Fall in Winnipeg, and here are the stats on finalized sales for the city of Winnipeg and the month of September in the categories of residential detached homes, residential attached homes and condominiums.  September 2016 shows numbers not much different than the month of September 2015.  All categories were slightly up from 2015, but as expected, the market is cooling off as the weather outside cools as well.Most active price range for residential-detached homes in September 2016 was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 21% of total sales. The 2nd most active was the lower price range of $200,000 to $249,999 at 17%. The highest sales price was $1,598,327 while the lowest sale price was $21,000. The average days on market to sell a home was 30 days, 5 days faster than September 2015.

The most active price range for condominiums in September 2016 was $150,000 to $199,999 at 31% of total sales. The 2nd  most active price range was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 18%. The highest sale priced condo was $918,750 while the lowest sale price was $94,800. The average days on market to sell a condominium was 51 days, 5 days quicker than September 2015.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

By Terrance GloverThrough urban planning, I find that most people know very little about Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). While this is not shocking news, since CPTED is an abstract approach to property safety and security, here is a simplified version for every homeowner’s proverbial toolbox.

Since the introduction of the “Eyes on the Street” philosophy by Jane Jacobs nearly half a century ago, the notion of a safer community through environmental design has significantly grown in popularity. This notion has matured into a set of review tools known as CPTED.

By using a few simple CPTED principles, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of crime occurring to and around your home.

CPTED is a multi-disciplinary, scientifically proven approach to deterring criminal behaviour.  It relies on the physical environment to influence an offender’s choices prior to them committing the criminal act.

This approach can be used on any size building or property; from a small home to a large commercial or office building. Given the current terrorist climate around the world, most governments now require a CPTED audit of all new and existing government buildings.

There are four main principles:

1. Natural surveillance

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-4-01-27-pmMaximizing visibility and the opportunity for observation through the placement and design of physical and social features. This refers to the placement of gathering spaces/points of interest, building orientation, lighting, windows, entrances/exits, parking lots, walkways, security stations, fencing, landscaping, vegetation, signage and any other physical obstructions. This principle helps create the perception of risk to an offender, making them feel as though they are noticeable and even being watched.

2. Natural access controlscreen-shot-2016-10-05-at-4-01-38-pm

A logical and organized design to restrict, encourage and safely channel movement of people and vehicles into, out of, and within a site in a controlled manner. This principle helps create the perception of control over the offender and easily identifies those who venture into areas not intended for their use, such as physically creating a landscaped pathway or sidewalk to a main doorway. If people venture off this natural path, they will stand out and become noticeable to others.

3. Territorial reinforcement

Defined property lines and clear distinctions between public, semi-private and private spaces. These distinctions can be achieved through physical or visual designs such as a change of pavement material, subtle landscaping or as obvious as privacy fencing. This principle helps create a perceived sense of permission for the rightful user and helps more easily identify those who venture into areas not intended for their use.

4. Maintenance

Maintaining a property’s image and cleanliness. Well-maintained buildings and grounds inform potential offenders that “someone is home”. This principle helps create a perceived sense of occupancy to the offender; making them think twice before committing a crime.

By using these principles at the design stage, an increase in safety and security will result.  Furthermore, by conducting a CPTED audit of an existing building or property, key improvements will be identified that will significantly decrease the likelihood of crime occurring and may even lower your property’s insurance rates.

Another positive result of CPTED is the reduction a person’s “fear of crime”.  This is the emotional anxiety that a crime is going to occur to or around a person.  It is the primary reason why we no longer hitch-hike or allow children to walk to school on their own.  If you are in a well-designed, well lit, physically maintained and highly visible space, your fear of crime significantly diminishes; hence the space is much more pleasant and inviting.

Given these positive aspects of CPTED and the simplicity of their application, I am continuously surprised that more of my clients aren’t already aware of the concept.

It is in everyone’s interest to have a basic understanding of CPTED so that they can apply these principles in and around their own home or workplace to create a safer, happier and more secure environment for everyone to enjoy.

 New Mortgage Rules Announced this Month – What do the changes mean to you?screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-2-22-34-pm

The rules announced by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau are aimed at making sure homebuyers aren’t taking on mortgages they can’t afford if interest rates rise.

Morneau said that all insured mortgages will have to undergo a stress test starting Oct. 17 to determine whether a borrower could still make mortgage payments if faced with higher interest rates or less income. Previously, such stress tests weren’t required for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.

Buyers with a downpayment of between five and 20 per cent – who hold what are known as high-ratio mortgages – must be backed by mortgage insurance to protect the lender in the event the homeowner defaults on the loan.

Because they are considered higher risk, those buyers must pass what’s called a mortgage rate stress test to qualify for insurance backed by the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“Overall, I believe the housing market is sound but as Minister of Finance I want to make sure we are proactive in assessing and addressing the factors that could lead to excess risk,” Morneau said.

The stress test also sets a ceiling of no more than 39 per cent of household income being necessary to cover home-carrying costs such as mortgage payments, heat and taxes.

The federal government says it’s responding to concerns that sharp increases in housing prices in Toronto, Vancouver and elsewhere could increase defaults in the future, should historically low interest rates finally start to climb.

Ottawa also announced Monday it is closing a tax loophole that allowed homeowners to avoid paying capital gains tax on the sale of a home as long as they were living in it.

Morneau said the exemption will now be available only to Canadian residents.

The new policy is aimed at slowing foreign money that has contributed to red-hot real estate markets like Toronto and Vancouver.

The move follows B.C. adding a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in an attempt to cool the overheated markets.

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