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The Contagion of Fear

2/3/2020

Fears of a possible coronavirus pandemic are sweeping the world. Markets are jittery with little hard data to go on. With the first case now reported in Canada, many are recalling the 2003 SARS where Canada was one of the epicenters. Arguably the biggest (economic) lesson from that experience is that fear is the biggest risk to the outlook. The impact of the SARS pandemic on the Canadian economy is difficult to estimate, confounded as it was by the slowing US economy, the invasion of Iraq and other events, but the Bank of Canada estimated -0.6ppt hit to annualized growth in Q2-2003, or just over 0.1% on the level of GDP. While it is premature to predict the path of todays coronavirus outbreak, we estimate that a SARS-equivalent pandemic today could have a similar impact on the Canadian economy with an estimated hit of just over 0.1% on the level of GDP by mid-2020, at which point a pandemic should be contained. This estimate is subject to a significant degree of uncertainty with risks skewed to a potentially larger impact. The effect should not be significant enough to trigger a broader economic malaise, but could this finally push Governor Poloz over the line to proactively stimulate the economy in his next rate call? Source: https://www.scotiabank.com/content/dam/scotiabank/sub-brands/scotiabank-economics/english/documents/insights-views/2020-01-27_IV.pdf
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LISTINGS FALL AGAIN TO END 2019, PUSHING PRICES HIGHER

1/15/2020

Canadian Real Estate Association data show that national-level home sales fell 0.9% (sa m/m) in December 2019 after rising in the previous nine months. Limited availability looks to be increasingly weighing on sales activity. The month saw another broad-based decline in new listings18 of the 31 centres for which we have data witnessed fallsthat lifted the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 66.9%. It was the highest ratio since 2004 and a third straight month of supply- demand conditions tilted in favour of sellers (after data revisions). Fourteen cities reported sellers market conditions; the rest were balanced. The aggregate MLS Home Price Index (HPI) rose 3.4% (nsa y/y), its best gain since March 2018. Montreal remained Canadas tightest local market, with rising sales and falling listings leading to yet another record-high sales-to-new listings ratio and the citys steepest y/y MLS HPI gains since 2005. Ottawas ratio also reached a new high as new listings plunged by more than 20% (sa m/m), driving a record 12.5% (nsa y/y) MLS HPI increase. Toronto also crept into sellers market territory for the first time since March 2017as in Montreal, home purchases rose and new listings felland its 7.3% (nsa y/y) HPI rise was the sharpest since 2017. Click here for more. Source: Scotiabank Economics
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THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER INCENTIVE PLAN

