Real Estate Market Update

Property markets continue to face challenges both here and south of the border, with an unexpected fall in the value of Canadian building permits and the Federal Reserve describing the US housing market as ‘disappointing.’ Meanwhile, Alberta taxpayers get a $173,000 bill for a home that was never built…

Within one month, the U.S. housing market has gone from “turned a corner” to “disappointing,” according to Fed chair Janet Yellen. In a cautionary speech to Congress on Wednesday, she told lawmakers the housing market had not lived up to its expectations. Although this news may mean that the U.S. economy is recovering more slowly than hoped, it also means that any so called tapering of the Fed’s bond-buying programme is also unlikely to accelerate. Bond-buying by the U.S. Government has kept bond yields (and interest rates both sides of the border) low. Read the full story here.

On home soil, the move to micro-condos is also accelerating. Smart House Toronto, one of the first developments to spearhead this compact home in the city, recently scooped design awards for their units. An average condo in Toronto now costs around $384,000. And while many of us may think that something so small would be impossible to live in, new homeowners may soon have no other choice. Micro-condos will likely attract interest from younger buyers in particular with a price tag just shy of $230,000. Read the full story here.

Cyber attackers are now targeting homeowners, even those without computers. The Canadian Electricity Association is warning that utilities across North America are facing increased threat from cyber-attacks which could have devastating consequences for homeowners. At a recent conference, the Association’s VP Frances Bradley said these threats were now “part of doing business” and that the industry should do more to protect the infrastructure from online attacks from criminals, terrorists and rogue states. Read the full story here.

Saskatchewan residents enjoy more hours of sunshine (and more tornadoes) than any of our other provinces. They have also been enjoying steady house price rises according to a recent BMO report. The average homeowner in Saskatchewan estimates their property is worth $142,000 more than it was 20 years ago, according to their figures. Nationally, just under a third of homeowners believe they could sell their home for double what they bought it for. Read the full story here.

Alberta taxpayers, meanwhile, have been landed with a $173,000 bill for a penthouse suite that was never built. The fees were for design concepts and consulting work for a dwelling for former premier Alison Redford. The suite dubbed the ‘sky palace’ would have been on the 11th floor of the Federal Building but opposition meant the project was stopped. Read the full story here.

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