Five Ways to Update a Home’s Interior Design To Sell Your House Without Spending a Fortune

You want to sell your home but the interior decor is dated and tired. It needs a little help to appeal to buyers, and you need help getting it done on a limited budget.

It is not necessary to hire a professional interior decorator to update a home’s interior design. With very little money, a lot of creativity, and items already in the house, any homeowner or DIY enthusiast you can transform an ordinary space into a showplace.

Here are five inexpensive ways to update the interior décor of a primary city residence or a weekend getaway retreat or cottage:

 Use Paint to Update a Home’s Look Quickly and Inexpensively

A new colour or just a fresh coat of paint is a quick and easy way to update, change or renew the look of a room or an entire house. Think about creating an accent wall with a different colour paint. Give buyers something to focus on! A painted accent wall immediately creates a focal point in any room. For less than $50, one or two rooms could be repainted.

Budget Buster Tip: Check out the clearance sections at Home Depot and Lowe’s. paint that was incorrectly tinted or returned are offered at very cheap prices.

 Rearrange The Furniture and Repurpose Old Pieces

Sometimes all a room needs is a new perspective. Take a good look around the project space, whether that is the living room, dining room, family room or bedroom. Can the furniture be moved around to create a new vignette? Is the room overcrowded and in need of editing? Don’t overcrowd a room – buyers will feel closed in! What about that vintage buffet in the dining room that never gets used… wouldn’t it look super painted and moved to the family room as a repurposed but very functional long stand for the new wide screen LCD television? The storage within can be used to tidy up games, puzzles and video games that often clutter a family space.

Budget buster tip: Always try to use existing furniture before running out to purchase new pieces. Most homeowners are oblivious to how much stuff is hidden in their homes, and this is a great way to save money and give one or more rooms a whole new look.

Using Slipcovers to Create Brand New Furniture

One of the best inventions in home décor and interior design is the slipcover. When budget is an issue and replacing the sofa is not an option, covering with a new fabric slipcover is an excellent option. Most slipcovers are washable so they are kid and pet friendly. In any department store or specialty retailer (like, there is a wide range of covers ranging from loose throws to custom fitted. The more custom the fit, the more tailored the piece of furniture will look as will the overall room design. For Ikea sofas, new covers can be purchased on their website and also by a custom cover company called Bemz.

Budget buster tip: If the retail price of fitted slipcovers are too expensive, check out sites like, Craigslist and eBay for bargains.

 Colour is the Imperative Link in all Interior Design

In any home redecorating project, success cannot be achieved without colour. Even if the room is entirely done in shades of white to elicit a shabby chic feel, it is still planned with colour. Aside from painting walls and furniture, there are easy and cheap ways to inject colour into a room with cushions, pillows, window coverings, and area rugs. Simply adding a bunch of colourful flowers in a large crystal vase in a room will change the feel from drab to cheery.

Budget buster tip: For under $10, a cotton throw, a linen tablecloth and four pillows covers can be hand dyed. Once the colour is changed, try adding some interest by sewing on some cool ribbon trim, a few old and interesting buttons or some beads.

Accessories are the Finishing Touch

It is necessary to choose a room’s accessories carefully – too much and the room looks cluttered and chaotic; too little and the space appears cold and impersonal. What is not necessary is to spend a fortune on accessorizing a room. Again, look around the home to see what can be moved around to give a fresh appeal. In a dimly lit room, add silver plated accent pieces and a few mirrors to reflect the light. In a large room, add lots of artwork on a single large wall to make the room appear smaller and more intimate.

Budget buster tip: Second hard stores, flea markets and yard sales are the best way to accessorize a home. For mere pennies on the dollar, a room or an entire house can be dressed in high end pieces that look like a million bucks.


The Backyard Living Room – Great Living & Awesome for Resale Value!

Bring the inside of the house outdoors and increase the usable living area by adding a cozy living room and fully functional kitchen in the backyard.

According to the AIA Home Design Trends Survey, there was a huge increase in the popularity of outdoor backyard living spaces and upscale landscaping. Homeowners are now spending more time, attention and money on the exterior spaces of their homes. The survey revealed that two thirds of architects saw a sharp increase in the number of clients who wanted outdoor kitchens and dramatic exterior living spaces.

