The Most Famous House in Every Province

From architectural marvels to major historical landmarks, these famous Canadian homes are worth exploring when it's safe to travel again.

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Most Famous house in every province - Craigdarroch Castle

The Most Famous House in British Columbia

Craigdarroch Castle

There aren’t many legit castles in Canada, but Craigdarroch is certainly one of them. This Victoria landmark has been carefully restored to its Victorian-era splendour, offering visitors a glimpse into the high life of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and his family in the late 1800s. Modelled after a Scottish Baronial mansion, this National Historic Site is as impressive today as it was when its doors first opened 130 years ago.

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Most famous house in every province - Lougheed House

The Most Famous House in Alberta

Lougheed House

A contemporary of Craigdarroch, Calgary’s Lougheed House was built by Senator Sir James Alexander Lougheed in 1891. The sprawling 14,000 square-foot sandstone mansion is a popular attraction in the Beltline neighbourhood, drawing visitors with its grand Victorian interiors, curated exhibits and nearly three acres of gardens. High tea in the Lougheed House Restaurant—under the helm of famed Calgary chef Judy Wood—is a must.

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Most famous house in every province - Grey Owl's Cabin

The Most Famous House in Saskatchewan

Grey Owl’s Cabin

“Far enough away to gain seclusion, yet within reach of those whose genuine interest prompts them to make the trip, Beaver Lodge extends a welcome if your heart is right.” – Grey Owl

Tucked within the Million Acre Wood of Prince Albert National Park lies an unassuming cabin that was home to an international legend. British-born Archibald Stansfeld Belaney—also known as Grey Owl—moved to Canada in 1906 and became a trapper, conservationist and writer. Grey Owl’s cabin and final resting place can be accessed by foot (if you’re up for a 20-kilometre one-way hike), boat or guided tour.

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Most famous house in every province - Nellie's Homes

The Most Famous House in Manitoba

Nellie’s Homes

As a suffragette and politician, Nellie McClung was a leading figure in the movement to give women the right to vote, first in Manitoba (1916) and then across Canada. Two of Nellie’s homes can be found in the tiny town of Manitou, a two-hour drive southwest of Winnipeg. Wandering through the charming historic buildings will give you a feel for not only the life of this remarkable woman, but of the challenges pioneering women faced at the turn of the century.

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Most famous houses in Canada - Rideau Hall

The Most Famous House in Ontario

Rideau Hall

The home and workplace for each Governor General since 1867, Rideau Hall is where Canadians are honoured and world leaders are welcomed during state visits. Situated at 1 Sussex Drive, it’s just down the road from the Prime Minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex, though currently, the Prime Minister and his family live at Rideau Cottage on the Rideau Hall property. Who knows? You just might spot the Trudeaus amid the 79-acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.

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Most famous house in every province - Habitat 67

The Most Famous House in Quebec

Habitat 67

One of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in Canada, Habitat 67 is a Montreal housing complex that was originally built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair. Designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, the identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various patterns redefined urban living at the time.

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Most famous house in every province - Roosevelt Cottage

The Most Famous House in New Brunswick

Roosevelt Cottage

Even though Franklin Roosevelt clearly wasn’t Canadian, his summer getaway on New Brunswick’s Campobello Island is one of the province’s most cherished homes. FDR and his family spent the summers of 1909 to 1921 at this electricity-free cottage, which has been preserved in that state as the centrepiece of Roosevelt Campobello International Park.


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Most famous house in every province - Maud Lewis house

The Most Famous House in Nova Scotia

Maud Lewis House

It’s not just the vibrant paintings folk artist Maud Lewis created that are worthy of wonder—her house is, too! Lewis lived most of her life in poverty in a tiny cottage in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia. Making do with what she had, Lewis turned her house into living canvas, painting pretty much every surface from the doors to the breadbox to the windows. In order to preserve this one-of-a-kind cottage, the Province of Nova Scotia purchased the home and handed its care over to the the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia—the largest arts museum in Atlantic Canada. The cottage now sits—intact!—within the gallery, accompanied by a permanent collection of Lewis’s art.

