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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Canada's factories on overdrive
From the Financial Post: More good signs for Canada.
OTTAWA — The Canadian economy has more momentum than most people and the Bank of Canada expected, analysts say, as real GDP grew 0.5% month-over-month in January, led by manufacturing.
The January data, released by Statistics Canada Thursday, matched a strong December performance and sets the economy up for first-quarter annualized growth of 4%-plus, economists say.
“The Canadian economy started the year on the hop,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, adding 4.5% annualized first-quarter growth was possible so long as there are modest gains in February and March.
This report will draw more attention to the Bank of Canada, and whether it begins to shift its tone and signal possible rate hikes by mid-year. In its last forecast, it projected 2.5% first-quarter growth. The central bank issues its next rate decision April 12 and an updated economic outlook a day later.
The 0.5% advance matched market expectations, so bond yields and the Canadian dollar were little changed in Thursday trading.
The big driver in January GDP was manufacturing, which advanced 2.8%, following a 0.8% gain in December. Statistics Canada said manufacturing growth was broadly based in both durable and non-durable goods, although metal products, motor vehicles and auto parts recorded the largest increases.
The data agency noted the recovery in vehicle and auto parts production could be attributed to some temporary factors, such as plant shutdowns for retooling in November 2010 and unfavourable weather that hampered production in December.
The services sector was limited in January to a 0.3% gain, due to a slight drop, 0.1%, in retail trade. Offsetting that, however, was a robust 1.2% rise in the transportation and warehousing component.
One surprise was a 0.5% drop in mining and oil and gas, but analysts don’t expect this trend to persist.
Overall, the goods-producing sector has posted solid gains as the U.S. economy strengthens. Nevertheless, there is some caution for data in the coming months as it will take into account political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, and the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
“Signs of softness may be more visible in the second quarter as global turmoil and supply disruptions from the Japanese disaster in March impacts some sectors,” said Pascal Gauthier, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. “Nonetheless, we expect quarterly annualized growth to stay above 2.5% for the remainder of the year.”
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
4 Great Reasons To Invest in Real Estate
We are passionate about Real Estate in Calgary and all the advantages it has to offer. Here are FOUR reasons why investing in Calgary Real Estate is such a powerful tool.
REMEMBER that Real Estate is a business. When you buy stocks, you buy them because you think the company will make money. You don’t ever buy them because you think the CEO is a nice guy or because the company is a close drive by. Real Estate operates the same way. You must look at your investment as a true business decision in order to be successful.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
7 Unique Ways to Make Someone Smile
7 Unique Ways to Make Someone Smile
1. Write an encouraging note to others that have encouraged you or that need encouragement. Handwritten notes that are given to encourage, not just for thanking someone for a gift, are rare. That makes handwritten notes even more special. Start a new practice of sitting down and writing an encouraging note on a regular basis.
2. Take a friend out to lunch or invite her to your home for a meal. You will get to know each other even better than you do right now. If you feel like being more adventurous, throw a party for several of your friends and put smiles on a multitude of faces.
3. Give someone an inspirational book to read. You will feel good doing it, reading the book will change the person, and they will think of you every time they read it.
4. Ask a friend or relative if you can take care of their kid(s) for a day or evening. If you have been a parent, you know the value of being able to have a few hours of "adult time" without worrying about the children. Don't wait to be asked to baby-sit when it is required. Offer to do it at a time when the parent can do something fun and relaxing.
5. Deliver a meal to someone you know that is sick or having a rough time. We have all been sick and know the last thing you want to do is be out of bed. There are also times when life is tough and it is hard to do all of the daily chores. You can be a tremendous help by providing a meal that can be enjoyed.
6. Volunteer time to supporting your local church or charity. Every minute you dedicate to a church or charity will cause many smiles. You will put a smile on the face of each leader just for helping without being asked. You will also be putting smiles on the faces of those that are being helped through the organization.
7. Thank everyone that supports you throughout the day. The list of those that you come in contact with is endless. Remember family and friends, secretaries, co-workers, teachers, Sunday school teachers, pastors, store employees, janitors, gas station attendants, those that deliver your mail and newspaper, and servers at restaurants.
Small simple things that we sometimes get too busy for. How many will you do today?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Calgary bucks national resale trend
Categories:Calgary Real Estate Market
Despite impending mortgage rule changes, February saw existing home markets cool across the country. Sales were down from January in 19 of 28 areas surveyed by the Conference Board of Canada in its monthly Metro Resale Index. That left volumes below year-earlier levels in 23 areas.