It gives you more usable square footage, increases the pleasure factor of home ownership, and of course, adds to the resale value of your home!

The only limits to this project is budget, so let’s take a closer look at two contrasting budgets and see what can be achieved with each amount:

Moderate Budget ($5,000)

A combination outdoor kitchen and eating area can be achieved on a $5K budget, especially if you do most of the work yourself.

  • Look for moderately priced outdoor furniture, such as resin wicker, that still has the aesthetic appeal but will not cost a fortune like teak will. A mid-range resin wicker set with outdoor cushions, including a loveseat, two chairs, and coffee table will cost in the region of $750.
  • Purchase a ready-made kitchen island that either has a built-in barbecue or has a space to insert one. An island will cost approximately $1,400 depending on the counter top materials used. If the budget is limited, allocate a good chunk of money for the purchase of an excellent BBQ grill.
  • If shade is required, don’t skimp on a cheap gazebo. Go for one that has quality outdoor fabric that is protected from fading and sturdy wrought iron wall ends. It is worth the $500 price tag and will last for many years.
  • The remainder of the project budget should be spent on a dining set. Before purchasing, think about the mood you are trying to achieve with your outdoor living space. For a cosmopolitan look, consider an outdoor pub set in steel and glass. For the French Country or English garden feel, look for tables and chairs in stained wood or wrought iron that will age gracefully over time. A quality set, either in wood or metal will cost in the region of $2,000.
  • Finally, add a bar fridge, area rug, and chimenea to complete the look all of which can be purchased at any home improvement store for a combined cost of about $600.

Big Budget ($15,000)

Admittedly, the budget for a high end outdoor living space can balloon well beyond the $15,000 range. However, the purpose is to make it achievable for the average family, thus this big budget of $15K. Within this budget, a nice large living area with a separate outdoor kitchen can be achieved.

  • A built-in counter unit with grill, sink, warming oven and stone work surfaces can be special ordered through a specialty retailer for $3,800-$6,500 depending upon the quality of grill purchased and the type of work surfaces ordered.
    When considering outdoor furniture, nothing offers understated elegance, durability and comfort more than oiled teak. A large family table, six chairs and a couple of steamer style lounge chairs would be an excellent start to achieving a great look. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $3,500-$5,700 for these pieces.
  • Next comes the outdoor hearth. Many ready-made models which are made of real brick and stone have hit the market. They vary greatly in price but are in the $1,500 range. A local contractor could also be contacted about creating a custom outdoor fireplace.
  • Finally, install a few free-standing propane heaters, a large area rug for the living area, some lovely stoneware dishes and some occasional chairs for guests. These final touches will cost $1,800-$2,500 and the new and improved outdoor look will be complete.

Modest or extravagant, one of the nicest things about creating an outdoor living space is that it is one of the few home renovations that can be a work in progress. It can easily be completed in stages without disrupting family living, possibly allowing for a bigger budget project over time.


West Coast Home Decor

Nature inspired or West Coast inspired home decorating is making a big comeback with a return to home decor that includes nature based colours and recycled, sustainable materials.

This style of home decor takes its cue from nature, which also means a commitment of using Eco-friendly materials and not just rolling on a coat of willow green paint and throwing a sisal area rug on the floor. Most especially for home decorators wishing to move away from fussy, modern or formal interior design, it can be hard to figure out where to begin or which natural elements to build your décor design around.

Organic Decor Requires Neutral Elements

Start with a neutral colour palate for the space; soothing sandy beige, warm based taupe or soft dreamy green creates the perfect backdrop for nature inspired décor and accent pieces. Popular nature inspired decorator colours for this year include celadon, amber, sky blue, terra cotta, sunshine yellow, grassy green and warm dove gray. Sage green, rich ecru and warm taupe are also highly versatile colors and blend easily with wood, glass, metal and a wide range of fabrics.

With a neutral foundation, start layering and building by adding linen slip covered furniture, rich wood accent pieces, sisal and pure wool area rugs in rich botanical patterns, and house plants and greenery.

