20 per cent of renters spend half of their income on housing
There’s a housing problem bubbling away that needs action from all levels of government according to a new report. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that a long-term decline in the provision of social housing now means that one in five renters pays more than half of their income on housing. The study says that 850,000 lower-rent units have gone from the market and that the rental sector is ill-prepared for a downturn in the housing market. As rents rise and high house prices make ownership hard even with lower mortgage rates the FCM is urging a multi-level government response to the problem. It proposes that tax credits should be used to boost building of affordable homes and that Ottawa should commit to maintaining its current level of funding. It also wants a permanent national strategy for tackling homelessness.
Canadian snowbirds fly back home
More Canadians are choosing to cash in their snowbird homes in the US as the increased home prices and strength of the US dollar make it a profitable time to sell. The Financial Post reports that data from Canadian Forex show a 100 per cent increase in the level of cash coming back to Canada from US home sales in 2014 compared to the previous 12 months. Although mortgage rates are low in the US they are still higher than Canada’s and the uncertainty in the US housing market is prompting a sell-off rather than betting on prices increasing further. Investment in property south of the border is also declining. However with an ageing population who may yet choose to retire to popular locations such as Florida and Arizona it could be a temporary shift.
Muskoka sees increased interest
The Ontario district of Muskoka is experiencing a resurgence in interest especially among high-end buyers. Sales of properties valued at $2 million or more have been rising over the last year and hit record levels at the end of 2014. Waterfront sales in the district for the first four months of this year have been at their highest since 2010 according to the Lakelands Association of Realtors. Sales volume was up 44.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2014. Christie’s reported a 66 per cent increase in sales for last year compared to 2013.