Yard Appeal Ideas for The Biggest ROI

General Leanne Mollica 24 Apr

Summer is the time to get outside and enjoy your yard. To help you make the most of your space, I have broken down some of the top yard appeal ideas with the biggest ROI giving you the most bang for your buck and increasing your home’s equity and curb appeal at the same time!

  • Embrace Sustainable Landscaping: Incorporating native plants, drought-resistant foliage, and xeriscaping techniques not only reduces water consumption but also creates an eco-friendly landscape. Consider installing a rain garden or a drip irrigation system to conserve water and enhance the natural beauty of your yard.
  • Install Outdoor Structures: Adding functional outdoor structures like pergolas, arbors, or gazebos can provide shade, define spaces, and add architectural interest to your yard. These structures can serve as focal points and create inviting outdoor living areas for entertaining or relaxation.
  • Upgrade Your Lawn: A lush, well-maintained lawn instantly elevates the appearance of your yard. Invest in professional lawn care services, aerate and overseed to fill in bare patches, and regularly fertilize and water your lawn to keep it healthy and green. Consider alternatives like artificial turf for low-maintenance options.
  • Incorporate Water Features: Incorporating a water feature such as a fountain, pond, or waterfall adds visual interest, tranquility, and a sense of luxury to your yard. The soothing sound of running water can create a serene ambiance and attract wildlife, enhancing the overall appeal of your outdoor space.
  • Enhance Privacy: Increase the comfort and enjoyment of your yard by enhancing privacy with strategic landscaping, fencing, or screening options. Planting tall hedges, installing lattice panels, or adding trellises with climbing plants can create secluded areas and block unsightly views while adding beauty and greenery to your yard.

By implementing these additional ideas alongside the ones you’ve already outlined, you can transform your yard into a welcoming oasis that not only enhances your enjoyment but also offers a significant return on investment.

DLC Marketing Team

Canadian Federal Budget 2024: Higher Deficits, Higher Government Spending, And Higher Taxes for the Wealthy.

General Leanne Mollica 17 Apr

federal budget targets rich canadians for new spending

The budget focuses on helping Millennial and Gen Z voters experiencing rising housing costs and other inflationary pressures. The government has set fiscal anchors, such as keeping the deficit below 1% of GDP starting in 2027.

The Canadian federal government released its 2023 budget over a year ago, promising to conduct a strategic spending review to find $15.4 billion in savings. The savings were supposed to achieve fiscal credibility by offsetting the $43 billion in new government spending. However, nearly a year after its announcement, the spending review found only $9 billion in savings, while the government piles on new spending measures in this year’s budget.

The fiscal path is mostly the same as in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, but only after revenue gains from a resilient economy and further tax increases triggered even bigger spending initiatives.

Government spending is expected to be $480 billion in the next fiscal year, including $54 billion in payments on the country’s debt.

Finance Minister Freeland also announced a soak-the-rich tax scheme, levelling higher taxes on capital gains for people who make more than $250,000 selling stock or property other than a person’s primary residence.

Currently, 50% of capital gains profits are taxed, compared to 100% of a person’s employment income. That will remain the case for the first $250,000 of capital gains income, but it will rise to 66.6% on income above that level. So, the proposal is to reduce the tax-exempt amount to one-third for capital gains exceeding $250,000.The lower exemption would also apply to businesses for all capital gains, not just those over $250,000. The additional capital gains taxes are expected to rake $19.4 billion into the government’s coffers over the next five years, which is no small measure. This will reduce business capital spending, already at rock-bottom lows, rendering the Canadian productivity problem even more egregious. Higher capital gains taxes also disincentivize investment in residential rental real estate. 

The FY24/25 budget deficit is estimated at $39.8 billion (1.3% of GDP), with the numbers massaged just enough to meet the various ‘fiscal guideposts’. Any path to a balanced budget continues to be absent.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem has said provincial government spending is already making it harder to lower inflation. Running federal deficits — on top of large provincial deficits in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia — is irresponsible. The government had previously set fiscal anchors, like keeping the deficit below 1% of GDP starting in 2027.

Philip Cross of the National Post writes, ”deficit spending when inflation is above target violates the 1991 accord between the Government of Canada and the Bank of Canada, which “jointly set forth targets for reducing inflation” and requires both parties to collaborate to achieve that goal.”

Cumulatively, the total deficit between FY23/24 and FY28/29 is now running $10 billion larger than in the Fall Economic Statement.

The Housing Plan

The housing measures were pre-announced, and the market impact should be minimal. However, the higher capital gains inclusion rate will impact those planning to sell valuable properties with much lower cost bases. It will change the economics of real estate investment in rental properties, an area that needs to be more generously funded. 

Some Other Housing Measures:

Allowing 30-year mortgage amortizations for first-time home buyers purchasing new builds. This measure zeroes in on a small subset of the market. In general, though, it stokes excess demand and ultimately does little to improve affordability once prices adjust. Also, limits on the size of insured mortgages mitigate its impact in our most expensive cities. Pre-construction sales usually require a 20% downpayment, which limits the use of insured mortgages, which account for only 15% of mortgage originations.

Increase the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan limit from $35,000 to $60,000 and extend the three-year payback period.

 

Create a renters’ bills of rights and tenant protection fund. Some details here are curious, such as a national standard lease agreement (which is provincial jurisdiction). At any rate, the deck is stacked against landlords from bringing more quality rental supply to market—think taxes.

Accelerated capital cost allowances on the construction of new purpose-built rentals and removal of the HST on the construction of student rentals.