Weathered, earthy, reclaimed and rustic materials work well in a natural or organic home décor such as copper, bronze, wood, wicker, glass, stone and then soften the room with linen, wool, raw silk and natural cotton fabrics. Choose furniture and home decorating accents that blend easily into a natural décor design and offers an appealing and distinctive charm.

Essential Elements of Natural Style Interior Design

  • Cork, bamboo and wood flooring
  • Linen and natural cotton bedding and draperies
  • Natural, untreated wood furniture and accessories
  • Wicker, willow and rattan accent furniture pieces
  • Accents and accessories that incorporate grasses, rocks, wood, glass, and twigs

Imperfect Items Make Perfect Home Accent Accessories

During shopping trips, watch out for pieces that are delightfully flawed with pits and knots in the wood, vintage patina on the metal or the quirkiness of hand painted mosaic tiles. Also, try to include a few antique pieces that are either family heirlooms or flea market finds that follow up the reuse and re-purpose mentality of organic decorating.

Choose natural fabrics that have unique slubs and interesting uniqueness that complement the larger furniture pieces and add natural beauty to the newly decorated space. One of the distinctive aspects of natural decorating is that if pieces are chosen carefully, and the room is designed with ease in mind; the finished look should become more comfortable, charming and naturally beautiful as it ages.

condo living in Victoria BC

Space Saving Decorating Ideas for Small Homes and Condos

condo living in Victoria BCYou don’t have to live in a 6000-square foot suburban manor to enjoy a spacious feeling in your home. As space in Victoria becomes a premium, new builds are becoming smaller, with many new micro loft and condos building up in our downtown core. Even the most committed studio apartment dweller can make design changes that enhance the feeling of spaciousness. If you live in a small condo or house, use the following tips to make it feel bigger.

  • Don’t be a packrat: Clutter can make any size space seem claustrophobic. Stripping your possessions down to a minimum not only creates more room, it makes you feel freer and lighter as well! Make sure that every possession you have can justify the space it occupies. Get rid of those that don’t. Collect all the stuff you don’t love, use or wear and hold a yard sale or donate it to your local thrift shop.
  • Think light: Once your space is cleared out, repaint the walls and doors in a soft, light tone and buy or slipcover existing furniture in light tones as well. Keep colour schemes monochromatic; contrasting colors visually break up space and make it seem smaller.
  • Get reflective: Keep windows scrupulously clean. If you have heavy draperies, replace them with translucent cellular shades, or shutters or plantation blinds that can be adjusted to let in light while maintaining privacy. Hang a huge mirror at right angles to your room’s main source of outdoor light to draw that light into the room. Make sure that the artwork and furnishings this mirror also reflects are pleasing to the eye.
  • Light artfully: Use compact fluorescent bulbs that mimic daylight, place up-lights behind large plants to bounce light off the ceiling and replace space-hogging end tables and lamps with track lighting.
  • Lose the space-takers: Consider a dining nook that doubles as a work station, or replace your freestanding microwave with a space efficient under the counter model.
  • Choose clarity: Make opaque surfaces clear where possible. Replace the frosted shower door with a clear glass one and consider trading your heavy wood dining table for a glass-topped model.
  • Use big furniture but fewer pieces: Believe it or not, small furniture can make a place seem smaller than it actually is, especially when there are many small pieces in a room. Using fewer pieces but bigger ones will make your space seem larger than it is.
  • Keep floors and traffic patterns clear: Give yourself and others an easy route through a room and from one room to another by placing furniture so it doesn’t block passages or views.

These are just a few of the practical ways you can make your small home look and feel larger. With just a few tricks like these, you can live large in your small space!

Rashida Malik

Home Renovations in YYJ are a Wise Investment That Increases Resale Value

For any Victoria homeowner thinking of putting a home on the market but it needs a little work, renovations are essential to complete before the house is listed. Although the return on investment for home improvements isn’t as large as it once was, home renovations here in our city are still a wise investment and always increase resale value.

