Archive for the ‘Buying a Home’ Category

5 Government Programs that help Home Buyers in Ontario

February 4, 2016 Leave a comment

ontario programs home buyers

There are a number of programs available from both the provincial and the federal government, which provide help for home buyers in Ontario. Each of these can help you to save money, either directly, or when you file your tax return. Here are 5 helpful programs which can save you money:


Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit

This is a tax credit that helps low to moderate income individuals with property taxes and the sales tax on energy expenses. The credit is part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit and refunded on your tax return.


Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC)

This is a tax credit for first time buyers which reimburses a portion of closing costs. The credit is refunded on your tax return.  The max is $750.


Ontario Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit

ontario healthy homes credit

This tax credit benefits seniors and can help them with the renovation costs to improve safety and accessibility in the home. Seniors are eligible for up to 15% back when they spend a max of 10,000 on home renovations.  Amounts are refunded on your tax return.


Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

First time home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 from their RSP’s tax free to use towards down payment and closing costs when buying a home.


GST/HST New Residential Rental Property Rebate

This rebate is for purchasers of a newly constructed home for use as a rental property and GST/HST was payable at closing. As a landlord, you are eligible to receive most of it back by filling out an application and mailing it in.

We hope you find these programs useful. With thanks to Sherry Love, Home Financing Advisor at Scotiabank Mississauga, for her expert input. You can reach Sherry at (416) 908-8563.

Got questions about home financing? You can equip yourself with all the latest money saving tips, by clicking here. Get all the answers to help you with the purchase of your next home.


Bromsgrove Rd. Townhouse Update 2013

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

A look back at 2013 sales activity on Bromsgrove Rd., Clarkson, Mississauga:

Bromsgrove Rd townhouses

Bromsgrove Rd townhouses

During 2013, fifty-three condominium townhouses changed hands on Bromsgrove Rd., located in the south Mississauga area known as Clarkson.This area features a number of complexes built during the 1970’s, which remain popular to this day due to their affordability, and to their good location near Clarkson Collegiate, the QEW highway, and the Clarkson GO Train station.

Real estate board statistics show a 2013 overall price increase of 11% per cent for the townhouses of Bromsgrove Rd., which is 2% percentage points higher than the board averages for all properties. Check out my full review at where we look at the individual complexes along Bromsgrove Rd., and compare prices, days on the market, and much more.

Once again, check my main site for a full year end review of Bromsgrove Rd. townhouses – their prices and sales.

Eden Park Condos – Mississauga

June 11, 2013 2 comments

Eden Park Condos are a fairly recent addition to the Square One area of Mississauga.  Located  at 3504 Hurontario Street, this luxury high rise condominium was built by Amacon Corporation of Vancouver, B.C. Eden Park was completed in 2006, and stands 33 storeys tall.  It’s a popular project due to its high end finishes, and its excellent location for transit, schools, and shopping.

Eden Park condo Mississauga

Eden Park condo Mississauga

Eden Park features a mix of 1,  2, and 3 bedroom suites, and a highlight of the amenities is the 40 foot indoor swimming pool.

For a comprehensive look at what that this wonderful condo has to offer, with additional information on amenities, selling and rental prices, walking score and much more, check out the feature article – Eden Park Condos – at my main site.

Mississauga Condos: Evaluating the Lifestyle at Square One

June 11, 2012 1 comment
Onyx - Square One Condo

Onyx – Square One Condo

Mississauga condos will be the topic of conversation today, but in a general sense. The newspapers have written much regarding the shift to condo living in Canada, and indeed, condominiums are the fastest growing type of new construction in the Greater Toronto Area, having been embraced by a wide segment of the buying public. In recent years even some of the larger suburbs such as Mississauga have shown a shift to high rise condo living. Today, especially in the Square One area,  there is an astounding range of newly built towers, with thousands of units sold or rented to a seemingly unending supply of new customers. Condominiums offer a great lifestyle, but also come with some restrictions that are worth considering before making a decision to move. Here are some of the pros and cons.


