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Sunday , 26 March 2017

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Canadians good debt managers, housing market strong: CMHC

Canadians continue to show a strong ability to manage their debts, the mortgage insurance business is strong, and the new housing market is in a state of equilibrium, poised either to grow or decline slightly depending on the country’s overall economic performance for the rest of the year. If this sounds rosier than the usual housing market/consumer debt commentary, it could be a question of tweaking the message to suit the audience. The messenger in this case is Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the audience the Canadian people and their elected representatives. CMHC just released its second-quarter financial report and outlook for the remainder of 2015. It’s a given ... Read More »

What has coffee got to do with the price of real estate?

When Burger King bought Tim Hortons late last year, the new entity became the third-largest fast-food chain in the world, with about 18,000 locations worldwide. Restaurant Brands International CEO Daniel Schwartz said at the time that Tim Hortons would become a household word all around the world, and people everywhere would now be able to experience what Canadians enjoy every day of the year. Great as that may be for the company and for national pride, there is no evidence yet of a “Tim Hortons effect,” however. Unlike its US rival Starbucks, Tim Hortons has never been considered an up-market kind of operation. Its locations are in highway rest stops ... Read More »

Quebec allowing wood construction up to 12 storeys

Quebec has taken the lead in the tall wood construction movement in Canada. Quebec premier Philippe Couillard announced this week that the province will allow wood buildings up to twelve storeys tall. The move puts Quebec ahead of all other provinces in Canada, and many countries around the world, in terms of height allowed for wood buildings. It also puts the province ahead of the National Building Code, which has not yet caught up with provinces like Ontario and BC, which allow six-storey wood construction. The move is being praised by some environmentalists, but appears to be mainly intended to boost Quebec’s forestry industry. The highly competitive building industry is ... Read More »

Real estate issues turning up as election promises

Aside from the obvious political taint, the government’s election promise to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal amount from $25,000 to $35,000 could be helpful to many Canadians. (The fact that it is an election promise only shows that the government doesn’t really want to do it.) The plan has been around since 1992 and this would be only the second increase. From its inception until 2009, the withdrawal limit was $20,000. The way it works is that a first-time buyer can withdraw funds from his or her RRSP to  purchase a home. “First-time buyer” does not mean first-time buyer in the strict sense, i.e. a person who has never owned ... Read More »

Record new home price growth continues; what about mid-rise?

When the real estate industry talks about Toronto’s housing market, it focuses almost entirely on sales numbers and prices, which are always going up. That’s good for the real estate industry, which is very happy with the way things are going just now. When the banks, mortgage companies and government agencies like Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation talk about the housing market, they tend to focus on risks: overvaluation, overbuilding, overleveraging by consumers. While they acknowledge that there could eventually be potential problems such as a price correction, they generally take a very positive position, saying that “the fundamentals” of the economy are sound, while interest rates and demographics support ... Read More »

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