Tuesday, March 2, 2010
OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/4 per cent. The Bank Rate is unchanged at 1/2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.
The ongoing global economic recovery is being driven largely by strong domestic demand growth in many emerging-market economies and supported in advanced economies by exceptional monetary and fiscal stimulus, as well as extraordinary measures taken to support financial systems.
The level of economic activity in Canada has been slightly higher than the Bank had projected in its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The economy grew at an annual rate of 5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009, spurred by vigorous domestic spending and further recovery in exports. The underlying factors supporting Canada's recovery are largely unchanged - policy stimulus, increased confidence, improved financial conditions, global growth, and higher terms of trade. At the same time, the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar and the low absolute level of U.S. demand continue to act as significant drags on economic activity in Canada.
Core inflation has been slightly firmer than projected, the result of both transitory factors and the higher level of economic activity. The outlook for inflation should continue to reflect the combined influences of stronger domestic demand, slowing wage growth, and overall excess supply.
Conditional on the current outlook for inflation, the target overnight rate can be expected to remain at its current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve the inflation target.
The risks to the outlook for inflation continue to be those outlined in the January MPR. On the upside, the main risks are stronger-than-projected global and domestic demand. On the downside, the main risks are a more protracted global recovery and persistent strength of the Canadian dollar. The Bank judges that the main macroeconomic risks to the inflation projection are roughly balanced.
The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 20 April 2010.A full update of the Bank's outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on 22 April 2010.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Honorable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced a number of measured steps to support the long-term stability of Canada's housing market and continue to encourage home ownership for Canadians.
"Canada's housing market is healthy, stable and supported by our country's solid economic fundamentals," said Minister Flaherty. "However, a key lesson of the global financial crisis is that early policy action can help prevent negative trends from developing."
The Government will therefore adjust the rules for government-backed insured mortgages as follows:
Require that all borrowers meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. This initiative will help Canadians prepare for higher interest rates in the future.
Lower the maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages to 90 per cent from 95 per cent of the value of their homes. This will help ensure home ownership is a more effective way to save.
Require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation.
"There's no clear evidence of a housing bubble, but we're taking proactive, prudent and cautious steps today to help prevent one. Our Government is acting to help prevent Canadian households from getting overextended, and acting to help prevent some lenders from facilitating it," said Minister Flaherty. "If some lenders aren't willing to act themselves, we will act. These measures demonstrate the Government is committed to taking action when necessary to support the long-term stability of a sector that is so vital to our economy and the financial well-being of Canadian families."
These adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework are intended to come into force on April 19, 2010.
CANADA'S HOUSING MARKET REMAINS STRONG
Canada's housing market remains healthy and stable. According to the International Monetary Fund, our housing market is fully supported by sound economic factors, such as low interest rates, rising incomes and a growing population. Moreover, mortgage arrears—overdue mortgage payments—have also remained low.
Today's announcement is part of the Government's policy of proactively adjusting to developments in the housing market that could take root and cause instability. These steps are timely, targeted and measured, and will reinforce the importance of Canadians borrowing responsibly and using home ownership as a savings mechanism.
Mortgage insurance (which is sometimes called mortgage default insurance) is a credit risk management tool that protects lenders from losses on mortgage loans. If a borrower defaults on a mortgage, and the proceeds from the foreclosure of the property are insufficient to cover the resulting loss, the lender submits a claim to the mortgage insurer to recover its losses.
The law requires federally regulated lenders to obtain mortgage insurance on loans in which the homebuyer has made a down payment of less than 20 per cent of the purchase price (also called high loan-to-value ratio loans). The homebuyer pays the premium for this insurance, which protects the lender if the homebuyer defaults.
The Government ultimately backs most insured mortgages in Canada. It is responsible for the obligations of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as it is an agent Crown corporation. In order for private mortgage insurers to compete with CMHC, the Government backs private mortgage insurers' obligations to lenders, subject to a deductible equal to 10 per cent of the original principal amount of the loan.
In October 2008, the Government adjusted its minimum standards for government-backed, high-ratio mortgages, including:
- Fixing the maximum amortization period for new government-backed mortgages to 35 years.