One of the most popular topics in real estate here in #YYJ today is the public’s desire to add value to their homes. Even real estate giant has paid attention. Their engineers have created a tool on their website that will calculate the return on investment of any of a number of renovation projects. Here are some renovation projects that have been proven to add value to a home:

Curb Appeal is Always a Good Investment Option

The second most popular buzz phrase in the real estate industry, right behind “location,” is “curb appeal.” The drive-by look and feel of a home must catch a potential buyer’s attention at the street to get them out of the car and up to the door. The condition of the exterior of a home is, therefore, paramount to curb appeal and is important in determining the home’s value.

New siding is the leader in renovation projects that add value to a home. The addition of new windows, especially the energy efficient variety, is a good project to consider.

A Kitchen Facelift Increases Home Value

An unattractive, outdated kitchen can be a drag on the value of a residential property. Remodeling the entire kitchen, while being one of the most popular renovation projects, may be cost prohibitive for a lot of people. Some kitchen remodeling projects, however, can be done by the handy DIY person in the family. Vinyl and even ceramic flooring tiles are inexpensive and easy to install. The big box home improvement stores carry kitchen cabinetry that almost any handyperson can install. New, updated kitchen faucets add a nice touch.

Updating the Main Bathroom is Essential to Sell a House

Right behind the kitchen renovation in adding value to a home is the bathroom remodel. Folks love their bathrooms, and a stylish, clean updated bathroom can be a major selling point, especially if the remodeled bathroom has that spa look and feel. Larger shower enclosures are in vogue lately, along with larger tubs with whirlpool jets and his-and-her sinks. Quality fixtures will add a touch of luxury.

A Popular Renovation is a Home Office

The home office is in high demand among home buyers. Sure, they can take an extra bedroom and transform it, but then they lose valuable sleeping quarters. Creating a dedicated work space with all the technological bells and whistles will not only impress anyone that works from home, but add value to a home that is on the market. Remember that there are a lot of people that work from home, or desire a quiet area for the home computer.

An Expansive Deck is a Wise Home Addition

When the weather is nice many people’s thoughts turn to the outdoors, and a deck provides the perfect space for socializing with friends and family. This is one project, that will require the skill and services of a licensed general contractor. If a Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) is being claimed, contractor fees are eligible.

When deciding on which home renovations to perform to add value to a home and its value, try to choose those that offer comfort, convenience or luxury and add value to a property, now and in the long term.

Read my column inside atHOME Victoria – Real Estate Realities 


Multiple Offers and Real Estate Bidding Wars – A Basic Guide

Multiple Offers – What’s Involved

As a buyer or seller, dealing with a multiple offer situation on a property can be stressful. Your REALTOR® can provide you with information about the process for your specific situation, this article will give you an overview of some key points to bear in mind.

The Buyer

  • Your Realtor will usually inform you when he or she learns that a multiple offer situation exists.
  • As a general rule, it’s a good idea to make your best offer in these circumstances as you may not get a second chance.
  • With your Realtor’s assistance, write up the offer as cleanly as possible – the fewer terms and conditions you include, the more attractive it will be to the seller.
  • Offers are normally presented to the seller in the order they were received. It’s very important to remember that under most circumstances the seller is under no obligation to consider, respond, or counter your offer. Just because it may have been the first offer presented does not mean the seller is obliged to consider it and respond to it prior to considering and dealing with other offers.
  • Be aware that even a full-price offer does not guarantee your purchase of the property – other offers may be for above the asking price or may have more attractive conditions attached.
  • The seller may have given instructions to the listing agent not to divulge to the Realtors acting for potential buyers that multiple offers exist – therefore, other offers may exist that you are not aware of.
  • If the seller counters your offer, your offer remains at risk as there is always the possibility that the seller could rescind the counter-offer and accept another one before you have had an opportunity to consider and respond to the counter-offer.
  • Your Realtor may suggest that you accompany them and wait outside while they present your offer, which allows you to make quick decisions should the seller wish to counter.
  • If your offer is unsuccessful you may choose to make a backup offer which, if accepted, would come into effect should the accepted offer collapse for any reason — ask your Realtor for details.

