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Friday, September 30, 2011

Canadian housing market growing in face of economy jitters

OTTAWA — Canada’s housing market “remains a notable out-performer” in comparison to other countries, where renewed doubts about the strength of the global economy are weakening an already fragile real-estate scene, says a report released Tuesday.

The Bank of Nova Scotia said in an assessment of the global housing market that high unemployment, concerns over the financial health of some European governments, signs the global economic recovery is slowing down and recent stock-market volatility are burdening residential real-estate markets around the world.
For many people, saving money and repaying debt have become bigger priorities than making major purchases, such as homes, the report said.

“We expect global housing demand to remain moribund until the global economic recovery gets back on a firmer footing and some financial market stability returns,” said Adrienne Warren, senior economist with Scotia Economics.

Canada is one of just three of the nine developed countries assessed that saw year-to-year price growth, adjusted for inflation, in its housing market in this year’s second quarter. There was five per cent price growth, on average, in the April-to-June period.

“Ultra-low interest rates will continue to support affordability in the face of record high prices,” Ms. Warren said of Canada. “Nonetheless, heightened economic uncertainty, combined with recent signs of a loss of momentum in Canada’s jobs market, could keep some potential buyers on the sidelines for the time being.

“On balance, we anticipate a modest slowdown in the volume of sales transactions heading into year end, alongside relatively flat prices.”

Posted in: Economy, Investing, Mortgages, Personal Finance, Real Estate Tags: Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada housing market, global economy, housing, real estate

Thursday, September 29, 2011


191 Cameron, Hudson
Open House on Sunday, October 4th. 2-4
This quality built cottage is waiting for has open concept living room/dining room/kitchen plus a finished playroom. Builder, Richard Chicoine is known for his quality construction and high end finishing. Look no further...this is the house for you!

Sweet dessert a must for Jewish New Year table

In the Jewish religion and tradition, no dish symbolizes the beginning of the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) more than honey cake.

Rosh Hashanah, which begins on the evening of Sept. 28, signifies the Day of Judgment, when Jews examine their thoughts and deeds and pray that God will remember them favourably. Through prayer, charity and repentance, man’s sins will hopefully be forgiven, and they will be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Jews celebrate what will hopefully be a "sweet" New Year — thus the importance of honey as an ingredient. People for generations have been baking honey cakes as an integral part of the holiday meal.

Every chef has his or her secret ingredient such Coca-Cola, steeped tea or coffee. Below are two takes on this must-have for the Rosh Hashanah dessert table.

Honey cake improves with age — so bake ahead and freeze.


Yummy Yomtov Honey Cake

1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins

1 teaspoon (5 mL) flour

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon

1/2 cup (125 mL) oil

2 small jars baby food carrots

2 eggs

2 tablespoons (25 mL) honey

1. Put raisins in water to plump. Drain and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) flour.

2. In a large bowl sift remaining dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl blend wet ingredients.

4. Combine dry and wet ingredients and then add raisins. Mix well.

5. Pour into greased 5-by 9-inch (13-by 23-cm) loaf pan. Set oven to 350°F (175°C).

6. Bake 50 minutes. Cool then wrap in foil and refrigerate.


Traditional Honey Cake

3/4 cup (175 mL) oil

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 cup (250 mL) honey

2 3/4 cups (625 mL) flour

2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) each: cinnamon and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

1/2 cup (125 mL) cooled strong coffee

1/3 cup (75 mL) orange juice

2 tablespoons (25 mL) Triple Sec

(orange liqueur)

1/2 cup (125 mL) slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2. Cream the oil, sugar, and egg yolks. Add honey.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg cinnamon and salt together.

4. Dissolve baking soda in coffee. Combine coffee mixture, orange juice and Triple Sec.

5. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with coffee and orange juice mixture.

6. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form and fold into batter. Pour into a greased 9-by 13-inch pan (23-by 33-cm) or two 5-by 9-inch (13-by 23-cm) loaf pans. Sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 50 minutes.

