Month: March 2017

22 Mar

These are the weak spots in the Canadian four biggest real estate markets

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

canadian-housing-market-risk-profile

Chart: RBC

Royal Bank of Canada has flagged weaknesses in all four of Canada’s biggest housing markets.

Although RBC hasn’t given a clean bill of health to real estate in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, the big bank still says “a potentially destabilizing downturn” is not around the corner.

“Nationwide, recent market developments have been both positive and negative,” according to RBC’s most recent Canadian Housing Health Check report, authored by Chief Economist Craig White and Senior Economist Robert Hogue.

“The probability that a steep and widespread downturn would take place in Canada’s housing market in the next 12 months remains low,” the economists write in the report, assessing four markets in detail.

Toronto

“Toronto is showing increasing signs of overheating,” the report reads. On the heels of a record year for resales, home prices in the Ontario capital are becoming increasingly unaffordable.

RBC says it’s looking more like policymakers will step in to try and temper the risks that disintegrating affordability poses to Canada’s most active major market. To date, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has shown no interest a foreign-buyer tax like the one BC applied to Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver

Home prices in Vancouver have been falling in recent months. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the average price had dropped 3.1 per cent in three months as of December. RBC still considers the market to offer “extremely poor affordability,” which is says is a major vulnerability.

Vancouver does have “solid economic underpinnings,” however, and for that reason RBC doesn’t expect the market to crash. “The Vancouver market appears to be adjusting in an orderly fashion,” says RBC, referring to the effects of Metro Vancouver’s foreign-buyer levy.

Calgary

More condos and rental units are sitting empty in Calgary due to job losses, an outcome from the lower price of oil, a resource that’s a major contributor to Alberta’s economy. This poses an abnormally high risk to Cowtown real estate, according to RBC’s analysis.

“Still, a recent drop in condo construction and a slightly improving trend for home resales have been positive developments suggesting that risks might ease in the period ahead,” the report states.

Montreal

Compared to what Montreal’s housing market can actually absorb, builders there have been starting construction on too many multi-family projects, including condo developments.

Yet the city has recorded back-to-back years of increasing resale activity. And in recent months, the labour market has been improving. “The earlier home inventory issues continue to evolve constructively,” says the report, noting this housing market is becoming less vulnerable to a downturn.

 

– See more at: http://www.professionalbrokerservice.ca/blog/these-are-the-weak-spots-in-canadas-four-biggest-real-estate-markets#sthash.eNVdwGHx.dpuf

17 Mar

Go Public – We are all doing it’: Employees at Canada’s 5 big banks speak out about pressure to dupe customers

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Calls for parliamentary inquiry following Go Public investigation
By Erica Johnson, CBC News Posted: Mar 15, 2017 2:00 AM PT Last Updated: Mar 16, 2017 6:34 AM PT

Employees from each of Canada’s five major banks say sales pressures are forcing them to use what they consider unethical practices on customers. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

Employees from all five of Canada’s big banks have flooded Go Public with stories of how they feel pressured to upsell, trick and even lie to customers to meet unrealistic sales targets and keep their jobs.

The deluge is fuelling multiple calls for a parliamentary inquiry, even as the banks claim they’re acting in customers’ best interests.

In nearly 1,000 emails, employees from RBC, BMO, CIBC, TD and Scotiabank locations across Canada describe the pressures to hit targets that are monitored weekly, daily and in some cases hourly.

“Management is down your throat all the time,” said a Scotiabank financial adviser. “They want you to hit your numbers and it doesn’t matter how.”

CBC has agreed to protect their identities because the workers are concerned about current and future employment.

An RBC teller from Thunder Bay, Ont., said even when customers don’t need or want anything, “we need to upgrade their Visa card, increase their Visa limits or get them to open up a credit line.”

“It’s not what’s important to our clients anymore,” she said. “The bank wants more and more money. And it’s leading everyone into debt.”

A CIBC teller said, “I am expected to aggressively sell products, especially Visa. Hit those targets, who cares if it’s hurting customers.”

Former BMO employee speaks out

A financial services manager who left BMO in Calgary two months ago said he quit after having a full-blown panic attack in his branch manager’s office as she threatened to stifle his banking career because he hadn’t met sales targets.

“It was like the only thing they cared about at BMO,” he said. “If you weren’t selling, you weren’t worth having around.”

