27 May



Posted by: Kimberly Walker


 LANGLEY, B.C. – May 27, 2011 – The best of commercial real estate in the Fraser Valley was showcased at an inaugural awards gala presented by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) and the Business Fraser Valley (BFV) newspaper on May 26 at the Langley Coast Hotel & Convention Centre.   

 From a local pub to a seniors’ home to an innovative dairy farm, 11 categories of commercial and mixed use commercial/residential buildings were recognized at the sold-out event attended by local REALTORS®, builders, contractors, architects and developers.

 “As REALTORS® who work with these projects every day, we know how impressive they are,” said Charles Wiebe, Chair of FVREB’s Commercial Executive Council.

 “We wanted everyone to see that Fraser Valley commercial real estate has it all: variety, creativity and quality. Every winner and nominee is world class and that’s what these awards are all about.”

 Of the 11 category winners, the Judges’ Choice Award for best overall went to Abbotsford’s Bakerview Ecodairy, the first demonstration farm of its kind in Canada. Of the 29 nominees from across the Fraser Valley, six projects in Abbotsford and five in Surrey and South Surrey received top honours.  

 The 2011 category winners are:

 Morgan Crossing urban village, 15735-15795 Croydon Dr., South Surrey (Mixed use – commercial/residential)

 Quattro condominiums, 13706 108th Ave., Surrey (Multi-family)                                                                            

 Primrose Gardens senior independent living, 2021 Primrose St., Abbotsford (Community Institutional)

 Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, 9750 140th St., Surrey (Government Facilities)

 Grandview Corners shopping district, 24th Ave. & 160th St., South Surrey (Retail/ Shopping Centres)

 EMCO office building, 32988 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford (Office)

 Loblaw BC Perishables Distribution Centre, 12979 80th Ave., South Surrey (Industrial)

 Finnegan’s Pub/Phoenix Lounge, 33780 King Rd., Abbotsford (Hospitality)

 Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, 13458 107A Ave., Surrey (Recreational)

 Mill Tower corporate building, 34077 Gladys Ave., Abbotsford (Commercial renovation/restoration)

 Bakerview Ecodairy demonstration farm, 1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford (Agri/Industrial)

 Sukh Sidhu, president of the FVREB and a 28-year Abbotsford REALTOR® observed, “Having witnessed firsthand the growth in my community and in the Fraser Valley, I am so proud to see our commercial building excellence being recognized. On behalf of Fraser Valley REALTORS®, we want to congratulate all nominees and award recipients. “

 The event’s main sponsor was RBC Commercial. Also sponsoring the event were RE/MAX Western Canada, the City of Abbotsford, Fortis BC and BFV. The event was coordinated by FVREB’s Commercial Division and BFV.
























26 May

The 5 C’s Of Borrowing – How To Qualify For A Mortgage


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

You — through the eyes of a mortgage lender Golden Girl Finance, On Tuesday May 24, 2011, 11:36 am EDT

If you’re a newcomer to Canada, self-employed, work on commission or have a poor credit history, you may think your chances of qualifying for a mortgage or refinancing are slim to none. Think again. It is often possible to find a way – the trick is seeing yourself through the eyes of a mortgage lender.

The 5 C’s of borrowing

Mortgage lenders look for certain characteristics in potential borrowers. Generally, they’re attracted by five key criteria:

  • Capacity — whether your income is sufficient to repay the mortgage once all your other debts are factored in.
  • Capital — whether the size of your down payment indicates a serious commitment to the property on your part, and sufficient minimization of risk on the part of the lender.
  • Collateral — whether the property is of sufficient value and marketability to cover the amount borrowed.
  • Character — your reputation and reliability, usually based on factors such as your education, employment history and residence.
  • Credit — your history of meeting credit obligations, which is based on credit-bureau records for the past six years.

If your qualifications are less than stellar in any of these areas, a traditional lender may not accept you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a mortgage. Like we said before, it is possible! You just need to find the right match.

Bringing your best qualities to light

Many lenders may be perfectly willing to accept you as long as they view you as a reasonable credit risk overall. For example, if you are new to Canada, lenders may consider you based on the steady nature of your employment or the size of your down payment.

Likewise, if you are newly self-employed and can’t prove a regular income, the lender may instead look at your debt load, credit history and business plan. If these are all very positive, the fact that you don’t have an earnings history may not be so important.

And if your financial reputation is marred by a poor credit history, but you’ve have taken discernable steps to improve your rating and your debts are under control, your current income and down payment may be enough compensation.

