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Wednesday , 16 April 2014

Category Archives: Urban Living

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Features on the downtown scene, events and urban living.

London housing fears sound all too familiar

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It’s fascinating to see that Toronto is not the only city where concerns about housing bubbles and over-valuation are almost daily topics of media discussion and analysis. In London, an interesting twist on the story of rapidly rising real estate costs comes from the property appraisal business. According to some, the housing market in England’s capital city is a bubble waiting to burst. A surveyor at a company that specializes in housing valuations for the mortgage market, Sesame Bankhall Valuation Services (SBVS), says that there is mounting evidence of a “bidding frenzy” throughout London, the same scenario that existed when the market crashed five years ago. The surveyor, or home ... Read More »

Where your CPP contributions end up

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Every working Canadian is familiar with the Canada Pension Plan. Since 1965, every worker has contributed to it, the amount each year showing in the little box marked CPP Contributions on the T4 form at tax time. It’s one of the two pillars, the other being Old Age Security, of this country’s public retirement system. But do we know what happens to all that money we send in? In fact, that money is invested by a management group called the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, created by Act of Parliament in 1997. The CPPIB is independent of the plan itself, and operates at arm’s length from government, though its directors ... Read More »

Have you reached Mortgage Freedom Day?

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Everybody has heard of “tax freedom day,” that date on the calendar when we’re supposed to stop working for the government, i.e., paying taxes, and start working for ourselves. It usually comes a couple of days later each year: 2013, June 10; 2012, June 8. (The Fraser Institute, which makes the official calculation, hasn’t released this year’s date.) But in England, they celebrate a different milestone: Mortgage Freedom Day. It is today, and it’s three days earlier than last year. The concept of Mortgage Freedom Day is similar to our tax freedom day. According to the Halifax mortgage lenders in Britain, you calculate it using your net annual income and ... Read More »

More young Canadians want to buy homes: RBC

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The country’s largest residential mortgage lender has a keener than average interest in what its potential customers are thinking about home ownership, and in helping those customers come to the right decision. RBC just released the results of its 21st Annual Home Ownership Poll, and, no doubt to the bank’s delight, more Canadians plan to buy homes this year than did last year. In Ontario, nearly one in four residents—that would be about 3.38 million—indicated that they continue to see home ownership as a good way to invest their money. The Ontario number is remarkable for its large increase over last year, when just one in five residents expressed the ... Read More »

Brands that connect with consumers emotionally do better

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Canadians apparently love home-grown brands. Our favourite “quick service” (formerly known as “fast food”) brand is, what else? Tim Hortons! We love the NHL, Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Tire, Canada Post (?), The Globe and Mail and WestJet. Each of these very well known brands has been named Brand of the Year in its respective category. They maintain their brand strength, according to a Harris Poll Canada EquiTrend survey, by “engaging Canadians emotionally and actively.” What do they mean by brand strength? It’s a measurement, which they call Brand Equity, of the brand’s familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. Do you know the brand? Do you like it? Would you buy ... Read More »

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