The Seller

  • Your Realtor will notify the Realtor(s) acting for prospective buyers that there are competing offers unless you specifically instruct him or her not to do so.
  • Your Realtor will explain the procedure and ensure that you have a full opportunity to view all offers prior to your making any decision.
  • As a general rule, the offers will be presented to you by the Realtors acting for the potential buyers in the order they were received by you. After one of the Realtors has presented an offer, he or she will be asked to wait for a decision or to be available to provide additional information if necessary.
  • In consultation with your Realtor, you can then decide whether you wish to accept any of the offers, or counter any.
  • Under most circumstances, you are under no obligation to accept or counter or even respond to any offer presented, but you should discuss with your Realtor what your obligations and options would be in case you receive an offer that fully meets the terms set out in the Listing Contract.
  • If you find two offers appealing, you may wish to accept one and have your Realtor notify the Realtor acting for the second-choice buyer that you would be prepared to accept a back up offer in the event the first offer collapses.


Information above provided by Victoria Real Estate Board – an association of approximately 1,300 REALTORS® who work and live in the communities of Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. The Board provides its members with the tools and education they need to provide the best possible service to their clients.

60 Day Step-By-Step Moving Checklist for Victoria, BC

Two Months Before

Sort and purge

  • Go through every room of your house and decide what you’d like to keep and what you can get rid of. Think about whether any items will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.


  • Start investigating moving company options. Do not rely on a quote over the phone; request an on-site estimate. Get an estimate in writing from each company.

Create a moving binder

  • Use this binder to keep track of everything – all your estimates, your receipts, and an inventory of all the items you’re moving.

Organize school records

  • Go to your children’s school and arrange for their records to be transferred to their new school district.

Six Weeks Before

Order Supplies

  • Order boxes and other supplies such as tape, bubble wrap, and permanent markers. Don’t forget to order speciality containers, such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes.

Use it or lose it

  • Start using up things that you don’t want to move, like frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies.

Take measurements

  • Check room dimensions at your new home, if possible, and make sure larger pieces of furniture will fit through the door.

One Month Before

Book your mover and confirm the arrangements

  • Select a company and get written confirmation of your moving date, costs, and other details.

Begin packing

  • Start packing the things that you use most infrequently, such as the Christmas decorations and off-season clothing. While packing, note items of special vale that might require additional insurance from your moving company. Make sure to declare, in writing, any items valued over $100 per pound such as a computer.


  • Clearly label and number each box with its content and the room it’s destined for. This will help you to keep an inventory of your belongings. Pack and label “essentials” boxes of items you’ll need right away.

Separate valuables

  • Add items such as jewelry and important files to a safe box that you’ll personally transport to your new home. Make sure to put the mover’s estimate in this box. You’ll need it for reference on moving day.

Do a change of address –

  • Go to your local post office and fill out a change of address form, or do it online at In case there are stragglers, it’s always wise to ask a close neighbour to look out for mail after you’ve moved. Check in with them two weeks after the move, and again two weeks after that.

Notify important parties

  • Alert the following of your move: banks, brokerage firms, doctor, dentist, other health professionals, employer, credit cards, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, insurance, and utilities companies.

Two weeks before

Arrange to be off work on moving day

  • Notify your office that you plan to supervise the move and therefore need the day off.

Clean out your safe-deposit box

  • If you’ll be changing banks, remove the contents of your safe-deposit box and put them in the safe box that you’ll take with you on moving day.

Contact the moving company

  • Reconfirm the arrangements.

Transfer Your Utilities

  • Contact the customer service departments of the gas, electric, phone and cable companies at least 2 weeks prior to the move. Arrange to have the utility services up and running at your new residence at least a day before you move in. Here are links to the most common Victoria, BC utility and service companies:








  • TIP: Have your utility company (hydro, gas, water) do a final reading of the gas, electric and water meters. Make sure to get and keep a copy of your bill or report.
  • TIP: Pay any outstanding bills, but also collect any refunds or utility deposits.


One Week Before

Pack your bags

  • Finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Then pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.

A Few Days Before

Defrost the Freezer

  • If your refrigerator is moving with you, make sure to empty, clean and defrost it at least 24 hours before moving day.