- Requiring a minimum down payment of five per cent for new government-backed mortgages.
- Establishing a consistent minimum credit score requirement.
- Requiring the lender to make a reasonable effort to verify that the borrower can afford the loan payment.
- Introducing new loan documentation standards to ensure that there is evidence of reasonableness of property value and of the borrower's sources and level of income.
MEASURES ANNOUNCED TODAY
Today, the Government announced three changes to the standards governing government-backed mortgages.
QUALIFYING AT A FIVE-YEAR RATE
Current interest rates are at record low levels, which has improved the affordability of housing for Canadians. It is important that Canadians borrow prudently and are able to manage their debt loads when interest rates rise.
Lender and mortgage insurers look at two key ratios when assessing the ability of a borrower to make payments on a mortgage loan:
Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio—the ratio of the carrying costs of the home, including the mortgage payment, taxes and heating costs, to the borrower's income.
Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio—the ratio of the carrying costs of the home and all other debt payments to the borrower's total income.
Currently, the interest rate used to determine the mortgage payment for these calculations is either the rate fixed for the term of the mortgage or, in the case of a variable-rate mortgage and mortgages with terms of less than three years, the greater of the contract rate and the prevailing three-year fixed rate.
The adjustments to the mortgage framework will require mortgage insurers to ensure that borrowers qualify for their mortgage amount using the greater of the contract rate or the interest rate for a five-year fixed rate mortgage when calculating the GDS and TDS ratios.
This measure is intended to protect Canadians by providing them with additional flexibility to support mortgage payments at higher interest rates in the future.
LIMIT THE MAXIMUM REFINANCING AMOUNT TO 90 PER CENT OF THE LOAN-TO-VALUE RATIO
Borrowers seeking financial flexibility can currently refinance their mortgage and increase the amount they are borrowing on the security of their home up to a limit of 95 per cent of the value of the property. This type of refinancing lowers the borrower's equity in their home. The adjustments today will lower the maximum amount of the mortgage loan in a refinancing of a government-backed high ratio mortgage loan to 90 per cent of the value of the property, consistent with the principle that home ownership is a tool for savings.
DISCOURAGING SPECULATION BY REQUIRING A MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT OF 20 PER CENT FOR NON-OWNER-OCCUPIED PROPERTIES
This measure will require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties purchased for speculation. Currently, borrowers may purchase a residential property with a 5 per cent down payment. Today's change will require a 20 per cent down payment for small (i.e., 1- to 4-unit) non-owner-occupied residential rental properties. Borrowers purchasing owner-occupied residential properties which also include some rental units (e.g., borrowers purchasing a duplex to live in one unit and rent out the other) will still be able to access government-backed mortgage insurance with a 5 per cent down payment.
MOVING TO THE NEW FRAMEWORK
These adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework are intended to come into force on April 19, 2010. Exceptions would be allowed after April 19 where they are needed to satisfy a binding purchase and sale, financing, or refinancing agreement entered into before April 19, 2010.
For more information on how this may impact your new purchase or refinacing your existing home contact your Ontario Mortgage Team Member today.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/4 per cent and reiterates conditional commitment to hold current policy rate until the end of the second quarter of 2010
OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/4 per cent. The Bank Rate is unchanged at 1/2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.
Recent indicators point to the start of a global recovery from a deep, synchronous recession. Global economic and financial developments have been somewhat more favourable than expected at the time of the July Monetary Policy Report (MPR), although significant fragilities remain.
A recovery in economic activity is also under way in Canada. This resumption of growth is supported by monetary and fiscal stimulus, increased household wealth, improving financial conditions, higher commodity prices, and stronger business and consumer confidence. However, heightened volatility and persistent strength in the Canadian dollar are working to slow growth and subdue inflation pressures. The current strength in the dollar is expected, over time, to more than fully offset the favourable developments since July.
