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Canadian Housing

Feb 19

Real Estate Values - Think Green

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Energy Efficient Home

Doug Overholt of BC (British Columbia) Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program is the latest official to encourage home owners towards energy-efficient products. Overholt points out the benefits of 'green' homes and insists that energy-efficiency is a factor in resale real estate value. The greener the house, the higher the resale value.

Think Green

Of course, saving energy also translates into more comfort, extra savings in the short and long term, and taking care of the environment. The BC Hydro representative makes a point that we discussed here previously at estaterebate.com. Despite the fact that almost everyone understands the benefits of being green, sometimes we get sidetracked with other purchases. Our earlier post referred to them as "eye candy." Several home owners would sooner pay extra for the gorgeous granite countertop than high-performance windows.

Are 'Green' Homes Worth The Price?

Overholt says that green homes are worth the price. He explains how rising energy costs will cause more homeowners in the future to look for energy-efficient homes. Even though if a homeowner makes simple alterations, they can save on energy bills in the meantime.

"Sometimes new home buyers overlook two important aspects of energy efficiency. First, an efficient home is going to cost you less to operate every month. That's money in your pocket - you can pay down your mortgage faster. Second, we live in an era of rising energy costs. Down the road, a house that's an energy pig won't sell as easily, or appreciate as well as one that costs less to operate," says Doug Overholt of BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program.

Sometimes people get off track because they think that green homes will cost more. No doubt, certain features such as heat pumps can come with considerable initial cost. Yet these smart purchases pay for themselves with savings in the long term.

Anyway, everything 'energy-efficient' does not have a high price tag. Usually, extra insulation or air sealing will not break your budget. As well, there are energy-efficiency grants out there to help Canadian and American homeowners. With high energy costs and an economy emerging from a downturn, many people need help and providing energy grants goes in the right direction.

Energy-Efficient Programs

Sometimes the programs may not go far enough, however, in the right direction or the path may be too complicated for certain groups. For example, specific programs encourage homeowners to buy energy-efficient products and receive reimbursement from the government. That plan does not always work for families living on low incomes because they cannot pay the upfront cost. That won't be because they are spending it on "eye candy." Their income covers only (or maybe does not even cover) the basics.

Yet everyone should check with state (provincial in Canada) and federal officials to see if there is an energy-efficiency program to suit your needs. Thinking green can save you money today and in the future.

For resale real estate value, think energy efficiency

estaterebate.com has also provided information in another post about Prince William's new 'green' home at Harwood Park Estate. A few interesting green details here! Let us not forget, however, that every family, regardless of income, should be able to live in a comfortable and energy-efficient home.

At Home with Prince William & Kate Middleton

Are You Planning Energy-Efficient Improvements?

Image courtesy of immaterial-labor.com

Feb 10

Sky-High Real Estate

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Sky High Real Estate

This week in real estate news, two stories on the same day (one Canadian, one American) focused on 'sky-high' debt and real estate prices as well as 'high in the sky' connections.

Sky-High Debt

Since 1999, TD Economics has been gathering Canadian data and creating special financial reports. Their latest edition gauges the financial vulnerability of households in regions across Canada. TD organized this report as a response to growing worries about high debt levels and the overall financial state of Canadian households. The index of financial vulnerability measures six key metrics of household financial position.

TD Economics assigned a weight to each metric based on its perceived importance. The metrics include debt-to-income ratio (combined total of mortgages, lines of credit, and additional loans as a percentage of personal disposable income), debt service (percentage of income), and the proportion of households with a debt service ratio of 40% or more. The index is not a predictor. Yet it tries to determine which region would be most vulnerable financially if faced with an economic shock.

The report considers circumstances such as a rise in unemployment or interest rates as well as a housing downturn. The report noted increasing vulnerability across Canada but no sign of a household debt crisis in the future. British Columbia showed as the most vulnerable province in case of economic shock. Actually, this result is not shocking to residents of that province.

British Columbia has been the most vulnerable every year since TD Economics started these reports. Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are ranked as second, third, and fourth most vulnerable followed by Quebec and the four Atlantic Provinces. Manitoba is the least vulnerable province.

Sky-High Housing Prices

Why is British Columbia the most vulnerable for economic shock?

Sky-high prices are part of the answer to B.C.'s vulnerability. As well, the province's household debt-to-income ratio is 160.5% - way above the Canadian average of 127%. In addition, British Columbia is the only province to have a negative savings rate. Every available dollar is directed toward mortgage, additional debt, or living costs.

