Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to July!

The Region of Waterloo reached a milestone in June, with the ION finally starting. It’s been an interesting journey over the last 10 or so years, I’m pleased to see it finally up and running.

The first half of 2019 showed a steady increase in home sale prices, with a steady decrease in the number of days on the market.  We are entering the slower summer months, which will likely increase the time it takes to sell a property by a few days.

In K-W in June:

– the average single detached sold for $618,390 in 19 days
– the average semi-detached sold for $430,427 in 13 days
– the average freehold townhouse sold for $466,741 in 17 days
– the average condo sold for $374,046 in 23 days
– the average list price to sold price was 100%



There are many changes to our local transportation – check out these links for details:

GRT route changes and new routes launched:

Proposed GRT routes for 2021 show buses to Breslau and the airport:

If you haven’t travelled on the ION yet, here’s a time-lapse video of the entire trip from Fairway to Conestoga:

Metrolinx CEO says two-way, all-day GO train service to Waterloo Region is ‘close’

Metrolinx’s chief executive knows when two-way, all-day GO train service is coming to Waterloo Region.

But for now, that remains a secret.

“I just can’t get to the point where I can tell you when, even though I know,” Phil Verster told a luncheon audience at Whistle Bear Golf Club on Wednesday. …

But that’s not to say something close to two-way, all-day service can’t run with existing infrastructure as ongoing upgrades are made. “I dare say you’re going to see a lot of activity from us in terms of increasing service.”

There are currently 10 trains travelling daily between Toronto and Kitchener, up from eight last fall, and seating capacity is up by 35 per cent.

Track improvements should also help to reduce travel times, Verster said. “The journey to Kitchener should be half an hour quicker than what it is now.” …

Region endorses interim CTS site in Kitchener

The go-ahead has been given to set up an interim Consumption and Treatment Services site in Kitchener.

And it’s going to be on the same property as a future permanent CTS site at 150 Duke Street West. …

They say the interim site would be operational within two months, potentially by the end of August 2019.

And with the full site estimated to open up in eight months, they estimate the interim site to be open for about six months. …

Healthy job market for Waterloo Region: survey

… Their latest Employment Outlook Survey suggest local employers will be increasing their ranks in the third quarter.

17 per cent of employers surveyed say they plan to hire in the upcoming quarter, with only three per cent anticipating cutbacks.

Meanwhile, 77 per cent planned on keeping their staffing levels as is. …

Bank, broker or DIY: What’s the best way to get a mortgage?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the main ways to shop around for a mortgage: banks, mortgage broker and mortgage rate comparison websites.

The biggest benefit about going to the bank is familiarity.

“You have the ability walk into the branch and build a face-to-face relationship,” says D’Arcy Henneberry, president of MortgagePal and a former banker. “You’re able to have multiple products with the same institution like savings account, chequing accounts, investments and your mortgage.” …

Mortgage brokers
A good way to think about a mortgage broker is as a one-stop shop.

“Brokers compare and quote multiple lenders,” says Robert McLister, founder of “That often results in lower rates and better terms than if you called a bunch of lenders yourself.”

If you’re someone with varying needs, a mortgage broker can help you there, too, McLister says.

“Brokers have the most non-prime lending options, bar none,” he says. “That’s key for borrowers who can’t prove income in the traditional manner, such those who are self-employed, and folks with limited or bad credit.” …

Mortgage rate comparison websites
Going on a mortgage rate comparison website is a good first step when shopping for a mortgage.

“By going onto a mortgage rate comparison website, you’re starting the due diligence process yourself,” says Henneberry. “You’re getting a sense of what’s out there in the market.”

However, mortgage rates comparison websites aren’t without their shortcomings. You need to make sure you look into the details of those products being offered.

“When you look on mortgage rate comparison websites you’re often going to see the lowest rate, but mortgages aren’t all made equal,” Henneberry says.

Government lays out fine print of new CMHC program that could contribute 10% to price of first home

The government on Monday released details of a program  announced during the last federal budget, an initiative that could see Canada’s housing agency contribute up to 10 per cent of the price of a buyer’s first home if certain conditions are met.