9/4/2019

THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER INCENTIVE PLAN If you had the chance to make a bigger down payment on a house, would you take it? That is the question we are going to answer today as theFirst-Time Home Buyer Incentive Plan(FTHBI) started taking program applications yesterday. The allure for program applicants is the opportunity to make a bigger down payment than they could save for, thereby reducing their monthly mortgage payments. The following scenario assumes youre buying a newly constructed $400,000 home with the minimum five percent down payment. The monthly payment works to $1,973. With the FTHBI plan contributing an additional $40,000, the monthly payment is reduced to $1,745; a monthly of savings of $228.* We covered the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Plan in our previousblog post. But, with all things that look great on paper, theres more to the program than simple monthly savings. ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THE FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER PROGRAM? The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), one of three Canadian mortgage insurance companies, has dedicated $1.25 billion over three years to the FTHBI plan. The primary criteria for the program are: You are a first-time homebuyer; You must live in the residence youre purchasing, no investment properties; Your down payment is less than ten percent and can only come from traditional sources; Your mortgage must be insured; Your maximum household qualifying income is $120,000 per year; The maximum first mortgage is four times annual income, maxed out at $480,000; The amount will be repaid at the sale or at the end of the mortgage based on the current market value of the home. Before you start packing your bags, lets unpack these requirements. What is a First Time Home Buyer? The program has defineda first-time homebuyer as: Someone who has never purchased a home before; Someone who has gone through a breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership; Someone who in the last four years, did not occupy a home that was occupied by the homeowner or their spouse. Single-family homes, semi-detached homes, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhouses, mobile homes, and condominium units are all eligible for the program. The incentive amount will vary based on the age and type of residence. Five percent of the purchase price will be given for existing homes and new and existing mobile homes. Five or ten percent of the purchase price will be given for newly constructed homes. Repaying the Incentive The incentive amount is interest-free and can be repaid at any time without penalty. If you sell your home or reach the end of the amortization period (25 years), you are required to pay back the incentive. The repayment amount is based on the homes current market value. If the value of your home increased, possibly because of renovations or property values, you will have to repay the five or ten percent of the current value. If your home has increased in value, youll pay more, taking from the profit of the sale after any appraisal and realtor fees. If your homes value decreased, youll pay less but you may not be able to make the repayment after all other fees are accounted. This leaves lingering questions. How do you repay the loan if you stay in your home for the 25 years? Or will you have to refinance your home to pay out your government partner? Were also worried that theres not much clarity as to how the government will approve the sale of your home if you choose to move. Will they have the right to refuse a discounted sale of your home because you need to sell quickly? OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE FTHBIP One thing we want to be really clear on; the FTHBI plan is just one avenue that first-time homebuyers should examine before purchasing a home. As with any mortgage option, the Incentive plan has its pros and cons. Entering a Shared Equity Mortgage A large consideration for us is that applicants enter into a shared equity mortgage (SEM) with the Canadian government. In this case, there are two mortgages on the property; one for you, and one for the government. This could create issues for getting a line of credit, buying out a spouse, or arguing about what your house is worth later on. Qualifying for a Smaller Purchase With the maximum qualifying amount of $480,000 on your mortgage, you will have to adjust your desire to get a bigger home. In hot markets like Toronto or Vancouver finding a single-detached home under the maximum amount wont happen. While the prices have fallen in the last two years, theaverage cost in Torontofor a single-detached home is $875,000 while Greater Vancouver is $995,200, according to theCanadian Real Estate Association(CREA). First time home buyers through this program will have to look outside of these areas or downsize to a condo or townhouse. In Calgary or Edmonton, finding a single-detached home around or under this maximum amount is possible. In Calgary, the average for a single-detached home is $488,400, according toCalgary Real Estate Board(CREB) and $429,717 in Edmonton, according toCREA. IS THE FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PLAN WORTH IT? Are you ready for our favourite answer? It depends. This plan really only addresses one aspect of the buying process; the down payment. It doesnt outline the actual mortgage agreement, such as the type of interest rate, penalties, and more. The tricky part for many Canadians will still be saving the required minimum five percent down payment, especially since these funds can only come from traditional methods such as savings, RRSPs, funds borrowed against assets, or a non-repayable gift from a relative. With the maximum qualifying amount, buyers are also restricted with their purchasing power. Other options are available to you to qualify for a larger home without the FTHBI. But, heres the bottom line. Jumping into the real estate market is the best way to increase your wealth. If youre ready to buy your first home, then this program could be the right way to do it. And thats where we come in. We love looking for the best solution that confidently gets you into your first (or second!) home, so please dont hesitate to reach out to me at 780-999-8798 or danielle@pendletonmortgages.com to discuss whats best for you and your goals! Original blog post posted on Quantus Mortgage Solutions
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Canadian home sales rise again in May 2019

6/17/2019

Home sales recorded via Canadian MLS Systems rose by 1.9% in May 2019. Together with monthly gains in March and April, activity in May reached the highest level since January 2018. While sales stood 8.9% above the six-year low reached in February 2019, this latest increase has only just returned levels to their historical average. While May sales were only up in half of all local markets, that list included almost all large markets, led by gains in both the Greater Vancouver (GVA) and Greater Toronto (GTA) areas. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 6.7% compared to May 2018, marking the largest y-o-y gain recorded since the summer of 2016. The increase returned sales in line with the 10-year average for the month of May. While about two-thirds of local markets posted y-o-y gains for the month, the national increase was dominated by improving sales trends in the GTA, which accounted for close to half of the overall increase. Home price trends and market balance continues to differ significantly among Canadian housing markets, said Jason Stephen, CREAs President. All real estate is local. No matter where you are, a professional REALTOR is your best source for information and guidance in negotiations to purchase or sell a home during these changing times, said Stephen. The mortgage stress-test continues to present challenges for home buyers in housing markets where they have plenty of homes to choose from but are forced by the test to save up a bigger down payment, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. Hopefully the stress-test can be fine tuned to enable home buyers to qualify for mortgage financing sooner without causing prices to shoot up.
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Ownership of Residential Property by Non-individuals

