As far as Google search trends go these days, ‘What causes inflation?’ has got to be up there somewhere not too far from ‘Elon Musk children’. While Canada’s inflation scenario shares a lot of similarities to our neighbors down south, it’s important noting that there are some key differences as well.

A recent article on the Financial Post argues that since the Loonie hasn’t risen with oil prices as it normally does, this has complicated the Bank of Canada’s fight against inflation. The result is the central bank’s current policy rate of 2.5%, the highest its been since 2008. In his interview with the Post, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says: “When the price of oil in U.S. dollars goes up, the Canadian dollar tends to appreciate. What does that do? One, it dampens the inflationary shock for households at the gas pump, because it means the price in Canadian dollars doesn’t go up as much because the Canadian dollar absorbs some of that. The other thing it does is that it spreads the benefits to Canada of a higher oil price because we’re an oil exporter. It spreads it more across the economy.”

The result is that a low dollar is compounding Canada’s inflation problem and some feel that this may force the BOC’s hand more than what’s happening in the US. While global factors like the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply issues are drivers of inflation, “domestic price pressures from excess demand are becoming more prominent” says the Bank of Canada. BOC goes on to say “surveys indicate more consumers and businesses are expecting inflation to be higher for longer, raising the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched in price- and wage-setting. If that occurs, the economic cost of restoring price stability will be higher.”

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Thinking of renovating your home? In addition to improving the home’s value, a home renovation can increase your comfort and enjoyment of your home as well as help increase the efficiency of the home (ex. Insulate walls in basement to help with temperature control or replacing outdated lightbulbs with more energy-efficient options.

Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure – home renovations can add up. Fortunately, the federal and provincial governments offer Canadians with tax rebates for some qualified home renovations. Here’s a few that we’d like to highlight:

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

This tax credit helps offset the cost of making homes more accessible for people with disabilities as well as the elderly. An example of this might be adding a wheelchair ramp. According to the website, “A qualifying individual may have only one eligible dwelling at any time” and “the total eligible expenses for all such eligible dwellings of the qualifying individual cannot be more than $10,000.” You can read more about the Home Accessibility Tax Credit here.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit

This credit will be available to families who want to renovate their homes to add extra accommodation for either a senior or disabled relative to live with them. Due to factors such as tighter housing supply, high prices and inflation overall, multigenerational housing has more appeal among Canadians than in previous years. This new tax credit is expected to be available starting in 2023, with more details on how to apply coming soon. But if you’d like to get a sneak peak, H&R Block talks about it on their blog here.

Tax credits aren’t always straightforward, so if you plan on taking advantage of a federal or provincial tax credit, consult with a professional to make sure you’re covering all the bases.

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Pets rank high among the many factors new home buyers need to take into consideration when considering purchasing a new property. If you own a pet or are a prospective pet parent (premature congratulations are in order), it’s important to find answers to some key questions like:

  • What types of pet restrictions are in place?
  • What type of rules does the strata have?
  • Is the space a good fit for my pet? Is there enough space to play inside?
  • Is this a pet-friendly neighborhood?

Taking the time to research the answers to these questions before committing on a big purchase will help avoid future headaches. Having a trusted realtor walk you through these bylaws is an excellent way to ensure that you and your furry friend(s) are both welcomed and appreciated in the new home. It’s common practice for strata corporations to limit the number or type of pets owners are allowed. Other stratas prohibit pets altogether, although this type of bylaw doesn’t apply to certified guide dogs and service dogs. Examples of such bylaws might look something like:

  • ban pets altogether
  • limit the number of pets that can be kept
  • provide restrictions on keeping pets, such as leashing them in common areas
  • limit the kind of pets that can be kept, such as no dogs, or no dogs over 20 kilograms
  • require pets to be registered with the strata council

The main point to keep in mind: make sure pet bylaws are suitable for your needs.

What about when strata corporations start enforcing new pet bylaws? You might be interested in reading this article

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Q: Should I buy or sell first?

Theo: This is a crucial decision and depends on a few factors like your financing situation, what type of home you’re selling or buying and the current market conditions. Upcoming legislature mandating a ‘cooling off’ period for all sales will greatly impact this process and we predict it will be very risky to buy first going forward. We recommend to call us and discuss your specific circumstances as an experienced and trustworthy agent is your best source to navigate the volatile Lower Mainland market.

Q: What opportunities do you see in this market?

Brad: Improved inventory and less frenzied buying makes this a better market to consider upsizing or downsizing. Rapidly rising mortgage rates will be on everyone’s minds and should start to show their effect by this summer. This could be great news for buyers with more cash or larger down payments.

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With a crazy 2021 in the books, we turn our attention to what might be ahead this year. Last year’s market seemed propelled by a rush to use locked in low interest rates, buyers housing needs changed by working remotely and record low inventory.

