Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

Mon, 06/16/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, June 16, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity posted a sizeable month-over-month increase in May 2014.

Ottawa, ON, June 16, 2014 - According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity posted a sizeable month-over-month increase in May 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 5.9% from April to May.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 4.8% above May 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes climbed 3.8% from April to May.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 7.1% on a year-over-year basis in May.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.0% year-over-year in May.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 5.9 per cent from April to May 2014. This marks the largest month-over-month increase in nearly four years.

Sales rose in four out of every five local housing markets in May, including almost all large urban markets. The largest gains driving the national increase were posted in Calgary, Greater Toronto and Montreal.

“The monthly increase in May activity was widespread among local housing markets, with some 80 per cent of them reporting stronger sales compared to April,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Over the past 25 years, that widespread a monthly sales increase has been recorded only a handful of times. Even so, the improvement varied by location. Your local REALTOR® is your best source of information about the factors driving the market where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in May stood 4.8 per cent above levels reported in the same month last year, and 3.8 per cent above the 10-year average for the month of May.

May sales were up from year-ago levels in about 60 per cent of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, and Greater Toronto. Monthly activity trailed levels reported last May in Montreal and Halifax-Dartmouth.

The national trend for new listings has mirrored the trend for sales in recent months. The number of newly listed homes rose 3.8 per cent in May, marking a fourth straight monthly gain. Also in line with sales activity, new listings were up in about 80 per cent of local markets.

“In markets where supply had become tight, we expected sales to improve in tandem with listings,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Had it not been for such a brutal winter that delayed the launch of the spring market, the improvement in new listings and sales would likely have been more spread out over the past few months.” Combined sales over the past three months are roughly in line with the 10-year average for that three month period.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 53.1 per cent in May, up from 52.0 per cent in March and April but still well entrenched within the 40 to 60 per cent range that marks balanced market territory. Nearly 60 per cent of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in May.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The number of months of inventory has firmed slightly since the beginning of 2014. There were 6.0 months of inventory nationally at the end of May 2014 compared with 6.5 months at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, as with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory continues to suggest that Canada’s housing market is generally well-balanced, with year-over-year price growth varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+10.12 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.08 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+4.27 per cent).

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in May 2014 was $416,584, up 7.1 per cent from the same month last year.

The national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among Canada’s largest and most expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the calculation, the average price reaches a relatively more modest $336,373 while the year-over-year increase shrinks to 5.3 per cent.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by 4.98 per cent year-over-year in May, which is slightly smaller than gains of 5.03 per cent and 5.19 per cent in April and March respectively.

Year-over-year price growth gained strength for two-storey single family homes and townhouse/row units, and lost a bit of momentum for one-storey single family homes and apartment units.

Year-over-year price gains were led by two-storey single family homes (+5.98 per cent), followed closely by price increases for one-storey single family homes (+5.19 per cent) and townhouse/row units (+5.04 per cent). The price increase for apartment units was comparatively more modest (+2.93 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+10.12 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.08 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+4.27 per cent).
 

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

Thu, 05/15/2014 – 09:00

Ottawa, ON, May 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was up on a month-over-month basis in April 2014.

Ottawa, ON, May 15, 2014 – According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity was up on a month-over-month basis in April 2014.

Highlights:

  • National home sales rose 2.7% from March to April.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 0.3% below April 2013 levels.
  • The number of newly listed homes climbed 2.9% from March to April.
  • The Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory.
  • The national average sale price rose 7.6% on a year-over-year basis in April.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.0% year-over-year in April.

The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations rose 2.7 per cent from March to April 2014. This continues to build on gains recorded in each of the two previous months, marking the third and largest month-over-month increase since last August.

The increase places activity about halfway between the most recent peak reached in August 2013 and the slowdown in the second half of 2012 that followed changes to mortgage rules and guidelines.

Sales rose in half of all local housing markets in April, dominated by a rebound in activity in Greater Vancouver and an increase in Greater Toronto.

“Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto fuelled the anticipated spring pick up in national home sales in April which masked softer activity in a number of smaller markets,” said CREA President Beth Crosbie. “Housing trends can be very different between local markets and even within them depending on the neighborhood and type of home. Your local REALTOR® is your best source of information about how the housing market is shaping up where you currently live or might like to in the future.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in April stood just three-tenths of one per cent below levels recorded for the same month last year, and one per cent below the 10-year average for the month. April sales were up from year-ago levels in less than 40 per cent of all local markets, with gains in Greater Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton offsetting softer activity in Ottawa, Montreal, and other rural and suburban areas in Quebec.

The decline in sales activity below the 10-year average was broadly based. “Sales activity for the month of April and for the year to date came in below the 10-year average in more than 60 per cent of all housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “This shows that tightened mortgage rules and guidelines are working as intended to keep activity in check despite mortgage interest rates remaining extraordinarily low.”

The trend for new listings has mirrored the trend for sales over the past three months, with the number of newly listed homes rising 2.9 per cent in April on the heels of smaller gains in February and March. New listings were only up in about 60 per cent of local markets; however, as was the case with sales activity, outsized gains in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto boosted the increase nationally.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio was 51.9 per cent in April, virtually unchanged from 52.0 per cent in March and little changed from 52.3 per cent in January and February. Since early 2010, the ratio has remained firmly entrenched within the 40 to 60 per cent range that marks balanced market territory. Some 60 per cent of all local markets posted a sales-to-new listings ratio in this range in April.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The number of months of inventory has been edging marginally lower since the beginning of 2014. There were 6.3 months of inventory nationally at the end of April 2014 compared with 6.4 months at the end of February and March and 6.5 months at the end of January. As with the sales-to-new listings ratio, the number of months of inventory continues to point to a well balanced housing market nationally, with the measure holding close to its long-term average in the vast majority of markets.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in April 2014 was $409,708, an increase of 7.6 per cent from the same month last year. The national average price continues to be skewed upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which are among some of Canada’s most expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from the national average price calculation, the year-over-year increase diminishes to 4.8 per cent.

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides a better gauge of price trends because it is not affected by changes in the mix of sales activity the way that average price is.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI rose 5.02 per cent on a year-over-year basis in April, which is slightly less than the 5.19 per cent gain recorded in March. This marks the first deceleration in year-over-year price growth since April 2013.

Year-over-year price growth picked up for townhouse/row units, but slowed for one- and two-storey single family homes and apartment units.

Year-over-year price gains were led by two-storey single family homes (+5.84 per cent) and one-storey single family homes (+5.35 per cent). This was closely followed by price increases for townhouse/row units (+4.52 per cent). The price increase for apartment units was comparatively more modest (+3.35 per cent).

Year-over-year price growth in the MLS® HPI varied among local housing markets tracked by the index, with the biggest gains having been posted by Calgary (+9.52 per cent), Greater Toronto (+7.01 per cent), and Greater Vancouver (+3.64 per cent).

– 30 –

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through some 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found at http://crea.ca/statistics.

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

Thu, 04/17/2014 – 14:50

The Bank of Canada announced on April 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent, where it has been parked since September 2010.

The Bank of Canada announced on April 16th, 2014 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent, where it has been parked since September 2010. The Bank also published its latest quarterly Monetary Policy Report and updated its economic growth and inflation forecasts.

The Bank’s global economic growth outlook remains upbeat despite softer readings in recent months that it attributes to “unusual weather” in the United States earlier in 2014. The Bank still expects that investment and exports will outshine consumer spending as the main driver of Canadian economic growth as the United States economic recovery gains momentum.

While the Bank raised its inflation forecast, it expects the increase to be temporary and made it clear that it would not react by raising rates sooner than previously anticipated.

The Bank identified a weaker than expected upturn in exports as being the most significant domestic risk to its inflation outlook. It also repeated its concerns about Canadian household indebtedness while indicating that a soft landing in the Canadian housing market and a stabilization of debt-to-income ratios continue to unfold in line with its expectations.

On balance, the Bank is of the view that interest rates should remain where they are and it will continue to monitor economic and inflation data closely to determine the direction of future policies. Canadian private sector forecasters widely believe that the Bank of Canada will not begin raising the overnight lending rate until well into 2015.

As of April 16th, 2014, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.99 per cent, down from 5.24 per cent at the previous Bank rate announcement on March 5th, 2014.

The next interest rate announcement will be on June 4th, 2014. The next update to the Monetary Policy Report will be on July 16th, 2014.

