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Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on Oakville home builds

April 28, 2010

Habitat for Humanity Halton broke ground to build its first two homes in the Town of Oakville today. The homes will be located at 262 and 266 Elmwood Road at Margaret Drive. Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr and Town of Oakville Mayor Rob Burton attended the groundbreaking, along with members of the Oakville Council.

As reported in Vital Signs 2009 – the Oakville Community Foundation’s report on community issues – 9.7% of Oakville residents live below the poverty line, which means less than $35,480 for a family of four. Habitat for Humanity’s way of building, and of structuring mortgages for low-income families, makes it possible for more families to begin to build the financial equity that is crucial for any of us as we plan for our family’s future.

Habitat’s homes are built to “simple, decent” specifications and quality standards. In these two Oakville homes, Habitat Halton will be piloting upgrades to its energy standards: aiming for Built Green Canada’s “gold” certification on eight checklist categories: operational systems, building materials, exterior and interior finishes, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation and business practices. One example in the building materials category involves the support of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative in helping to open the door to corporate donations of premier wood and lumber products from some of Canada’s most responsible sources.

Volunteers Are Needed

“We are still in the early days of recruiting volunteers for these builds, with most volunteers needed for the rough carpentry stages scheduled to start in July, and continue through August and September. Construction or home-renovation experience is not required, though it’s of great value for Crew Leaders, who commit to a minimum of one day, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.” said Swarbrick. “We provide the training, including health and safety training session.”

Special corporate sessions can be arranged for employee “team building” opportunities with Habitat for Humanity Halton by calling 905-637-4446 Ext. 224.

More About Habitat Halton:

Habitat for Humanity Halton is a local, non-profit, faith-based organization working for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Our mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Founded in 1999, Habitat for Humanity Halton is a member of Habitat for Humanity Canada, and part of a worldwide network that spans 90 countries, has built over 225,000 homes, and is now building a new home every 10 minutes.

For more information, please visit

Click the link to read the entire article: “Habitat for Humanity Halton breaks ground in Oakville” on

Oakville & Mississauga Real Estate: Mortgage Rates, times they are a changing

April 28, 2010

The Royal Bank of Canada kicked off another round of mortgage rate increases Monday, just days after the Bank of Canada’s stern warning that higher interest rates are on the way.

RBC said it will increase interest rates on mortgages with terms from six months to 10 years.

TD Canada Trust followed suit with a similar announcement of mortgage rate increases hours later. These latest interest rate increases mark the third time in the last month that major Canadian banks have hiked mortgage rates for home owners.

“It’s not a big surprise. The market is getting more aggressive about the prospect of the Bank of Canada raising interest rates. Now it seems the market is expecting even more aggressive interest rates increases than it was last week,” said Benjamin Tal, senior economist at CIBC World Markets.

Just last week, the Bank of Canada said that the economy is growing more quickly than projected. BOC governor Mark Carney also stated that the time for historic low interest rates has passed. These latest mortgage rate changes at RBC and TD are said to take effect next Tuesday.

Just today I read that a recent poll published by that said:

CMHC. said Monday that 81% of recent homebuyers surveyed were “comfortable” with the level of their mortgage debt.

The survey also found that more than two-thirds of respondents plan to pay off their mortgage early. Government-owned CMHC released the result of its survey of 2,500 active mortgage users in an e-mailed statement.

OK, so here’s my quick two cents:

First, are you comfortable with your level of debt? If yes, will you still answer the same when in a couple years time when resale home values have dropped and mortgage rates are climbing? Many lenders have increased their rates as much as 1% already and there is now talk of the Bank of Canada raising the prime rate significantly over the next year.

If you have just bought a home or condo in Oakville,  I hope you were working with people that advised you to consider the realities of where interest rates are right now or were 6 months ago and where they are headed.  Buying for long term affordability is so important right now. It’s great to see an appreciation on the value of your current home or condo, but more important is considering what you are buying as an alternative.

That $500,000 townhouse may be affordable today, but what happens in a couple years if mortgage rates have strained your budget and that $500,000 townhome is only worth $400,000?

If you’re still in the hunt for a new home or condo in Oakville or Mississauga, you don’t have to break the bank over mortgage rates.  One of the benefits of my real estate services is no-strings access to an established network of mortgage brokers that I work with that can save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you would like to have a no-strings, no gimmick conversation about your current real estate situation call or email me.



Oakville Condo Profile: The Arboretum 1901, 1903 & 1905 Pilgrim’s Way

April 15, 2010

The Arboretum

1901, 1903 & 1905 Pilgrim’s Way, Oakville


Area: Glen Abbey
Style: Condo Apartment
162 Units – Built in 1988 by Urbandale
Price Range: $300,000 – $400,000
Bedrooms: 2
Approximate Size: 1321 – 1449 sq.ft.
Condo Fees: $517 – $575/month
Condo Fee Includes: Water, building insurance and common element maintenance.
Parking: Underground, visitor parking on surface
Pets: Restricted
Heat: Electric, Forced Air
Building Amenities: Indoor pool, sauna, fitness room, hobby room, tennis court, guest suites, whirlpool spa.