Given all of these factors, the Bank now projects that, relative to the July MPR, the composition of aggregate demand will shift further towards final domestic demand and away from net exports. Growth is expected to be slightly higher in the second half of this year than previously projected but to average slightly lower over the balance of the projection period. The Canadian economy is projected to grow by 3.0 per cent in 2010 and 3.3 per cent in 2011, after contracting by 2.4 per cent this year. This is a somewhat more modest recovery in Canada than the average of previous economic cycles.
The Bank now expects that the output gap will be closed in the third quarter of 2011, one quarter later than it had projected in July. Correspondingly, inflation is also expected to return to the 2 per cent target in the third quarter of 2011, one quarter later than in July's projection.
While the underlying macroeconomic risks to the projection are roughly balanced, the Bank judges that, as a consequence of operating at the effective lower bound, the overall risks to its inflation projection are tilted slightly to the downside.
Conditional on the outlook for inflation, the target overnight rate can be expected to remain at its current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve the inflation target. Consistent with this conditional commitment, the Bank will continue to conduct longer-term Purchase and Resale Agreements based on existing terms and conditions and according to the accompanying schedule: http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/notices_fmd/2009/notice_fad201009.pdf.
In its conduct of monetary policy at low interest rates, the Bank retains considerable flexibility, consistent with the framework outlined in the April MPR.
A full update of the Bank's outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on Thursday, 22 October. The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 8 December 2009.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
New government incentives help but market fundamentals more important, Canadians say
TORONTO, May 26 /CNW/ - Canadians who are considering purchasing their first home are primarily motivated by lower home prices and very low interest rates, but some require confidence in the economy and their employment prospects before they will enter the market, according to a report released today by Royal LePage Real Estate Services. Eighty-six per cent of potential first-time buyers say low interest rates make them more likely to purchase a home; 81 per cent cite lower housing prices as a motivating factor; while 76 per cent cite job security and 64 per cent say a stable economy is an important factor in their decision to buy.
Potential buyers were asked to rank their top incentives for purchasing a first property. While home prices and interest rates took the number one and two rankings, respectively, the third most popular incentive was the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit. The recently introduced Home Renovation Tax Credit for 2009 was cited by 42 per cent of potential first-time buyers as either 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' to impact their purchasing decision.
"When first time buyers stepped out of the market in the fourth quarter of 2008, at the height of the global recession, their absence was profoundly felt. Without significant volumes of entry-level homes trading hands, the entire market limped through the winter months. First time buyers are back in force this spring, and with them the beginnings of a market recovery. While these consumers appreciate government incentives such as tax credits, greater RSP deduction limits and rebates on home renovations, it is markedly improved affordability that is proving to be the powerful drawing card," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.
"Our survey demonstrates how important affordability factors such as interest rates and house prices are in stimulating demand."
Across the country, potential first-time homebuyers agreed that affordability was their top consideration, however the survey also revealed differences amongst buyers in various regions of Canada. In provinces such as British Columbia where high housing prices have kept some buyers out of the market in recent years, 92 per cent of potential first-time buyers are now motivated by low interest rates and 96 per cent say lower home prices are likely to prompt them to buy.
In Atlantic Canada, where local economies have been resilient in the face of a worldwide recession and housing markets remain stable, 43 per cent of first-time buyers say they that job security is a factor in their decision to buy, while 84 per cent of buyers in British Columbia and Alberta said job security will influence them.
Atlantic Canadians were less motivated than other Canadians by declining interest rates, with only 72 per cent saying it will likely prompt a buying decision, compared to 86 per cent of Canadians overall. Buyers in Ontario and Quebec rated the Home Renovation Tax Credit as a bigger factor in their buying decision, compared to the Canadian average.
Mr Soper continued, "The significant response differences from region to region show how closely the residential real estate market is tied to broader economic trends and consumer confidence. Buying your first home is a major life decision, and people are more likely to purchase a home if they feel comfortable about the state of the economy and confident that they will have a job to support their new mortgage obligation."
Top Incentives for First-Time Buyers Across Canada Potential first-time buyers were asked to choose their number one incentive for purchasing a first property. The table shows the percentage of respondents who selected each factor as their top incentive.