BMO employee

This former BMO financial services manager says his manager told him to lie to customers to improve sales revenue. (Colin Hall/CBC)

He claims his manager once told him not to tell clients who wanted to invest more than $40,000 that the markets were down, because putting their money into GICs wouldn’t earn the branch as much sales revenue.

He said she also told him to attach high interest rates on mortgages and lines of credit and to not tell clients those interest rates are negotiable.

He said he was “pressured to lie and cheat customers,” but refused to do it.

More than 1,000 emails

The revelations about other banks came pouring in after Go Public revealed last week that front-line staff at TD were under pressure to sell customers products and services they may not need and that some employees were breaking the law  to hit their sales revenue targets.

Those stories, experts say, prompted the largest drop in TD Bank shares since the financial market downturn of 2009.

‘We are straight up told to tell false stories (lie) to sell products.’ – TD insurance agent wrote in an email

They also resulted in hundreds more emails from TD workers past and present, including a teller who recently stopped working in Bramalea, Ont., who said the requirement to meet ever-increasing goals was so unprofessional, “I thought this was not a bank but a flea market.”

He admits to acting unethically because he says he feared being fired.

“I bumped up credit cards, overdraft or account types just because of the pressures.”

An Ontario-based TD insurance agent wrote, “We are straight up told to tell false stories (lie) to sell products.”

And an RBC financial adviser told Go Public, “We are all doing it.”

‘Shaming’ and ‘bullying’

Many bank employees described pressure tactics used by managers to try to increase sales.

An RBC certified financial planner in Guelph, Ont., said she’s been threatened with pay cuts and losing her job if she doesn’t upsell enough customers.

“Managers belittle you,” she said. “We get weekly emails that highlight in red the people who are not hitting those sales targets. It’s bullying.”

TD Bank logo

Some TD Bank employees told CBC’s Go Public they felt they had to break the law to keep their jobs. (Aaron Harris/Reuters)

Employees at several RBC branches in Calgary said there are white boards posted in the staff room that list which financial advisers are meeting their sales targets and which advisers are coming up short.

Similar white board results are reported at Scotiabank branches in Toronto.

“The entire team can see who is keeping them down. It’s shaming,” said a Scotiabank financial adviser who told Go Public she’s taking early retirement “because this environment is not for me.”

Stressed out

Some of the big five bank employees said they’re so stressed by expectations to hit sales targets, they’re on medical leave. Others said they had to quit.

They wrote about their jobs causing “insomnia,” “nausea,” “anxiety” and “depression.”

‘I went into a full-blown panic attack.’ -former CIBC small business associate

A CIBC small business associate who quit in January after nine years on the job said her district branch manager wasn’t pleased with her sales results when she was pregnant.

“She came into my office and decided to harass me. I went into a full-blown panic attack.”

She said the worst part of her job was having young families in her office who agreed to re-mortgage their homes because of debt.

“We told them we were helping them, but essentially we were extending more credit so the vicious cycle would … continue and we, in turn, would make a sale,” she said.

While working in Waterloo, Ont., she says her manager also instructed staff to tell all new international students looking to open a chequing account that they had to open a “student package,” which also included a savings account, credit card and overdraft.

“That is unfair and not the law, but we were told to do it for all of them.”

Big banks decline interview requests

Go Public requested interviews with the CEOs of the five big banks — BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and TD — but all declined.

Instead, they sent statements, essentially saying the banks act in the best interest of their clients, and that employees are expected to follow codes of conduct.

The statements did not address employees’ concerns about high-pressure sales tactics.

Calls for parliamentary inquiry

NDP finance critic Alexandre Boulerice is now calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the sales practices of Canada’s banks.

“We expect banks to be honest with their clients … and now we are learning that those employees are under considerable pressure to sell, sell, sell to boost profits of the banks,” he said. “This is so greedy. It is not acceptable.”

NDP critic

Federal NDP finance critic Alexandre Boulerice wants a parliamentary inquiry. (CBC)

Stan Buell, founder of the Small Investor Protection Association, agrees it’s time for the federal government to take action.

“We’ve got a culture that exists on greed, lying and deceiving people, and it’s not going to end soon,” he said.

“This is why the only solution really is to have government step in and look after the Canadian people. Because I feel the Canadian people deserve better than to serve as grist for the mill of these great financial organizations.”

