Daily Market Update

Spring has come early for hot housing markets, says BMO
A report from the BMO economist Sal Guatieri suggests that the spring homebuying season is already booming in Toronto and Vancouver. Data from the Toronto Real Estate Board showed sales were up 11 per cent in the year to February while prices increased eight per cent. In Vancouver sales were up 21 per cent year-over-year and prices rose 6.4 per cent. Guatieri said that the early start for those two markets would be the exception rather than the rule, with Alberta and Newfoundland expecting to be softer markets, Saskatchewan seeing falling prices, and Quebec and Atlantic Canada remaining stable.
RBC boss defends Canadian housing market
RBC “feels good” about Canada’s housing market. That’s the message that its chief executive David McKay delivered to an audience in New York yesterday. He told them that consumer demand is roughly in line with supply and, with the bank’s economists expecting economic growth to be 2.4 per cent this year, the low dollar helping companies export and energy costs helping with household budgets, there’s a healthy backdrop to the market. McKay also highlighted that high single-family house prices are being inflated by low supply of land and that condo developments are not financed unless 70 to 80 per cent of units are pre-sold, reducing risk. Read the full story.
Consumer confidence index nudged higher last week
After six consecutive weeks of falling figures, consumer confidence turned slightly last week, at least at first glance. The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose to 54.22 from 53.63 the week before. The weekly survey of sentiment has averaged 55.12 so far this year and since 2008 it has averaged 57.12. “The movement in this week’s tracking was largely driven by a one-week gain in the province of Ontario,” said Nanos Research Group chairman Nik Nanos. The sub-index on job security rose, but confidence in the overall economy and personal finances was lower. In the real estate sub-index, which asks respondents if they believe home prices will be higher in six months, there was a marginal decline in confidence, though it does remain above the 2015 average.
Real estate exec warns Montreal of risk to economy
Montreal’s planned reconstruction of Ste-Catherine Street must be done swiftly and with minimal disruption or its future as a major commercial artery in the city will be at risk. That’s the warning from real estate executive Stephen Leopold from brokerage Immodev. The Montreal Gazette reported that Leopold addressed a luncheon at the Board of Trade on Tuesday and reminded them that the area is the “heart, soul and spine” of Montreal. He called for city planners to not only replace ageing infrastructure, but to create a modern innovative space with heated walkways and charging points for electric cars. He called the street the “largest and most diverse shopping centre in North America” and said that there is no street in the world that’s more important to a city. Structural work on the street is due to begin next year with longer term plans being discussed. Read the full story.

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