Finding your perfect mortgage match

Each mortgage lender has its own particular requirements. Professional advice can go a long way in helping you find the right one. The right lender will be a good match for your situation, so that the mortgage you get meets your needs.

A financial professional can also help you put the steps in place so that you can make the most out of your best qualities and help you overcome mortgage hurdles — whether they’re real or perceived. Remember that you are most often your own worst critic. Let others see the good. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/You-eyes-mortgage-lender-goldengirlwp-2677632851.html?&mod=pf-sp14e

25 May

Mortgage Interest Rate Hike On Hold Until September 2011


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

BoC rate hike on hold until September: RBC

Eric Lam Financial Post May 24, 2011

The Bank of Canada’s plan to raise interest rates and exit its stimulus program has been delayed to September due to renewed uncertainty about the fiscal crunch in Europe and its potential spillover effects into Canada, the team at RBC Economics said Tuesday.

Dawn Desjardins, assistant chief economist with RBC, expects the BoC to maintain its 1.00% rate until September, and has cut the forecast rate to 1.75% by the end of 2011 from 2.00%. RBC maintains expectations for the overnight rate to hit 2.5% in mid-2012, and forecast GDP growth of 3.2% in 2011 and 3.1% in 2012.

RBC had originally forecasted rate hikes in July, September, October and December this year. The bank now only expects hikes in September, October and December, Ms. Desjardins said in an e-mail.

“Combined with already-present downside risks to domestic growth in the second quarter, the Bank of Canada is likely to remain on the sidelines longer than we previously thought,” she said in a note to clients. “Complicating the outlook are global developments with the European sovereign debt crisis bringing fiscal and debt rating concerns to the forefront for investors. In the United States, economic surprises have been to the downside.”

So far, the Canadian economy looks to be holding steady with data suggesting 0.3% growth in March after a dip in February. Monthly growth figures put the economy on pace for 3.7% growth with risks on the upside.

Persistent strength in housing and growth in household credit, however, means the BoC cannot wait too long before taking action to avoid inflationary pressure.

“On balance we remain comfortable with our forecast of real GDP growth of 2.8% annualized in the second quarter although unlike in the first quarter where the risks are to the upside, the risks to our Q2 forecast are to the downside,” she said. http://business.financialpost.com/2011/05/24/boc-rate-hike-on-hold-until-september-rbc/


Have a great day!

13 May

Five Steps To Scoring A Mortgage


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Five steps to scoring a mortgage

Amy Fontinelle Investopedia.com

A variety of factors can keep you from qualifying for a mortgage. The big ones include a low credit score, insufficient income for the size of the loan you want, insufficient down payment and excessive debt. All of these factors are within your control, however. Let’s take a look at your options for overcoming any liabilities you may have as a borrower

1. Repair Your Credit and Increase Your Score

To lenders, your credit score represents the likelihood that you will make your mortgage payments in full and on time every month. Therefore, with most loans, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate will be to compensate for the increased risk of lending you money. If your credit score is below 620, you will be considered subprime and will have difficulty getting a loan at all, let alone one with favourable terms. On the other hand, if you have a credit score above 800, you’ll easily be able to get the best interest rate available (also known as the par rate). (Find out how your borrowing activities affect your credit rating in The Importance Of Your Credit Rating.)

Measures you can take to improve your credit score relatively quickly include paying down revolving consumer debts, such as credit cards or auto loans, using your debit card instead of your credit cards for future purchases, paying your bills on time every month and correcting any errors on your credit report. However, some flaws, like seriously late payments, collections, charge-offs, bankruptcy and foreclosure, will only be healed with time. (Read How To Dispute Errors On Your Credit Report to find out how to address reporting mistakes.)

In addition to managing your existing credit responsibly, don’t open any new credit accounts. Applying for new credit temporarily lowers your credit score, and having too much available credit is also considered a warning sign. Lenders may be afraid that if you have a lot of available credit, you’ll take advantage of it one day and adversely affect your ability to make your mortgage payments. (For more tips and techniques to help you rebuild your ruined credit rating, read Five Keys To Unlocking A Better Credit Score.)

2. Get a Higher-Paying Job

If lenders say your income isn’t high enough, ask them (or your mortgage broker) how much more you need to earn to qualify for the loan amount you want. Then try to find a new job in your existing line of work where you’ll be able to earn that much money.