However, Calgary saw its annual seasonally-adjusted rate of sales jump by 6.1 per cent in February from the previous month folloiwng a 2.2 per cent monthly hike in January.
But it's still slightly down from a year ago.
At the national level, the board said softer markets tempered price growth. Monthly advances decelerated in 16 markets. On a year-over-year basis, however, 24 of 28 areas posted price increases in February.
Calgary' saw average prices hit $406,216 in February, up from $394, 850 a year ago.
From Mario Toneguzzi
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The clearer you are about what you want, and what you are willing to do to get it, the more likely it is that you will be lucky and get what you want. Clarity of desired goals is a magnet that draws good luck to you.
- Brian Tracy
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Canadians Maintain Confidence in Housing Market
From our friends over at househunting.ca
OTTAWA — Canadians remain confident about the housing scene despite the prospect of a slowing market, according to survey results released Wednesday.
An annual home-ownership survey from Royal Bank of Canada showed 90 per cent of Canadians are confident in the country's real estate market. Among homeowners, 85 per cent feel they are doing a good or excellent job of paying off their mortgage.
This comes shortly after the Canadian Real Estate Association forecast a 1.6 per cent decline in listed home resales this year, and a slight 1.3 per cent rise in the average price. That compares to average price gains of about seven per cent since 2000.
Almost three-quarters of respondents in the RBC poll said they are well positioned to withstand a decline in the housing market.
"Canadians believe in the long-term benefits of owning a home, including the value it can provide, both personally and as a long-term investment," said Marcia Moffat, RBC's head of home-equity financing.
Twenty-nine per cent of survey respondents said they intended to buy a home within the next two years. That was down two percentage points from the same survey a year earlier, but still the second highest level of intent since 2006.
Among those who own a home, 69 per cent said their home has risen in value over the last two years. That's up five points from responses this last year.
Asked what was their biggest concern about buying a home, 26 per cent cited rising prices and 22 per cent picked increasing mortgage rates.
The survey results were based on Internet surveys of 2,103 people conducted by Ipsos Reid between Jan. 12 and 17. The results are considered representative of the population within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
MyHomeAgent: Very Happy Customers
MyHomeAgent: More Happy Customers
We had the privilege of helping out Steve and Davie purchase their new home.
"My husband and I were referred to Denis and we were very thankful we were. He went above and beyond to help us complete this deal as quickly as possible as we were on a short time constraint. We will recommend Denis to all of our friends and family who are in need of an agent! "
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Alberta a 'job-creation machine'
Categories:Alberta Economy,Buy a House In Calgary,Calgary Economy,Calgary Market Trends,Calgary Real Estate,Unemployment
Good things ahead for Alberta - JOBS are coming back strong.
Unemployment rate hits national 2-year low of 5.7%
Alberta is back as a "job-creating machine." It was the only province to register a notable employment gain in February. Statistics Canada reported Friday that 13,700 new jobs were created in Alberta last month as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent from 5.9 per cent in January -its lowest level since February 2009.
It was the second consecutive month that employment increased in Alberta. In January, 21,600 new jobs were created, the largest employment gain since 2006 in the province.
However, in the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose to 6.3 per cent in February from 6.0 per cent in January as 4,400 new jobs were created in the month. From February 2010 to February 2011, employment in the Calgary CMA has increased by only 1,400 jobs.
Alberta's unemployment rate was second lowest in the country, tied with Saskatchewan and behind Manitoba's 5.3 per cent. A year ago, Alberta's unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent while the Calgary region's was 7.1 per cent.
Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary, said the Alberta numbers are encouraging with two strong months of job growth in the province. "We've recaptured about 78 per cent of the jobs that we lost during the recession," he said. "The rate of increase that we're seeing in Alberta in the last 12 months or so has outpaced Canada. It definitely indicates Alberta is back as a jobcreating machine.
"With a few more months of even reasonably strong growth, we will definitely be back to record levels of employment in the province and that's what we've been expecting to see in 2011."
Hirsch said provincially, disproportionately more jobs are going to be created in central and northern Alberta.
"That's really just the dynamics with what's going on with the energy sector. It's all about oil and oilsands these days. Southern Alberta, with the exception of some of the administrative and some of the head office jobs, we're much more exposed to natural gas and that's been lagging."
He said most of Alberta's gains in February were concentrated in the manufacturing sector (12,700), a clear sign that oil refineries, manufacturers of equipment for oilsands extraction and food processors are continuing to add more workers.