Stan Buell

Stan Buell from the Small Investor Protection Association says the government needs to step in. (CBC)

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the minister wasn’t available for an interview, but sent a statement that says Morneau “expects all financial institutions in Canada to adhere to the highest standards when it comes to their consumer protection obligations.”

Shareholders concerned

TD shareholder Allan Best says he’s concerned about more than the bank’s bottom line after last week’s stock dip, telling Go Public, “It is my position that employees are our most important asset and we have to do all we can to keep them in good mental and physical condition.”

The emails Go Public received from bank employees suggest not only have the sales targets increased dramatically in recent years, so has the pressure to meet them.

“I want the world to know how much pressure we are all under on a daily basis,” wrote an RBC teller in Ontario.

“We hit our target and the next week, they up them again. It’s out of control.”

See More and the Video

– See more at: http://www.professionalbrokerservice.ca/blog/go-public-we-are-all-doing-it-employees-at-canadas-5-big-banks-speak-out-about-pressure-to-dupe-customers#sthash.us672wXd.dpuf

16 Mar

Fed raises rate and sees more hikes as U.S. economy improves

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:19PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 15, 2017 5:08PM EDT

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months and forecast two additional hikes this year. The move reflects a consistently solid U.S. economy and will likely mean higher rates on some consumer and business loans.

The Fed’s key short-term rate is rising by a quarter-point to a still-low range of 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent. The central bank said in a statement that a strengthening job market and rising prices had moved it closer to its targets for employment and inflation.

The message the Fed sent Wednesday is that nearly eight years after the Great Recession ended, the economy no longer needs the support of ultra-low borrowing rates and is healthy enough to withstand steadily tighter credit.

The decision, issued after the Fed’s latest policy meeting, was approved 9-1. Neel Kashkari, president of the Fed’s regional bank in Minneapolis, was the dissenting vote. The statement said Kashkari preferred to leave rates unchanged.

The Fed’s forecast for future hikes, drawn from the views of 17 officials, still projects that it will raise rates three times this year, unchanged from the previous forecast in December. But the number of Fed officials who think three rate hikes will be appropriate for 2017 rose from six to nine.

The central bank’s outlook for the economy changed little, with officials expecting growth of 2.1 per cent this year and next year before slipping to 1.9 per cent in 2019. Those forecasts are far below the 4 per cent growth that President Donald Trump has said he can produce with his economic program.

The Fed’s rate hike should have little effect on mortgages or auto and student loans. The central bank doesn’t directly affect those rates, at least not in the short run. But rates on some other loans — notably credit cards, home equity loans and adjustable-rate mortgages — will likely rise soon, though only modestly. Those rates are based on benchmarks like banks’ prime rate, which moves in tandem with the Fed’s key rate.

After the Fed’s announcement, major banks began announcing that they were raising their prime lending rate from 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent.

Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo, noted that the Fed’s statement provided little hint of the timing of the next rate hike. The lack of specificity gives the Fed flexibility in case forthcoming elections in Europe or other unseen events disrupt the global economy.

“They don’t want to prematurely set the table for a rate hike,” Vitner said. “I think they’re confident, but it’s hard not to be cautious after we’ve had so many shocks over the years.”

Stock prices rose and bond yields fell as traders reacted to the Fed’s plans to raise rates gradually. The Dow Jones industrial average, which had been only modestly positive before the decision was announced at 2 p.m. Eastern time, closed up 112 points.

The Fed’s statement made few changes from the last one issued Feb. 1. But it did note that inflation, after lagging at worrisomely low levels for years, has picked up and was moving near the Fed’s 2 per cent target.

And it adopted some new language hinting that it might be tolerant of higher-than-optimal inflation for some unspecified period. Economists said this suggested that officials could let inflation top their 2 per cent target, just as inflation remained stuck below 2 per cent for years after the Great Recession.

The new language “reflects the fact that inflation may run above 2 per cent for some time,” Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays, said in a note to clients.

Many economists think the next hike will occur no earlier than June, given that the Fed probably wants time to assess the likelihood that Congress will pass Trump’s ambitious program of tax cuts, deregulation and increased spending on infrastructure.

In recent weeks, investors had seemed unfazed by the possibility that the Fed would raise rates several times in the coming months. Instead, Wall Street has been sustaining a stock market rally on the belief that the economy will remain durable and corporate profits strong.

