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December 2012 
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Kitchener-Waterloo Residential Sales Up in November


KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (November 5, 2012) -- Residential real estate sales through the MultipleListing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were up 7.3 percent last month compared to November of last year.

There were 486 residential properties sold in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 5,931, just nine more home sales than during the first 11 months of 2011. The total value of homes sold last month was $151 million, up 11.3 percent over last year.

"In terms of total unit sales, it was a better than average November" says Dietmar Sommerfeld, president of the KWAR. "Our figures show that residential transactions in November were 6.8 percent above the previous 5 year-average."

November's residential sales included 318 detached homes (up 8.9 percent), 33 semi-detached
(down 17.5 percent), 26 townhouses (up 4 percent), and 103 condominium units (up 14.4 percent). There was a jump in the number of home selling in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range -- 41 homes compared to 23 in November of last year. This put some upward pressure on the average price range.

The average sale price of all homes sold in November was $311,604, compared with $300,447 a year ago, an increase of 3.7 percent. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $359,439, compared with 346,044 last year, up 3.9 percent.

The median price for all homes sold in November was $287,750 compared with $275,000, an increase of 4.6 percent. Single detached homes sold for a median price of $326,500 compared with $315,000 last year, up 3.7 percent.

Sommerfeld says that despite talk of cooling markets in some Canadian cities, continued low borrowing costs, confidence in the local real estate market, and a well-diversified local economy are keeping Kitchener-Waterloo's housing market steady and stable. 


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Improve homework habits in four simple steps

(NC)-Do you want to make homework simpler? It can be done readily with a little guidance from specialists in this field.
Oxford Learning founder and CEO, Dr. Nick Whitehead, says that homework doesn't always have to be a headache. "Homework might be an unavoidable part of school, but it doesn't have to be the worst part. With the right skills in place, students can turn homework from headache-inducing to hassle-free."
These steps will make a quick difference:
Use your agenda: The brain is capable of great feats, but it's not perfect. Students should never rely on it to recall every school detail. When a teacher assigns homework, students should write the details in their agenda. Many schools provide agendas because they are the best organizational tools available. According to Dr. Whitehead, to make them effective, students need to remember to take the agenda out of their school bags at night, open it up, and read over the night's to-do list.
Remove distractions: Computer on, music on, text messages incoming...this is not multi-tasking, it's distracting. Dr. Whitehead says that unless students are doing research, they should shut off all electronics and focus on the task at hand for a set period of time. They'll find that it's easier to concentrate and that tasks take less time. He adds that this fact has been confirmed by studies showing learning isn't as deep and that retention suffers when students multi-task.
Think actively: While getting homework done is the name of the game, what happens if students are struggling with a question, or can't figure out an answer? Before giving in to frustration, it is wise for the student to take a small break then return to look at the problem again. According to Dr. Whitehead, students should consult their textbooks and school notes, take a step back to ask what the particular unit is all about, and even move ahead a few questions and see if the next section can help explain a little better. If not, use the Internet.  "Don't just stare at the question; ask how this question relates to what is being learned overall," he says.
Get organized: Homework is as much a part of the daily routine as waking up in the morning and going to bed at night, but it's often the most disorganized part.  Dr. Whitehead recommends streamlining the process. " Students should keep all the homework-related accessories in a bin or a bucket so they don't waste time searching for pens or a calculator." He also recommends picking the same spot to do homework every night, and (when possible) completing homework at the same time each day.

Cash in on a TFSA? 


(NC)-The Tax-Free Savings Account has been called the most important savings option since the 1950s launch of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).
Here's how a TFSA works

Every Canadian over the age of 18 is eligible to save at least $5,500 a year in a TFSA and the investments held within the TFSA grow on a tax-free basis. TFSA withdrawals can be made at any time for any reason - and the withdrawn money is tax-free.

The amount you can contribute in a given year is defined by the following formula:
Maximum contribution = TFSA dollar limit for the year + TFSA withdrawals from last year + Unused TFSA room from last year
The TFSA dollar limit has been $5,000 in each of 2009-2012 and is $5,500 for 2013 but is subject to indexation. Thus, if you had to make a TFSA withdrawal last year, your TFSA room this year will be restored to reflect that withdrawal. Furthermore, all the contribution room you don't use right away accumulates year after year so you can use it any time you choose.

Contributions to investments held in a TFSA do not affect RRSP contribution room.

TFSA-eligible investments are the same as those available for investments held within RRSPs, including mutual funds and money market funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), publicly traded securities, and government and corporate bonds.

How a TFSA works for you
It works for both short- and long-term financial goals like these:
* Providing an immediate source of emergency funds.
* Saving for just about anything - from a new car or cottage to a dream vacation.
* Saving for the down payment on a new home or even starting a business.
* Reducing taxes on your non-registered investments.
* Adding to your retirement savings. TFSA withdrawals don't affect eligibility for such income-tested benefits as Old Age Security (OAS).
* Splitting income with your spouse to minimize taxes.
More information on this topic is available from the Investors Group, or contact a financial advisor to get specific advice about your circumstances. 
call Hammer team
The Call Hammer Team
Keller Williams Golden Triangle Realty
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