2/14/2019

New data released today from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program provide information on ownership of residential properties by non-individuals in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation published a report using these new data,Residential Property in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia: An Overview of Non-individual Ownership, which also includes analysis of the ownership structure of vacant land across the three provinces. The data tables include information on non-individual entities, referring to firms and governments. For the purpose of this release, they are classified into the following categories: corporations, governments, and sole proprietorships and partnerships. Information on selected sectors in which those entities operate, following sector groupings from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), is also included in this release. Among firms and governments, corporations own the majority of residential properties Across the three provinces, corporations are the most common legal type of non-individual owners of residential properties, followed by governments. Corporations include businesses and non-profit organizations, while governments include federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. In terms ofNAICSsectors, entities belonging to the real estate and rental and leasing sector, the public administration sector and the construction sector are the most common non-individual owners of residential properties. In Ontario, three-quarters of non-individual owned properties are held by corporations, compared with68.9% in Nova Scotia and57.3% in British Columbia. The share of non-individual owned properties held by governments is highest in British Columbia (39.0%), followed by Nova Scotia (22.9%) and Ontario (20.1%). In Nova Scotia,28.8% of residential properties held by corporations are owned by the construction sector, compared with22.5% in Ontario and21.4% in British Columbia. Among the residential properties owned by corporations, the real estate and rental and leasing sector accounts for the largest share in Ontario (31.1%) and in British Columbia (23.4%), while in Nova Scotia it represents about one-quarter of the properties held by corporations. The average assessment value of a residential property owned by corporations is highest in British Columbia at $1.3million, compared with $630,000in Ontario and $330,000in Nova Scotia. In British Columbia, corporations account for84.7% of the total assessment value of non-individual owned properties, while in Ontario and Nova Scotia this share is closer to80%. Residential properties owned by governments represent around10% of the total assessment value of properties owned by non-individuals in each province.
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Largest portions of household budgets go to shelter and transportation

1/2/2019

Shelter remained the largest budget item for households in 2017, at 29.2% of their total consumption of goods and services. Spending on transportation, the second-largest expenditure category, accounted for 19.9% of total consumption, followed by food expenditures at 13.4%. Households spent an average of $18,637 on shelter, up 3.4% from 2016. Included in this total was an average of $16,846 paid for principal residence (which includes rent, mortgage payments, repairs and maintenance costs, property taxes and utilities) and an average of $1,791 for other accommodation, such as hotels and owned secondary residences. In 2017, two out of every three Canadian households owned their home, and more than half of homeowners had a mortgage. Homeowners with a mortgage spent an average of $25,904 on their principal residence, compared with $9,642 for homeowners without a mortgage and $13,499 for renters. Canadian households paid $12,707 for transportation in 2017, up 6.7% from 2016. They spent an average of $11,433 on private transportation, which includes the purchase of cars, trucks and vans, as well as their operating costs. Households, on average, spent $2,142 on gasoline and other fuels in 2017, up 9.8% from 2016, reflecting the 11.8% annual average increase in gasoline prices. Spending on public transportation, which covers public transit, taxis, intercity buses, trains and air fares, remained relatively unchanged at $1,274. In 2017, 84.0% of households owned or leased a vehicle. Vehicle ownership was highest in rural areas (94.9%) and lowest in cities with a population of at least one million residents (79.0%).
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Most First-Time Homebuyers Spending All They Can Afford