Source: adapted from the book I Can't Believe it's Kosher.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Take your best shot at photo walk in Hudson

Calling all shutterbugs: The 4th annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk comes to town Saturday, Oct. 1. Several walks are scheduled to take place in the Montreal area, including one in Hudson.

Last year, more than 30,000 photographers participated in photo walks in more than 1,000 different locations on the planet, taking close to 6 million images in the one-day event celebrating photography. The walk's founder, Scott Kelby, is a photographer and author of numerous books on photography and on Photoshop techniques.

Jennifer Frezza, a Hudsonbased professional photographer, will be leading the photo walk event in Hudson, offering camera tips along the way. Other photo walks are scheduled for Montreal's Botanical Gardens and Beaver Lake on Mount Royal.

"It's all about perspective," said the 39-year-old Frezza. "You and I can stand in the exact same spot and take two very different photographs."

That's the beauty of photography, she said. An empty children's swing set can look "lonely" and "forlorn" if shot with a wide-angle lens that captures a broad image. But the same swing set can also appear "loved and well-used" if the photographer takes a close-up and focuses on the swing's well-worn chain or seat.

"It really sparks the creativity," she said of the group shoot, which this year will run from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and allow photographers to capture both small town Quebec life and nature.

Last year, 10 photographers joined the Hudson walk. This year, 15 people have already signed up for the event, which is free and open to photographers of all levels, including children 10 and older so long as they are accompanied by an adult.

At the end of the walk, Frezza said, each participant submits his or her best shot, including edited and Photoshopped images. For each walk, a winning photo is chosen and the photographer is awarded a prize.

For this year's walk, Oct. 1, participants will gather at 4 p.m. at the Hudson Community Centre parking lot, 394 Main Rd.

The walk will proceed along Main Rd. to Sandy Beach Nature Park Trail on the Ottawa River.

For more information or to sign up go to
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fake Blueberries...

Definitely take time to read this.

This definitely will ingrain the need to read the labels when it comes to blueberries and other fruit additions to cereals...

We know that real blueberries are full of antioxidents but look at what several BIG food companies are doing to make for huge profits.

Quite the video.

Isn’t this something? Nothing but disregard and greed! Who would have thought Kellogg’s or Betty Crocker products deceiving? Watch for yourself, they are killing the public little by little.
Here is the link and please watch it and send it to your friends.

Click Here To View:

P.S. I plan to make a banana/blueberry loaf today.....with real blueberries!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Basement Waterproofing Technologies

Basement leakage is the most common problem found in houses, and over 90% of all basements will leak and suffer damage at one time or another. Some evidence of moisture penetration can be found in almost every house. A house with water problems does not necessarily mean it was poorly constructed. Water can appear in even the best built home.

Moisture problems can be intermittent. In some houses, water penetration will occur after virtually every rainfall. In other houses, it will occur only after periods of prolonged rain. In most cases however, the resultant damage gives no indication of frequency.

Not all basement leakage problems are solvable, but the majority of leakage problems can be solved by directing surface water away from the building regarding around the foundation or/and using downspout extension to force rainwater to flow away from the house.

Warning signs of water leakage:

Mold and mildew: Fungus that grows in damp and dark areas, and causes discoloration, or musty odors.
Musty odors: This could be the result of the decay process from mold, and dry rot.
Peeling paint
Damp spots on walls: Water has absorbed through your walls.
White substance on basement walls: This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. The white substance is a sign of possible structural deterioration.
Cracked walls: Should be inspected to determine the exact cause.
Rust on appliances, furniture or furnaces.
Dry rot: Black fungus grows mostly on walls or wooden surfaces, causing wood to decay.

Why is waterproofing important?
A wet basement can dramatically reduce the value of your home. Studies show that most people won't even consider buying a home with water leakage. Selling a home with water leaks can easily result in as much as a 25% reduction in the sale price.