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Most famous house in every province - Green Gables

The Most Famous House in Prince Edward Island

Green Gables Heritage Place

Anne Shirley may have been a fictional character, but the setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famed novels is very real. That doesn’t make Green Gables any less magical, of course, as hundreds of thousands of delighted visitors from all over the world discover every year. Step back in time at one of the site’s old-fashioned Sunday picnics, then join a summer tour of the 19th century gardens, Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane—just as they were depicted in the books.

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Most famous house in every province - Hawthorne Cottage

The Most Famous House in Newfoundland and Labrador

Hawthorne Cottage

Commander of the SS Roosevelt for Admiral Peary’s North Pole expeditions in the early 1900s, Captain Robert Bartlett is a true Canadian legend. One of the world’s greatest arctic explorers, Bartlett survived a dozen shipwrecks, yet always managed to return home to Hawthorne Cottage in Brigus, Newfoundland. Now a National Historic Site, Hawthorne Cottage is an excellent example of 19th century merchant housing, where visitors can relive Bartlett’s daring exploits, viewing rare artifacts from his expeditions.

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Most famous house in every province - Sam McGee's cabin

The Most Famous House in Yukon Territory:

Sam McGee’s Cabin

There are many treasures to be found inside Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum, but one of the most intriguing lies outdoors: the original cabin of Sam McGee. Immortalized in the Robert Service poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, it turns out McGee was an actual person—a road builder and prospector living in the Yukon. He moved into this rustic cabin in 1899, living there with his wife for the next 10 years. Much like the poem itself, the cabin serves as an evocative time capsule of life in the Klondike.

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers with Young Children

Starting the search for your first home purchase is an exciting, scary and overwhelming time! It can be incredibly easy to get caught up in the waves and lose sight of what matters most.  Choosing a home for your family is important! Check out our top considerations for first time home buyers with young children.

The old cliché, ‘location, location, location’

The location of your home and the surrounding area is arguably the number one priority for many first time home buyers with young children. Having kids in the mix means you have to consider a variety of factors! Taking the time now to prioritize and decide can save headaches down the road.

Your location determines the proximity to schools, convenience stores, your job, attractions, friends and more. It’s often the first and most important search parameter to be decided during any home search!

Before deciding on a location consider these common questions:

  • What are the school systems like (now, and for the future!)
  • Are there private or charter school options available?
  • How close is your childcare for off days and summer months?
  • What is the proximity to your family and friends?
  • How close are you to your jobs?
  • What are the neighborhoods like? (sidewalks, bike paths etc.)
  • What is the distance to attractions like parks, pools, etc.?
  • How far are convenience stores and grocery stores?
  • How are property taxes?

Taking the time to find a home in a neighborhood that you can enjoy, and that suits your lifestyle, is of the utmost importance. For many, this will be your home for decades to come!

Decide your budget for your first home

Relying on your pre-approval letter is not the best way to decide your budget when searching for your first home! Unfortunately, pre-approval letters don’t provide a great ‘big picture’ view. Take that step further and add your (expensive) precious children into the mix and we need to do some serious number crunching. Deciding on a budget when shopping for your first home is incredibly important!

Start with the basics. What are you comfortable paying now (for rent, for example) and work backward to the down payment, interest and ultimately cost of a home that you would easily be able to transition to. Don’t forget to factor in taxes, insurance, and utilities! On top of general home repair and maintenance expenses, your regular budget should be pretty well set in stone. For help, use the easy Mortgage Calculator.

When planning for the future, searching for a home when you have small children requires some extra legwork.  Depending on the area you decide to purchase in, you may have to consider private schools, different childcare, higher taxes and more.  If you have private school tuition or college tuition in your future – Take care to budget accordingly! All of the different pieces of the puzzle will come together, but it is important to make sure all your pieces are out on the table.

