Vancouver condo buyers hit by steel dispute
Condominium buyers in Metro Vancouver
are paying extra for their new homes due to a trade dispute over steel rods from Asia. The disagreement could be costing buyers at least $5,000 due to interim duty that has been placed on some steel products; producers in Ontario and Quebec want additional duty to become permanent. If a trade tribunal rules to impose additional duty when it meets next week then construction costs could rise further, especially in provinces where imports are generally used. Industry sources in British Columbia say that it could add as much as $10,000 to the cost of a two-bedroom condo. Read the full story.
Consumer confidence falls with the oil price
Canadians are feeling the pressure of the lower oil prices despite the lower cost of gas. The latest Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index shows that the potential damage to the economy from losses in the energy sector is adding to concerns about job security, personal wealth and house prices. Three weeks ago the level of those polled who believed their job was safe was 72.2 per cent; two weeks ago it was 69.6 per cent; last week it was 67.7 per cent. In the real estate sub-index those who believe that house prices will fall in the next six months rose to 13.4 per cent, the highest since March. Those who expect rising prices was at 38.9 per cent; in October it had been 44.4 per cent. Overall there was a more pessimistic outlook for the economy in last week’s poll.
U.S. mortgage lenders offering deals with 3 per cent down
New lending guidelines from U.S. federal mortgage corporations Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mean that some homebuyers south of the border will only need a three per cent down payment. The U.S. housing market has been slow to recover from the financial crisis when many lost savings and investments making property down payments impossible. The three per cent level will allow more low-income and first-time buyers to get on the property ladder which it’s hoped will boost the whole market. The federal agency which oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae says that the new guidelines promote responsible lending. There has not been any indication of how many borrowers will be able to access the low down payment rate.
Canadian Realtors take to the skies
Canadian Realtors are using unmanned aircraft, or ‘drones’, to help them sell properties. The growing technology that is gaining fans in many sectors is proving useful for remote viewings of properties. In the past a wealthy purchaser may be given an aerial view of a potential new home using a helicopter but drones offer a similar experience for a tiny fraction of the cost. While many are getting excited about the possibilities of using drones for real estate viewings there are some issues to consider including privacy and regulatory compliance. Read the full story.
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