Even if you rarely have problems with dampness or flooding, it's best to solve the problem completely before doing any remodeling work. Permanent solutions can take time to implement. A good place to start is to talk to an independent home inspector who specializes in waterproofing problems.

Damp proofing or water proofing on walls?
There is a big difference between damp proofing and waterproofing. By definition, damp proofing can retard moisture but, unlike waterproofing, it does not stop hydrostatic water pressure.

To damp proof, you apply a coat of tar-based material to the outside walls. Tar damp proofing is inexpensive and meets the lowest minimum standard.

Damp proofing may be acceptable if there is a sandy soil and great drainage. But often, there is a high water table or poor soil. Clay holds rainwater, which builds up hydrostatic pressure against the foundation. Moreover, water cannot drain through the undisturbed soil under the footings and groundwater level rises.

Complete waterproofing is ideal
Good waterproofing is a wise investment. It is not just a coating but a whole system that includes:

1- Redirects water away from the foundation
The various exterior waterproofing barriers have varying levels of effectiveness in protecting the outside wall areas. But wall anti-leaking barriers do not affect water penetration due to water accumulation at the footer or floor level. The ideal solution to this problem lies in directing the accumulation of water away from the foundation or into drainage or pumping systems.

2- Install an interior drainage system
To control leakage in the basement, you may want to install a drainage system on the inner side of the foundation. The floor is broken up along the perimeter of the basement wall and drain tile is placed in a trench that carries the water to a discharge point, or sump pump, which takes the water away from the house.

3- Apply waterproofing compounds to the walls
With mild or occasional capillary seepage, capillary waterproofing materials can be applied to either exterior or interior wall and floor surfaces. If properly applied, they will penetrate several inches into concrete and close off minor cracks by forming crystals in the presence of water. You should carefully read the product label to determine if the product waterproofing limitations is sufficient to fix the problem. Waterproofing paint is most effective if applied directly over cement and not to existing painted walls.

Canada Realty News Newsletter

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Welcome to Send Out Cards

Check this out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Overcoming decorating paralysis

When it comes to decorating, six little words often stand between dreams and reality: "I don't know where to start."

It's inertia rooted in fear — fear of making mistakes, fear of wasting money, fear of being judged unfavourably, says interior designer Lauri Ward.

"People are terrified of decorating," says Ward, who pioneered the concept of interior redesign, or decorating by rearranging the furniture and other items people already own.

She thinks the fear is especially acute among women, who often believe decorating ability should be inherent.

So how do you get past that fear? Knowledge, Ward and other decorators say — but surprisingly, not so much knowledge about decorating. It's more about knowing yourself, they say.

Here are some suggestions to help you take those first steps.

Noted interior designer Stephen Saint-Onge believes one of the things that scares people into decorating paralysis is not knowing what their style is. But style doesn't have to have a label, he says. Rather, style is just what appeals to you, what causes you to respond.

That's a central message of his new book, No Place Like Home, which is intended to help average folks find design inspiration and use that to improve their surroundings (available at and for under $20). He's made a career of helping people fulfil their decorating aspirations through his television appearances and his House Calls column in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Saint-Onge suggests homing in on your style by gathering a bunch of magazines and catalogues and then spending 20 minutes tearing out photos you like. Don't spend too much time analysing your choices; just pick the photos you respond to.

Later, you can spend more time studying the pictures you chose. Think about what you liked in each image, what feeling it gave you, what you noticed first, he says. Mark up the images or write notes on them to remind yourself about what works for you.

You'll probably start to see patterns — maybe furniture styles you're drawn to, colours you like or room layouts you find appealing. "You start to learn to see things and see potential in your own space."

Saint-Onge suggests pasting those photos into an artist's sketchbook or large scrapbook to create a look book, which you can refer to as you start to make decorating choices. Add to it as you see pictures, paint chips or other things you like.

The things you own can also give you a clue to your decorating preferences, says Gary Babcock, creative director for U.S. retail chain Arhaus Furniture.

