Don Stoddart, AMP

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Moving to Barrie?

Barrie Overview and Location

Discover Barrie, a scenic city in the heart of Ontario. Approximately 90 km north of Toronto, Barrie offers the best of both worlds: the tranquillity of a lakeside community and the convenience of proximity to Canada’s largest city. This ideal location makes it a perfect choice for those who appreciate a quieter, suburban lifestyle but still want easy access to urban amenities. Barrie is more than just a strategic location; it’s a city filled with diversity and cultural richness, making it an excellent place for families, professionals, students, and retirees.


Barrie’s History and Diversity

Known as a hub for outdoor recreation and its proximity to cottage country, Barrie’s history intertwines with its beautiful natural surroundings and development as a key regional center. Barrie’s population is over 150,000 and is rapidly expanding, welcoming people from across Canada and the world.

Barrie’s population is diverse, and its most commonly spoken languages besides English include French, Italian, and Mandarin. This diversity helps influence the city’s culture, bringing in a blend of cuisines, arts, music, and festivals.


Support for Newcomers

Barrie supports newcomers to Canada with various services to ease their transition into Canadian life. These include employment assistance, housing guidance, and language education. Essential resources for new residents in Barrie are the Barrie Public Library’s Newcomer Services, Welcome Centre Immigrant Services, and Simcoe County Settlement Services.

You can learn more HERE:


Building Your Career in Barrie

With its location and evolving economy, Barrie is an attractive destination for businesses and professionals. As of 2023, the key industries shaping Barrie’s economic landscape include:

  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail Trade/services
  • Education
  • Technology

This diverse industrial base in Barrie creates numerous career opportunities for experienced professionals and those just starting out in their careers.


Educational Opportunities in Barrie

Barrie offers fantastic opportunities to learn and grow. The city is home to distinguished schools like Georgian College, known for its comprehensive programs and community engagement. Barrie’s public education system also includes multiple elementary and secondary schools under the Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, along with a selection of private and specialty schools. The proximity to the Greater Toronto Area also provides access to many other renowned universities and colleges, giving residents more educational choices without having to commute for too long.


Healthcare in Barrie

Barrie is equipped to handle various healthcare needs with facilities like the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre. The city has a network of clinics and specialized medical services, ensuring residents have access to quality healthcare. In emergencies, the nationwide 9-1-1 service provides immediate assistance, and various health insurance options are available to cover services not included in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).


Recreation and Nightlife in Barrie

Barrie is a city where leisure and entertainment thrive. The city’s community centers, parks, and recreational facilities offer different programs and activities. Barrie’s waterfront and numerous parks, including the iconic Centennial Park, provide a natural retreat for relaxation and plenty of outdoor activities.

Cultural enthusiasts will find plenty to explore in venues like the MacLaren Art Centre and Georgian Theatre, showcasing various artistic talents. When night falls, Barrie’s dining and entertainment scene comes alive with a selection of restaurants, pubs, and clubs, offering something for every taste.


Shopping and Dining in Barrie

Shopping in Barrie offers a delightful experience with its blend of local boutiques, major retail centers like Georgian Mall, and the vibrant downtown area. The city’s dining scene mirrors its cultural diversity, with restaurants serving various international cuisines. Food lovers can also enjoy various food festivals throughout the year, celebrating the culinary diversity of the

Committed to sustainability, Barrie is actively working on environmental initiatives. The city focuses on conservation efforts, sustainable development, and community-based environmental projects. These initiatives aim to preserve Barrie’s natural beauty and promote a sustainable lifestyle for all residents.


Why Choose Barrie?

Choosing Barrie means embracing a lifestyle that balances urban convenience with the charm of a lakeside city. Its affordable housing, vibrant community, and diverse economic opportunities make it an enticing option, especially for newcomers to Canada. Barrie offers a welcoming environment rich in opportunities and natural beauty, making it an ideal place for starting a career, raising a family, or enjoying retirement.


Barrie’s Neighborhoods and Housing

Barrie boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character, ranging from bustling downtown areas to peaceful lakeside communities. The city’s real estate market caters to different preferences and budgets, offering various housing options, including apartments, townhouses, and detached homes. With ongoing development, Barrie presents new opportunities for homebuyers and real estate investors.


Home Pricing Trends in Barrie

The real estate market in Barrie has its own unique dynamics. As of mid-2023, the average home price in Barrie offers a more affordable option than in Toronto, attracting both first-time buyers and investors. The market is characterized by:

  • A range of property types, including detached homes, townhouses, and condominiums.
  • Fluctuations are influenced by regional economic factors and national interest rates.
  • A trend towards new development projects catering to a growing population.

