Bank of Canada rate cuts, the Home of the Week and more top real estate stories for June 8

Bank of Canada rate cuts, the Home of the Week and more top real estate stories for June 8
Open this photo in gallery:

Home of the Week, 78 Augusta St., Port Hope, Ont.Reid Media Agency

Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week and one home worth a look.

Try The Globe’s business and investing news quiz

Bank of Canada cuts key interest rate to 4.75%

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in four years, lowering the policy rate to 4.75 per cent from 5 per cent. Although the highly anticipated move won’t do much, by itself, to reduce monthly payments on mortgages, car loans or lines of credits, it does mark a turning point for the Canadian economy, writes Mark Rendell.

For homeowners with mortgage renewals coming up in the next few months, the rate cut has prompted the question of whether to lock in a fixed-rate mortgage or choose a variable rate. “On the one hand, locking into a fixed mortgage rate for too long carries the risk of missing out on sizable cumulative savings from future rate declines. On the other hand, floating-rate mortgages are still considerably higher than some fixed-rate options and unlikely to drop quickly,” writes Erica Alini.

Could Canada’s underused public land be the key to solving the housing crisis?

The federal government has said it wants affordable housing on “every possible piece” of federal land. This daunting task will require building on parking lots, demolishing buildings and emptying out office buildings, post offices and armouries in cities and towns across the country. But how much land is actually out there? A Globe analysis by Erin Anderssen, Chen Wang and Rachelle Younglai found that 613 pieces of land could create about 288,000 housing units for nearly 750,000 Canadians.

For decades, Ottawa has either left this land underused, or quietly auctioned it off to the highest bidder to pay down debts. But to achieve its ambitious housing goals, the government would need to stop selling off public land almost entirely and start leasing it long-term to non-profits, builders and communities that commit to delivering affordable housing. Take a dive into the Globe’s analysis into Canada’s underutilized public land.

Open this photo in gallery:

Canada’s public land could be the key to solving the housing crisis.The Globe and Mail

A new book offers harsh lessons on condo ownership

Did you know that some super-tall high-rise buildings are subject to such high wind pressures that they can force rainwater through even tiny flaws in the waterproofing of exterior walls? In her book Condo Questions and Answers: What you can do about the 40+ most common – and unexpected – condo problems, author and civil engineer Sally Thompson breaks down the realities of owning a condo. Real estate reporter Shane Dingman spoke with Thompson about the book, which is packed with the nitty gritty details of condo ownership.

Without development fees, who pays for new infrastructure?

For the past few decades, Canadian cities had a routine policy for new developments: New growth should pay for new growth. But amid a housing crisis, the federal government is calling these development fees a housing tax and are starting to question whether this approach is fair and if it’s contributing to high housing prices. However, without the charges, mayors worry about how they will pay for the significant infrastructure needed to support a building boom, writes Frances Bula.

Home of the week: A stately Port Hope home that’s move-in ready

  • Home of the Week, 78 Augusta St Port Hope, Ont.Reid Media Agency

    1 of 16

78 Augusta St., Port Hope, Ont.

Originally built circa 1875, this Port Hope home was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1983. The Heritage Port Hope Advisory Committee points to the florid Renaissance detail, multi-paneled doors and square towers as typical of the “Italianate” style in the late Victorian era.

Records show the land had changed hands a few times in the 1800s, but the property was named for Thomas McCreery, who owned a billiard saloon in the 1870s, then went on to become a grocer and seller of ale and porter. Today the house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms on three levels. Outside, the ravine lot provides plenty of space to relax, surrounded by greenery.

What do you think is the asking price for the property?

a. $1,305,000

b. $1,950,000

c. $2,300,000

d. $2,881,000

c. The asking price is $2,300,000.