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Monthly Archives: January 2015

S&P fined $1.4 billion for subprime mortgage fraud

The integrity and credibility of one of the three major credit rating agencies that matter, Standard & Poor’s, has been given a severe beating. It is being fined about $1.4 billion for its role in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency that regulates the US financial sector, accused the ratings agency of fraud. The Justice Department and twenty US states brought lawsuits against S&P. Earlier this week, S&P agreed to pay $77 million for similar crimes, though it has not admitted guilt but rather agreed to a statement of facts of wrongdoing, according to various reports. A lawsuit against the former head of ... Read More »

In US, wooing first-time home buyers with 3 per cent down payment

As Canadians wait to see what will happen to mortgage rates now that the Bank of Canada has lowered its key rate to 0.75 per cent, the Americans are hoping that the millennial generation will help make 2015 a better year for mortgage lenders, and for first-time home buyers, than 2014 was. Last year was a bad year for the mortgage market in the US. Home lending fell 36 per cent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, with some lenders seeing mortgage loans down more than 50 per cent. But many feel the worst is over now, and that mortgage bankers will have reason to feel better by the end ... Read More »

Ontario the winner in the cheap-oil economy: TD

Canada’s banks are beginning to clarify their positions on the economy in the wake of the worldwide collapse of oil prices and the Bank of Canada’s cut in its interest rate. That drop in oil prices has gone deeper and longer than anyone predicted, TD Economics says in an update. While commodity prices can be volatile, often rebounding quickly after big plunges, TD says it doesn’t see that happening this time. Low oil prices, like low interest rates and a low loonie, will be with us for a while. The “silver lining” is that inflation will drop too. After initially expressing surprise at the Bank of Canada’s decision to cut ... Read More »

Rooftop solar pays off for homeowners: study

Green features in a home not only save the owner money on energy, they also increase the value of the home. This is especially true of rooftop solar panels. New evidence shows that homebuyers are willing to pay significantly more for a home that has rooftop solar electric panels installed. In a wide-ranging study, researchers in the US looked at 22,000 home sales in eight states over fifteen years. They found that buyers would pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with a photovoltaic system. That works out to about $4 per watt, based on an average installed system of 3.6 kilowatts capacity. As of 2014, more than ... Read More »

CP forms new company to develop huge real estate holdings

Canadian Pacific is getting into real estate again. The company responsible for some of Canada’s most iconic hotels—the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City (seen above), the Royal York in Toronto, the Banff Springs in Alberta, the Empress in Victoria—announced that it has teamed up with Dream in a joint venture to develop some of CP’s enormous surplus real estate holdings. The joint venture is called Dream Van Horne Properties, a reference to Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, the American-born president of CPR in the late nineteenth century. CP has undergone a “remarkable” business transformation since 2012, a press release says, and that transformation has led to the surplus real estate. ... Read More »

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