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One of the signs that Canada’s real estate market was peaking back in early 2022 was the long list of cities with average prices of $1-million or more. Amid signs of a potentially robust spring market for housing, now seems a good time to review what’s happened to prices in those cities.

Housing has definitely come down in cost since 2022. The average price of a resale home in February 2024 was $685,809, 16 per cent below the peak average of $816,720 in February 2022. Still, prices in several of the million-dollar cities have held up well.

Vancouver and Toronto topped the list back in early 2022, and they both still have prices just above $1-million. Now, let’s look at how the other million-dollar markets have fared:

– The Fraser Valley: This area in southern B.C. had an average price of $994,600 in February 2024

– Oakville-Milton, Ont.: The market in these cities on the western edge of Toronto is strong, with an average price of $1.3-million in February 2024.

– Orangeville, Ont.: The average price in February 2024 was $776,509.

– Hamilton-Burlington: Average prices in these southern Ontario cities came in at $835,900 in February.

– Mississauga, Ont: Average price of $1.1-million in this city just to the west of Toronto.

– York Region: Prices in this area north of Toronto averaged $1.3-million in February.

– Durham Region: Prices in this area located to the east of Toronto averaged $914,677.

The persistence of high prices in many cities means only lower mortgage rates will improve affordability in the near term. We’ll get more clarity on what’s ahead for borrowers at the next Bank of Canada announcement on April 10.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

About your stash of cash

Thoughts on what to do with cash sitting in your investment account. High interest rates have prompted the investment industry to offer a wide selection of parking spots for uninvested cash. If you let cash sit idling in your account, expect zero interest from your broker.

The 60-40 portfolio has the last laugh

Back in 2022, the traditional balanced portfolio of 60 per cent stocks and 40 per cent bonds was declared dead. The reason: Bonds, supposedly a cushion against falling stocks, fell even more than the stock market did that year. Now, it’s time for a rethink. Check out this study from the independent investing analysis company Morningstar to see how well the 60-40 portfolio mix has performed historically.

You can buy a house from Amazon

Heard about the tiny house trend? We’re basically talking here about a tiny house in a box that you assemble yourself. Here’s a discussion of tiny houses sold by Amazon in the United States. Yes, sells them, too. Just search under prefab home.

What’s the deal with mid-grade gasoline?

Some vehicles need premium gas to run properly or achieve peak efficiency. If you don’t need premium, regular is the obvious choice. Now you understand the mystery of mid-grade.

Ask Rob

Q: I’m trying to figure out when withholding taxes come into play for non-registered and TFSA accounts holding ETFs.

A: Withholding taxes are the amount taken off foreign dividends paid by foreign stocks held by certain exchange-traded funds. Here’s a definitive guide to ETF withholding taxes in U.S. equity ETFs and in international ETFs.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can't answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Tools, Explainers, Guides and Charts

A summary of credit union deposit insurance plans in all provinces, with links to get further information.

The Money-Free Zone

Some George Harrison greatness that just seems right for the times – Isn’t It a Pity, from the All Things Must Pass album. I like the Galaxie 500 and Nina Simone versions at least as much.

Watch this

A financial planner walks people through the process of completing a T3 Trust Income and Information Return to report a bare trust. Save for next year – the Canada Revenue Agency says it will not require people to file a T3 to report a bare trust for 2023.

On social media

A thread on X about what might be ahead for real estate commissions in Canada after a legal settlement in the Unites States that could reduce the amount of money realtors are paid for selling a home.

What I’ve been working on

– Five thoughts on mortgages, investments and savings as we count down to interest rate cuts ahead

– Seven investing and personal finance websites you’ll use all the time

– The 2024 Globe and Mail ETF Buyers Guide, Part Three – U.S. equity funds

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