Here is the breakdown of prices according to


Detached Homes

# Beds Oct 15 – Nov 12 % Change vs 3 mo ago % Change vs 6 mo ago % Change vs 1 year ago
2 Bd $794K -1.1% -3.3% +5.3%
3 Bd $797K -4.7% -4.9% +0.8%
4 Bd $880K -9.5% -10.1% -3.2%
5 Bd $1.1M -26.7% +31.7% n/a
6 Bd n/a n/a n/a n/a
All $824K -8.2% -5.5% +0.9%


# Beds Oct 15 – Nov 12 % Change vs 3 mo ago % Change vs 6 mo ago % Change vs 1 year ago
1 Bd n/a n/a n/a n/a
2 Bd $615K +2.3% -0.5% -2.5%
3 Bd $611K -7.0% -11.3% +4.3%
4 Bd $660K +9.3% -15.1% -1.6%
All $623K -5.7% -10.2% +2.6%


# Beds Oct 15 – Nov 12 % Change vs 3 mo ago % Change vs 6 mo ago % Change vs 1 year ago
Studio n/a n/a n/a n/a
1 Bd $441K -6.2% -5.4% -1.6%
2 Bd $542K -4.1% -7.7% -4.9%
3 Bd $640K -5.2% -1.5% +26.2%
All $527K -3.3% -5.2% -2.8%


Key Insights

  • Detached Homes: Significant decreases in the prices of 4 and 5 bedroom homes compared to 3 months ago, with slight overall growth compared to last year.
  • Townhouses: A mix of price changes, with notable increases in 4-bedroom homes but decreases in 3-bedroom homes compared to 3 months ago.
  • Condos: There was a general decline in prices across all types compared to 3 months ago, but a notable increase in the price of 3-bedroom condos compared to last year.

Staying informed about the latest market trends is crucial, especially considering potential economic shifts and interest rate changes.


First-time Home Buyers Guide for Barrie

Navigating the home-buying process in Barrie can be smooth with the proper guidance. This section provides an overview of the steps involved, tailored to the Barrie real estate market:

1. Budget Determination: Utilizing tools like mortgage calculators to estimate affordability.

2. Mortgage Application: Preparing necessary documentation for lender evaluation.

3. Credit Check: Ensuring a satisfactory credit score for mortgage approval.

*Tips on maintaining and building a good Credit Score for mortgage approval

  • Review your credit report:
    • Get a free report from Equifax and TransUnion
    • Check for errors and dispute inaccuracies
  • Pay your bills on time:
    • Use reminders or automatic payments
    • Prioritize high-interest debts
  • Manage your credit utilization:
    • Try to use less than 35% of your available credit
    • Either apply for a higher credit limit or use less of it each month
  •  Maintain a Healthy Credit Mix:
    • Have a mix of different types of credit (Credit card, car loan, line of credit)
    • Avoid multiple applications in a short period
  • Limit your credit applications :
    • Apply for credit products sparingly
    • Only apply for credit when you need it
  • Monitor and Maintain Your Credit:
    • Regularly review your credit report
    • Create a budget and financial plan
  • Evaluation: With your documents and credit check on file, the lender we choose will have to evaluate your financial situation and see if they meet the criteria for the mortgage loan.

4. Pre-Approval: Obtaining a lender’s pre-approval letter indicating potential loan terms.
5. Home Search: Leveraging the pre-approval to find a home within the budget.
6. Finalizing the purchase: through negotiations, securing financing, and completing legal processes.

In Barrie, specific aspects like local market conditions, available mortgage products, and regional government programs will be considered to provide comprehensive guidance to homebuyers.


Fixed vs. Variable-Rate Mortgages:

Let’s look at the mortgage products. Working with a mortgage broker is the best way to decide which mortgage rate works best for you. We will work together to select the mortgage product that would be the best fit for your financial situation and personal goals.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage:

A fixed-rate mortgage is a set rate of monthly payments, meaning your payments stay the same for the duration of your mortgage. This is ideal for people who want to know precisely what they must pay. A fixed rate is popular for first-time homebuyers and those on tighter budgets.

Variable-Rate Mortgage:

In contrast, a variable-rate mortgage has a rate that can change, meaning you can expect to pay more or less monthly. Your lender’s Prime rate is directly connected to the Bank of Canada’s rate. Your mortgage payment might change when the Bank of Canada changes its rate. Therefore, a variable rate is better suited for people who can adjust their budget.

