Daily Market Update

Canada’s household debt outpaces most developed countries
There is new concern over the level of household debt in Canada. A new report from The McKinsey Global Institute says that all of the major economies it researched have higher ratios of debt to GDP than they did in 2007, before the financial crisis. However, whereas the ratio has improved in countries such as the U.S. and UK, it has worsened in others, including Canada, and to levels in excess of those at the peak of the financial crisis. The institute recommends a number of mechanisms to avoid a property-related debt crisis, including flexible mortgage contracts, clearer personal-bankruptcy rules, and tighter lending standards and macroprudential rules. The report acknowledges that debt is necessary for economies to grow, but advises that there needs to be improvement in how it is handled.  
Economist predicts 15 per cent drop in Calgary house prices
Capital Economics’ David Madani is predicting a sharp drop in property prices in Calgary. He said that in regions directly affected by lower oil prices, lower mortgage rates won’t stop listings from rising and prices from falling. In a research note, Madani acknowledged that the lower rates may help some other markets, but in areas like Calgary it is likely to make things worse. “We fear that this will only fuel greater overvaluation, higher household debt and more overbuilding,” he added. He said that Toronto and Vancouver will see the benefits, as shown by recent sales figures in those markets, but for the oil-dependent provinces: “We remain deeply concerned over the longer-term prospects for the housing market.”
Realtor says Calgary’s high-end homeowners are selling
Owners of some of the most expensive properties in Calgary are keen to sell rather than risk a downward spiral of their homes’ values. Realtor Thomas Keeper of Tink International Real Estate told the Globe and Mail that the pre-Christmas period was “one of the busiest Decembers” he’s known and says that the situation was not one he’d seen before. While there has been a slowdown in sales and an increase in listings in Calgary across all property types, Realtors are not generally reporting panic-selling. However, Keeper concludes that for the higher-value property market: “People were selling their homes right before the market was really starting to crash.” Read the full story.
Is wood the future for large buildings?
Buildings made from pre-fabricated wooden components could be the future for large constructions. That was the message to industry professionals at a conference to promote the use of wood products in the building sector. Lynn Embury-Williams of Wood Works BC told delegates that using pre-fabricated wooden components was an efficient way to build and has the added advantage of supporting the timber sector. The audience heard how wooden construction for larger buildings has been increasing in Europe and that the techniques being used can reduce both cost and construction time. Read the full story.


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