Looking ahead to 2022, we don’t believe home prices are a straight ride to the moon or that supply/demand will never balance and I’m pretty sure the laws or economics and history is on our side. While we always believe that long-term real estate is a fantastic investment, however it has been much more profitable when timed correctly. Our view is the market will balance quicker than most expect, perhaps even by mid-spring. The January Fraser Valley real estate board stats might be an early glimpse of this trend. If you’re planning to sell this year, we suggest not delaying strike while the iron is hot. If you’ve been looking to buy, just hang in there - we could see a lot more inventory shortly. A more balanced market is also easier to do a buy/sell transition so we would be very happy to see that. The market has also behaved very differently depending on geographic area and product type, so don’t hesitate to reach out and discuss your individual circumstances.

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According to the CREA (The Canadian Real Estate Association), looming interest rate increases and continued housing supply shortages are predicted to push home prices to rise in 2022. Rise by how much? Experts predict a rise of more than 9% throughout Canada, with provinces like BC potentially seeing even greater numbers due to an increased limited housing supply and high demand fueled by Canada’s ambitious immigration policy. The new Immigration Levels Plan aims to welcome 411,000 immigrants in 2022, and an additional 421,000 in 2023. Vancouver is one of Canada’s main beneficiaries of immigration, hence a strong demand for housing in the lower mainland.

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Are you shopping for a mortgage these days? If so, you’ve likely already started thinking about one of the biggest questions you’ll struggle with as a homebuyer: do I go with a fixed or variable mortgage rate? While it might be tempting to go with the lowest rate out there, for the last 5 years most Canadians have passed on the sprinkles and opted for the plain vanilla 5-year fixed plan instead. This year has been different, though, with over 51% of Canadians choosing variable rates over fixed, hedging their bets on not seeing a Bank of Canada interest rate hike until end of 2022.

In response to Scotiabank Economist Derek Holt predicting the Bank of Canada will need to hike rates as many as eight times by the end of 2023, bringing the benchmark rate to 2.25 per cent, some think that going with a variable rate at this point is rolling the dice.

Obviously, the question of which one to choose is a complicated one (almost as taxing as choosing between ice-cream flavors), with each homebuyer’s situation and circumstances being unique to them. If you’re thinking of selling or switching to a new property within the term of your mortgage, then maybe a variable rate mortgage makes more sense (the penalty for breaking your mortgage is generally greater with fixed, with variable mortgage rates often requiring you to pay only three months’ worth of interest to get out of your contract). On the other hand, if you’re risk averse and like to know exactly what you’re getting, then fixed is a safe bet choice.

As with most choices in life, there are pros and cons to choosing fixed or variable. However, many agree that one of the riskiest times to choose a variable rate is immediately before an anticipated tightening cycle of monetary policy, simply because there are more unknowns floating around.

The main point to keep in mind: take the time to carefully assess your own personal situation and goals, learn more about what’s happening in the market now and what experts say might happen in the near future, and then consider each option carefully based on your unique circumstances.

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It’s a fact, AI is integrating into our daily lives more than ever. There are many proponents of artificial intelligence, as AI helps augment the work we do and improves the efficiency of our personal life. Opening your phone with face ID, using Grammarly to spell check emails, smart home devices and yes, Netflix, are all powered by AI to deliver a tailored, custom experience. When used correctly, AI frees up our time to focus more on things that computers don’t do well, like creativity and empathy-related exercises. So all pluses, right?

Artificial Intelligence was first featured in “Metropolis” in 1927

It’s no wonder then that AI has made its way into the real estate sector. By means of algorithms, machine learning and AI technologies, artificial intelligence can help to ensure better investment decisions based on hard data. At least that’s the dream. In comes Zillow (https://www.zillow.com/), an American online real estate marketplace company founded in 2006, that launched a service that uses artificial intelligence to estimate the value of homes. In February 2021, Zillow announced a new “Zestimate” option that was essentially a cash offer from the company to purchase property, providing clients the convenience of selling their property in just a few clicks, which would ultimately minimize interactions with others especially during the height of the pandemic. To accomplish this, Zillow compiled algorithms with machine learning, plus lots of data to look at current/past/future housing prices in an effort to accurately predict the value of a home. Fast-forward 8 months later and Zillow is now shutting down that part of the business.

In a statement from Zillow, CEO Rich Barton says: “We’ve determined the unpredictability in forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated and continuing to scale Zillow Offers would result in too much earnings and balance-sheet volatility.” In other words, getting the algorithm right proved more difficult than they had anticipated.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the end for AI in the real estate sector. There are still countless ways that AI is being used and no doubt this will continue to become more common place moving forward. But predicting house prices now or in the future isn’t something that AI can easily tackle. There are countless unquantifiable aspects of putting a price tag on a home, and these factors vary from person to person, neighborhood to neighborhood, which make it immensely challenging for AI to get right.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.