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Canadian “landing pad” cities will continue to see strong demand for housing in 2019

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There are plenty of factors that should keep the Canadian housing market relatively cool in 2019. Stricter mortgage rules, rising interest rates, and high household debt levels are all expected to contribute towards some lacklustre activity numbers. But, according to one bank, population growth should keep the market balanced in the country’s largest cities.

“Rising rates are a clear headwind to housing markets,” writes the TD Economics team, in their quarterly economic forecast. “However, it is important to bear in mind a key fundamental: population growth has been very robust of late, and is set to remain healthy for the foreseeable future with an immigration target of 340k by 2020.”

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That’s especially true when it comes to the country’s economic hubs, which consistently see the highest levels of immigration and demand for housing.

“With many of these new Canadians destined for ‘landing pad’ cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, demand conditions should remain healthy,” writes the team. “All told, we see more balanced conditions prevailing that will prevent another run-up in sales and prices.”

And while some of the country’s smaller housing markets may not see the same population boom in 2019, the team writes that a relatively balanced picture is emerging in cities across the country.

“Performances are mixed, but aren’t waving any red flags; New Brunswick and Quebec continue to see healthy gains, while soft conditions prevail in the Prairies,” reads the forecast.

Of course, each market will have to grapple with the reality of rising interest rates. The Bank of Canada (BoC) hiked the overnight rate to 1.75 percent in October, a move that has caused the big banks to raise mortgage rates, and many buyers to rethink their decision to enter the market.

The BoC is forecasted to hike rates at least twice more in the new year, which should keep activity from returning to the heights seen in the spring of 2017.

“For the year ahead, we anticipate most major Canadian resale markets to remain in a holding pattern, caught between continued healthy income fundamentals and gradually rising interest rates,” concludes the forecast. “Price gains are expected to be muted in most parts of the country.”

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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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Mortgage pitfalls to avoid

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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.”

Mortgage protection can be purchased whether you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or already have a home financing solution. But what about protection options for credit card debt?

“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year, many Canadians are trying to plan for the unexpected to protect themselves and their finances,” says Malloy. “TD balance protection plus is an optional product designed to help you deal with your credit card payment obligations in the event of a covered event, such as loss of employment.”

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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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