Under the fine print for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program, which was announced in March and will officially launch in September, a first-time homebuyer who earns less than $120,000 can qualify. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation would kick in up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of the home, providing the borrower comes up with the minimum amount for an insured mortgage, which is now at five per cent.

There’s also a requirement that the total value of the mortgage plus the CMHC’s portion don’t eclipse $480,000. A government official says that  effectively means the program is only available for properties worth a maximum of about $565,000, regardless of whether or not they have met the other requirements.

If that bar is met, the CMHC may kick in an additional five per cent of the purchase price of a resale home. For a newly built home, the CMHC may contribute up to 10 per cent.

The stakes from the CMHC would be interest free, meaning no ongoing cost to pay down, like a mortgage does.

But the government says in exchange for its stake, the CMHC would get to participate “in the upside and downside of the change in the property value” — which means they would be entitled to any corresponding increase in the value of a home when the buyer eventually sells. On the flip side, the government would also on the hook for any share of the loss if the property depreciates. …


July 6, International Kissing Day
July 6, Cherry Festival in Cherry Park, Kitchener
July 10, Teddy Bear Picnic Day
July 11, The Lego Movie 2, free evening movie at Waterloo Park
July 11, World Population Day
July 13, Friday the 13th
July 14, Shark Awareness Day
July 17, Campfire, Waterloo Square
July 19-21, Uptown Jazz Festival
July 19-21, Ribfest and Craft Beer Festival
July 25, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, free evening movie at Waterloo Park
July 26, Art Market & Duels, 6 pm – 9 pm, Waterloo Square
July 27, Kitchener Reggae Festival, Bingeman’s
July 29, International Tiger Day

July Jocularity

Q: Why do bananas use sunscreen?  A: Because they peel.
Q: What does the sun drink out of?  A: Sunglasses!
Q: Which letter is the coolest? A: Iced T.

July’s recipe:  Beer Can Chicken


1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of your favorite dry spice rub
1 can beer

Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.

Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Five financial mistakes to avoid when renovating your home

A home renovation can bleed your bank account in ways you didn’t know were possible. Hidden — and expensive — horrors lie behind walls and under carpets. Must-have materials can be costly when imported. Labour, delivery and installation fees mount for every last line item. …

Before you take the plunge in your home reno, consider these five no-nos — and how to avoid them.

  1. You neglect to tell your insurance company about your renovation. …
    But failing to check in with your insurer is a big risk that could lead to a denied claim — or even a cancelled insurance policy if things go sideways during construction. …
  2. You don’t put together a clear budget.
    A new CIBC home renovations pollreveals that only 32 per cent of Canadian homeowners create a detailed renovation budget — and 39 per cent reported going over budget. …This is not news to certified financial planner Erica Lee. She advises starting with a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your renovation, and then breaking down the costs of each element. …
  1. You choose a costly financing option.
    Lee says the most cost-effective way to pay for a renovation is with savings. “It’s important to remember that when you borrow money, you’re adding to the total renovation cost.”  A secured line of credit or refinancing your mortgage are her second-choice options. She strongly advises against paying for a renovation with credit cards, which come with interest rates of 19 to 25 per cent. …
  1. You consider your renovation an investment.
    Many people justify the exorbitant costs of a renovation by looking at the work as an investment because it will increase the value of their home. But Lee says that’s flawed thinking.  “A renovation should be considered an expense and an outflow of a family’s cash. Unless you’re planning to sell immediately, you likely won’t see a return on that investment for a long time — if at all.”  Wear and tear, and changing decor trends may make the gains achieved by the renovation obsolete within a matter of years. “If it’s not a newly renovated home, most people aren’t willing to pay top dollar for the changes you’ve made,” said Lee.
  1. You don’t check in with your insurer when the renovation is complete.
    It’s just as important to reach out to your insurer when your renovation is finished as it is before you start. Changes to the home may change your coverage. …

Enjoy the sunshine this month!







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