B.C. most vulnerable to economic downturn TD report Debt-to-income ratio high

Sky-high real estate makes B.C. most vulnerable to shocks: TD

Sky-High Real Estate Prices

In yet another February 9 news story, there was talk about 'sky-high' real estate prices with a 'high in the sky' connection.

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot touted as a hero for landing his plane safely on the Hudson River, and his wife, Lorraine, are accusing a bank official and a real estate broker of overinflating a purchase price. In 2002, the couple bought a building in Paradise, Northern California, for $935,000. Sullenberger and his wife claim that the price was far above market value.

The suit requests that the original loan be nullified and the couple reimbursed for alleged overpayments. The real estate broker, Cherie Huillade, claims that the appraisal was an accurate representation. If mediation fails, a trial is set for September.

Hudson pilot Sully sues over real estate deal

Do You Have Any 'Sky-High' Real Estate Stories?

Image courtesy of xhland.net

Real Estate Predictions

Most likely, the majority of real estate predictions fall somewhere in the middle - based on more than a crystal ball and less than empirical research. Maybe there might be one or two people who put predictions out there without any thought. Yet most real estate predictions are the result of studying trends and statistics.

Accurate Predictions

Apparently, a few of these predictions can have a high accuracy rate. For example, the Globe and Mail has tallied the score for predictions made by Neil Downey, RBC Dominion Securities analyst. Downey offered five predictions for 2011. Before the end of January, three predictions have become reality.

The Globe and Mail's story is titled – "The real-estate crystal ball." Probably, careful observations are responsible for these impressive results. No crystal ball here; maybe though a little luck, too!

Which Correct Predictions Did The Analyst Make About Canadian Real Estate?

  • Richard Baker, the New York investor who bought Hudson's Bay Company, is ready to close a $2-billion deal bringing Target Corp. into Canada.
  • RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is looking for funding of its acquisition plan as well as refinancing for outstanding debt. Recently, REIT hit the market with rate reset preferred shares and senior unsecured debt.
  • Canada's commercial mortgage-backed securities market is making a rebound. Two major real estate companies are tapping the market for $206 million – the first deal of this type since 2007. 

As well, Downey predicted more TSX-listed REITs at the end of 2011 than the beginning and less equity raising activity. The Globe and Mail is waiting to see if these two predictions will come to light.

Core Predictions

Real estate predictions are a serious business. The real estate industry is at the core of an economy. Home buyers account for a huge percentage of economic activity. Commercial real estate involves three main categories - retail (stores, malls), industrial (factories, warehouses), and commercial (offices, multi-dwelling buildings).

Real estate transactions are handled by brokers and agents. Certain agents offer property management services to businesses. When entrepreneurs are doing well, real estate transactions experience an increase. In a poor economy, realtors help businesses to find the best location and affordable facilities.

Empirical Research

Empirical research (such as Plotkin 2002) has been conducted about the role of real estate in an economy. The "first major empirical nonfinancial ratio business success versus failure prediction model" was applied to the real estate industry in New England. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a nonfinancial model that would predict real estate business success or failure using the Lussier (1995) prediction model.

'Lussier' was selected for the study because it had been published in more journals than any other model. The study suggested that similar methodology be used to conduct studies in other parts of the US as well as in other countries. Real science here – far more than a crystal ball!

A Success Versus Failure Prediction Model for the Real Estate Industry

How Have You Arrived At Your Real Estate Predictions?

Image courtesy of adrworks.com



Jan 19

Mortgage Changes – Helpful or Harmful

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Mortgage Changes

Many potential home owners in Canada are reeling from recent mortgage changes introduced by their federal government. Yet the Canadian administration believes that the modifications will make a positive difference in people's financial health. The regulatory changes are meant to save consumers from themselves in terms of debt load. The government is hoping to discourage potential home owners from taking on debt that they cannot handle in reality. As well, the regulations aim to discourage unwise use of home equity lines of credit.

Helpful Advice

Now many people will argue that consumers should not be prompted in one way or another; they should make their own decisions and live with the consequences. Of course, too little regulation can also cause financial woe. Consider the recent U.S. dilemma. Mortgage approval might have been too easy in some instances; many consumers became homeowners but lacked the financial means to handle the commitment.

Mortgage Changes


According to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, effective March 18, 2011, the term of government-backed mortgages has been lowered to 30 years from 35 years. As well, the maximum amount of equity for refinancing will drop to 85% from the previous 90 per cent.

