Daily Market Update

Canada needs tighter lending rules… Builders concerned about rising development charges… Which moving expenses are tax deductible?... And data confirms that foreign buyers are taking over…


Canada needs tighter lending rules

The outgoing boss of the Toronto-Dominion Bank says that Canada needs tighter lending rules to stem the high levels of consumer debt encouraged by the low interest rates. Ed Clark says that it’s not something that banks would chose to do on their own; a unilateral approach would only make that bank uncompetitive; it needs to come from the federal government. Of course the government has stepped in, not once but four times since the financial crisis, but Clark believes there is more that could be done. He steps down as CEO in November and will be succeeded by the current COO Bharat Masrani. Read the full story.


Builders concerned about rising development charges

In a few weeks time builders in Ottawa will be faced with increased municipal charges for their developments. The fees, which cover everything from roads and sewers to the light railway project, will rise by 30 per cent inside the Greenbelt and 22 per cent outside it. This will add an extra $5,000 to each single unit. In Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver this may not be such an issue; the extra cost could be absorbed into the overheated prices, but in Ottawa there has already been a slowdown in construction. Not all experts think that the extra costs will have such a high impact though. There is a school of thought that extra development fees are seen by buyers as a good thing, because they are spent on improvements in their city. Read the full story.


Which moving expenses are tax deductible?

The Canada Revenue Agency has issued guidance to clarify when moving expenses can be offset against tax bills. For example moving home in order to take up a new job or work location may be a deductible expense, however moving on renewal of an existing contract under the same terms is almost certainly not. There is also an example in which an employer moves an employee to another location and the employee moves home from a rented property. He is not allowed to terminate the lease early and continues to pay it while also paying for a home in his new location. The rules would have allowed a deductible expense if he had cancelled the lease but not if he continued to pay the rent. The technical interpretations of the rules will perhaps prompt buyers to seek advice from an accountant as a layperson’s view of what is meant may differ from that of the CRA. Read the full story.


Foreign buyers are taking over…but it’s Canadians in Florida

The National Association of Realtors in Florida has confirmed that Canadians are still the number one buyers of property in the state. The new report shows that US$2.2 billion was spent by Canadians in the Sunshine State last year, accounting for 31.6 per cent of all international transactions. Even though there has been a shift towards buying recreational homes in domestic markets these figures show that we still like a bit of southern sunshine; Canadians are the top foreign buyers in Florida for the seventh year in a row. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater is the favourite place to buy followed by Naples and Fort Lauderdale. Prices are typically below US$200,000. Read the full story.

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