On the Return of Low(er) Interest Rates

It’s back to the future time in Canada. The steadily higher interest rate trajectory that was to be the new normal now appears to be officially dead and buried. With the U.S. Fed signalling an end to higher interest rates and trumpeting its newfound zeal and preparedness to accommodate markets, the BOC had no choice but to emulate.

The BOC’s head body, the Governing Council, made the point that an “accommodative policy interest rate continues to be warranted.” The BOC made its point about the need to keep rates stimulative at the same time as it cut its GDP growth forecast for the national economy to 1.2% from 1.7%. Canadian bond yields and the dollar both fell in response to the news. The clarity of the BOC’s words are striking and diametrically opposite from its firm and disciplined messaging when it repeatedly made the point that it needed to raise rates not long ago. It also suggests that there is an anxiety with monetary policy heads and a perception that the economy increasingly requires propping up. 

 

In Tembo’s opinion, the BOC’s announcement is extremely important for all Canadians and particularly for mortgage holders and prospective home buyers. This announcement from the BOC is strong positioning for stimulus, lower rates, and potential buying of stocks or securities to boost prices, reinforce demand, and service the financial sector. 

 

The implication of this announcement outlines the incoming reality of lower rates, cheaper mortgages, and the BOC reinflating the housing bubble back to more dynamic levels. Canadians should prepare for tighter finances to be safe but should also expect money to become cheaper in the months to come. 

On Toronto’s Move For More Affordable Housing

With sky-high real estate prices, extremely limited supply, and a vacancy rate incomparable to its international competitors, Toronto is in the midst of a housing crisis. Housing, transit, and affordability were the key issues for politicians in last year’s Mayoral and Council elections. 

John Tory

Toronto Mayor Pushes Housing Now Plan

Incumbent Mayor John Tory made tackling the housing supply issue a key commitment if re-elected, and many City Councillors emulated that promise. A week ago, the Mayor successfully persuaded his Council colleagues to endorse his Housing Now Plan and to vote it through. The plan is an aggressive measure being heavily pushed through by the Mayor and senior City bureaucrats. 

The Housing Now plan calls on the City to facilitate the transfer of surplus land to private sector partners so as to develop it into housing. A certain amount of the finished units are to be set aside as affordable units with controlled rent. This is geared to benefit low income families. Toronto has a massive list of individuals and families waiting for affordable housing. In total, the plan is expected to result in 10,000 new units of real estate.

As Toronto has a weak Mayor system, its Mayor does not have executive powers and serves more as a glorified City Councillor acting as the Chair of Council. Unlike many of his American and international counterparts, he has no veto over votes, and cannot directly replace the departmental heads of the City’s large civil service. 

Officials have been eager to push the plan through given its importance, and this effort has been largely supported by City Councillors. The Housing Now plan was opposed by many of the city’s more left-wing politicians, who believed it did not go far enough and that its targets and limitations were not ambitious enough.

All levels of government will continue to increase their intervention in the real estate market so as to spur more development for an increasingly impatient pool of prospective buyers.

 
Now Creative Group August 10, 2017 1 Comment

Tembo Tips: How to Save on Moving Costs

How to save on moving costs

Purchasing a new home in the current housing market already takes quite a toll on your finances. Considering all that is involved in moving from one place to the next, these costs can add up quickly. However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce moving costs and allow you to set aside a little something extra to go towards your mortgage payments each month.

Do Your Research & Ask For Multiple Quotes

Research moving companies in your area to find out what services they offer, and how much they charge for these services. Make sure that you provide these companies with ample information regarding where you are moving to, and what you require from them. Different companies will offer different packages and rates depending on your needs. Consider the costs associated with the size and weight of your items, the amount of mileage and gas included in the quoted price, as well as the various moving supplies and number of movers that may be included in each quote. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request a price match or discount if you come across a deal that you may not have been offered.

Consider Doing It Yourself

Depending on the number of belongings you have and the distance that you are moving, it may be more beneficial to complete the move without hiring professionals. Keep in mind, that costs do add up quickly and this may not always be the most cost-effective method. Consider the cost of a moving van, boxes, and other supplies that you will need to complete your move. Reach out to friends and family who may be willing to assist with loading and unloading; saving you from the cost of hiring professional movers. Make a list of everything that you will need as well as items that you may already have, and compare the total cost to the quotes you have received from moving companies to determine the best option for you.

Get Rid of What You Can

Reducing the amount of items you are taking with you will ultimately cut down costs by decreasing the weight of your load, as well as the number of boxes needed. Does your old furniture fit in your new space? Make sure you take measurements and are sure that everything you are moving has a space in your new home. If it doesn’t fit – get rid of it! Selling gently used items that you no longer need will also make you some money that you can use towards your moving supplies. Is the item worth less than the cost to move it? The cost to move an item should be a fraction of the cost to replace it. Don’t be afraid to sell it and purchase a new one for less than the cost of moving it.