Another important factor is to search for homes that do not have ‘big ticket’ expenses looming, or to budget accordingly if you select such a home. Don’t set yourself up for large expenses like a new roof, septic system, new driveway, new deck, plumbing or major remodeling if your budget cannot support it.

Oh, and one last thing: do yourself a favor and don't buy during a seller's market. You'll thank us later.

Non-negotiable home features

In today’s swarm of technology and Pinterest or Houzz inspired daydreams, we can easily get carried away. Unless you have an unlimited budget or plan for some upgrades and remodeling, it may be necessary to bring your priority list back to planet earth.

Deciding the home features that your family requires, prefers or wants to avoid can make your home search much easier. 

Starting with very simple considerations, listing the home features you need can help keep your entire search on track.  How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? Do you have a budget and plan for updates and remodeling, or are you moving in as is? 

Thinking about what is necessary now, and also what is needed in the future, will ensure you make a smart investment!  Buying a home with small kids may not be a picnic, but it can provide a ton of opportunity to take the time to search for what you want! Take into consideration the type of floor plan that fits your family best, but also will accommodate your kids (and your family) as they grow over time.  It is wonderful to have a home that your children will want to spend time in later in life, including entertaining friends and more. Functional space is key for your first home!

Here are 10 common features to look for when buying a home with young kids

  1. Number of rooms and bathrooms
  2. Bathroom details – Bathtubs, etc.
  3. A safe place to play (fenced yard, play area, etc.)
  4. Child safety – locks, banister guards, pool fences, etc.
  5. Functional space in laundry, kitchen
  6. Pantry and food storage / bulk storage
  7. Storage / closets
  8. Great flooring
  9. Great paint
  10. Accessibility (Parking, storage, etc.)

Whittling your list of features can help guide your home search.  Keep in mind, what may sound like a non-negotiable now may change as you begin to look!  Buying your first home is exciting, be sure to take the time to choose a home and neighborhood that fits your family best.



It’s not easy to decide whether you should remodel your home or it makes more sense to move. But if you’re asking the question, chances are you’ll be better off making some kind of change. Maybe your home no longer fits your family’s needs, or perhaps it’s showing signs of age. A home renovation might fix the problem, but so could putting your house up for sale and finding another one.

Either option will affect your wallet. But your decision also could affect much more, from neighbor relationships to school districts and work commutes. You’ll want to make the choice that’s right for you and your loved ones. Here are some tips to help you decide.

List home-improvement goals

Start by making a list of upgrades you’d be willing to pay for, either in your current home or a new one, says Michael Chadwick, a financial advisor in Unionville, Connecticut.

For example, if your family’s growing, you might want to add a bedroom or a bathroom. If you often cook at home but your kitchen space is older and inefficient, it might be time for an update.

“You’ll eventually use this list to estimate how much it would cost for a home remodel, and that can help you decide if it makes more financial sense to upgrade or sell,” Chadwick says.

Learn your local market

There are a few ways to get the answer to that question. One is to compare your home’s value with recent sales in your neighborhood, says Jenelle Isaacson, owner of Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon. If neighboring homes are worth more than your house, a remodel could bring the value of your property in line with others in your neighborhood, she says. This could be a good investment.

But if you already own the biggest house on the block, you probably won’t get a quick return on your money if you pay for a major remodel. This might not seem like an issue if you plan to live in your home for several years after paying for a renovation. But if you need to move sooner than expected, your home might not sell for enough to make back the money you put into the project.

Be aware of any restrictions that your local community might place on making changes to your home. Contact city officials to learn about building codes and restrictions. And if you’re part of a homeowners association, ask a board member to provide neighborhood home-improvement guidelines.

If you need more space but have restrictions on adding square footage to your home, then selling and buying a bigger home will probably be the better choice.


