Good morning to all and hope that you are all doing well;
Before bedtime on Saturday don’t forget to set your clocks 1 hour forward!
We lose an hour of sleep but gain an hour of daylight. My sons don’t let me sleep anyway so it’s a big win for me!
AGFL website update
We are about 1 week away from launching the new look www.agfineliving.com. I invite all to take a look now and then and provide feedback.
In The GTA Market
GTA REALTORS® Report Monthly Latest Resale Housing Market Figures (See full report attached for your specific neighbourhood stats)
TORONTO, March 5, 2014 – Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher announced that February 2014 home sales reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® were up by 2.1 per cent compared to the same period last year. Total February sales amounted to 5,731 compared to 5,613 last year.
“Despite the continuation of inclement weather in February, we did see a moderate uptick in sales activity last month. The sales increase was largely driven by resale condominium apartments. New listings of resale condominium apartments were up on a year-over-year basis, giving buyers ample choice. This is in contrast to the listings situation for singles, semis and townhomes, where supply continued to be constrained. Some would-be buyers had difficulty finding a home that met their needs,” said Ms. Usher.
“If we see renewed growth in listings for low-rise home types, the pace of sales growth will accelerate as we move through the year,” Ms. Usher continued.
The average selling price for February 2014 sales was up by 8.6 per cent to $553,193, compared to the average of $509,396 reported for February 2013. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 7.3 per cent year-over-year.
“While the strong price growth experienced over the last year should prompt an improvement in the supply of listings, sellers’ market conditions will continue to prevail this year. Home prices, on average, will trend upwards at a pace well-above the rate of inflation. The impact of strong price growth on affordability will be mitigated by low borrowing costs,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.
Summary of TorontoMLS Sales and Average Price February 1 – 28
GTA Commercial REALTORS® Report Latest Commercial Market Figures
TORONTO, March 5, 2014 – Toronto Real Estate Board Commercial Network Members reported 368,513 square feet of leased space through the TorontoMLS system in February 2014, for properties leased on a per square foot net basis where pricing was disclosed. This result was down by 17 per cent in comparison to February 2013. The industrial market segment, which accounted for more than three quarters of the square footage leased, was the driver of the year-over-year dip.
“There were fewer lease agreements signed for larger industrial spaces this past February in comparison to the same period last year. It is important to note, however, that leasing activity can be volatile on a month-to-month basis. With that being said, the overall average lease rate for industrial properties was up slightly in comparison to last year,” said Commercial Committee Chair Cynthia Lai.
The average industrial lease rate in February 2014 was $5.26 per square foot net – up by 1.2 per cent compared to $5.20 in February 2013. Average lease rates were also up for the commercial/retail and office segments of the market. While market forces accounted for some of the commercial/retail and office increases, a change in the mix of properties leased, in terms of size and geography, also impacted the annual rates of growth.
The number of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office property sales in February 2014 remained in line with the number of transactions reported during the same time period in 2013. There was a total of 48 sales reported this year, for which pricing was disclosed, compared to 51 sales in 2013.
The year-over-year change in average selling prices on a per square foot basis was mixed. The industrial selling price in February was up substantially in comparison to the same period last year, whereas the average prices for commercial/retail and office properties were down.
“The share and geographic location of industrial sales over fifty thousand square feet was different this past February compared to 2013. This accounted for the large year-over-year change in the average industrial selling price. Average industrial selling prices for smaller size categories were similar on a year-over-year basis,” continued Ms. Lai.
The Canadian Dollar and Interest Rates
TORONTO – The Canadian dollar was higher Wednesday as the Bank of Canada announced it was leaving its key rate unchanged at one per cent.
The loonie rose 0.34 of a cent to 90.43 cents US. The bank’s key rate has been unchanged since September 2010 amid a slow global recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession.
The currency moved slightly off the highs of the morning after Quebec premier Pauline Marois confirmed that Quebecers will vote in a general election, which will be held on April 7. Marois is aiming for a majority mandate as the perceived front-runner, thanks to her government’s controversial-yet-popular secularism charter.
The Bank of Canada also made no changes to its neutral bias stance, meaning it believes the next policy move could equally be either a hike in rates or a cut.
“In the near term, both growth and inflation are likely to decelerate because of one-off factors although we expect the data to return to a stronger path thereafter,” said RBC economist Dawn Desjardins.
“This is likely to keep the Bank sidelined until there is clear evidence that both the economy and inflation are accelerating.”
The bank noted that the global economy is evolving largely as anticipated, with growth expected to strengthen in 2014 and 2015. But it also said tensions in Ukraine have added to geopolitical uncertainty.
Markets had started the week off with losses after Russian troops invaded Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula over the weekend. Russia has key military installations there and many people are Russian speaking.
But markets calmed down Tuesday after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine’s border to return to their bases. He also said he hopes that Russia, which does not recognize the new Ukrainian leadership, won’t need to use force in eastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the European Union announced it is proposing to provide Ukraine an 11 billion euro aid package in loans and grants over the coming years.
There was also a disappointing read in U.S. private sector job creation during February. Payroll firm ADP reported the private sector created 139,000 jobs during the month, short of the 160,000 that was expected. The data came out two days before the release of the U.S. government’s jobs report for February. Economists expect that, overall, the economy created a total of 150,000 jobs during the month.
Canadian jobs data also comes out Friday with the expectation that the economy cranked out about 19,000 jobs during February.
On the commodity markets, April crude in New York declined $1.16 to US$102.17 a barrel.
May copper was down a cent at $3.21 a pound while April bullion gained $1.40 to US$1,339.30 an ounce.
Have wonderful weekend and a fantastic March Break week,