Start with something you love, Babcock recommends — perhaps a garment, a rug, a dish or a piece of art. Then think about what it is you love about it, and use that as the starting point.

Maybe you respond to the colours, which can give you a palette for your room. Maybe you like the shape and the amount of detail, which might tell you whether you like a clean-lined, tailored look or a little more fuss. Maybe it's the style or feel of the piece —for example, contemporary, romantic, classical or whimsical.

Furniture stores are another great resource, Babcock says. Most are set up in room vignettes designed to give people ideas on how they might decorate their own homes, so go ahead and mimic them.

Saint-Onge also finds inspirations in films — perhaps not surprisingly, since movie sets are carefully designed to evoke certain feelings. Like perusing photos, studying the houses in films can help you recognize your preferences, he says.

Take the beach house in the Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton movie Something's Gotta Give, for example. Its open layout and casual, classic look struck a chord with many viewers. They remember it, Saint-Onge says, because it reflects a way they'd like to live.

He suggests spending some time watching DVDs of movies with homes you found memorable. Pause the scenes with sets you like, and take notes about what you're responding to.

No time to watch? Try a Google search for images from movies that feature homes you like. It may turn up some pictures you can use.

Ward, who runs Use What You Have Interiors in New York and Florida ( and wrote Use What You Have Decorating (available at for $16.49) to teach her methods, believes that what overwhelms people about decorating is the sheer space involved. They're fine at choosing individual items, but they find it daunting to combine those things and put them into a space.

That's why she advocates breaking down the process. Start with the shell, she suggests — the walls, windows, floors and lighting. Address those first, so you'll have a backdrop for adding furniture and accessories later.

What's important, Saint-Onge says, is that you figure out what you like and then follow your instincts.

"There are some people who feel like they have to keep up with the Joneses," he says. "But the Joneses don't live in your house. You do." And what you like is all that matters.

McClatchy-Tribune News
© Copyright (c) McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Housing Starts Fall Short In August

Despite economists’ predictions of 200,000 housing starts last month, CMHC reports that the actual data fell short of analyst expectation.
Seasonally adjusted housing starts for August 2011 were 184,700 units in August, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This signals a drop from July, when housing starts totalled 204,500 units.
“Housing starts in August were in line with current demographic fundamentals and are consistent with CMHC’s recent Housing Market Outlook,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “Housing starts decreased in all regions, except the Prairies with the decline being more pronounced in the multiples segment.”
Urban starts fell by 10.2 % to 165,800 units in August. Multiple urban starts fell by 15.5 % to 101,400 units, while urban single starts fell by 0.3 % in August to 64,400 units. Estimates for rural starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,900 units in August.
Looking at starts in various regions across the country for August, urban starts fell by 41.4 % in the Atlantic region, by 15.3 % in British Columbia, by 11.8 % in Ontario and by 8.8 % in Quebec,. In the Prairie Provinces though, urban starts actually increased by 9.4 % in the Prairie region in the comparable time period.

Property Wire Canada

Monday, September 12, 2011

House prices post biggest gain in two years

Canada's economy may have hit the skids in June, but house prices across the country still jumped almost 2%, the biggest one-month increase in two years, the latest Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index report said Wednesday.

Canadian house prices were up 1.7% in June compared with the previous month, the biggest month-on-month jump since August 2009, taking the index to a new high of 144.27, the report said.

This is the third straight monthly increase of more than 1% and the seventh straight rise in a row. The index is also up 4.5% compared with a year ago.

The news comes the same day Statistics Canada reported the Canadian economy actually shrank 0.4% annualized in the second quarter, the first contraction since mid-2009.

Prices were up in all six major metropolitan markets surveyed, with Toronto leading the pack at a 2% increase. Vancouver and Ottawa came in at 1.7%, while Calgary posted a 1.6% rise, Montreal was up 1.1% and Halifax by 1%.

This is the ninth straight monthly increase for Vancouver, and index highs for five of the six cities.