Double-check the details

  • Reconfirm the moving company’s arrival time and other specifics and make sure you have prepared exact, written directions to your new home for the moving team. Include contact information, such as your cell number

Plan for the payment

  • If you haven’t already arranged to pay your mover with a credit card, get a money order, cashier’s cheque, or cash for payment and tip. If the staff has done a good job, 10 to 15 percent of the total fee is a good tip. If your move was especially difficult, you might tip each mover up to $100. Don’t forget that refreshments are always appreciated.

Moving Day


  • Make sure that the moving truck that shows up is from the company you hired.

Take inventory

  • Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading/inventory list and keep a copy.

KitchenScraps_Garbage.inddWeek after Your Move

Garbage, Compost and Recycling Bins

  • You will need to pick up new blue boxes & recycling bins after you move in, if they are not at your new house. Depending on whether you are in Victoria, Oak Bay or other CRD neighbourhood, the information can be found online. You will need proof of residency in your new neighbourhood.

Changing your ID

  • You are able to change your address on your driver’s license and heath card online, click on the following link to get started: Change Address Online.

Other places to Change your Address

The list of businesses, friends and families is endless when it comes to changing your address. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Family Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Schools
  • Banking Institutions
  • Insurance Companies
  • Credit Card companies
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Place of Employment
  • Fitness Clubs
  • Magazines

If you love making lists and want to keep your moving notes organized, click here to download and print my handy “Let’s Move” checklist notepad sheets Screenshot 2017-02-28 11.39.33


Soaring House Prices Could Mean A New Kind Of Aristocracy: Economists

I came across this article in Huffington Post Canada that caught my attention. While I appreciate the facts, figures and rationale, I also feel that there is an excellent opportunity for parents to help their children get onto the property ladder, and still financially benefit from their “investment”to their childrens future. If you are looking for answers on how you can benefit from lending money to your children for a downpayment for a first home, get in touch. I have a solid background in the financial industry, and would love to walk you through the pros and cons of the process. CALL ME 250-812-4209 or EMAIL ME via the contact page.

Below is the article… please have a read!



If you’re at an age when you or your friends are buying homes, it’s almost certain you know someone whose parents helped them out with the down payment.

But some housing experts see a problem in this trend, if it continues for much longer.

“The risk is that, if nothing is done to pull house prices back down, the situation will get worse, and it will be extremely difficult to buy a house unless your parents help,” said Max Rashbrooke, author of “Wealth and New Zealand.”

Like Canada, New Zealand has seen a rapid run-up in price increases in recent years, fuelled by low mortgage rates and influx of foreign money. An average single-family home in Auckland passed the $1-million mark in recent years, as it did in Toronto.

o-MAX-RASHBROOKE-570Max Rashbrooke, author of “Wealth and New Zealand,” sees a real risk of a “landed gentry” forming due to prohibitively high house prices.

“Parents will only be able to help if they themselves are wealthy homeowners, so you could have a landed wealth-owning class perpetuating through the generations. At that point being born into the right family matters a lot,” Rashbrooke said in an email to The Huffington Post Canada.

Parents helping their kids buy a home is not a new phenomenon, but as house prices rise in Canada’s priciest metro regions, it’s “an increasing trend,” according to experts at the Bank of Montreal. The bank’s survey of first-time home buyers, taken earlier this year, found 65 per cent of millennials plan to rely on help from family to buy a home.

Few these days would argue that parents are doing anything wrong in helping their kids financially; it’s a reasonable way for people to get on the property ladder when prices are high, as countless financial advice columns will tell you.

But Shamubeel Eaqub, a prominent New Zealand economist and author, along with his wife, of “Generation Rent,” sees that as a threat to the hopes of future generations who want to get on the property ladder.

“The bar is being raised further and further,” he said in an interview. “At these prices [the housing market] is only open to people who have generational wealth.”

He says there is a risk that home prices will continue to rise until it’s not even possible for most people to save up for a down payment. If trends don’t change soon, that could be the case in Toronto and Vancouver. It now takes twice as much time to save up for a down payment in those cities, compared to their average since 2000.

HPDEC2New mortgage rules favour existing homeowners?

Eaqub doesn’t sound optimistic about Ottawa’s tighter new mortgage rules, which include a “stress test” on borrowers to ensure they can continue to afford their payments if and when mortgage rates rise. He suggests the rules will impact lower-income earners and youth more than others.

