Abbotsford, BC – Just like that it’s over, 2018 has officially come and gone. We hope you enjoyed the holidays as much as we did. Rather than boring you with a long-winded year in review we thought we’d skip through that and just share a few of our favorite photos captured throughout 2018. Here’s a look at some of our finest moments.
From left to right: (1) Jordi’s big Hollywood debut (2) Coach Dave and son Cooper (3) Annual Browne family Christmas tree hunt (4) Green lake cabin, family photobombing (5) Jordi embracing his inner Moana as Maui for Halloween, Vienna looking less than impressed by her father’s attempt (6) Jordi and Natalie accompanying the Homelife Real Estate team at the Canadians baseball game (7) Coach Dave and son Cooper posing with the Abbotsford Bluejays (8) Annual Browne family pumpkin carve-off competition (9) Jordi, Vienna, Chase and Natalie enjoying their trip to Green Lake cabin.
Interest Rates 2019
The Bank of Canada has decided to maintain its benchmark rate at 1.75%. Throughout 2018 gradual rate increases were almost a regular occurrence but towards the end of the year the Bank of Canada geared down as the market began to get back to normalcy.
In December the bank said that the Canadian economy is operating close to its capacity, with unemployment at its lowest level in decades and inflation on target. As a result, further rate increases in 2019 were highly anticipated.
Reports released in December showed consumer spending had increased by only 1.2 per cent, and annual car sales had fallen for the first time since the financial crisis. The Canadian Real Estate Association is also expecting home sales to decrease in 2019, largely due to consumers adjusting to the restrictive financial conditions, such as the B-20 stress test and the 5 interest rate increases since July 2017.
With interest rates remaining stagnate and a slower real estate market, now could be the time for potential home buyers to consider acting while competition isn’t quite as intense.
The hold on interest rates may only last us a short while as the Bank is predicting growth to reach 1.7% by the end of 2019, however the decision to do so is based on several factors such as the housing market, oil and consumer spending.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled this spring for an interest rate flash sale! We’ve seen signs of an interest rate sale this past week which means opportunity for those looking to buy, renew or refinance. Contact our team for further details.
Important Changes You Need to Know About
Federal tax changes are underway this 2019, some of which will affect your paycheque, bills and even small businesses.
Canadian Pension Plan – starting this January, contributions will increase .15% from 4.95% to 5.1% set to affect earnings between $3500 – $57000.
Employment Insurance Premiums – premiums will drop per $100 of insurable earnings from $1.66 to $1.62.
Tax Free Savings Accounts – The contribution limit will be increase from $5,500 to $6,000 per year.
Gas Prices – Provinces that are imposing the carbon tax will see an increase in gasoline at 4.42 cents per litre and an increase in natural gas at 3.10 cents per litre. Canadians in these provinces will receive a direct rebate as a result to offset the increase.
Tax Changes for Small Business Owners – Effective January 1st, small business owners are permitted to generate up to $50,000 in passive income while still having access to lower rates. If businesses hold an excess on passive income, a portion of the first $500,000 in earnings will be subject to a higher rate. This will be dependant on how much they exceed the limit.
Canada Workers Benefit – Low income workers can now qualify for a more substantial “Canada Workers Benefit”, designed to help low income workers remain employed.
Postage – prices will increase to $1.05 per single domestic letter stamp, $1.27 for US letter mail stamp and $2.56 for an international stamp.