Partners in the home-buying process

When the Winnipeg Real Estate Board re-branded the industry association in 2007 as WinnipegREALTORS®, it also created a tagline: The tools. The team. The trust. While the team aspect tends to get associated with the co-operative network of local and national REALTORS® due to the way the MLS® system engages all REALTORS® who may have potential buyers for a new listing, it also refers to a more encompassing team of committed professionals within the real estate industry. Members of WinnipegREALTORS® also include mortgage brokers, financial institution representatives, home inspectors, lawyers, builders, appraisers, property managers, home stagers, developers, etc.
A REALTOR® can be likened to a quarterback leading a team to meet a client’s real estate needs. They make it their business to build solid business relationships with a strong cadre of professionals in order to provide the best service possible.
One of the members of the team stepped up this week to recognize REALTORS® for their important role they play in helping Canadians with the most important financial decision of their life — buying or selling a home. With little fanfare, Lori Steingart, mobile mortgage specialist with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), walked into WinnipegREALTORS® office last week asking for information to display at the RBC Osborne and Walker branch as part of the bank’s national REALTOR® appreciation week. In addition to the weekly Winnipeg Real Estate News, which is displayed and available at all RBC branches, other useful printed materials were provided, including a recent discussion paper on Manitoba’s rental shortage produced by WinnipegREALTORS®.
A real partnership exists between REALTORS® and mortgage advisors in assisting Canadians determine what should be their best course of action when proceeding with a major house purchase. REALTORS® always want to make it clear to buyers they should be pre-qualified for a mortgage before house hunting so that they know what they can comfortably afford. Mortgage professionals, whether in-house with a financial institution such as the Royal Bank, or independent brokers, are extremely helpful in providing home buyers with the financial advice they need.
The RBC apprises Canadians on a quarterly basis on housing affordability. It’s Housing Affordability Measure details the amount or proportion of pre-tax household income necessary to own a home. 
In its February 2011 report, the bank indicated the majority of provinces in the fourth quarter of 2010 saw their Housing Affordability Measures fall. 
In Manitoba, it said: “Thanks to lower mortgage rates in the quarter and continued growth in household income, the negative effect of small gains in property values on affordability was more than offset.” 
Affordability stands below the long-term averages for all housing categories, according to the report. Finally, the report on housing trends and affordability reaffirmed what Manitobans are coming to appreciate — the province boasts the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. RBC senior economist Robert Hogue expects this trend to continue in 2011.
The RBC’s chief economist Craig Wright will speak at an economic outlook breakfast in Winnipeg on April 8, which is being hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce as a primer for their April 27 Business Summit. The business association hopes to position the economy as the No. 1 issue in the October 4 provincial election.