A robust February jobs report — 235,000 added jobs, solid pay gains and a dip in the unemployment rate to 4.7 per cent — added to the perception that the economy is fundamentally sound.

That the Fed is no longer unsettling investors with the signal of forthcoming rate increases marks a sharp change from the anxiety that prevailed after 2008, when the central bank cut its key rate to a record low and kept it there for seven years. During those years, any slight shift in sentiment about when the Fed might begin raising rates — a step that would lead eventually to higher loan rates for consumers and businesses — was enough to move global markets.

The Fed has managed its control of interest rates with exceeding caution, beginning with an initial hike in December 2015. It then waited an entire year before raising rates again in December last year.

But now, the economy is widely considered sturdy enough to handle modestly higher loan rates. While the broadest gauge of the economy’s health — the gross domestic product — remains below levels associated with a healthy economy, many analysts say they’re optimistic that Trump’s economic plans will accelerate growth. His proposals have managed to boost the confidence of business executives and offset concerns that investors might otherwise have about the effects of Fed rate increases.

Yet for the same reason, some caution that if Trump’s program fails to survive Congress intact, concerns will arise that his plans won’t deliver much economic punch. Investors may start to fret about how steadily higher Fed rates will raise the cost of borrowing and slow spending by consumers and businesses.

——

AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report.

13 Mar

Mortgage expert warns U.S. Fed will cause rate increases in Canada

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Sunday, March 12, 2017 10:01PM EDT

U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has strongly signalled that the first federal funds rate hike of 2017 will be announced at the two-day policy meeting next week on the back of a strengthening U.S. economy and waning global risk factors.

With two more increases said to be in the cards this year, one Canadian mortgage expert says it’s time to lock in a rate before things get more expensive.

James Laird, co-founder of interest rate-comparison website RateHub and president of mortgage broker CanWise Financial, says he has seen five-year fixed rates tick up about half a per cent since the fall. He’s calling for rates to continue pushing higher through 2017.

“If you’re considering refinancing or have an upcoming renewal, you should absolutely act sooner rather than later,” he told CTV News.

As the saying goes, when the U.S. sneezes, Canada gets a cold. U.S. interest rates and the impact on Canadian mortgages are no exception.

Fixed rate mortgages, the most common in Canada, are tied to long-term Canadian bond prices, which are in turn tied to U.S. bond prices. Banks sell bonds to raise money to lend to mortgage holders and other borrowers.

When the U.S. Federal Reserve raises rates, bond prices typically fall.

For example: If current interest rates were to rise, giving newly issued bonds a yield of 10 per cent, older issues yielding 5 per cent would not be in demand until their price falls to match the same return generated by the new prevailing interest rate.

As bond prices fall, banks tighten their lending, and mortgage rates rise.

Most Federal Reserve watchers believe improving U.S. economic data, a more stable global economy, and a booming U.S. stock market could justify a series of Fed interest rates increase this year.

“The party line has been three rate hikes, and some people on the street are saying it could even be four,” Laird said.

While Janet Yellen appears set to continue pressing ahead in lifting U.S. interest rates from historic lows, her counterpart at the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, has opted to stay the course with Canada’s monetary policy since July 2015.

The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.5 per cent again on March 1, citing “significant uncertainties” weighing on the outlook for the economy.

In essence, Canadians may soon be asked to pay more for their mortgages while the Bank of Canada seeks to keep borrowing historically cheap.

Laird says if five-year fixed rates were to rise from 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent on a $400,000 mortgage, for example, that would add an extra $100 to each monthly payment or $1,200 annually.

“Mortgage rates should only be going up in 2017,” he said.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s John Vennavally-Rao

– See more at: http://www.professionalbrokerservice.ca/blog/mortgage-expert-warns-us-fed-will-cause-rate-increases-in-canada#sthash.9qnSHicf.dpuf

10 Mar

Tax credits and rebates for homeowners

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Reno rebates and claims could lower your costs substantially

by

Owning a home costs money, but there are tax credits and rebates specifically for Canadian homeowners. Here are a few to get you started.

New home perk

If you just bought a house and you haven’t owned a home in the four previous years, you can get the Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. Enter the amount of $5,000 on line 369 of your tax form and you’ll get a 15% credit.