However, if, for whatever reason, you want to end your mortgage early, a variable-rate mortgage usually has a lower fee if you want to get out of it. You can also make the switch to a fixed-rate mortgage to lock in a specific price without any extra penalties. So, the best choice between fixed and variable-rate mortgages will always depend on your needs and how much risk you’re willing to take on. When looking at your personal and financial goals, we can decide what would work best alongside your mortgage term.


Mortgage Payment Options

Generally, there are five different options for your mortgage payments, which we will take a look at and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Monthly – Monthly payments are generally the default option. Pay on the same day every month.

Bi-Weekly – With this option, you make payments twice a month. Multiply monthly payments by 12, then divide by 26 to get the amount you owe.

Accelerated Bi-Weekly – Using the accelerated option, split the monthly payment in half and pay that amount 26 times a year. The payments are slightly higher, so you make one extra payment each year.

Weekly – You make your payments weekly. Multiply the monthly amount by 12, then divide by 52 to get your amount.

Accelerated Weekly – You pay weekly but at a faster rate. So you divide your monthly payments by 4, then pay that amount weekly.

Note: You make one extra monthly payment with the accelerated payment options. It costs a little more monthly, but you save on interest and pay your mortgage faster. The accelerated route will help you pay off your mortgage quickly, but it’s important to remember your budget and lifestyle before proceeding with this option. Again, we will go over this together to match your goals.


Essentials for First-Time Home Buyers in 2023

First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

A first home savings account (FHSA) is a newly registered government program(April 1st, 2023) that gives prospective first-time buyers the ability to save for the purchase of their first home tax-free (up to certain limits).

Find out more information and how to open one HERE.

Mortgage Default Insurance

Mortgage default insurance is required by Canadian banks when you have less than a 20% down payment. It protects the bank if you can’t pay back your mortgage. The insurance helps you buy a home with a smaller down payment, but it doesn’t protect you as the borrower. If you default, the insurer handles legal proceedings and pays the bank for any shortfall after selling the property. You’re still responsible for any remaining amount.

Land Transfer Tax Refunds

As a first-time homebuyer in Ontario, you’re eligible for a Land Transfer Tax (LTT) refund of up to $4,000, which applies to homes costing up to $368,000. Additionally, for newly built homes, buyers can qualify for an additional refund of $4,000.

Other government programs and rebates

In addition, you can also take advantage of these other government programs to help you save money on your home-buying journey.

  1. Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP): This program allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to help finance your home purchase tax-free. However, you must repay whatever amount you withdrew within 15 years.
  2. GST/HST New Housing Rebate: If you’re purchasing a newly built home or renovating an existing one, you may be eligible for a rebate on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) paid on the home’s purchase price or construction costs.

With suitable mortgage options, you’ll be ready to secure your first home in Barrie and apply for these government programs.


Tips and tricks for saving for a down payment

In this section, we’ll review the different saving methods for one of the most critical steps of your home-buying journey: the down payment. The down payment is usually the most significant barrier to entry for many people trying to buy a home. Let’s explore down payment requirements and the implications of receiving monetary gifts for your down payment.

Understanding minimum down payment requirements:

The minimum down payment required to purchase a home in Barrie depends on your income and the property’s purchase price.

  • For homes priced between $500,000 and $999,999: 5% down payment on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remaining amount
  • For homes priced at $1,000,000 or more, a 20% down payment is required.

Tips for saving for a down payment:

  1. Set saving goals: Create a realistic timeline to achieve your saving goals. Timing your plan will help you stay focused and motivated to continue saving.
  2. Create a budget: One of the most effective ways to save is to create a monthly budget tracker. Of course, you can track your income and expenses, but this can also reveal the areas where you can reduce your spending to help quicken your savings.
  3. Automate your savings: Out of sight, out of mind! Something that’s personally worked for me is setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account each month. This helps you to prioritize your saving efforts and ensure you consistently save over a period of time.
  4. Reduce high-interest debt: Pay off high-interest credit card debt to alleviate pressure on your finances.
  5. Explore investment options: Consider investing your savings in a low-risk investment account or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) to help your money grow faster.

Can you use gifted money to pay for the down payment?

If you’ve received money from a family member or close friend, you can use the gift to help pay for your down payment. While this is especially helpful for first-time buyers, you must know there are some documents and tax implications you must fill out before using it.

  1. Documentation: The lender will likely require a signed gift letter stating that the funds are a gift, not a loan, along with proof of the donor’s ability to provide the funds.
  2. Tax implications: In Canada, gifted down payments are generally not taxable for the recipient. However, to be sure, speak to tax professionals to better understand if there are any potential tax implications for you and the donor.

By following these tips and tricks to grow your savings, you’ll be well on your way to making that down payment and taking your first few steps in buying your dream home in Barrie.




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