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Overbuilding in Vancouver? New report says long-term home construction needs to speed up

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Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

A surge in the number of new condos scheduled for completion this year has some experts ringing alarm bells as it would bring more supply to a market that’s already cooling.

Meantime, a building boom continues, as developers are slated to begin selling units at 73 projects for total of 13,975 homes across the Greater Vancouver Area alone this year, according to research by MLA Advisory.

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But a new study might ease some concerns of overbuilding. In a 2019 outlook, a Vancouver-based real estate brokerage suggests that an elevated level of home construction is actually needed over the next decades in order to meet demand for housing in the Lower Mainland.

Rennie estimates homebuilders would need to construct close to half a million units between 2017 and 2041 to keep up with an influx of 1.1 million new residents over that same period.

There is projected demand for an average of 20,500 new homes each year through 2041. In the past two decades, construction has averaged 16,400 units.

To gauge demand, Rennie examined a variety of factors including birth rates and mortality rates, migration levels, and demolitions, drawing from several sources including Statistics Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, BC Vital Statistics, and Metro Vancouver.

“Part of the explanation for future housing demand growing more rapidly than what has been observed historically relates to the pattern of growth in the region’s younger generations, combined with the changing pattern of household maintainer rates for these younger residents,” writes the Rennie team in the report.

The maintainer rate represents the share of people in a specific age group who claim primary responsibility for their household’s finances, as per Statistics Canada census data.

“Another part relates to the long (and increasing) life expectancies of the older generations and the associated high household maintainer rates in these later stages of the lifecycle,” the report continues.

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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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