Good morning and Seasons Greetings to all my friends and family;
If you are feeling at all down I invite you to check out this pic of a baby Santa. This is my son from 9 years ago. I love this pic. I hope you enjoy it too.
This past week, since Sunday, I have been fighting a pretty bad flu bug (and I got my Flu shot). I’ve kept my appointments to a minimum but I’m not used to being so weak and without energy. That’s why I dug up the Santa pic of Tomas.
Silver lining – I have been waddling around at home and have been able to spend some time thinking about “things”. I’m a little feverish as I write this so I hope it makes sense.
As the year winds down I reflect on all the wonderful people I have met and relationships that I have been able to continue on with.
I feel that I have grown not only professionally but personally as well.
During this time of year I try to visit with as many people as I can, if even only for 5 minutes for a quick hello. Social media is fabulous but to me, nothing replaces a real live face to face meeting! My only regret is that despite best efforts it’s not possible to meet with everyone.
This year I have seen many friends move into new spaces, enter into marriages, start new families, add to existing ones and sadly say goodbye to loved ones. I am blessed to know so many genuine good people that are doing well (nothing gives me more satisfaction). I have stated before that the best part of my career is the fact that I feel that I am helping people and these people are gracious enough to let me into their lives.
To everyone I know, I wish you a heartfelt “God bless” and much health and prosperity during the holiday season and throughout 2015.
Greater Toronto REALTORS® Report Mid Month Housing Market Figures
TORONTO, December 16, 2014 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 2,496 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of December 2014. This result was up by 1.9 per cent compared to the same period in December.
Over the same period, new listings were down by 1.8 per cent year over year.
“Greater Toronto Area households remain upbeat about buying a home, as evidenced by the increase in sales compared to last year. However, many would-be home buyers continue to have problems getting a deal done due to the lack of listings for some home types. The lack of listings has definitely been a drag on sales this year,” said Mr. Etherington.
The average selling price for December mid-month transactions was $565,873, which represented a year-over-year increase of 8.6 per cent. Price growth was driven by the detached market segment in the City of Toronto.
“Sellers’ market conditions remain in place for low-rise home types, including detached and semidetached houses and townhouses. The condominium apartment segment of the market has been more balanced due to strong project completions, but there has been enough buyer interest to prompt condo
Condo foreign ownership less than 2.4%, CMHC says
Contrary to popular belief only about 2% of condominiums in Canada are foreign owned. That is, investors that purchase units and live abroad.
This is actually very good to know because it’s a factor to consider in the overall stability of the condo market. The Toronto condo market has been very stable. Although growing in value at a much slower pace than residential freehold properties, it has not retreated.
Canada’s national housing agency poured cold water on the notion that foreign money is driving up Canada’s condo market, arguing in a paper Tuesday that foreigners own no more than 2.4 per cent of all the rental condos in Canada.
As part of its mandate to monitor Canada’s housing market, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation publishes a report twice a year looking at details of local rental markets across the country. The report is tabulated in April and October every year, and for the first time the October report published Tuesday looked at how many foreigners are buying what are known as “purpose-built rental housing units” — which essentially means a residential property designed to earn investment income from being rented out.
The answer? Not many.
Based on extensive interviews and site visits with owners, managers, or building superintendents of about 20,000 buildings with at least three or more units across the country, here’s the CMHC’s estimate of many foreigners own condo units in Canada’s 11 biggest census metropolitan areas:
- Victoria: 1.1 per cent,
- Vancouver: 2.3 per cent,
- Calgary: 0.2 per cent,
- Edmonton: 0.1 per cent,
- Saskatoon: 0.3 per cent,
- Regina: 0.1 per cent,
- Winnipeg: 0.1 per cent,
- Toronto: 2.4 per cent,
- Ottawa: 0.7 per cent,
- Montreal: 1.5 per cent and
- Quebec: 0.6 per cent.
The report should surprise anyone who believes the many local narratives that foreigners are the driving force pushing condo prices much higher than their fundamentals would otherwise indicate.
The CMHC does concede that foreign condo ownership is higher in downtown cores. The rate for the Montreal area as a whole may be 1.5 per cent, but it jumps to 6.9 per cent on Nun’s Island, CMHC says.
Similarly, in downtown Toronto the rate is 4.3 per cent, compared with 2.4 per cent for the census metropolitan area as a whole. And Vancouver’s Burrard Peninsula has a foreign investor ownership rate of 5.8 per cent, compared with 2.3 per cent for the area as a whole.
Rents getting pricier
The report contains some other details on the health of Canada’s rental market, beyond the influence of foreign money
“Between October 2013 and October 2014,” the CMHC says, “in the largest centres the number of purpose-built rental units rose by 2.7 per cent or 42,711 units.”
“This increase in supply outpaced the approximate 39,900 increase in units occupied. Accordingly, the national vacancy rate rose” to 2.8 per cent, the housing agency says.
But there was wide variance in the numbers from city to city. Vacancy rates for condominium apartments ranged from a high of 3.4 per cent in Montreal to a low of 0.7 per cent in Vancouver.
Rents also ticked higher, on average. Across the country, the average rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment increased 2.5 per cent. That’s higher than the 2.4 per cent inflation rate seen in the same period for the economy as a whole.
Across the country, the average rent was $941 per month. “Average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were highest in Calgary ($1,322), Vancouver ($1,311) and Toronto ($1,251),” the CMHC says. “Rents were the lowest in Trois Rivières ($568), Saguenay ($595) and Sherbrooke ($604).”
Condo rental rates are, in general, a little higher, because condos tend to have modern amenities. Rental prices for two-bedroom condominium apartments were highest in Toronto ($1,818) and lowest in Quebec ($1,070).
The gap between rents in apartment buildings versus comparable condominium units was highest in Toronto, at $567, and Montreal, at $405 a month.
Here’s Why You Should Stop Eating Lunch At Your Desk Every Day
Eating lunch at your desk every day may save you some time, but it might also limit your career success.
Executive coach Beth Weissenberger, cofounder of the Handel Group, says that getting lunch or a coffee with a coworker, especially one you don’t know very well, is not only a pleasant way to spend your break, but it’s smart office politics.
You might as well get rid of any stigma you attach to office politics. To get ahead, you have to play the game.
Think of it as the process of building relationships within your company — not through the use of deceit or manipulation, but by making connections.
“When you’re politicking in the office, you’re creating your reputation,” Weissenberger says. “You’re handling your own PR.”
And one of the easiest ways to do this is dedicating a half hour or so of your day to getting to know a coworker over a sandwich or latte.
She recommends building relationships with people both above and below you in your company. By connecting with your superiors, Weissenberger says, you’re gaining allies who may vouch for you when a promotion opportunity comes up, and by connecting with those below you, you’re establishing yourself as a leader.
Grabbing lunch with a coworkers is an important step in Business Insider’s 21-day program for radical self-improvement, #BIBetter, which you can check out here.
Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying (Not a downer but more of a reflective read)
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
This post was originally published on Inspiration and Chai.
Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia who spent several years caring for dying people in their homes. She has recently released a full-length book titled ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. For more information, please visit Bronnie’s official website at www.bronnieware.com or her blog at www.inspirationandchai.com.