Reduces tax load by $750

Assess the abode

Before starting a major renovation, get an ecoENERGY assessment from a certified energy advisor. You’ll pay about $1,000 for before-and-after audits, but provincial rebates can reimburse these costs.

Rebates up to $500

Cash in on rebates

Rebates depend on where you live but can include:

 

Improve insulation— Up to $3,250
Ductless heat pump— $800
Install ventilation fan— Up to $50
Draft-proof your home— Up to $500
Install a gas fireplace— $300
Replace windows & doors— Up to $500
Replace appliances— (each) $50+
Do more than three upgrades— $750

 

Save up to $7,000

Build safer—and save

Renos that make a home safer or more accessible for seniors and the disabled—including installation of grab bars and hand rails, the construction of walk-in or wheel-in showers,widening doorways and lowering cabinets­—qualify for a new tax credit that offers a rebate of 15%.

Save up to $10,000 (max.)

More income, less tax

Rent out your basement or turn a hobby into a home-based business. Both allow you to deduct expenses, including mortgage, utilities,property tax and insurance. Claim the deductions against income generated on your tax return.

Sources: Natural Resources Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, BC Hydro, Union Gas, Enbridge Gas, FortisBC, Prince Edward Island Government


Read more:

– See more at: http://www.professionalbrokerservice.ca/blog/tax-credits-and-rebates-for-homeowners#sthash.sKgxFA78.dpuf

8 Mar

Chinese inquiries in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary real estate spiked with Vancouver tax

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

Education cited as top search motivation in several markets
CBC News
Posted: Mar 07, 2017 12:24 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 07, 2017 1:57 PM ET

Inquiries from China for property in several big Canadian markets spiked in the months after Vancouver introduced its tax for foreign buyers, according to a report based on data from a top Chinese foreign property website.

The report, released Tuesday by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in conjunction with Juwai.com, said Chinese inquiries for listings in the Vancouver market slumped by 81 per cent year over year in July 2016, the month the 15 per cent tax was announced.

Juwai.com is a Chinese website visible both inside and outside of that country. According to a Sotheby’s spokesperson, the portal has reported that two million Chinese consumers visit the site monthly.

The drop in interest in Vancouver properties continued through the rest of 2016, with a year-over-year tumble of 78 per cent in August, followed by dips of 26 per cent, 29 per cent, nine per cent and 37 per cent in September, October, November and December, respectively.

The report says interest from prospective real estate purchasers on Juwai.com immediately shifted into other Canadian markets following the tax’s implementation.

Property inquiries shot up by 1,050 per cent and 420 per cent year over year in Calgary during August and September, respectively. Searches of the Toronto market rose 62 per cent year over year in August and 72 per cent in September. In Montreal, there was a dip in August, before a resurgence of 152 per cent year over year in September.

Despite that interest, Sotheby’s said it didn’t translate into higher sales activity in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

“Further, Juwai.com property enquiry growth trends leveled off towards the end of 2016, as new awareness of the tax was absorbed by potential real estate consumers,” Sotheby’s said.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada said it anticipates long-term interest from potential buyers seeking investment properties may shift away from Vancouver, but added that the majority of foreign buyers seeking properties for personal use will not make “reactionary choices” because of Vancouver’s new tax.

Education on top

The top motivation cited by potential property buyers from China when they searched for properties in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal was education, cited by 41 per cent, 44 per cent and 46 per cent of enquirers, respectively.

In the Calgary market, the highest motivation for inquiries through Juwai.com was “own use,” at 62 per cent, which could represent a potential buyer searching for a second or third home. That reason was the top motivation for 37 per cent of inquiries in Toronto, 25 per cent in Vancouver and 34 per cent in Montreal.

Investment was cited by approximately one-quarter of people searching on Juwai.com for property in the four markets.

Only a small segment of people cited immigration as a key motivation for their search, at 14 per cent, three per cent, 13 per cent and 10 per cent of those inquiring in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, respectively.

6 Mar

Here is what $500K homes look like in 14 Canadian cities

Latest News

Posted by: Frederic Pichette

What if you cashed out of your pricey pad and moved some place where you could get a house twice as nice for half as much?

The average price of a home in Canada went up just over seven per cent in 2016, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. At only $489,591, the price seems very affordable for those in big city centres like Vancouver and Toronto where average home prices are almost double that.