Because lenders like to see a steady employment history, you’ll have to stay in the same line of work for this strategy to be successful. This can be disappointing news for borrowers, as switching professions entirely might offer the best chances for a salary increase. However, switching companies can also be a good way to get a significant boost in income. Significant raises from existing employers aren’t that common, but a new employer knows he’ll have to offer something special to get you to make the switch. (Read Negotiating For Employment Perks for tips on reaching an agreement with your boss.)

If switching companies right now won’t be enough to get the raise you need, think about things you can do relatively quickly to make yourself more valuable to employers. Is there a continuing education program that you could complete? If you’re a legal secretary, could you become a paralegal? If you’re a receptionist, could you become a secretary? A career counselor or headhunter might be able to give you some guidance specific to your situation about how to improve your marketability and how to reach your income goals. (Read Six Steps To Successfully Switching Financial Careers to learn how to make adjustments without starting over.)

Unfortunately, getting a part-time job on top of your full-time job may not provide what lenders consider qualifying income. The part-time job may be viewed as temporary, and since it will probably take you at least 15 years to pay off your mortgage, lenders are looking for you to have long-term income stability. (Increase Your Disposable Income gives you ideas on how to make more money now, which can make a big difference down the line.)

3. Save Like Crazy

The larger your down payment, the smaller the loan you’ll need. In addition, the lower your loan-to-value ratio (LTV ratio), the less risky lenders will consider you. Both of these factors will make you more likely to qualify for a loan. Be aware that you may have to reach a certain down payment threshold, like 10 per cent or 20 per cent (with 20 per cent being the most conventional), before a larger down payment will help you qualify for a loan. (Learn more in Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?)

4. Don’t Pay More Than the Bank’s Appraised Value

The bank will not want to lend more than the house is worth because they could be on the losing end of the deal, should you foreclose and owe more than the bank could get for it. A 20 per cent down payment also becomes much less valuable if the house is worth 20 per cent less than the purchase price. Collateral value is important to lenders, so it should be kept in mind when making an offer to purchase a property. (Read 10 Tips For Getting A Fair Price On A Home and learn how to make sure your house is worth the price you pay.)

5. Reduce Your Debt

To a lender, what constitutes excessive debt is not a set number – it’s a total monthly debt payment that is too high for you to be able to afford the monthly mortgage payment you’re asking for. When deciding how much loan you qualify for, lenders will look at what’s called the front-end ratio, or the percentage of your gross monthly income that will be taken up by your house payment (principal, interest, property tax and homeowners insurance), and the back-end ratio, or the percentage of your gross monthly income that will be taken up by the house payment plus your other monthly obligations, such as student loans, credit cards and car payments.

The more debt you’re required to pay off each month, whether it’s “good debt” like a student loan or “bad debt” like a high-interest credit card, the lower the monthly housing payment lenders will decide you can afford, and the lower the purchase price you’ll be able to afford. Decreasing your debt is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase the size of loan you’re eligible for. (Learn what to watch for before you find yourself drowning in debt in Five Signs That You’re Living Beyond Your Means.)

Playing to Win

Qualifying for a mortgage isn’t always easy. Lenders require all applicants to meet certain financial tests and guidelines and allow a limited amount of flexibility within those rules. If you want to score a mortgage, you’ll have to learn how to play the game, and you’re likely to win if you take the steps outlined here http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/mortgages/five-steps-to-scoring-a-mortgage/article1925218/page2/




check out www.youtube.com/merixfinancial to view a recorded product webinar



11 May

Heads Up! Mortgage Rates Could Be On Rise..


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Good Morning Heads Up!!

 Bond yields are almost up by 8bps, this means it is quite possible that we will have an increase in our 5yr fixed rate.

 Guaranteed until midnight…Conventional 5yr Fixed – 3.87%…High Ratio 5yr Fixed 3.77%

 You may want to get that deal in the system, but don’t hit the button until the end of the day for the final rate notice.

 Susan Zanchetta, AMP

Account Manager, Lendwise

6 May

Mortgage Penalties


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Why I paid $10,000 to break my mortgage

Tara Walton/Toronto Star  By Bryan Borzykowski |

Last September, my wife and I started scouring the city for a new house. We were living in a cozy bungalow, but with a growing kid and another on the way, we decided it was time to move.

Buying a new house is, of course, expensive, so I wanted to do whatever it took to reduce my costs. Most of the fees couldn’t be avoided, but there was one costly payment I desperately wanted to steer clear from: The mortgage penalty charge.