(CREA 4/16/2014)

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Despite how many reports are claiming that new construction is the key to developing a healthy recovery method for the real estate market, it would appear these reports aren’t looking in all directions very effectively. If they were, there would probably be a leniency towards re-visiting that mentality and developing a more comprehensive approach, rather than a shrouded one.

Fluctuations in the property market are of no surprise to many at this point, however these particular market activities seem to be telling a story not many want to hear – the market’s recovery is moving in the wrong direction. As it stands, new buyers are in a tough position when it comes to entering the market due to the revisited amortization constraints wherein down-payment amounts increased, while amortization lengths were decreased, meaning more money up front, and higher payments; a compromising situation indeed. So, what happens now? Property investors have incidentally taken the market by storm to scoop up properties at a healthily reduced rate to be owned as secondary properties, and rented out to the general population – presumably those same potential new buyers who can’t afford to get a piece of the market activity.

Reports are suggesting that one of the only ways this young buying population will enter the market is if their baby-boomer parents (the same demographic investing in the renter’s market) provide down-payments in order to make the endeavour more affordable. The means to do so come from their parents’ act of downsizing, thus freeing up funds that can be allotted to their offspring’s hopeful property purchases.

Our neighbours to the South have also released some purchasing statistics which indicate the trend that pains new buyers is one felt on both sides of the border, as the sales of previously owned homes hit the highest they’ve been in 3-1/2 years. Now, if you take a look at these impeding market factors it’s hard to lean on the argument that new developments are the way to go, as they are even less affordable than previously owned homes and provide no positive alternative to what’s paining the market: the low number of new buyers.

Instead of putting up new developments that hardly anyone can afford to the extent that would stimulate a positive increase in market activity, we should be focusing on resolving the impeding factors that are vice-gripping the market’s potentially young population. If amortization laws are revisited, or if market activity ceases to favour some and down-play others, and instead reaches a content equilibrium for the purchasing population, we could expect a healthy and fulfilling market recovery rather than the lop-sided one we’re experiencing now.

 

image courtesy of katerha

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Original Article via Castanet

Kelowna found itself in elite company Tuesday, when in the space of one hour, top realtors from nine of the world’s most luxurious neighbourhoods gathered to share their market insights.

The top-grossing realtors from Coldwell Banker offices in Paris, Miami Beach, Beverly Hills, Aspen and others connected via teleconference for a luxury market roundtable; each giving five-minute summaries of their markets’ price ranges, demographics, selling features and forecasts.

Kelowna’s own Jane Hoffman, of Coldwell Banker Jane Hoffman Group represented Canada in a luxury market roundtable Tuesday.

“This is a unique opportunity to gain insight about the luxury market and affluent client expectations from a special group which represents not only many of the top Coldwell Banker Preview specialists in the world, but indeed what I believe to be the finest agents within the real estate industry,” said Budge Huskey, Coldwell Banker President and CEO.

Representing Canada was Kelowna’s own Jane Hoffman, of Coldwell Banker Jane Hoffman Group.

The Hoffman Group is the top producing team for Coldwell Banker Canada and has been active in over 85% of all sales in her market over $3m and 100% of sales over $5m.

“Kelowna is largely an undiscovered gem in the luxury market in Canada,” said Hoffman.

She cites the weather, moderate size, recreation opportunities and agri-tourism industry as some of the main reasons affluent home-buyers come to Kelowna.

Most of Kelowna’s luxury properties are either lake view homes, waterfront homes or vineyard estate properties, according to Hoffman, with elite homes being in the $3m to $5m range.

 

image courtesy of mastermaq

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

Everybody right now is complaining that there’s too many houses on the market; which is true. There is certainly a bit of a general market flood occurring in most areas of the country. However we might be too quick to complain because the future or real estate might take a different turn than expected once the market recovers.

At the current rate of market activity, new developments are being executed at a sufficiently sustainable rate. There’s a good availability of workers, costs are relatively low, the listing prices of new properties, due to the nature of the market, are also low, and the rate of new developments is manageable due to low market activity. However we may be getting ahead of ourselves to be pushing for a quick market recovery.

