Vancouver and Hamilton lead the growth in new house prices
The latest New Housing Price Index shows that Vancouver
outpaced the rest of Canada in October. The report from Statistics Canada reveals that nationally prices increased by a modest 0.1 per cent, the same as September. Vancouver
saw a 0.4 per cent rise; the largest rise in the metropolitan area for more than 4 years; although this is largely down to higher construction costs. Hamilton
prices were also up by 0.4 per cent on market conditions and city development charges. The city has seen 9 consecutive months of increases. Calgary’s new homes cost an extra 0.3 per cent with higher labour costs one of the factors. Prices were unchanged in around half of the areas surveyed and new housing was cheaper in St. Catharines-Niagara, Ottawa-Gatineau
partly due to builders offering deals.
Calgary condo law will benefit consumers and industry says CREB
The Condominium Property Amendment Act tabled by the provincial government in Alberta will benefit both consumers and the industry. That’s the view of the Calgary Real Estate Board which highlights greater consumer protection and clear, accurate information among the improvements. Bill Kirk, CREB president says: “Information is power, and these changes will empower consumers and realtors to make more informed purchasing decisions. In particular it will create clarity around reserve funds and special assessments and reduce those surprises for consumers on things like special levies.” The amendments include the creation of a condominium tribunal, that reduces the time and costs associated with dispute resolution between condo owners and corporations. As well, there will be increased regulation of the industry with the introduction of licensing requirements for condominium managers by the Real Estate Council of Alberta.
Vancouverites asked to pay more to fund transit
residents are to be asked whether they will pay a 0.5 per cent sales tax to pay for improved transit in the city. The Metro Vancouver
mayors’ council will launch a major information campaign in a bid to persuade voters that increasing sales tax to 7.5 per cent would bring benefits including more buses, a new light railway and a subway. Regional mayors have voted 18-3 in favour of the new tax which is considered a fairer and lower-cost option compared to a vehicle levy or carbon tax and would cost the average homeowner $125 a year.
In debt but not worried
Canadians may be in debt but many are not concerned. Following reports by the Bank of Canada
and ratings agency Fitch concerning the high levels of debt carried by many households, a poll from CIBC found that only 16 per cent of Canadians are worried that they have too much debt. Better than that, 71 per cent say they will be debt free in 5 years and 85 per cent say they are taking steps to reduce their debt. CIBC’s Christina Kramers commented: “Annual research on financial priorities for Canadians shows that debt repayment has been their number one priority for four years running, and we are now seeing some results from those good intentions."
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