I Love My Garage

Its funny when I hear people say that they bought a garage and the house came with it. I was one of these people.
I had the house, that we live in now, listed for sale – it had a 24 x 30 two car detached garage behind the house at the back corner of the lot. The owners, friends of mine, wanted to sell and move to a larger home.
But one day I had arranged to stop by to talk about our sales activity. They had not arrived home yet, the garage door was up so I pulled up a lawn chair and waited. But the more I sat there, the more I realized that this was nice – I could live here.
Well guess what, we bought the garage 17+ years ago and have been very comfortable in the house ever since.
I’ve built a few shelves to store our stuff, a shelf for the kayaks, made room to locate the tent trailer, a workbench for the fixits, a grinder to sharpen the tools, a place to do minor car repairs in comfort and even a place to pull out our lawn chairs and just relax.
I love my garage! If you don’t have one, you should get one.
P.S. As a Realtor – I sell garages… and all will probably come with a house attached! Let’s start looking today…
Earl Taylor, Broker
Coldwell Banker at Success Realty, Brokerage

Direct 519-670-9223

WATCH: Innovation in the record-pressing business

As we’ve discussed before, vinyl records are back. Music lovers are embracing streaming apps like for the convenience, while also buying old-fashioned records for the all-around aesthetic pleasure of owning a beautiful, tactile object from their favourite artists. The renaissance of vinyl has also, it turns out, produced new innovations in the process of pressing records. Older record-pressing machines can be quite prone to errors, meaning as much as a 40% of some press runs might be recycled as duds, says Justin Blocker, chief creative officer of Hand Drawn Records. However, a manufacturer called Viryl Technologies has developed a new generation of record presses called WarmTone that, among other things, cuts that figure to around 1% and can churn out discs far faster, using less material. Here’s how it works.

Link: YouTube

The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) announced another milestone for residential sales across the region, with the best January results since LSTAR began tracking sales data in 1978. A total of 574 homes were sold in January, an increase of 26.2% over last January.

“We’re off to a tremendous start this year with our best January ever,” said Jim Smith, LSTAR 2017 President. “The trend of high demand and low supply continues, with January experiencing a 12.2% decrease in the number of listings compared to the previous year. Those thinking of selling may want to consider maximizing the current market conditions.”

In January, a total of 434 detached homes were sold, an increase of 15.1 % over the previous year, while there were 140 condominium sales, up 79.5% from 2016. The average sales price was $285,418, up 0.5% from the previous month.

“We saw a huge boost in condominium sales, with almost double the number of units sold in 2017,” Smith said. “It represents very robust activity happening in the condominium market, again with less listings available compared to 2016.”

St. Thomas also had a very healthy January, with a total of 55 homes sold, up 139.1% from the same time last year. The average home price in St. Thomas was $192,474, down 28.1% from the previous month.

The best-selling house style in January continues to be the two-storey, followed by the bungalow and ranch. The average price for a detached home in January was $313,879, up 2.3% from the previous month, while the average price for a condominium was $197,190, up 2.8% from the previous month.

House Style Units Sold Average Price
2 storey 128 $407,000
Bungalow 58 $229,599
Ranch 37 $362,543
Townhouse 64 $157,469
High rise apt. condo 36 $158,775

The following chart is based on data taken from the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) National MLS® Report for December 2016 (the latest statistics available). It provides a snapshot of how average home prices in London and St. Thomas compare to other major Ontario and Canadian centres.

According to a research report1, one job is created for every three real estate transactions and approximately $53,000 in ancillary spending is generated every time a home changes hands in Ontario. “Real estate is providing a huge boost to the local economy,” Smith said. “When we look at January, that means residential sales created 191 jobs and more than $30 million was generated into the local economy.”

Source: LSTAR

Coffee is the most popular beverage among adult Canadians—outpacing even plain tap water. So even the faint possibility of a better cup of coffee is a big deal. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have now sequenced the entire coffee genome, meaning we may be at the cusp of a new and glorious age for java. Having the genetic code for coffee will allow researchers to determine the genetic basis of growing great coffee—which varietals work best for which climates, for example—and breeders will be able to develop delicious new strains, faster.