Once the market’s demand and activity stabilizes, new developments will predictably increase, but it’s not looking like enough craftsmen will be available to sustain this potentially increasing demand. And if there’s anything we can say for sure, it’s that once the market recovers, there will certainly be an increase of new development proposals. Now the issue is finding people to build them.

Within the next 10 years, Canada will see an estimated shortage of 800,000 skilled workers due to the lacking emphasis on the social importance and demands for tradesmen. This situation could play out negatively or positively depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

If you were hoping on building a house in ten years, you’d better start saving your pennies (still getting used to that one) nickels, because the price tag is going to look a whole lot different than the one you were expecting. However, for property owners, this may not be such a bad thing.

Due to the labour shortage, house prices will predictably rise due to the squeezed rate of supply and demand, single-handedly increasing market value. Now, this also goes hand in hand with a smaller index of available properties due to the foreseeable housing shortage. That being said, the increases in value may be bittersweet to those looking to eventually sell and settle down in ‘the perfect place’, because that ‘perfect place’ will look like a ham to a herd of wolves when the time comes around.

Real estate comes at a price – that prices varies in many degrees including long-term investment. At this point there’s a large availability of affordable properties on the market, so get ‘em while they’re hot, because ten years from now things might be taking a strange turn.

image courtesy of Dave Stokes

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

Though the United States are reporting their Q4 as having the strongest quarterly growth in over seven years, it seems that we aren’t so lucky.

Canadian home sales are in fact taking a slight dive, as we predicted in our blog post, Here We Go Again.Despite our neighbours to the south prospering, our real estate market is not comparable to theirs for a number of reasons, however one would think that with both markets making a slight recovery that they should be following the same streamline.

However, The Vancouver Sun reports that this January we saw a near-23% decline in housing starts, leading is to believe that buyers aren’t in the mood for it yet this year; and sellers are clearly white-knuckle gripping the deeds to their beloved yet not-so-valuable homes. (Buyers and sellers failing to see the ‘give and take’ in the market. We aren’t going to go off on that tangent…because we already did here: Stop Forcing It!)

So now that we’re left with slipping market enthusiasm, not to mention our now lacking new developments, what can be done to inject some life back into real estate?

A NAR survey result posted by Chicago Agent Magazine revealed that agents in 2012 were statistically less experienced (measured in their number of years in the real estate industry) than those in 2011. What does this tell us? Well, if we look at the public’s lacking market participation, shorthanded developments, and the United States’ doing well while we aren’t, one could easily draw the conclusion that the entire real estate experience has become stagnant and stale.

Rather than blaming the public’s lacking participation with the market/industry, maybe it’s time the market participated with them instead by offering services and experiences that entertain and excite your clients about the wonderment and limitless possibilities to be discovered in real estate investment. The typical opinion of real estate agents is declining, so it’s time to take control, tighten up your business, man the hatches, and execute an expedition to the frontiers of scared sellers and new buyers. Agents need to step it up!

The only way we can expect the market to recover is by encouraging participation within; so why not be the draw instead of complaining that there isn’t one?

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

An article released by the National Post is bringing a particular amount of attention to the world of real estate marketing.

A Calgary, AB, based real estate agent recently released a billboard advertisement that’s been drawing a lot of attention; whether that attention’s a good or bad thing we’re still unsure. The billboard featured a photo of the young female agent Diana Arvatescu with the caption ‘Let Me Take You Home, It’s Gorgeous Inside’ as the message of the ad.

What started out as a clever innuendo campaign has now developed into a critique of the appropriateness of this style of advertising, and it’s place in real estate, as critics believe it to be too sexually implying and could put the agent in danger as a result.

Though critics may be overly assumptive in predicting that harm would come to the young Diana, the larger issue now is where the boundaries are to be drawn regarding appropriate advertising in a relatively conservative industry such as real estate.

What are your thoughts on this campaign? Is Diana going too far, or simply adding some spice to a bland industry?

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

One of the main issues with the market right now (besides it’s obviously ‘flattened’ state) is that people can’t seem to come to terms with the fact that their property isn’t worth as much as they think it should be. Startling, but true. This mentality unfortunately appears to be budding because, for some reason or another, sellers seem to think that by selling for less than what their property was worth when the market peaked (or less than their own made-up magical number), that they’re going to be out on the street once they sell, unable to afford a suitable home…Newsflash: The whole market’s doing bad, not just your property.

