Home Sales Up 18%
The Canadian Real Estate Association says 135,182 homes were sold countrywide in the third quarter, up 18 per cent from a year earlier and the most ever for the period.
It's the biggest year-over-year increase since early 2002, the group said Thursday. Nationally, housing sales increased by 18 per cent during the third quarter, the CREA says. Building on two previous quarterly increases, seasonally adjusted home sales on the agency's Multiple Listing Service now stands 48 per cent above the low reached in the fourth quarter last year. Quarterly sales increases in Vancouver (34 per cent), Toronto (11 per cent), and Calgary (19 per cent) were the largest contributors to the national increase. The rise in sales activity is combining with fewer new listings to draw down inventories and drive up prices, compared with year-ago levels, the association said.
There were 208,215 homes listed for sale on MLS in Canada at the end of September 2009, down 16 per cent from a year earlier. That's the fifth consecutive year-over-year decline in active listings and the largest decline in more than six years, the association said.
On the price side, at $327,736, the average price of a home in Canada rose 11 per cent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier. The national average price continues to be skewed upward by a sharp rebound in activity at the higher end of the price spectrum in some of Canada’s priciest markets, the CREA said. The national average price surpassed all previous monthly levels in September 2009, rising 13.6 per cent year-over-year to $331,602. July and August also posted new average price records. Several provinces set price records for September. Ontario posted the highest average price on record in the province.
Residents in several Canadian cities can check out their streets, homes and neighbourhoods on Google Street View.
The Google Maps feature was rolled out this week displaying images on the Internet from a street-level perspective. The service is now available in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax, Vancouver, Squamish, B.C., Whistler, B.C., Ottawa, Kitchener, Ont., and Waterloo, Ont. Once on a Google map, the user clicks and drags the image of a small yellow figure on a left-side scale and places it on the map. A photo of the street, including a 360-degree view, then appears.
In response to privacy concerns, Google has said it would blur the faces of people captured in the photos used in Street View. Street View was earlier made available in the United States and several other countries across Europe and in Australia and Japan. Google began filming Street View images in the Canadian cities brought online today since 2007.
Fall is here and so with it a new set of to-do items. The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation has its own list of things it recommends that homeowners do to prepare for winter.
Ken Ruest, senior researcher in the sustainable housing policy and research group for CMHC in Ottawa, says seasonal maintenance is a good way to protect your investment. He says it also makes sense to do what you can in the fall before it gets really cold. "Winter can be severe. If there are things that can be done while the weather is nice, why not do it then? Some things, as well, are impossible to do in winter. You can't clean your eaves troughs when the leaves inside are frozen solid and it's a matted mess," he says. "There are also safety concerns. If you are going to put a ladder against the house to check the roof, for example, to see if the wind has broken a few shingles off, it's better to do it in the fall than on frozen ground."
Ruest recommends the following:
– Have your furnace and heating system serviced by a qualified technician.
– Check venting systems of all of your equipment to ensure there are no obstructions. For example, check your chimney for things such as bird, squirrel and raccoon nests. If the chimney is blocked, the combustion gases are not going to leave the house. The flue needs to be open. Direct vents should be checked so that there are no bees or wasp nests.
– Clean leaves from eaves troughs and downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
– If you have a heat recovery ventilator, clean the intake grill outside and the filters inside the unit. Pour water down the condensation drain to test it.
– Ensure that the ground around your house slopes away from the foundation wall to prevent water from draining into your basement.
– Check exhaust ducts from dryers, bathroom fans and kitchen ranges that lead to the outside to make sure there are no obstructions. Check under the flaps to make sure nothing is nesting inside and clean it out.
– Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust and remove the grilles on forced air systems, and vacuum inside the ducts.
– Ensure all windows and doors shut tightly, including the door between the house and garage, if you have one. It may be time to do some weather stripping.
– Run the dehumidifier in the basement throughout the fall. It should be run from spring to fall. It helps to remove a lot of moisture.
– If you have interior screens on windows and doors, remove them and store the screens for winter. It promotes better air circulation to warm the glass and it may help to prevent condensation on windows.
For homes in rural areas, Ruest adds: "don't store firewood inside because it brings in a lot of moisture; have well water tested for quality; check the sump pump and line to ensure they work properly; if you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if it needs to be emptied before spring."
"These things can make a difference. They help to maintain your property," Ruest says.
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