Home sales seem to fall more than 5% as new mortgage rules kick in...

Canadian Real Estate Association cuts forecast, saying tougher rules on qualifying for a mortgage will erode home affordability


The national home price is expected to slip by 1.4 per cent in 2018 to $503,100. National Post


TORONTO — The Canadian Real Estate Association has cut its home sales forecast for next year due to the impact of tighter mortgage regulations that come into effect New Year’s Day, which are expected to rein in spending for some buyers.

CREA said in an updated projection Thursday the banking regulator’s revised mortgage underwriting guidelines, which include a stress test for uninsured mortgages, will reduce sales activity across the country, particularly in and around Toronto and Vancouver.

The association now forecasts a 5.3 per cent drop in national sales to 486,600 units next year. That new estimate shaves about 8,500 sales from its previous 2018 forecast.

The national home price is expected to slip by 1.4 per cent in 2018 to $503,100.

“With some homebuyers likely advancing their purchase decision before the new rules come into effect next year, the ’pull-forward’ of these sales may come at the expense of sales in the first half of 2018,” CREA said in a statement.


“Meanwhile, other potential homebuyers are anticipated to stay on the sidelines as they save up a larger down payment before purchasing and contributing to a modest improvement in sales activity in the second half of 2018.”

In November, the number of homes sold through its Multiple Listing Service rose by 3.9 per cent compared with October, led by a 16 per cent sales spike in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sales were up 2.6 per cent from last November, marking the first year-over-year increase since March. That helped send the national home price up 2.9 per cent, year-over-year, to $504,000.

The number of newly listed homes rose 3.5 per cent in November, which reflected a large increase in new supply across the GTA.

In October, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announced the final version of its revised guidelines, called B-20. The new rules, which come into effect on Jan. 1, require would-be homebuyers to prove they can still service their uninsured mortgage at a qualifying rate of the greater of the contractual mortgage rate plus two percentage points or the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada.

CREA argues the new guidelines make it tougher for potential buyers with more than a 20 per cent down payment to qualify for a mortgage. These low-ratio mortgages comprise the vast majority of Canadian mortgage originations, it added.

The association also narrowed its forecast for national sales activity this year. It expects sales to decline four per cent to 513,900 units in 2017 due to weak activity in Ontario, after the province in April announced measures such as a foreign buyers tax to cool the market.

However, the association expects the national average price of a home to rise this year to $510,400, up 4.2 per cent compared to 2016.

While November sales activity in the Greater Toronto Area was down significantly compared to a year earlier, other large markets posted annual gains, including Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.

BMO economist Robert Kavcic noted that the adjustment in the Toronto market is ongoing.
“But strong underlying supply-demand fundamentals should prove supportive next year once the remaining froth gets worked off,” he wrote in a note to clients.

“In all likelihood, Bank of Canada rate hikes and the coming rule changes from OSFI should keep the froth from returning. Elsewhere, look for continued strength in Ottawa and Montreal, stability in Alberta, and an ongoing supply-demand struggle in Vancouver.”




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Guest-ify Your Home for the Holidays!

It's 6 days until Christmas Day, and although you may not be prepared for handling your in laws, let's at least get you prepared for your guests! 



1. Clean Up Your Doorway
When getting ready to have guests stay in our homes, we tend to focus on what’s happening inside. This means we can often overlook the part of our house that visitors see first: the doorway.

Before friends and family arrive, be sure your doorstep is swept and that your entryway is organized.




2. Make Room in Your Coat Closet or On Your Coat Rack

Plan ahead! You know guests will be coming in from the cold and will need a place to hang their coats. Go through your closet or the hooks by your door, and store away any extra jackets you may have hanging there. You only need one coat rack on hand while your guests are staying with you.



3. Stock Up on Guest Supplies
Feel prepared by making sure you have multiple sets of all living essentials. Towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, shampoos, etc. Keep these on a shelf that is designated for guests. This way it’s easy to find just what you need when a visiting friend or family member needs it.


4. Think Storage
Take inventory of the storage you have in your home, and invest in more if necessary. You don’t want your guests to have to live out of their suitcases, so make sure you have enough dressers and cupboards in their designated area




5. Create a miniature necessities station.


This is a nice touch that will add that extra bit of comfort to your guest’s stay. Be inspired by hotels and set up a little station where visitors can find all of their basic necessities. This can consist of shampoo, conditioner, lotions, candles, a robe and slippers—even some coffee and a little coffee maker in their room. A bottle of water next to the bed is always a nice touch. 



6. Have that sofa bed or spare bed ready


If you’ve got small living quarters, then you might only have a pull-out sofa bed to offer guests. Don’t apologize for this — just make it work well. It will need to serve as both Command Central for your holiday season and as a bedroom for your out-of-towners. Keep a stack of blankets in the corner. Remember- the goal is to ensure that your guests don't have to ask you for anything!

