The federal Conservative campaign pledge to revive the popular home renovation tax credit comes at a time when Canada’s renovation industry is already outperforming the broader economy and booming past the market for new homes.

Canadians spent $68-billion on home renovations last year compared with $48-billion spent building new homes, according to a recent report from real estate consultancy Altus Group Ltd. Over the past seven years, spending on renovations has grown 3.6 per cent, versus overall economic growth of just 1.6 per cent. Last year, home renovations accounted for 3.4 per cent of Canada’s GDP.

“We currently spend substantially more as a nation on improving and repairing our existing homes than on constructing new ones,” the consultancy wrote.

Provided the Conservatives are re-elected in October, the tax credit would be phased in starting in the 2016-2017 budget year, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper told reporters in Toronto on Tuesday.

The tax credit,...

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On the surface it seems like a fabulous idea: Carve out a portion of your home, rent it out and use the rental income to pay your mortgage. You get to live basically "rent free" while at the same time reaping the tax benefits of writing off some of the costs associated with accommodating a rental apartment in your home.

With the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s recent announcement of relaxing the rules for how homeowners looking to rent out apartments in their principal residences can borrow money, getting some rental income seems like a sure bet.

In reality, however, it is not. From difficult tenants and unanticipated costs to insurance claims to the simple and sometimes inevitable experience of not being able to find a stable, long-term renter, there are many things that homeowners need to consider before taking on the role of landlord. The Pros

Second source of income The most obvious gain is the extra money that you will be receiving each month. This money can help you pay your mortgage,...

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The red-hot housing market is forecast to push BC home sales to their highest since 2007.

An industry group predicts residential property sales on the Multiple Listing Service this year will reach 100,000 for only the third time in the province’s history. It would be almost 3,000 fewer than in 2007 and more than 6,000 below the record in 2005.

The BC Real Estate Association says the inventory of homes is at its lowest in nearly eight years, contributing to a seller’s market. It forecasts the province-wide average price of a home will rise 10 per cent this year to $626,000, but only 2.5 per cent next year.

BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir says that’s partly because more lower-priced homes will be in the mix.

“We’re beginning to see a shift towards a greater number of multi-family homes being sold. And they are the lower-priced variety, so that’s going to have an impact on the aggregate average price next year,” he tells us.

Muir says low mortgage...

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