11/5/2018

Millennials have made up a significant portion of homebuyers in recent years and based on the 2018 Mortgage Consumer Survey, they continue to do so, representing just under half (49%) of first-time buyer respondents. Although this is a decrease from 60% in 2017 and 58% in 2016, Millennials continue to influence and shape the homebuying and mortgage process. Heres more of what we learned about Millennials and first-time buyers as a whole, powered by the 2018 Mortgage Consumer Survey. What does the typical first-time buyer profile look like? Forty percent are married, 80% are employed full-time and about one-quarter (26%) have a household income between $60,000 and $90,000. A strong percentage of them were born outside of Canada, with 22% identifying as newcomers to Canada. Mortgage professionals can help meet the unique needs of newcomers with the support of CMHCs homebuying information which is available in 8 different languages. The top 2 reasons first-time buyers bought a home: they wanted to get a first home and they felt financially ready. Although certain urban markets continue to exhibit high house prices and other barriers to entry, the survey found that 61% of first-time buyers bought a single-detached home. In fact, single-detached home was the top housing type purchased in all regions across Canada, except in British Columbia where condominium apartment was the most popular housing type. The vast majority (85%) of first-time buyers spent the most they could afford on their home, compared to 68% of repeat buyers. This indicates that first-time buyers, including Millennials, may be stretching themselves financially to purchase their home. When it comes to the down payment, savings from outside an RRSP was the main source for first-time buyers. This suggest there is an opportunity to further educate first-time buyers about other options to help fund their down payment, such as the Government of Canadas Home Buyers Plan (HBP). To get assistance with the mortgage process, first-time buyers contacted, on average, 2 brokers and 3 lenders. First-time buyer satisfaction levels with mortgage brokers and lenders remains high. However, mortgage professionals could further increase satisfaction levels by conducting more post-transaction follow-up and by providing clients with more information on closing costs, house purchase fees, interest rates, and steps involved in buying a home. CMHCs Step by Step guide is a valuable tool for mortgage professionals to share with homebuyers to ensure they feel confident throughout the entire homebuying process. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/housing-observer-online/2018-housing-observer/most-first-time-homebuyers-spending-all-they-can-afford
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Bank of Canada increases overnight rate target to 1 ¾ per cent

10/25/2018

The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. The global economic outlook remains solid. The US economy is especially robust and is expected to moderate over the projection horizon, as forecast in the Banks July Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will reduce trade policy uncertainty in North America, which has been an important curb on business confidence and investment. However, trade conflict, particularly between the United States and China, is weighing on global growth and commodity prices. Financial market volatility has resurfaced and some emerging markets are under stress but, overall, global financial conditions remain accommodative. The Canadian economy continues to operate close to its potential and the composition of growth is more balanced. Despite some quarterly fluctuations, growth is expected to average about 2 per cent over the second half of 2018. Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.1 per cent this year and next before slowing to 1.9 per cent in 2020. The projections for business investment and exports have been revised up, reflecting the USMCA and the recently-approved liquid natural gas project in British Columbia. Still, investment and exports will be dampened by the recent decline in commodity prices, as well as ongoing competitiveness challenges and limited transportation capacity. The Bank will be monitoring the extent to which the USMCA leads to more confidence and business investment in Canada. Household spending is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace, underpinned by solid employment income growth. Households are adjusting their spending as expected in response to higher interest rates and housing market policies. In this context, household credit growth continues to moderate and housing activity across Canada is stabilizing. As a result, household vulnerabilities are edging lower in a number of respects, although they remain elevated. CPI inflation dropped to 2.2 per cent in September, in large part because the summer spike in airfares was reversed. Other temporary factors pushing up inflation, such as past increases in gasoline prices and minimum wages, should fade in early 2019. Inflation is then expected to remain close to the 2 per cent target through the end of 2020. The Banks core measures of inflation all remain around 2 per cent, consistent with an economy that is operating at capacity. Wage growth remains moderate, although it is projected to pick up in the coming quarters, consistent with the Banks latest Business Outlook Survey. Given all of these factors, Governing Council agrees that the policy interest rate will need to rise to a neutral stance to achieve the inflation target. In determining the appropriate pace of rate increases, Governing Council will continue to take into account how the economy is adjusting to higher interest rates, given the elevated level of household debt. In addition, we will pay close attention to global trade policy developments and their implications for the inflation outlook. https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2018/10/fad-press-release-2018-10-24/
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Student Challenge Winners Bring Innovative Ideas to Creating Affordable Rental Housing in Canada

