We've outlined "green" location decisions in our previous blog which can be viewed here: Ways to Save $$$ with Location Decisions

Once you have chosen a location and narrowed down your housing choices to *the* one, you have to think about financing options. Lucky for you, most financial institutions offer "green" mortgages. Making eco-friendly decisions will save the environment and some money while you're at it.

[1] Bank of Montreal Eco Smart Mortgage

This is a five-year fixed closed mortgage that rewards you for planning to purchase or already owning a home with energy efficient features. Members are qualified for a great rate when they apply under a BMO representative. This mortgage features prepayment options that will allow you to pay down your mortgage faster and reduce your interest costs. Have peace of mind in knowing that your mortgage rate will not rise during the term.

For additional information, check out the BMO Eco Smart Mortgage.

[2] RBC Energy Saver Mortgage

If eligible, you could receive a $300 rebate on a home energy audit. What exactly is a home energy audit? It is a report assessing your home's major heating and cooling systems. A licensed professional will be able to make recommendations as to how you can improve your home's energy efficiency and lower your energy costs.

For more details on energy and money saving tips, visit RBC's Energy Saver Mortgage.

[3] Vancity's Bright Ideas Home Renovations

Making energy-efficient renovations has its advantages, both economically and environmentally. With these renovations, you can increase your home's re-sale value by having an energy efficiency rating which informs buyers that your home is more energy efficient. You will also be able to improve the efficiency of your home in the short and long-term. These renovations translate into cost-savings by offering you a personal loan at prime + 1% rate for up to ten years. Mortgage rates are low and the payment options are flexible! 

More details can be found here: Vancity's Bright Ideas Home Renovations

[4] Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) Financing Model

Innovative programs are being launched to help home owners and businesses leverage home renovations for energy efficient improvements. This financing model spreads out the cost of the renovations over a substantial period of time in which the energy savings from said renovations will help pay for the financial loan through BC Hydro or FortisBC. 

Further details can be found here: PAYS Financing Model

Contact us today if you have any questions and we'll be more than happy to assist you in any way possible. E-mail us at info@wesellvancouver.ca or give us a ring at 604-801-6654.

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As was universally anticipated, the Bank of Canada opted to hold its target overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. Ongoing uncertainty in the Euro-zone continues to weigh heavily on the Bank's outlook. In its statement accompanying the interest rate decision, it was noted that the bank is now projecting a contained Euro-crisis, but also a brief recession in the Euro-area due to ongoing deleveraging and fiscal austerity. The Bank also expects continued weakness, but no recession, in the United States through the first half of 2012 before a resumption of stronger growth. Given various challenges in the global economy, the Bank of Canada trimmed its outlook for Canadian economic growth to 2.1 per cent in 2011, 1.9 per cent in 2012 and 2.9 per cent in 2013 which is in line with our own forecast. On inflation, the Bank now expects slack in the economy to persist longer than originally forecast, leading to a closing of the output gap at the end of 2013. This implies softer than expected inflation in coming quarters, with consumer price growth moderating before returning to the Bank's 2 per cent target by the end of 2013.
 
Overall, this morning's statement shows a very cautious Bank of Canada that is unlikely to make any significant movements on interest rates over the next two to three quarters. Further monetary tightening will be highly contingent on a brighter growth outlook in the United States and a credible solution to the Euro sovereign debt crisis. Therefore we expect the Bank of Canada to remain on the sidelines through the end of 2011 and the first half of 2012.
 
Cameron Muir
BCREA, Chief Economist
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The federal government recently announced three changes to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages.
 
First, the government will reduce the maximum mortgage amortization period from 35 to 30 years. Second, the maximum amount of the value of a home that can be re-financed will drop from 90 per cent to 85 per cent. And finally, government insurance will no longer be available to financial institutions wishing to insure home equity lines of credit.
 
“These are prudent measures that promote responsible lending practices and further strengthen our internationally recognized mortgage finance system,” Jake Moldowan, Board president said.
 
The adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework will come into force on March 18, 2011. The withdrawal of government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes will come into force on April 18, 2011.
 
source: REBGV
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The Canadian economy grew at the exceptional pace of 6.1% in the first quarter of 2010, propelled by a booming housing market, strong consumer spending and the rebuilding of private sector inventories. Moreover, growth in the second quarter of 2010, while not expected to register the sizzling pace of the previous six months, should be a robust 3%-4%.
 
However there are signs that the economy, if not stalling out, may be slowing down. April’s monthly GDP print was disappointingly flat as consumers moved to the sidelines, sending retail sales lower by almost 2%.
 
chart
 
Even if Canadian consumers are beginning to tire out, economic growth should be supported in coming months by projects initiated under the federal government’s infrastructure stimulus plan. This stimulus will provide a needed boost to the economy through the remainder of 2010, with projected impacts peaking in the third quarter, but will create a drag on growth in 2011 as the stimulus is withdrawn from government expenditure.
 
The strength of the Canadian economic recovery over the past six months is evidenced by the over 300,000 jobs created in the Canadian economy since the beginning of the year. While this exceptional rate of job creation stands in stark contrast to the gloomy employment situation of our southern neighbour, it also re-affirms the need for the Bank of Canada to begin withdrawing its emergency level of monetary stimulus by raising interest rates, particularly given the proximity of core inflation to its 2% target rate.
 

The withdrawal of monetary and fiscal stimulus from the Canadian economy in coming months will result in slower growth in both the second half of 2010 and into 2011. This growth slowdown may be further exacerbated by weaker than currently anticipated US and global economic growth as well as a higher Canadian dollar resulting from a rise in Canadian interest rates relative to the United States.

 
In all, slower economic growth and inflation that is within the Bank of Canada’s comfort zone should mean that, while interest rates are certain to rise, the pace of interest rate increases should be orderly and the level of interest rates will remain near historic lows through the remainder of the year.
 
 
By Cameron Muir, Chief Economist and Brendon Ogmundson, Economist, British Columbia Real Estate Association
 
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