But elsewhere in the country, $500,000 can go pretty far.

In December, we took a look at what $1 million homes looked like in key Canadian cities. From a run-down home ready for demolition in a south Vancouver neighbourhood to a stunning and large lakefront home in Halifax, the discrepancies from coast to coast were remarkable.

Now we’re lowering the bar to a more affordable price point.

To keep it simple, we  went searching for detached homes with at least three bedrooms. In some cases, it wasn’t possible to find one in our budget. For those, we had to go outside the city.

Here’s what you can get for $500,000 in cities across Canada:

Vancouver, BC

What you get for $500,000:

With nothing in Vancouver-proper in the budget, there was this home in Langley. Listed at $545,000, this 1920’s character home has three bedrooms and needs quite a bit of work.

vancouver real estate langley

vancouver real estate langley

 

Victoria, BC

What you get for $500,000:

What used to be an affordable oasis a boat ride from Vancouver, Victoria’s home prices are now growing at a rapid pace. The cheapest detached home outside the city in Saanich is listed at $517,500 and needs considerable work – or a bulldozer.

3217-millgrove-street-saanich-bc-8873_16289549-1585550-0_lightbox

3217-millgrove-street-saanich-bc-4005_16289549-1585550-5_lightbox

Kelowna, BC

What you get for $500,000:

As the increase in prices moves east, homes in Kelowna are still on the verge of affordable. This four-bedroom home in West Kelowna was built in 2003 and is listed at $519,000.

kelowna real estatekelowna real estate

Calgary, AB

What you get for $500,000:

Who said real estate in Calgary came cheap? In the Marlborough neighbourhood of Calgary, this renovated home is listed at just under $500,000. It may be some distance from the city but it is close to the C-Train.

calgary real estate calgary real estate

Edmonton, AB

What you get for $500,000:

For just under $500,000, you can buy a 2,200 square-foot home with four bedrooms right on the River Valley. Located in Beverly Heights, a neighbourhood east of Edmonton, the home is fully renovated and comes with an amazing view.

Edmonton real estate

edmonton real estate

Saskatoon, SK

What you get for $500,000:

This home, built in 1912 and updated to modern standards, is listed for $539,000. Located in the Riversdale neighbourhood, it has five bedrooms but only one bathroom.

Saskatoon real estate

Saskatoon real estate

Winnipeg, MB

What you get for $500,000:

You get a lot of bang for your buck in Winnipeg. This river-front home in North Kildonan has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a large backyard backing on the river. It also has an elevator.

Winnipeg real estate

winnipeg real estate

Toronto, ON

What you get for $500,000:

Toronto prices certainly aren’t getting cheaper. The city is feeling a real estate boom similar to Vancouver’s, meaning $500,000-homes are like finding a needle in a haystack. This one in West Hill, east of Toronto, sits on a 20-foot lot and has five bedrooms.

Toronto real estate

Toronto real estate

Hamilton, ON

What you get for $500,000: 

This home in Sherwood, Hamilton is listed at $488,484 and comes with a large backyard, four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It’s been recently renovated and has air conditioning.

Hamilton real estate

Hamilton real estate

 

Ottawa, ON

What you get for $500,000:

Just across the river in Gatineau, this new home built in 2011 offers modern luxuries and an above-ground pool. It’s apparently only seven minutes away from Ottawa and is listed at $549,900.

Ottawa real estate

Ottawa real estate

Montreal, QC

What you get for $500,000:

A renovated “cottage” in Saint-Laurent can be yours for $479,000. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a solarium and a finished basement.

Montreal real estate

Montreal real estate

 

St. John’s, NL

What you get for $500,000:

Most new construction in St. John’s is priced in the $500,ooo range. This brand new home in Kenmount Terrace is listed at $492,900 and includes three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an open-concept floor plan.

St. John's real estate

St. John's real estate

Moncton, NB

What you get for $500,000: 

For much less than $500,000, this Moncton home features four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a custom kitchen. It’s located right in the heart of the city and is listed for $459,000.

moncton real estate

moncton real estate

Halifax, NS

What you get for $500,000:

Just across the bridge in Dartmouth, this 1872-built home with modern updates is listed for $549,900. It has four bedrooms and a large 14,000-square foot lot overlooking the Halifax harbour.

Halifax real estate

Halifax real estate

 

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