Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Maintenance Tips for Every Home

No home comes maintenance free. Even a brand new house requires regular upkeep to ensure its internal environment stays healthy. If you live in a house that is less than seven years old, home maintenance is also essential for preserving your warranty rights if you live in Ontario.
Here are some tips to ensure your home remains in good shape:
  • Check for drips and run infrequently used taps (laundry tub, spare bathroom, etc) briefly to keep water in the trap. (monthly)
  • Make sure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris. (monthly)
  • Check and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. (monthly)
  • Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, repair or replace in the spring. (monthly during winter)
  • Monitor your home for excessive moisture levels–for example, condensation on your windows. (monthly during winter)
  • Examine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for excessive ice dams or icicles. (monthly during winter)
  • Check and clean range hood filters. (bi-monthly)
  • Test the ground fault circuit interrupters by pushing the test button which should cause the reset button to pop up. (bi-monthly)
  • Clean Central Vacuum Unit (bi-monthly)
  • Check gauge on fire extinguisher and recharge or replace if necessary.  (bi-monthly)
  • Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water. Refill with water if necessary. (bi-monthly)
  • Check fire escape routes, door and window locks, and lighting around outside of house; ensure family has good security habits. (quarterly)
  • Remove the grilles on forced air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.  (quarterly)
  • Take down Christmas lights (yearly)
By following an annual maintenance routine, you can keep your new home in top shape. Ongoing maintenance helps to ensure that your home stays healthy.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Canadian Housing Starts Unexpectedly Gain in January

Homebuilders broke new ground on more Canadian homes than expected last month, lifted by an increase in starts on multi-unit buildings, most recent data showed.

A report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC) showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 187,276 units last month from a downwardly revised 179,637 in December. That surpassed the 178,000 economists had expected.

December had previously been reported as 180,560 units.

Canada avoided the worst of the global financial crisis, and in the years since, its housing market has had robust growth amid low interest rates.

While the Bank of Canada's surprise interest rate cut last month is seen as continuing to support the market, economists expect housing starts to taper this year and next. The CMHC said the six-month moving average of starts slipped to 188,956 in January from 191,627 in December.

That decline should continue over the course of the year due to weakness in regions tied to the energy sector and hurt by lower oil prices, said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities in Toronto. Still, that could be counterbalanced by cheaper mortgages, he added.

"The impact of lower rates across the rest of the country may inspire greater demand, which will provide a partial positive offset and speak to the theme of a better regional balance across the country," Tulk wrote.

New construction in the multiples category rose to 115,008 units from 102,384, while starts in single-detached units edged down to 57,314 from 59,556. Starts in rural areas also declined, to 14,954 from 17,697.

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