Media round-up


Oh boy, oh boy.  You can imagine how excited I was to see this very special issue of Toronto Life waiting for me when I got home last night.

Inside you’ll find a full monty run-down of the To Bubble or not To Bubble debate and how your neighborhood might be affected if the market goes down the tubes.

I was over the moon to be interviewed for the piece and happy to see my incredible real estate agent Kara Reed sharing some stories from the battlefield.

A must read for all creatures great and small!

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As predicted, the Bank of Canada raised its key lending rate this morning from 0.25% to 0.5% .  After more than a year at record lows, Canada is the first G7 country to raise interest rates since the financial crisis began in 2008.  However, the Bank of Canada did emphasize that this increase may not necessarily be the first in an uninterrupted series of hikes.  According to Governor Mark Carney,  “Given the considerable uncertainty surrounding the outlook, any further reduction of monetary stimulus would have to be weighed carefully against domestic and global economic developments.’’

For more information please see:

Bank of Canada hikes interest rates, Globe and Mail

Central bank’s decision a product of intensive research, Globe and Mail

So long ultra-low rates, Globe and Mail

The Toronto Star’s front cover investigation of green money pits was a depressing but not surprising expose of how unscrupulous businesses are taking advantage of unsuspecting clients with good intentions.

We’ve been hearing about green scams for some time now.  You know, like how Sephora has been flogging cosmetics with high levels of chemicals and ingredients linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity and neurotoxicity under their “Naturally Sephora” banner.  Of course, the term ‘natural’ is not regulated by the FDA, so your Cargo PlantLove lipstick is actually more hazardous than the Revlon Toast of New York we all slapped on back in high school.

Didn't lipstick choices, and life in general, seem simpler back then? How much did you hate Courtney Love when this issue of Sassy arrived in your mailbox?

What about deception that runs a level deeper and isn’t as intentional?  Those of us who came of age in the ’90’s are already wise to the slippery ways of big corporations.  But how about those organic kidney beans that you buy in cans lined with plastic containing BPA?  Or the organic cotton baby clothes that are made in China?  Or the table I just bought from a local artisan made from hundred year old reclaimed pine that ended up getting finished with oil-based solvents?  I’ve learned that just because a product itself is eco-friendly does not mean that the labour, packaging, or installation is healthy, sustainable or fair.

It ain't easy being... you know. Photo by Will Sherman.

We badly need government guidelines and policing to establish standards for eco-friendly products and services.  The stories of people who are attempting to do the right thing when renovating their homes, rather than add to the growing landfills of black granite or whatever design trend was so 2003, just broke my heart.  Almost as much as a photograph of Kermit, tattered and discarded in a dirty alley in Brooklyn, NY.

On that uplifting note, here are the week’s top stories:

The shady side of the green building industry, Toronto Star

When green dreams turn into nightmares – Government needs strict rules before homeowners can safely go green, Toronto Star

Novel marketing approach not without risks, Toronto Star

How to buy a house and make it pay, Globe and Mail

New house prices up 0.1 per cent in Toronto, Toronto Star

Rate hikes mean some mortgage holders would face difficulty, Toronto Star

Canadian household debt reaches record levels, CTV News

Canadians top Greeks in household debt, Financial Post

Rising mortgage rates, rising trouble, Globe and Mail

Ten magic touches that made my house sparkle – Sarah Richardson, Globe and Mail

Clean up, Cash in, National Post

The Bank of Canada just issued a warning that higher interest rates are on their way out, likely in five weeks.  The record low 0.25% interest rate is sticking for now, but the Bank’s “conditional commitment” that it wouldn’t touch rates until after June 30 has gone the way of the plaid man shawl.

Colin Farrell rocks it like it's 2009! Brownie points for the beret.

Day to evening! So versatile!

I paid good money for this thing so don't you dare try to tell me it's over...

Since the economy is growing faster than predicted, and inflation is rising like a loaf of sourdough, the historically low rate has spurred a little too much borrowing and spending.

“This unconventional policy provided considerable additional stimulus during the period of very weak economic conditions,” the central bank said. “With recent improvements in the economic outlook, the need for such extraordinary policy is now passing, and it is appropriate to begin to lessen the degree of monetary stimulus.”

For more information, check out:

Higher interest rates ahead, Toronto Star

Mark Carney signals interest rates to rise, Globe and Mail

I was greeted by a lovely surprise when I opened my Toronto Star this morning – a special section called Buying a Home!  Bidding wars!  Staging advice!  HST!  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

My enthusiasm soon faded as I started reading the articles.  I find in general that the Star’s focus is very GTA-centric and doesn’t accurately explore the downtown experience.  Enough promotion of Ajax as a hot-spot for first time buyers, already!  I was also hoping for more nitty-gritty coverage of bidding wars and home searches. 

But maybe I’m asking too much of a newspaper I happen to be receiving for free without a subscription.  It just keeps arriving at my door, uninvited.  No wonder the newspaper industry is in such trouble these days!