SilverBeam Homes Blog

The BC “Cooling Off” Legislation and What It Means 

by Bevony on February 11, 2022 Comments Off on The BC “Cooling Off” Legislation and What It Means 

Some new measures have been proposed by the provincial government. The aim of these is to protect the rights of consumers during the buying process. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we all watched the housing and mortgage markets heat up to unprecedented levels. One of the most common occurrences is condition-free offers. 

Competition is high, and there were bidding wars everywhere. Many potential buyers are submitting offers without financing. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and we expect to see it remaining fierce throughout the end of this year. 

The provincial government in British Columbia took steps to address the situation. The legislation allows buyers to back out of a sale. This is only allowed in a “cooling-off” period. 

The legislation is nice, since people know they are protected while making such a big decision as purchasing real estate, which is also investing in their future. This is especially necessary during a time like this, when the housing market is heightened. People want peace of mind, and an assurance that they are making the right choices. 

When We Can Expect The Legislation?

The legislation is expected to arrive in Spring of 2022 at the earliest. In the meantime, the steps for changing the current system remain unclear. 

The intention of the move is to provide protection for consumers during purchasing processes. Some think this measure may stoke the BC housing market further than it already is. Realtors believe it will complicate the buying stage of the process, making it more difficult. If anybody can walk away at any time, it will make it hard for the realtor to make sense of the quality of what they are offering/listing or receiving. 

At the buyer end of the spectrum, if buyers don’t have to show financial conditions, we can find other bidders increasing the purchase price or the size of a down payment. This will be bad for the already high house prices on the market. 

Lenders have been slow to react and make adjustments. But they are aware of how commonplace, condition-free offers are, and that they are increasing in the marketplace. 

If you want to own a home your alternative to buying is building your own. Here at Silver Beam Homes, we can help you with this dream. Call us today.

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BevonyThe BC “Cooling Off” Legislation and What It Means 


by Bevony on February 4, 2022 Comments Off on  

Canadians Seek to Grow Wealth Outside of Housing

The housing market across the country has soared to heights that so many of us cannot reach. Buying a home is entirely unaffordable for the majority of Canadians and for many others the debt that a mortgage incurs is simply not justifiable. Many potential buyers are using their down payment for investments such as art and stocks so they can appreciate their wealth. 

Canadian stocks are very advantageous today because they have high free cash flow yields. The real estate market is offering the opposite of this. People are finding investment opportunities in index funds of natural resources and financial. Both are expected to do well even during inflationary times, like we are experiencing now. 

The risk of rising interest rates makes it even harder for some people to justify a mortgage. Consider a rate increase that could make a million dollar mortgage hard to carry. And what does one million get you in this market anyway? Depending on location, it could be only a one bedroom apartment. Yes, for many, renting is now better than owning. Along with trading stocks, there are also cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens – NFTs that make investors money. There has also been a boom in digital art. 

In December 2021, the average cost of a Canadian home was $713,500. That price was up by 17.7% from 2020. Costs have risen even higher in more populated areas of the country. In Vancouver, the average cost is $1,910,200. Clients who were waiting on prices to drop find the market is now completely out of their reach. Any house currently under 2 million will have a bidding war when it hits the market. 

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Benefits of Planning for Future Repair Costs

by Bevony on January 28, 2022 Comments Off on Benefits of Planning for Future Repair Costs

We all want to take care of our things, especially when they are expensive to acquire. You take your car to the car watch, and you change your oil when you are supposed to. You take your clothes to the dry cleaners, and polish your shoes. But when it comes to our homes, we often skip routine maintenance because we are never prepared for it. A home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime, and it should be the one thing we try to keep up the maintenance for.  

It can be hard to stay caught up on home maintenance projects. But when you do, you prevent costly repairs and bigger future problems. 

Why Home Maintenance is Important

Regular home maintenance is a good investment. Yes, it will add things to your to-do list, but they will all be worth your time. When you keep up with monthly tasks around your home, you can prevent major damage and prevent high spending over time. Here are five reasons to stay on top of your home maintenance this year.

Save Money 

If you routinely check your home, you can save yourself a lot of money. Routine maintenance can help you avoid issues by fixing small problems that left overtime, and can become large and expensive problems. 