I had just over 12 months left on my five-year mortgage term, which meant that I either had to break my mortgage or stay with my current lender by transferring my mortgage to my new house. The latter option would have allowed me to avoid the fee. However, my lender couldn’t give me the best interest rate.

The new lender, a bank, was offering a variable rate of 2.25 per cent, a much lower rate than my old lender was willing to offer. I calculated that over the term I’d be better off paying the fee and taking the lower rate.

It was going to cost me $10,000 to break my contract. It felt like an unnecessary cost — I paid my lender so much in interest over the four years, why would I have to cough up so much cash?

I asked my broker to see if the lender would waive the fee, even though I was using a new lender for my next house, but they didn’t. Peter Veselinovich, vice-president of banking and mortgage operations at Investors Group, isn’t surprised. “The charge isn’t negotiable,” he says.

While the penalty may seem like an arbitrary sum, it’s not a cash-grab, he says.

The lender takes mortgage funds from money invested in GICs and other products and then it pays investors interest on those investments.

The idea is to match a five-year mortgage with a five-year GIC, so investors can get paid back at the same time as the mortgage comes due.

If a mortgage is broken, the lender needs to come up with money to fill the gap between the investment coming due and the mortgage ending. Hence the fee. The lender then takes that lump sum and invests it, so it can pay investors back when its GIC comes due.

The penalty is calculated two ways: you either pay 90 days of interest or what’s called an interest-rate differential, which is a penalty based on your old rate and a new rate based on a shorter term.

For example, let’s say you wanted to exit your 5 per cent five-year term with three years left to go. The lender would look at the current three-year term rate, which, say, is 3 per cent, and then charge you interest on the difference, 2 per cent, for 36 months. The sum also depends on how much money you still owe the bank.

However it’s calculated, the payment can be huge.

Darick Battaglia, a mortgage broker and owner of Dominion Lending Centres’ Barrie location, says that while it may seem as though people have to empty their bank account to pay the penalty, ultimately, by paying the lower rate, they’re getting that money back in mortgage savings.

Whether you’re moving houses, or just want to break a mortgage to take advantage of a lower interest rate, people often pay the penalty so they can free up more disposable income.

“It can help people get into a better financial position, because they have more disposable income,” says Battaglia. “They may find that it’s better to invest that money in an RRSP.”

If you’re moving, there are strategies to help reduce the penalty or even not pay it at all.

Almost all mortgages allow people to put a certain percentage of money down on a house every year; I was allowed to pay 20 per cent of my balance every 12 months.

In some cases, lenders will allow you to designate the first 20 per cent — it could be less or more depending on your lender — of the proceeds of a sale of a house towards the prepayment in order to pay down the outstanding balance and so reduce the mortgage penalty.

Investors Group is one institution that allows this, but not all do.

Battaglia has dealt with many lenders who refuse to honor this type of arrangement. They want two checks: one for the prepayment and one to pay off the mortgage.

My own lender refused to let me make one payment; I had to borrow money from my broker, who paid my prepayment three days before closing. I had to pay him back with some of the proceeds of the sale. It was a major hassle. But I did save about $1,500.

Some lenders will eat the fees themselves to retain the business. Again, most want the money. Battaglia says that some banks — he’s seen this happen with Scotiabank and TD — will waive the fee as long as you extend your term. He often uses the penalty as a negotiating tool.

“I’ll tell a lender I’m shopping around and while we’d like to keep a client’s business with your company, what can you do on the penalty?” he says. “A lot of times the penalty gets reduced or it’s paid off by the lender.”

Porting a mortgage to a new house is another way to avoid the fee.

Let’s say you have $100,000 left on a mortgage with a 4 per cent rate, but you need $200,000 more for the new house. The bank will give you the additional money at the new rate, which could be 3 per cent. You’d keep the same term or extend it and now you’d pay a blended rate, in this case 3.5 per cent on $300,000.

“There are no penalty costs, because you’re still honouring the original contract,” says Veselinovich.

Most people will have to open their wallet when they break a mortgage.

Fortunately, you can avoid paying administration fees that the lender will charge you. It’s not necessarily a big cost — Veselinovich says people get charged between $75 and a few hundred dollars — but why pay more money than you have to?

“These fees should be readily negotiable based on your past performance and your relationship with the lender,” he says.

While I did get my penalty reduced by making a prepayment before closing, I still had to write a cheque for about $8,000. It was painful at the time, but now that I’m in my new house, paying a new mortgage at a much lower rate, I don’t think about the penalty anymore.