“Those kinds of policies tend to favour those who are already in the market,” he said. “Young people, poor people won’t meet the stress test.”

Stress tests, and even a return to minimum 20-per-cent down payments, didn’t halt New Zealand’s house price rise, Eaqub said.

He suggests focusing on the supply of housing, arguing that cities which have placed tight restrictions on development — like Toronto and Auckland — have resulted in “not enough houses” being built. (That’s an argument Canadian real estate developers have been making loudly lately.)

A little Toronto? Auckland, New Zealand, is experiencing rapid house-price growth and a shortage of supply. The same phenomenon has been seen in cities throughout New Zealand, Australia, Britain and Canada in recent years. (Photo: Scott E. Barbour via Getty Images)

One of the reasons for rising house prices is that governments across the developed world have pulled back from building social housing, Rashbrooke said.

“Government has retreated from its traditional house building role,” he said. “In the U.K. for instance, once Margaret Thatcher shifted responsibility for house building away from local councils, building numbers never recovered.”

A 2012 report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities found that, for the first time ever, Canada’s major municipalities had experienced a reduction of rental housing supply in the years before.

“Existing rental stock is diminishing through erosion and conversion to condominium housing,” the report said.

Rashbrooke suggests that governments start to build social housing once again.

“I think the best thing would be a modern public housing program for the 21st century, probably delivered in large part through modular housing to keep costs down and reduce waste,” he said.

The Lore Krill Co-op in Vancouver’s Gastown is one of 263 non-profit co-operatives in B.C., which was created with government subsidies.

And is home ownership really that important, anyway? Paul Smetanin, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis, notes that in many dense cities, renting is a way of life.

“In Vienna, 60 per cent of that city is rental — beautifully constructed buildings and it’s market rental, so people aren’t house-poor,” Smetanin recently told the Toronto Star.

Like Eaqub, he suggests making the rental market more tenant-friendly, to make people more comfortable renting for longer.

But even as the housing market changes rapidly, a recent study from Ryerson University found that people’s expectations for housing aren’t really changing, even as more and more of the housing stock is condos.

Among millennials, only 18 per cent preferred condos to ground-level housing. That certainly helps to explain the heated bidding wars in Toronto and Vancouver for the ever-smaller number of single-family homes available for sale.

The fact that more people are buying condos is not a sign that this is what they want, Eaqub says — “people buy what’s available.”

He said development rules should allow cities to grow “out and up. … People [see] this negative aspect to sprawl but you have to give people choice.” He, too, suggests making the rental market more favourable for tenants.

Soaring house prices have led to a “massive misallocation of resources,” Eaqub said. As more and more money is concentrated in the residential real estate market, it leaves less money flowing around for other kinds of investment.

In Canada in recent years, housing investment soared while business investment plunged off a cliff after oil prices fell. (Though there is evidence that housing investment is falling now, too, thanks to a sales drop in Vancouver this year.)

Eaqub would also like to see tighter limits on bank lending, arguing that banks are becoming too dependent on mortgage lending.

That certainly seems to be the case in Canada, where mortgage lending went from being less than eight per cent of bank assets in the early 1970s, to more than 40 per cent today.

HPDEC1Eaqub argues that this influx of money into housing has blown up a bubble — and it’s not about to burst soon.

“Without a doubt we are experiencing a bubble, but these things can go on longer than people expect,” he said.

And the bubble will continue until there is a credit crisis of some kind, because it’s a lack of available credit, more than anything, that tanks house prices.

“When credit supply shrinks, that’s when things break,” he said.

FUN FACTS about Canadian banks and consumer debt

  • Canadian banks have more money on the mortgage books in Alberta ($145.6 billion) than they do in Quebec ($132.3 billion) even though Quebec has twice the population of Alberta.
  • The amount of credit card debt on Canadian banks’ books nearly doubled from 2006 ($42 billion) to 2015 ($82 billion).
  • The amount of mortgage debt at non-bank lenders (trusts and mortgage loan companies) rose from $7.9 billion in 2006 to $25.9 billion in 2015.

