Daily Market Update

Demand for Toronto condos stays strong
The demand for condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area stayed strong at the end of last year, according to the president of the local real estate board. Paul Etherington announced that there were 4,975 condominium apartment sales reported through the Toronto MLS system in the fourth quarter of 2014. This is up by 8.3 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. “While the supply of condominium apartments listed for sale grew in the fourth quarter, including a large number of newly completed units, the number of sales grew at a faster pace," said Etherington. "Competition between buyers increased in the condo market over the past year." He also noted that there was increased interest from first-time buyers in the GTA who understood that, although prices are high, home buying is a long-term investment. There is still undersupply in the market and that has pushed the average price for a condo apartment to $367,199 – up 3.8 per cent compared to the average of $353,799 reported for the same period in 2013.
 
Non-residential building investment increased in the fourth quarter
Investment in non-residential building construction reached $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter. The new figures from StatsCan reveal that the industrial sector increased by 1.1 per cent, while institutional was up 1.4 per cent and commercial was down by 0.4 per cent. Investment rose in 14 of 34 census metropolitan areas, with the largest increases in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg. In Edmonton and Toronto, investment increased in all three components, while the gain in Winnipeg was attributable to commercial and institutional spending. Conversely, the largest decreases occurred in Saskatoon and Ottawa. In Saskatoon, investment declined for a third consecutive quarter, as spending fell across all three components. In Ottawa, the decline was mostly attributable to lower investment in the commercial components.
 
Alberta sales tax would trigger compensation
Alberta premier Jim Prentice has not ruled out using sales tax as a way to plug the gap from falling oil revenues in the province. Speaking to reporters, federal finance minister Joe Oliver didn’t comment on the issue directly, saying it was a matter for the provincial government. However, he did say that there would be compensation for the province if the administration chose to hand over control of sales tax to Ottawa. This has already been the case in other provinces, although there is no guarantee that this would be handed down to taxpayers to offset the increase. Oliver said that his government are committed to lower taxes and will not be raising them despite falling oil revenues. 

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