Overall Territories Alberta Prairies Ontario Quebec Atlantic
Prices 33% 49% 48% 55% 32% 13% 26%
Rates 27% 32% 29% 4% 23% 41% 17%
Credit 12% 3% 10% 22% 15% 11% 10%
Security 10% 6% 5% 2% 10% 16% 15%
Additional Government Actions
to Stabilize Housing less less
Markets 3% 3% than 1% 10% 3% 4% than 1%
Home Renovation less
Tax Credit 2% 1% than 1% 1% 1% 3% 11%
Stable less less less
Economy 2% 2% than 1% than 1% 3% 2% than 1%
Greater RSP Deduction less less less
Limits 1% than 1% 1% than 1% 1% 1% than 1%
Stable Financial less less less less less
Markets than 1% than 1% than 1% than 1% 1% than 1% than 1%
Overall activity in the housing market has remained steady in the Atlantic region with first-time homebuyers continuing to enter the market. Low interest rates and recent government incentives, such as the Home Renovation Tax Credit, greater RSP deduction limits and the First-Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit speak to affordability. Buyers in this area are entering the market that would not have a few years ago, due to these influencing factors.
Entry-level buyers in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to search for detached bungalows, with the average price ranging from $157,000 in Charlottetown to $215,667 in Halifax during the first quarter of 2009.
First-time buyers continue to pursue the dream of home ownership in Montreal, as the number of entrants to the housing market has remained relatively stable. Low interest rates are contributing to increased market entry with 41 per cent of first-time buyers suggesting this is the key incentive driving the purchase of their first property, followed by 13 per cent who suggest lower housing prices might influence their buying decision.
With 47 per cent of new buyers in Quebec planning to settle in urban areas, buyers are planning to invest and live in their first home for ten or more years. Fifty-six per cent of first-time buyers hope to purchase a property in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range.
Encouraged by recent government initiatives, home ownership in Ontario is becoming a reality for an increasing number of younger purchasers. Across Ontario, 36 per cent of potential first-time buyers are most likely to purchase property in an urban setting. Condominiums continue to attract first-time buyers in the Greater Toronto Area with urban communities at accessible price points appealing most to market newcomers. In addition to affordability, location is a leading factor dictating condominium appeal.
Neighbourhoods in Toronto's east and west downtown core are popular with first-time buyers. In Ottawa, affordability continues to drive activity and most first-time buyers are opting to purchase in suburban areas where properties typically cost $50,000 to $75,000 less than in the city centre.
Active first-time buyer markets include Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata.
Manitoba & Saskatchewan
Thirty per cent of Prairie buyers planning on purchasing their first home in the next three years will choose a detached bungalow. The second-most popular choice for first-time buyers is condominiums at 21 per cent, followed by detached two-story homes at 15 per cent. In Winnipeg, up-and-coming neighbourhoods for first-time buyers include River Heights - which has traditionally been attractive for people entering the market - Fraser's Grove and East / North Caldonin. With a good selection of older bungalows and two story homes, Broders Annex is the hottest neighbourhood for first-time buyers in Regina.
Alberta's urban centres continue to be popular with first-time buyers, who make up nearly a third of home sales in both Calgary and Edmonton. Condominiums and detached bungalows are the most popular choices for first-time buyers in Edmonton, where lower housing prices and low interest rates are the biggest incentives for buyers entering the market for the first time. Popular areas for new buyers include the suburbs, where a new condominium may be within budget, the university area, where many parents are buying for their kids, Allendale and McKernan. In Calgary, new buyers are most interested in inner city condominiums and detached houses in the suburbs, with many seeking new or renovated homes.
With home prices either flat or declining in many communities in British Columbia and with interest rates at record lows, first-time buyers are taking advantage of greater affordability, with female buyers leading the trend. Sixty per cent of the buyers getting into BC's housing market for the first time are women. In British Columbia, 40 per cent of prospective first-time buyers intend to purchase a 'fixer-upper' while 80 per cent would take advantage of the Federal Government's Home Renovation Tax Credit in making upgrades to a home. First-time buyers in Vancouver are favouring condominiums and townhomes, however an increasing number of entry-level buyers are finding affordable detached homes outside the city in the Fraser Valley suburbs.
