Archive for February, 2010

This is a very important decision that basically makes all basement bedrooms in the City of St Thomas illegal.  Unless these sleeping accomodations meet the criteria found in the Ontario Building Code and the Fire Code they can not be designated as bedrooms. This decision will affect all Real Estate currently listed for sale that designates that a room in the basement can be used as a bedroom. I’ve been working with the City to ensure that the public, and especially Realtors, know about the problems they will encounter if the current method of designating basement rooms as bedrooms continues past the dates shown in this document.




The purpose of By-law No. 20-2010 is to amend City of St. Thomas Zoning By-law 50-88 to remove Subsection 4.2.10 of the General Provisions prohibiting sleeping accommodations below grade.

The effect of By-law 20-2010 will be to remove zoning restrictions to sleeping accommodations below grade in all Residential Zones throughout the City. Persons wishing to have sleeping accommodations below grade in their residence will be subject to meeting the regulations of the Ontario Building Code and the Fire Code.

that the Council of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas passed By-law No. 20-2010 on the 16th day of February, 2010, pursuant to Section 34(18) of the Planning Act, R.S.O., 1990, as amended. AND TAKE NOTICE

Only individuals, corporations and public bodies may appeal a by-law to the Ontario Municipal Board. A notice of appeal may not be filed by an unincorporated association or group. However, a notice of appeal may be filed in the name of an individual who is a member of the associated or group on its behalf.

No person or public body shall be added as a party to the hearing of the appeal unless, before the by-law was passed, the person or public body made oral submissions at a public meeting or written submission to the council or, in the opinion of the Ontario Municipal Board, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party.

The complete By-law is available for inspection daily, from Monday to Friday, between 9:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. at the Planning Office, City Hall Annex, 9 Mondamin Street, St. Thomas.

that any person or public body who makes appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board with respect to the By-law must file with the Clerk of the Corporation of the City of St. Thomas, not later than the 12th day of March, 2010, a notice of appeal setting out the reasons for the appeal. Further, the notice of appeal must be accompanied by the fee required by the Ontario Municipal Board. DATED

Mr. Patrick Keenan

Director, Planning

9 Mondamin Street St. Thomas, Ontario, N5P 2T9

at the City of St. Thomas, this 20th day of February 2010.


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OTTAWA—Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is tightening mortgage rules to crack down on speculators and discourage homeowners from taking on too much debt.

He is responding to growing concerns that Canada’s housing market is overheating, although he stresses that there is no bubble in Canada’s real-estate market — yet. There’s no compelling evidence of a housing bubble, but we’re taking proactive, prudent, measured and cautious steps today to help prevent a housing bubble,” Flaherty said Tuesday.

The finance minister says all borrowers will need to meet stiffer criteria to take out mortgages. In order to qualify for an insured mortgage, borrowers will have to meet the standards for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage — up from the current standard of three years. He’s also raising the down payment that borrowers must pay for speculative investments. If prospective home buyers want to purchase a property where they will not be living, they will have to come up with a 20 per cent down payment, Flaherty said. We’re not aiming here at investment properties” such as rental units, he said. “What we’re getting at is the speculation in multiple-condo markets, in particular.” And he’s imposing tighter restrictions on how much money people can borrow against their houses. Instead of being able to borrow 95 per cent of the value of their property, the limit will now be 90 per cent.

“This will discourage the kind of mortgage refinancing that can create unsustainable debt levels as interest rates go up,” Flaherty said. “We are encouraging people to build equity over time, using home ownership as an effective way to save, rather than a vehicle for quick cash.”

The new rules are expected to come into force on April 19

Courtesy of  TD

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 In certain provinces installing a smoke alarm on every level of your dwelling is law. It’s no longer sufficient to have one in the bedroom hallway and be done with it.
Few of us realize how easily — and how quickly — fire can destroy our homes and take the lives of those we love. Fortunately, a product is available that can help protect us against fire… the smoke alarm. In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide an early warning signal to your household.

What you need to know:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.
• Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
• Simply replace the batteries at least once a year. Pick a holiday or your birthday and replace the batteries each year on that day. Some smoke alarms now on the market come with a ten-year battery. These alarms are designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement. If your smoke alarm starts making a “chirping” noise, replace the batteries and reset it.
• Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.
• Some alarms last about eight-to-ten years, after which it should be replaced. Like most electrical devices, smoke alarms wear out. You may want to write the purchase date with a marker on the inside of your unit. That way, you’ll know when to replace it. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.
• Install at least one smoke alarm on each floor of the house or residence and outside all sleeping areas. Some fire safety advocates recommend installing smoke alarms inside each sleeping area if sleeping with the door closed.

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LONDON – February 1, 2010

Evidence that market is stabilizing

In January 2010, 472 homes exchanged hands in the jurisdiction of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS (LSTAR). “Given that the ten-year average for January home sales is 450, I’d have to say that last month’s sales were right in line with those of previous Januarys,” observes LSTAR President Richard Thyssen. “And that’s a high average, given peak years in 2006 and 2007. While it’s still early days, better numbers in October, November and December 2009 and now in January 2010 may indicate that the market is beginning to stabilize.”

This month’s sales include 377 detached homes (up 53.9 % from January 2009) and 95 condos (up 58.3 % from January 2009). “Although these percentage increases seem large, you have to remember that January 2009 was down 35% from January 2008,” explains Thyssen. “Last January’s figures told us that we were in a significant downturn.

Today’s numbers tell us that we are in recovery.” The following table sets out number of units sold in the month of January over the previous decade.

2009 305

2008 466

2007 538

2006 529

2005 440

2004 427

2003 479

2002 501

2001 341

2000 293

Sales in St. Thomas, London’s sister community, tell a similar tale of decline and rebound. – 37 homes exchanged hands in January 2010, up 60.9% from the previous

year. However, as was the case with London, St. Thomas sales in January 2009 were unusually low at 23, compared to 36 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.The average price of a detached home in January 2010 was $235,416, up 3.1% over December 2009, while the average price of a condo rose 7.3% to $172,722. The  average price of total residential (both detached and condo) was up 3.5% over December, 2009 to $222,798. The following table compares average year to date residential prices in our jurisdiction at year end over the past decade.


2009 $213,402

2008 $210,888

2007 $202,256

2006 $188,942

2005 $178,058

2004 $166,138

2003 $152,586

2002 $142,106

2001 $136,636

Homes in LSTAR’s jurisdiction continue to maintain their affordability compared to other major Ontario and Canadian centers. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Residential MLS Report for November 2009 (the most current available), the average price year-to-date for:


London and St. Thomas, $222,798; 

Calgary, $383,998;

Durham Region, $277,309; 

Edmonton, $320,585; 

Hamilton-Burlington and District, $289,483;􀂃 

Kitchener-Waterloo, $269,443; 

Ottawa, $303,788;

St. Catharine’s & District, $223,861; 

Toronto, $392,823;

Greater Vancouver, $586,401.

“Sales activity in 2009 came in like a lamb and went out like a lion, “said CREA President Dale Ripplinger. “The continuation of unusually low interest rates may keep national sales activity near current levels over the coming months, as will a blip in housing demand in Ontario and British Columbia from homebuyers motivated to beat the introduction of the HST”

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