Estimate home-renovation costs

Find rough estimates for home-renovation projects by reading industry sources, such as Remodeling magazine, which publishes a list of typical renovation costs across the country. The average cost to add a bathroom, for example, is about $40,000, according to the magazine. If you’re leaning toward a remodel, contact a local contractor for a more detailed estimate.

Along with figuring the costs, you’ll also need to decide how to pay for a renovation. Homeowners often fund home-improvement projects with a mortgage refinance, a home equity line of credit or personal savings, says John Walsh, CEO of Total Mortgage in Milford, Connecticut.

“If you have more than 20% equity in your home, you may be able to take some of the money out and use it to pay for a renovation,” he says.

Compare costs for selling your home

If you sell your home, you might not have to pay for major renovations, but you’ll still have expenses. Full-service real estate agents usually charge a commission of about 6% of the purchase price. There also are moving expenses and travel costs to search for homes in different areas, which can add up quickly.

Add these costs together and you can expect to pay thousands of dollars before you even move to a new home. And you’ll need to have a down payment too.

If you have equity in your home, however, you can use money from the sale to help fund your next move, Walsh says.

Weigh emotional benefits

If you’re not happy with your home but like your neighborhood, it might make sense to upgrade the house and stay put, Isaacson says. “Being comfortable with your community is an intangible benefit that can’t be replaced when you move. If you love where you are and depend on your neighbors, it probably makes more sense to remodel,” she says.

The reverse is also true. If you’re not happy with your home’s location, or with other factors that a remodel can’t fix, it might make sense to sell and find another property, she says.

As a homeowner, you’ll want to carefully weigh the choice between remodeling and moving. By considering the financial and emotional effects of both options, you can confidently make the right decision.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet.

For Valentine’s Day, Couple Your Finances

Money coaches discuss how couples can combine finances and bank accounts while balancing autonomy and partnership.


When Alli Williams married her husband in 2019, she knew she would be marrying into about $150,000 of student loan debt.

Now, a few years later, she and her husband have gotten on the same financial page with their budgets and bank accounts, and they’ve paid off not only his student loans but also their credit cards and their truck. Williams had become debt-free individually when she was 25, and now, at 30, the couple are debt-free together.

"Paying off debt isn’t the hard part," Williams says. "Managing your money is the harder part."

Williams, a South Carolina-based money coach and owner of FinanciALLI Focused, says that when she and her husband got engaged in 2018, that was the first time they created a combined budget. They keep their spending low and benefit from living in a low-cost area, and they’ve been strategic about using percentages of windfalls to pay off debt and to save. But the real key, she says? Frequent communication and check-ins about money.

Money can be a very personal and — at times — stressful component of a romantic partnership. Handling debts, bank accounts, credit cards and bills together isn't only a logistical challenge, it’s also a new avenue for potential conflict. If one half of a couple likes to save money while the other person is a compulsive spender, that pair will likely need to have some difficult conversations to avoid resentment in the long run. For those conversations, there are professionals who can provide guidance and insight.

Benefits of a financial advisor for couples

Similar to a therapist, a financial advisor or money coach can create a safe space for couples to discuss issues and plan for their futures together.

Liz and Dan Carroll, an Oregon-based couple and owners of Mindful Money Coaches, have been married for 31 years. They use their personal success with money management to provide actionable advice to their clients, such as teaching them how to create long-term money plans together.

"Everyone is a good candidate for at least an annual check-in with a money coach," Liz says. "And just like with the compound interest you get with investing, the earlier you start the better."

If you and your partner decide to work with a certified financial advisor instead of a money coach, make sure to choose one that operates as a fiduciary, which means they’re obligated to put your interests ahead of profit. Non-Fiduciary financial advisors make commissions from products they sell to their clients, so they could pressure clients to buy or invest in products that aren’t necessarily helpful.

What options do couples have for managing their money together?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to managing your finances, especially if you’re part of a couple. Some couples prefer to have all of their money combined, others like to keep their finances completely separate, and some prefer a hybrid of the two. No matter the strategy, couples can use joint accounts to manage shared expenses and save for special goals.