7. Make towels and toilet paper super easy to find....and stock up!

Ever stayed in a place and you feel squeamish having to look through cabinets to find what you need? How awkward. Make it simple on your guests. Don't forget to leave out the hair dryer for the ladies!

Make toilet paper easy to find, too. That’s never fun to hunt for, especially in someone else’s house.



Happy Holidays from our families to yours!

-Kim and Vicky


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sellers packages designed to sell your home smoothly.

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Some content Credits to The Huffington Post 





Japanese Gardens at the Gorge


Have you visited the beautiful Japanese Gardens in the Gorge Area of Victoria? 

Did you know that it was the 1st Japanese Garden in North America?
Did you know that its designer was the same chap who designed Butchart Gardens?


“In 1907, Japanese garden designer Isaburo Kishida, then in his 60s, was asked by his son, Yoshitaro, to take the long and difficult sea journey to Victoria B.C. and join him in setting up a Japanese tea garden in Victoria's Esquimalt Gorge Park. It was the first Japanese gardens in British Columbia and it soon started a trend of them amongst Edwardian high society.

With the highly successful opening of the tea garden, which drew a record breaking attendance of 5000 people in three days, many people desired a private Japanese garden of their own, and it was soon after the opening that three very influential families of the time commissioned Kishida to design gardens on their estate grounds. Of the three, two remain intact today, one being the Butchant Garden, the other the Japanese garden at Hatley Park, which was commissioned by coal baron and politician James Dunsmuir and his wife Laura in approximately 1909 and believed to have been completed the following year.”
*Taken from:

In the 1920′s and 30′s, Victoria’s Gorge Waterway was the place to be in the summer. Along with swimming and boating, one of the most popular attractions was the Japanese Tea Gardens.


The Garden was operated until 1941, when the Takada family who ran it, were sent to a Japanese internment camp in the Kootenays – never to return.

The Gardens and Tea House were destroyed by vandals.

The Township of Esquimalt and Volunteers have done Yeoman’s work in restoring the site.…and Mr. Takada still gardens in Toronto!


When they were forced to leave Victoria, The Takata family gave many plants to their Gorge neighbours including 2 Japanese maple now over 100 years old that were transplanted here in 2008 as a gift from one of those neighbours on the Gorge.

This garden was designed to recreate the unique components of traditional Japanese “stroll gardens” with the focus on understatement and simplicity.

Design features include:

  • Moon viewing bridge made in a traditional, minimalist Japanese style is a popular spot for wedding photos due to the many weddings held on the property.
  • A Zigzag bridge known as a Yatsuhashi bridge. It is believed that if chased by evil spirits, anyone crossing the bridge will be protected as the spirits can only go in a straight line and cannot follow around the corners of the bridge.
  • An authentic Ceremonial Teahouse overlooks the lower pond.
  • Fences and gates made from bamboo-like grasses called Miscanthus gigantus harvested from an enormous planting that separates the Zen garden from the upper Takata.


Visit These beautiful Japanese Gardens via the Gorge Kinsmen Park off of Tillicum Road.  


          This educational blog piece is brought to you by your

Gorge Area Real Estate Team: 

 (250) 514-1663 or

"We sell "Gorge"ous homes in your area!




Credits to and


Victoria Real Estate Market Experiences a Burst of Activity...



A total of 671 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 12 per cent more than the 599 properties sold in November last year. 
"We suggested last month that some buyers may accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a new home in anticipation of the mortgage stress test on uninsured buyers - those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more - that will come into effect on January 1," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "Judging by the sales we saw in November and what I have heard from our REALTOR® members, some buyers have indeed accelerated their purchasing plans to avoid the stress test. This may change the numbers we see in the early months of 2018, as some buyers who had planned to buy next year have bought a bit earlier."
There were 1,764 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2017, a decrease of 7.4 per cent compared to the month of October and 2.8 per cent fewer than the 1,815 active listings for sale at the end of November 2016. 
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2016 was $748,500. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2017 has increased by 10.2 per cent to $824,600, which is slightly higher than October's value of $821,900. 

"So was this November a record breaker?" asks President Balabanian. "While not a record, it is the highest November sales count we've tracked since 1996. It is also rare that we see November numbers beat October numbers. The fact that we've had an unusual month does not necessarily mean that this is the start of a new trend, it is however, a good example of how outside forces can impact a housing market. It's likely there will be more government-led change in the new year and we'll report on the effects of those changes on the market. Our hope is that the different levels of government coordinate their efforts to avoid a negative compounding effect on the market."

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.