Enhance the Quality of your Home Life 

If your AC or water heater breaks, your home life will get a huge interruption. If you do annual checks on your AC units and water heaters, you can avoid problems. You can identify problems that can cause long-term damage. And you don’t have to take cold showers while you figure out how to fix something. 

Adds to Market Value

Most homes will appreciate over time. With curb appeal, you could add 10% in value for your home. Maintaining your home with a fresh coat of paint and replacing broken driveway tiles, bricks or slabs can make a huge difference.   

Extends the Life of your Appliances

Your washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and other home appliances come with high price tags. But they are needed for your comfort and some for everyday life. Simple upkeep can ensure that these remain in good condition, so they can continue to serve you and your family.  Maintenance of these is quite easy too. Your stove needs to be cleaned with the right cleaning solutions, etc. 

Increase the Safety of your Home 

When you maintain your home and yard, you are securing your property and keeping yourself and your family safe. Burglars tend to target homes with overgrown bushes. Each season comes with its own set of needs for maintenance. If you can’t do it all yourself, you can hire the right professionals based on your needs and budget.  

There are a lot of perks to regular home maintenance. Saving money, improving home value, keeping you and your family safe are just some benefits of regularly taking care of small tasks around your home. 

What kind of TLC does your home need right now?

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Canada’s Inflation Rate Rises to a 30 Year High of 4.8%

by Bevony on January 21, 2022 Comments Off on Canada’s Inflation Rate Rises to a 30 Year High of 4.8%

At the end of December 2021, the Consumer Price Index had increased by 4.8% for the year. With food costs increasing, the cost of living has risen the fastest we have seen since 1991. Statistics show grocery prices have risen by 5.7%, which is the largest gain since 2011. The two things that are mainly affecting the price of groceries would be weather conditions in growing regions and disruptions in the supply chain also due to the weather. 

Just How Much Has Food Prices Increased?

Apple prices increased by 6.7%, and oranges saw an increase of 6.6%. With the United States being the major supplier of oranges, having bad weather and citrus greening in the major growing region. Orange export and production numbers have fallen their smallest since 1945. This not only affects the price of the fruit, but also the price of frozen concentrate and any commodity it is used in. We are seeing that price increase, with the cost of orange juice doubling in the last few months. 

Other food prices are increasing too, such as frozen beef, which has gone up by 12% over the prices of 2021. Ham and Bacon have also increased in price by 15%. 

With supplier’s costs going up, retailers have to pass on the increases to their customers. Kendra Sozinho, Fiesta Farms grocery store manager, indicates she has never seen a price jump like this one in her 20 years working for the company. 

Current new rules which forbid unvaccinated truck drivers from entering the country could make price hikes more likely in the coming weeks and months. 

As pandemic spending winds down, we expect to see a decrease in pent-up demand, which is one thing driving price increases. We still expect challenges in inflation and the supply chain. 

What is Happening Outside the Food Industry?

Expect to see more rate hikes! Food is not the only thing that we are going to see price increases on  in the future. Shelter prices have increased by 5.4% over last year, which is even higher than the overall inflation rate. Worst is that the factors pushing up shelter costs are all local Canadian problems. 

Yes, domestic issues are what drives housing inflation. There is also the weather driving up insurance costs, which affects homeowners and dwellers. 

Politicians Weigh In

Pierre Poilievre blamed the inflation on the federal government. He is a conservative finance critic who believes that a nation such as Canada should be able to keep prices down. Poilievre told reporters that the biggest increases we have seen on consumer products are on stuff that we source here in Canada. 

He calls home price inflation a “home-grown” problem, and argues that all blame regarding the inflation should be placed on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He noted that the more the Prime Minister spends, the more prices go up. 

Early in the pandemic, we saw lending rates reduced to all time lows. This stimulated the economy, but two years later the housing market has seen skyrocketing prices and reduced listings. 

Investors Weigh In

Investors believe there is a 75% chance of a rate hike soon. While inflation is expected to come down over the year, it is necessary for the Bank of Canada to require tighter financial conditions.  

