Top of the morning to all my friends and colleagues.
The holiday season is here! Calendars are being filled with work parties, social gatherings; homes are being turned upside down as Christmas decorations are being unpacked throughout.
This will be the second last communication for the year as the many people begin to focus on the serious business of holiday shopping and event planning.
GTA REALTORS® Report Mid-Month Housing Market Figures
Next week I will have the full monthly market report for you.
November 18, 2014 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,350 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of November 2014.
Toronto Real Estate Board President Paul Etherington announced that Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 3,350 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14
days of November 2014. Compared to the same period in 2013, this result represented an increase of 8.3 per cent. Over the same period, new listings were also up, but by a lesser 2.2 per cent. “Both first-time buyers and existing homeowners who decided to change their housing situation continued to make deals on ownership housing across the GTA in the first half of November. This points to the fact that home ownership remains affordable and that buyers remain confident in ownership housing as a quality long-term investment,” said Mr. Etherington.
The average selling price for sales during the first two weeks of November was $579,834, which was up by 7.6 per cent compared to the average of $538,755 reported for the same time frame in 2013. The detached market segment led the way in terms of year-over-year price growth, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions. “Sellers’ market conditions continued to be experienced for low-rise home types during the first 14 days of November. In many neighbourhoods across the GTA, there are a number of buyers competing for a
constrained supply of singles, semis and townhouses. This is why, more often than not, annual average rates of price growth for these home types have been in the high single digits or low double digits this year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.
BoC urged to hold interest rate The Bank of Canada will announce its latest interest rate decision on Monday and is being urged not to change it from the current low. The CD Howe Institute’s monetary policy council voted unanimously that the rate should be held at 1 per cent this month and next but there is some disagreement over the medium term. Two of the 11 members of the committee say that there should be a rise to 1.25 per cent in May next year.
The TORONTO REAL ESTATE BOARD
The TORONTO REAL ESTATE BOARD is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1920 by a small group of real estate practitioners. Today, as Canada’s largest real estate board, TREB serves more than 39,000 licensed real estate Brokers and Salespersons in and about the Greater Toronto Area. TREB is the collective voice for both its commercial and residential REALTOR® Members and operates under the direction of an elected voluntary Board of 16 Directors.
TREB’s President Outlook on 2015 Market and Home Ownership.
Calgary breaks price records again (Canadian Real Estate Investor)
A record number of homes priced over $1 million have been sold this month. Mike Fotiou of First Place Realty has told the Calgary Herald that there have been 51 luxury home sales in November. Last year a record 726 homes sold for more than $1 million, so far this year that has been smashed with 799 sales.
Auto Gas Prices on the way down? (Metro News)
The weather might not be perfect for a road trip this weekend, but gas prices will be. Although the cost of filling up the gas tank is expected to remain unchanged Friday and Saturday, prices will plunge to about 110.9 cents per litre by Sunday, according to Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst with gasbuddy.com.
The nosedive comes after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced Thursday in Vienna that it decided to maintain oil production target levels.
OPEC members voted to hold the production limit at 30 million barrels per day, as oil supply has flooded the global market.
Prices at the pumps have approached the dollar-per-litre level outside of the Toronto area since the summer, and McTeague said areas east of the city like Port Hope and Peterborough could soon see prices fall below that mark.
A three-cent drop would mean those residents would “definitely see prices fall below that psychological threshold of $1 a litre, something, of course, I never thought I’d see again in my lifetime,” McTeague said. According to McTeague, gas prices could reach their lowest point in four years.
Black Friday Hidden Costs for Canadians (CBC)
While American shoppers celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday — the biggest sales of the year in the U.S. — Canadians looking to save by shopping online could face some hidden costs.
Purchasing from stores outside Canada mean shoppers get hit by duties, taxes and other fees that quickly add up.
A few examples:
– A Quebec resident who spends $100 on baby clothes will pay $35.11 in duties and tax.
– A British Columbia resident who buys a tricycle worth $100 will pay another $32.16 in duties and tax.
– A Nova Scotia resident who buys $100 in bedroom furnishings will pay 35.70 in duties and tax.
On top of that, Canadians can pay courier and customs brokers fees that companies charge for delivery as well as processing and collecting those duties and taxes. And since the items being ordered are priced in U.S. dollars, the exchange rate conversion to Canadian funds will add roughly 15 per cent. It can all make for a surprisingly large final bill.
How much duty do you pay? That depend on the product and where it was made. Duty can cost anywhere from nothing to, in some cases, upwards of 100 per cent of the cost of the item.
The Senate finance committee recommended nearly two years ago that the government look at raising the minimum a Canadian can have shipped over the border before they have to pay duties. That’s known as the de minimis threshold: it kicks in at $20, which is one of the strictest thresholds in the world.
The Senate committee isn’t the only group that has suggested upping the threshold.
Online auction site eBay told the House finance committee this fall that Canada should raise the threshold to $200, which would be on par with the limit Americans face and the same limit that’s applied to Canadians who spend a day outside the country for their purchases (though Congress is considering raising the American limit to $800 US).
The de minimis threshold in Canada was $40 until 1992, when it was lowered following pressure from Canadian retailers and mail-order firms to level the playing field.
Karl Littler, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada, says consumers should bear in mind that they’d be paying anywhere from five to 15 per cent sales tax depending on which Canadian province in which they shop.
“If people are buying online and those goods are waived through scot-free, then that’s going to be really, really difficult for Canadian bricks and mortar retailers to compete with,” Littler said.
“Retail’s a tough business and retailers do what they can to offer the best price, but to compete with one hand tied behind your back is going to be very difficult.”
CBC News Network’s Power & Politics convened Conservative MP James Rajotte, chair of the House of Commons finance committee, NDP industry critic Peggy Nash and Liberal finance critic ScottBrison to debate raising the threshold.
Happy Black Friday and have a wonderful weekend!
Photo courtesy of Flickr.