Daily Market Update

Home prices gain but at lowest rate for 20 months
The growth in house prices slowed last month, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The annual rise to December was 3.8 per cent, lower than any other month since May 2013. Sales volume was a healthier 7.9 per cent, although down almost six per cent from November. There was a large downturn in sales of existing homes in Calgary, with a 24.6 per cent drop in December from the month before, and a 26.4 per cent decline in Edmonton. The figures show the biggest drop since 2008 and are being attributed to the weakened energy sector. Sales also slipped in the Greater Toronto Area by five per cent. CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump is upbeat about the data. “Given the uncertain outlook for oil prices, it’s no surprise consumer confidence in Alberta softened and moved some home buyers to the sidelines,” he said. “With regards to slower activity in Calgary and Edmonton, sales in these two markets had been running strong all year before they returned to levels that are entirely average for the month of December.” Average prices continued to rise but with disparity. Calgary saw the largest increase in year-over-year prices (+8.80 per cent), followed by Greater Toronto (+7.89 per cent) and Greater Vancouver (+5.82 per cent). By contrast, prices in Regina declined by 3.48 per cent. Read more
The future for Realtors, or a worrying development?
With the potential for a slower year ahead, what will be the impact on Realtors’ commissions? Real estate, along with most other industries, is becoming increasingly competitive and faces new challenges from disruptive technologies and business models. A new service has been launched from Oakville. Ont., which aims to be part of the real estate agent’s toolkit. Based online, FeeDuck.com gives home-sellers the chance to start a bidding war between Realtors. The vendor enters their details on the website for free and local agents who have signed up to the service can then put in their bid to handle the sale. The agent who has bid the lowest will be introduced to the seller 72 hours after the reverse auction starts. Although the seller is under no obligation to accept the bid, Paulo Vital, vice-president of sales for FeeDuck, says: “Our research has found that more than 80 per cent of these homeowners eventually end up listing with a real estate agent to actually make the sale. Homeowners are trying to save money but end up spending more in wasted time and resources.” So will this mean a boost to your business revenue or will you end up with more volume but lower income?
Landlords unlikely to lose out from Target closures
With news yesterday that Target Canada is closing its 133 stores, shopping centres will have extra space to fill, but many landlords are unlikely to lose out financially. Reports revealed that, with concern over the retailer’s long-term future in Canada, many commercial landlords had required leases to be secured by the company's U.S. parent. In many incidents, the rental payments have been guaranteed for the entire duration of the lease.

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