The Carrolls don’t recommend that married couples separate their finances, however. Even if one partner has debt or a low credit score, they advise that both partners take on the responsibility of working through financial stumbling blocks as a team.

"Putting it together creates overall accountability," Liz says.

"Couples always bring their own burdens and strengths into a marriage," Dan adds. "So if you’re going into a partnership, you have to accept that you’re going to take the good with the bad."

A tip from the pros: Create a budget just for ‘fun money’

Joint finances don’t necessarily mean that you have to lose your autonomy. Williams and the Carrolls use a system in their relationships that they say creates a sense of independence while staying aligned on their finances: budgeting "fun money" into individual accounts for each person.

"It’s like our 'no questions asked' money," Williams says. "It’s money where we don’t have to check in with each other before we spend it, like my husband spending $10 at Chick-fil-A, or me spending money at Amazon or Target. We use Ally Bank’s buckets feature for our individual accounts, and we technically each have access to both, but we don’t need to check it."

The Carrolls use a similar approach for their fun money.

"It’s still a line item on the budget where everything comes into one bucket, and then some goes out into the fun spending accounts," Dan says. "We highly recommend that each partner gets an equal amount, and then they can do whatever they want with it. It creates freedom for both individuals."

Money management and communication are foundational skills for any committed romantic partnership, and, as Dan Carroll can attest, those skills spill over into other areas.

"It's unanimous from the feedback we get from our clients that talking through money helps the whole relationship."




Big Year, Small Space: Could You Take on 2022 in a Tiny Home?


Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of micro-size living in a tiny home.

While many homeowners dream of upsizing for space, others instead dream of downsizing for a myriad of reasons like cost, care and comfort. But with the phenomenon of tiny home living prominent in the real estate realm, some are ready to shrink their living space to new levels – even condensing into less than 400 square feet.

Rising in popularity over the past decade, the tiny home movement has been perpetuated by an impending desire for wanderlust. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are looking to redefine their reality.

When it comes to tiny homes, the definition of “tiny” will vary depending on who is asked. While 400 square feet and under has become industry standard, some real estate agents will consider a freestanding structure under 600 square feet a tiny home, too.

An often affordable option, tiny homes tend to be desirable due to their lower cost of living, minimalistic nature, off-grid living capabilities, and appeal to buyers with a persistent sense of adventure. Depending on local zoning laws, tiny homes are also being seen as opportunity for a guest house, backyard office or income property.

“People typically downsize for three different reasons,” says Steve Weissman, CEO of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, a renowned green-certified tiny home builder, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “One is a minimalist lifestyle choice where you want to get away from attachment to possessions. The second is the environmental component and the third would be that it financially makes sense for many to achieve homeownership.”

Are you considering going tiny? Weissman and RE/MAX agent Richard Rolfingsmeyer unpack the pros and cons of buying a tiny home.

The Pros: Affordability, Sustainability and Freedom

“When downsizing this small, your overall cost is less, so it allows more freedom to upgrade the things that are really important to you. Each tiny house is a work of art and a form of personal expression,” Weissman says.

Tumbleweed’s largest model is just 260 square feet. According to Homeadvisor, the average cost of a tiny home is $45K, but the more customizations, homey details and space-saving solutions are added, the higher the price. Tumbleweed’s intricate tiny homes sell for an average of $100K.


For many, the low cost of a tiny home in comparison to a traditional house could present an opportunity to become a homeowner sooner than planned or own a home outright without a mortgage. Plus, monthly bills – like electricity and gas – are significantly lower when operating within a micro-sized footprint. Speaking of which, a traditional layout for a tiny house includes a ground level room with a kitchen, living area and bathroom, and a sleeping loft atop.

