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The government just announced...
 
The government will lend the buyer funds equal to the down payment up to $37,500, or 5% of the purchase price. The loan will be secured by a second mortgage with no payments over the first 5 years. The amortization period for the second mortgage will be 25 years, and payments will start in year 6. Buyers must be preapproved for an insured high ratio first mortgage and use the property as their principal residence. 
 
Applications do not start until Jan 16, 2017 and loans advanced from Feb 15, 2017 to March 31, 2020. The Buyer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least 5 years, resided in BC for at least 12 months, make less than $150,000 (as a family) and must be pre-approved for the first mortgage before applying.
 
Stay tuned for more details as they arise.
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Canada’s Housing Market Outlook for 2017

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HIGH DEMAND AND LOW SUPPLY CONTINUED TO CHARACTERIZE VANCOUVER’S AND TORONTO’S HOUSING MARKETS THROUGHOUT 2016 AS COMPETITION FROM BUYERS FOR LIMITED INVENTORY OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES PUSHED PRICES HIGHER.

The average residential sale price increased 13 per cent in Greater Vancouver to approximately $1,020,300 and rose 17 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to an estimated $725,857. Although demand remains high in both urban centres, limited inventory in the freehold market, the new 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax in Vancouver and the recent tightening of mortgage rules by the federal government are expected to soften market activity in the short term. In 2017, RE/MAX estimates average residential sale price will increase by two and eight per cent in Greater Vancouver and the GTA respectively.

Regional markets in close proximity to Canada’s highest-price cities continued to experience steady interest from local move-up buyers and buyers from these cities (“move-over” buyers) who are looking to find a balance between affordability and square footage. This year there were considerable year-over-year average price increases in Barrie (16 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (20 per cent), the Fraser Valley (20 per cent) and Kelowna (14 per cent).

Regulation changes at both the provincial and federal level towards the end of 2016 are already starting to impact activity in certain markets. The 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax is expected to slow this trend somewhat, as price appreciation declines in Vancouver have resulted in some potential sellers staying in the Lower Mainland. The ripple effect of the foreign-buyer tax can also be felt in the upper end of the GTA and Montreal markets as some foreign investors are expected to look for properties in these regions rather than Vancouver. Measures taken by the federal government to tighten mortgage insurance criteria for new home buyers is expected to temper local rst-time buyer activity across the country in the short term, but is not expected to have a long-term impact in most regions.

Home ownership remains a priority for Canadians, with 53 per cent of respondents in a recent RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger expressing intent to purchase a home and 47 per cent expressing intent to do so in the next five to 10 years. Nearly one in three (30 per cent) Canadians plan to use the purchase of a home as an investment strategy to help fund their retirement, and 42 per cent of millennial respondents view it as a retirement funding strategy. A proportion of Canadians would also consider unconventional home financing options to realize their dream of ownership such as: purchasing a home with a family member (33 per cent); renting a room on a vacation rental site like Airbnb (15 per cent); renting out a room in their home (22 per cent); or even purchasing a home with a roommate (9 per cent).

The housing markets in Calgary and Edmonton remained relatively stable, with moderate declines in the number of sales and average residential sale price as a result of the prolonged recovery of the oil sector over the past two years. The average residential sale price in Edmonton decreased slightly, by two per cent year-over-year in 2016, while Calgary’s average residential sale price decreased by four per cent. Buyer activity is expected to pick up slightly in the second half of 2017 if employment opportunities in the oil sector continue to gradually come back to the province.

High inventory continues to be a factor in many regions including Regina, Montreal, Saint John and St. John’s, offering a good selection of product to first-time and move-up buyers in these cities. Local infrastructure projects and initiatives, such as preparations for Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations in 2017, are anticipated to provide a boost to these economies and their real estate markets next year.

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Canada is an increase of two per cent as Canadians continue to see home ownership as an important milestone as well as a good investment.

 
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PROTECT YOURSELF: STRATA WATER DEDUCTIBLE REVIEW REMINDER
Strata FloodThe majority of strata Annual General Meetings are coming up over the next few months presenting an ideal opportunity for strata lot owners to verify that their home owner insurance policy water deductible coverage matches that of the strata corporation's master building policy and if not advise their insurance broker immediately. 

The BC Strata Property Act requires that any AGM Notice includes a copy of the strata corporation's insurance policy summary. This summary page will include a notation on what the building’s current water deductible amount is.Depending on any resultant water damage claims filed in the past policy year and the extent of damage, this deductible amount can increase to a staggering amount from the previous year. It is not uncommon for strata's today to have a deductible in the $50,000 to $100,000 range from the days of when they were $5,000 to $25,000.  

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A STRATA OWNER?
Deductible assessment coverage is an additional coverage that has become increasingly important in light of the increasing cost and frequency of resultant water damage claims. For example, if the building is damaged due to a water leak, the strata corporation would generally file a water damage claim with its own insurance company.
Section 158 of the Strata Property Act states that the insurance deductible in respect of a claim is a common expense, but the strata corporation may sue an owner in order to recover the deductible portion of an insurance claim if the owner is responsible for the loss or damage that gave rise to the claim. Two landmark BC court decisions in 2007 determined that the strata corporation need not prove negligence in order to determine owners' responsibility. A strata corporation may sue a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner was not negligent and merely caused or brought about the events that resulted in the damage.

To remove ambiguity and potentially save on future legal expenses, some strata corporations have passed bylaws that clarify that owners are strictly liable for damage to common property that originates in their units.

CONCLUSION
It is therefore important that all strata owners review the building policy and advise their insurance broker of the building deductible amounts to ensure their unit policy includes sufficient coverage for all building deductibles including water damage. This information is included in the insurance summary report within the NOTICE of Annual General Meeting that strata corporations are required to provide strata lot owners prior to the Annual General Meeting. Some strata buildings due to frequent or a single extensive resultant water damage claim are now facing water damage deductibles of $50,000 to $100,000.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
Additional coverage riders available to strata unit owners that are well worth considering are:
  • Increased unit improvements and betterments coverage insures upgrades to the unit a
  • Loss assessment coverage typically pays the owner's share to cover major property and liability losses on common property that may exceed the strata corporation's policy limits.
  • Request your insurance broker to advise you of any other additional riders that you should consider.
SOURCE: Insurance Brokers Association of BC
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