Daily Market Update

Big banks view condo developments as lower risk
Big banks are increasing the level of funding for condominium developments, viewing them as a lower risk than before. Scotiabank is one of the lenders that is willing to finance a larger proportion of developments now that the risk of “meltdown” has eased. The bank’s VP of real estate Chris Milne told a conference in Toronto: “There is a hole that the banks are looking to fill. The regulators were really pounding them a year and a half ago and now it’s quiet.” Scotiabank is now prepared to lend up to 75 per cent of a development costs, the Financial Post reports, despite CMHC no longer insuring such projects. Read the full story.
 
Alberta MLS sales decline in ‘most areas’
The decline in home sales in Alberta was across most of the province, not just in Calgary. The Calgary Herald reported that it has data from real estate boards across Alberta that show “steep year-over-year declines”. The weak start to the year hasn’t killed optimism of better times ahead though. Mike Dewing, president of the Realtors Association of Lloydminster and District, commented: “I expect the rest of the year to be stable, as activity is actually picking up, and we are never hit quite as hard as Edmonton and Calgary. Most of the region is cautious but optimistic.” However, Nick Ford of ATB Financial warned that the effects of lower oil prices may be still to come especially if there are more layoffs: “Ultimately, this could leave homebuyers and investors on edge which may cause a dreary real estate market.” Read the full story.
 
Edmonton housing starts increase
Housing starts in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area were trending at 16,727 units in January compared to 14,705 in December, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The standalone monthly SAAR was 24,420 units in January, compared to 14,490 in December. Actual housing starts totalled 1,832, up from 776 in January 2014. Most of the increase was due to a higher number of apartment starts, particularly rental apartments.
 
Hudson’s Bay Co. announces joint real estate ventures
Hudson’s Bay Co. has announced two real estate partnerships which it says will unlock the potential of its property portfolio. HBC has chosen Toronto-based RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and Simon Property Group in Indianapolis as its partners. The deals, which do not include the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, will move $3.8 billion of property into the new ventures, which will then seek to acquire additional prime retail property assets. That could mean the company buying single department store outlets or even malls in deals of up to “a couple of hundred million dollars” CEO Richard Baker said. 
 

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