If we saw any relief at all, it was with gas prices. We saw a drop of 4.1% during one month, which is the largest monthly drop since April 2020. But gas prices are still high compared to 2020 rates. 

How is inflation affecting you? We’d love to hear in the comments!

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BevonyCanada’s Inflation Rate Rises to a 30 Year High of 4.8%

New Home Sales Record for British Columbia

by Bevony on January 14, 2022 Comments Off on New Home Sales Record for British Columbia

Throughout the end of November 2021, British Columbia saw 117,965 unit sales, which surpassed the 2016 record of 112, 425 sales. This new record was made for 2021 without December’s total. 

The B.C Real Estate Association notes, the first part of 2021 had a lot of high volume sales, and this is what pushed up the number. Every market of the province saw records being set through spring. Then the numbers settled down during the summer, only to gain momentum into the fall and winter months. 

It is interesting that these record sales were seen while there were reports of a record low inventory. Both of these can’t be true, and the sales numbers do not lie. There are now new listings on the market, and these are seeing activity. So pretty much everything that came into the market was being bought. While the new supply is good, the rebuilt inventory is still low. And because the new inventory is being bought, the total inventory is still looking on the low side. 

The data showed the average British Columbia home price was just a little under a million dollars. This increased 22.1% since November 2020, where the average home prices were $814,310. 

Factors Affecting the Increase

Another factor affecting the price increase is the pandemic induced relocation demand. This is especially true of people moving out of Vancouver. Persons with Vancouver income were moving to different areas of the province that had a lower supply, and so this caused price increases. 

There were people looking for single detached homes and generally more space. Because more people were looking for these types of homes and features, they became more expensive. So this skewed the average a little bit. 

Average Home Prices 

Chilliwack – $794,605

Fraser Valley – $1,107,374

Victoria – $987,970

Greater Vancouver – $1,241,774

With just over 16,000 homes for sale in British Columbia, there is a short supply indeed, as usually the Vancouver area alone has that number of listings. The tightest market in the province is the Capital Region District and Victoria. The population is approximately 400,000, and there are just 672 active. One issue with this area is that people that retire here don’t often move away. 

Anybody looking to retire, whether in Victoria or in British Columbia, is bringing demand, but there is no major increase in supply. 

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BevonyNew Home Sales Record for British Columbia

Vancouver’s Affordability Crunch is Spreading to Smaller Municipalities

by Bevony on January 5, 2022 Comments Off on Vancouver’s Affordability Crunch is Spreading to Smaller Municipalities

2022 assessed value notices are out! And they are showing a 40% jump or more for homes in some of British Columbia’s suburbs. The new data shows the increase up across the province. Some smaller suburbs and communities are hit the hardest. 

More affordable parts of Fraser Valley are seeing major increases. In Chilliwack, the average increase is 40% over the past year. In Langley we are seeing increases of 38% while in Abbotsford we are seeing increases of 39%. 

When you look at the cost of a single family home in Vancouver, which was already sky high, we are seeing an increase of 16%. This means an approximate average of $2 million. These numbers show how the affordability problem in Vancouver is spreading to other towns. 

Challenges Ahead 

There may be some serious challenges ahead as these price increases will mean locals can’t buy. Locals won’t be able to purchase as the local income has not increased to these sizable property value increases. 

Homeowners will welcome the increases whether they plan to sell or not. But this really is another blow to anybody hoping to get into the housing market. It will also be a major worry for renters as they will be affected too. If you have a leasehold property when the assessed value goes up your annual costs, paid over to the government will increase too. 

Retired individuals with recreational properties may not be able to keep their properties since they are on a fixed income. Others on fixed incomes may find they are unable to afford to keep their properties as well. 

What’s Needed to Address the Affordability Crunch?

When the assessment is done, there is no differentiation between freehold properties and leasehold properties. To address this affordability crunch that seems to be growing there are a number of factors that come into play. These include demand, supply and financing measures.  

There is also the need to look at emerging housing disruptors such as Airbnb and people who own multiple homes. The marketplace is under particular pressure due to the idea of housing for investment rather than for use as a home. And this was before the pandemic hit. 

