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Canadian home sales, prices hit new highs for January compared to last year – CBC.ca

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Canadians didn’t let COVID-19 or a lack of housing supply stop them from flocking to the real estate market in January as they snatched up a record number of homes and shelled out more than they had in previous years. 

Sales for the month were up 35.2 per cent compared with a year earlier — and sales for the first month of the year were up two per cent when compared to December, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday.

The actual national average price of a home sold also soared to a record $621,525 in January, up 22.8 per cent from the same month last year.

CREA said market conditions were pushed to record levels in January because people have held off putting their homes up for sale in the middle of the pandemic, leaving fewer options for people to fight over.

“The buyers and sellers that will in time define the Canadian housing story of 2021 are mostly all still waiting in the wings,” Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist, said in a statement.

Single family home prices rose 2.6 per cent month-over-month and a robust 17.4 per cent year-over-year, whereas apartment prices advanced by a smaller 0.2 per cent month-over-month and decreased 3.3 per cent year-over-year, TD Economics said in a statement after CREA released its report.

Buyers need boost in supply

However, Cathcart believes the market is unlikely to see a rush of listings until the public heath situation improves and the dreary winter weather subsides.

“The best case scenario would be if we see a lot of sellers who were gun-shy to engage in the market last year making a move this year,” he said.

(Canadian Real Estate Association)

“A big surge in supply is what so many markets really need this year to get people into the homes they want, and to keep prices from accelerating any more than they already are.”

With sales edging higher and new supply falling considerably in January, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 90.7 per cent — the highest level on record for the measure by a significant margin.

The previous monthly record was 81.5 per cent, set 19 years ago. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 54.3 per cent.

Vancouver, Toronto markets still hot

CREA found the Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of the country’s most active and expensive markets, were heating up very quickly in January.

The average seasonally adjusted price of a home in the GTA was $941,100 and in Vancouver, was just over $1 million.

When the association removed data from both those regions from the $621,525 national price average, it found the average price was slashed by $129,000.

But that doesn’t mean that conditions eased up outside the city centres, said Wins Lai, a Toronto real estate broker.

Cities outside Toronto also in demand

Prices in areas like Vaughan and Markham, Ont., have reached levels she is shocked by.

“Outside of the city in somewhere like Barrie, we are seeing 40 offers on something that’s $750,000, which is insane,” she said.

CREA said year-over-year price increases between 25 and 30 per cent were seen many regions in Ontario including Barrie, Niagara, Grey-Bruce Owen Sound, Huron Perth, Kawartha Lakes, London and St. Thomas, North Bay, Simcoe and Southern Georgian Bay.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Montreal’s average home prices reached $434,200, up 16.6 per cent compared to last January. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

However, the largest year-over-year gains — above 30 per cent — were recorded in the Lakelands region of Ontario cottage country, Northumberland Hills, Quinte, Tillsonburg District and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

Urban sprawl and the pandemic are responsible for part of this phenomenon, Lai said.

“People want to be outside of the city, they want to have their own homes and they don’t want to be in elevators,” she said.

Other cities still attractive

While the downtown core may be less attractive because many people are working from home, young professionals and couples are still trying to snatch up homes there and bidding wars on condos are plentiful.

The CREA said January price gains were in the 10 to 15 per cent range in the GTA, Mississauga, Chilliwack, B.C., the Okanagan Valley in B.C., Winnipeg and on Vancouver Island.

Montreal’s average prices reached $434,200, up 16.6 per cent compared to last January.

They rose by as much as 10 per cent in Victoria, Greater Vancouver, Regina and Saskatoon and by about two per cent in Calgary and Edmonton.

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Goldman Sachs moves to full ownership of China securities JV

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Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business.

The U.S. bank said it would buy the remainder of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Ltd (GSGH), and rename it as Goldman Sachs (China) Securities Company Ltd.

The migration of its onshore business units to GSGH from Beijing Gao Hua Securities was underway, it added.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our China business following a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.

It becomes the second Wall Street firm to be granted approval to shift to full ownership of its securities business after JPMorgan Chase & Co moved to 100% in August https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/jpmorgan-gets-beijings-approval-first-fully-foreign-owned-brokerage-2021-08-06.

Securities businesses in China typically house investment banking, research, equities and fixed income businesses.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business even with its minority ownership.

Lucrative underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions – especially initial public offerings (IPOs) – in China’s expanding capital markets has been the driving force for Western banks to increase stakes in their mainland business.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

Morgan Stanley currently owns 90% of its securities joint venture with partner Shanghai Chinafortune Co Ltd after increasing its stake https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/morgan-stanley-nears-full-ownership-china-ventures-with-stake-buys-2021-05-28 in May.

China’s regulators had examined Goldman Sach’s application to move to full ownership https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/goldman-sachs-signs-pact-wholly-own-china-joint-venture-2020-12-11 since the bank flagged its intention to buy out its partner in December.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Stephen Coates)

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From Canada? Want to go to the U.S.A.? Better have the right vaccine – Boing Boing

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The last couple of years have been hard on Canadian Snowbirds. Many of us, myself included, are used to heading south in the fall, to escape the icy bullshit of a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us have been trapped, north of the wall, since March 2020. 

I’ve been fine with this. 

When the land border was closed down to everyone but essential travellers, my mindset was that if I was going to get sick, I’d just as soon do it in my own nation where healthcare is free (yeah, we pay our taxes, but still.) Then, last winter, the vaccines started to roll out. By early spring, both my wife and I had been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s version of the brew. We breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that we might, one day soon, be able to start our travels again. I’m sure that lots of other folks did too. Unfortunately, depending on where in Canada they live, it wasn’t a sure bet that they’d wind up with two doses of the same vaccine. In the rush to get as many Canadians vaccinated against the plague as possible, many provinces started mixing and matching whichever vaccines that they had on hand.

So, you could wind up with Pfizer for your first jab and Moderna for your second. It’s cool, they told us. Mixing vaccines affords tons of protection, we were assured. Why, we’d all be able to get back to our lives in no time… provided said life doesn’t include travelling to one of many countries where vaccine mixing is considered to be a dangerous load of bullshit. You may have guessed by now, that America is one of those countries.  

From The CBC:

…at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in.

So that sucks. 

According to the CBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might soon consider changing their stance on mixed vaccines. I’d like to think that a crap load of data on the effectiveness of mixed vaccine dosing will play into such a decision. No matter how badly folks might want to head south for the winter, Americans deserve to be as safe as they can be. 

In the meantime, I suspect that, just like last fall, many snowbirds will wind up on Vancouver Island, where I hang my hat, these days. It’s warm enough here that living in an RV is both possible and comfortable.

But I’ll tell ya, it’s a far cry from kicking back in the trade winds on the cusp of Texas’ southern border.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

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