An excellent year for the real estate sector despite a rocky economic situation

After home sales failed to meet expectations in 2014, many analysts gave a cautious forecast of only a 2% increase in sales for 2015. However, despite several economic ups and downs, the real estate sector performed surprisingly well across Quebec this past year.

Key interest rate, depreciation of the loonie and jobs

To everyone’s surprise, at the start of the year, the Bank of Canada decided to reduce its key interest rate to 0.75%, which led to lower mortgage interest rates. The impact of this change resulted in shorter terms and generous rate discounts. What’s more, in July 2015, the Bank of Canada further reduced its key interest rate to 0.50%. While this second decrease had a less dramatic effect on mortgage rates than the first, it did encourage Canadian banks to reduce their preferred rates, which gave a boost to the Canadian economy.

Among other factors influencing the housing market, the job market proved to be particularly resistant to economic fluctuations, with over 80,000 jobs being created in Canada over the course of the year.

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Higher sales than expected with slight price increases

While many anticipated growth in home sales of just 2% in 2015, as mentioned above, by mid-2015, that figure had already reached 5%. The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) even forecast a rate of 6% or 7% by the end of the year, with some 75,000 properties sold, and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) agreed.[……]

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The concrete revolution

Do you not like concrete? It’s grey, cold, ugly, uniform, old fashioned. You don’t even like the word “concrete”. But concrete has come a long way in the last few years! The proof: there is concrete that generates light because of the luminous fibre optics it contains. Want to hear more?

There is translucent concrete which allows the natural light to shine through, self-cleaning and depolluting concrete, concrete that sparkles, concrete that reproduces photos, concrete that changes colour. All of this could be flooding the market soon.

Good old traditional concrete is easy to maintain, resistant, waterproof, solid. Originally reserved for industrial buildings and architecture, concrete has become a popular decorative material in the last few years.

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Concrete is not a noble material, but it highlights natural materials like wood, stone and slate. As a floor covering, it fits easily with any of these materials to ensure variety when it comes to flooring. It has even been used to complement terra cotta tiles. [……]

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Helpful Tips of the Month from BMO

Five fun ways to help your preschooler learn about money.

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It’s never too early to help them make sense of money.

If your kids can count, they can start learning about money. At this young age, a great way to teach them is through multisensory experiences that include lots of play, songs, and arts and crafts. Here are five fun ways you can engage your little one in lessons about dollars and cents:[……]

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