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Montreal real estate: The appeal of a tiny home – Clinton News Record



There is no room for nostalgic clutter, impulse purchases or unitasking kitchen tools.

Kenton Zerbin made the switch to tiny home living four years ago when he moved into an off-grid home in Edmonton that he designed and built himself.

Early Rain Studio / Postmedia

With prices rising quickly in Montreal, those in search of affordable homes are increasingly shopping for condos or fleeing for cheaper outlying suburbs. But there’s another way to shrink your housing costs: buy or build a tiny home.

By “tiny” I don’t just mean small. Many tiny homes are 500 square feet or less — sometimes a lot less. Aficionados of small-space living can find examples on websites like that are just 200 square feet. The small-footprint homes typically cost much less than a conventional property and are less expensive to heat and maintain.

It may seem like a stretch if a 700-square-foot apartment seems cramped to you. Then again, even a 4,000-square-foot cottage in the ‘burbs can feel small if you cram it full of stuff.

For tiny home evangelist Kenton Zerbin, one of the big benefits of choosing to live in a tiny home is that it forces you to zero in on the things in your life that matter most to you. There is no room for nostalgic clutter, impulse purchases or unitasking kitchen tools.

“A tiny house is a means to an end,” Zerbin said. “It’s a way for your house to enable your life, instead of living for your house.”

Zerbin made the big switch to tiny home living four years ago when he moved into an off-grid home in Edmonton that he designed and built himself. Now the former high school teacher is touring Canada to promote a lifestyle he characterizes as more sustainable, including building smaller, more energy-efficient homes, incorporating edible landscaping and living in balance with nature.

Kenton Zerbin offers workshops on the ins and outs of tiny home construction.

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Zerbin’s road show came to Montreal in November, but it was popular enough to organize a return engagement just a few months later. He’ll be explaining the ins and outs of tiny home construction in a $399 workshop on Feb. 7-9 at Bâtiment 7, 1900 Le Ber (Suite 201). (Full details about the workshop are on Zerbin’s website at

The workshop focuses on the ins and outs of tiny home design and construction, but Zerbin said the information is practical for all homeowners to know, whether or not they really intend to build or buy a tiny home.

“A lot of people don’t understand the guts of a house, what actually makes it tick, how to reduce their heating bill, how insulation really works, and where your money is best spent on this stuff,” Zerbin said.

While it is possible for some skilled and resourceful DIYers to build a tiny home on wheels for as little as $30,000, Zerbin said it’s more realistic to expect a budget of $80,000 or more, depending on the type of home you choose.

Although tiny homes are growing in popularity, municipal regulations often limit where people can build, Zerbin said. Rules vary from province to province and city to city. Some places like Vancouver are embracing the potential to provide more affordable housing options as well as infill housing to increase density in single-family neighbourhoods. In some municipalities, however, minimum size requirements limit how tiny a home can be.

Many tiny home enthusiasts have responded by building souped-up RVs on trailer chassis even if they don’t expect they’ll ever roll away on those wheels. Others have found — or founded — purpose-built tiny home enclaves where municipalities have been willing to amend bylaws to expressly permit these homes.

According to Josée Bilodeau, owner of the Napier-based “minimaison” specialty building company Ilo (, while tiny homes are less common in Montreal, there are several tiny home projects underway on the outskirts of the city in places like the South Shore.

In other Canadian cities, there’s a trend to building tiny homes on the same lot as a pre-existing single-family home, either for family members to live in or to act as a mortgage helper. While it’s still uncommon in Montreal, Bilodeau said it’s starting to happen here, too.

“There are people who have succeeded to do it in Montreal, but you have to be very persistent, very tenacious,” she said.


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Real eState

What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)



The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation that serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.

Understanding the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, that provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry.

CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice; to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance; to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.”1

A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.

CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada.2 Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada.3

Professionals and Consumers

CMHC provides services to both professionals and consumers. For professionals, CMHC aims to work in collaboration with different groups to provide affordable housing. Services include project funding and mortgage financing, providing information to understand Canada’s housing market, innovation and leadership networks to access funding and talent to spur housing innovation and increase supply, and providing speakers and hosting events for the industry.4

For consumers, CMHC seeks to provide all the tools an individual would need to either buy a home or rent a home and a variety of information and assistance for current homeowners, such as managing a mortgage, services for seniors to age in place, and financial hardship assistance.56

For financial hardship and mortgage assistance, CMHC provides tools that include payment deferrals, extending the repayment period, adding missed payments to the mortgage balance, moving from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, and other special payment arrangements.7

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the National Housing Strategy

In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy.8 Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $70 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.9

Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:

  • Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
  • Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
  • Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research10

History of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.11

In 1947, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.11

In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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Real eState

Canadian home price gains accelerate again in May



Canadian home prices accelerated again in May from the previous month, posting the largest monthly rise in the history of the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, data showed on Thursday.

The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 2.8% on the month in May, led by strong month-over-month gains in the Ottawa-Gatineau capital region, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It was a third consecutive month in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before,” said Daren King, an economist at National Bank of Canada, in a note.

On an annual basis, the Teranet index was up 13.7% from a year earlier, the 10th consecutive acceleration and the strongest 12-month gain since July 2017.

Halifax led the year-over-year gains, up 29.9%, followed by Hamilton at 25.5% and Ottawa-Gatineau at 22.8%.

Housing price gains in smaller cities outside Toronto and its immediate suburbs again outpaced the major urban centers, with Barrie, Ontario leading the pack, up 31.4%.

On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 4.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 4.3% in Halifax and 3.7% in Hamilton.

The Teranet index measures price gains based on the change between the two most recent sales of properties that have been sold at least twice.

Canada‘s average home selling price, meanwhile, fell 1.1% in May from April, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Tuesday, but jumped 38.4% from May 2020.


(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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Bank of Canada seeing signs of cooling in hot housing market



The Bank of Canada is starting to see signs that the country’s red hot housing market is cooling down, although a return to a normality will take time, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Wednesday.

The sector surged in late 2020 and early 2021, with home prices escalating sharply amid investor activity and fear of missing out. The national average selling price fell 1.1% in May from April but was still up 38.4% from May 2020.

“You are starting to see some early signs of some slowing in the housing market. We are expecting supply to improve and demand to slow down, so we are expecting the housing market to come into better balance,” Macklem said.

“But we do think it is going to take some time and it is something that we are watching closely,” he told the Canadian Senate’s banking committee.

Macklem reiterated that the central bank saw evidence people were buying houses with a view to selling them for a profit and said recent price jumps were not sustainable.

“Interest rates are unusually low, which means eventually there’s more scope for them to go up,” he said.

Last year, the central bank slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and Macklem reiterated it would stay there at least until economic slack had been fully absorbed, which should be some time in the second half of 2022.

“The economic recovery is making good progress … (but) a complete recovery will still take some time. The third wave of the virus has been a setback,” he said.

The bank has seen some choppiness in growth in the second quarter of 2021 following a sharp economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the year, he added.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)

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