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Canada's Residential Investment As A Percent of GDP Is Dropping, But Still Elevated – Better Dwelling

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Canadians are still real estate fanatics, but the peak was so high, today’s levels seem normal. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows investment in residential structures increased in Q3. When compared as a percentage of GDP however, residential investment is down from the peak. Although it’s still way above usual.

Residential Investment

Residential investment (a.k.a. residential structures in Canada) is real estate’s direct contribution to GDP. It includes construction, renovation, and ownership transfers – but not a comprehensive measure. For example, the renovation part only covers large renovations such as roofs and kitchens. It excludes routine maintenance and superficial upgrades like painting. The segment measures a good portion of real estate, but not quite all. For example, insurance and finance are largely dependent on real estate, but not included here.

Canadian Residential Investment Reached Over $46 Billion In Q3

In current dollar terms, the amount dedicated towards residential investment is growing. Residential investment reached $46.04 billion in the quarter of Q3 2019, up 4.29% from the previous quarter. This works out to an increase of 3.45%, when compared to the same quarter last year. The increase is higher than last year, but the gains are small in contrast to recent years.

Canadian Residential Investment

The amount spent on residential stuctures in Canada.

Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

The year-over-year (YOY) growth is big for a quarter over the past 12 months, but still unusually low. This is the biggest YOY for any quarter since Q4 2017, with most of the recent numbers printing negatives. Even so, this is the second slowest YOY growth for Q3, in the past years. Other than last year, this is slow for the industry.

Residential Investment Is Over 7% of GDP Still

Residential investment as a percentage of GDP is falling, but still elevated. It represented 7.68% of GDP in the quarter of Q3 2019, down from 7.79% from a quarter before. Compared to Q3 last year, it’s a little higher – but some of this appears to be distribution. That is, some quarters in the past year have been slower than usual, and some faster. This becomes apparent when we look at growth over a longer period.

Residential Investment As A Percent of GDP

The amount of Canadian residential investment, expressed as a percent of GDP.

Source: Stat Can, Better Dwelling.

The rolling 12-month trend shows just how dependent Canada has become on real estate. Residential investment as a percentage of GDP is coming down on an annual basis. It most definitely peaked in 2017. We’re still very much above historic norms though. In fact, cheap financing and financial innovations prior to the Great Recession couldn’t even compete with this percent of the economy devoted to real estate.

Canada’s dependence on real estate as a driver for the economy is lower, but higher than it should be. For context, residential investment in the US is below 4 percent today. The US hasn’t breached 7% in over 50 years – even right before the great recession. Canada on the other hand, has been over 7% for almost half a decade now.

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Brown Bolsters Student Financial Aid After 52% Investment Return – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Brown University will expand financial aid for students with fundraising gains and returns from its endowment, which led the Ivy League in investment performance, with a 52% increase. The school will increase scholarships for moderate-income students and develop a college-preparatory program for students in its hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, among other initiatives, according to a statement Monday. Brown didn’t detail how much will be spent on the programs. The endowment contributed $194 million to the university’s operating budget in fiscal 2021, Brown said in a statement Monday. “The university has an enduring commitment to ensuring that talented young people can afford to come to Brown, regardless of their socioeconomic background,” Brown University President Christina Paxson said in the statement. “We are fortunate that strong financials provide us with a rare opportunity to make new investments in cultivating the next generation of leaders.”

Because Brown’s endowment contribution to the university’s operating budget is based on average market value over the previous three years, the investment returns contributed in fiscal 2021 are expected to steadily increase in each of the coming years, the school said Monday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Mastercard expands cryptocurrency services with wallets, loyalty rewards

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Mastercard Inc said on Monday it would allow partners on its network to enable their consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency using a digital wallet, as well as reward them with digital currencies under loyalty programs.

The credit card giant said it would offer these services in partnership with Bakkt Holdings Inc, the digital assets platform founded by NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange.

Founded in 2018, Bakkt went public earlier this year through a $2.1 billion merger with a blank-check company. Shares of the company were up 77% at $16.19 on Monday.

Mastercard said its partners can also allow customers earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of loyalty points.

The company had said in February https://www.reuters.com/article/us-crypto-currency-mastercard-idUSKBN2AA2WF it would begin offering support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year.

Last year, rival Visa Inc had partnered https://www.reuters.com/article/us-blockfi-crypto-currency-visa-idUSKBN28B603 with cryptocurrency startup BlockFi to offer a credit card that lets users earn bitcoin on purchases.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, touched a record high of $67,016 last week after the debut of the first U.S. bitcoin futures-based exchange traded fund. It has more than doubled in value this year.

 

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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EU makes first investment in hyperloop – GCR

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The hyperloop will theoretically be able to travel at the speed of a jet airliner (Dreamstime)
Dutch engineering spin-off Hardt Hyperloop has been awarded €15m by the European Commission, the first time that the EU has directly funded the development of the ultra-fast transport concept.

The grant was disbursed by the European Innovation Council Accelerator to help the Dutch engineer and its partners continue research and development.

Tim Houter, co-founder of Hardt, said in a press statement that the decision was a vote of confidence in his company and the technology.

“It’s great to have now gained the trust of the European Commission. Their support will help to accelerate the development of a European hyperloop network, bringing us much closer to significant carbon dioxide savings. European cities will be connected smarter, faster and cheaper.”

The funding will also progress the European Hyperloop Centre in Groningen, set to demonstrate lane-switching for a high-speed hyperloop system in 2023.

A pilot project to move freight between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is being investigated by companies, governments and network organisations. Houter said he hoped the route could be developed in the Netherlands within this decade.

The EU is particularly interested in hyperloop because of its fit with the European Green Deal, and the commission’s strategy for sustainable and smart mobility. According to Houter, a European-wide network could save 160 million tonnes of carbon on an annual basis, which would be “more than the entire emissions of the Netherlands”.

Hyperloop pods move autonomously through low-pressure tubes, propelled by fluctuating magnetic fields supplied by the “track” they float over.

Hardt Hyperloop was founded in 2016 by engineers at Delft Technical University. It was involved in building Europe’s first high-speed test facility, and has developed a lane-switching technology that is reckoned to be essential to the development of networks.

Its partners include Schiphol Airport, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Deutsche Bahn, Koolen Industries, InnoEnergy, Freigeist, Bam, Tata Steel and IHC.

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