Comments:  The Arboretum is a mature, well-established, upscale condominium complex that has excellent amenities, spacious suite layouts and mature landscaped grounds. It is located in the Glen Abbey neighbourhood of north Oakville with good access to schools, public transportation and shopping. There are numerous parks and walking/biking trails nearby.

For more information on this condo building or to find out what is currently available contact Ryan Chelak, Broker by email or visit  my website Oakville & Mississauga Real Estate Homes & Condos.  Ryan is a licensed Real Estate Broker with Town-City Realty Limited, Brokerage and has been listing and selling condominium properties in Oakville, Mississauga and throughout the GTA for more than 10 years.

Oakville & Mississauga Real Estate Numbers & Stats for March 2010

April 8, 2010

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® report March Resale Real Estate Market Figures

TORONTO, April 6, 2010 – GTA REALTORS® reported 10,430 sales of homes, townhouses and condos through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, pushing total first quarter 2010 sales to 22,418 – the best result on record under the current Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) boundaries. The average price for March transactions was $434,696. The average price for the first quarter was $427,948.

“The strong rebound in the existing home market was one of the initial drivers of economic recovery,” said TREB President Tom Lebour. “While we don’t expect to see the same rates growth moving forward, GTA households will remain confident in ownership housing as a quality long-term investment, especially as economic recovery expands across all industries.”

The annual rate of growth for new listings continued to accelerate in March. The number of new listings grew by 42% compared to March of 2009.

“The average home price in the GTA will continue to grow this year, but the pace will slow as we move through the spring,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “As growth in new listings starts to outstrip growth in sales, buyers will experience more choice, resulting in more sustainable single digit rates of average price growth.”

Oakville & Mississauga Real Estate News: Mid-March Home & Condo Sales Numbers for GTA

March 17, 2010


TORONTO, MARCH 17, 2010 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 4,353 real estate sales through the MLS ® during the first two weeks of March.  This represented a 70% increase compared to the 2,562 sales of homes and condos recorded during the same period in 2009 when resale real estate transactions had dipped markedly due to the recession.

The mid-month sales total was also 16% higher than the previous March mid-month high reached in 2006.  “The spring-like weather in the first half of March brought the first green sprouts of the recurring spring market. Every year, monthly sales climb steadily through May,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Tom Lebour. “People are buying homes because they are confident in the current economic recovery and mortgage payments on the average priced home remain affordable.”

The average price for March mid-month transactions was $440,153 – a 20 per cent increase over 2009. New listings within the Toronto Real Estate Board boundaries were up 34% to 8,540.  “Look for double-digit annual price increases to cease later in 2010, as new listings rebound from the low levels experienced in 2009,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Increased listings will give buyers more choice, resulting in less upward pressure on home prices.”

How will the release of Google’s Nexus One phone affect Real Estate in Canada

March 16, 2010

Google’s Nexus One smartphone is now available in Canada!

Google’s answer to Apple’s iPhone is now available to Canadians.

I have to admit, I’m a big fan of Google’s technology and their android phone technology has definitely piqued my interest.  I would very much like to hear my readers’ thoughts on it – let me know what you think… Will it be better suited to the Real Estate industry than Apple’s iPhone? Or is a best app wins race?

Anyway, the Nexus One is now available to be purchased and shipped to Canada through Google’s website for US$529.  There is a model that comes unlocked and ready to work on the Rogers’ 3G network and the other is compatible with Wind Mobile’s network.

The Nexus One is not yet compatible with the Bell and Telus 3G network, Google says.

The Nexus One was first released in the U.S. in January.

Here are the key features and specifications of Google’s Nexus One:

  • 3.7-inch wide WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) AMOLED touchscreen with 100,000:1 typical contrast ratio and 1ms typical response rate
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and geo-tagging
  • Qualcomm QSD 8250 1GHz processor
  • Captures video at 720×480 pixels at 20fps or higher (depends on lighting conditions)
  • Built-in 512MB of RAM and Flash ROM
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity
  • Voice-enabled keyboard for any text field
  • Pre-installed with suite of Google Mobile apps including Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk and Google Voice
  • Assisted global positioning system (A-GPS) receiver, digital compass, accelerometer, and light and proximity sensors
  • Dual-microphone noise cancellation technology for improved voice quality and speech recognition
  • Explore your Picasa Web Albums with the 3D interface of new Cooliris Gallery application
  • Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair) operating system
  • 1400 mAh battery provides talk time up to 10 hours on 2G, up to 7 hours on 3G
  • Standby time: up to 290 hours on 2G, up to 250 hours on 3G
  • Internet use: up to 5 hours on 3G, up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Video playback: up to 7 hours, audio playback: up to 20 hours
  • Micro SD memory card slot expandable to 32 GB
  • Dimensions: 119 x 59.8 x 11.5 mm ; Weight: 130 grams (with battery)

Complete phone specifications can be found here, or, visit for a 3D tour. Below is an introductory video to Google Nexus One.