Elsbeth Mehrer, director of research, workforce and strategy at Calgary Economic Development, said the jobless rate in Calgary rose in February because the labour force number is growing. According to Statistics Canada, the labour force in the Calgary region grew by 6,200 people on a monthly basis.
"As I read that, my feeling is that people are starting to feel some renewed confidence and they're starting to come back into the job market," she said.
"As we see some hiring pick up and we see people start to recognize that there's not only some renewed vigour, but even in some industries a shortage appearing again, people are starting to put themselves back into circulation."
Nationally, employment edged up in February by 15,100, bringing total gains over the past three months to 115,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 per cent. The federal agency said that over the past 12 months, employment has risen by 1.9 per cent (321,700).
In Alberta, 68,300 jobs have been created since February 2010.
"Compared with February 2010, when Alberta was near its employment-low following the labour market downturn, employment has grown by 3.4 per cent, well above the national rate of 1.9 per cent," the federal agency said.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Friday, March 4, 2011
MORE CANADIAN FORECLOSURES COMING! NOT LIKELY
We attended a great and informative session yesterday with an expert in the Residential Housing Industry across North America.
See the highlights in the HERALD below:
CALGARY - Sellers of residential property in Calgary need to adjust their expectations when they list their homes for sale and potential buyers, waiting for a U.S.-style housing crash, won't see it happen, says a leading North American real estate expert.
U.S.-based Steve Harney, who was in Calgary Thursday to speak with CIR realtors, said there is a big disparity in the local market between the average list price and the average sale price.
"What those two things mean is what the average buyer is willing to pay for a house in this market is a different number than what the average seller right now is willing to sell it for," said Harney. "And your sales won't go until the seller starts to realize, because the buyer usually can buy at whatever they can afford to buy, in order to sell their house ... they might have to get somewhat more realistic on their price. Anything in the world is only worth what someone's willing to pay for it."
According to the latest Calgary MLS stats, the average sale price to listing price ratio was 97 per cent in February for single-family homes and 96 per cent for condominiums.
Harney, who spoke at more than 100 real estate events in 2010, said one of the things owners of residential property and the local real estate industry should be concerned about is a belief some people have that what happened south of the border could happen here.
"And it can't," said Harney bluntly. "What happened in the United States, you don't have the same challenge here. What happened in the United States is the amount of people who fell behind paying their mortgage went from a historic number of about a half a per cent to six tenths of a per cent all the way up to over five per cent. The number of people going into a foreclosure situation increased by 10 times.
"(Alberta's) delinquency rate - the number of people that are falling behind in their mortgage - is the same now that it was in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. There's been no appreciable bump at all. So buyers (in the local market) that are waiting for prices to crash like they did in the States, they're waiting for something that's not going to happen."
Meanwhile, a report by a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said house prices have sagged in Alberta after doubling in the five years to 2007 and the province is poised to see prices climb this year, according to a report by a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
In his Canadian Housing Outlook 2011, Sal Guatieri said the price growth in the province could result in response to "solid economic growth, high oil prices and in-migration."
At the national level, Guatieri said average resale prices and personal incomes both rose 5.7 per cent per year in the past three decades.
But prices more than doubled (113 per cent) in the decade to late 2007 and grew twice as fast as incomes from 2002 to 2007 - 10.2 per cent versus 5.0 per cent.
"Even after sliding 13 per cent through the recession, prices quickly rebounded and are now 10 per cent above their 2007 peak," he said of the national average.
"The ratio of average resale prices to personal incomes is currently 14 per cent above its long-run mean, suggesting the national market is moderately overvalued. That's up modestly from the summer but still well below the 21 per cent all-time high in 1989 or the 26 per cent U.S. peak in 2005."
Guatieri said home sales are expected to cool and prices stabilize this year in response to higher interest rates, tighter mortgage rules and lower affordability.
"While we do not expect a significant correction nationwide, the risk of such would increase - especially in some regions - if prices were to continue to outrun incomes or if interest rate were to increase rapidly," he said.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
What’s Happening in Calgary...MARCH 2011
What’s Happening in Calgary...
Calgary, March 1, 2011 - For the second month in a row, single family home sales in
the city of Calgary increased over previous month figures and levels recorded in February
2010. The rise in sales continues to point to a gradual recovery in Calgary’s housing market;
according to figures released today by CREB ® (Calgary Real Estate Board).