10/10/2018

With innovative and fresh approaches to create more affordable rental housing in the country, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, announced the winners of the Innovation Fund Student Challenge. Three teams have been selected as winners earning the full award of $10,000: The Beaver York University Compact Homes: Innovative Solutions Solving the Affordability Challenge Queens University The Jetty: An Affordable Housing Cooperative Dalhousie University The Beaver York University Michael Kenny, Bria Hamilton, Allison Evans, Helen Lam, Jane Bae The Beaver Co-op is a proposed 12-story affordable rental apartment building that incorporates an innovative building technique and cost-saving measure through the use of mass timber construction in affordable housing, which is still relatively new to the sector. Passive design and green technology are incorporated to minimize waste and energy usage. The financial innovation stems from the multi-stakeholder community development approach that aims to generate financial support via community bonds, union pension funds, and credit unions. Compact Homes: Innovative Solutions Solving the Affordability Challenge Queens University Lindsay Allman, Andrew Eberhard, Gabrielle Snow, Peter Huan The Compact Homes project proposes an innovative Tiny Home Community that seeks to leverage existing programs and lands to produce single occupant, rent geared to income units, and can be constructed to meet stringent accessibility and environmental efficiency requirements. The Jetty: An Affordable Housing Cooperative Dalhousie University Juniper Littlefield, Mitch Gold, Lina El-Setouhy, Chloe Espiard The Jetty Affordable Housing project proposes a housing cooperative operated in partnership with local post-secondary institutions, targeting the student population with recycled shipping container apartments, as well as providing additional housing for seniors, singles and families. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2018/student-challenge-winners-bring-innovative-ideas-creating-affordable-rental-housing-canada
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Tips and tricks for a trouble-free Thanksgiving

10/2/2018

(NC) From turkey prep to the table settings, Thanksgiving can be a big undertaking for even the most experienced entertainer. To the rescue is lifestyle expert Pay Chen, who shares her tips on making holiday entertaining a breeze. Create a schedule. With multiple dishes to prep and heat, its easy to lose track of time. Use a schedule to ensure that youre staying on track. Start at the meal itself and work backwards. And dont forget that you want to give the turkey time to rest and be carved, so have the cooked turkey out of the oven an hour before you want everyone to sit down and eat. Set the table early in the week. Time flies on the big day and setting the table can sometimes be an afterthought. But according to Chen, the table sets the ambiance for the evening. Since theres nothing time-sensitive about table setting, she suggests getting everything prepped and polished a few days in advance and letting it sit ready until guests arrive. Bonus? Youll spot any unforeseen stains in your linens with plenty of time to have them cleaned. Outsource dessert.The less time you spend in the kitchen, the more time you have to be with your family, says Chen. If youre strapped for time, dont be afraid to look for simple, pre-made solutions. Store-bought doesnt have to mean a compromise in quality. For example, theres a new collection of fresh-from-frozen treats from Chudleighs, an Ontario apple farm. Their scratch-made, single-serve Apple Blossoms can be reheated in the oven or microwave in minutes. Finish the plate with a small scoop of ice cream and enjoy some well-deserved rest at the end of the meal. Embrace the kids table. Thanksgiving is about bringing family together, but it doesnt have to be about wrangling squirming kids into place for a long meal. A kids table is a welcome way to keep little ones entertained throughout dinner. Cover the surface of a small table with kraft paper and set out crayons for kids to draw or play tic-tac-toe, says Chen. The best part? Clean-up is a cinch. Prep for leftovers. Many people consider leftovers the best part of the meal, but not if youre not prepared for them. Chen suggests cleaning out your fridge a few days before to free up space. And dont be afraid to share the wealth. Pick up a cheap and cheerful set of Tupperware that you can use to send leftovers home with your guests. A parting gift of turkey and mashed potatoes? Thats something everyone will be thankful for. Find more information online at chudleighs.com. http://www.newscanada.com/en/Tips-and-tricks-for-a-trouble-free-Thanksgiving-92950
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Genworth’s Home Ownership magazine

9/24/2018

Check out Genworths Home Ownership magazine. This issue featuring: Financing Savings advice for families with children; House Hunting What to look for in a family -friendly condo; The Buying Process Is multi-generational homebuying right for you? https://genworthassetlibrary.s3.amazonaws.com/digest/fall-winter-2018/en/index.html?page=10
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Weakness in Toronto and Vancouver after seasonal adjustment

