By Erica Alini - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
- Sales of existing homes in Canada dipped 0.5 per cent nationally in December from November in seasonally adjusted terms, the Canadian Real Estate Association said today. It was the the third consecutive month of declines.
- Actual, non-seasonally adjusted sales, dropped 17.4 per cent compared to December 2011.
- CREA’s MLS home-price index rose 3.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis, the smallest gain since April 2011.
- The number of homes newly listed for sale in December fell 1.3 per cent from November. Greater Toronto recorded the largest drop in new listings.
- Four of every five local markets recorded sales declines in December on a year-over-year basis. Calgary was the great exception, with December sales up seven per cent year-over-year.
- Sales numbers are moving exactly the way Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wants them to. “I don’t mind prices coming down a bit, too,” he told the Globe and Mail.
- There’s little doubt the sales plunge reflects the impact of the mortgage-tighnening rules introduced by the federal government in July, TD Economics’ Sonya Gulati wrote in a note to clients this morning. Still, it might be too early to say whether the finance minister has effectively tamed the housing market: Gulati notes that the impact of the new mortgage legislation is now likely fully priced in, and that the cooling effects of similar tightenings in the past have been only temporary.
By By Jason Kirby and Chris Sorensen - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 11:01 AM - 180 Comments
High fees. Hidden data. It’s the realtor racket.
From the moment Robert Peden chose to sell his Victoria home, he was adamant not one penny would go to a full-service real estate agent. Instead, Peden is doing what a small but growing number of Canadian homeowners have opted to do—handle the sale on his own. “I’m not prepared to pay full-service real estate commissions because they’re totally out of whack,” he says. “No realtor is worth that kind of money.”
Tough words. But Peden isn’t just any aggrieved home seller. Thirty years ago he worked as a real estate agent himself. And he’s disturbed by what he’s seen happen over that time. Then, as now, commissions amounted to about five to seven per cent of a home’s sale price. But because the typical 1970s house sold at a fraction of today’s eye-popping levels, real estate commissions were around $2,500. Today, with Peden’s home worth an estimated $460,000, the commissions might easily hit $25,000. Even after factoring in inflation, realtor’s fees have exploded in size, and it’s left him wondering: what exactly do real estate agents do now that they didn’t 30 years ago to warrant such a staggering increase in pay? “The problem with realtors today is they’re more order takers than salesmen,” he says. “Honest to God, I think a used car salesman works harder at selling a car and earns a fifth of what these people make.”
When it comes to Canada’s other favourite pastime, real estate, griping about realtors is right up there with gossiping about house prices at cocktail parties and picking out marble countertops. But in recent weeks, the backlash against real estate commissions has taken on a more urgent tone. The Canadian Competition Bureau has set its sights on the way realtors have, for decades, operated and charged for their services, and in February it filed charges with the Competition Tribunal claiming realtors are engaged in anti-competitive behaviour. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has fought back, labelling the accusations “fundamentally misconceived.” But however the battle plays out, don’t expect realtors to give up the outdated and expensive system for buying and selling homes without a fight. Critics call it a monopoly, and it’s made many in the industry very well off.
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 9:33 AM - 17 Comments
A home is seen as a ticket to retirement. But is that wise?
It may be winter, but Vancouver’s love affair with real estate is in full bloom. After a brief pause to mark the recession, the hot topic over lattes is once again square footage and million-dollar views. Which is roughly the price tag Michael Lin kept coming across last week as he and a friend sat in a Granville Street café surfing MLS, the real estate listing website, on his laptop.
Lin, a computer programmer in his late 20s, has watched the ups and downs, and then ups again, of Vancouver’s housing market from his rented apartment. Now, with the economy in repair mode and mortgage rates still near record lows, he’s eager to take the plunge into the city’s condo market. He admits prices are higher than he’d like, but believes he can easily cover the mortgage payments even if interest rates start to rise. But when asked whether he will have enough left over at the end of the month to save for retirement, he chuckles. He wasn’t saving much before, either. “This way,” he says, “I’ll be forced to save.”
Lin has plenty of company. A growing number of Canadians have come to view their homes as the ticket to a secure retirement. There’s a lot to be said for that approach. Your house is the biggest investment you’ll ever make, and it compels you to watch your pennies. It’s also true that those Canadians who had all their money tied up in their homes instead of stock markets have come through the financial crisis with their household balance sheets largely intact.
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 11:35 AM - 0 Comments
La première étoile:… Adam van Koeverden. The reigning world and Olympic champion kayaker from
La première étoile: Adam van Koeverden. The reigning world and Olympic champion kayaker from Oakville, Ont., has been given the huge honour of carrying the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies at the upcoming Summer Games in Beijing. He also stuck it to Elvis Stojko who recently suggested that Canadian athletes should consider boycotting the Games because of China’s human rights record.
Two minutes for … for not being as awesome as you thought. No offence to Toronto FC fans and the entire MLS, but by losing to the Montreal Impact on Tuesday, and thus being eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League tourney, two things become blatantly obvious. Firstly, the MLS really is the equivalent of Division III soccer in England, or a beer league in Brazil, and all those fans who pay upwards of $170 to watch a game are, well, suckers. I know people like screaming for the home team at BMO Stadium while shoveling beers down their throats, but let’s be honest, the MLS has a long way to go before it is considered a legitimate league that draws some of the world’s premier players.