The survey portion of the Royal LePage First-Time Homebuyers' Report was conducted by Pollara from April 29, 2009 to May 8, 2009 among 474 first-time homebuyers in Canada. The online survey was conducted among a randomly-selected sample of 474 adult Canadians who are likely to purchase their first home in the next 3 years. A probability sample of this size with a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 %, 19 times out of 20. The data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects the actual Canadian population according to the most recent Census data.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada today announced that it is lowering its target for the overnight rate by one-quarter of a percentage point to 1/4 per cent, which the Bank judges to be the effective lower bound for that rate. The Bank Rate is correspondingly lowered to 1/2 per cent. The deposit rate - the rate paid on deposits held by financial institutions at the Bank of Canada - is left unchanged at 1/4 per cent and provides the floor for the overnight rate. Details of the Bank's operating framework at the effective lower bound can be found here.
In an environment of continued high uncertainty, the global recession has intensified and become more synchronous since the Bank's January Monetary Policy Report Update, with weaker-than-expected activity in all major economies. Deteriorating credit conditions have spread quickly through trade, financial, and confidence channels. While more aggressive monetary and fiscal policy actions are underway across the G20, measures to stabilize the global financial system have taken longer than expected to enact. As a result, the recession in Canada will be deeper than anticipated, with the economy projected to contract by 3.0 per cent in 2009. The Bank now expects the recovery to be delayed until the fourth quarter and to be more gradual. The economy is projected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2010 and 4.7 per cent in 2011, and to reach its production capacity in the third quarter of 2011. Given significant restructuring in a number of sectors, potential growth has been revised down. The recovery will be importantly supported by the Bank's accommodative monetary stance.
The Bank expects core inflation to diminish through 2009, gradually returning to the 2 per cent target in the third quarter of 2011 as aggregate supply and demand return to balance. Total CPI inflation is expected to trough at -0.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 and return to target in the third quarter of 2011. While the underlying macroeconomic risks to the projection are roughly balanced, the Bank judges that, as a consequence of operating at the effective lower bound, the overall risks to its inflation projection are tilted slightly to the downside.
With monetary policy now operating at the effective lower bound for the overnight policy rate, it is appropriate to provide more explicit guidance than is usual regarding its future path so as to influence rates at longer maturities. Conditional on the outlook for inflation, the target overnight rate can be expected to remain at its current level until the end of the second quarter of 2010 in order to achieve the inflation target. The Bank will continue to provide such guidance in its scheduled interest rate announcements as long as the overnight rate is at the effective lower bound.
To reinforce its conditional commitment to maintain the overnight rate at 1/4 per cent, the Bank will roll over a portion of its existing stock of one- and three-month term Purchase and Resale Agreements (PRAs) into six- and twelve-month terms at minimum and maximum bid rates that correspond to the target rate and the Bank Rate, respectively. These longer-term PRAs will be issued according to the schedule released today.
Today's decision to lower the policy rate by 25 basis points brings the cumulative monetary policy easing to 425 basis points since December 2007. It is the Bank's judgment that this cumulative easing, together with the conditional commitment, is the appropriate policy stance to move the economy back to full production capacity and to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target. The Bank retains considerable flexibility in the conduct of monetary policy at low interest rates, consistent with the framework to be outlined in the Bank's Monetary Policy Report on 23 April.
The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 4 June 2009.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The outlook for the global economy has continued to deteriorate since the Bank's January Monetary Policy Report Update, with weaker-than-expected activity in major economies. The nature of the U.S. recession, with very weak auto and housing sectors, is particularly challenging for Canada.
Stabilization of the global financial system remains a precondition for the global and Canadian economic recoveries. The timely implementation of ambitious plans in some major countries to address toxic assets and recapitalize financial institutions will be critical in this regard.
National accounts data for the fourth quarter of 2008 and other indicators of aggregate demand point to a sharper decline in Canadian economic activity and a larger output gap through the first half of 2009 than projected in January. Potential delays in stabilizing the global financial system, along with larger-than-anticipated confidence and wealth effects on domestic demand, could mean that the output gap will not begin to close until early 2010. These factors imply a slightly lower profile for core inflation than was projected in the January MPRU.
