Understanding different types of properties

No two home buyers are the same. While most individuals find themselves walking a similar path to homeownership, one involving mortgage rates and home loans, their wants and needs are always unique. One buyer may be seeking a smaller property that will require minimal upkeep. Meanwhile, a newlywed couple might be searching for a starter home they can use to start a family.  For Canadian home buyers of all stripes, one of the most important questions is: What type of home do I want? In order to answer that, individuals must understand the different types of properties available and what they offer.

Single-family detached
Detached single-family homes are the most common types of properties. They can come in many styles and floor plans, including multiple levels. These homes typically feature a front yard, back yard and garage. Since it is detached, these homes are not a part of any other property and offer more privacy than other types of homes. Continue reading

Buying a condominium

When it comes to taking out home loans, there is no shortage of options on what types of properties to purchase. Some buyers may be hoping for a detached house with a yard, while others might prefer the simplicity and convenience of a condominium. If you find yourself in the latter camp, it's important to understand the ins and outs associated with purchasing a condo.

What is a condo?
A condo acts like a combination of a private home and an apartment complex. An owner's residence is owned privately, but common areas are owned collectively by all of a complex's residents.

Condos also feature associations that manage common areas and certain aspects of all properties.

Benefits of a condo
In areas with high property values, a condo can offer the comforts of home ownership at a more affordable price. Additionally, for buyers who may not need an excessive amount of space, condos offer tax incentives available to homeowners without worrying about constant upkeep and maintenance of a large property.

Condos are also often located in convenient, central areas that are close to offices, shopping centers, restaurants and entertainment venues. Continue reading

Resale condos stop their upward trend

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There’s been a lot of speculation regarding Canada’s cooling housing market. From calling the cool-down a necessary change to decrying it a doomsday scenario, industry analysts have made sure it dominates the news.

Meanwhile, amidst all the noise, the state of Canada’s condominium boom has received very little comparable attention. Now the biggest housing news is coming straight out of Canada’s condo epicenter: Toronto.

According to The Globe and Mail, resale condo prices have failed to significantly appreciate for the first time in three years.

Being Canada’s most populous city, it’s no surprise that Toronto has become the center for condo construction. But as the housing market began to cool, Toronto bucked national trends and continued building full steam ahead. Continue reading

Serious weather damages increase importance of sufficient condo insurance

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Here's a (non-trick) question for you: If something goes terribly wrong in your condo – think busted pipe, kitchen fire … you know, the really bad stuff – that originated in your unit and affects other units or the entire building, who pays the insurance deductible? And should that insurance deductible be enough to pay the insurance deductible for the entire condo?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, condominium homeowners may be in for a pretty big shock if a problem in their condo causes damage in other parts of the building. When homeowners discover their condo council's insurance policy mandates they pay the entire deductible to the tune of $100,000 or so, it can ruin their credit and quickly put them in the poorhouse in more ways than one. More often than not, owners discover this little tidbit when it's too late and the damage has been done.

Back in the day, most condo council bylaws stated that all condo owners in a building were responsible for paying the deductible on common assets. The only exception was when the problem and damages were caused by an owner's negligence. Although condo owners will still be fully responsible for the association's deductible if their negligence causes damage to other units, the same may be the case even if they are not negligent. In other words, condo owners may be faced with full responsibility whether the problem could have been prevented on their part or otherwise. Continue reading

How to get in on the Canadian condo craze

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Perhaps the best option for metropolitan-loving professionals who have the resources and desire to buy their very own property – a huge first step, congratulations! – is to buy in the form of yard maintenance-free, pretty-simple-to-care-for condominiums. Canadian condo starts are quickly increasing in bustling cities as part of the reason the number of property developments is increasing nationally.

Does condo development help the economy? You bet! Can condos be a more budget-friendly option for first-time homebuyers? Of course! So how can you get in on the condo craze, and what sorts of things should you consider when buying a condo? There are lots of choices, and with a bit of extra work, you can join the ranks of successful condo owners who made educated, successful choices.

What are we waiting for? Let's jump in while interest rates are low!

Condo types
Just like standalone homes and properties, condos come in all different shapes, sizes, price ranges and types. They may be nestled in highrises, town homes, row houses, duplex, single-detached buildings, stacked, part of a commercial building … the list can really go on and on. Basically, if it has multiple units, it can be a condo.

Should I buy a condo? Continue reading

Small Vancouver rentals support affordable housing for young citizens

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Rising residential and condominium home prices have forced some Vancouver residents to consider renting instead of buying, and housing developers have designed some units specifically for young citizens on a budget.

According to a Vancouver Sun report, project developer Reliance Properties recently converted an old hotel into a residential building containing Canada's smallest apartments. The 30 furnished units are between 226 and 291 square feet, and include a kitchen, bathroom, built-in wall bed, fold-down table and flatscreen TV.

"The suites are highly designed to be functional at this small size," said Reliance president Jon Stovell, as reported by the source. "They live here, they play here and they walk to work and that's what it's for. The building has no parking spaces. Most people don't want it." Continue reading

Canada’s rental vacancy rate falls to 2.2 percent in October

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Several Canadian cities have undergone a condo boom in recent years, as lower incomes and rising home prices have fueled high demand for apartments in major cities.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's recent Rental Market Survey, the average vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major cities dropped to 2.2 percent in October, down from 2.6 percent during the same month of 2010. Regina currently has the lowest vacancy rate at 0.6 percent, while Winnipeg, Kingston and Guelph are also extremely low at 1.1 percent. Additionally, the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Canada rose from $860 12 months ago, to $883 in October 2011.

"Modestly higher levels of employment among persons aged 15 to 24 likely increased household formation among young adults, thereby increasing rental housing demand," said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC. "This, combined with the supply of newly constructed rental apartments moving slightly lower, pushed Canada’s vacancy rate downward." Continue reading