Increase the annual Canada Mortgage bond limit to $60 billion from $40 billion.

Top up the Housing Accelerator Fund to incentivize the removal of zoning barriers and tie transit funding to densification along transit corridors.

Bottom Line

This is a pre-election ‘tax and spend’ budget, which will do little to address the problems it claims to solve. It exacerbates other concerns, including insufficient business capital spending, low productivity growth, and insufficient investment in rental real estate.

Slowing the growth in nonpermanent immigration will, in time, do more to address the housing shortage than any of these measures.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/

Bank of Canada Holds Rates Steady For Sixth Consecutive Meeting.

General Leanne Mollica 10 Apr

the bank of canada cautious, but a rate cut in june is possible

Today, the Bank of Canada held the overnight rate at 5% for the sixth consecutive meeting and pledged to continue normalizing its balance sheet. Governor Macklem confirmed that inflation is moving in the right direction, labour markets are easing, and wage pressures appear to be dissipating. In today’s release of the April Monetary Policy Report (MPR), the central bank forecasters lowered their 2024 inflation forecast to 2.6% from 2.8%. However, the Governing Council needs more evidence to be confident that the downtrend in inflation is sustainable.

In contrast, the US CPI data released today for March showed that underlying inflation topped forecasts for the third consecutive month, and the US jobs data also beat estimates. This is in direct contrast to the news of better-than-expected inflation in Canada and the easing of labour markets. The Canadian economy is far more interest-rate sensitive than the US because mortgage terms are far shorter. Over 60% of all outstanding mortgages are up for renewal in the next two to three years, adding to monthly mortgage payments. That process has already begun.

While the Canadian economy slowed at the end of last year, more recent data suggest a bounceback in the first quarter. The Bank revised up its forecast for GDP growth in the first half of 2024 but reduced its economic outlook for next year. The Bank expects inflation to hit its 2% inflation target in 2025.

Bottom Line

Governor Macklem’s prepared opening statement at today’s press conference was more dovish on inflation than in prior months. “We are seeing what we need to see, but we need to see it for longer to be confident that progress toward price stability will be sustained,” Macklem said in the prepared text.  If things go according to today’s MPR forecasts, policymakers are likely to begin cutting the overnight rate in June.

Still, Macklem called further declines in core inflation “very recent,” adding that the bank wants to “be assured this is not just a temporary dip.”

“While inflation is still too high and risks remain, CPI and core inflation have eased further in recent months,” officials said in the policy statement.

The next decision date is June 5, when overnight swaps traders pared their bets to about a 50-50 chance of a 25 basis point cut at that meeting, down from over two-thirds before today’s data release. A July rate cut is fully priced in.

We will know more this coming Tuesday when the March CPI data (along with the federal budget) are released. April CPI will be posted on May 21.  As the chart below shows, inflation data in Canada is rapidly approaching the 2% target, well ahead of the US, although set backs can’t be ruled out. For example, gasoline prices have risen since early February. However, the proportion of CPI sectors showing less than 1% gains is rising as those showing more than 3% increases are falling fast.

Please Note: The source of this article is from SherryCooper.com/category/articles/

 

5 Tips to Manage Financial Stress.

General Leanne Mollica 2 Apr

With the continued rise of inflation, interest rates and the overall cost of living, the uncertainty can be unnerving for many individuals. But don’t fret! We have some tips and suggestions to help you manage your financial stress and help you to power through these latest economic changes:

  1. Prioritize What You Can Control: It can be easy to feel like you have no control over your financial situation, especially with the economy in flux. However, dwelling on things you cannot fix will only cause more stress. Instead, we recommend focusing on what you CAN control within your situation. For instance, take a looking at your phone bill and services to see if you can reduce the cost (even temporarily), reviewing your grocery bill and looking for places to switch to cheaper brands or alternatives, perhaps buying in bulk. You’ll not only save money, but you will feel like you have more control and help reduce stress.
  2. Pay Essential Bills: If you are struggling to pay your monthly bills, prioritizing them can help you gain some control. Knowing which bills are most important to pay first can help reduce anxiety as you’re not scrambling to decide what to do. In some cases, prioritizing your bills can also help you uncover unnecessary spending and you may find something that can be eliminated entirely (even temporarily).
  3. Automate Payments and Savings: If you’re struggling to keep up with your bills and payments, or are finding that you keep saying you’ll save money, but aren’t, considering automation for your finances can be a step in the right direction. Ensuring that your bills are paid on time will help reduce stress and protect you from wasting money on penalties for missed payments. Alternatively, you can also set up automatic money transfers on the days you are paid to move funds into a separate, savings account before you even see it. Thereby, reducing the likelihood that you’ll skip on adding to your savings that month or use that money elsewhere.
  4. Find Ways to Earn More Money: When cashflow is a problem and you are feeling the strain of trying to afford your current lifestyle, looking for ways to earn additional money can be a lifesaver! Consider part-time work for the weekends, consulting in your area of expertise or picking up extra hours at your current place of work. Now is also a great time to discuss with your manager if you are due for a raise.
  5. Talk to Your Mortgage Professional: For most people, their mortgage is their largest monthly bill. If you are feeling the financial crunch, now is a great time to talk to your mortgage broker about potentially changing your payment schedule or even looking for a different mortgage product with better rates (ideally if you are at the end of your term). Do not hesitate to be honest about your situation and ask what your options are.

Regardless of where you find yourself financially, there are often many solutions to help reduce and resolve your stress and ensure that you have healthy monthly cashflow.

DLC Marketing Team