Get Off the Fence!

Are you sitting on the fence - wondering if you should buy a home right now? If you've been afraid to invest in the real estate market because of the unstable economy, you may be missing a real opportunity.

The Kids are Alright

If you're a first-time homeowner, the federal government is giving you the ultimate Canadian double-double: The option to withdraw as much as $25,000 from your RRSP (compared to $20,000 in 2008) and a First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit of up to $750 when buying your first house.

More Choice
There are also more homes available for sale; in many parts of Canada, it remains a buyers' market.

"There is a greater selection in housing stock and more time to make a decision and put an offer on a home, without the intense competition," writes Globe Investor columnist, Angela Self.

Avoid the HST

If you live in Ontario, you'll want to buy a home before the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) takes effect July 1st, 2010. Pay 8% less in real estate transaction fees now compared to this time next year. Protect yourself from condo fee increases when repairs and maintenance companies also start charging the HST.

Moving On Up

If you're thinking of moving to a bigger home, the time is ripe. Larger properties have seen the most significant drops in price, so you can save tens of thousands of dollars on your dream home. Larger homes also tend to appreciate more in up markets, so you will win on both ends.

Mortgage Rates Still Low

In case you're fretting that you missed the "Great Canadian Mortgage Sale" (to quote a Globe and Mail columnist), fear not...  Interest rates remain low.

Not Future-Proof... But What Is?

Ten years - the maximum amount of time you can lock in an interest rate - is too long a period of time to worry about, according to Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association. "You can get hit by a bus at any time," he says, adding that your job will probably be paying higher in five years' time. "To me, my home was never an investment," says Simpson. "I had to be somewhere, so I never thought about five or 10 years down the road.”

Don't Wait Too Long

The latest Canadian Real Estate Association data shows May 2009 resale home prices rose 0.4 per cent to $319,757 - topping the previous record set a year earlier. It was the first year-over-year increase since May last year. Sales activity climbed for a fourth straight month.

So, are you going to get off the fence and make a homebuying decision?

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