  • Maintenance Free Lifestyle: If you are not handy with house repairs, condos offer a near maintenance free lifestyle. Many of the major components of a house, such as the furnace, the roof, grounds keeping, snow removal, etc., are all taken care of for you in a condo.
  • Security: most better condos have a concierge or security at the front door, with cameras usually providing extra security throughout the complex. When you travel, simply close and lock your unit door, and no one will know that you are away.
  • Amenities: most condos contain amenities that would be very difficult and expensive to duplicate at a private, freehold residence. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym, pilates rooms, squash, racquetball and tennis courts are often found, and some complexes boast home theatre rooms, and even bowling alleys, and rock climbing walls.
  • Views: many condos today are 30, 40, 50 storeys and higher, and many units have incredible views which can’t be duplicated from a 2 storey residence.
  • Lifestyle: there is no doubt that many of today’s condos offer a lifestyle that is truly of the ‘rich and famous’.
  • Affordability: many condos are available at a price which first time buyers can afford. Today’s prices for freehold properties are out of reach for many buyers.

  • Space: most condos have a smaller square footage than the average house, so if you have a lot of belongings, this can be a consideration. Twenty years ago, the average 2 bedroom unit was about 1000 square feet, and today this is closer to 750 square feet.
  • Limited Locker Storage: although the space issue is somewhat mitigated in that many condos also include a storage locker, usually these are only big enough for items such as bicycles.
  • Maintenance Fees: condominiums have a monthly maintenance fee, which is typically used to pay for ongoing maintenance such as landscaping or snow removal, building insurance, plus a portion which contributes to a long term savings fund (the ‘reserve fund’), which is used for future repairs and updates to the property. Some, but not all maintenance fees include the various utilities (heat, hydro, and water).
  • Restrictions on Renovations: almost every condo will allow you to make cosmetic changes to the inside of your unit, but special permission is often required for changes which can impact your neighbours, such as adding hardwood floors, and most condo corporations will not allow you to make changes to the exterior of your unit, or any work which would move the walls (load-bearing structures).
  • Restrictions on pets: some condos allow pets, some allow pets under a certain weight, and some do not allow them at all.
  • Gardens and Barbecues: if you like to garden, or you like to barbecue: some condos will allow you to have a small barbecue on your balcony, but many won’t. Some of the newer projects have barbecue areas which you can use – but these are located in the common areas of the building, and not in your own private backyard. As for gardening, you can have window boxes with some flowers and plants, but if gardening is your passion, then condos may not be a good fit for you.

So there you have it : condos offer a great lifestyle, with certain restrictions. Perhaps the biggest concentration of condos in Mississauga is in the Square One area, surrounding Ontario’s largest shopping mall. I have created a master list and summary of all the Square One condos here:

Check it out to find a comprehensive review of the Mississauga condo scene, with further  links providing detailed information on the individual Square One properties.

Once again, feel free to check out my detailed information on Mississauga Condos Square One

House Prices – Why Most ‘Experts’ Have it Wrong

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

A steady stream of experts in the mainstream media have been predicting a fall in Canadian real estate prices. How can prices be so high? And how can they keep on rising? Surely we are due for a correction!

Some nationally known authors such as Garth Turner have been preaching doom and gloom for over 10 years now, Turner for so long that he has actually missed the entire bull market….and yet he still gets press attention, even after being dead wrong for so many years..

Most of these so-called experts make a fundamental mistake when examining the Canadian real estate market – they confuse Cause and Effect. The high prices in Toronto and Vancouver, you see, are not the Cause of the market – they are the Effect.

So when they decry high prices in Canada, they are missing the point..they are attacking the Effect of the market, not the Cause – a fundamental mistake.

The causes of the bull market we have enjoyed in Canada for the last 15 years or so are three fold:

1.) low interest rates

As long as interest rates remain low, the market will continue

2.) a decent economy

As long as the Canadian economy remains decent, and there are jobs being created, the market will continue

3.) continued immigration into Canada

Here I am talking about the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), my area of expertise, although the same rule applies for any Canadian cities where there are large numbers of people moving into the area.

As long as government policy facilitates continued immigration into Canada’s large cities, the market in those cities will continue.