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
TD BANK March Economic Summary
March 1, 2011
Release: BoC leaves overnight rate at 1.00% and preserves cautious tone
• As expected, the Bank of Canada (BoC) left its target for the overnight interest rate unchanged at 1.00% for a fourth consecutive meeting since September 2010.
• Today’s statement was more dovish than markets expected, but broadly in line with our views. The BoC mentions that “the global economic recovery is proceeding broadly [as expected], although risks remain elevated”. Recent geopolitical events were given a mention in their likely temporary support of higher commodity prices.
• In Canada, the BoC acknowledged that “the [recovery] is proceeding slightly faster than expected”. By the same token, despite recent strong export growth, “the export sector continues to face considerable challenges from the cumulative effects of the persistent strength in the Canadian dollar and Canada’s poor relative productivity performance”. Inflation is said to be “consistent with the Bank’s expectations” and “reflecting considerable slack in the economy”.
• The boilerplate statement that the current level of the overnight rate “leaves considerable monetary stimulus in place, consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target in an environment of significant excess supply in Canada” was maintained, as was the open-ended statement that “any further reduction in monetary policy stimulus would need to be carefully considered”.
• In light of today’s BoC statement, we still identify 19 July 2011 as the likeliest date at which it will next raise its policy rate. Those looking for a change to a more hawkish tone, particularly in the forward-looking guidance part of the statement were disappointed.
• Yesterday’s release of GDP figures to close out 2010 show the economic recovery is proceeding more rapidly than anticipated by the BoC in its January forecast. By itself, this would argue in favour of raising the overnight rate sooner (April or May) rather than July or later.
• Moreover, real (inflation-adjusted) short-term interest rates near zero remain extremely accommodative. Nominal short-term rates would need to rise to at least 2% to get within reach of a more “neutral” level, which even conservative estimates place in a 3-4% range. On the face of it, with the output gap now on track to close as early as year-end 2011, the BoC would appear to be behind the curve. However, a number of other factors suggest that, in fact, the BoC is not behind the proverbial curve.
• First and foremost, inflationary pressures are subdued. Weak stateside demand and prices, a strong Canadian dollar, an unemployment rate still well above its pre-recession level, and well anchored inflation expectations are all lending a hand in keeping core inflation grounded. Core inflation was well below the 2% target at 1.4% in January. It will likely be even weaker in February and slightly below the BoC’s forecast of 1.4% for Q1 as a whole.
• The BoC may also have low-balled potential growth, which would explain why stronger economic and job growth has not pushed inflation higher. Don’t be surprised if revisions eventually show a larger output gap in 2010-2011, back on track to close by the end of 2012, as forecast by the BoC in January.
• Some downside global economic risks may have receded from the headlines in recent months, such as those associated with European sovereign debt or U.S. housing. Yet they linger in the background and can resurface at any time. Moreover, another source of risk – this time geopolitical – has come to the fore. Political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East has caused crude oil prices to surge. So far, this is based on fear more than actual disruptions in oil supply, and may not last unless the turmoil continues to spread. For many countries, a sustained bout of higher crude oil prices creates strong inflationary pressures. Not as much for Canada, however. The currency and terms of trade help contain this type of price pressure. Oil prices would need to head materially higher for a sustained period of time to threaten the global economic recovery. What’s more, when such oil price spikes are not driven by demand, they rarely translate into lasting price pressures because they tend to choke off growth in oil-importing nations through demand destruction.
• In the wake of today’s statement, markets will pare back bets that a rate hike is in the pipeline in April or May, thereby modestly selling off the short end of the yield curve and leading the CAD down a bit after it sat above USD 1.03 prior to the decision. All said, with the added consideration that the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to bring QE2 to term by June, a bit longer pause for the BoC until a next hike in July still appears the fairest bet.
Pascal Gauthier, Senior Economist
DISCLAIMER – This report is provided by TD Economics for customers of TD Bank Financial Group. It is for information purposes only and may not be appropriate for other purposes. The report does not provide material information about the business and affairs of TD Bank Financial Group and the members of TD Economics are not spokespersons for TD Bank Financial Group with respect to its business and affairs. The information contained in this report has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete. The report contains economic analysis and views, including about future economic and financial markets performance. These are based on certain assumptions and other factors, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. The actual outcome may be materially different. The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its affiliates and related entities that comprise TD Bank Financial Group are not liable for any errors or omissions in the information, analysis or views contained in this report, or for any loss or damage suffered.
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