Now I have to figure out a way to convince Best Buy to give me a deal on TVs http://www.moneyville.ca/article/981221–why-i-paid-10-000-to-break-my-mortgage

3 May

Nine Signs You Can’t Afford A Mortgage


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Nine signs you can’t afford a mortgage

Michele Lerner Investopedia.com

While plenty of individuals live from paycheque to paycheque, most consumers know they should be saving money and reducing debt. The recession has drummed that concept into everyone’s head as people have watched their neighbours and friends lose jobs and sometimes their home.

Many people say that money worries keep them awake at night, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to imminent bankruptcy. How do you know when you are truly teetering on the edge of a financial disaster versus simply needing to do a little belt-tightening?

Here are nine signs that indicate you are heading for trouble and may be unable to pay your mortgage in upcoming months:

1. Late Fees

If you missed a payment or let your bill go past due because you didn’t have the money to pay your mortgage or another bill on time, you need to re-evaluate your budget. Not only does this indicate an imbalance between your income and expenditures, but it will also ruin your credit score, potentially causing your creditors to increase your interest rate.

2. You Can’t Pay All of Your Bills

Every month, you are forced to decide which bills to pay and which bills to ignore. A lot of people opt to pay their credit card bill to stop harassment from the credit card company and to make sure they have available credit. But it is far more important to pay the bills that protect your home first. Always pay your mortgage first so that you will have a place to live. Next, pay for your car so that you can get to work and keep your job.

3. Making Minimum Payments on Credit Cards

In your mind, paying the minimum due on each bill may mean you are keeping up with your financial commitments, but financial experts know that minimum-only payments are a key indicator of financial distress. While this may mean that you carry too much debt, this also means that all your income is barely covering your spending. Take a careful look at your mortgage payment, other debts and your income to get back on track. Paying only the minimum on credit cards will extend your debt for years and amass expensive interest payments.

4. No Emergency Savings

While amassing six to 12 months of funds to cover you expenses, as many financial planners now recommend, may be a monumental task, every homeowner should have at least one month’s worth of expenses in the bank. At the very least, you need to have enough money in a savings account or a money market fund to pay your mortgage for one month if your income drops or disappears. If you cannot save that much money you need to seriously evaluate your overall household budget.

5. You Can’t Afford Maintenance

Your home needs to be painted and your dishwasher broke two months ago. If you are ignoring basic maintenance because you cannot afford to buy paint or call a repairman, this is a significant indication that you are in financial trouble. Not only does this show that you don’t have any emergency savings or a home maintenance budget, but this will also reduce the value of your home.

6. Reduced Income

Money is already tight and now your work hours have been reduced or you have been laid off. If meeting your monthly budget depends on every dime you earn, then even a small reduction in income can be a disaster. Search for a new job or a second job and, at the same time, start slashing your budget as much as you can.

7. Using Credit or Cash Advances to Pay Bills

You are using your credit cards or, even worse, cash advances on credit cards to pay other bills such as a utility bill or to buy groceries or just to have cash in your pocket. This is a strong indication that your spending is outpacing your income and it is extremely expensive. You need to put yourself on a debt management program or perhaps meet with a credit counselor to straighten out your finances.

8. Using Your Retirement Fund

You have borrowed money from your retirement account for your mortgage payment or other debt. This could seriously jeopardize your future financial security.

9. You’re Maxed Out

One or more of your credit card balances has reached or, worse, gone over the limit. If you are transferring your balances to new accounts in order to avoid paying the debt, this is a sign of a financial imbalance. If you are applying for new credit cards because your other cards have reached their limit, you are in serious danger of a financial meltdown. While you may be making your mortgage payments just fine, if you cannot control your use of credit cards it can be an indication that housing payments are too high.

While these financial woes can mean that you cannot afford your home, they may also be a sign that your spending is out of control. For most people, the mortgage payment is the largest monthly bill, so they often assume that the size of their mortgage is the problem. If your housing payment fits into that budget but you are having difficulty making your payment, then the issue may be that you have taken on too much other debt. Whether the problem is your mortgage or your other debt, you need to find a way to reduce your spending and/or boost your income before the situation gets worse.