Kitchen 101: How to Select the Right Sink for Your Lifestyle

Wether you just moved into a new home or you are sprucing your home up to put it on the #YYJ market, here are some great tips for a new kitchen sink.


1. Copper: Promotes a Healthy Environment

Did you know that copper is a naturally antimicrobial finish? Copper sinks are the perfect solution to the kitchen that deals with heavy traffic, kids, pets and parties. This type of finish is also a cinch to clean and requires little day-to-day maintenance. Should you be in the market for something au natural, copper also ages really beautifully, hinting at a slight patina over the years. The only downside to a copper finish? It does tend to warp if you use boiling hot water often. A solution to this problem is to ask for a particularly thick copper finish that will withstand several years of pasta water and washing dishes. Prolong the beauty of your copper sink by keeping abrasive plates, bowls and glasses out of the sink and stowed in the dishwasher. The copper sink style looks beautiful in a contemporary home because of its metallic sheen, but it can also be completely classic when added to a traditional setting.


2. Stainless Steel: The Popular Option

Strong and durable, the stainless steel sink is to kitchens as porcelain is to bathrooms. Stainless steel is a great option for the homeowner looking to match their appliances, promote a clean and sleek space or simply choose a sink that is relatively hassle-free. The stainless steel sink is also very sanitary, making it an ideal choice for washing dishes, small pets and dirty hands. Before you officially decide on this style, though, note that stainless steel is very prone to scratches. Luckily, most scuffs can be buffed out with a little elbow grease. This style works in nearly all homes, especially those with other stainless steel appliances like refrigerators and ranges.


3. Cast Iron with Porcelain Enamel: The Strong Solution

If you need more durability than copper and more scratch resistance than steel, take a look at cast iron sinks coated in porcelain enamel. Beautiful and strong, this sink is a great alternative to the materials mentioned above and then some. It’s heat resistant, so it won’t warp or bend, and it’s non-porous, meaning little scratches and scuffs are virtually non-existent. Other features include resistance to chipping and cracking, perfect for the avid chef who uses their sink often. Cast-iron sinks featuring porcelain enamel are beautiful and simplistic. They can be the star of a minimalist kitchen or one with a neutral color palette.

FROM redfin

How To: 15 Tips to Help Your Move Be Less Stressful

Moving to a new home is exciting as you start fresh and begin a new adventure. Moving can also be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 15 tips to help your next move be stree free.

1. Slowly start packing soon after you decide to move. If you are selling your house you will need to remove clutter and personal items to best stage your home anyway so you might as well get started. Set goals that are realistic such as “pack a box a day” or “pack a room a week.”

2. Pack things by rooms, label the boxes, and store them together

3. Get rid of things…even furniture. Take the items to their designated places each week.

4. Sell the items you don’t love or need anymore. If you do this before the move you won’t have to load and unload it and have it waste space in your new home.

5. Take pictures of electronics and keep the cords neat. Pack all these things together with the printed out photo.

6. Pack a suitcase of necessities you will need for a week. Do this for every person in your family. Place it where you can get to it first.

7. Pack a box of household necessities. Again, place it where you can get to it first.

8. DON’T paint your entire house before you move. Painting an entire house on a short timeline is stressful. Of course the exception is if you are paying a professional to do it, but most homeowners tackle their own painting. It always takes longer than you think and you will find yourself tired before you move. Give yourself a break, move into your home, relax a little, and then paint your rooms one at a time.

9. Pack your truck well.

10. If you have a little bit of transition between moves consider a storage compartment.

11. Hire a cleaning service for the home that you are leaving. Do yourself a favor…you have a lot of work to do at your new home and the last thing you need to do is spend more time at your old one.

12. Board your pets or ask a friend to take care them. Moving can be stressful for these guys and keeping track of them while doors are open and people are in an out will be stressful for you.

13. Schedule service “turn-off” and “turn-on” in advance for both places a week before you move.

14. After getting your furniture in place, Unpack each family member’s necessities suitcase. Now you don’t feel like you need to live out of a box, and you don’t have to tear up ten boxes to find something you need.

15. Set up your bed first and make it. Now you have a place to crash and get a good night sleep. You will need it you have unpacking to do and new adventures to begin.