The effects of the recent aggressive monetary and fiscal policy actions in Canada and other major economies will begin to be felt in the second half of this year and will build through 2010. Once the global financial system stabilizes and global growth recovers, the underlying strength of the Canadian economy and financial sector should ensure a more rapid recovery in Canada than in most other industrialized economies.
The Bank's decision to lower its policy rate by 50 basis points today brings the cumulative monetary policy easing to 400 basis points since December 2007. Consistent with returning total CPI inflation to 2 per cent, the target for the overnight rate can be expected to remain at this level or lower at least until there are clear signs that excess supply in the economy is being taken up.
Given the low level of the target for the overnight rate, the Bank is refining the approach it would take to provide additional monetary stimulus, if required, through credit and quantitative easing. In its April Monetary Policy Report, the Bank will outline a framework for the possible use of such measures.
The Bank will continue to monitor carefully economic and financial developments in judging to what extent further monetary stimulus will be required to achieve its 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It took about five seconds from the time Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said "home renovation tax credit" for me to start thinking about redoing my kitchen.
Don't laugh, you probably did the same thing. Canadians spend more than $40 billion on home renovations. That's more than twelve hundred dollars for every man woman and child in the country. My guess is that right now, there are a lot of us looking for contractors.
If you're not sure what qualifies for a tax credit, think about it this way: If it stays with the house when you move, then it probably qualifies.
That includes:-kitchens, bathrooms and basements-floors and the roof-heating and air conditioning-insulation-paint-resurfacing the driveway or replacing your lawn with new sod. -Expenses such as labour and building permits qualify too.
If you're taking it with you - it doesn't qualify. Sorry, there's no tax credit for a new television or sofa. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next year though.
But where should we start? New kitchen or hardwood floors? Finish the basement or install new windows? Maybe it's finally time to build that deck.
Unless you're renovating out of sheer necessity - like fixing a leaky roof - then you should think about where you'll get the most bang for your renovation buck.
The 15 per cent can be claimed on any expenditure over $1,000 and under $10,000. Since only $9,000 is eligible, the maximum you can get back is $1,350. Spend exactly $10,000 and you'll see a savings of 13.5 per cent. Spend $20,000 and you'll still only get back $1,350. Your savings drop to 6.75 per cent. So now we have a budget - $10,000.
The conventional wisdom points to re-doing your kitchen or bathroom. Home buyers are willing to pay a premium for a great kitchen or bathroom. But a survey by the Appraisal Institute of Canada found that kitchens and bathrooms tend to break even in terms of adding value. Floors and rec-rooms returned little more than 50 cents on the dollar at resale.
Howard Drukarsh, vice president at Right at Home Realty - Canada's largest independent brokerage - says new energy efficient windows are worth considering. "New windows can modernize the look of your home, they add some curb appeal and the energy savings are a benefit," he says. You can lower your energy bill today and increase your selling price tomorrow. Moreover, you can couple the HRTC with other programs, like the one provided by ecoENERGY. Making your home more energy-efficient can qualify you for grants of up to $5,000.
Let's stay with the windows example. On a $10,000 expenditure you'll get $1,350 back from the HRTC. Your out of pocket expense is $8,650. You'll get an ecoENERGY grant of $60 for every rough opening when you install high efficiency windows. Let's say you have 15 windows? That's $900. Your out of pocket expense is now down to just $7,750.
Not bad. Though several factors are involved, high efficiency windows can also bring your energy bill down by from anywhere between eight and 15 per cent. Your outlay is now approaching $7,000, and that isn't even taking account possible increase in the price of your home.
Regardless of what you choose to do, consider a reno that is eligible for both the HRTC and the ecoENERGY grant to get the most bang for your buck. Just remember that the Home Renovation Tax Credit expires on February 1, 2010.
If you're planning on riding out this tough economy by cocooning in the comforts of your home, why not be comfortable in your space? Renovations can be a good investment and if it means you'll be spending more time at home or reducing energy costs, they can also be a money-saver in the long run.
By Patricia Lovett-Reid
February 03, 2009