The Bottom Line

Handling financial problems is never easy, but the first step is always to know what you owe. Solutions can only become clear once you have every bill written down with the amount owed, the monthly payment and the interest rate you are being charged. Pencil and paper work just fine, or you can create a spreadsheet or invest in some personal finance software. The important thing is to know where you stand so you can create a plan that will get your money under control. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/mortgages/nine-signs-you-cant-afford-a-mortgage/article2003996/page2/

2 May

Rent or Buy? "Do the Math"


Posted by: Kimberly Walker

Rent or buy? Do the math

William Hanley, Financial Post · Apr. 28, 2011

A young couple who have been renting in our modest Toronto condo building recently bought a home a couple of miles away in a nice old neighbourhood with the aim of starting a family. The house is a big, detached fixer-upper and the renovation costs will be extensive.

In moving up to the rungs on the property ownership ladder, our young friends are committing themselves to a quantum leap in monthly expenses: They came up with a substantial down payment; they are taking on a mortgage payment, property tax bill and other expenses almost twice as large as their $1,600 rent; and they are spending a large amount on the renovation and other costs associated with buying a house.

It is a story that has unfolded millions of times in Canadian history and one that will continue to unfold because home ownership is deeply ingrained in our culture, a cornerstone of getting established and getting on our way in life. People will make great sacrifices and otherwise twist themselves out of financial and emotional shape to buy into the dream.

They willingly become what we used to call “house-poor,” paying well over the one-third of household income that many professionals believe should be the threshold.

Over the past decade, owning has been a financial success for most people, with prices rising almost in a straight line, with low, low interest rates feeding into the equation and with homeowners’ equity subsequently bounding higher.

And yet, if it has been just about as good as it gets for so long, perhaps conditions are going to deteriorate at least somewhat, with prices likely to stabilize or retreat a little and with interest rates set to rise modestly at least.

Our friends and other buyers this spring will know that Canadian house price gains have been flattening out. The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for February published this week showed house prices gained just 0.1% from January for a 12-month gain of 3.8%. It was the eighth consecutive month of deteriorating gains.

While the forecast of a 25% drop in house prices over the next few years by one widely quoted economist seems far-fetched under present circumstances, a pattern of smaller gains likely signals a flat to slightly lower market.

So, is it time to revisit buying versus renting? For most of the 30% of Canadians who rent their accommodation it’s simply not an option. Getting their hands on a significant down payment and having the flexibility to meet higher payments if rates rise is difficult at best.

But some people with the wherewithal to buy a property might want to keep renting, keep saving and investing, and keep their options open. Other long-time owners might even want to consider selling and renting, thereby locking in their tax-free gains.

If you wish to see how the math works, visit United Mortgage Group’s Rent vs. Buy Calculator website. Even your technodunce reporter could plug in some numbers and come away with worthwhile conclusions.

A two-bedroom condo in our building might sell for $400,000. Let’s say you have a $100,000 down payment, a mortgage rate of 4.5% over five years, a $672 monthly condo fee, $200 a month in property taxes and other expenses of, say, $100 month.

Let’s also say that a two-bedroom might rent for $1,600 a month in the building, other costs might total $100 a month and the rent might rise 2% a year over five years.

All other things considered, the purchased condo would have to appreciate 2.33% a year, selling at $441,571 to match the gain made by renting a similar property in the building and investing the difference in outgoings at a conservative 2.5% a year.

The other way around, an owner could sell for $400,000 — with net proceeds of about $375,000 — and rent for $1,600 a month. The $375,000 could pay a conservative net return of, say, $10,000 a year. That $1,600 a month plus $100 in expenses would add up to $20,400 a year.

But deduct the net investment return of $10,000 a year and the condo fees of $672 a month, property tax of $200 and other expenses of $100 (for $11,664 a year), and the monthly rent for the former owner is basically paid. Or the former owner could invest the $10,000 a year and still end up paying only about $728 a month more than he was when he was owning.

Of course, this is just the rough math, which doesn’t take into account other factors, such as pride of ownership, the sense of place and the strong probability of building equity.

But geez. If I could live in the building basically for what I’m paying now in fees, taxes and insurance (by deploying my $10,000 a year investing return), and have my $375,000 to “invest” in winters in Waikiki and nice overnighters in Niagara-on-the-Lake, well then ….

It’s a thought, but only that. They’ll probably carry me out of here feet first from our condo, the equity in which may one day be needed to help us out in one of the emergency situations that can arise in older age.

Meantime, it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to do some math and determine what’s best financially for them — renting versus buying. And then, of course, throw the math out the window and succumb to the emotional tug of home and hearth. http://www.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages/Rent+math/4691358/story.html