If we look at these three Causes – the Causes of the real estate boom in Canada, there is still room for optimism. Our Federal Government is loath to increase interest rates, as it boosts the Canadian dollar too high, killing our manufacturing industry vis a vis the United States. The U.S., with its current set of problems, has indicated that it will retain low rates for at least the next two years, so the outlook for Canada’s rates remains low for the foreseeable future.

As for a decent economy, the Canadian economy actually seems to be improving; everywhere I look these days in my home town of Mississauga, or anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area, there are ‘help wanted’ or ‘now hiring’ signs….so the economy, in spite of some global macro issues, seems to be on the right track.

And finally, unless there is a change in government policy, Canada continues to welcome new immigrants from all across the globe. All these folks (reportedly 100,000 per year moving into the Toronto area) need somewhere to live, and many arrive in Canada with money to buy property. God bless ’em..

So there is my take on the Canadian real estate market. Sure, there are issues of absolute affordability, but we in the GTA have only to look at Vancouver to see that much greater prices are indeed possible, as long as the three causes of the market remain in place. If any of these change – is rates start rising, if the economy goes in the tank, or if immigration dries up – then the market will slow. Until then, the future is bright. Whenever you read a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in the mainstream media saying that the market will fall because prices are ‘too high’, know that they are mixing up cause and effect; they are addressing the effect of the market, not the cause.

Bank of Canada Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Mark Carney and the Board of Governors announced today that they are leaving  Canada’s key monetary policy rate unchanged at 1.0%. Correspondingly there will be no change to Canadian Prime rates at the current time.


The Band of Canada indicated that both the Canadian and global economic recoveries have proceeded largely as expected, however there are still risks: The Canadian recovery faces risks if the Canadian dollar continues its high flying ways (a strong currency makes it difficult for our exporters to do business).

The U.S. recovery faces challenges due to tapped-out  consumers in that country.  High debt levels are constraining spending.The global expansion faces risks from so- called “peripheral” economies – those seeking continued support via various bailout programs.

Carney noted that, although commodity prices have come off their highs recently, the Bank expects them to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future.

One new factor is the effect of  the March disasters in Japan, which have caused temporary supply chain disruptions throughout developed economies.

Canadian growth is expected to soften slightly in the 2nd quarter of 2011, with a rebound in the second half of the year.Total CPI inflation is running at a hefty 3%+, but is expected to moderate due to currency effects.

Carney gave no real clues as to when to expect rates to begin increasing, but they are coming – the Bank indicated that some of the considerable monetary stimulus currently in place will be eventually withdrawn.

It now looks like the expected July rate hike is off the table and and any interest rate increase will be pushed out further into the fall.  Mr. Carney will probably want to get at least a preliminary look at how 3rd quarter GDP unfolds before making any decision to hike rates.


With no change to prime rates today, or in the foreseeable future, Canadians should be tempted to resume spending, which could translate into continued use of credit by consumers. With mortgage rates continuing at historic lows, some bump to the housing sector is expected.  This could lead to increased mortgage (and house-buying) activity.The beat goes on……

Canadian Mortgage Rules Are Changing

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Finance Minister, announced  changes to mortgage lending rules today which will have an effect on the Canadian real estate market. 

In announcing the changes, Mr. Flaherty lauded Canada’s well-regulated housing industry, and noted that the real estate market has been an important strength in the Canadian economy. Canada’s relatively conservative banking rules have allowed the country to avoid the mistakes of other nations and have helped protect Canadians from the worst of the recent global recession….
There are three basic changes under the new rules, which take effect on March 18, 2011:

1.)  the maximum amortization period for new government-backed insured mortgages will be reduced from 35 to 30 years.

2.) the maximum amount Canadians can borrow to refinance their mortgages will be lowered to 85% per cent from the current 90% per cent.

3.) The government will withdraw its insurance backing on lines of credit secured on homes, such as home equity lines of credit. (not in force until April 18, 2011)

These changes will take effect on March 18, 2011. Overall this is not bad compared to what had been speculated. The one which will have the greatest effect is the lower amortization period, as it reduces borrowing power by the purchaser.

If you are a buyer, or are considering refinancing your home, it is probably a good idea to speak to your mortgage professional asap.

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