Link: YouTube

What makes a Lack a Lack and not, say, a Poäng? While they may be all Swedish to you and me, there’s a method to the naming of IKEA products:

Bookcases are named after professional occupations (Expedit means shop keeper) or boys’ names (The bestselling Billy bookcase is named after IKEA employee Billy Likjedhal). Outdoor furniture is named after Scandinavian islands (Äpplarö an island in the Stockholm archipelago and Västerön is in Aaland). Rugs are named after cities and towns in Denmark or Sweden (Ådum, Stockholm, Silkeborg), while bed sheets, comforters and pillowcases are named after flowers and plants. (Häxört or circaea lutetian is an herb in the primrose family).

Link: Quartz

As a result of its annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC is increasing its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1- 4 unit rental properties to reflect its increased capital targets.
CMHC’s capital management framework is consistent with international practices and Canadian guidelines for mortgage insurers. Higher capital targets are consistent with Canadian and international industry trends and make the financial system more stable and resilient. As CMHC mortgage insurance is backed by taxpayers, capital holdings reduce Canadian taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market, and contribute to the long term stability of the financial system.
For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC-insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market. Effective May 1, 2014, the premiums will increase by 15%, on average.

The premiums** and premium surcharges will be as follows:
Standard Premiums Loan-to-Value Ratio Total Loan Amount Increase to Loan Amount
Up to and including 65% 0.50% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.65% 0.75%
Up to and including 80% 1.00% 1.25%
Up to and including 85% 1.75% 1.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.00% 2.40%
Up to and including 95% 2.75% 3.15%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 2.90% 3.35%

Self-Employed Borrowers without Third Party Validation of Income Loan-to-Value Ratio Total Loan Amount Increase to Loan Amount
Up to and including 65% 0.90% 1.75%
Up to and including 75% 1.15% 3.00%
Up to and including 80% 1.90% 4.45%
Up to and including 85% 3.35%* 6.35%
Up to and including 90% 5.45%* 8.05%

*Rental Loans (1–4 Units) Loan-to-Value Ratio Total Loan Amount Increase to Loan Amount
Up to and including 65% 1.45% 3.15%
Up to and including 75% 2.00% 3.45%
Up to and including 80% 2.90% 4.30%
Note: Premiums shown with “*” do not apply for Refinance transactions.
**For purchase/new construction loan applications, the premium rate is applied to the Total Loan Amount. For portability and refinance loan applications, the premium is the lesser of the premium rate applied to the Increase to Loan Amount; or the premium rate applied to the Total Loan Amount.
Premium Surcharges Extended Amortization Surcharge (for each 5 year period beyond 25 years) 0.25% Blended Amortization Surcharge 0.60% Conversion surcharge for self-employed borrowers without traditional documentation to support income verification 1.75%
CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to May 1, 2014, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and has adjusted them several times since being commercialized in 1998. Adjustments have included both increases and decreases to the premiums. Going forward, CMHC plans to announce decisions on premiums in the first quarter of each year.
To help you respond to consumer inquiries, CMHC has information available on the new premiums at http://www.cmhc.ca

Mortgage Insurance

The purpose of Mortgage Insurance is to provide your loved ones with a way to pay for the mortgage if something were to happen to you, the home owner.
When buying a home, there are 2 ways to protect you and your family – through your bank when you apply for a mortgage or through an insurance broker. Purchasing your coverage through an independent Insurance Broker will insure you get the very best price available and your policy is fully underwritten at the time of application. You will know up front that you are covered. Basically it’s a life insurance policy based on the amount of your mortgage. When you apply for insurance through a bank the underwriting is not done until the time of claim, which could mean that if you get sick or injured at any time prior to a claim you can be deemed NOT eligible for a pay-out even though you have been paying your premiums. Why would you take a risk like this?
The other benefit in purchasing your mortgage insurance through a Broker, is that the total original amount of the policy, not just the mortgage balance, is paid out directly 100% to your beneficiary and they can decide what to do with the insurance money. The bank insurance simply pays the bank for the amount owing.