Many hopeful first-time home buyers are not pleased with this recent development. Yet the government insists that they are helping consumers. Eventually, homeowners will be faced with a rise in interest rates. This latest intervention is designed to discourage buyers who will not be up to the challenge.

Massive Debt

According to recent statistics, Canadian household debt has soared to 148% of disposable income. Of course, shopping trips and house sales fuel the economy but there is an 'elephant in the room' with such a high percentage of debt. The Canadian government has chosen not to ignore the massive amount of debt carried by many home owners.

Beginning April 18, the Canadian government will stop insuring newly issued home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). An ever-increasing number of home owners in Canada are using these lines of credit. In fact, HELOCs account for 12% of consumer debt.

Home Equity Lines of Credit

Actually, 50% half of these variable-rate loans are spent on consumer goods including new cars and boats. Only one third of the loans go towards paying down other debt. Therefore, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has reconsidered its practice of insuring home equity lines of credit.

Government Regulations

With recent mortgage changes, the Canadian government claims to have considered the best interests of consumers. Of course, distancing themselves from the inevitable future rise in interest rates might be a wise move for this government – especially with a possible election in the near future. As well, in 2006, this government allowed the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to lift its 25-year limit on mortgages and insure up to 40 years.

In 2008, Flaherty rewound the 40-year term back to 35 years. Maybe this latest move is an attempt to distance themselves further from that original rash decision of extending limits to 40 years. The Canadian government, however, has to be prepared for their new regulations to have a few undesirable effects on the economy. Almost one third of Canadian mortgages in 2010 were for 35-year terms.

Mortgage changes sensible

Do You Think The Canadian Government Made Sensible Mortgage Changes?

Image courtesy of dallastexasrealestateblog.com

Jan 1

Real Estate Levels 2011

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real estate value predictions for 2011

Home buyers and sellers, as well as investors, are trying to figure out the future of real estate in the coming year. Depending on their position, interested parties are exploring different areas of real estate. Individuals and organizations focus on everything from property value levels to interest rates to REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) debt levels.

Commercial Real Estate

Real-estate fund managers have expressed confidence in the future of commercial real estate. According to portfolio managers, recovery is underway in the current market. The improvement is spurred on by low interest rates, favorable cash flows, and increased demand.

This group analyzes national and regional trends. Using this data, they decide on the most promising property sections and regions. Sectors such as apartments with short leases suffered in the economic downturn but they are expected to rebound in this recovery stage. As corporate travelers return to the road, hotels are attracting the attention of investors.

REIT Debt Level

With regards to REITs, industry experts pay attention to debt level compared to their earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation, and amortization.

Up, Up And Away

UK Business Property

In 2011, UK business property is also expected to be supported by low interest rates. Industry leaders believe that the Bank of England will not change the base rate until later in the year. On December 9th, the Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain current levels.

Business property boosted by low interest rates in 2011?

Residential Property Value Levels

During 2011, home owners (and potential buyers) will be keeping an eye to property value levels. Within the past week, home owners in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, were told about a slight increase in their property value assessments. During 2010, B.C. Assessment had frozen property values at 2007/2008 levels.

Of course, home owners are concerned about higher taxes associated with increased assessments. According to Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, the increase in property values, however, may not result in a significant tax increase. Muir points out the positive aspect of higher property value assessments in a region.

"The increase would reflect stronger economic conditions and a healthier real estate market," said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Board, representing 12 real estate boards and almost 18,000 Realtors.

Residential housing sales in British Columbia should rise slightly in 2011. The province's economy is showing improvement with more employment and a larger population. Metro Vancouver is one popular area where home buyers can find affordable houses. Most likely, property prices will continue to rise in the coming year. Yet Metro Vancouver is still expected to be popular with home buyers especially with first-timers.

Greater Victoria property values buoyed by economic recovery

Will The Real Estate Market Level Out In 2011?

If people have an interest in real estate on any level, they should track market statistics. At present, the industry is experiencing a recovery. Yet there will be continued speculation about whether the market will level out or climb to new heights. Real estate predictions – even on a local scale - are not an exact science. A regional market can be affected by varied factors including external influences.

What Are Your Predictions For The Real Estate Market In 2011?