B.C 2022 Assessment Notices

B.C Assessment is the authority within the province that determines how homes across the province are valued. This is done yearly for official records as well as for tax purposes. The current 2022 assessment notices reflect a property’s market value as at July 1st 2021. 

B.C Assessment notes the market is still very active, and property owners can only expect to see more of these higher assessments in 2022. Over the past two years, a heightened demand for homes has caused an increase in property values in both traditional hot spots and smaller towns. Across the Lower Mainland area, gains average between 10% and 30%. There were increases of more than 30% in Delta, Coquitlam and Surrey. In Chilliwack, the average worth of single-family properties is $877,000, and in Hope $620,000 up by 45%. 

Over in the City of Vancouver, we see where condos have seen increases on the lower end of the spectrum with single digit increases. 

Total overall assessments for the Lower Mainland area have increased to $1.75 trillion in 2022, coming from $1.46 trillion in 2021. Over $23.7 billion updated assessments are coming from new construction, property rezoning and subdivisions. 

According to the B.C Real Estate Association, 2021 December home sales hit a new high. The average house price is now almost at 1 million dollars, up by 22.1% from November 2020 prices. 

Vancouver Island Increases

On Vancouver Island the data is similar with Tofino seeing increases of 42% and Port Alberni up to 47%. The increased demand in homes in smaller cities and rural areas also drives the increase in assessments. 

Parksville, Duncan, North Cowichan, the Gulf Islands and Sooke, to name a few, saw 30% increases. 

The overall increase for Vancouver Island, according to the B.C Assessment, is $343 billion for 2022, coming from $269 billion in 2021. The biggest increase the region saw was in Peachland, with an increase of 39% in assessments of single family properties from 2021 to 2022. 

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BevonyVancouver’s Affordability Crunch is Spreading to Smaller Municipalities

Laneway Homes Decreasing Real Estate Value in Affluent Neighborhoods

by Bevony on December 30, 2021 Comments Off on Laneway Homes Decreasing Real Estate Value in Affluent Neighborhoods

A new study done in Vancouver’s west side now shows that residents are more interested in privacy. Privacy is more important to them than even the gentlest density. The study data was published in the Journal of Urban Economics. The data shows how having laneway homes next door in affluent areas can decrease property value by 3.8%. 

Back in 2019, we saw an increase in laneway homes, and we even have a blog post of their emergence. Now in 2021 and into 2022, we are seeing that homeowners want to avoid density. We are not seeing a negative effect on lower and median valued home. But neighborhoods with higher value properties are taking the hit. The effects are seen mainly on Vancouver’s west side. Here we are seeing a decrease of 5% to 7%, but when we go to the East, we are not seeing this effect. 

The data used in the study was extracted from Vancouver real estate sales recorded from 2009 to 2017. Data on sales prices of properties neighboring laneway homes was analyzed. The data shows a negative spillover of building new laneway homes that increase density. The data suggests privacy loss is the main factor.

What are Laneway Homes Anyway?

Laneway homes are similar in structure to garages. But instead of housing cars, they house people. You can read our post on Laneway Homes to find out more about them. That post talks about their history, and why they started being built and used. So it is easy to see how one may feel like you have less privacy if your neighbor has a laneway home. The data suggests 75% of homeowners are not bothered by small density increases around them. But the 25% that are bothered, have pricier homes and are not OK with the loss of privacy. 

What the Numbers Look Like 

There is opposition to increasing density, though it is beneficial to social good to have more particular types of housing units. The study shows that houses within 100 meters of a property with laneway homes on the West Side saw a 2.8% lower sale price. Houses immediately beside a property with a Laneway house saw a 3.8% decrease compared to houses beside those that had a garage but no Laneway home. Houses with the highest values, with a laneway home next door, saw a 4.7% decrease in value.  

Since 2009, developers and homeowners in Vancouver have added some 3000 laneway homes to properties. This, along with rezoning 95% of single family properties, has been a key component of the house strategy to allow 1.5 story homes. 