9/13/2018

In August the TeranetNational Bank National Composite House Price IndexTM was up 0.2% from the previous month.[1] Removing normal seasonal patterns (seasonal adjustment), the index would have been virtually flat, following retreats in June and July. In other words, after seasonal adjustment, the downtrend of June and July did not turn around in August. Individual market indexes were up in eight of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed. Seasonally adjusted, they would have been up in only four. The published (non-seasonally-adjusted) indexes were up strongly under any respect in Ottawa-Gatineau (1.4%), Hamilton (1.4%), Montreal (1.2%) and Quebec City (0.5%). However, gains in Toronto (0.3%), Edmonton (0.2%), Victoria (0.1%) and Winnipeg (0.1%) only reflected usual seasonal pressures. After seasonal adjustment, these indexes would have dropped or be flat. Indexes were down for Halifax (0.6%), Calgary (0.3%) and Vancouver (0.4%). The published Toronto index was up for a fifth straight month. But it is the opposite after seasonal adjustment as the index would then have been down for a fifth straight month. For Vancouver and Victoria it was a third straight month of decline after seasonal adjustment. In August the composite index was up 1.4% from a year earlier, the smallest 12-month rise since November 2009. This weakness is partly attributable to a peak in August 2017 from which the index declined in following months. For this reason the 12-month rise is likely to accelerate in the months ahead. August 2018 indexes were down from a year earlier in Toronto (3.3%), Hamilton (0.7%), Calgary (0.5%) and Edmonton (0.3%). They were up from a year earlier in Winnipeg (1.3%), Quebec City (1.4%), Halifax (4.6%), Montreal (4.8%), Victoria (5.0%), Ottawa-Gatineau (5.2%) and Vancouver (7.6%). Besides the Toronto and Hamilton indexes included in the composite index, indexes exist for the seven other urban areas of the Golden Horseshoe. In July, two of these, Barrie and Oshawa, were, like Toronto and Hamilton, below their peaks of Q3 2017. Indexes not included in the composite index also exist for seven markets outside the Golden Horseshoe, five of them in Ontario and two in B.C. The 12-month rise of these indexes varied widely, from 1.5% for Sudbury to 14.3% for Abbotsford-Mission. [1] Note on methodology: The current-month data used to calculate the index are those of closed sales entered in the provincial land registry. To illustrate the home price trend, the published indexes of the 11 metropolitan markets entering into the TeranetNational Bank Composite House Price Index present moving averages of the last three months of raw indexes, a procedure that evens out month-to-month fluctuations. For our full methodology, please visit www.housepriceindex.ca https://housepriceindex.ca/2018/09/august2018/
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Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ½ per cent

9/5/2018

The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent. CPI inflation moved up to 3 per cent in July. This was higher than expected, in large part because of a jump in the airfare component of the consumer price index. The Bank expects CPI inflation to move back towards 2 per cent in early 2019, as the effects of past increases in gasoline prices dissipate. The Banks core measures of inflation remain firmly around 2 per cent, consistent with an economy that has been operating near capacity for some time. Wage growth remains moderate. Recent data on the global economy have been consistent with the Banks July Monetary Policy Report (MPR) projections. The US economy is particularly robust, with strong consumer spending and business investment. Elevated trade tensions remain a key risk to the global outlook and are pulling some commodity prices lower. Meanwhile, financial stresses have intensified in certain emerging market economies, but with limited spillovers to other countries. The Canadian economy is evolving closely in line with the Banks July projection for growth to average near potential. Following growth of 1.4 per cent in the first quarter, GDP rebounded by 2.9 per cent in the second quarter, as the Bank had forecast. GDP growth is expected to slow temporarily in the third quarter, mainly because of further fluctuations in energy production and exports. While uncertainty about trade policies continues to weigh on businesses, the rotation of demand towards business investment and exports is proceeding. Despite choppiness in the data, both business investment and exports have been growing solidly for several quarters. Meanwhile, activity in the housing market is beginning to stabilize as households adjust to higher interest rates and changes in housing policies. Continuing gains in employment and labour income are helping to support consumption. As past interest rate increases work their way through the economy, credit growth has moderated and the household debt-to-income ratio is beginning to edge down. Recent data reinforce Governing Councils assessment that higher interest rates will be warranted to achieve the inflation target. We will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data. In particular, the Bank continues to gauge the economys reaction to higher interest rates. The Bank is also monitoring closely the course of NAFTA negotiations and other trade policy developments, and their impact on the inflation outlook. Information note The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is October 24, 2018. The next full update of the Banks outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR at the same time. https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2018/09/fad-press-release-2018-09-05/
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3 smart back-to-school wellness tips