Image courtesy of agentgenius.com

Dec 29

Global Real Estate Trends

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Global Real Estate Trends in 2010

As the current year winds down and 2011 approaches, readers can expect reports and articles about real estate trends to pop up everywhere. With so much trend-related content out there, our eyes can sometimes glaze over and we tend to ignore the latest list. Yet we should rethink our reaction to the barrage of year-end statistics.

Tracking Trends

Examining trends helps us to zone in on where we've been, gives us an idea of where we're going, and arms us with the knowledge to navigate the system. Real estate revolves around statistics. It is worth consumers' time and effort to examine the numbers and keep up-to-date about real estate trends.

Global Real Estate Trends

The Global Real Estate Trends report released by Canada's Scotiabank tracks housing markets in 12 major economies. The December report states that global residential property markets in 2010 experienced a modest but uneven recovery.


Australia fared the best with its housing demand and low unemployment. Slower sales and price appreciation, however, are expected for this thriving market in the coming months.


Meanwhile, Japan’s twenty-year property slump continued in the past year. In 2011, Japan's economy is expected to experience a further slowdown.


Stability is returning to U.S. markets. Housing demand is expected to rise with increasing employment numbers and continued low interest rates. Yet the Global Real Estate Trends report warns that housing demand might not translate into home sales. Within a recovering economy with a high unemployment rate (although shrinking), individuals and lenders are feeling uncertain and cautious about major financial commitments.


Despite a volatile market in 2010, Canada ranked high in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Read about all 12 housing markets in the Global Real Estate Trends report.

Local Real Estate Trends

Potential home buyers and sellers should keep informed about state and local trends. Varied media (print or online) across the US and elsewhere publish information regularly about the latest real estate trends. The Washington Post tracks housing sales and prices in the Washington area. Each Saturday, the results are posted in their 'Real Estate' section. Information is collected for every residential zip code and the data is compared to the numbers during the corresponding period in the previous year.

Green Building Trends

'Green building' trends will make a noticeable difference to the real estate industry in the coming year. Regardless of uncertain economies, 'green building' is expected to rebound in 2011. New commercial start-ups will opt for green alternatives. Existing businesses will be making energy-efficient improvements.

This decision makes sense on many levels for businesses. Besides being environmentally-friendly choices, green businesses impress the modern customer. As well, residential buildings will follow this trend. Home owners want to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Parents and educators will also be advocating for 'green' schools. As part of the LEED system, the number of Certified Green Schools should increase as more people embrace the health and educational benefits of these buildings. By the middle of 2010, certified schools made up almost 40% of all new LEED projects in the US. In 2011 and beyond, the real estate industry will be seeing more 'green' buildings in all areas - commercial, educational, and residential buildings.

Green Building’s Top Ten Trends for 2011

What Do You Think Will Be The Top Real Estate Trends in 2011?

Image courtesy of hcrealty.com

Dec 27

Real Estate Deals 2010

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Best Real Estate Deals in 2010

After Christmas, shoppers follow Boxing Day sales and all the other reduced prices to be found at year's end. Meanwhile, the real industry is reflecting on the more memorable deals of 2010. Of course, new home owners will be remembering their own private real estate transactions. As well, more than one commercial transaction during this year made a powerful impression.

Commercial Real Estate

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts a more stabilized market in 2011 as well as a decrease in commercial vacancies. When commercial assets reach stabilization, owners are pleased with the outcome. The properties are generating profits rather than eating away at an owner's assets.

Denver, Colorado

This thriving Colorado city saw commercial real estate investments double year-over-year in 2010. In fact, Denver made the top ten list of preferred markets for investment during the past twelve months. Since many Denver commercial assets are stabilized, investors are targeting these properties.

Within this market, buyers cannot expect to find a good deal in terms of low prices. Yet investors are willing to pay a higher price for a stabilized asset. The purchase still adds up to a wise investment in the long term. During the coming year, Denver's commercial market is expected to see more big deals. The anticipated early 2011 sale of the 1800 Larimer building for $400 per square foot will be a record breaker (the 'per-square-foot record' for the sale of an office building in Denver).

Denver Commercial Real Estate Closes 2010 with a Bang

Hartford, Connecticut

In July 2010, Connecticut River Plaza, a well-known office property in downtown Hartford, was sold for $6,666,667 to a limited liability corporation in New York. This sale was one of the most anticipated transactions in the recent history of downtown Hartford’s commercial office market.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

During the past year, commercial property sales and leasing broke records in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This Canadian city can boast about $544.7 million of property sales between January-October, 2010. Winnipeg's yearly average for commercial sales is $300 million. One of the year's biggest sales transactions was the purchase of GEM Equities/B&M Land Co. property (three high-rise apartment blocks) by Toronto-based Timbercreek Asset Management for a reported $100 million.