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Enjoy Spring Flowers on Your Windowsill This January

by Bevony on December 18, 2021 Comments Off on Enjoy Spring Flowers on Your Windowsill This January

Due to the very wet fall of 2021, many garden stores still have a big selection of bulbs available. We have been through a difficult season that has forced us to seek comfort, stability and tradition. So many British Columbians have suffered hardships and losses due to extreme weather events and COVID-19 related issues. For many of us the simple plant on the windowsill could do a world of wealth in lifting our spirits. 

Find yourself some specially prepared heat treated bulbs such as Paperwhite narcissus which is a common choice for the holidays. These are great for your own home or even to be used as gifts for your family and friends that need a bit of cheer. 

Caring for Your Bulbs 

You can have them in soil in pots or for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation you can have them set on stones in a glass container creating a display out of their roots. For optimal performance you want to start them off cool. You will need to get them early enough so they can spend 10 days in outdoor temperatures running from 5 to 10 degrees C. This ensures root development. When the roots are established you will start seeing green leaves. When you keep the bulbs cool their flower stems will remain compact as they emerge. Then you can bring your plants inside to watch them bloom. The cooler you keep them, the more compact they will be which will mean they will be more attractive. When the flowers open, you will not only be enjoying their beautiful bloom but also their unique perfume.  

Other Flower Options

Prepared Hyacinths are another option. They are more compact and have a more powerful fragrance. Keep them cool to ensure their beauty will last long. 

Amaryllis flowers are a stunning visual option but they do not have a scent. Their striking color and the way their petals unfold always make a big statement. You can find these pre-started, in bud or ready to bloom in pots but you can still purchase bulbs and follow the instructions above. The bigger the bulbs, the larger the flower. Pot these bulbs so the top third is above ground. This will create a unique look that is full of character. Keep these beside a cool window so they can develop at a slow pace for the best results. 

Get to Planting!

It is the perfect time to start potting your bulbs for enjoyment next year indoors. These flowers in bloom will be a stunning addition to your home or can be great for gifts to friends and family members. If you are choosing non-prepared bulbs you will have a wide variety to consider choosing from. Just remember that not all bulbs are suitable for early forcing. Some of the easiest and best options to choose are Hyacinths, Crocuses and Tete-a-tete daffodils. 

Get smaller pots running 4 to 6 inches in size. Many potting soil is very lightweight so you can add some sand to the mix. Push the bulbs deep into the soil and cover with sand. This will prevent them from lifting out of the pot. 

Europeans on Top Planting Bulbs

Europeans have a different approach. Instead of burying the bulbs, they place them on top of the soil. This way the bulbs themselves offer some beauty before they bloom. Using more decorative pots also helps to improve the overall aesthetic look and feel of the plant on display. These top planted bulbs can be covered with some sand to keep them stable. 

These top planted bulbs will need 4 to 6 weeks to cool so their roots can develop. This time will also allow the flower stems to push out of the bulbs. Find a cool place that is above freezing to place these bulbs. This is a very crucial point for their development. You can place them outside in a southern or western spot and cover them with bark or sawdust so they don’t freeze while their roots are growing. 

Once rooted some bulbs will show stem growth. At this point they are ready to go indoors to start blooming. Crocuses are known to emerge first then Hyacinths and then the Tete-a-tete daffodils. Some minor bulbs will also work well. These include Grape Hyacinth, Scilla Campanulata and Chionodoxa.   

What bulbs will you be choosing this season to lift your spirits and the spirits of your loved ones? Just remember to keep them cool for the best blooms come January. 

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BevonyEnjoy Spring Flowers on Your Windowsill This January

Housing Market Pricing Canadians out of Small Towns

by Bevony on December 9, 2021 Comments Off on Housing Market Pricing Canadians out of Small Towns

It is not only in larger cities like Vancouver and Toronto that are feeling the surge in home prices. As more people leave the big cities to find more affordable real estate, they are hit with the reality that the cost of real estate in smaller towns has also increased. What does this mean for the people who grew up in these towns and cities? 

House prices have changed dramatically and it has left a lot of people angry, upset and bewildered. A lot of people have left the big cities and a lot of those are young people. They have gone on in search of more affordable houses and as such have driven up house prices there. So now people who were born and raised in these smaller towns and cities are having to struggle to be able to afford a home due to the increase in new homeowners from outside. Not only have home prices increased but traffic has increased, people are fighting for daycare spots, access to vets, doctors etc. Everything has changed for people living in smaller towns and cities. With no change to infrastructure and more people migrating to these areas it will be tough for city dwellers. 