“The house itself is consuming a lot less propane and using less power,” Weissman says. “And when you’re living there, your consumption is less, too. You're not filling your house with furniture and other random things. It really is a lifestyle change.”



Aside from the occasional ambitious DIY-projects, most tiny homes begin with a builder, like Tumbleweed, which sells direct to consumer. A real estate agent steps in when it’s time for resale.


Richard Rolfingsmeyer, better known as “Richard-REALTOR®," an agent with RE/MAX Real Estate Results in Bentonville, Arkansas, kickstarted his experience with tiny homes when he appeared on an episode of the HGTV show Tiny House Hunters. His on-air client was pursuing micro-living primarily for its sustainable benefits, like using less energy and natural resources on a daily basis.

The client also wanted the freedom to roam. Depending on how they’re situated, tiny homes provide homeowners the flexibility to get up and move with their house in tow.


“Your tiny house can be mobile if you have an easy way to load it on a flatbed or trailer. On the other hand, if you have it on a concrete block foundation, moving is difficult and the location is more permanent. My client specifically wanted a situation where she could connect her home to a vehicle and be able to go,” Rolfingsmeyer says.

“[My client] also didn't want to be tied down to a mortgage or a plot of land. Her whole idea was to be able to travel the country and meet new people all while working a job and having a reliable home-base,” he adds.

In addition to serving as a primary dwelling, tiny homes are an unconventional – yet more affordable – option for second-home ownership. For vacation purposes, they are widely treated like a cabin and can be seen in mountainside or woodsy settings to get away and immerse with nature.


The Cons: Storage, Privacy and Land Logistics

The ideals of tiny home living must be met with reality, and a sizable consideration is storage – or lack thereof.

“Many people like their stuff – and like to accumulate even more stuff. If you're having to get two or three storage units to store your possessions just because you want to live in a tiny house, then that's maybe not the most cost-effective way to go tiny,” Rolfingsmeyer says.

A minimalist lifestyle is what draws many to tiny home living in the first place. But an ongoing commitment to minimalism is a must to maintain livable conditions. For those who are able to pare their possessions down to few, most tiny homes will suffice with elaborate storage solutions and dual-purpose features like drawers nestled in stairs and furniture that folds to nearly nothing.

“Something I've learned about people who live small is that they are more interested in investing in experiences rather than things,” says Weissman, a minimalist himself.

Sharing such small space can also be a point of contention, so those interested in going tiny must really enjoy spending quality – and quantity – time with their roommates.

“In smaller spaces, even little noises and sounds can start to get on your nerves,” Rolfingsmeyer warns.

Regardless of whether a whole family or just one person and a dog is living inside a tiny home, condensation can become an issue. Weissman recommends ensuring the tiny home you buy – whether it’s new or being resold – has a proper ventilation system for optimal air quality.

“Especially in colder climates, you start getting condensation. And as a result, mold is a relatively common problem in tiny homes,” he explains. “However, we created a heat recovery ventilation system and over the years it was adopted by other tiny home builders, too. [The system] circulates air through the tiny house and makes for a much healthier environment.”

According to Weissman, only 5% of tiny home owners move their home around regularly and 20% move it once every five years. Most buyers must arrange or purchase a permanent space for the structure to live because, unlike buying a traditional house, a tiny home more than likely won’t come with land.

“The majority of our homes are going into a backyard, and then some are going into a tiny house community,”  Weissman says. “But for those that aren’t, the owners have to consider buying a plot of land.”

So, if you’re up for adventure – or are looking for a way to potentially save money while reaping the benefits of homeownership – consider taking on a big year ahead in a tiny home. Rolfingsmeyer suggests getting in contact with your local RE/MAX agent to discuss new versus resale options, land, local tiny home communities and more.

Clever Ways to Finally Upgrade An Old Worn Down or Dated Fireplace

What you should know if you’re taking possession of a home in 2022


Photo: Roman / Adobe Stock

For thousands of people, 2022 is the year that they take possession of a brand new home.