What are your thoughts on the Nexus One? Comment and let’s compare notes… Cheers, Ryan.

Spring Real Estate Tip: Spring clutter Clean-up tips for your home

March 16, 2010

Spring Clutter Clean-Up: 10 Simple Steps to Tidying Up Your Home

by Hellen Buttigieg, CPO®,

It’s easier to relax and enjoy spring when your home is tidy.  But the thought of organizing the whole house can seem daunting, especially when the temperature rises and you’d rather be outside.

If you feel you don’t feel like taking the time to organize every nook and cranny, start with these quick and easy steps:

1.  Do the 5-things Dash – Walk into each room of your home with a box or garbage bag and choose 5 things you can throw out or donate.  Choose duplicates or items that are worn out, out-dated or rarely used.

2.  Eliminate the Expired – Use a plastic bin to gather up all your medication, vitamins, and over-the counter   drugs.  While listening to music or relaxing in front of the TV, begin looking at each item’s expiry date.  Have a bag nearby to toss the outdated items.  You can take them to the drug store for safe disposal.  Keep the current medications in the plastic bin, label it and store it in a cool, dark place out of children’s’ reach.

3.  Toss the Toiletries – Just before you brush your teeth every night or jump in the shower every morning, spend just 5 minutes getting rid of hair products that didn’t work, bath products you never used and skin care products that didn’t live up to their promise.  By the end of the week, you’ll have more storage space in your bathroom and easier access to the items you use regularly.

4.  Clear the Counters – Remove anything you don’t need and use daily from your kitchen counters.  Put out an attractive bowl or basket as a catch-all for items that usually end up cluttering the counters.  When the container is full, spend a few minutes going through it and either purge items or place them where they belong.  Once you’ve cleared your counters, you’ll not only have more space for food preparation, you’ll have a more relaxed environment for eating and entertaining.  After the clutter is cleared, reward your efforts by displaying a vase of fresh flowers or a pot of spring bulbs on your counters.

5.  Eliminate Under-Used Utensils – While waiting for water to boil or the oven to preheat, go through your utensil drawer and eliminate items you don’t use.  Go through your kitchen ‘junk drawer’ and see what treasures you’ve forgotten about and what trash you can remove.

6.  Move it Elsewhere –  Each time you leave a room, get into the habit of scanning it to see which items don’t belong in the space but somehow migrated there.  If any of those items go in the room you are heading towards, take them with you.  If something belongs upstairs, place it at the bottom of the staircase and take it to the proper room next time you go up; use a wicker basket on the top or bottom of the stairs to make it more convenient.

7.  Get the Family in Gear –  Make a game out of de-cluttering by getting the whole family involved.  Give everyone a box, put on some up-beat music, set a timer and   see who can discard the most items from their room.  Take the donations to charity and then choose a token prize for the winner and a reward for the entire family.

8.  Do the Season-Swap –  As the season changes, so do the items we need to enjoy it.  Now is the time to put away the winter coats, boots and wooly hats and bring out the sun hats, rain jackets and umbrellas.  Be sure to dry-clean all items before storing, even if they look clean.  Body oils and not-yet-visible food stains attract moths, especially on wool coats.  If you don’t have an extra closet, a rolling garment rack stored in the basement or spare room is ideal for winter coats during the summer.  Cover the clothes with a clean, cotton bed sheet or use a garment tent to keep them dust-free.  Another option is to store seasonal items in large garment bags, suitcases or under-bed storage bins.

9.  Cut Clothing Clutter –  Put aside about half an hour to step into your closet and pull out any winter items you didn’t wear this year, while it’s still fresh in your mind.  If you didn’t wear it this winter, you likely won’t wear it next, so let it go now rather than storing it for another year.

10.  Clean-up Time Saver –  Rather than storing all the cleaning supplies in the basement, save steps and time by keeping your most-used cleaners in strategic places throughout the house (kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom), even if this means buying duplicates.  Save space and money by choosing multi-purpose cleaning products and eliminating those you rarely use.

Hellen Buttigieg - Home organization for Oakville, Mississauga Homes and CondosHellen Buttigieg, CPO®, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, life coach, TV Host and owner of We Organize U. She is a professional speaker and the author of the book Organizing Outside The Box. For tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit and sign up for Hellen’s free newsletter. To contact Hellen or for information on hiring a We Organize U organizing specialist, call 905-829-2219 or e-mail