Housing Prices Affecting Many Aspects of Life

The price increase on houses does not only affect those searching for a home to buy. In this case we can see how it has driven up traffic congestion in smaller cities, has caused strain on the economy of these cities, causing shortages in care for children, animals and more. More vehicular traffic equals more pollution.

People born and raised in these smaller towns who had dreams of staying in their area and buying their own home are now needing to look outside. Many young people had a good life prior to the pandemic and had pictured themselves living in their city for the long haul. Many people had their down payments saved up and were working their way to making a purchase. Now rising prices may mean they can’t afford a home, even with the down payment they had saved up. 

It’s hard to keep an optimistic outlook in a situation like this. Especially for those who have taken a hit to their income. Many responsible young people now can’t see the benefits of their savings due to increased housing prices. Many saw an impending crash in the housing market and expected prices to fall. Now instead of being able to afford more houses with their budget they really can’t afford a home or simply can’t. 

Did you have your heart set on purchasing a home in a small city or town? Have the increasing prices priced you out of a home? Let us know what is happening in your small town below.

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2021 – A Record Year for Canadian Home Sales

by Bevony on December 3, 2021 Comments Off on 2021 – A Record Year for Canadian Home Sales

In November 2021 the Canadian Real Estate Association released national home sales statistics. The statistics showed that 2021 had set another yearly record where home prices were concerned and the year is not even done yet.  These high house prices are bringing investor capital into the market just as a number of recent reports had suggested. 

The analysis of the data indicates that more Canadians are purchasing homes as investment properties than as principal residences. Often these already have their primary residence and the phenomenon is continuing to grow. Online data from the Bank of Canada supports this reflecting mostly domestic investors. 

What is Causing This Influx of Investors into the Market?

Many of these residents are using the equity in their primary residences to purchase new vacation homes and investment properties in coveted spots. Many are making this move as they see housing as a safer way to invest their money leaving the financial markets behind. Real estate continues to attract people thanks to all the records in price gains seen since the summer of 2020. 

How the Trend Has Changed

TheToronto housing boom of 2020 was driven by end users but this is not the trend we are seeing for 2021. New investors are playing the majority role in driving up the real estate prices this year. 

In the summer, we saw where home price growth cooled off a bit. Now we see the market heating up. In October we saw the prices increase more than 23% over the prices of October 2020. The data shows an increase in activity from multi-property owners. There are borrowers with 2 or 3 active mortgages. These homeowners have their primary property in addition to one or more vacation homes. 

There are also those who have four or even more than four mortgages. These are most likely real estate investors. Homeowners in the latter group increased by 15% in 2021 for the months April to June when compared to the same period in 2019. This increase was highest in Ontario with a 21% increase and in Quebec with a 16% increase. 

How Long Can Investors Remain Optimistic?

The concern now is that these investors could cause the prices to increase at a faster rate, locking out others looking to buy a home as their primary residence. Investors are less constrained by income when considering a property for purchase. Investors are looking to turn a profit by re-selling a home at a higher price. This is why investors aren’t deterred by rental income being under the costs of the home. As long as investors are optimistic prices will continue to rise because they are usually willing to pay higher prices and have money at their disposal. This is similar to the type of investor psychology seen in 2016 to 2017 in Toronto. This was followed by the government stepping in with the mortgage stress test requirements.

What Happens if Investor Optimism Continues?

Expectations of future price gains can expose the housing market to a higher correction chance. If this happens it is not just investors that will feel the squeeze. Many households  have their wealth and access to credit tied to their home value. This could lead to a housing market crash of 2007 and 2008 in the United States. The good news is that our country’s financial system is quite resilient so we can envision a horizon with little to no calamity. 

Still, if housing prices were to drop significantly this could affect household spending and even have repercussions on employment. So there’s a lot at stake as we watch Canada’s housing market prices. 

Check out our last post on this topic and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Bevony2021 – A Record Year for Canadian Home Sales