8/28/2018

(NC) It can be hard for kids and parents to get used to a new sleep schedule and daily routine this time of year. Check out these tips to keep your body healthy and your energy levels at their peak. Eat your breakfast. Its always a good idea to start your day off right with a healthy, nutritious meal. When you skip breakfast, youre missing out on a lot of great benefits, including maintaining a healthy weight, better appetite control, increased energy and greater concentration. Breakfast also gives you a chance to get in important vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and fibre from healthy foods like grains and fruits. So, how to make a quick and healthy breakfast when youre on the go? Try these quick and easy ideas: Make oatmeal with milk or a dairy alternative. Top with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. Layer plain dairy or plant-based yogurt with your favourite low-sugar cereal and blueberries. Add lean ham and low-fat cheese to a toasted whole grain English muffin. Top a slice of toast with avocado, nut butter and banana or yogurt and peach slices. Blend a breakfast smoothie with dairy or plant-based milk and frozen fruit. Try adding greens, nuts, seeds and protein powder for a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and fibre. Make your breakfast the night before. Try overnight oats and chia-seed pudding. Keep hard-boiled eggs, whole fruit and trail mix on hand to grab and go. Try a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your overall health, especially your digestive system. While we usually think of bacteria as being bad for you, the human body is full of them both good and bad. Probiotics are known as good bacteria because they help keep your gut flora healthy. Regular consumption of probiotics has been shown to help treat and prevent gastrointestinal issues, including acute or antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Think zinc. Zinc supplements especially the type called zinc picolinate can help maintain your immunity during cold and flu season, especially if you take it as soon as you first start showing any symptoms. Head to your local Canadian Health Food Association member health food store to stock up on back-to-school wellness items. Find your nearest location at chfa.ca.
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Canadian home sales activity strengthens in July

8/15/2018

Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up from June to July 2018. Highlights: National home sales rose 1.9% from June to July. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% from July 2017. The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.2% from June to July. The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) in July was up 2.1% year-over-year (y-o-y). The national average sale price edged up 1% y-o-y. National home sales via Canadian MLS Systems rose 1.9% in July 2018, building on increases in each of the two previous months but still running below levels recorded from mid-2013 to the end of last year. Led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), more than half of all local housing markets reported an increase sales activity from June to July. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% y-o-y. The result reflects fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia and an offsetting improvement in activity in the GTA. This years new stress-test on mortgage applicants continues to weigh on home sales but its effect may be starting to fade slightly in Toronto and nearby markets, said CREA President Barb Sukkau. The degree to which the stress-test continues to sideline home buyers varies depending on location, housing type and price range. All real estate is local, and REALTORSremain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, said Sukkau. Improving national home sales activity in recent months obscures significant differences in regional trends for home sales and prices, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. Regardless, rising interest rates and this years stress test on mortgage applicants will likely prove to be difficult hurdles to overcome for many would-be first time and move-up homebuyers, heading into the second half of the year and beyond.
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Hacks to slash your car expenses

7/26/2018

(NC) When you consider the rising costs of gas and insurance, owning a vehicle can get pricey. Fortunately, these easy tips can help lower how much you spend on your car so theres more room in your budget for other expenses, like groceries and recreation. Increase your fuel economy. Did you know that a small spark plug problem can lead to a big expense? A dirty spark plug can cause a misfire, which wastes fuel and can ultimately harm your engine. To combat this, look for a spark plug thats designed for improved fuel economy, like the those from Fram. Try the Autolite Iridium XP Enhanced Alloy Technology line, which is precisely engineered with a focused ignition point for maximum power, efficiency and life. Get regular tune-ups. When a vehicle is properly tuned, all systems work in harmony, including the fuel, ignition, emission and computer systems. While it can be a hassle getting to regular appointments at your mechanic or dealer, remember that you are investing in the long-term performance of your car, saving you time and money. Regular engine tune-ups bring power and efficiency back to your car, ensuring that its reliable, safe and road-ready. Change your filters. There are many ways to keep your engine in good shape, helping it to last longer. One is checking the air filter every time you have the oil changed, because engine life and durability are directly related to keeping incoming air clean. Its an air filters job to remove contaminants from the air before it goes into the engine, and neglecting this component results in reduced performance. Fram extra guard filters provide premium engine protection and are proven to let in two times less dirt than the average leading standard retail brands. www.newscanada.com
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