Banner year for property purchases

Luxury Markets

New York City, New York

Throughout 2010, the NYC hotel industry was a vibrant market – the site of tons of transactions and substantial deals. In September, JRK Hotel Group sold the Hotel Roger Williams for $90 million (and $4.5 million in additional costs) to LaSalle Hotel Properties. The luxury hotel market is rebounding and investors have confidence in the Manhattan hotel scene.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal has a smaller luxury market than New York City. Yet there is a growing demand for high-end condos. The sale of the penthouse at the Ritz Carlton Montreal Hotel and Residences brought in $13 million plus taxes – the highest price ever for a residential property in Quebec.

Distressed Properties

Of course, most real estate deals in 2010 were outside the luxury market. Interested buyers had abundant opportunities to pick up affordable properties. Even investors wanting to buy into the New York City hospitality industry were able to pick up distressed hotels at bargain prices. As well, home buyers across the country were paying discount prices for foreclosures.

Did You Find A Good Real Estate Deal In The Past Year?

Image courtesy of bajarealestategroup.net

Nov 3

Who Controls Household Finances?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Controlling Household Finances

'Control' is a powerful word. The terms - co-operation, team approach, and partnership - have much more pleasant connotations. Yet apparently, one gender is in control in North American homes. No team approach here!

Women in Control

According to two recent studies, women are in control of household finances. This fact is not even new information in the area of finance. Women had been holding the household purse strings long before this year's study.

Environics Research Group conducted an online survey from July 22-August 4, 2010 on behalf of MasterCard. They studied 2000 18+ Canadian women. Fifty-one per cent of the women said that they were responsible for the financial decisions related to the day-to-day running of the household. Actually, this number is 4% lower than shown in a similar 2006 survey.

According to the summer 2010 study, 56% of these women were quite comfortable being in control of household finances. Only 45% of women in the 2006 research said that they liked their role. More women are enjoying their position of power.

Canadian Women Enjoy Wearing the Financial Pants in the Household

Actually, maybe even more women have control of household finances than is suggested by the MasterCard Index. A little more than 50% of this group talked about having control. In a survey of 1000 women organized by Prudential Insurance in February 2010, 95% said that they controlled the household money.

Women and Finance

Throughout the years, a discrepancy seems to exist between the financial power of a woman in the home and women in society. While there were few lady bankers in the past, women were managing the money in homes across the continent. Now there are women bankers (and women in every profession) and they are still handling the finances for the household. What do all the statistics mean in the real world?

Why do modern women still wield the greatest control over household finances? Is it because most household responsibilities fall into their hands? Or does the decrease in numbers from 2006 indicate maybe that men are taking on a larger share of household responsibilities?

As well, remember that women struggled to be able to vote, get equal pay, and be welcomed into certain professions. How did women so easily get such control over household finances? Could it be that society doesn't put the same value on running a household as running a business? Even though our homes are the heart of our nation!

Women's control of household expenses does not always translate into control of overall family financials. The Prudential Insurance study suggested that almost all women control household finances. Yet in that same group, 86% did not feel capable of choosing financial products and 51% were unsure about how to generate income during retirement. There seems to be mixed signals about how society views women and finance – although the world of finance is becoming more "women-friendly."

Prudential Insurance says that the average female income has grown 63% within the last 30 years. Yet many women still lack the confidence to manage their money. Maybe many women undervalued their skills - including the years of money management.

Women Control Financial Decisions In The Home But Remain Unsure

Who Controls The Finances In Your Household?

Image courtesy of nmeg.co.uk

Sep 29

Home Buyer Education Programs

by Mary Teresa Fowler

Today's home buyers are facing a different marketplace than home purchasers in past decades. Even if we look at home buyers during previous economic downturns, today's buyer is not living the same reality. Yet a glaring similarity exists between modern home buyers and purchasers in other decades (or even - centuries) in US history. Home buyers have a dream.


Home Buyer Education Programs

Another fairly common thread between home buyers of the past and present is the challenge of turning that dream into a reality. The path is not always as clear as the dream. In fact, more than one financial expert is convinced that many people do not understand the home buying process. A few US and Canadian organizations are addressing this issue with the introduction of Home Buyer Education Programs.

