All posts by Financial Independence Hub

The stress of moving sideways in high-priced housing markets

By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Think breaking into the Toronto real estate market is tough? Try making a lateral move; there’s a whole new crop of challenges facing those looking to cash in on their home’s equity, according to a recent bank report.

While much has been made over the plight of first-time buyers, they’re not the only ones feeling the pinch. Home owners with a long-term position in the market and who have become considerably house-rich — namely baby boomers — are also put off by the market’s challenges.

And while this generation has received criticism for hunkering down in their family homes rather than adding them back to the supply of low-rise, detached housing, the fact is many would love to cash out: but they face the same hurdles as their millennial counterparts.

According to a recent poll conducted by CIBC, two in five Canadian homeowners planning to sell their homes are poised to profit on their home sale — but 62% are reluctant to put it on the market due to the high cost of buying another home.

“In today’s market, homeowners are facing a conundrum as to whether to buy, sell or stay put,” says David Nicholson, vice-president of CIBC Imperial Service. “Buying or selling your home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. That’s why it’s important to make the decision for the right personal and financial reasons and see past the noise in the marketplace. Evaluating the pros and cons as part of an overall financial plan can help you decide what’s best for you.”

Sixty-seven per cent of boomers (aged 55 and up) indicated they wished to downsize to a smaller home, condo or nursing / retirement home.

The search for affordable options

Most downsizing boomers aren’t looking to acquire another million-dollar detached property, but recent price surges within the condo market may leave them feeling as though their options are limited. The Greater Toronto Area market has infamously experienced a 33% year-over-year price increase, and much of that double-digit growth has spilled over into the condo segment.

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How to profit from the Domain Name business

By Katrina Manning

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

We’ve all heard of domain names purchased 10 years ago for $10 dollars and selling for $20 million today — or some other story of similar nature.  As a result, you might be interested in buying and selling domain names either full-or-part-time for profit. It seems so easy and simple: just pick the right domain name, hold on to it for a while then sell for profit.

But is it really that simple? Well, since everyone is online –you can imagine that the ocean is wide. And you don’t want to start with a bit of research. You need a map, and we’ve created one for you here.

Stay focused

There are millions of domains already registered, especially the easiest ones that consist of one word such as apple.com, Facebook.com and so on. On the other hand, there are countless combinations of available domain names to register, especially if you consider the thousands of new domain name extensions such as .ng domain or .eu domain names.

As you can see, it is critical to keep your focus narrow. What subjects are you already familiar with, which can make the process much simpler? Do you have experience with animals or tech? Have you worked in the entertainment or service industry? Think about the industries you are most familiar with first, and start with that. Why is this important? Well, you don’t want to target prospective buyers based on their potential for sales if you don’t have insight into the industry you are aiming at.

In other words, don’t just rush to buy multiple domain names you think would appeal to health care clinics you’ve identified as potential buyers. You might not be aware of any industry-specific rules that govern facets of legal advertising. You won’t make much of a profit, if any, if you buy domain names your target audience can’t use. This is where it pays off to take the time to understand your audience.

Take the time needed to learn

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Toronto & Vancouver real estate investors should sell now, author says

Real estate in Toronto and Vancouver is at the irrationally exuberant greed stage and investors should sell, says bestselling author Calum Ross

By Calum Ross

Special to the Financial Independence Hub 

The Problem

Real estate investors often fail to objectively assess their existing portfolios in the same way that a holistic wealth management professional or financial planner would when dealing with equity investments.

Many real estate investors who began their investment careers following sound investment principles have got caught up in the hype and strayed from their core investment principles. When a particular asset class performs well, there is often a sentiment of irrational exuberance that develops around that asset class. When this happens, savvy investors adapt their strategy while others continue to “go with the herd” and experience the eroding effects of inertia.

The problem is highlighted today in two key ways:

  • Yield on Toronto and Vancouver Real Estate Has Diminished: Rising real estate prices in these markets have outstripped the increase in rental rates that has eroded yields. This now means many real estate investors are over-weighted in one asset class, and that many new real estate investments are in reality speculative-grade investments because they don’t meet the suggested 3% interest rate cushion to sustain cash flow (a metric outlined in more detail in my recent book on borrowing to invest).
  • Investors are Demonstrating Irrational Exuberance and Greed Towards Real Estate: I’m deeply concerned by the number of people who believe real estate values will continue to climb at these uncharacteristically high levels. Not only are current appreciation rates unsustainable, but the fact that rental increases are not even close to keeping pace makes real estate investment even less appealing.

There are too many investing in real estate who are chasing returns through appreciation alone. There’s an alarmingly high net inflow of money to real estate in overpriced markets even as yields continue to plummet.

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Is Inflation making a comeback?

By Kevin Flanagan, WisdomTree Investments

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

In a noticeable turn of events, one of the key talking points for the 2017 investment landscape has been the potential return of inflation. Indeed, only a little more than a year ago, a rather different take on this topic was dominating market discussion: deflation. However, since the results of the U.S. election became known, market participants began to shift their focus to what is being referred to as the “Trump Reflation Trade.”

Quite simply, the logic behind this “trade” is that fiscal stimulus will now take the baton from monetary policy and provide a newfound jolt to the economy, spurring potentially higher growth and elevated inflation readings, accordingly. For the most part, the financial markets appeared to buy into this line of reasoning, as the S&P 500 has risen +10% since Election Day while the U.S. Treasury (UST) 10-Year yield has climbed by about 65 basis points (bps) during this same time frame. Interestingly, broader commodity prices, as measured by the Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Index,  rose in the two-month period following the election to as high as +6.3% but have since reversed course and were basically unchanged as of this writing.

The most widely followed inflation gauge in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This monthly report is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with both the overall and core (excluding food and energy) readings receiving the most attention.

Inflation rise of 2.7% highest in 5 years

The February CPI report revealed that overall inflation rose at a year-over-year rate of +2.7%, the highest in almost five years. Continue Reading…

What first-time home buyers should know about FHA loans (U.S.)

By Cher Zevala

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

For most people, a home is the most significant purchase they will ever make, as well as one of the most complex. Finding a home is actually the easiest part in most cases, but financing the purchase can be stressful.

That stress is only amplified when you want to purchase a home, but don’t necessarily meet lender qualifications for an attractive mortgage. Simply put, it’s not always easy to get a mortgage for a home. Lenders have strict criteria in terms of down payment, income, and credit history, and failing to meet those criteria can mean disappointment, at least when you work with a traditional lender. Thankfully, there are other options for purchasing a home, such as an FHA mortgage.

What Is an FHA Mortgage?

An FHA mortgage or loan is a home loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (in the United States).  Borrowers who get a mortgage under this program must purchase mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in the event of a default. The agency itself does not issue the loan, but instead works with traditional lenders, providing assurance that the bank will not lose money on the deal.

FHA loans are attractive to many home buyers because they typically have less stringent qualifications in terms of down payment and credit score, but still offer competitive interest rates. For instance, while a buyer who only has a 10 per cent down payment and a credit score of 600 is not likely to qualify for a traditional loan, he or she has a better chance of getting financing via an FHA loan. Continue Reading…