While it’s exciting to turn the key for the first time in your new home’s front door, there’s several national and global influences at play that will shape the closing and possession phase of buying a property this year.

If you’re preparing to move into new digs in 2022, here are a few things that you may want to take into consideration.

Furniture and appliance orders are still delayed

If you’re waiting on that sectional to arrive or the bed frame you love to come back in stock, you belong to the many people who have been impacted by furniture delivery delays and shortages.

Several countries around the world have been experiencing long delivery times thanks to a host of COVID-19 and global supply chain problems, from backed-up shipping ports to factory closures overseas. The red-hot real estate market, which has seen renters and homeowners move to new digs throughout the course of the pandemic, has also contributed to the demand for home furnishings.

Experts are hopeful though that things will return to business as usual this year as supply chain challenges ease in 2022.

Mortgage interest rates are staying low, for now

Since the Bank of Canada started cutting its mortgage-influencing overnight rate back in March 2020, new and existing mortgage holders have been able to take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in history. That could come to an end this year, impacting those looking to lock in a mortgage on a new property.

In its final policy interest rate announcement for 2021, the BoC said that it intends to hold its 0.25 per cent overnight rate at that level until mid-2022. Between Canada’s Big Six banks, predictions have been swirling around a potential four quarter-point rate hike by the end of the year.

This could have a ripple effect on the housing market altogether, with some experts drawing comparisons to 2018, when interest rates increased three times and the stress test was introduced, dropping sales volume by 19 per cent. The current stress test rules for uninsured mortgages in 2022, so far, remain unchanged.

Labour shortages are leading to higher costs

The residential construction industry has experienced widespread labour shortages, making new builds and home renovations take longer to complete and cost more money than usual.

Many tradespeople are hitting retirement age, and there aren’t enough young people or immigrants signing up to fill those jobs. Buildforce Canada estimates the construction industry will need to add more than 116,000 workers by the end of the decade to keep pace with expected demand growth and retirements.

Those labour shortages have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic fuelling Canada’s hot housing market, producing labour imbalances and geographic mismatches. According to Statistics Canada, construction job vacancies increased by more than 34,000 — or 83.7 per cent — between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2021.

The lack of skilled labour has increased demand for tradespeople to complete projects like kitchen and bathroom remodels, as well as flooring and electrical work. Keep that in mind and expect increased costs if you plan to begin any projects this year.

Surging lumber prices make construction more costly

Supply chain issues and reduced inventory resulting from natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have sent lumber prices skyrocketing once again.

According to Random Lengths, lumber prices have nearly tripled since August, surging to more than $1,000USD per thousand board feet. As a result, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates the average price of a new single-family home has increased by more than $18,600USD, with Canadian consumers experiencing similar cost increases.

Inventory issues stem from strong housing markets and a destructive summer wildfire season along the West Coast, while B.C.’s record November rainfall snarled supply chains and produced a backlog at the Port of Vancouver. The resulting project delays and increased demand for lumber led to the recent spike in prices.

Prospective homeowners will have to factor in rising lumber costs before choosing whether to proceed with new construction or renovation projects.

Photo: ungvar / Adobe Stock

There are still rules around showings and indoor gatherings

With the fifth wave of the pandemic forcing provinces to resume COVID-19 restrictions, those moving into a home in 2022 may need to think about current safety requirements in their region, especially those that impact real estate and communal living areas.

For instance, in Toronto, COVID-19 bylaws were recently extended to April 2022, requiring that masks be worn indoors in shared spaces such as lobbies, elevators and stairwells inside apartment and condo buildings. Under Ontario’s modified ​​Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, real estate open houses are prohibited and showings are by appointment only. Meanwhile, indoor gatherings are now limited to just five people.

These are important to keep in mind if you’re doing final walkthroughs, inspections or other business that might impact the possession process. Be sure to review guidelines from your local public health unit or provincial government for the most up-to-date COVID-19 restrictions.


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