Realizing The American Dream

Beginning in October, Freedom Debt Management, a non-profit in Boca Raton, has partnered with Citi Group to begin a Home Buyer Education Program. This initiative will help South Florida first time buyers. The company hopes to help 100 families within the first year. Appropriately, the education program, consisting of two four-hour courses, is called, "Realizing The American Dream."

Existing Need

Some people may argue the value, or indeed, the need for such Home Buyer Education Programs. Yet online forums alone suggest that many first-time home buyers are not savvy about the process. Organizing these programs is not being condescending towards the first-time home buyer.

The simple truth is that if individuals never traveled a certain path, or doesn't know the way to get there, they cannot arrive at their destination – at least not in the most efficient manner. Yet some observers question how much first-time home buyers can learn in eight-hour sessions. If the program is well-organized and has valuable content, there is, however, no doubt that a home owner comes out with a better advantage.

The Program

The director of the Boca Raton program explains that their initiative enhances people's concept of saving and budgeting. In addition, the program focuses on possible credit traps, scams, and other threats to one's financial future. Class topics include mortgage affordability, understanding credit, getting a mortgage loan, shopping for a home, and keeping a home, as well as other related subjects.

"Strong financial skills can lead our residents to be able to buy homes, be prepared for financial emergencies, and be more comfortable in retirement, which leads to a stronger and healthier community. We are here to help our residents get their financial future in shape!” says Darish Still, Director of Counseling with Freedom.

Freedom Debt Management, Inc. offers homebuyer education program

Educating The Nation

Of course, Boca Raton is not the only city with a Home Buyer Education Program. The courses (or shorter but similar workshops) are in operation across the US in places such as Stockton and Norwalk. Canadian first time home buyers are also attending classes. Tarion Warranty Corporation offers online New Home Buyer Education Seminars online to help Ontario first-time home owners understand the warranty process and coverages with new homes.

Online education available for new home buyers 

Do You See Value In Home Buyer Education Programs?

Sep 20

Fall Home Show

by Mary Teresa Fowler

With the official start of autumn shortly upon us, home fall shows are showing up everywhere and these annual events draw huge crowds. Some things about fall home shows always stay the same. You are bound to see warm touches and shades of pumpkin. Yet every fall season brings a new and bountiful crop of home décor trends. Surprisingly, some fall home shows even emphasize spring designs.

Spring in Fall

People who look at home furnishings in fall might be preparing to build a home in the coming spring. Therefore, it is not that unusual to see fall home shows include some spring-like styles. Maybe a few pale pastels might find themselves in the company of autumn orange.

Autumn Green

Yes, green is the color of renewal and rebirth, but fall home shows are going 'green' in more ways than one. Of course, shades of green remind those future home owners about the joys of spring. As well, autumn shows are becoming friendlier to the environment.

More stores like "ReStore' in Vancouver have booths at these events. 'ReStore' sells high-quality used (and new) building supplies such as kitchen and bathroom counters, lighting, and appliances. Home owners can find similar 'green' outlets at home shows all across Canada and the US. You will always find the latest green cleaning supplies like AspenClean - the first cleaning product in Canada to be certified by Ecocert (the European regulator of organic cosmetics and food).

Prices at home shows can be more than 50% lower than department store prices. Yet the merchandise can include top quality materials. Shoppers might pick up a cool and classic black granite countertop because someone preferred a lighter shade of granite.

If 'used product' stores did not exist, these building supplies would end up in the landfill. Since more and more people are adopting a green lifestyle, these outlets can now take their rightful place at the fanciest fall home show. 'Used' outlets are becoming the new 'cool' shopping experience with the 'green' crowd.

Design Books

Design books are now the darling of home shows. The design book booths cater to those who 'want' to learn more about design as well as those who 'need' to learn more about design. If you can't afford the designer pillows, you can buy a good interior design book that tells you how to make your own autumn pillows.

Designer books offer support and ideas to home owners. These books are an invaluable resource especially for people on a limited budget. A good quality design book is worth the investment because they offer tons of ideas for every season. Sometimes using the latest trendy colors or fabric can do wonders in recreating a designer look.

Customized Design

Home shows shine the spotlight on local artisans who produce one-of-a-kind products. Custom orders are part of the thrill of home shows. Shoppers can choose from a wide selection of unique items. Customize your home for fall and show off your harvest colors.

What Did You Fall For At Your Local Autumn Home Show?

Image courtesy of hbafm.com

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