Home renovations increase although with lower budgets
With higher house prices in many areas and economic uncertainly weighing heavily on some homeowners’ minds more are choosing to stay in their current homes and renovate. A survey conducted by Nielsen for CIBC reveals that the number of homeowners planning to renovate has increased from 40 per cent last year to 42 per cent in 2015. However the average budget has fallen from $20,000 to $17,000. Top priorities are general repairs and redecoration (64 per cent) followed by landscaping (28 per cent) and new bathrooms (29 per cent) and kitchens (28 per cent). The largest percentage of people are planning to spend between $5,000 and $10,000.
Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor and host of HGTV's Income Property commented: "I find that more and more people right across Canada are looking for creative solutions to add more space so that they don't have to move.” However he advises concentrating on practical improvements rather than spending money on “wow” factors such as a swimming pool: "You don't want to build a $150,000 custom kitchen in a $200,000 home. You have to be realistic about your needs, and where money is best spent."
Commercial property gets a boost in Montreal
The City of Montreal has announced a multimillion dollar program to boost commercial retailers. The Commerce Plan will provide $40.5 million to help improve storefronts and infrastructure. While cosmetic improvements will help there are other concerns from the commercial sector including high rents and taxes and absentee landlords. The Montreal Gazette reports that Project Montreal wants the city to force landlords to maintain their properties as is the case in many US cities such as Chicago.
RBC economist: Canada has a “two-speed if not multi-speed market”
Economic policies which apply to the whole country do little to curb the hottest markets and Ottawa seems reluctant to meddle too much anyway. Royal Bank of Canada chief economist Robert Hogue says that a “two speed if not multi-speed market is likely to be the central theme for the year.” In an interview with the Globe and Mail Mr Hogue says that the federal government appears to be focused on reducing the exposure of federal agencies to the mortgage and housing market rather than affecting house prices too much. Further insight into the market is due this week with the Teranet-National Bank Home Price Index due Wednesday and national resales report from the Canadian Real Estate Association on Friday.