Calgary is 10.9% off its record high in August 2007.

Since Teranet first started tracking prices in June 2005 with a base level of 100, home prices have jumped 44.27%.

The Vancouver index leads the pack at 167.77, suggesting prices have gone up 67.77% since 2005.

Toronto, meanwhile, has the lowest index rating at 131.26, meaning prices have accelerated only 31.26% in that time.
© The Financial Post

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to choose a reat estate agent

Finding the right real estate agent to list a home can be a lot like finding a life partner - pick the right one and the experience can be positive. Choose the wrong agent and the experience can lead to months of frustration and an unsold house.

Ted Baker recently sold his mother's house and shares the trials and tribulations from his experience. Tony Joe, a real estate agent with Re/Max Camosun Oak Bay, was the listing agent and shares his insight on today's changing market.

For some people it's not difficult to choose a real estate agent - they pick one based on personal recommendation from friends and family. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, more than half of home buyers found their agent this way.

"People typically go with people they know," says Joe, who has been selling for 20 years. "For the consumer's standpoint its all about networking. Unlike other areas of sales, real estate agents have access to the same inventory pool. What sets them apart is their level of experience, professionalism, knowledge and . marketing or negotiation style."

He says that more than 90 per cent of his business is from referrals, compared with the industry average of 50 per cent.

"Personality has a lot to do with it," says Baker, who used to do renovation work on homes. "One needs to be able to rely on the capability of the agent to get the job done."

To help you select an agent with the right skills, testimonials, experience, competence and reliability, here are a few pointers.


Information is power. Baker suggest people get an independent appraisal - which costs about $125 - to get an independent third-party evaluation of the property.

A pre-sale home inspection is also useful to identify and correct potential problems in a house. A buyer will likely uncover the same issue when they get the house inspected as a condition of the sale.


In order to secure a listing, some agents will purposely overvalue a home. They tell potential clients they can get more for a house than other agents.

Because the inflated house is more expensive than comparable homes, it will linger on the market until the price is lowered.

"Ask the real estate agent to justify the price," says Baker. "Ask to see listings of homes for sale in the last three to four months for comparison."


Increasingly people interview a number of agents to determine if the "chemistry" works.

"Ask about productivity," says Joe. "Real estate is a complicated process. Find out about the agent's knowledge and experience."


"When I interviewed different agents, I asked them 'What are you going to do for me?' " says Baker. Some agents have a detailed written plan about how they will advertise and market a property.


Any agent who has been selling for a while should have a list of happy customers. Many people would trust a recommendation by a friend or family member. As a last resort, a person can review a real estate agent's qualifications by viewing their website.


Real estate agents can be flexible as to the commission structure. Most charge six or seven per cent on the first $100,000 and three per cent on the balance. Some have a flat percentage of the total price. On a $500,000 house, with the above 7/3 calculation, a seller would pay the agent $19,000. Finding an agent who will sell for less will obviously affect the bottom line.

"The only question I regretted not asking was if the agent would reduce his commission if the house sold within 30 days," says Baker. "Because there would be less work involved - fewer open houses, fewer showings - shouldn't the cost of selling also go down?"

Also, when an offer is tendered and the parties are slightly apart, it is appropriate to ask if the agent is willing to forgo a portion of their commission in order to secure the sale.


One of the reasons a person lists a home with a real estate agent and the professional listing service is because he wants other real estate agents showing the home to their clients.

A listing agent who is generous in sharing the potential commission with others typically gets more house viewings.

"Not all agents work well with others," says Joe.


"An agent with 50 listings is spread out too thin," says Baker. "There's no way an agent with that many listings can put time into a sale."

He is more comfortable listing with an agent who has, at most, 10 listings to service.


It is important that the agent chosen has experience both in the property type and price range. If he primarily sells luxury houses, he is not likely going to have many buyers looking for an entry-level condominium, for example.


Baker says he recommends finding an agent who works within 15 kilometres of the listed home. "He will know the area and he will know the market better."