When the market takes a dive the only way to build it back up is for the inventory to keep moving…otherwise we just end up with a bunch of broke angry people who’ll die of old age in the properties they never sold. It’s a very rugged reality, and we’re compassionate for you, but by sitting there and trying to force a high market price for your property, you: a) aren’t going to sell your place, because (surprise!) the comparable market value of similar properties will obviously be set lower, leaving no buyer in their right mind with a reason to spend another $30k-$50k on your property, and b) contributing to what’s turning into a serious housing traffic jam.

Whether you like it or not, as a seller, you can make a choice. You can choose to sell your place, deal with the loss, get a new one, wait for the market to recover and cash in then; OR, you can stick it out, stay grumpy, and hope that you’re still around when your property value finally ‘comes back’.

So, this goes out to all sellers who are giving buyers headaches with this issue: Please keep in mind that it’s not just your listing price that’s low. It’s everybody’s. Just by taking a bit of a dive from your ‘magical number’ doesn’t mean you’re going to be homeless. It means you’re going through the market recovery motions. You’ll still be able to find a new place at a reasonable price, so don’t sweat it and bite the bullet already! After all, they call it a competitive market for a reason.

Posted by & filed under CREA, Uncategorized.

The end of the world never came, so here we are back to the grind at the start of what we’d like to hope will be another great year.

One of the biggest issues with the new year is getting back into work mode. Everybody suffers from this (you’re lying if you deny it) including ourselves, so we’ve decided to pass along a few tools that will help ease the blow and keep your productivity optimized. We’ve gathered a compilation of some of our favourite extensions for our favourite browser: Google Chrome.

Not a Chrome user? You should be. Here’s a few Chrome extensions and apps to take some of the pain out of your first days back at work.

Short Link Getter: Does it drive you insane when a colleague passes a link along that’s about as long as the first chapter of Lord of the Rings? Fear no more. The Short Link Getter is the perfect tool to add to your browser to have a short URL for whatever page you’re on with the click of a button. No more are the days of copying, pasting into a shortener, re-copying your tiny URL, and sending it off. Just click, copy, and paste.

Google Mail Checker and YouSendIt For Webmail: Like us, many use GMail to keep our e-mail in order; personal or professional. With these two plugins, GMail just got even better. Receive instant inbox updates right to your toolbar with the Google Mail Checker, preventing having to incessantly check your inbox to see if you’ve got mail. Now, you just know. Have trouble sending large files through GMail? Just download the YouSendIt for Webmail extension and watch your fears melt away. Easily attach large files right to your GMail to share them with colleagues and friends alike with the click of a button. No more need 3rd party sites/programs or “WHY WON’T THIS SEND? BE SMALLER!” moments, just a simplified process.

Highlight to Search: One of the smaller aggravations encountered around many offices is the highlight, copy, paste, and search process, which can be tedious when doing ample research. This extension allows for a quick and easy process. Just highlight the keyword, click, and Google it. It’s that easy.

TooManyTabs and Page Snooze: A predominant issue when conducting research is the eventual maelstrom of ‘tabs’ that consumes the top of your browser. Ever wished for a way to save some of these for later, or to organize them is an efficient way? These two extensions allow you to do just that. Organize and categorize your tabs with TooManyTabs, or simply put them to sleep for up to two weeks with Page Snooze. Happy tabbing!

Speed Dial: If you’re a frequent flyer to a set of specific sites, this is your dream. Speed Dial allows users to customize their ‘new tab’ to have a set grid of sites ready to go at the click of a mouse rather than a) remembering them all, and b) typing them in one after the other. Getting to your sources is now a total breeze.

Adblock for Youtube™: Last but not least, we present you the most handy gadget of the bunch. Not because it improves productivity, but because it’s the internet’s Advil when it comes to the ever-annoying ads that YouTube displays before, during, and after their videos. Now you can get back to how it used to be and skip all that garbage with the Adblock for Youtube™ extension.

Now, get out there, download Google Chrome, and start your year off the right way: as easy as possible.

Have some personal favourites that we missed? Be sure to share them in the comments below.

 

image courtesy of Lisa Brewster