part of something much bigger.

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